Second Fall of Minas Ithil

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This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.
This article is about siege in the Third Age. For the attack that sparked the War of the Last Alliance, see First Fall of Minas Ithil.

The Second Fall of Minas Ithil was the siege and capture of Minas Ithil by the forces of the Nazgûl that occurred from T.A. 2000 to T.A. 2002.

History[edit | edit source]

Prelude[edit | edit source]

In T.A. 1636[1] the Great Plague killed a large number of people in Gondor, including king Telemnar and all his children.[2] The devastation was such that Minas Ithil was emptied of its population,[3] the fortresses that guarded the passes to Mordor were unmanned, and the watch on the borders of Mordor ceased due to a lack of troops.[2] As a result, evil beings were able enter Mordor secretly.[3] During the reign of king Eärnil II, in T.A. 1980,[4] the Witch-king reentered Mordor and gathered the other Nazgûl.[5]

Gondor must have sent a force to reoccupy Minas Ithil by the time the siege began in T.A. 2000, since there were people there to defend it, but the extent to which it was repopulated, and when these efforts began, is unknown.[6]

Siege and capture[edit | edit source]

Twenty years after the return of the Witch-king to Mordor, in T.A. 2000,[7] men, who had been dominated by Sauron in his first strength and had wandered homeless and masterless after his fall, now led by the Nazgûl[8] came out of Mordor by night[3] over the Pass of Cirith Ungol,[5] and probably also over the main pass in the ravine at the end of the valley in which Minas Ithil was located,[3] and started a siege of Minas Ithil.[5] It is possible that the Tower of Cirith Ungol was captured by the Nazgûl during the same night, because the Tower of Cirith Ungol was an eastern outpost of the defences of Minas Ithil[9] and because the vigilance had failed at the Tower of Cirith Ungol and treachery had yielded it up to the Witch-king.[10] Two years later in T.A. 2002 the troops of the Nazgûl captured Minas Ithil and its palantír.[5][11]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

After the capture of Minas Ithil by the Nazgûl, the city became a terrible place, too dreadful to look upon and was renamed Minas Morgul, the Tower of Sorcery.[3] Minas Anor was renamed Minas Tirith, the Tower of the Guard and there was constant war between Minas Morgul and Minas Tirith.[12]

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age", entry for the year 1636, p. 1086
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", entry for King Telemnar, p. 1048
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age", entry for the year 1980, p. 1087
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", entry for King Eärnil II, p. 1051
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Palantíri", third paragraph
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age", entry for the year 2000, p. 1087
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Forbidden Pool", p. 692
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Part One: The End of the Third Age: II. The Tower of Kirith Ungol", p. 20
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Tower of Cirith Ungol", p. 900
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age", entry for the year 2002, p. 1087
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond", pp. 244-45