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The Dead Marshes in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy

"Dreary and wearisome. Cold, clammy winter still held sway in this forsaken country. The only green was the scum of livid weed on the dark greasy surfaces of the sullen waters. Dead grasses and rotting reeds loomed up in the mists like ragged shadows of long forgotten summers."
from The Passage of the Marshes, The Two Towers

The Dead Marshes marked in red

The Dead Marshes was an area of swampland east of the Emyn Muil and bordered on the east by the Dagorlad plain, site of the ancient Battle of Dagorlad during the War of the Last Alliance.


The marshes predated the battle, but were not named until after. The Dead Marshes were part of the ancient battlefield of the Battle of Dagorlad between the Last Alliance and the forces of Mordor, where many of the fallen were laid to rest. Over time, the battlefield became marshes, which swallowed up the dead, though their bodies could still be seen floating in the water (although, according to Gollum, they are not physically there, and only appear as visions).

During Gondor's war with the Wainriders, King Ondoher's army was caught by surprise and some of his defeated army attempted to escape into the marshes, only to drown. The general Eärnil then defeated the Wainriders at the Battle of the Camp in TA 1944, they were driven into the marshes where most perished.

The Dead Marshes were located north-west of the Morannon, and southeast of the Emyn Muil. Aragorn captured Gollum here, on February 1, 3017 and took him to Mirkwood.[1]

The War of the Ring

Corpses in the water of the marshes

During the quest to destroy the One Ring, Gollum led Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee through the marshes. They entered the Dead Marshes at Dawn on March 1. The Passage was marked by lights that danced about and candles which Gollum called "candles of corpses"; it is likely that those who become entranced by these lights and attempt to touch the bodies drown in the water and go down to join the dead. It seems that the bodies only appear in the water when the lights are lit. At the Mere of Dead Faces, Frodo became entranced by these lights and tried to reach out and touch the faces of the dead at the bottom of the marshes, though Sam broke him out of his trance. Gollum told them that the dead could not be touched, suggesting that he had once tried to eat them. While passing through the marshes, a Black Rider on a Fellbeast passed overhead, terrifying Gollum enough that he started to slip back into his old speech-habits, which he had somewhat given up after swearing to "serve the master of the Precious." They exited the Marshes on the morning of March 2, 3019.[2][3]

An apparition within the marshes

Portrayal in adaptations

Peter Jackson's The Two Towers

An illusory Elf corpse

In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the Dead Marshes are shown as foggy ponds with jets of fire rather than the misty candle-flames described in the book. Frodo actually falls into a marsh, in which ghostly figures surround and reach for him before Gollum pulls him out.

Behind the Scenes


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Dooie Vleie
Albanian Keneta Vdekur
Armenian Մահվան Ճահիճներ
Arabic المستنقعات الميتة
Azerbaijani Ölü Bataqlıqlar
Basque Hildako Padura
Belarusian Cyrillic мёртвыя Балоты
Bengali মৃত জলাভূমি
Bulgarian Cyrillic Мъртвите блата
Catalan Pantans Morts
Chinese (Hong Kong) 死亡沼澤
Corsican Paludes Morti
Czech Mrtvé močály
Danish Dødemarsken / Dødemandsmarsken
Dutch Dode Moerassen
Esperanto Mortintoj Marĉoj
Estonian Surnud Sood
Finnish Kalmansuot
French Marais des Morts
Georgian მკვდართა ჭაობი
German Totensümpfe
Greek Βάλτοι των Νεκρών
Gujarati ડેડ ભેજવાળી જમીન
Hebrew ביצות המתות
Hindi मृत दलदल
Hungarian Holt-láp
Icelandic Dauðarmýrar
Irish Gaelic Riasca Marbh
Italian Paludi Morte
Indonesian Rawa Mati
Japanese 死者の沼
Latin Paludes Mortuae
Latvian Miroņu Purvi
Lithuanian Negyvosios Pelkės
Japanese デッド沼地
Korean 죽은 늪
Kurdish Mirî Avzêl (Kurmanji)
Macedonian Cyrillic мртвите блата
Malaysian Paya Mati
Malayalam ചത്ത ചതുപ്പുകളുടേയും
Maltese Bassasiet Mejta
Manx Claddeeyn Marroo ?
Mongolian Cyrillic үхсэн элбэгтэй
Nepalese मृत मार्शेस
Norwegian Daumyrene (Werenskiold tr.)
Daudemyrene (Bugge Høverstad tr.)
Pashto مړه جبه
Persian باتلاق مرده
Polish Martwe Bagna
Portuguese Pântanos Mortos (Brazil) Pântanos dos Mortos (Portugal)
Romanian Smârcurile Morții
Russian Мёртвые Топи
Sanskrit डेअद् मर्शेस्
Serbian Мртве баруштине (Cyrillic) Mrtve Baruštine (Latin)
Spanish (Spain and Latin America) Ciénaga de los Muertos
Sinhalese මළ වගුරු
Slovak Mŕtve močiare
Slovenian Mrtva močvirja
Swahili Mabwawa Wafu
Swedish Döda träsken
Tagalog Poso ng mga patay
Tajik Cyrillic Деад Марсҳес
Tamil இறந்த சதுப்பு
Telugu డెడ్ చిత్తడినేలలు
Turkish Ölü Bataklıklar
Turkmen Öli Batgalyklar
Ukrainian Cyrillic Мертві болота
Uzbek Деад Марсҳес (Cyrillic) O'lik Botqoqliklar (Latin)
Vietnamese đầm lầy chết
Welsh Corsydd Marw
Yiddish טויט מאַרשיז
Places of Middle-earth and Arda

Middle-earth Locations:


Arnor | Dunland | Ettenmoors | Forochel | Forodwaith | Gondor | Harad | Ithilien | Khand | Lindon | Minhiriath | Mordor | Rhovanion | Rhûn | Rohan | The Shire

Forests & Mountains:

Amon Dîn | Amon Hen | Amon Lhaw | Caradhras | Emyn Muil | Erebor | Fangorn Forest | High Pass | Iron Hills | Lórien | Mirkwood | Mount Doom | Mount Gundabad | Old Forest | Tower Hills | Weathertop


Angband | Barad-dûr | Bree | Caras Galadhon | Dol Guldur | Fornost | Hornburg | Isengard | Minas Morgul | Minas Tirith | Orthanc | Osgiliath | Rivendell | Umbar | Utumno


Argonath | Buckland | Cair Andros | Dagorlad | Dead Marshes | Enedwaith | Fords of Isen | Gap of Rohan | Grey Havens | Weathertop

The rest of Arda:

Aman | Dark Land | Land of the Sun | Númenor | Tol Eressëa | Valinor


  1. Unfinished Tales, Part Three: The Third Age, II: "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan"
  2. The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book Four, Chapter II: "The Passage of the Marshes"
  3. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Great Years"