I just finished a four-month binge-read of the first two Thomas Covenant trilogies, and now that I've finished all six books, I'm left with the feeling that one of the rivers is flowing in the wrong direction. It seems that all west/east rivers would need to lead over Landsdrop and empty out into the Sunbirth Sea.

The White River (logically) flows from Revelstone (Glimmermere, Furl Falls) to merge with the Gray River to become the Soulsease. This flows through the Wightwarrens of Mount Thunder and ultimately (via Landsdrop) becomes the Defiles Course through the Sarangrave Flats to empty into the ocean south of Coercri (The Greaves). In two of the books (the first book of both the first and second series?), Covenant travels upstream to reach Revelstone (by boat and then by raft).

The first instance of this (the boat ride from Andelain to Revelstone with Saltheart Foamfollower) is explained by the special Gildenlode keel of the boat:

Standing there, he grasped the tiller. A surge of power flowed through the keel. ... The boat ran smoothly up against the current as if it were being towed by fish.

The following map is from Lord Foul's Bane (nook eReader version):

Map of The Land from "Lord Foul's Bane"

However, in The Wounded Land, Sunder builds a raft to take himself, Covenant and Linden to Revelstone (via Crystal Stonedown and Andelain) after they leave Mithil Stonedown.

Sunder looked at him, at Linden. "Are you able to swim?" They both nodded. "Then we will await the rising of the River." Coventant blinked the water out of his eyes. Damnation, he muttered. A raft. The idea was a good one. The current of the Mithil would provide a faster pace than anything they could hope to match be traveling overland. And Sunder's raft would give them something to hold onto so that they did not exhaust themselves.

My impression was that Sunder, Hollian and Linden continued rafting from Andelain to Revelstone after they split from Covenant. It is this point that I am confused on.

The following map is from The Wounded Land, which is identical that from White Gold Wielder (nook eReader version):

Map of The Land from "The Wounded Land"

Later, in White Gold Wielder, Covenant again thinks about rafting to reach Mount Thunder. However, this would be going in the opposite direction as the earlier rafting trip. This trip would make sense (downstream from Revelstone to Andelain):

"Good!" said Covenant. "Two days of rain, and we'll practically be in Andelain." He turned to the First. "It looks like we're not going to be able to build rafts. Can you and Pitchwife support the four of us when the river starts to run?"

Is this explained somewhere, or did I get the rivers mixed up?

2 Answers 2


At the end of The Illearth War (Series 1, Book 2) we find that the Black River flows from the heart of Rivenrock past the Forest of Garroting Deep (although this is when Rivenrock shattered internally and changed the path of the river at its source). However, from this it is clear that the Black River runs east to west to join the Soulsease before it flows through Mount Thunder via Treacher's Gorge.

It took me a while to find these passages, but I finally found several sources of my confusion concerning the direction of the Mithil River. The below passages indicate that the rafting in The Wounded Land was entirely along the Mithil River:

"When I get back, we'll decide what to do." ... When she raised her head again, he was in the River, swimming toward Andelain...

Covenant leaving Andelain a day or two later to rejoin Sunder, Hollian and Linden at the Mithil River:

He had planned to continue walking until he reached the Mithil valley and his compainions. ... Well before noon, he crested the last line of hills above the Mithil River. ... But when he reached the majestic tree, he could see no sign of Linden, Sunder, or Hollian. ... Covenant pelted down the hillside. He hit the water in a shallow dive, clawed the surface of the Mithil to the south bank. In moments, he stood on the spot where he had said farewell to Linden. ... He could find no evidence that she had been here, that he had ever had any companions at all.

As shown in the question, the maps of the Land were modified since the first trilogy to place Andelain further east from where the Mithil River joins the Black River. Looking at the second map, I thought that the name of the river that borders Andelain to the south was the Black River. However, neither of the maps indicate the name of the river after the intersection of the Black and Mithil, and I (incorrectly) presumed that the Mithil flowed south from the Black at that point.

The Black River is never mentioned in The Wounded Land. I was effectively lost. The above passage mentions the south bank of the Mithil River, so the Mithil must run north, and at the point of confluence of the Mithil and Black, the downstream river must be named the Mithil.

Map of the Land with river directions


I am not sure what is confusing you about this. Traveling north through the Andelain Hills, Covenant and Atiaran reach the Soulease River. Covenant then travels upstrem with Saltheart Foamfollower until they come to a confluence. Taking the right route, they proceed to Revelstone.

The Land

This is a map from The Atlas of The Land (the very first map in the book, I think), showing how the tributaries are situated. From its source atop the plateau, the river in question comes down from Furl Falls, going south until it merges with the Gray River to form the Soulease. The Soulease then flows east, joins the Black River and passes through the catacombs of Mount Thunder. Past the Fall, it emerges at the Defile's Course, which waters the marshes and swamps of Sarangrave Flat and Lifeswallower.


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