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Tower of Cirith Ungol

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[[Image:Robert Goldsmith - The Tower of Cirith Ungol.jpg|thumb|''The Tower of Cirith Ungol'' by [[Robert Goldsmith]]]]
 
[[Image:Robert Goldsmith - The Tower of Cirith Ungol.jpg|thumb|''The Tower of Cirith Ungol'' by [[Robert Goldsmith]]]]
Originally a watchtower of [[Gondor]] guarding the high pass over the [[Ephel Dúath]], the Tower was captured by the forces of [[Sauron]] and held by [[Orcs]] in the later [[Third Age]].
 
  
[[Orc]]s from the tower brought [[Frodo Baggins|Frodo]] there for questioning after finding his unconcious body in the pass below. Only after overhearing their conversation did [[Sam]] realize the Frodo had been paralyzed by [[Shelob]] and not killed.
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The '''Tower of Cirith Ungol''' ([[Sindarin]], "Spider's cleft") was a bastion in [[Mordor]]. It is the main location in the first chapter of [[Book VI]], ''[[The Tower of Cirith Ungol]]''.
  
When the orcs searched Frodo, they found the shirt of [[mithril]] mail that [[Bilbo]] had given him.  A contingent of orcs from [[Minas Morgul]] was also present at the tower, and their leader fought with the leader of the orcs of Cirith Ungol for possession of the mithril.  The fighting spread throughout the tower, and most of the orcs on both sides were killed, making it possible for Sam to enter the tower and rescue Frodo.
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==History==
  
The main entrance to the tower was guarded by the [[Two Watchers]].
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The Tower of Cirith Ungol was originally a watchtower of [[Gondor]] guarding the [[Cirith Ungol|high pass]] over the [[Ephel Dúath]]. Its principal purpose was to defend [[Ithilien]] from attacks from [[Sauron]]'s remaining servants. It also served to stop Sauron's servants from returning to Mordor.
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Gondor occupied the fortress until [[Third Age 1636|T.A. 1636]] when the [[Great Plague]] killed large parts of Gondor's population. After the plague, Gondor never again manned the Tower of Cirith Ungol and evil was allowed to return to Mordor. Similar fates suffered the mountain fortress of [[Durthang]] in northwestern Mordor, and the [[Towers of the Teeth]] at the [[Morannon]].
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During the [[War of the Ring]], [[Orcs]] from the Tower, under the command of [[Shagrat]], brought [[Frodo Baggins|Frodo]] there for questioning after finding his unconcious body in the Pass below. Only after overhearing their conversation did [[Samwise Gamgee|Sam]] realize the Frodo had been paralyzed by [[Shelob]], and not killed as he first thought.
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When the orcs searched Frodo, they found the shirt of [[mithril]] mail he was wearing. A contingent of orcs from [[Minas Morgul]] led by [[Gorbag]] was also present at the tower, and Gorbag and Shagrat fought for possession of the mithril. The fighting spread throughout the tower, and most of the orcs on both sides were killed, making it possible for Sam to enter the tower and rescue Frodo.
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==Appearance==
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[[Image:J.R.R. Tolkien - Shelob's Lair (and manuscript).jpg|thumb|The turret drawn on a manuscript page by Tolkien]]
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The Tower stood against the mountainface, pointing East, into Mordor. It was made by the Gondorians some time after the [[Siege of Barad-dûr]]. It was made of black stone, possibly the same material as [[Orthanc]] and the [[Stone of Erech]].
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The lower section of the Tower consisted of three tiers, with a sharp angle pointing East. The lowest tier was protected by a 30 feet high wall, and the main gate was guarded by the [[Two Watchers]]. These were made by [[Sauron]], not by the Gondorians. The Watchers spun a web of magic that denied passage to the fortress.
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On top of the three tiers stood a round turret, visible from [[Shelob's Lair]]. [[J.R.R. Tolkien|Tolkien]] made three drawings of the Tower were only the turret is visible ([[J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator|TAI]] 171 (see image), 172, 173), and one with the entire bastion ([[J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator|TAI]] 174). This last picture depicts the Tower in an earlier stage of writing, with four tiers.
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==References==
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* [[The Return of the King]], [[The Tower of Cirith Ungol]].
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* [[The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion]]
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* [[Sauron Defeated]]
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* [[J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator]]
  
 
[[Category:Towers]]
 
[[Category:Towers]]

Revision as of 09:53, 8 February 2008

The Tower of Cirith Ungol by Robert Goldsmith

The Tower of Cirith Ungol (Sindarin, "Spider's cleft") was a bastion in Mordor. It is the main location in the first chapter of Book VI, The Tower of Cirith Ungol.

History

The Tower of Cirith Ungol was originally a watchtower of Gondor guarding the high pass over the Ephel Dúath. Its principal purpose was to defend Ithilien from attacks from Sauron's remaining servants. It also served to stop Sauron's servants from returning to Mordor.

Gondor occupied the fortress until T.A. 1636 when the Great Plague killed large parts of Gondor's population. After the plague, Gondor never again manned the Tower of Cirith Ungol and evil was allowed to return to Mordor. Similar fates suffered the mountain fortress of Durthang in northwestern Mordor, and the Towers of the Teeth at the Morannon.

During the War of the Ring, Orcs from the Tower, under the command of Shagrat, brought Frodo there for questioning after finding his unconcious body in the Pass below. Only after overhearing their conversation did Sam realize the Frodo had been paralyzed by Shelob, and not killed as he first thought.

When the orcs searched Frodo, they found the shirt of mithril mail he was wearing. A contingent of orcs from Minas Morgul led by Gorbag was also present at the tower, and Gorbag and Shagrat fought for possession of the mithril. The fighting spread throughout the tower, and most of the orcs on both sides were killed, making it possible for Sam to enter the tower and rescue Frodo.

Appearance

The turret drawn on a manuscript page by Tolkien

The Tower stood against the mountainface, pointing East, into Mordor. It was made by the Gondorians some time after the Siege of Barad-dûr. It was made of black stone, possibly the same material as Orthanc and the Stone of Erech.

The lower section of the Tower consisted of three tiers, with a sharp angle pointing East. The lowest tier was protected by a 30 feet high wall, and the main gate was guarded by the Two Watchers. These were made by Sauron, not by the Gondorians. The Watchers spun a web of magic that denied passage to the fortress.

On top of the three tiers stood a round turret, visible from Shelob's Lair. Tolkien made three drawings of the Tower were only the turret is visible (TAI 171 (see image), 172, 173), and one with the entire bastion (TAI 174). This last picture depicts the Tower in an earlier stage of writing, with four tiers.

References