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Narchost was the western[1] of the two Towers of the Teeth,[2] that stood on two hills on either side of the Black Gate, guarding the northwestern entrance into Mordor. Narchost and its companion Carchost were originally built by the Gondorians, as a guard upon Mordor after Sauron's first defeat. As Gondor's strength waned, Narchost was abandoned and left to decay, until Sauron returned to his ancient land. His forces took over both the old guard-towers and repaired them, so that at the time of the War of the Ring, they formed part of Sauron's own defences.[3]

[edit] Etymology

In his Unfinished index for The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien translated the Sindarin name Narchost as "bitter-biting fort".[1] Its initial element narch "bitter-biting" is not otherwise attested, but a similar (Noldorin) verb narcha- "to rend" appears in the Etymologies as a derivative of the root NÁRAK.[4] The second element is ost "fortress".[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Unfinished index for The Lord of the Rings", in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 601
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Black Gate is Closed"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", NÁRAK
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", os(t)