Siege of Barad-dûr

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Siege of Barad-dûr
Conflict: War of the Last Alliance
Date: S.A. 3434 - S.A. 3441
Place: Barad-dûr, Mount Doom, Mordor
Outcome: Last Alliance victory, disembodiment of Sauron

Last Alliance of Elves and Men

Forces of Sauron


Great host of Dúnedain; Elves of Lindon, Rivendell, Mirkwood, and Lothlórien; Dwarves of Khazad-dûm; beasts and birds

Smaller host of Orcs, Evil Men, some Dwarves of other Houses, and other evil creatures


Unknown (Severe)

Unknown (Almost all slain)

The Siege of Barad-dûr was the armed conflict that would end the War of the Last Alliance and the Second Age. It was the direct result of the Battle of Dagorlad, where passage into Mordor was won by the Last Alliance at a heavy cost.


The Siege

In S.A. 3434 the Last Alliance entered Mordor. The Orcs that survived the slaughter at Dagorlad were surrounded in Barad-dûr, Sauron's dark stronghold. There, the forces of Gil-galad, Elendil and Thranduil laid siege to the tower, but could not breach its gates.

Sauron put together a strong defence with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of projectile and sorties throughout seven years, during which the Allies suffered heavy casualties. In S.A. 3440, Anárion's helmet was crushed by a thrown rock resulting in his death.

Alan Lee - The Last Alliance of Elves and Men

A year later, however, Sauron went out with a sortie himself and broke the leaguer. He came to Mount Doom, where the two kings, Gil-galad and Elendil, fought with him in single combat. Sauron struck down Elendil, and his sword Narsil broke in two beneath him as he fell. Gil-galad was scorched by the heat of Sauron's hand, killing him. Nonetheless, Sauron was defeated in the fight with the two kings, and Isildur took up the broken remnant of his father's blade and cut the Ring from Sauron's hand.


The battle marked the (temporary) passing of Sauron and the beginning of the Third Age. Gil-galad's heralds Círdan and Elrond advised Isildur to destroy the Ring by throwing it in the fires of Mount Doom. But instead, Isildur replied: This I will have as weregild for my father's death, and my brother's. Was it not I who dealt the Enemy his death-blow?[1]

Gondor prospered, and built fortresses on all the entrances to Mordor: the Morannon, Durthang and the Tower of Cirith Ungol. Isildur wrote an account of the battle, describing his father and Gil-galad's duel with Sauron in detail and the lengthy siege itself.

With the death of Gil-galad, the Noldor were without a King as he left no heir. Elrond and Círdan returned to Lindon. Relations between Elves and Men worsened due to the deaths of Gil-galad and Elendil, and also Isildur's taking of the ring. The Last Alliance as it came to be known, would be the last time Elves would go to open war in Middle-earth ever again. The relationship between Men and Elves wouldn't be as close as they were in the first and second ages and never wholly repaired because the Elves were leaving Middle-earth for Aman.

Over the course of the war, which ended with the Siege of Barad-dûr in S.A. 3441, most of the Silvan army had been lost. Thranduil led the remaining third of his army back home to the Greenwood.[2]

Isildur wrote a scroll detailing his account of the Ring and travelled to Minas Anor, where he dwelt awhile.[3] When he did return North, he and his sons were ambushed. The Ring was lost in the tumult.[1]

Since the Ring was not unmade, Sauron was not completely destroyed: his spirit was able to live on. In the Third Age, he reassumed physical shape and regained most of his old realm and allies. Ever after Sauron hunted for the Ring, dispatching his servants across Middle-earth to locate it.[1] The Ring would come to be known as Isildur's Bane, as its corruption afflicted him.[3]

Portrayal in adaptations

2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:

In the Prologue, Galadriel's voice provides a compressed narration of the War of the Last Alliance. Although the final confrontation with Sauron is depicted, Barad-dûr or the Siege aren't mentioned; Galadriel says that it happened "on the slopes of Mount Doom".