Tolkien Gateway

Siege of Barad-dûr

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Revision as of 02:45, 22 May 2009

Siege of Barad-dûr
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Conflict: War of the Last Alliance
Date: S.A. 3434 - S.A. 3441
Place: Barad-dûr, Mount Doom, Mordor
Outcome: Last Alliance victory, disembodiment of Sauron
Combatants

Last Alliance forces

Forces of Sauron

Commanders

Tree icon2.jpg Elendil

Strength

Over 100,000 Elves, Men, and Dwarves

10,000-20,000 Orcs, Southrons, Easterlings

Casualties

Moderate

Severe, nearly total

The Siege of Barad-dûr was the armed conflict that would end the Second Age. It was the direct result of the Battle of Dagorlad, where passage into Mordor was won by the Last Alliance at heavy cost.

Contents

The Siege

The Orcs that survived the slaughter at Dagorlad were surrounded in Barad-dûr, Sauron's dark stronghold. There, the forces of Gil-galad, Elendil and Thranduil laid siege to the tower, but could not breach its gates.

Sauron put together a strong defence with a seemingly unexhaustible supply of projectile and sorties, which inflicted heavy casualties on the Elves and Men. In S.A. 3440, Anárion's helmet was crushed by a rock thrown down on him, and he died instantly.

A year later, however, Sauron went out with a sortie himself, and broke the leaguer. He came to Mount Doom, where the two kings, Gil-galad and Elendil, fought with him. Narsil, Elendil's sword, broke in two beneath him as he fell. Gil-galad was burned by the heat. But Sauron also fell, and Isildur cut The One Ring from his finger with what was left of Narsil. As Gil-galad's heralds Círdan and Elrond came up, they advised Isildur to destroy the Ring by throwing it in the fires of Mount Doom. But Isildur said:

This I will have as weregild for my father's death, and my brother's. Was it not I who dealt the Enemy his death-blow?1

Consequences

The battle marked the (temporary) passing of Sauron, and the beginning of the Third Age. Gondor prospered, and built fortresses on all the entrances to Mordor: the Morannon, Durthang and the Tower of Cirith Ungol.

Isildur remained in Minas Tirith some time2. When he did return North, he and his sons were ambushed3. The Ring was lost in the tumult.

With the death of Gil-galad, the Noldor were without a King as he left no heir. Elrond and Círdan returned to Lindon.

Since the Ring was not unmade, Sauron was not completely destroyed: his spirit was able to live on. In the Third Age, he reassumed physical shape, and regained most of his old realm and allies.

Portrayal in adaptations

In Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings, the entire venture of the Last Alliance was combined into a short silhouette play, in which Isildur cut the Ring off Sauron's hand in battle, not when Sauron was already conquered.

Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring also compresses the Battle of Dagorlad, the Siege, and the final duel into one, and for convenience reasons, places them all at Mount Doom, in a prologue similar to that of Ralph Bakshi. The main perspective of the entire prologue, One Ring to rule them All, lies with Elrond. The death of Gil-galad is not mentioned, Anárion is cut completely, and the deaths of Elendil and Sauron are rewritten. After coming forth, Sauron wreaks havoc among the Elves and Men, and a blow from his mace throws Elendil against the mountainside, killing him. Isildur tries to take up Narsil, but it breaks as Sauron steps on it. In a desperate strike, Isildur slashes the Ring, and four fingers, from Sauron's hand. Sauron's body comes to nothing.

In a later scene, aptly named The Fate of the Ring, Elrond tells Gandalf of the final debate with Isildur. Círdan is not present, and Isildur refuses by simply saying "No".

References

  1. Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
  2. The Fellowship of the Ring, The Council of Elrond
  3. Unfinished Tales, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields