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|The Black Gate|
|"The Black Gates" by John Howe|
|Other names||Morannon (S)|
|Location||Meeting of Udûn and Dagorlad, between Ered Lithui and Ephel Dúath|
|Description||Iron wall containing arched two-doored entrance|
|People and History|
|Inhabitants||Originally Gondorians; later orcs|
|Created||c. S.A. 1600|
|Destroyed||25 March, T.A. 3019|
The Black Gate of Mordor (Sindarin: Morannon) was originally a gate built by Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor, to prevent invasion through the Pass of Cirith Gorgor, the gap between the Ered Lithui and the Ephel Dúath.
It was probably built with the power of the One Ring, like the Barad-dûr. After Sauron's fall, it became a Númenorean garrison. Backed up on the other side by the Isenmouthe, and protected by the castle of Durthang to the west, it was redesigned to keep all of Mordor's evil inside, shielding the outside from it - and it from the outside. The reconstruction of Minas Ithil, Tower of the Rising Moon, as well as the construction of Cirith Ungol were also done for the same purpose.
However, during the aftermath of the Kin-strife in Gondor the watchfulness of the guards in these strongholds relaxed. Thus the Ringwraiths and Orcs re-entered Mordor, eventually overrunning the garrisons and inhabiting them for themselves. It was at this time that the tower of Minas Ithil was taken by the Nazgul, having its name changed to Minas Morgul, Tower of Sorcery.
During the War of the Ring, the Army of the West, numbering under 6,000 men, arrived at the Black Gate with the intention of drawing the Eye of Sauron away from Mount Doom, to allow Frodo the Ringbearer to cast the One Ring into the Crack of Doom within it. This they achieved, and the Ring was destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom, following which the Black Gate and the Towers of Teeth immediately collapsed.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Black Gate is Closed"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Black Gate Opens"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
There is evidence in the accounts of the Black Gate of Tolkien's haste in preparing Lord of the RingsItalic text for publication. In Chapter III of Return of the King (The Black Gate is Closed) the Gate is described as having "a single gate of iron" (Unicorn paperback 1983, p.662). However, at p.921 of the same edition (The Black Gate Opens) it has "two vast iron doors"; but on the very next page it suddenly has a "middle door", implying at least three doors in all.
Interestingly, the first edition of Rings (Allen and Unwin hardback) has, at volume III p.163, "three vast doors", a conception which was obviously in JRRT's mind when he wrote of a "middle door" at p.922 of the Unicorn edition.
These unreconciled differences suggest that JRRT was under such pressure to publish that he failed to spot them before his final submissions to the publisher and printer.