When leaving the Dimrill Dale (after their escape from Moria), the Fellowship comes across the spring which is the source of the Silverlode. Gimli says:

"Here is the spring from which the Silverlode rises," said Gimli. "Do not drink of it! It is icy cold."

That doesn't seem like a great reason not to drink the water. Icy cold water is great! Especially after several days in barren abandoned Moria. And even if it was below freezing somehow, it would eventually warm up (if they filled their containers).

Was there another reason that water should not be drunk?

  • 8
    Possible that Gimli knew about this? fs.usda.gov/detailfull/mendocino/learning/safety-ethics/… – user8719 Mar 18 '13 at 16:26
  • 1
    Was the weather cold? It is typically considered a bad idea to drink cold fluids until they have been warmed. It drops the body core temperature drastically. This warning was mostly about 'eating snow' but the same principles would apply to very cold water. Less excuse for not putting it in the containers and carrying the container close to their bodies to give the water time to warm. – Andrew Thompson Mar 18 '13 at 18:22
  • Hmmm, possibly? It was winter (Legolas complained about not getting to see Lorien in the spring) and there are some comments about Frodo shivering, but they seem to be in the context of shock from his untended injury. But there's nothing implying that it's actually that cold. No ice, for instance, is mentioned on the Mirrormere or Silverlode. – Plutor Mar 18 '13 at 18:49
  • 1
    Given the amount of magic in the world, I wouldn't be surprised if the water is cold by definition, that it has certain properties preventing it from getting warmer even if worn close to the body. – Mr Lister Mar 18 '13 at 18:49
  • 2
    Brain freeze!!!! – E.T. Mar 19 '13 at 9:45

There are two main possible reasons for this: One is that at the time cold water was thought to be bad for your health, and make you sick (however The hobbits wash in cold water in Three is Company "It was icy cold; and they spluttered and puffed as they bathed their faces and hands") The other is that it could be Gimli being prejudice against Elvish water, being a Dwarf he would have many superstitions regarding the Elves. Though it is a nice thought that the water had a certain property to it, to make it undrinkable.


I think Gimli was just warning the Company not to drink it expecting medium cold water. Drinking lots of icy cold water can hurt your teeth, and some people get a headache from it.

  • 1
    Which is why you never see a dwarf with an ice lolly! :-) – Steven Wood Jan 23 '14 at 14:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.