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Built soon after1 the Return of the Noldor; probably captured or razed after I 472, certainly destroyed at the end of the First Age
At Eithel Sirion, the sources of Sirion, on the eastern side of Ered Wethrin
Built by Fingolfin
Stood at the source of the great river Sirion
ba'rad ay'thel
'Tower of the well (of Sirion)'
Other names
Sometimes informally referred to as Eithel Sirion, properly the name of Sirion's well rather than the tower that stood in that place


About this entry:

  • Updated 26 December 2016
  • This entry is complete

Barad Eithel

The fortress at the well of Sirion

Map of Barad Eithel

The mountain fortress and capital of Fingolfin, set in the eastern foothills of Ered Wethrin at the source of the River Sirion. It took its name from Eithel Sirion, the well of Sirion where it stood, and indeed the fortress is sometimes itself referred to as 'Eithel Sirion'.

During the Siege of Angband, Barad Eithel lay at the heart of the Noldor's defences, and also guarded the passes westward into Hithlum. Throughout the Siege, Elves of Fingolfin's people would patrol the green fields of Ard-galen, holding Morgoth within his fortress at Angband, close by to the north.

That changed in the Dagor Bragollach, when the plains of Ard-galen were overrun with rivers of fire and turned to scorching dust. Armies of Orcs assailed Fingolfin's city, but it held firm, though Hador and Gundor were both lost in its defence. Looking out across the burning desert in despair, Fingolfin set out from Barad Eithel to challenge Morgoth to single combat, and was lost. His son Fingon became the High King of the Noldor in his place, and took up his rule from Eithel Sirion.

Though the Siege of Angband had been broken, Barad Eithel still held, and so the passes into Hithlum remained secure. Morgoth resolved to break this defence, and sent another army seven years after the Dagor Bragollach to overcome Fingon's forces. Again they were repulsed, but Galdor was slain in the attack, where his father Hador had fallen just seven years before.

When the Elves came together for a vast new assault on Morgoth, Barad Eithel was the staging post for the western armies. It was from there that the soldiers of Fingon swept across the dusty remnant of Ard-galen, in the glorious beginning of the battle that would turn to the tragedy of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. Though the fate of Barad Eithel in that battle is never described, the fact that Fingon's realm was destroyed and Hithlum occupied must mean that the fortress at Eithel Sirion was captured or destroyed. By the last years of the First Age, if Fingolfin's mountain fortress was not in the hands of the Orcs, it would have fallen into ruin and decay.



We don't have a specific date for the building of Barad Eithel. Our first direct reference to the fortress is in the Dagor Bragollach of I 455, but it had clearly stood for some time at this date. It was most likely constructed during the time when most of the great cities of the Noldor in Beleriand were established, within a period of about a century after their Return.


About this entry:

  • Updated 26 December 2016
  • This entry is complete

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