This is topic Backward River Flow? in forum The Hobbit at Minas Tirith Forums.

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Posted by The Mighty Müsnud (Citizen # 720) on :
This question branches from the recent one about the enchanted river. As I was looking at the map to determine the enchanted river's possible source in Mirkwood, I noticed that that particular river actually branches off backwards. One would expect the river to branch off southeastward, since the Forest River's source is the Grey Mountains in the Northwest. However, the enchanted river branches off southwestward, insinuating that its source is the Forest River via Long Lake.

Any ideas?
Posted by Azog (Citizen # 4020) on :
The Mighty Musnud, I am a bit confused with what you are saying. According to the map of Wilderland John Tolkien put into the Hobbit, it appears that the source for the Enchanted River is the Mountains of Mirkwood. It flows northwest, then northeast from there into the Forest River, which flows to the Long Lake. On the opposite side of the Mountains of Mirkwood, another (unnamed) river flows southeast to join the River Running just north of the Old Forest Road.

[ 11-12-2003, 01:46 PM: Message edited by: Azog ]
Posted by Eryndil (Citizen # 3905) on :
I am also confused, TMMü. There does not appear to be this problem in my edition of The Hobbit, where the map is the same as here
Posted by The Mighty Müsnud (Citizen # 720) on :
Okay, let me be more concise here. Everybody has been saying that the Enchanted River is a tributary of the Forest River. By definition, a tributary is a small river that "flows out" of a larger one. So, if the Enchanted River is a tributary of the Forest River (which is flowing Southeast), the Enchanted River should also be flowing South or Southeast.
However the map clearly shows the Enchanted River flowing out of the Forest River in a Southwesterly direction. This would seem to indicate that the riverflow is actually heading North from Laketown on up to the Grey Mountains (in other words, the river is flowing backwards).

You might make the argument that the Enchanted River is not a tributary of the Forest River, that it in fact flows "into" the Forest River with its source in the Mountains of Mirkwood. This would fit with the map drawing. However, it goes against one of the basic fundamentals of our world: rivers always flow South. The one exception to this rule in our world is the Nile, which as far as I am aware, is the only river in the world that runs from the South to the North.
This leds me to the conflict with Tolkien's original intention, that M-E is actually our own world in the past. If this is the case, then there can be only one conclusion, the Enchanted River grew larger and larger over the years. Eventually it overtook the Forest River and pulled its path further Southeast. In time the region of Dale flooded, and the Lake grew into a large sea.
Since there is only one river in the world that flows from South to Noth, then the Enchanted River must be what is now known as the Nile, and the area where Laketown used to be has become the Mediterranean Sea. []

Well, there's some hypothesizing for you. What do you guys think?
Posted by Faramir Vinyaner Took (Citizen # 3268) on :
Well, on the river flowing, it always flows from high to low. And the Mackenzie River of Canada flows into the Arctic ocean, from central Canada.
Posted by Miz Lobelia (Citizen # 1612) on :
A tributary is a "stream or river flowing into a larger stream or river" (American Heritage dictionary). The enchanted river flows into the Forest River and the Forest River flows into the River Running and that flows into the Sea of Rhun and all is well with the world EXCEPT does the Sea of Rhun have an outlet?

Actually I remember being startled a few years ago when the Red River flooded a town in, i believe, the Dakotas, and the news stories described it as flowing North. So there are rivers that do so.

Edit: My memory is not entirely gone! Here is a link: Geology Behind Flood on Red River

[ 11-12-2003, 10:00 PM: Message edited by: Miz Lobelia ]
Posted by GLAMDRING The Foe Hammer (Citizen # 3303) on :
By definition, a tributary is a small river that "flows out" of a larger one.
Um, no. It is the other way around. A tributary flows INTO a river not out of it. In fact I can't think of a single instance where a stream would flow OUT of a river unless it is part of a delta.

This misunderstanding might be the cause of your confusion with the map.
Posted by Carniliel (Citizen # 3470) on :
I also wonder where your erroneous belief that all rivers flow south comes from. There are several rivers that flow to other directions; for example, the great rivers of Siberia flow north into the Arctic Ocean, many rivers in Central Europe (e.g. Rhine, Meuse/Maas, Oder)flow north, northwest or west into the Atlantic or the Baltic Sea, etc.

Just study your world atlas a bit more carefully.
Posted by Earendilyon (Citizen # 322) on :
Yeah, there are very big rivers in Siberia, all flowing to the North. They're far bigger than the rivers of Europe. Btw, the Danube and the Amazon flow roughly West to East, the Chinese rivers also, the Congo East to West. There's one real odd river in South America (the Orinoco) which flows North (to the Caribean) and also South (into the Amazon)!!

[ 11-13-2003, 02:39 AM: Message edited by: Earendilyon ]
Posted by Bc (Citizen # 2417) on :
Some rivers have tides, too (like the Thames), that temporarily reverse their direction of flow.
Posted by Earendilyon (Citizen # 322) on :
I think the Enchanted River is too far away from any sea to be influenced by the tides.

Btw, the Thames also flows West to East []
Posted by The Mighty Müsnud (Citizen # 720) on :
[] [] []

Please excuse everything I said yesterday. I was functioning off two hours of sleep, and apparently everything was getting mixed up/turned around in my head. Of course tributaries "flow into" a large stream (hence the root word trib, which I believe means to add a la "contribution").
I do recall reading somewhere about the Nile being unique in its propensity to flow North. Perhaps it's the only major river to flow North?
At any rate, I'll delete this thread soon unless somebody feels it needs to be saved...

[] [] []
Posted by Wandering Tuor (Citizen # 1685) on :
I believe that in the U.S., most rivers flow south. There are some exceptions, but that is the general rule. Somehow it feels like going downhill.

Don't feel bad, MM. I asked in a Silmarilion thread a week or so ago who the heck this mysterious "Second House of the Edain" was. []
Posted by Gandalf the White (Citizen # 295) on :
I'm reminded of this thread, although I think that incident was even better this one []
Posted by Wandering Tuor (Citizen # 1685) on :
[] []
Posted by Singollo of Doriath (Citizen # 2718) on :
Really GtW? I was more reminded of this thread... [] []
Posted by Faramir Vinyaner Took (Citizen # 3268) on :
And the Mackenzie River of Canada flows into the Arctic ocean,
The Mackenzie is the major river of Northwestern Central Canada, so, not really.
Posted by Thorin (Citizen # 816) on :
Curse you, Singollo!

MM, you better not delete this. If Telperion and I can leave up our public idiocy, so can you. []
Posted by The Mighty Müsnud (Citizen # 720) on :
Alright Thorin... *sits next to Thorin and Telperion in the local idiot's lounge* ...just make sure to flag me down when somebody joins us... []
Posted by Snöwdog (Citizen # 15) on :
Ok, you guys can come out now.
Basically, rivers flow downhill in the path of least resistance, which ever direction that may be at any given point.
Posted by Inc' (Citizen # 6274) on :
[] @ thread.
Posted by Snöwdog (Citizen # 15) on :
[] @ Inc's [] @ thread.
Posted by Varnafindë (Citizen # 4097) on :
I second that.
Posted by Wandering Tuor (Citizen # 1685) on :
The origin of the word ampersand (Singo's link) is interesting; I had learned this from the wonderful History of the English Language podcast.

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