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The Land of Shadow

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The Morannon - The Black Gate

The_Black_Gate(1a)_small

Sam: "My old Gaffer would have a thing or two to say
if he could see us now!"


Upon the west of Mordor marched the gloomy range of Ephel Dúath,
the Mountains of Shadow, and upon the north the broken peaks
and barren ridges of Ered Lithui, grey as ash.
But as these ranges approached one another,
they swung out long arms northward;
and between these arms there was a deep defile.
This was Cirith Gorgor, the Haunted Pass,
the entrance to the land of the enemy.


The_Black_Gate(2)_small

High cliffs lowered upon either side,
and thrust forward from its mouth were two sheer hills, black-boned and bare.
Upon them stood the Teeth of Mordor, two towers strong and tall.
In days long past they were built by the Men of Gondor in their pride and power,
after the overthrow of Sauron and his flight.


The_Black_Gate(3a)_small

But the strength of Gondor failed, and men slept,
and for long years the towers stood empty.
Then Sauron returned.
Now the watch-towers, which had fallen into decay,
were repaired, and filled with arms,
and garrisoned with ceaseless vigilance.
Stony-faced they were, with dark window-holes staring north
and east and west, and each window was full of sleepless eyes.


The_Black_Gate(6)_small

Gollum: "Master says to show him the way into Mordor!
So good Sméagol does, master says so."


Across the mouth of the pass, from cliff to cliff,
the Dark Lord had built a rampart of stone.
In it there was a single gate of iron, and upon its battlement
sentinels paced unceasingly.
Beneath the hills on either side the rock was bored
into a hundred caves and maggot-holes;
there a host of Orcs lurked, ready at a signal
to issue forth like black ants going to war.


The_Black_Gate(7)_small

None could pass the Teeth of Mordor and not feel their bite,
unless they were summoned by Sauron, or knew the secret password
that would open the Morannon, the black gate of this land.
(from: The Two Towers, page 302-3)

Sam: "That's it, then. We can't get past that!"


The_Black_Gate(5)_small

Gandalf: "We have drawn his army to the Black Gate...
For ourselves there is no hope.
This is our final act to give Frodo time,
time to end this evil that marshals before us..."
(from: EA-Games, The Return of the King )

This stronghold had been built not to keep enemies out of Mordor,
but to keep them in.
It was indeed one of the works of Gondor long ago,
made when, after the Last Alliance, Men of Westernesse kept watch
on the evil land of Sauron where his creatures still lurked.
But as with Narchost and Carchost, the Towers of the Teeth,
so here too the vigilance had failed...
(from: The Return of the King, page 209)