Winter in Middle Earth

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Endril 14/Oct/2006 at 04:16 AM
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The only thing that I remember about this season in Middle Earth is the harsh winter that happened in The Shire, when the hobbits were attacked by wolves and it was incredibly cold. So in The Shire the winter can have very bad effects.

What effects do you imagine that winter would have over the other places and races in Middle Earth? How would winter be in Gondor? And also in Rivendell and Lorien, did winter manifested, or it was kept away by the magic the surrounded these places?

I imagine that winter in Rohan would be the worst as there is only opened field and winds can blow and bring loads of snow.

So what do toy think? 
Fyrion 14/Oct/2006 at 05:59 AM
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I think the winters in rohan would be worst for the same reasons.but as far as lorein and imladris are concerned i think that there wouldnt be much effect on them as they are protected by the magic of the rings
geordie 14/Oct/2006 at 09:51 AM
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Read Appendix A - the part about Rohan. There we hear of Helm Hammerhand, under siege in the Hornburg during one of the worst winters ever. It makes good reading!
Tamin Monsar 14/Oct/2006 at 10:29 AM
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winter in Gondor would have been somewhat less hard. Especially south of the White Mountains, because the mountain range would protect the coast from the cold winds from the north.

I do not think that the rings of the elves would protect rivendell or lothlorien from seasons. I’m not sure though, but the elven rings were meant to preserve the world as it had once been, seasons have always been part of the world, so they wouldn’t be kept out of the elven realms.

geordie 14/Oct/2006 at 12:55 PM
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A little more attentive reading of the books is always wise!

’Lothlorien! cried Legolas. ’Lothlorien! We have come to the eaves of the Golden Wood. Alas that it is winter!’
[FR: Lothlorien]

’In winter here no heart could mourn for summer or for Spring.’
[Ibid]
Endril 14/Oct/2006 at 02:09 PM
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geordie: so at that time, when the fellowship got to Lorien was there winter? I don’t remember any proofs of winter outsode lorien and not inside the woods as well. I think it was more like autunm when they arrives, with leafs falling and all. Isn’t that true?
geordie 14/Oct/2006 at 02:42 PM
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Nope. Apart from the words of Legolas we also have the dates in App. B. The company arrived at the Nimrodel on 15th Jan; at Caras Galadhon on the 17th. They left Lothlorien on 16th February. Whatever the seasons may have ’felt’ like in Lorien; it was still winter.
Arvellas 14/Oct/2006 at 05:04 PM
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Obviously, it would probably be colder in the North than in the South, though other factors also come into play.  Also, some years are naturally worse than others, so the exceptionally bad instances we hear about are not an accurate representation of what winter was normally like in any place.  I imagine that Rivendell would be a good place, being very sheltered, but on the other hand, it might collect a lot of water, being a valley.  Gondor is further south and therefore it probably does not get as cold, and they also have the advantage of being a well-developed city, which means shelter for the people, stores of food to keep them from starving, etc.  Rohan somewhat lacks the benefits of modernization, and as others have said, is rather unprotected by the geography.  And, of course, I would never plan on taking a winter vacation to Mordor, regardless of the weather!
Llillia 17/Oct/2006 at 08:38 AM
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I think that the words of Legolas are a little more convincing than the dates. If all I had to go on was the dates, I would assume that they left Lothlorien in Summer, as I live in the Southern Hemisphere.
Saranna 17/Oct/2006 at 08:43 AM
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And besides, the leaves in Lorien fall in the Spring - that’s mallorns for you.  Legolas was sad because he would not see the wood at its most golden, when the blossoms on the branches were gold and the ground was carpeted with golden leaves.  As Geordie would say, it’s all in the books!
Durin of Moria 17/Oct/2006 at 10:56 PM
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The winter in Middle-Earth is actually not harsh, but the winter that stucked the Shire is the fell winter. There was a similar winter Rohan once.
Earendin 21/Oct/2006 at 12:47 AM
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The Shire had once a very cold winter in which it was invated by white wolves that came over the frozen Brandywine.From those who lived to see this only Bilbo remains.But in the Shire, in winter there is rarely snow and they are very happy if it does.The whole winter is very light.
Endril 21/Oct/2006 at 04:52 AM
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Are there any mentions about how winter manifests in the land of elves, Lorien and Imladris? And did they had any feasts that would celebrate the commong of the white season? I’m very interested in these two. I imagine that they would not have Christmas, as this is a christian event, but a feast?
Arvellas 21/Oct/2006 at 08:30 PM
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Earendin: "But in the Shire, in winter there is rarely snow and they are very happy if it does."

