The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Made sometime between III 2770 and c. III 27901
Location
Showed Erebor and the immediately adjacent lands
Origins
Made by Thrór
Race
Division
Culture
Family
Pronunciation
Thrór is pronounced 'thro'r'
Meaning
Thrór apparently comes from the Old Norse for 'thrive'

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About this entry:

  • Updated 31 July 2010
  • This entry is complete

Thrór’s Map

The map that guided the Quest of Erebor

A map made by Thrór the King under the Mountain, after he had been exiled from his kingdom by the Dragon Smaug. As was traditional among the Dwarves, it was drawn with East at the top of the map, rather than North, and showed the Lonely Mountain of Erebor, the Running River that flowed from it, and the lands about. It also contained mention of a secret entrance to the Mountain, and (written in secret Moon-letters) instructions as to how it might be opened.

In his old age, Thrór set out to wander the lands of Middle-earth, but before departing he gave the heirlooms of his house to his son Thráin, including his Map. Years later, Thráin too set out into Middle-earth, seeking to recover Erebor himself, and taking with him the Map to guide his way. He was captured in the Wild by the servants of Sauron, but Sauron captured Thráin for the Ring of Power he bore, and so overlooked the map he was also carrying. This proved to be a serious oversight, because Gandalf would later secretly enter Sauron's lair at Dol Guldur while Thráin was a prisoner there, managing to escape with the map and the key that opened the secret door.

Using Thrór's Map, his grandson Thorin was able to lead a small group of Dwarves (and one Hobbit, a certain Bilbo Baggins) on his own quest to refound the ancient Dwarf-realm. Through many adventures, they were able to recover Erebor and bring about the destruction of Smaug, dealing Sauron a serious reverse.


Notes

1

We don't know exactly when Thrór made his Map, but the fact that it depicts Smaug shows that it must have been made after the Dwarves were driven out of Erebor in III 2770. The first definite mention we have of the Map is about twenty years later, when Thrór passed it to his son Thráin before setting out for Moria.

We do have one further clue to the year the map was made. When Elrond read the Moon-letters in the year III 2941, he observed that the Map must have been made on the same date (Midsummer) and under the same crescent of the Moon. Because the phases of the Moon repeat on a cycle that takes nineteen years, we can work out possible dates by calculating back in multiples of nineteen years. This gives us two possibilities: III 2770 (the year the Dwarves were driven out of Erebor) or III 2789 (just before Thrór's Map first appeared in history).

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About this entry:

  • Updated 31 July 2010
  • This entry is complete

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