Mordor

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Mordor
"One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its black gates are guarded by more than just orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep, and the Great Eye is ever watchful.
It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire, ash, and dust. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. Not with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly."
— Boromir, The Lord of the Rings

Description

The area of Middle-Earth called Mordor is a relic of the devastating works of Morgoth before his banishment to the Void. Located in the southeast of Middle-earth to the East of the Anduin, the great river, it is the land covering the plateau formed by massive volcanic eruptions. In Sindarin it was given the name Mordor (the Black Land) before Sauron settled there, because of its volcano and its eruptions. Shelob had settled in Mordor long before Sauron.
Mordor's geography is unique because of the three enormous mountain ridges surrounding it, on the North, the West and the South. These mountains both protected the land from an unexpected invasion by any of the people living in those directions and kept those living in Mordor from escaping. Mordor was a land of approximately rectangular shape, measuring some 600 miles east to west and 400 north to south. On all but its eastern borders, where it marched with Rhûn and Khand, it was surrounded by the mountains of the Ered Lithui and the Ephel Dúath.
Offshoots of its mountain fences divided the land into two distinct regions, the barren uplands of Gorgoroth in the northwest, and the more fertile southern plain of Nurn, where the inland sea of Núrnen lay.
In the far northwest of Mordor, where the mountains of the Ered Lithui and Ephel Dúath came together, lay a valley named Udûn (after the ancient fortress of darkness in the north of the World). This was the only break in Mordor's western mountain-defences, and Sauron built a great gate, the Morannon, at its mouth to protect his realm.

Lore

After the destruction of the strongholds of evil in the north of Middle-earth at the end of the First Age, Sauron fled southwards seeking new lands. At the end of the first millennium of the Second Age, he chose a land walled by mountains and there built his great fortress of Barad-dûr. To further fortify that land, to prevent invasion through the Pass of Cirith Gorgor he built the Morannon. It was built with the power of the One Ring, like his great fortress of Barad-dûr.
After Sauron settled there, the land became known as Mordor (the Black Land) - no record of an earlier name for this region exists.
At the end of the Second Age, after the defeat of Sauron by The Last Alliance of Elves and Men, Mordor was taken under the control of Gondor, and the Gondorians built fortifications around the Morannon, the Towers of the Teeth, to prevent the return of evil things. As Gondor's power faded, however, Mordor once again fell into the hands of the Enemy, and after two thousand years of relative peace, the Nazgûl returned and claimed the land once again in the name of Sauron. Sauron himself, however, dwelt at Dol Guldur in Mirkwood as the Necromancer, and did not himself return openly to Barad-dûr until some seventy years before the War of the Ring. The Nazgûl claimed Minas Ithil as their own, renaming it Minas Morgul.
In the Third Age, Mordor is again the dwelling place of Sauron.
In the War of the Ring, Sauron's power was finally defeated when the One Ring was cast into the Crack of Doom, and the land of Mordor once again came under the control of the South-kingdom.
Frodo and Sam traveled through Mordor enroute to find the Crack of Doom in order to destroy the One Ring in the fires where it was forged.