It is kind of funny in real life, I think, how people who live in places where it rarely snows feel about snow, in comparison with the feelings of people who live where it snows regularly.  Some people say "Yay!  Snow!" and others say "Drat!  I have to shovel out the driveway again!"  But I’m a bit off-topic.  Yes, the Fell Winter was a bad one, what with both the weather and the wolves, and perhaps the fact that it is remembered as being so bad can be taken as testament that winters in the Shire were usually much milder?

I wonder what winter in Harad is like... *g*

Oin 23/Oct/2006 at 07:59 PM
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Stiffler: Please remember we can’t discuss religion here... I know you aren’t trying to be offensive, but comments such as stating Christmas is secular are bound to anger some people. Just be very careful in the future regarding that. Thanks!
Stiffler Vaneyar 23/Oct/2006 at 08:10 PM
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Oin- The comment is gone! Sorry about that.

Arvellas- I just wanted to state that in fact your statement is somewhat true. I only do this so that others won’t later get all ovre you. Maybe only I would notice it...anyway...When you state the north would be colder than the south, that’s not entirely true because it’s like this. I live in Ohio, which is in the upper-half of the United States of America. True, if I go south to the point o the Equator I would be getting warmer...however, if i continue to go south, i will eventually reach the South Pole, where it is in fact, very cold...i believe, never been there myself.

Anyway, back on subject...Does no one remember the Ice Bays of Forochel? Just a few hundred miles north of the Shire? Look it up, tis an interesting place.

Oin 23/Oct/2006 at 08:13 PM
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elendil elessar 26/Oct/2006 at 04:19 AM
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Regarding the Ice Bay of Forochel, the climate there is not really natural, it is said that the cold his there remaining from Morgoth time.
I would recommend everybody interested to check the dates in the Appendix B. The company did travel from Rivendell to Lorien and Rohan in winter.
As for the dates issue, we need to keep in mind the geographical setting the Master wanted for ME, it is definetly based in the Northern Hemisphere.
Arathyn 26/Oct/2006 at 08:30 AM
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Technically, Imladris would have had a pretty good climate. Since it was situated in a valley by running water, the temperature would have remained higher than that of the surrounding area. Native Americans would take advantage of this phenomena during winters in the US in order to stay warmer. The valley is essentially insulated. Doesn’t mean it won’t snow or get cold...but it’ll be warmer than anything else around.
Arvellas 26/Oct/2006 at 07:27 PM
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Stiffler-Yes, that did occur to me, but since LOTR almost undoubtedly takes place in the Northern Hemisphere, I should think that it is safe to say that it would be colder to the North.  Midle-earth is, after all, based on our world, and the continent on which LOTR takes place can be reasoned to be Europe.  Also, I believe pipeweed is mentioned growing wild to the South, in Gondor, where it apparently grew better in the warmer weather.
Endril 29/Oct/2006 at 08:27 AM
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Vella: Don’t fall in the allegory thing. ME is not Europe even if it would have a similar position. I agree that ME was a  bit near North and the winter might be harsh in some places.
Arathyn: Thank you for the answer about Imladris. That enlightens the things a bit.

