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Cirith Ungol

"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
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The name Cirith Ungol refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Cirith Ungol (disambiguation).
Cirith Ungol
Pass
Rob Alexander - Cirith Ungol.jpg
"Cirith Ungol" by Rob Alexander
General Information
LocationEphel Dúath
TypePass
People and History
InhabitantsMen, Orcs, Shelob
EventsQuest of the Ring
GalleryImages of Cirith Ungol

Cirith Ungol was a pass through the Ephel Dúath that led into Mordor.

The pass of Cirith Ungol was located in a cleft on the slope of the mountain on the left side of the Morgul Pass. It could be reached by climbing the Stairs of Cirith Ungol at the beginning of the Morgul Vale[1], passing through a tunnel[2], and taking a long flight of broad, shallow steps to the cleft[3] with the crown of the pass after which the road turned left and plunged steeply down.[4]

The pass of Cirith Ungol was probably named after the giant spider Shelob, who dwelt there.[5] It was also referred to as the "high pass".[6][7][3]

The pass of Cirith Ungol was guarded by the Tower of Cirith Ungol that was built by the Men of Gondor after the War of the Last Alliance as an eastern outpost of the defences of Ithilien to keep enemies in Mordor.[4]

During the War of the Ring, in March T.A. 3019, Gollum led Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee up the Stairs of Cirith Ungol[1] into Shelob's lair.[2]

It is not known whether the pass and the tower were called Cirith Ungol when the Men of Gondor held it.

[edit] Etymology

Cirith Ungol (pron. [ˈkiriθ ˈuŋɡol]) is a Sindarin name meaning "Spider's Cleft", composed of cirith and ungol.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Shelob's Lair"
  3. 3.0 3.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Choices of Master Samwise"
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Index", "Cirith Ungol [Pass of the Spider]"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Black Gate is Closed"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Forbidden Pool"