Tol Sirion and Minas Tirith

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
An island in the River Sirion where it flows through the Pass of Sirion; fortified by Finrod.

It's not easy to find a similar place in the real world. I think we have to combine photos and the worlks of artists. Here are some inspirational pics:
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Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Whats so nteresting about that JRRT painting is that most of Minas Tirith seems to be underground! Theres that huge rock-island which obviously has many river-gates and on top there's just a relatively small tower-structure
 

Octoburn

Active Member
If Mina's Tirith is meant to guard the Pass of Sirion effectively, we need to rethink it all together.

Some fan art.

2483
2484
I think both of the above works try to shove too much castle onto a island that's too small. To guard Sirion, you would need quite a cavalry force, and be able to mobilize it quickly. Neither of these places seem to have anywhere for horses. They could have stables, but I don't imagine Elves keeping horses like that.

In that sense, Tolkien's idea of a small tower, with most of the other things being underground makes sense. This would allow for an open space on the island for the horses to roam. I would have a bridge off the island off either side to easily mobilize the Cavalry. This would, of course, require a fortification of some sort to guard the bridge on either side. Almost a much smaller scale Osgiliath.

2485
I really don't care for the castle design here, but the island itself is interesting.

2486
This is obviously modern, but more in line with how I would lay the island out.
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
I think both of the above works try to shove too much castle onto a island that's too small. To guard Sirion, you would need quite a cavalry force, and be able to mobilize it quickly. Neither of these places seem to have anywhere for horses. They could have stables, but I don't imagine Elves keeping horses like that.

In that sense, Tolkien's idea of a small tower, with most of the other things being underground makes sense. This would allow for an open space on the island for the horses to roam. I would have a bridge off the island off either side to easily mobilize the Cavalry. This would, of course, require a fortification of some sort to guard the bridge on either side. Almost a much smaller scale Osgiliath.
Finrod doens't have much of a cavalry force until the Feanroians share their horses, but you're right about there needing to be room on the island for the horses. Presumably, they also need some space to grow food, although much of that could be done on the mainland, and Minas Tirith is probably not the primary dwelling of every Elf who Finrod rules. Many probably live on the mainland and retreat to the island fortress in times of war. When the Elves of Minas Tirith have horses, I think there would be some kind of stables to shelter the horses, though probably not something that would keep every horse penned in.

I disagree about there being two bridges leading to the island. In the book, there is only one bridge, and I think we should preserve that. The lands west of the river can be so near the mountains that an army could not easily pass through them. Moreover, I believe that area would be part of Fingolfin's territory anyways. The Elves of Minas Tirith could certainly reach it by boat, and they would defend it if they had to, but I don't think it would be as much a priority as the lands to their east.

One detail that we decided on in the script discussion for Episode 9 was that the bridge to Minas Tirith would be a two-part drawbridge with a gatehouse in the middle of the river.
 

Octoburn

Active Member
Finrod doens't have much of a cavalry force until the Feanroians share their horses, but you're right about there needing to be room on the island for the horses. Presumably, they also need some space to grow food, although much of that could be done on the mainland, and Minas Tirith is probably not the primary dwelling of every Elf who Finrod rules. Many probably live on the mainland and retreat to the island fortress in times of war. When the Elves of Minas Tirith have horses, I think there would be some kind of stables to shelter the horses, though probably not something that would keep every horse penned in.

I disagree about there being two bridges leading to the island. In the book, there is only one bridge, and I think we should preserve that. The lands west of the river can be so near the mountains that an army could not easily pass through them. Moreover, I believe that area would be part of Fingolfin's territory anyways. The Elves of Minas Tirith could certainly reach it by boat, and they would defend it if they had to, but I don't think it would be as much a priority as the lands to their east.

One detail that we decided on in the script discussion for Episode 9 was that the bridge to Minas Tirith would be a two-part drawbridge with a gatehouse in the middle of the river.
You're right. They really wouldn't need as large of a Cavalry as I was initially thinking. Only having to really defend the East (I forgot about Barad Eithel, somehow). I like two part bridge idea.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I also think of mt as a fluchtburg, most fields, smaller dwellings and pastures would be on the mainland and in extreme situations everybody would redraw to the sqfety of the island on the midst of the river. However by that way you do not defend a narrow pass...
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Yes...What is the strategic idea? If the western bank is very steep and it’s more or less impossible to pass through there, and the forces and their horses dwell on the western bank, there should be some kind of fortification there. Either a wall with a gate, or a small hidden fort on the slopes of the encircling mountains.
It should be possible to attack enemies passing on the western bank with bow and arrow standing on the island.
I wonder about the idea of a fluchtburg. If I understand you correctly, it would mean that the elves would abandon the western bank? Perhaps I got the wrong idea.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
So, castles aren't intended to merely block off locations (some do, but it is tough to fortify an entire landscape). Castles control the lands around because they can safely house soldiers which can attack your army from behind or cut off your supply lines without taking the castle out. If a large Orc army passed by Minas Tirith without eliminating the garrison, they'd have to have an equally large army to protect any deliveries of supplies. It is also never a good idea to leave an enemy army behind so they can harry your progress.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Well didn’t mean just blocking the way but I see your point. I wasn’t really unaware of this but I thought perhaps it wouldn’t be enough. I could be wrong. I want a good defensive strategy, and perhaps all we need is the tower fort. I don’t know.

