Tolkien Encyclopedia > Places > Zirakzigil

Zirakzigil

by Varda-(Valar)
July 5, 2011

Zirakzigil is the Dwarven name of the mountain also known in Mannish as Silvertine. The short form of the Dwarven name is Zirak, and its elvish name is Celebdil the White.

The name is hyphenated in the Return of the King index as Zirak-zigil but in the Fellowship the dash is dropped and spelled Zirakzigil.

Zirakzigil is the one of the three mountains over Moria where the Misty Mountains divide. From the Fellowships’s viewpoint in Hollin, Barazinbar (also called Baraz, Caradhras and the Redhorn) appears nearest with Zirakzigil and Bundushathűr (also called Shathur, Fanuidhol the Grey, and Cloudyhead) beyond it.

Gimli points out these mountains to the Fellowship while they were on their way to the Dimrill Dale.

They try to climb a pass called the Redhorn Gate, under the far side of Caradhras. From there, they had planned to go down the Dimrill Stair into the deep valley that the Dwarves cannot forget that they named Azanulbizar, but is also called the Nanduhirion and the Dimrill Dale.

In the valley of the Dimrill Dale lies the Mirrormere, also called Kheled-zâram, whose icy springs make the River Silverlode. The Silverlode is also called Kibil-nâla and the Celebrant ("silver course"). "’Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram,’ said Gimli, "and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla.’"

They intended to go down the Silverlode into Lothlórien and so to the Great River. That river is also known as Anduin the Great, the Anduin, the River, and the River of Gondor. 1

However, the snow storms of Caradhras forces the Fellowship to turn back and go through Moria.The door to Moria is south-west of Caradhras, about fifteen miles as the crow flies and twenty as the wolf runs. 2

On the way, they see regiments of black crows, crebain out of Fangorn and Dunland, that are flying as spies between the Mountains and the Greyflood River. 3

Separated from the others by the fight with the Balrog of Moria, Gandalf makes a closer acquaintance with Zirakzigil. Telling of his fight with the Balrog of Moria, Gandalf says that he and the Balrog went up the Endless Stair from the lowest dungeon to the highest peak in an unbroken spiral coming out at "Durin’s Tower carved in the living rock of Zirakzigil" at the top of the mountain where there was snow. The tower had a small window and in front of it was a narrow space of mountain with mists below in the drop. "The sun shone fiercely there but all below was wrapped in cloud." After Gandalf died, he was "sent back" from Valinor to re-embody at that same place on Zirakzigil. He found that the tower was crumbled to dust, the window was gone, and the stairs were "choked with burned and broken stone" leaving no escape. Eventually the great eagle, Gwaihir, sent by Lady Galadriel, found Gandalf on the summit and flew him to Lothlorien, and commented that Gandalf was lighter than he had been on the tower of Orthanc. 4

References:

This LotR book set is from Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994 and includes the corrections. It is trade-sized with movie photo covers.

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