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War of the Ring

Attack on the Woodland RealmSauron's assault on OsgiliathWeathertopBalin's TombDurin's TowerAmon HenFords of IsenAttack of the RohirrimBattle of the HornburgIsengardIthilienBattle of OsgiliathSiege of GondorBattle of the Pelennor FieldsDaleBattles of LórienMirkwoodCirith UngolBlack GateDol GuldurBattle of Bywater


"We have not the Ring. … Without it we cannot by force defeat his force. But we must at all costs keep his Eye from his true peril. We cannot achieve victory by arms, but by arms we can give the Ring-bearer his only chance, frail though it be. … We must push Sauron to his last throw. We must call out his hidden strength, so that he shall empty his land. We must march out to meet him at once. We must make ourselves the bait, though his jaws should close on us. … We must walk open-eyed into that trap, with courage, but small hope for ourselves."
Gandalf, The Return of the King, "The Last Debate"

The Battle of the Black Gate, also known as the Battle of the Morannon, was the final major battle of the War of the Ring. It resulted in the ultimate defeat of Sauron not by victory on the battlefield, but by means of the destruction of the One Ring by the hobbit Frodo.

History

Background

After the victory of the Free Peoples in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, the enemy retreated to Mordor. Sauron was defeated but he still had thousands of Orcs at his disposal in Mordor. He was aware that the One Ring was somewhat close to the vicinity of his territory, but he did not know that the Hobbit Frodo Baggins and his companion Samwise Gamgee had entered Mordor via Morgul Vale with the intention of destroying the Ring.

Plot against the Dark Lord

After the Last Debate, the Men of the West assembled the Host of the West, 10,000 strong, led by Aragorn, who marched on the Black Gate as a diversionary feint to distract Sauron's attention from Frodo and Sam, who were carrying the One Ring through Mordor to be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom. It was hoped that Sauron would think Aragorn had the Ring and was now trying to use it to overthrow him in Mordor.

BOTBG-ROTK

The Host of the West surrounded by Orcs of Mordor.

Mustering

Initially, the Host of the West consisted of 10,000 men, but 3,000 Rohirrim were sent to guard the crossroads, leaving Aragorn with 7,000 men. Before they reached Ithilien they were ambushed by Haradrim and Easterlings, but they drove them away easily with no casualties.

Then, as they approached Dagorlad, some of the farmers of Lossarnach and Rohan were too afraid to continue to pass the Desolation of the Black Gate. Aragorn dismissed the faint-hearted, ordering them to liberate Cair Andros on the river Anduin. This resulted in the departure of an estimated 1000 men, leaving Aragorn with 6,000.

Parley with the Dark Lieutenant

Before the battle began, the Black Gate opened slightly, letting out a small embassy. At the head was a high servant of Sauron, a Black Númenórean called the Mouth of Sauron, who had been ordered to speak with the Captains of the West. He reasoned that the Army of the West could not defeat Sauron's host on the battlefield, and demanded the Army surrender. The Lieutenant then brought forth several items that had belonged to Frodo and Sam (Sam's sword, an Elven cloak, and Frodo's Mithril shirt). Gandalf asked for the terms of their surrender, which were to allow Sauron dominion over Isengard and Rohan, as well as Gondor's vassalage. Gandalf vehemently refused.

Realizing the Army intended to fight and being outnumbered, fear and anger overcame the Lieutenant, and he retreated to the Black Gate, which then opened to reveal a massive army of Sauron's forces. Thousands of Orcs also emerged from the hillsides around the Black Gate.

The Battle

Against the Host of the West was arrayed a large hordes of Orcs, Trolls, and Mannish allies such as the Easterlings and Haradrim. An exact count is not given of the number of Sauron's forces, but it is said that they were "ten times and more than ten times" greater than the Host of the West, making it a force of at least 60,000. Sauron's forces surrounded the Armies of the West on three sides, with the Easterlings on the left flank, the Orcs held the center, and the Haradrim on the right. Initially, Sauron's forces found difficulty in getting to the Army of the West, due to the large slag pools and pits of waste surrounding parts of the Black Gate, which impeded their progress. The Armies of the West always had cohesive stability within their center and kept the Enemy from breaking through by force of numbers. The solid infantry squares of Gondor infantry beat off their inferior Orcish opponents while the Rohirrim cavalrymen staved off the archers of the Harad. The small force of Easterlings launched a quick attack before being repulsed by the armies of Gondor and Rohirrim while the larger Haradrim force slowly retreated to the hills. By now, pressure had eased off of the flanks of the Armies of the West, who smashed into the lines of the Orc-host, slowly beating them off and forcing a retreat back through the Black Gate (though not without suffering sizable losses of their own).

