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Siege of Barad-dûr

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Siege of Barad-dûr
Abe Papakhian - I Beheld.jpg
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 forces

Forces of Sauron


Måns Björkman - Gil-galad device.gifGil-galadFile:Tree icon2.jpg Elendil

John Howe - Icon Mordor 1 small.pngSauron


Over 100,000 Elves, Men, and Dwarves

10,000-20,000 Orcs, Southrons, Easterlings



Entire force slain or captured

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 heavy cost.


The Siege

In S.A. 3434 the Allies 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 unexhaustible 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.

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's face was scorched by the heat of Sauron's hand, killing him. Nonetheless Sauron was wounded in the fight with the two kings, and as he let his guard down, Isildur took up the broken hilt of his father's blade and hewed off Sauron's ring finger, defeating him.


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.

Isildur remained in Minas Tirith some time[2]. When he did return North, he and his sons were ambushed. The Ring was lost in the tumult.[3]

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. The Ring would come to be known as Isildur's Bane, as its corruption afflicted him. Ultimately Sauron's Orcs ambushed Isildur years later at the Disaster of the Gladden Fields, in which Isildur and his retinue were slain and the Ring was lost.

Portrayal in adaptations

1978: The Lord of the Rings (1978 film):

The entire venture of the Last Alliance was combined into a short silhouette play, in which Isildur cut the Ring off Sauron's hand in battle - not when Sauron was already conquered.

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

This film also compresses the Battle of Dagorlad, the Siege, and the final duel into one, and, for convenience reasons, places them all at Mount Doom, in a prologue similar to that of the 1978 film. The main perspective of the entire prologue - One Ring to rule them All - lies with Elrond. The death of Gil-galad is not mentioned, Anárion is cut completely, and the deaths of Elendil and Sauron are rewritten: after coming forth, Sauron wreaks havoc among the Elves and Men, and a blow from his mace throws Elendil against the mountainside, killing him. Isildur tries to take up Narsil, but it breaks as Sauron steps on it. In a desperate strike, Isildur slashes the Ring, and four fingers, from Sauron's hand. Sauron's body sends a shockwave over the land and dissolves into nothingness.
In a later scene, aptly named The Fate of the Ring, Elrond tells Gandalf of the final debate with Isildur, inside Mount Doom. Círdan is not present, and Isildur refuses by simply saying "No".


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"