The One Wiki to Rule Them All
The One Wiki to Rule Them All

The Disaster of the Gladden Fields or the Battle of the Gladden Fields was a battle at the beginning of the Third Age, in which Isildur and a retinue of the Dúnedain of Arnor, marching home after the defeat of Sauron, were attacked by a large group of Orcs from the Misty Mountains. The King and his three eldest sons -- Elendur, Aratan, and Ciryon -- were slain and the One Ring was lost in the River Anduin. Only three men survived the encounter, but the shards of Narsil were saved by Ohtar, an esquire of the King. 

The repercussions of the attack were wide-ranging, as Isildur had been king of both Gondor and Arnor, and his death left the two kingdoms to separate into isolated realms. Arnor wouldn't be able to completely recover from this catastrophic loss of a considerable part of its nobles and knights until the kingship of Aragorn II Elessar in the Fourth Age. However, most importantly, Isildur's death prevented him from passing on the One Ring to the Keepers of the Three, which he had divulged to his son Elendur to be his chief reason for visiting Elrond in Rivendell.[citation needed]



During the War of the Last Alliance Sauron sent a force of Orcs to hold the passes of the Misty Mountains and harry any forces of the Last Alliance that tried to pass. In the event the main strength of Elendil and Gil-galad passed that way and the Orcs hid in fear, but with the war over they remained active, waiting for a force they could successfully attack.

Isildur remained in Gondor for two years, regaining lost territories, and reorganising the realm. He sent the greater part of the army of Arnor back to Eriador via the road from the Fords of Isen to Fornost. After he had finished arranging the affairs of the southern realm, he committed the South-kingdom to Meneldil and forthwith designed to march to Rivendell. He had left his wife and youngest son there, yet he also greatly desired the counsel of Elrond at that time. It was for this reason that he proceeded from Osgiliath into the Vales of Anduin, and toward the Cirith Forn en Andrath, which was the high pass of the northern Misty Mountains which led down into the valley of Rivendell.[citation needed]

The battle

The Dúnedain host traveled northwards from Lórien, marching along a path that led to Greenwood the Great wherein Thranduil was king. Their route had been diverted by the flooding of the Anduin, which had compelled Isildur to take the road on the sheer slopes on the eastern banks of the river. King Isildur's party was flanked on its left by steep cliffs overlooking the river Anduin, and to its right by hills and a forest.

The Dúnedain were singing marching songs and generally of good cheer as dusk drew close, at which time the lusty men heard the strain of Orcs in the forest hills. Isildur organised his retinue into a "Thangail," a shield-wall two men deep and flexible at the flanks; it could be made to back up completely so as to form a defensive ring should the unit be surrounded. The Dúnedain could only guess at the strength of the enemy, but they perceived that the Orc host was many times, perhaps even 10 times as large as their own. Isildur expressed regret that the Orcs should have approached them at such uneven ground, for had it been level or rather downhill for the Dúnedain, then they should have formed up into a "Dírnaith", a wedge formation that could have shattered the miscreant Orcs. 

The first Orc onslaught came quickly, striking at the center of the Dúnedain line after a volley of arrows had been fired. At this point, Isildur sent for his esquire Ohtar, to take the shards of Narsil to Rivendell for safekeeping. The Orcs were discomfited at no cost among the Dúnedain, all of whom towered above the tallest of the Orcs. Piles of Orcs had gathered before the Dúnedain, and the Orcs retreated out of range of the powerful Númenórean bows. Isildur judged that the Orcs, in their typically craven fashion, were so thoroughly dismayed to be stung so badly in the fight that they would not resume battle, but would rather stalk the Dúnedain from a distance. The King then resolved to bring his retinue onto lower and more level ground, yet Orcs quickly returned again. In this second attack, the Orcs approached in a full crescent, resolving to pressure the Dúnedain at all points in their formation. Men were slain, and the formation started crumbling. Ciryon and Aratan were killed, and Elendur convinced Isildur to flee and cross the Anduin if he could, on whose other side he might find safety and make his way to Rivendell.[citation needed]

Isildur's fate

Isildur then cloaked himself with the Ring, and sped down into the valley. At the banks of the Anduin he parted with all of his arms and armour save for a short sword. The river was hard to cross, thus, though rarely equalled in strength and vigour even by fellow Dúnedain, Isildur was exhausted when he reached the western shallows. There, reeds and rushes tangled him and the Ring abandoned him, slipping from his fingers. Orc prowlers caught sight of the large and imposing figure wearing the fiery Elendilmir and out of fear shot at Isildur, killing him, and fled quickly. [citation needed]


Only Ohtar, Estelmo, and an unnamed companion survived the disaster. Isildur's body was never recovered by men, and was secretly presumed captured. The Orcs were quickly scattered by a relief force of Woodmen who nonetheless came too late. Estelmo was recovered alive, but stunned from a club's blow, and he told of how Isildur and Elendur had related to each other about the One Ring before their deaths. Isildur remarked: "I cannot use it. I dread the pain of touching it. And I have not yet found the strength to bend it to my will. It needs one greater than I know myself to be. My pride has fallen. It should go to the Keepers of the Three."[1]


Foreign Language Translated name
Arabic كارثة في حقول غلادين
Belarusian Cyrillic Аварыйныя Ирисной Нізіна
Bulgarian Cyrillic Бедствие от полетата Гладън
Chinese (Mainland) 金鸢尾沼地之祸
Chinese (Hong Kong) 格拉頓平原之戰
Croatian Katastrofa Gladdenskim poljima
Czech Katastrofa na Kosatcových polích
Danish Bagholdet på Åkandeengene
Dutch Ramp bij de Lissevelden
Esperanto Katastrofo de la Gladden Kampoj
Estonian Vikerkaareväljade lahing
Finnish Kurjenmiekkakenttien murhenäytelmä
French Désastre des champs de Gladden
Galician Desastre dos Campos de Gladden
Georgian ცისარტყელას ველების ბრძოლა
German Verhängnis auf den Schwertelfeldern
Greek Καταστροφή του Χαροποιώ Πεδία
Gujarati ગ્લેડન ક્ષેત્રો ડિઝાસ્ટર
Hausa Bala'i na Gladden Filayen
Hindi ग्लैडें फील्ड के आपदा
Hungarian A Gladden mezők katasztrófa
Icelandic Hörmung á Gladden sviðum
Italian Battaglia dei Campi Iridati
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Гладдэн талааларынын кырсык
Lithuanian Nelaimė iš nudžiuginti sritys ?
Maltese Diżastru tal-Oqsma Gladden
Norwegian Katastrofe av den Gladden Jorden ?
Polish Katastrofa Gladden
Portuguese Brasil Desastre dos campos Lis
Romanian Dezastru de Gladden Domenii
Russian Битва в Ирисной низине
Serbian Катастрофа от Гладен поља (Cyrillic) Katastrofa od Gladden polja (Latin)
Sindhi قوس قزح جي ميدانن جي جنگ
Slovak Katastrofa Gladden Polí
Spanish Desastre de los Campos Gladios
Swedish Katastrof i Glitterfälten
Ukrainian Cyrillic Катастрофа радувати поля
Uzbek Гладден Майдонлар офатларга (Cyrillic) Gladden Maydonlar ofatlarga (Latin)
Welsh Trychineb y caeau Gladden ?
Yiddish ומגליק פון די גלאַדדען פעלדער


  1. Unfinished Tales, Part Three: The Third Age, I: "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields"