“I wisely started with a map” is said to have been said by JRR Tolkien, i.e. “I wisely started with a map”. So it’s no wonder that maps also feature prominently in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings films – and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Amazon Prime Video. The hikes of the Harfuss are particularly interesting here, because they can be understood quite well on the maps that are displayed again and again.
The first stop on the Harfeet’s annual migration route that we see in the series is at Rhovanion, east of the Anduin. That’s the name of the great river in Middle-earth, which Frodo, Aragorn and Co. also descend in “The Fellowship of the Ring”. The lake with the Rauros waterfall can be seen on the left on the map:
In Rhovanion there seems to be the so-called Nordfeld Gorge, where the harfeet spend the summer, as Nori (Markella Kavenagh) tells the Stranger (Daniel Weyman) in Episode 5. The season in the series is right, and we learn that the tastiest snails are found in the Nordfeld Gorge. This is where the harfoot scenes take place in Episodes 1-3 of The Rings of Power.
But as soon as autumn begins, the harfeet set out on their great migration, which is then shown in Episode 5 alongside the Poppy (Megan Richards) song. The route initially continues south into the Gray Marsheswho visit Frodo, Sam and Gollum many years and a great battle later as Dead Marshes:
From there it seems to go further eastn, i.e. in the area north of the southern lands or Mordor, as it should now be called correctly. This area is not particularly well worked out on JRR Tolkien’s maps, which is why the names shown (such as “Thistledell”, i.e. thistle valley) are probably also an invention of those responsible for the series.
Exactly where the grove the harfeet visit in autumn is is therefore only a matter of speculation in episode 5 (somewhere north of Mordor, but probably not too far east), but fortunately there is a new clue in episode 7: The grove is obviously near the green forest. Saddoc (Lenny Henry) mentions this name in conversation with the stranger.
Legolas and the Wood Elves came from the Green Forest, which later became known as Mirkwood. Also, in The Hobbit, Bilbo and the dwarves traverse the forest on their way to the Lonely Mountain.
It also makes sense that their hike will eventually lead the harfeet back near the Grünwald/Blunkwood, because as Nori tells the stranger in episode 5, they winter in the Old Forest. And it can actually only be about the Grünwaldbecause that’s the only forest that’s nearby (but the Old Forest in the Shire, known from The Lord of the Rings books, is far too far away)
In addition, the Grünwald or Düsterwald or Alte Wald lies directly north of the Nordfeld Gorge. And when you put all the pieces of the puzzle together the harfeet apparently wander in a large circle from Grünwald to the south, then a little to the east, north to the grove and then west again to Grünwald and so on.
There will be more of the harfeet and the stranger in “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” Episode 8 – the finale of Season 1. The eighth and final episode will be released on October 14, 2022 on Amazon Prime Video.