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The Wold, also known as the Wold of Rohan or Wold, were the upland grasslands of Rohan.
DescriptionThis was the northeastern area of Rohan. It was located between Fangorn Forest and River Anduin. To the north lay the river Limlight and in the south by the East Emnet. The area was virtually treeless and somewhat bleak and was comparable to the adjacent Brown Lands to the east.
In the distant past - perhaps up to the mid-Second Age, the Wold was once well suited to the cultivation of crops and probably had many trees (judging by its name), but during the War of the Elves and Sauron, Sauron invaded the rest of Middle-earth and left lands like the Wold in ruins.
Many important battles happened in the Wold:
- When Eorl the Young arrived in Calenardhon he destroyed a host of orcs there.
- In the year TA 2545 Eorl the Young was killed in the Wold in a battle against the Easterlings.
Significance in The Lord of the Rings
In The Two Towers, this is where Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas meet Éomer and are given the horses Arod and Hasufel. During the War of the Ring, an army of orcs from Dol Guldur unsuccessful in their invasion of Lórien were surprised by an attack of Ents led by Treebeard in the Wold, and were defeated.
The name Wold likely derives from the Anglian Old English "wold" meaning forest or woodland (compare to the West Saxon "weald" and German "Wald," for example).
Behind the scenes
Since the region was originally heavily forested but became bleak and treeless after Sauron ravaged it, a similarity may be drawn between the Wold of Rohan and the Weald of Southeastern England. This region was once covered by woodland; over centuries, however, local industry, especially iron production, led to deforestation. The etymological relation, as well as the historical similarity (especially when considering Sauron's fondness of destructive industrialization and Tolkien's personal dislike of such), indicate that the name Wold is likely an intentional play on words on Tolkien's part, similar perhaps to possibly intentional use of Atalantë (Atlantis) for Numenor.