I wonder how winter would be in Valinor, at the time when the land of the valar was in Arda?? Do you think that the valar would keep winter away?
iLOTR 01/Nov/2006 at 03:25 PM
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Well in Lórien I there is winter, but it doesn’t sound like much happens. In Galadriel’s song in FotR she sings a song and mentions winter.
"O Lórien! The Winter comes, the bare and leafless Day;
The leaves are falling in the stream, the River flows away.
O Lórien! ..."
There is nothing mentioned in this song about extreme cold or snow, just the leaves falling in the stream which makes me think that there is not much of a change during winter, at least not in Lórien, although I’m not sure if this is because of location or because of the power of Galadriels ring.
Naith Liathant 01/Nov/2006 at 03:48 PM
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Karen Wyn Fonstad’s Atlas of Middle - earth is well researched and she has, having worked extensively as a cartographer before retirement, written at length on what the climate zones of Tolkien’s world would have been like, hypothetically.  Her work on this, though far from definitive, is at least well informed based upon similar lands and climates in our world.

Also the MERP team did a lot of work on this for the long running roleplaying game, and it was very extensive and very well postulated.  It took into account possible air currents and topography, as well as climate zones.  Their modules list likely flora and fauna native to the regions of ME, and invent some of their own creations along the way ( which in some cases are best ignored by the purist ).  They worked from the texts except from HoME, because for the most part HoME wasn’t in print when the team started work in the very early eighties.
Oin 14/Nov/2006 at 05:34 PM
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Legolas: Actually, Arvellas is right. Eriador is essentially Europe, with the Shire at the same latitude as Oxfordshire. Minas Tirith is at the same geographical location as Florence, etc. In Letters, Tolkien tells us that Middle-Earth is based on our own present world - indeed it is our world in the very ancient past. Not all of Middle-Earth is Europe, but certainly the part the story is focused on (the North-west) is largely based upon it.
Durin of Moria 16/Nov/2006 at 05:41 PM
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I have a better story than that.

Numenor is Atlantis we know, but after the downfall of Numenor, Elendil and a group of Faithful went to Middle-Earth, which is Europe, and founded the two kingdoms, but they were united under Elendil’s rule. This two kingdom is the empire of Rome. I think I will assume Pelargir as the city Rome, because the port was founded before Arnor and Gondor was founded. Then, the two kindom splited after the death of Elendil or the departure of Isildur from Gondor to Arnor. This is when the empire of Rome spilted into the west knigdom and the east kingdom.( except that Arnor is the North knigdom and Gondor is the South.) Then during the rule of the Stewards, it was when Rome became a Republic, and during the return of the king, Aragorn, it became a empire again.

And during the attack of the wainriders, I assume that is when the Mongol in Asia is so threatening and almost conquer the whole of Europe. The Dark lands known in Tolkien’s world was actually Africa, which was not properly explored until eighhtenth century. And there is no elves in the world now was because all the elves had gone into the west.

Stiffler Vaneyar 17/Nov/2006 at 12:35 PM
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Arvellas- Yes, you are exactly correct. But remember that the Ice Bay is only a couple of hundred (at the most) miles north of the Shire. When I travel 200 miles North, I definitly don’t run into ice. I have to go much farther North to do this (I live in the north part of the US, so it is up there in latitude). But also, the Ice Bay, as it says of itself, is right along the water. This would mean the weather is different there than in the Shire, which is away from the water.

But still, it isn’t natural as elindil pointed out. It can’t be. I just wanted to let you know what I thought about the whole ’the farther north you get the colder’...that’s kind of like someone in the Northern Hemisphere saying, ’the farther south, the warmer’...what about the South Pole?

Battlehamster 17/Nov/2006 at 04:19 PM
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Whenever I found winter in Middle-earth described it always seemed quite temperate to me, though I realize that living in Minnesota, the land of eternal winter might make me biased.
Although Tolkien did model ME after Europe, it was a really long time ago version and it’s very impossible that the climate could have changed.

And just think of all the greenhouse gases from Isengard and Mordor’s machines...
Weldvar 19/Nov/2006 at 02:28 AM
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Obviously, it would probably be colder in the North than in the South, though other factors also come into play.  Also, some years are naturally worse than others, so the exceptionally bad instances we hear about are not an accurate representation of what winter was normally like in any place.  I imagine that Rivendell would be a good place, being very sheltered, but on the other hand, it might collect a lot of water, being a valley.  Gondor is further south and therefore it probably does not get as cold, and they also have the advantage of being a well-developed city, which means shelter for the people, stores of food to keep them from starving, etc.  Rohan somewhat lacks the benefits of modernization, and as others have said, is rather unprotected by the geography.  And, of course, I would never plan on taking a winter vacation to Mordor, regardless of the weather!

