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The name Isengard refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Isengard (disambiguation).
Ted Nasmith - Orthanc in the Second Age.jpg
Physical Description
LocationSouth of the Misty Mountains[1]
RealmsGondor[2], Saruman's domain[3], Treegarth of Orthanc in the Reunited Kingdom[4]
InhabitantsNúmenóreans-in-exile[3], Dunlendings[2], Saruman[5], Orcs[5], Wicked men[5], Ents[4], Huorns[4]
DescriptionA circular wall of rock that enclosed the valley, in the centre of which stood the stone tower of Orthanc[1]
General Information
Other namesAngrenost[6]
EventsBattle of Isengard[7]
"My business is with Isengard tonight— with the rock and stone."

Isengard ("Iron Fortress", Angrenost in Sindarin[6]) was a great fortress located south of the Misty Mountains near the Gap of Rohan. In the centre of the Ring of Isengard stood the stone tower of Orthanc.[1]



Second Age

Isengard was built in the mid-Second Age around the tower of Orthanc by the Númenoreans in exile. Its location was at the north-western corner of the Southern Kingdom of Gondor, guarding the Fords of Isen from enemy incursions into Calenardhon together with the fortress of Aglarond to its south.

The river Angren (or Isen) began at Methedras behind Isengard, which also formed its northern wall. The other three sides were guarded by a large wall, known as the Ring of Isengard, which was only breached by the inflow of the river Angren at the north-east through a portcullis, and the Gate of Isengard at the south, at both shores of the river.

Isengard was a green and pleasant place, with many large trees and grass fields, fed by the Angren. Orthanc stood in the exact centre.

Third Age

During the early Third Age the land of Calenardhon became depopulated, and the last warden of Orthanc was recalled to Minas Tirith. Isengard remained guarded by a small company, led by a hereditary captain, much like happened in Angrenost at the time.

After Calenardhon was given to the Éothéod by Cirion, Steward of Gondor, and became Rohan, Isengard remained part of Gondor, although Gondor almost forgot about it. The line of the Gondorian chieftains had failed during the time of King Déor, and the command of the fortress passed into the hands of a family of the indigenous people, friendly disposed to the Dunlendings, until the fortress became a Dunlending fortress in all but name. Orthanc however remained closed, as the Steward of Gondor alone held the keys.

The Dunlendings seized the Ring of Isengard, slaying the few survivors of its ancient guards who were not willing to merge with them.

During the rule of Rohan's King Déor it turned out that Isengard had become openly hostile to the Rohirrim using Isengard as their base. When it became clear that the raiders were coming from near Isengard, in T.A. 2710 Déor led an expedition to the north. He found and defeated a host of Dunlendings, but discovered that Isengard was held by hostile forces. Secure in the fortress they could not be dislodged and Egalmoth could not send help.[8]. The Dunlendings continued to raid Rohan during Déor's son Gram's rule, until during the rule of Gram's son Helm Hammerhand a Dunlending lord, Freca and his son Wulf nearly managed to destroy the Rohirrim. The Rohirrim eventually won, taking Isengard, and guarding it for Gondor.

During the time of the Steward of Gondor Beren, Saruman the White suddenly reappeared from the East, and he offered to guard Isengard. Beren gladly gave him the keys to Orthanc hoping to avoid such problems from being repeated, and Saruman settled there. After him the valley became known as Nan Curunír ("Valley of Saruman"). For a while Saruman aided the weakened Rohirrim, but he soon stoped and began to fortify the valley.

During the War of the Ring Isengard was Saruman's base of operations against the Rohirrim, and he defiled the valley, cutting down its trees and damming and diverting the Angren. Isengard's valley was destroyed by deep pits, used for breeding Uruk-hai and smithying weapons. Isengard became home to countless Orcs, whom Saruman used to try to conquer Rohan. In 3441, an army of Ents and Huorns led by Treebeard of Fangorn attacked Isengard, taking the fortress, although they could not take Orthanc.

The Hobbits Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took as the new "doorwardens" received Théoden King of Rohan, Aragorn and Gandalf at the gates. Saruman was confronted but refused to beg for pardon, and he was released into Treebeard's guard together with his servant Gríma Wormtongue. Saruman abandoned Isengard after Sauron's defeat, playing off Treebeard's hatred of caging any living thing in order to manipulate him into letting him leave.

Fourth Age

Main article: Treegarth of Orthanc

During the Fourth Age Isengard was restored, and Treebeard replanted many trees. The Ents tore down the walls of the ring, and named the new forest the Treegarth of Orthanc. Orthanc became again a tower of the Reunited Kingdom of King Elessar.


Isengard means "Iron-courd" in Old English (see also Isen): "It was so called because of the great hardness of the stone in that place and especially in the central tower of Orthanc."[9]

Isen is an old English variant form of iron; and gard a Germanic word meaning 'enclosure (round a dwelling)' which appears in English garth/yard or Old Norse Asgard, Midgard etc.[9]

It's used here to show an archaic Westron name of the place, translation of Sindarin Angrenost.[9]

Portrayal in adaptations

Isengard in Adaptations

1988: J.R.R. Tolkien's War in Middle Earth:

Isengard is one of the many battlefields of this game.

2001-3: The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy:

Isengard makes appearance in all three movie of the Trilogy.

2004: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth:

Isengard appears in the first mission of the Evil campaign.

2006: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II:

Isengard makes an appearance once again, though its depiction differs from the first game.

2009: The Lord of the Rings: Conquest:

Isengard is one of the battlefields in the game

2011: The Lord of the Rings Online: Rise of Isengard:

Isengard is the focus of a new region of the respective expansion.[10]

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Battles of the Fords of Isen", Appendix (ii)
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Many Partings"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Treebeard"
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Flotsam and Jetsam"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Battles of the Fords of Isen"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 772
  10. Massively - Through Turbine's palantír: Developers outline LotRO's future (retrieved 24 April 2011)