Rammas Echor

From Tolkien Gateway
Rammas Echor
Wall
Rammas Echor from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003 video game)
General Information
Other namesThe Rammas
LocationEastern Gondor
TypeWall
DescriptionA wall around the Pelennor Fields
History
Createdbetween T.A. 2435 and 2984
Destroyed15 March T.A. 3019
EventsBattle of the Pelennor Fields
GalleryImages of Rammas Echor

The Rammas Echor was the great wall that surrounded the city of Minas Tirith and the Pelennor Fields, its farmlands and pastures.[1]

Geography

The Rammas Echor was ten leagues (thirty miles[2]) or more in length.[1] It ran from the northeastern feet of the Mindolluin mountain about ten miles northwest of Minas Tirith in approximately the shape of three quarters of a circle back to the southeastern feet of the mountain about more than three miles southwest of Minas Tirith.[3] Since Minas Tirith was close to the southwestern end of the wall,[3] its furthest point was four leagues (twelve miles) from the Great Gate of the city[1] where the Causeway Forts were located[3] and its nearest point was a bit more than one league (three miles) Minas Tirith where the Harlond, the city's harbour on the river Anduin was located.[1] There were three main gates in the wall, one in its northwest where the North-way led to the Great West Road, one flanked by the Causeway Forts in its northeast where the Causeway ran to the city of Osgiliath at the Anduin and one in its southwest where the South Road ran to the city of Pelargir.[3] It is possible that a road from the Great Gate of Minas Tirith passed through a gate in the south-eastern part of the wall to reach the Harlond[4] because many roads crossed the green fields of the Pelennor Fields[5].

History

The Rammas Echor was built with a great amount of labour after the province of Ithilien fell under the shadow of the Enemy[1] during the rule of Steward Denethor,[6] but it is not specified if it was during the rule of Steward Denethor I or Steward Denethor II.

It is possible that it was built during the lordship of Denethor I to protect the Pelennor Fields. Uruks from Mordor appeared during the last years of his rule and attacked Ithilien and conquered Osgiliath in T.A. 2475 so that the city was finally ruined and abandoned by its population, and its great stone-bridge over the river Anduin was broken. The borders of Gondor were under constant threat from his rule onwards.[7]

It is also possible[8] that it was built during the rule of Denethor II. This is less likely, as it already seemed to be partly ruinous and was under repair[9] on 9 March T.A. 3019[10] only 35 years after Denethor II became Steward of Gondor in T.A. 2984.[11] Additionally, Minas Tirith was falling more and more into decay and had only half of its original population in that year,[12] which indicates a shortage of a labour force for the great labour that would be required to construct a thirty-mile long wall. Finally, Gondor had conquered back Osgiliath in the days of the youth of Denethor II to hold it as an outpost and to rebuild the bridge so that its troops could cross over the river,[13] which would have been a risk for the Pelennor Fields if they had not been protected against raids by a wall at that time. Ghân-buri-ghân, the chieftain of the Drúedain of Drúadan Forest, referred to the Rammas Echor as the "Stone-folk's new walls",[14] but it is not clear what age he considered "new" to mean and how far back the memory of his people reached.

Early in the morning on 11 March T.A. 3019[10] Steward Denethor II at a meeting of his Council decided that the Rammas Echor and Osgiliath should be manned and defended against the enemy. His younger son Faramir volunteered to command the forces that defended Osgiliath and the Rammas Echor, knowing that they could cause the enemy to loose ten times their own losses during the attempt to cross the river Anduin, but that the long retreat of his forces from far out there would be dangerous if the enemy managed to cross the river.[15]

On 12 March,[10] the attacking Morgul-host that was led by the Witch-king and outnumbered the defenders ten times managed to cross the Anduin on a large number of floats and barges that they had secretly built on the eastern side of Osgiliath so that Faramir retreated and rallied his men to the Causeway Forts.[15]

In the early hours of 13 March,[10] the forces of Sauron blasted breaches in the Rammas Echor in many locations and wrecked the Causeway Forts. The defenders had to retreat over the Pelennor Fields to the Great Gate of Minas Tirith with Faramir leading the rearguard. When cavarly from Harad overtook the retreating men and caused them to rout, the entire remaining cavalry of Minas Tirith charged from the city, attacked the enemy forces and escorted the retreating men including Faramir, who had been shot with a dart during a fight with a mounted champion of Harad, back to the city. Only two thirds of the defenders including Faramir made it back to Minas Tirith.[16]

In the evening of 14 March,[10] the riders of the Rohirrim led by their King Théoden and guided by the Drúedain of Drúadan Forest reached the Grey Wood. Ghân-buri-ghân, the chieftain of the Drúedain, informed them that his scouts had seen no enemies between the Grey Wood and the Rammas Eachor and had seen that Orcs had made breaches in the Rammas Echor with explosives and that many Orcs were busy on the walls, but that they did not pay attention to their surroundings, because they seemed to think that the forces of Sauron watched all the approaching roads. Théoden's nephew Éomer was happy to hear those reports, because he had feared that the enemy could have defended the Rammas Echor for a long time if it had been intact.[14]

In the early hours of 15 March,[10] the riders of the Rohirrim arrived at the northwestern gate of the Rammas Echor and found that the gate was ruined, that there was a great breach in the wall east of the gate and that only a few Orcs were left on the wall, which were busy destroying it and did not pay attention to the risk of enemies approaching from the north. The Rohirrim were able to surprise the Orcs and quickly killed them or drove them away and to use the ruined gate and the breach in the wall to ride into the Pelennor Fields.[17]

Etymology

Rammas Echor is a Sindarin name. It means "great wall of the outer circle".[18] It is a compound of rammas ("great wall") and echor ("outer circle").[6]

Portrayal in adaptations

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

The Rammas Echor does not appear, but it is mentioned by Théoden, who tells Grimbold to take his company right, "after you pass the Wall."[19]

2004: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (video game):

The Southern Gate of the Rammas Echor is a mission in the Path of the King. The objective for the player - Aragorn, Gimli or Legolas - to take the gate. This can only be achieved by destroying a tower, and using the rubble to take the wall.[20]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Minas Tirith", p. 750
  2. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, citing from an unpublished manuscript of "Hobbit long measures", p. 23
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Map of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor"
  4. Catherine McIlwaine, Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, "Map of part of Gondor", p. 389
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Minas Tirith", p. 763
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Unfinished index for The Lord of the Rings", in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, entry Rammas Echor, "built under Denethor's lordship", p. 512
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", "The Stewards", entry for Steward Denethor I, p. 1053
  8. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 546
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Minas Tirith", pp. 748-9
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years", p. 1093
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age", entry for the year 2984, p. 1090
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Minas Tirith", p. 752
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Minas Tirith", p. 764
  14. 14.0 14.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Ride of the Rohirrim", p. 834
  15. 15.0 15.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Siege of Gondor", p. 817
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Siege of Gondor", pp. 818-20
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Ride of the Rohirrim", p. 837
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entry echor
  19. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, "The Ride of the Rohirrim"
  20. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (video game), "The Southern Gate"