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 of the Elendili 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.
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 Númenórean 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 Vale of the 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.
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.
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. 
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."
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Belarusian Cyrillic||Аварыйныя Ирисной Нізіна|
|Bulgarian Cyrillic||Бедствие от полетата Гладън|
|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||Katastroof ning selle rõõmustama väljad ?|
|French||Désastre des champs de Gladden|
|Galician||Desastre dos Campos de Gladden|
|Georgian||კატასტროფა ღლადდენ სფეროებში ?|
|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 ?|
|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)|
|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|