The Shadow has crossed the Mountains


New Member
In Session 202: The Encroaching Shadow last Tuesday, there was a discussion how Elrond could say that "The Shadow has crept now to the feet of the Mountains, and draws nigh even to the borders of the Greyflood..." and naturally, looking at the map, there was confusion because the roots of the Misty Mountains and the Greyflood are no small distance apart. It seems illogical for Elrond to mention the Greyflood if the Shadow is only just getting to the Mountains. Therefore, Professor Olsen surmised with suggestions from the Discord that Elrond was referring to the combined Shadows of Mordor and Isengard. It's a very good suggestion, however there may be an alternate explanation: what if Elrond is referencing the western side of the mountains, saying the Shadow has crept to the feet of the mountains facing Rivendell, and is now approaching the Greyflood.


Active Member
The 'foot' of the mountains is admittedly difficult to understand. Normally we would think of that as the place where the actual steep terrain begins. Which would be all around the Misties from any direction. In this case, it might mean the southern tip of the chain -- the Gap of Rohan, essentially. In which case, the rest of Elrond's description makes sense. The next major river beyond the Gap of Rohan is the Greyflood. So, the shadow has passed the southern edge of the Misties and is now approaching the Greyflood. Why the shadow would not just flow right over the mountains is an interesting question we probably cannot find an answer for.

Anthony Lawther

Well-Known Member
I think the description suggests the shadow is somewhat like a liquid covering the land. A rising liquid level, coming out of Mordor, would reach the foothills of the Misty Mountains on the eastern side, but cover the plains of Rohan and up through Dunland towards Rivendell, rather than cross the mountain range.
Of course this isn’t a physical liquid, more like a spiritual liquid, and Galadriel’s Ring has spiritually elevated Lothlorien to be a spiritual island.

All those spirits; no wonder Elrond can’t see straight ;-)


I imagine it was discussed in class and I missed it, but my question regarding the Shadow relates to its affect on Elrond's vision. He says "I can foresee very little of your road; ... The Shadow has crept now even to the feet of the Mountains, ... and under the Shadow all is dark to me." This suggests to me (and perhaps to first time readers) that Elrond has an ability to see things (or foresee things) from afar. But that ability is curtailed by the Shadow. Is this ability of Elrond simply because he sends out scouts, or might it be something more, like someone using a palantir, or Galadriel with her mirror? In fact, as I consider it, this ability seems often to be associated with ring-bearers like Galadriel, Gandalf, and perhaps Elrond. Even Frodo has dreams that seem to be visions of things from afar or a possible future. In any case, if this is an ability of Elrond's why did he need to send all the scouts?

Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
Foresight is very different from the intelligence that the scouts gather. Elrond does tell Frodo he will find enemies along his way, but also friendship unlooked for - that is a kind of foreseeing that Frodo remembers when he takes leave of Faramir. He also later sends word to Aragorn about the Paths of the Dead. Aragorn also is foresighted at times, as when he warns Gandalf about Moria, or tells Eomer that they will meet on a field of battle. Neither example tells how that event will come to pass - they are not that specific. But before such a journey, specific information is needed about the situation on the ground - for that, scouts are needed.