Disaster of the Morannon

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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.
Disaster of the Morannon
Olanda Fong-Surdenas - Easterling.jpg
Conflict: Wainrider/Balchoth War
Date: T.A. 1944
Place: Ithilien, Morannon
Outcome: Victory for the Wainriders

Gondor, Éothéod

Wainriders, Haradrim, Khand





Severe, including prince Faramir

Probably moderate

The disaster of the Morannon was a battle in T.A. 1944 in which King Ondoher of Gondor attempted to rout the northern alliance of Wainriders.[1]

Events Prior to the Battle[edit | edit source]

After previous defeats, the Wainriders prepared for revenge. Easterlings allied with Haradrim and Men of Khand, and attacked Gondor from two sides from the east and from the south.[1]

Forthwini of Éothéod informed the King that the Wainriders had recovered from their fears and weaknesses. Ondoher also learned that Gondor's southern enemies were preparing to attack. He raised as great an army as he could to meet the double threat. Ondoher divided his strength into two armies, assigning the smaller Southern Army to Eärnil at Pelargir. Ondoher himself took command of the larger Northern Army himself, which included his elder son Artamir at the Center; his sister-son Minohtar was assigned the position of Captain of the Right Wing; Adrahil of Dol Amroth was the Captain of the Left Wing. The Éothéod also sent a force.[1]

The Battle[edit | edit source]

The Haradrim invaded from the south and then a few days later word came of the Wainriders invading from the east.[1]

Gondor's host headed north through Ithilien on the alliance of Wainriders, planning to deploy upon the Dagorlad and attempting to rout them once and for all from Gondor's northern borders. Minohtar followed the main force that included the King's Guards as they approached the area in front of the Morannon.[1]

However, the Wainriders and their allies, bitter from previous defeats, moved faster than expected along the outskirts of the Ered Lithui attacked them with vengeance. They sent forth a swift vanguard of horsemen and charioteers that struck the head of the moving army. Ondoher had just enough time to send a message to Minohtar to cover his left flank before he and his son, with most of the King's Guard, were annihilated.[1]

Minohtar then took command of the army, rallying the remaining men of the Centre and deploying his own command. It was his intention to use his forces as a rearguard to attempt to halt the Wainriders, whose main host was now approaching.[1]

Minohtar odered Adrahil to withdraw the troops the Left Wing and the troops at the rear of the Ring Wing who had not yet participated in the battle south into Ithilien to form a defensive line from Cair Andros to the Ephel Dúath to cover the approaches of Minas Anor and allow Minohtar to form a rearguard and attempt to stem the advance of the Wainriders. In addition, Adrahil should send a message to Eärnil of the Southern Army, and inform him of the disaster of the Morannon and of the position of the retreating Northern Army.[1]

Meanwhile, a party of Éothéod retreated to­wards the Dead Marshes. One of the soldiers who died was Faramir, the Prince of Gondor, disguised in order to fight against the will of his father. The leader of the Éothéod went to join Minohtar at the head of the North Road in Ithilien. The Wainriders broke through Minohtar's position. Late on the 13th day of Cermië Minohtar was overwhelmed and slain by an arrow. His body was carried away with the rearguard as they fled to find Adrahil.[1]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

After their victory in the battle, the Wainriders stopped their advance[1] and held a feast in their camp[2].

Gondor referred to the battle as "the disaster of the Morannon". It is unknown if the Wainriders gave quarter to King Ondoher's forces, though it is known that his army was almost entirely crushed. Some of his troops managed to escape, however, and fled southward where they joined up with Gondor's Southern Army, which quickly marched north to catch the Wainriders by surprise during their celebrations in the Battle of the Camp.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan", "(i) The Northmen and the Wainriders"
  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 Ondoher, p. 1049