Towers of the Teeth

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Towers of the Teeth
Paul Monteagle - Cirith Gorgor.jpg
"Cirith Gorgor" by Paul Monteagle
General Information
Other namesNarchost and Carchost
LocationCirith Gorgor, above the Black Gate
DescriptionWatchtowers of the Black Gate
People and History
CreatedEarly T.A.
Destroyed25 March, 3019 T.A.

The Towers of the Teeth were two towers that stood on two sheer hills that were thrust forward on either side of the mouth of the pass of Cirith Gorgor at the northwestern end of Mordor where the Ered Lithui met the Ephel Duath. They were strong, tall, stony-faced and had dark window-holes facing north, east and west.[1] The tower on the western side of the pass was called Narchost and the tower on the eastern side of the pass was called Carchost.[2]


The Towers of the Teeth were built by the men of Gondor after the War of the Last Alliance to prevent Sauron from returning to Mordor[1] and to keep watch on Mordor where the creatures of Sauron still lurked.[3] At the time of the death of king Ondoher they were still manned by the men of Gondor.[4] As the strength of Gondor failed, the Towers of the Teeth were abandoned by the the men of Gondor and were empty for long years and fell into decay. After the return of Sauron they were repaired and garrisoned with the forces of Sauron.[1] The Towers of the Teeth fell down during an earthquake[5] after an eruption of Orodruin when the One Ring fell into the Sammath Naur in the Orodruin[6] on 25 March T.A. 3019.[7]

Other names[edit]

Other names of the Towers of the Teeth were the Teeth of Mordor[1] or the Towers of the Black Gate.[5]


The name Narchost is translated as "bitter-biting fort".[2] Its initial element narch is not defined, but a similar (Noldorin) verb narcha- "to rend" appears in the Etymologies as a derivative of the root NÁRAK.[8] The second element is ost "fortress".[9]

The name Carchost is translated as "fang fort".[2][10] It contains two Sindarin elements: carch, meaning "fang",[10] and ost meaning "fortress".[9]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit]

1987-96: Middle-earth Role Playing:

In the Teeth of Mordor module in the Fortresses of Middle-earth series Carchost is incorrectly described as the western tower, and Narchost as the eastern tower. It is stated that Isildur began an grand plan to seal off Mordor and that the construction began before the end of T.A. 1 and was completed during the reign of Rómendacil I (T.A. 492 - T.A. 541). It is mentioned that by T.A. 1640 the last citadel guarding Mordor was abandoned, so Sauron sent all Ringwraiths - except the Witch-king and Khamûl - to lake Núrnen with the mission to ready Mordor for his return. Thereafter, the Ringwraith Dwar of Waw occupied the Black Gate with Orcs, Trolls and mannish servants. After Sauron's fall, only the Black Gate and the upper levels of the Towers of the Teeth were destroyed.