I would like some kind of structure or base on the western (sorry, eastern) bank. But you’re saying it’s unnecessary?
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Well didn’t mean just blocking the way but I see your point. I wasn’t really unaware of this but I thought perhaps it wouldn’t be enough. I could be wrong. I want a good defensive strategy, and perhaps all we need is the tower fort. I don’t know.

I would like some kind of structure or base on the western bank. But you’re saying it’s unnecessary?
I apologize for getting overly pedantic. I don't think that fortifications on the mainland are strictly necessary, but neither are they of no use. It becomes a resource issue firstly.

Secondly (as I think about this), I'm starting to imagine the ramifications of having a fortified structure outside but near to your main fortification. Presumably, it is less easy to defend, making it a good target for besieging enemies which would grant them a fortified base of operations from which to conduct their siege of your castle. Does that make sense?
 

Octoburn

Active Member
I don't think any fortification would be needed on the West. I know it's fairly far away, but Eithel Sirion guards the Pass on the Western side fairly well. I would think.

I know there is a drawbridge, but I feel some kind of fortification near the bridge's entrance wouldn't be unnecessary.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I don't think any fortification would be needed on the West. I know it's fairly far away, but Eithel Sirion guards the Pass on the Western side fairly well. I would think.

I know there is a drawbridge, but I feel some kind of fortification near the bridge's entrance wouldn't be unnecessary.
We actually talked about this in the script discussion for E09, having a gatehouse in the river between Tol Sirion and the east bank and drawbridges from the island to the gatehouse and from the gatehouse to the shore.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Eithel Sirion is quite far to the north, but you mean Sirion is big enough to hinder an army? I think I agree, if that’s what you’re saying. Of course, the enemy could have some kind of engineers who build temporary bridges across the river. But nah, it doesn’t sound like a First Age thing.
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Eithel Sirion is quite far to the north, but you mean Sirion is big enough to hinder an army? I think I agree, if that’s what you’re saying. Of course, the enemy could have some kind of engineers who build temporary bridges across the river. But nah, it doesn’t sound like a First Age thing.
I don't know about that. The Persians used pontoon bridges, as did the Greeks and Romans. Heck, the Chinese had them in the 11th century BC.

EDIT: I don't know why this is underlined.
 

Octoburn

Active Member
We actually talked about this in the script discussion for E09, having a gatehouse in the river between Tol Sirion and the east bank and drawbridges from the island to the gatehouse and from the gatehouse to the shore.
Yeah, Rhiannon mentioned that earlier in the discussion. What I meant was some kind of fortification on the East bank to guard the bridge long enough to gets the drawbridges up.

Eithel Sirion is quite far to the north, but you mean Sirion is big enough to hinder an army? I think I agree, if that’s what you’re saying. Of course, the enemy could have some kind of engineers who build temporary bridges across the river. But nah, it doesn’t sound like a First Age thing.
Sort of, yes. I mistakenly keep saying Eithel Sirion when I mean Barad Eithel. Meaning that Fingolfin's forces would basically funnel any enemies that get by them, to the Eastern side of Sirion. There are probably some points between Barad Eithel and Told Sirion where Sirion is fordable, but I feel those points would be well guarded.
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
Yeah, Rhiannon mentioned that earlier in the discussion. What I meant was some kind of fortification on the East bank to guard the bridge long enough to gets the drawbridges up.
I don't think guarding the drawbridge while it's raising would be a reason to have fortifications. Minas Tirith has a tower, so the Elves there are watching for the enemy and would raise the drawbridges before the army arrives. A drawbridge does not need to be fully raised to prevent enemies from crossing it. Moreover, staying on the wrong side of a drawbridge to guard it while it raises would be pretty much suicidal. It would make much more sense to retreat to the main fortress before the bridge raises.
 
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