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Towers of the Teeth

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Towers of the Teeth
Fortress
Paul Monteagle - Cirith Gorgor.jpg
"Cirith Gorgor" by Paul Monteagle
General Information
Other namesNarchost and Carchost
LocationCirith Gorgor, above the Black Gate
TypeFortress
DescriptionWatchtowers of the Black Gate
People and History
InhabitantsOrcs
CreatedEarly T.A.
Destroyed25 March, 3019 T.A.

The Towers of the Teeth, individually named Narchost and Carchost,[1] stood at the northwest corner of Mordor. The Ephel Dúath and the Ered Lithui came together at the haunted Pass of Cirith Gorgor, and formed a gateway into that dark land. These two towers stood on the cliffs on either side of the entrance to the pass.

[edit] History

In the early days of Gondor, after Sauron's first defeat and expulsion from Mordor, the Gondorians built two watchtowers at the entrance to the pass, to guard Mordor and prevent the return of Sauron's servants.[1] In T.A. 1944 when king Ondoher of Gondor and both his sons fell in a battle against the Wainriders north of the Morannon[2][3] the Morannon and the Towers of the Teeth were still manned by troops from Gondor.[4] As the centuries passed, Gondor's watch on Mordor failed and the towers were left unmanned. When Sauron's forces returned to his ancient home, they found the watch-towers that were meant to guard against them empty, so they quickly fell under the control of the Red Eye. They became known as Carchost and Narchost, the Towers of the Teeth, and by the time of the War of the Ring, they were part of Sauron's own defences.[5]

The Towers of the Teeth were finally destroyed on 25 March, 3019 T.A. when the One Ring was unmade.[6] The Towers, along with the rest of the fortifications in Cirith Gorgor, collapsed after the Ring's power was removed.

Other names of the Towers of the Teeth were the Teeth of Mordor[5][7] or the Towers of the Black Gate.[6]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

1987-96: Middle-earth Role Playing:

In the Teeth of Mordor module in the Fortresses of Middle-earth series Carchost is incorrectly described as the western tower at the end of the Ephel Dúath and Narchost is incorrectly described as the eastern tower at the end of the Ered Lithui. Both towers are described to consist of nine levels including an underground level. The towers are described to have one gate with a massive iron door set deep in a niche that is visible from the plain outside of Mordor. The module contains drawings of the Black Gate with the Towers of the Teeth and floor plans and descriptions for each level of the towers of the teeth and for the Black Gate. It is described that Isildur began an grand plan to seal off Mordor and that the construction began before the end of T.A. 3019 and was completed during the reign of Rómendacil I (T.A. 492 - T.A. 541). It is mentioned that by T.A. 1640 the last citadel guarding Mordor was abandoned. It is said that in the same year of the closing of the Dúnadan fortresses guarding Mordor Sauron sent all Ringwraiths except the Witch-king and Khamûl to lake Núrnen with the mission to ready Mordor for his return. It is described that they sent scouts north who found that the Gondorian fortresses were abandoned and that the Ringwraith Dwar of Waw occupied the Black Gate with Orcs, Trolls and mannish servants. It is further said that he repaired and changed the towers and the Black Gate in secret and that Gondor concerned with internal matters scarcely noted the activity. It is described that in the cataclysm of Sauron's fall only the Black Gate and the upper levels of the Towers of the Teeth were destroyed and that the lower levels up through level six were left virtually intact.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", entry for king Ondoher
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan", "(i) The Northmen and the Wainriders"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan", "Notes", note 15
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Black Gate is Closed", second paragraph
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Field of Cormallen", sixth paragraph
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Black Gate is Closed", third paragraph