Slag-hills

From Tolkien Gateway

The Slag-hills[1], also called the slag-mounds[2] and the slag-heaps of Mordor[3], were endless rows of high mounds of debris, composed of crushed and powdered rock and fire-blasted and poison-stained earth,[4] that had been piled over many years by toiling Orcs in the Desolation of the Morannon in front of the Black Gate of Mordor[5].

History

Disaster of the Morannon

In T.A. 1944, King Ondoher of Gondor positioned himself with his Guard and banner on a low natural hill when the main force of his army, which had just travelled north from Ithilien, was suddenly attacked. War-chariots of the Wainriders and an unexpectedly large force of cavalry from the east had approached on a road that went eastward from north of the Black Gate to a point north of the Ered Lithui and north of Barad-dûr. King Ondoher and his son Artamir, and almost all of his Guard, were killed in battle.[6] [7]

During unknown later years Orcs piled up blasted stone and earth on the hill on which King Ondoher had died.[7]

Frodo approaches the Desolation of the Morannon

On 4 March T.A. 3019,[2] Frodo, Sam, and Gollum came to the Slag-hills and hid in a hollow.[4] The next day Frodo prepared to enter Mordor by the Black Gate but was persuaded by Gollum to head south to seek a more secret way through the mountains.[8]

Battle of the Morannon

Approaching the Black Gate on 25 March 3019,[1] Aragorn arrayed his meager forces on two of the Slag-hills behind a "moat" of reeking mud and foul-smelling pools. It was upon these low hills that the Army of the West was surrounded and attacked by the forces of Sauron in the Battle of the Morannon, and it was here that they witnessed the downfall of Sauron when Frodo completed his quest.[5] It was assumed by historians that King Aragorn placed his troops on the same hill on which King Ondoher had made his stand 1,075 years before.[7]

References