Battle of Cirith Ungol
|Battle of Cirith Ungol|
|Conflict: War of the Ring|
|Date: 14 March T.A. 3019|
|Place: Tower of Cirith Ungol|
|Outcome: Tower emptied, Frodo Baggins liberated|
Orcs of Cirith Ungol
Orcs of Minas Morgul
All Orcs save Shagrat and Snaga
On 10 March, Frodo Baggins and his servant Samwise Gamgee, passed Minas Morgul. This was noticed by the Two Watchers, but a patrol led by Gorbag was not sent out until the 11th or 12th. On the 13th, a message also reached the Tower of Cirith Ungol, and Shagrat, commander of the Tower and the Pass, set out. About an hour later, they met Gorbag's company, and quarreled shortly. It was then that they found the body of Frodo, who had been paralyzed by Shelob. Although they realized there had to be more than one intruder (described by the Orcs as a "great Elf-warrior"), they took Frodo to the tower via the Under-way, which led them into Shelob's Lair for a short time.
Frodo was stored in the top of the turret, as Shagrat did not trust all his troops, and none of Gorbag's. When the prisoner was stripped and searched, Shagrat and Gorbag fought over possession of the artifacts: a Mithril shirt, an Elvish cape, and a Barrow-blade. Especially the mithril shirt was wanted by Gorbag. A fight ensued, which soon involved all present in the Tower. Shagrat was stabbed by Gorbag, but Shagrat managed to slay the other orc. Gorbag's troops reached the gate first, and shot Lagduf and Muzgash, along with all of the others. For an unknown reason, Shagrat killed Radbug by pressing his eyes in, and threatened to do the same to Snaga if he continued to flout him. Snaga did, and Shagrat chased him. Snaga was saved when Shagrat realized Gorbag was not dead. As Shagrat choked Gorbag, Snaga went to the top of the turret.
Directly in the wake of the battle, Sam passed the Silent Watchers and found most of the Orcs dead. Sam met Snaga upon the stairs, causing the Orc to flee upwards. After Shagrat had killed Gorbag he ran down the stairs with a bundle of Frodo's possessions. Encountering Sam, Shagrat fended off the hobbit and continued on his way out of the Tower. In the meantime, Sam ascended the Tower and killed Snaga when he whipped Frodo. After Sam had rescued Frodo the two hobbits were able to continue their mission to Mount Doom.
 Portrayal in adaptations
In The Return of the King (1980 film), the tower's name is incorrectly referred to as "Sirith Ungol". Sam battles the tower's heavy gates. In front of the door, he miraculously finds both the Ring, the elven cloak and Sting; the movie does not depict Shelob or Frodo's capture. Sam enters through Shelob's Lair. The Battle is only depicted as two Orcs fighting (one with a morning star, the other with a scimitar), until the Ring urges Sam to go on without Frodo. When Sam comes back (because of simple "Hobbit sense"), he walks past the Watchers with the Phial of Galadriel. Passing the Watchers sets of an alarm, but few are left to attack the "Great Elf-warrior". Stangely, one remaining Orc on the steps knows what a Hobbit is. After slaying the very last Orc - who is flogging Frodo - Sam rescues Frodo.
In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the book is followed almost to the letter; Gorbag and Shagrat fight, and take the whole tower with them. When Sam arrives, only three orcs are left alive, and Sam kills them "for Frodo", "for the Shire" and "for my old Gaffer". In the Extended edition, a short shot of Shagrat escaping with the mithril shirt is added.