- "Then at last his gaze was held: wall upon wall, battlement upon battlement, black tower of adamant, he saw it: Barad-dûr, Fortress of Sauron. All hope left him."
- —The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Breaking of the Fellowship"
Barad-dûr was held together by dark magic and was the greatest fortress in Middle-earth of its time. It was originally built in the Second Age and leveled after Sauron's defeat in the War of the Last Alliance. Sauron had Barad-dûr rebuilt during the Third Age as he regained his power, but the tower was forever destroyed immediately following the destruction of the One Ring, as it was constructed and held together using the Ring's dark magic.
Barad-dûr was built by Sauron in the land of Mordor, not far from the volcano known as Mount Doom. The construction of the tower began around the SA 1000, and took six hundred years to complete. It was the greatest fortress built since the fall of Angband during the War of Wrath.
Barad-dûr fell under siege for seven years by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men during the Second Age, and was leveled after Sauron's defeat at the hands of Isildur, but because it was created using the power of the One Ring, its foundations could not be destroyed completely while the Ring itself still existed. As Isildur failed to destroy the Ring, the tower was eventually re-built when Sauron returned to Mordor thousands of years later.
Some time near the end of the Third Age (TA 3009-TA 3017), Gollum was captured and taken to Barad-dûr, while Gandalf and Aragorn were also searching for him. He was tortured for information regarding the whereabouts of the One Ring, as Sauron had learned that he had once possessed it, and thus Sauron learned that the One Ring had been found. Satisfied that he had learned all he could from the creature, Sauron allowed Gollum to be released in TA 3017.
Only when Frodo Baggins (with the unwitting aid of Gollum) destroyed the One Ring, the Tower was finally brought down. Without Sauron's power from the Ring to sustain it, it could not stand. The moment the One Ring was thrown into the fires of Mount Doom and was unmade, Barad-dûr collapsed into ruin, never to be rebuilt.
In Black Speech, Lugbúrz also means "Dark tower".
Behind the scenes
The Dark Tower was described as existing on a massive scale so large it was almost surreal, although Tolkien does not provide much detail beyond its size and immense strength. Since it had a "topmost tower" (the location of the Window of the Eye, from which the Eye of Sauron gazed out over Middle-earth), it presumably had multiple towers. It is otherwise described as dark and surrounded in shadow, so that it could not be clearly seen. It was known to have giant caverns or "Pits" under the immense structure, which could have been prisons or mines.
Portrayal in adaptations
The Return of the King (1980)
In The Return of the King film created by Rankin/Bass and Topcraft, Barad-dûr is only shown a few times. It is depicted as a castle-like fortress on the side of a mountain. The Eye of Sauron is not a part of the tower; rather it appears in the skies of Mordor.
The Lord of the Rings film trilogy
For The Lord of the Rings films by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor and his design team built a 25-foot high "bigature" of Barad-dûr for use in the film. Using the size scale for the model, the tower is shown to be around 5,000 feet tall, with the Eye of Sauron at its apex. Barad-dûr's entirety is seen in an upward-panning vision Frodo has in the first film, when he is at Amon Hen.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War
Barad-dûr is visible, though not a playable location, in the region of Gorgoroth in Middle-earth: Shadow of War. It is depicted similarly to its appearance in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, though uncompleted and under construction.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||巴拉多|
|Danish||Det Sorte Tårn (Barad-dûr)|
|Kazakh||Барад-дұр (Cyrillic) Barad-dur (Latin)|
|Korean||바랏두르 (Hangul) Baradureu (Latin)|
|Serbian||Барад-дур (Cyrillic) Barad-dur (Latin)|
|Uzbek||Барад-дур (Cyrillic) Barad-dur (Latin)|
Forests & Mountains:
The rest of Arda:
- The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Second Age"
- The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter I: "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"
- The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "The Great Years"
- The Silmarillion, Akallabêth (The Downfall of Númenor)
- The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
- The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, I: The Númenórean Kings, (iv): "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
- The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter III: "Mount Doom"
- Parma Eldalamberon, Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien