Siege of Barad-dûr
|Siege of Barad-dûr|
|Conflict: War of the Last Alliance|
|Date: S.A. 3434 - S.A. 3441|
|Place: Barad-dûr, Mount Doom, Mordor|
|Outcome: Pyyrhic Last Alliance victory, disembodiment of Sauron|
Forces of Sauron
Severe, nearly total
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
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.
Relations between Elves and Men worsened due to the deaths of Gil-Galad and Elendil, and also Isildur's taking of the ring. The Last Alliance as it came to be known, would be the last time Elves would go to open war in Middle Earth ever again. The relationship between Men and Elves wouldn't be as close as they were in the first and second ages and never wholly repaired because the Elves were leaving Middle-Earth for Aman.
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 The Lord of the Rings (1978 film), 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.
The Lord of the Rings: 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, inside Mount Doom. Círdan is not present, and Isildur refuses by simply saying "No".