The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Probably dated from some time in the Second Age1
Location
Above Harrowdale, the valley of the Snowbourn in the White Mountains
Origins
Created by the Men of the Mountains
Race
Culture
Originally Men of the Mountains; later occupied by the Rohirrim
Important peaks
Dunharrow stood on the lower slopes of the Starkhorn
Pronunciation
dunha'rrow
Meaning
'Temple on a hillside'2

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About this entry:

  • Updated 12 June 2010
  • Updates planned: 2

Dunharrow

A refuge in the White Mountains

A refuge of the Rohirrim, hidden in the deep vales of the White Mountains and fortified against attack.


Notes

1

The earthworks at Dunharrow were originally made by the Men of the Mountains, and were known to predate the Third Age. In drafts of The Return of the King from volume 8 of The History of Middle-earth, we're told that '[h]ere they had dwelt under the shadow of the Dark Years...', so we can be sure that Dunharrow was in use during the Second Age, but it's not impossible that it dated back even further than this.

2

The reference to a 'temple' (harrow in English place names, specifically indicating a heathen place of worship) refers to Dunharrow's presumed original purpose. This purpose had been long forgotten by the later Third Age, and to the Rohirrim it was simply a highly defensible place of refuge among the mountains.

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