Locations

Ephel Dúath (Sindarin) - the Mountains of Shadow - form the borders of Mordor on the west and south.
Icon lore.png Pronunciation: e'ffel doo'ath
Bordering North Ithilien and South Ithilien of Gondor on the west, they swing east to form the southern border of Mordor, separating Mordor from the Harad lands to the south. They were breached midway by the Morgulduin, a river of Gondor, forming the pass of Cirith Ungol.
In the north-west corner of Mordor, the northern end of the Ephel Dúath forms one side of the pass of Cirith Gorgor. A narrow pass with sheeer cliffs on either side where the two mountain ranges meat -- the Ephel Dúath coming up the west side of Mordor, and Ered Lithui across the north of Mordor -- across which the Morannon (Black Gate) was constructed by Sauron.
A spur forms one side of the pass of Carach Angren (also called "the Isenmouthe") which encircles the valley of Udûn .
A pass in their middle, Cirith Ungol, the Morgul Vale, originally led from the Crossroads outside of Osgiliath to Minas Ithil.
Cirith Ungol is Sindarin for "Spider's cleft", from cirith ("cleft, pass") and ungol ("spider")
Ered Lithui (Sindarin) - The Ash Mountains separate Mordor from Rhûn, this mountain range forms the northern border of Mordor.
Icon lore.png Pronunciation: e'red lee'thui ('th' as in English 'myth', and 'ui' as in 'ruin', pronounced as a single syllable)
Meeting with the Ephel Dúath in the north-west corner of Mordor it forms one side of the pass of Cirith Gorgor leading into the enclosed plain of Udûn.
A spur forms one side of the pass of Carach Angren (also called "the Isenmouthe") which encircles the valley of Udûn.
A second spur of the Ered Lithui leads to the Plateau of Gorgoroth where Orodruin (Mount Doom) and Barad-dûr are located.
Cirith Gorgor (Sindarin) is the pass between the Ered Lithui and Ephel Dúath mountain ranges; between The Wastes and the Plateau of Gorgoroth in Mordor.
Called the Haunted Pass by men, the Elvish name literally means "pass of great dread." It was a narrow pass with sheeer cliffs on either side where the two mountain ranges met.
Sauron closed the pass with the construction of the Morannon, the Black Gate, when he first occupied Mordor in the Second Age, to prevent invasion through the Pass of Cirith Gorgor. Like Barad-dûr, it was built with the power of the One Ring.
Udûn is a depressed valley in the Plateau of Gorgoroth located in northwestern Mordor.
It lies between Cirith Gorgor, the Morannon and Carach Angren (also called "the Isenmouthe in Westron).
The area holds the great forges, quarries, and parade grounds of Mordor and was traversed by the large armies of Sauron in times of war.
Carach Angren - (Sindarin) or Isenmouthe (Westron) - the pass between the small valley, Udûn, and the larger Plateau of Gorgoroth.
It is formed where spurs of the ranges of the Ephel Dúath and Ered Lithui met, leaving only a narrow passage between them.
Representing the passage to the Black Gate of the Morannon, Carach Angren was heavily fortified, and both the rocky spurs that overlooked it carried fortresses and watchtowers. Across the passage itself, a wall of earth had been built, and a great ditch had been dug across the opening spanned by a single bridge.[1]
Both Carach Angren and Isenmouthe mean "Iron-mouth.
The Black Gate (Morannon in Sindarin) blocked passage to Udûn in northwestern Mordor, and was the most fortified and direct entrance into the land of Mordor.
It spanned the pass of Cirith Gorgor. The massive gate was built by Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor, when he first occupied Mordor in the Second Age, to prevent invasion through the Pass of Cirith Gorgor. Like Barad-dûr, it was built with the power of the One Ring.
The Black Gate was set in an impregnable black stone and iron wall. The wall has been estimated to be 60 feet high and 250 feet long, with each half of the great gate being 90 feet wide, and set on large stone wheels. Behind the gate were gigantic circular stone ramparts, and when the gate needed to be opened, two pairs of Mountain-trolls who were tethered to gigantic beams pushed their way around their rampart's track, gradually levering open the gate and allowing for the incoming or outgoing of Mordor's armies.
Set behind the gate were myriads of archers, spearmen, bowmen, and hundreds of thousands of Orc troops ready to defend Mordor.


Towers of the Teeth two guard towers were built by Gondor to keep a watch on this entrance to Mordor and the Morannon at the end of the Second Age after Sauron's defeat by The Last Alliance of Elves and Men.
Barad-dûr - ("Lugbúrz in Black Speech) - visible from all of Mordor - Saruron's is great fortress built with the power of the One Ring.
  • The Plateau of Gorgoroth - Normally thought of as the gateway to Mount Doom. As there is no water or plant growth of any type, the area is uninhabited and a bit dusty.
  • The Sea of Núrnen - The largest body of water in the region is located in the relatively fertile southern Nurn area. Desertification is a large problem here though, as is the water boiling off when near-molten boulders land in the lake.

The History of Mordor

Icon lore.png[2]
Dates: Founded c. II 1000; under Gondorian control between II 3441 and c. III 1980; Sauron finally ejected in III 3019
Location: Directly to the east of Gondor
Pronunciation: morr'dorr (all the 'r's should pronounced - 'rr' is used here to emphasise this)
Meaning: 'Black (or Dark) Land'
Other Names: The Black Land, The Dark Country, The Dark Land