Fell-Beasts

The Fell-Beasts going over The Black Gate for battle.

During the course of the battle, the remaining eight Nazgûl emerged and attacked the Army of the West. Shortly thereafter, however, the Great Eagles of the Misty Mountains, led by Gwaihir the Windlord, arrived and attacked the Ringwraiths, preventing them from pressing their aerial advantage. Trolls began to crash through the lines of infantry, and the Orcs and Easterlings made renewed assaults on the Army of the West, encircling it. Many of the soldiers of the West began to become distraught. That was when Frodo put on the One Ring and Sauron realized that Frodo and the Ring were inside Mount Doom.

Fall of Barad-dûr and Sauron

The Nazgûl immediately left the battle to intercept Frodo. Before they could get there, however, Gollum bit the Ring off Frodo's finger and slipped into the Crack of Doom, destroying the Ring and ending Sauron's power.

For.frodo

Aragorn leads the army of the West as he charges into battle.

Barad-dûr, the Black Gate, and the Towers of the Teeth collapsed to ruin. At this the Orcs and other creatures of Sauron at the battle scattered in disarray, and were routed by the Host of the West or fled. Some of the Easterlings and Haradrim fought on stalwartly, but soon forfeited, and were sent home in peace by Aragorn.


"I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam."
Frodo, The Return of the King, "Mount Doom"

Following battles

Despite the destruction of Mordor and its armies, the fight against Sauron's remaining forces continued in the northern theater of the War of the Ring for several weeks, notably at Dol Guldur in Mirkwood and at the Lonely Mountain. With Sauron's power vanquished, his forces lost these fights.

Months later, the Battle of Bywater in the Shire against Ruffians led by Saruman, and the subsequent killing of Saruman by Wormtongue, ended the War of the Ring.[1][2]

Portrayal in adaptations

Rankin-Bass

The Return of the King

In the Rankin-Bass version of The Return of the King, Aragorn, now in full command of Gondor's armies, chooses to march on the Black Gate despite the odds. When Aragorn comes to the Black Gate, he calls on the Dark Lord to come forth and "atone for his evils" and depart these lands. The gate opens and the Mouth of Sauron comes out and refutes his demands in an insulting manner. Aragorn refuses to even acknowledge him and dismisses him as merely one of Sauron's slaves angering the Mouth. The Mouth rides away laughing in an evil manner.

Peter Jackson's The Return of the King

"Draw out Sauron's armies. Empty his lands. Then we gather our full strength and march on the Black Gate."
Aragorn

In Peter Jackson's The Return of the King the Slag Hills are absent, as is Imrahil. The confrontation with the Mouth of Sauron was cut, though in the Extended Edition of the film it was reincluded. In it Aragorn decapitates the Mouth of Sauron in anger before their exchange is complete, while in the book the Mouth rides away from the Host to Cirith Gorgor.

In the film, the Mouth is portrayed as a disfigured emissary, rather than a soldier, and he appears at the Gate alone. He first seems angered by what Gandalf says, but then regains his stature and speaks in a mock-friendly manner, calling him "Old Greybeard". He tells Gandalf that he has "a token he was bidden to show" and then takes out Frodo's mithril vest and throws it at Gandalf. He seems to be getting enjoyment out of seeing the shocked and horrified faces of Frodo's friends. Seeking to hurt Gandalf more, he begins lying about how Frodo suffered greatly before dying.

At this, Aragorn approaches on his horse. The Mouth immediately recognizes him as Isildur's heir and says, "It takes more to make a king than a broken elvish blade". At this Aragorn beheads him, which shocks Gimli, causing him to say sarcastically, "Well, I guess that concludes negotiations!" Aragorn turns around, saying he does not believe Frodo is dead. At this point, Sauron's eye moves towards the Black Gate. The Mouth of Sauron's death is not mentioned in the book.

Originally, Aragorn was going to fight Sauron, who was to appear in a bright blinding light in the form of Annatar, and then was to turn into the armored Sauron from the prologue of the first film, at which Aragorn and Sauron would begin to duel. This idea was later dropped to stay more consistent with the battle in the novel; instead Aragorn fights a troll in the film, using the same choreography as the Sauron fight, but with a Troll replacing Sauron via CGI. In another difference from the book, Merry fights in the battle, while in the book he remained in Gondor.

In the movie, during the last debate, Gandalf makes it clear that there is a force of ten thousand Orcs at the Black Gate, but the Host of the West is unquantified - they appear to be a few hundred. After slaying the Mouth of Sauron, before facing the host of Mordor that has come out and surrounded them, Aragorn gives this speech:

"Sons of Gondor! Of Rohan! My brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of Men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear good on this earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!

