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Set on the Hill of Erech by Isildur in II 3319 or soon afterward; remained in place into the Fourth Age
On the Hill of Erech near the head of the Morthond Vale
A great stone brought out of the Downfall of Númenor by Isildur, and raised by him on the Hill of Erech
The source of the river Morthond or Blackroot lay about twenty miles to the north of the Stone
Important peaks
Stood on the Hill of Erech; the Dead travelled to the Stone from the Paths of the Dead under the Dwimorberg
Some miles from the southern opening into the Paths of the Dead
Erech is pronounced 'e'rech' (where ch is pronounced as in German 'Bach')
Erech was a pre-Númenórean name of unknown meaning1
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 17 September 2021
  • This entry is complete

Stone of Erech

The great stone of the Blackroot Vale

Map of the Stone of Erech
"...for the hour is come for the oathbreakers:
at the Stone of Erech they shall stand again...
From the prophecy of Malbeth the Seer
The Return of the King V 2
The Passing of the Grey Company

A great black stone, spherical in shape and some twelve or more feet in diameter. It was half-buried at the top of the Hill of Erech at the mouth of the Blackroot Vale, far to the west of Minas Tirth. The Stone was a mysterious and eerie place, shunned by the people of the valley, who claimed it had fallen from the sky, and was haunted by restless spirits. In fact, the Stone had its origins in Númenor, and was brought to Erech after the Downfall by Isildur himself.

It was at the Stone of Erech that the King of the Mountains swore allegiance to Isildur's cause. When war came, though, his people failed to fulfil that oath, and Isildur cursed them to wander the hills until they made good their promise. After waiting through the long years of the Third Age, their chance came at last when Aragorn Elessar led them out from beneath the Dwimorberg to the Stone of Erech. There at last they fulfilled their ancient bond, and marched to the aid of Gondor.

Isildur's choice to rescue the Stone from Númenor and carry it to Middle-earth is difficult to explain. Following the description in The Lord of the Rings, this was a sphere of rock about four metres in diameter, and so transporting it across the Great Sea would be no small undertaking. Once he had reached Middle-earth, Isildur then chose to half-bury it in a hill, hundreds of miles from the main settlements of his people.

There is some textual history behind the placing of the Stone (for which see the entry for the Black Stone), but none of this really offers an explanation for Isildur's actions. To enter the realms of conjecture, it is perhaps possible that Isildur acted as he did because he had foreseen that the Stone would play a part in the defeat of Sauron long after his own time. It should be said that Tolkien does not even hint that this might have been the case, and ultimately Isildur's motivations remain unexplained.



The name Erech is explicitly said to date back to a time before the founding of Gondor, and comes from the ancient languages spoken by the Men who dwelt in this region. It is not therefore interpretable as an Elvish name, although Tolkien does note that his choice of the name may have been influenced by the Elvish element er- 'one, lone' in reference to the isolated Hill of Erech rising from the valley floor. (See The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, No. 297, dated 1967.)


About this entry:

  • Updated 17 September 2021
  • This entry is complete

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