C. II 1000 to II 3262

Mordor is not mentioned in the histories of Middle-earth before the end of the first millennium of the Second Age[3], when Sauron chose it as his dwelling place. While its natural defences must have influenced his decision, we are told that the main reason for his choice was Orodruin, the great volcano that lay in the central regions of the Plateau of Gorgoroth, and which Sauron used in his sorcery, including the forging of the One Ring.
Through the rest of the Second Age, Mordor became a base for Sauron's struggle for power in Middle-earth. Though he had many successes in this struggle, at one time controlling all of Eriador, he also suffered many setbacks at the hands of the Elves and, especially, the Númenóreans. The worst of these reverses came in 3262 (Second Age) when Ar-Pharazôn, the last King of Númenor, landed in Middle-earth with an unstoppable army. Sauron's forces fled, and he offered himself as hostage to Ar-Pharazôn, leaving Mordor and travelling with the victorious Númenóreans back to their island home.
We are told little of Mordor after Sauron left it - his armies having fled, it must have been an empty, barren place for a time. Eventually, though, some part of his followers seem to have returned. After the destruction of Númenor and the founding of Gondor by Elendil and his sons, one of their first works was the building of Minas Ithil at the feet of the Ephel Dúath as a threat to Mordor, which suggests that even with Sauron absent, the remaining inhabitants of the Black Land posed a threat of their own.

II 3320 to II 3441

Sauron himself secretly returned to the Black Land after the Downfall of Númenor, and the Gondorians were apparently unaware of this for a time. Soon, though, Orodruin burst into life once more, and the Men of Gondor understood that the Dark Lord had returned to Barad-dûr.
After more than a century, in 3429, Sauron had rebuilt his armies sufficiently to contemplate an assault on the newly founded kingdom of Gondor on his western borders. He attacked and took Minas Ithil, but Isildur (who dwelt there at that time), escaped and fled north to his father in Arnor.
Sauron's stroke was mistimed, for he was not yet strong enough to capture Osgiliath, Gondor's capital, and this gave Elendil the time to forge a military alliance with his friend Gil-galad. Elendil and Gil-galad marched with the host of this Last Alliance to the gates of Mordor, where they worsted Sauron in a mighty battle on the plain afterwards called the Dagorlad. There followed the seven-year Siege of Barad-dûr, but the forces of the Last Alliance eventually captured the Dark Tower, razed it to its foundations, and consigned Sauron to the shadows.

III 1 to c. III 1980

Through some two thousand years of the Third Age, Mordor was a deserted and empty land, under the control of the Gondorians (although none of that people dwelt there). As time passed, though, and the power and might of Gondor dwindled, the watch on the borders of Mordor was relaxed.
In 1975 (Third Age), the Battle of Fornost was fought in the north, and the forces of Angmar were defeated. The Witch-king of Angmar (the Lord of the Nazgûl) fled into the south and entered Mordor, taking it again in the name of Sauron and gathering the others of his order there. The Gondorian watch on Mordor had not been maintained, and after the Dark Plague some three hundred years earlier, Minas Ithil and the other forts and castles on Mordor's borders stood empty. This made the Nazgûl's return all the easier.

c. III 1980 to III 3019

Soon after their return, the Nazgûl attacked Minas Ithil, and took it once again. This was in the year 2000, twenty years after their return, and Minas Ithil withstood a two-year siege before it fell. We know the Tower was unmanned in 1980, so we must assume that the Gondorians had quickly garrisoned the city once they learned of the Nazgûl's return - this makes sense when we consider that the King of Gondor at that time was Eärnil II, who was a great general before he became King.
After its capture, Minas Ithil was renamed Minas Morgul, the Tower of Sorcery, and so the ancient dwelling of Isildur became a dark place and a threat to the Gondorians who had built it two thousand years before.
For a thousand years, Mordor was to be ruled in Sauron's stead by the Lord of the Nazgûl. Sauron himself was slowly and secretly growing in power at Dol Guldur to the north, and did not wish to reveal himself until he had sufficient strength to face his enemies.
By 2941 (Third Age), Sauron had grown sufficiently to face his foes. The White Council attacked Dol Guldur, but he had prepared for this and abandoned that stronghold, returning to his ancient kingdom of Mordor in the following year. He rebuilt his capital of Barad-dûr (whose foundations, made with the power of the Ring, had remained intact) and began the ordering of Mordor for war.
That war, the War of the Ring, was to see his final downfall. In its closing days, an army of Gondor stood before the Morannon and challenged him, and he sent overwhelming forces to answer their challenge. Secure in the certainty of his victory, he was unaware that two Hobbits, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, had secretly entered Mordor over the Ephel Dúath with the One Ring. Travelling across Gorgoroth, they reached Orodruin where the Ring was destroyed, bringing Sauron's rule to an end and leaving Mordor once again a desolate land under the control of Gondor.

Footnotes

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Mount Doom"
  2. This "History of Mordor" is taken from the Official Lore Entry in the LOTRO Lorebook (no longer on-line).
  3. We take this dating from the Tale of Years. Some other sources suggest different dates, but they can generally be accommodated within this scheme.