The Host of the West then charges bravely into the Orcs. Despite having only about 300 soldiers of Gondor and 200 Rohirrim they kill many Orcs while sustaining light casualties, although it later becomes clear that unless the Ring is destroyed they will be completely wiped out as their casualties start getting heavy. When Aragorn is being stepped on by a troll the One Ring is destroyed and the forces of Mordor were almost completely destroyed, with only a few hundred fleeing.



Translations

Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Slag van die Swart Hek
Amharic ጥቁር በር የጦርነት
Arabic معركة البوابة السوداء
Albanian Beteja e Portës Zezë
Armenian Ճակատամարտը որ Սեվ դարպասի
Azerbaijani Qara qapının döyüşü
Belarusian Cyrillic Бітва чорнага варот
Bengali কালো ফটকের যুদ্ধ
Bosnian Bitka kod crna vrata
Bulgarian Cyrillic Битката на черната порта
Cambodian សមរភូមិច្រកទ្វារខ្មៅ
Catalan Batalla de la Porta Negre
Chinese (Hong Kong) 黑門之戰
Corsican Battagghia di li Neru Nanna
Croatian Bitka kod Crna vrata
Czech Bitva u Černé brány
Esperanto Batalo de la Nigra Pordego
Finnish Mustan Portin taistelu
French Bataille de la Porte Noire
Frisian Slach fan 'e Swarte Poarte
Danish Slaget ved den Sorte Port
Dutch Strijd van de Zwarte Poort
Galician Batalla da Porta Negro
Georgian ბრძოლა შავ კარიბჭესთან
German Schlacht am Schwarzen Tor
Greek Μάχη της Μαύρης πύλη
Hausa Yakin da baki ƙõfa
Hebrew קרב השער השחור
Hindi काले द्वार की लड़ाई
Hungarian A Fekete Kapu Csatája
Icelandic Orrustan við Svarta Hliðið
Italian Battaglia del Cancello Nero
Indonesian Pertempuran gerbang hitam
Japanese 黒い門の戦い
Kannada ಕಪ್ಪು ಗೇಟ್ ಕದನ
Kazakh Қара қақпаның шайқасы (Cyrillic) Qara qaqpanıñ şayqası (Latin)
Korean 블랙 게이트의 전투
Kurdish Şer ji Dergeh Reş ? (Latin)
Kyrgyz Cyrillic кара дарбазанын согуш
Latin Pugnam ex Nigro Porta
Laotian ຮົບຂອງປະຕູຮົ້ວສີດໍາ
Latvian Kaujas melnā vārtiem
Lithuanian Mūšis Juodieji vartai
Macedonian Cyrillic Битка кај Црната Порта
Malaysian Pertempuran pintu hitam
Malagasy Ady ny mainty vavahady
Maltese Battalja tal-bieb iswed
Marathi काळा दरवाजा लढाई
Mongolian Cyrillic Хар хаалга тулаан
Nepalese कालो ढोकाको लडाई
Norwegian Slaget ved den Svarte Porten
Persian (Battle of the Black Gate) نبرد از دروازه سیاه و سفید

(Battle of the Morannon) نبرد مورانون

Polish Bitwa pod Czarną Bramą
Portuguese Batalha do Portão Preto
Punjabi ਕਾਲਾ ਗੇਟ ਦੀ ਲੜਾਈ
Romanian Bătălia de la Poarta Negru
Russian Битва у Чёрных Врат
Serbian Битка црне капије (Cyrillic) Bitka crne kapije (Latin)
Slovak Bitka čierne brány
Slovenian Bitka na črnih vratih
Tajik Cyrillic Ҷанги Бузурги Ватанӣ
Thai การต่อสู้ของประตูสีดำ
Turkish Siyah kapısı Savaşı
Sinhalese කළු දොරටුව සටන
Spanish Batalla de la Puerta Negro
Sundanese Perang tina gerbang hideung ?
Swedish Slaget vid den Svarta Porten
Telugu బ్లాక్ గేట్ యుద్ధం
Ukrainian Cyrillic Битва чорного воріт
Urdu سیاہ دروازے کی لڑائی
Uzbek Қора эшикнинг уруши (Cyrillic) Qora eshikning urushi (Latin)
Vietnamese Trận chiến cổng đen
Welsh Brwydr y giât du
Yiddish שלאַכט פון די שוואַרץ טויער
Yoruba Ogun ti awọn dudu ẹnu-

References

  1. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Chapter IV: "The Field of Cormallen"
  2. The Atlas of Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings, "The Battle of the Morannon"
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