Elros Tar-Minya 19/Nov/2006 at 06:35 AM
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There is a nice little passage of Aragorn talking to Frodo just after they leave Lorien regarding the weather etc.;

How wide and empty and mournful all this country looks! ’ said
Frodo. `I always imagined that as one journeyed south it got warmer
and merrier, until winter was left behind for ever.’
’But we have not journeyed far south yet,’ answered Aragorn. `It is still
winter, and we are far from the sea. Here the world is cold until the
sudden spring, and we may yet have snow again. Far away down in the
Bay of Belfalas, to which Anduin runs, it is warm and merry, maybe,
or would be but for the Enemy. But here we are not above sixty
leagues, I guess, south of the Southfarthing away in your Shire,
hundreds of long miles yonder. LOTR, The Great River


This is in February!!

Cigfa 19/Nov/2006 at 12:26 PM
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Winter in Gondor would be mild, since it is considered a Mediterranean climate.

Whereas, anywhere with Elven enchantments to perserve would cause winter to not be as harsh. So, as it might snow in Imladris, it’s probably rare to see snow in Lothlorien.

Anything corrupted, like Mordor, would have its climate changed, making it hot all the time.

Battlehamster 19/Nov/2006 at 05:49 PM
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Elros, I think I would skip the vacation to Mordor period. 

I wonder if Galadriel and Elrond would actually use Nenya and Vilya to affect the weather, though.  Even though Sauron doesn’t have the One Ring, it still seems like a bit of a risk.  And sort of petty.  Although that would give a whole new meaning to "Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."

Given that Imladris was close in by the mountains, I bet that the weather could change around a whole lot there.

Qtpie 19/Nov/2006 at 08:19 PM
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I doubt that Galadriel and Elrond could use their Rings of Power to affect the weather. The Elven Rings power lay in preserving, healing and understanding. I’m not sure if the Rings could be used to affect the weather. But that is an interesting thought Battlehamster.
Stiffler Vaneyar 20/Nov/2006 at 11:47 AM
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tarag- Weren’t they used to preserve, heal, and understand the land too? I think I remember reading something like that somewhere. If so, then I would think that one way to preserve the land would be to keep the tornadoes from ripping through Imladris, or the rivers to flood in Lothlorien. Does anyone have a quote for this? Maybe from the chapter on Lorien or in the appendices? I swear I remember reading something about this.
Battlehamster 20/Nov/2006 at 02:27 PM
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I always assumed that Elrond was able to cause the flash flood to stop the Nazgul because he had Vilya. It seems like an awfully big thing for him to do otherwise. And that sure seems like it would have something to do with weather. Although it might be different because that was when it was flood or have Sauron rule all of ME.
Qtpie 20/Nov/2006 at 07:07 PM
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Stiffler: I’m not too sure myself, that’s just my speculation. I’ll look through my books tonight.

Battlehamster: Yes, Elrond had control over the river Bruinen with the help of his Ring Vilya. And Gandalf threw in some images of horses . However, I’m not too sure if the flood released by Elrond has anything to do with the weather.
Stiffler Vaneyar 20/Nov/2006 at 07:21 PM
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I think I might have an answer to our question. Might, depending on how you interpret this:

"and of all the Elven rings Sauron most desired to posses them (nary, nena, and vilya) for those who had them in their keeping could ward off the decays of time and postpone the weariness of the world."

-Silm, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

Nature is an effect of the world. So, I would guess that this sentence means that they could control nature (though I’m sure it was to a certain point, though I cannot be certain)

Qtpie 20/Nov/2006 at 07:27 PM
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Stiffler: I’m still not too convinced about this answer. How I interpreted this quote is that I took the "postpone the weariness of the wolrd" to be synonymous with "the decays of time". But I do agree with you that if Elrond or Galadriel could control the weather it was only to a certain degree because then they would be able to manipulate the weather to their advantage.