Maps

Ephel Dúath (the Mountains of Shadow) and Ered Lithui (the Ash Mountains) border Mordor on three sides
The Mountains of Mordor, seen from Ithilien

Regions

March of the King

The March of the Kings

See March of the King for more details

The March of the King is a region in Middle-earth. This region overlaps certain areas of Old Anórien but is separated from them in time, occuring AFTER the Battle of Pelennor Fields. Overlap areas: Minas Tirith (After Battle), Pelennor (After Battle), Osgiliath (After Battle), it also includes the area of North Ithilien


The Wastes

the Wastes

See The Wastes for more details
The Wastes is a region that is situated immediately outside Morannon, the Black Gate of Mordor. It lies above North Ithilien and north-west of Mordor. In the in-game map system, it is part of Mordor.


The Plateau of Gorgoroth

Plateau of Gorgoroth

See Gorgoroth for more details
The Plateau of Gorgoroth is a Region in Mordor.


Navigation

Lands of Middle-earth
EriadorGondorRhovanionMordor
Regions of Mordor - not the expansion
March of the KingNorth IthilienThe Wastes
Regions of Mordor - The Expansion
Gorgoroth
Settlements and Landmarks of North Ithilien
Settlements: Henneth Annûn
Landmarks: Aelin VerenBâr ArothBâr TarnaherCaladuilCair AndrosThe CrossroadsField of CormallenImlad MorgulTorngrothUya HujûmThargelon
Settlements, Areas and Landmarks of March of the King
Settlements: Aragorn's PavilionCamp of the HostHenneth AnnûnMinas Tirith (After Battle)
Areas: Minas Tirith (After Battle)Pelennor (After Battle)Osgiliath (After Battle)North Ithilien
Landmarks: Aragorn's PavilionAelin VerenBâr ArothBâr TarnaherCaladuilCair AndrosThe CrossroadsField of CormallenImlad MorgulTorngrothUya HujûmThargelon
Settlements, Areas and Landmarks of The Wastes
Settlements: Camp of the HostHaerondir
Areas: Noman-landsDagorladSlag-hills
Landmarks: Tham DurlanNuiharnGuard Tower RuinsStore House Ruins Merchant shop RuinsFarm House RuinsInn RuinsNobel's House RuinsStable Ruins
CarchostDol AcharnDûm BohaFushaum GundLang RhuvenNarchostOndoher's FollySkoironk
Settlements, Areas and Landmarks of Gorgoroth
Settlements: Udûn FootholdRuins of DingarthLûghashAgarnaith Ranger CampMagh Ashtu
Areas: UdûnDor AmarthLhingrisTalath ÚruiAgarnaith
Landmarks: Udûn: MorannonCarach AngrenDurthang
Agarnith: Lair of the Gloom-lordMokál RukhBhol RûdhViznak's HideoutFaltor GâmKala-gijakSeregost
Dor Armarth: Ered LithuiBarad-dûrThe Abyss of MordathFushaum TumBlozronkSárronkNauronk
Lhingris: Torech UngolKála-murgLugvargNelegrothIath AngosCirith UngolFennas Gost
Talath Úrui: Ledge of TerrorCourt of HorrorStrand of FireAsh WatchLedge of DreadLedge of FearAshronkKrulronkGakhronkZagronk

References


Guides

Several individuals have wirtten guides for the Allegiance System, Questing in Mordor and other aspects of Update 21, the Mordor Expansion, in General.

LOTRO PLayers

  • Allegiance, why, where, how and what for? - Squirle - LOTRO Players
http://lotroplayers.com/2017/08/18/cc-allegiance-why-where-how-and-what-for/
  • Mordor dailies and how to unlock - Squirle - LOTRO Players
http://lotroplayers.com/2017/08/20/cc-mordor-dailies-and-how-to-unlock/

Dadi's LOTRO Guides

  • U21: Mordor – Light/Shadow System (Radiance 2.0) - Dadi's LOTRO Guides
http://dadislotroguides.com/u21-mordor-lightshadow-system-radiance-2-0/
  • U21: Mordor – Ash of Gorgoroth Guide
http://dadislotroguides.com/u21-mordor-ash-of-gorgoroth-guide/
  • U21 Mordor: Stat Caps
http://dadislotroguides.com/u21-mordor-stat-caps/
  • U21: Mordor – Gearing For Success
http://dadislotroguides.com/u21-mordor-gearing-for-success/#comment-740

LOTRO.com Forum

  • An Adventurer's Guide to Mordor - OMG Peanuts
https://www.lotro.com/forums/showthread.php?656588-An-Adventurer-s-Guide-to-Mordor

Category Overview