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The entrance to the Paths of the Dead

The Paths of the Dead was a haunted pass through the White Mountains. The paths started at the Dark Door at the end of the long valley of Harrowdale, beyond the Firienfeld and the forest of Dimholt, wedged in between the mountains Irensaga, Starkhorn, and the Dwimorberg.


After the Dark Door, the pass went under the Dwimorberg, past another door where Aragorn and the Grey Company found the remains of Baldor, son of the second King of Rohan, Brego. The pass then continued past forgotten cities, emerging at the southern end of the White Mountains in Morthond vale, near the Stone of Erech.

In the Second Age, a people related to the Dunlendings had lived in the White Mountains, and they had for a time served the Dark Lord Sauron. They later swore allegiance to Isildur of Gondor, but betrayed him during the War of the Last Alliance and refused to fight on either side. For this reason, Isildur cursed them, proclaiming that, if the Alliance triumphed, they would linger in the mountains until one of his heirs called them again to fight against Sauron.

Isildur's curse succeeded: their people dwindled and eventually died out, until only their ghosts remained at the end of the Third Age. In the early days of Rohan, Brego and his son Baldor rode up to the paths and made to enter. At that point a man so withered they had mistaken him for stone spoke: "The way is shut, his voice said again. It was made by those who are Dead, and the Dead keep it, until the time comes. The way is shut." Baldor asked when that time would be, but at that moment the man fell on his face and died. Later at the feast celebrating the completion of Meduseld, Baldor rashly vowed to walk the Paths of the Dead. He never returned.

When Aragorn and company took the Paths of the Dead and, deep within the mountains, summoned them to the Stone of Erech, their shades followed him. At the Stone at midnight, Aragorn unfurled his banner, declared himself the Heir of Isildur, and commanded the dead to aid him.[1] In this they obeyed, and defeated the Corsairs of Umbar who were invading southern Gondor. (Supposedly, the only weapon that they required was fear, driving their enemies to cast themselves madly into the sea.) When those foes were defeated and Aragorn could claim the black ships of the Corsairs for his own, he declared that the curse was lifted, and the dead departed forever. When the dead had gone, the men of southern Gondor joined Aragorn in the ships and sailed to the aid of Minas Tirith.[2]

Portrayal in adaptations

Peter Jackson's The Return of the King

In the theatrical release of Peter Jackson's film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the battle with the Corsairs occurs off-screen and the Army of the Dead accompanies Aragorn to Minas Tirith to defeat Sauron's Orcs, after which Aragorn declares their curse lifted.

The Paths are depicted with an unnatural mist, mass crypts, and piles of skulls. As Aragorn and company travels through, Legolas senses the Dead closing in behind them. When entering a vast clearing in front of a necropolis, the Army of the Dead appears and surrounds them until Aragorn threatens them with a reforged Narsil, holding them to their oaths. The Dead refuse at first, but later reappear by the Anduin river and agree to fight for Aragorn. The Stone of Erech is not featured.


Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Paaie van die Dooie
Albanian Shtigjet e të Vdekurit
Amharic ሙታንን ዱካዎች
Arabic مسارات للموتى
Armenian Պատհս ոֆ տհե Դեադ
Basque Hildakoen Bidezidorrak
Belarusian Cyrillic Сцежкамі Мёртвых
Bengali ডেড এর পাথ
Bosnian Staze Mrtvih
Bulgarian Cyrillic Пътища на мъртвите
Catalan Camins dels Morts
Cebuano mga alagianan sa mga Patay
Chichewa Njira kwa akufa
Chinese (Hong Kong) 亡者之路
Corsican Spassighjate di i Mortu
Croatian Staze Mrtvih
Czech Stezky mrtvých
Danish De Dødes Stier
Dutch Paden van de Doden
Esperanto Vojoj de la Mortintoj
Estonian Surnudе rajad
Filipino Landas ng mga Patay
Finnish Kuolleiden kulkutiet
French Chemin des Morts
Frisian Paden fan 'e Deaden
Galician Sendas dos Mortos
German Pfade der Toten
Greek Μονοπάτια των νεκρών
Gujarati ડેડ ઓફ પાથ
Haitian Creole Chemins moun mouri
Hawaiian Ala o ka poe make
Hebrew נתיבי המתים
Hindi मृतकों के रास्तों
Hungarian Holtak ösvénye
Icelandic Slóðir Dauðra
Indonesian Jalan kematian
Irish Gaelic Cosáin na Marbh
Italian Sentieri dei Morti
Japanese 死者の道
Javanese Dalan saka ing antarane wong mati ?
Kannada ಸತ್ತವರ ಮಾರ್ಗಗಳು
Kazakh Өлі жолдар (Cyrillic) Öli joldar (Latin)
Korean 죽음의 경로
Kurdish Riyên ji nav Miriyan (Kurmanji)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Өлгөндөрдүн жолдору
Laotian ເສັ້ນທາງຂອງການຕາຍ
Latvian Mirušo takas
Lithuanian Keliai Mirusiųjų
Luxembourgish Bunne vun de Verstuerwen
Macedonian Cyrillic патеки на мртвите
Malagasy Lalan'ny ny Maty
Malaysian Jalan-jalan mati ?
Malayalam മരിച്ചവരുടെ പാതകളെ
Maltese Mogħdijiet tal-mejjet
Marathi मृत मार्ग
Mongolian Cyrillic Сөнөсөн замаар ?
Nepalese मृतकहरूको बाटो
Norwegian De Dødes Stier
Persian راه‌های مردگان
Polish Ścieżka Umarłych
Portuguese Sendas dos Mortos
Punjabi ਮਰੇ ਦੇ ਮਾਰਗ
Romanian Cărările Morții
Russian Тропы мертвых
Serbian Стазе мртвих (Cyrillic) Prolazu mrtvih (Latin)
Sesotho Bafu tsa Litsela
Scottish Gaelic Frith-rathaidean nam Marbh
Shona Makwara Vakafa
Sindhi مردار جا رستا
Sinhalese මළවුන්ගේ පථ
Slovak Cesty mŕtvych
Slovenian Poti od Mrtvih
Somalian Waddooyinka Dhimatay
Swahili Mapito ya Wafu
Swedish Dödens stig
Tajik Cyrillic мурдагон Роҳчаҳо
Tamil டெட் பாதைகள்
Telugu డెడ్ యొక్క మార్గాలు
Thai เส้นทางแห่งความตาย
Turkish Ölülerin Yolları
Ukrainian Cyrillic шляху мертвих
Uzbek Марҳумлар йўллари (Cyrillic) Marhumlar yo'llari (Latin)
Vietnamese Con đường của người chết
Welsh Llwybrau y Meirw
Yiddish פּאַטס פון די טויט
Yoruba Awọn ọna ti awọn okú