The Lord of the Rings: Shadow of the East
The city of Tharbad is built upon an island in the River Gwathlo just a few miles south from where this great river is formed by the merging waters of the Rivers Glanduin and Mitheithel. Situated in the midst of a flat and somewhat desolate area of southern Eriador, the location of Tharbad is nevertheless of geographical significance. It lies squarely on the route taken by travellers from northern Eriador heading south to the Gap of Isen and beyond. Furthermore, despite its distance of 190 miles from the sea, Tharbad is the most northerly point of the River Gwathlo which can be reached by ocean-going ships. Both water borne and wagon-borne trade converge in the city.
Tharbad has a long and detailed history, dating back to the Second Age. During this long time span, the city has witnessed extremes of both grandeur and decay.
Tharbad is traditionally considered to have been founded in S.A. 880 when Aldarion the Crown Prince of Numenor built a watch tower on the site of a native Eriadoran village on the River Gwathlo. Over the next 1100 years, the settlement was used by Numenoreans as a base for trade and exploration into the interior of Middle-earth. At the end of the war between the Elves and Sauron in S.A. 2000, an amphibious assault by Tar-Minastir’s Niimen6rean army on the Gwathlo river near Tharbad significantly contributed to the destruction of the Dark Lord’s forces.
The settlement began to grow and prosper in S.A. 2000, when it became an important haven for Numenoreans emigrating to Middle-earth to escape the changing religious mood of their great island-home. Eventually, after the destruction of Numenor in S.A. 3319, Tharbad became a prominent city in the newly founded realm of Arnor.
Ironically, even with the sundering of Arnor in T.A. 861, and all the trouble that followed, Tharbad thrived as a centre of trade for many years. Its prosperity was worn away over a period of nearly a millennium by internal strife and intermittent warring between Cardolan, Arthedain, Rhudaur, and Angmar. In T.A. 1636, the Great Plague struck Tharbad from ports in the south, killing thousands and helping spread the sickness north and east. Although the Great Plague has passed, many suspect the city will never fully recover.