In J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional universe of Middle-earth, Forodwaith was the name both of a large region and the people who lived there. It is the far north region of Middle-earth; it represents a loose mythical view of the Arctic region of Eurasia.
|J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium location|
|Type||large icy region|
|Other name(s)||the Northern Waste,|
|Location||north of Eriador and Wilderland|
Forodwaith was located in the far north of Middle-earth. The Sindarin name Forodwaith translates loosely as Northern Waste and literally as Northern Realm, and was a name for the lands north of the Iron Mountains of the First Age. Little was known of it, except that despite lying scarcely 100 leagues north of the Shire, it was an area prone to long winters and severe cold. This was due to its proximity to the Gap of Ilmen, and Morgoth's evil cold, which emanated, in ancient times, from his place of dwelling, and lingered still into the Third Age.
After the War of Wrath and the breaking of the World, the Iron Mountains were mostly destroyed, and the area of Forodwaith that lay north of Eriador became known as Forochel, together with the great bay and cape that carried the same name. The Bay of Forochel was ice-bound during its long winters. The northernmost Blue Mountains stood on the south-west of the bay.
Further east, the southern extent of Forodwaith was bounded by the northernmost Misty Mountains, and by the Grey Mountains and Iron Hills. The evil realm of Angmar (ca. T.A. 1300 to 1975) was based in the northernmost Misty Mountains, whence it was able to dominate a significant part of Forodwaith.
The Men of Forodwaith were a strange folk apparently unrelated to the Edain. During the Third Age their descendants were known as the Snowmen of Forochel or Lossoth. In Unfinished Tales it was stated that they could glide on ice by tying bones to their feet. The Lossoth made their houses of snow, and possessed "carts without wheels", probably sleighs. They believed that inhospitable weather was caused by the Witch-king of Angmar, and feared his supposed ability to cause storms so greatly that when at first King Arvedui arrived seeking help, they remained aloof. They dwelled mainly on the Cape of Forochel, whose location made them inaccessible to their foes, "but they often camped on the south shores of the bay at the feet of the Mountains."
The Last King of ArthedainEdit
Arvedui, last King of Arthedain, fled to the Ice-bay of Forochel after his realm was destroyed by Angmar. This occurred in early T.A. 1974, before winter had ended. The King approached the Lossoth and attempted to barter with them for supplies with jewels, in which the Lossoth had no interest. Fearing the wrath of Angmar, the Lossoth were at first unwilling to help. Eventually, the decision to aid the King was made in part out of fear of violence, and partly out of pity for the ragged and emaciated condition of the King's fellowship. The Lossoth provided the men with some food, and constructed snow huts for them to wait out the winter.
When word reached Círdan that Arvedui had fled from his kingdom, he dispatched a vessel to Forochel to seek him. In March the ship reached the Ice Bay of Forochel, yet could not reach the shore as the ice floes were still thick and only just beginning to break and thaw. Now friendly to Arvedui, the Lossoth transported him and his men to the waiting ship on their sledges. Awed and afraid of the vessel, the like of which none of them had seen before, the Lossoth warned the King not to try to sail south in such frigid conditions. Against their advice Arvedui boarded the ship, which became surrounded by ice. Eventually the ship's hull was crushed, and he was drowned in the ice-bay, together with the palantíri of the North.
A portion of Forochel is depicted in the MMORPG The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. Introduced in April 2008, a new zone around The Ice-Bay of Forochel was added, while the Epic quest line follows the last days of Arvedui, Last King of Arthedain. The game developers depict the Lossoth skating and pushing sledges on ice in accordance with J.R.R. Tolkien's notations. However, new elements were introduced in the depiction of the Lossoth, namely, their ability to tame and ride to war on mammoths. In addition, many aspects of their language, culture, and appearance are derived from or inspired by that of the Finnish, Sami, and Inuit people.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, Houghton Mifflin., 1988 edition, Appendix A. 321-322.
- Christopher Tolkien (1984, editor), The Book of Lost Tales Part 2, George Allen & Unwin, ch. VI p.330 note 24, index p. 363; ISBN 0-04-823265-3
- "LOTRO.com, Book 13: Crafting the Content of Forochel". Retrieved 2009-01-27.
- "Forodwaith". Tolkien Gateway.