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"Beneath the mountain's arm within the Wizard's Vale through years uncounted had stood that ancient place that Men called Isengard. Partly it was shaped in the making of the mountains, but mighty works the Men of Westernesse had wrought there of old; and Saruman had dwelt there long and had not been idle."
The Two Towers, "The Road to Isengard"

Isengard, also known as Angrenost ('Iron Fortress') in Sindarin, was one of the three major fortresses of Gondor, and held within it one of the realm's palantíri.

However, in the latter half of the Third Age, the stronghold came into the possession of the Wizard Saruman, becoming his home and seat of power until his defeat in the War of the Ring.


Isengard before

Isengard before Saruman's treason

Isengard was built in the Second Age around the tower of Orthanc by the Númenóreans in exile, in the days of their power, in Nan Curunír (The Wizard's Vale) in the Misty Mountains. Its location was at the northwestern corner of the Kingdom of Gondor, guarding the Fords of Isen from enemy incursions into Calenardhon and, together with the fortress of Aglarond to its south, protecting the Gap of Calenardhon.[1]

Middle-Earth2 (2)

Isengard lay southwest of Fangorn and northwest of Rohan

Isengard was comprised of a black, circular, stone-wall surrounding a broad plain, in the center of which was the Tower of Orthanc. Isengard had only one gate, which faced south.

The River Angren (or Isen) began at Methedras behind Isengard, which also formed its northern wall. The other three sides were guarded by a large wall, known as the Ring of Isengard, which was only breached by the inflow of the River Angren at the northeast through a portcullis, and the gate of Isengard at the south, at both shores of the river. The Gate was said to be able to open without a sound.[2]

Isengard was, at first, a green and beautiful tower complex, with many large trees and grass fields, fed by the river until it was dammed by Saruman. After the Wizard's defeat, however, Treebeard and the rest of the Ents made it a vivid green area again, after destroying the walls and dam, renaming it the Treegarth of Orthanc.[3]


In the centuries following the Great Plague the land of Calenardhon became depopulated, and the last Warden of Orthanc was recalled to Minas Tirith. Isengard remained garrisoned by a small company, led by a hereditary captain, much as happened at Aglarond at the time. At first messengers were still sent to the fortress by the Stewards, although these dwindled and then eventually ceased entirely.

In TA 2510, after Calenardhon was given to the Éothéod by Cirion, Steward of Gondor, and became Rohan, Isengard remained part of Gondor, and the company of Aglarond removed to the northern fortress, although the rest of Gondor had virtually forgotten it. The small guard intermarried much with the Dunlendings, until the place became a Dunlending fortress in all but name. Orthanc, however, remained closed, as the Steward of Gondor held the keys. Isengard soon became all but deserted.[4]


Saruman, outside Orthanc

During the rule of Rohan's King Déor, in TA 2710, the line of hereditary captains commanding the fortress garrison died out and Isengard became openly hostile to the Rohirrim. Using Isengard as their base, the Dunlendings continued to raid Rohan during the reign of Déor's son Gram, until during the rule of Gram's son Helm Hammerhand a Dunlending lord, Freca and his son Wulf nearly managed to destroy the Rohirrim. The Rohirrim led by Helm's nephew, Fréaláf, eventually won, taking Isengard by starving out the Dunlendings in TA 2759 and guarding it for Gondor.[5]

At this time, the wizard Saruman the White suddenly reappeared from the East, and offered to guard Isengard. The Steward of Gondor, Beren, gladly gave him the keys to Orthanc, and Saruman settled there. After him the valley became known as Nan Curunír, "Wizard's Vale". At first, the White Wizard was merely Warden of the Tower on behalf of Gondor, but as his ambitions grew and fall began, he took the fortress for his own in TA 2953. Saruman soon became the vassal, or puppet, of Sauron, and Isengard became a virtual fief of Mordor. Saruman fortified Isengard and, having recruited Orcs of the Misty Mountains, Wargs, and Dunlendings, began building an army to invade Rohan at Sauron's behest and to try to capture the Ring-bearer. Uruk-hai bred at Isengard soon began making sorties with the Orcs of the Misty Mountains into Rohirrim territory.

Isengard army

Isengard at full military power

In TA 3018, Gandalf came to Isengard to take counsel counsel with Saruman. It was then that the Gandalf discovered his intentions and defection to the Dark Lord. With Gandalf refusing to either submit to Sauron or reveal the One Ring's whereabouts, Saruman imprisoned him on the pinnacle of Orthanc. From there, the Grey Pilgrim saw Isengard's host amass. In the War of the Ring, the Isengarders now defiled Nan Curunír, cutting down its tree gardens and damming and diverting the Isen river. The valley was filled with deep caverns, housing forgeries and breeding pits for Orcs. After Gandalf's escape from Orthanc, Saruman sent both Uglúk's warband to hunt for the Fellowship of the Ring and raiding parties to ravage Rohan's Westfold. Failing to attain the Ring, Saruman turned to seeking Sauron's clemency and marshalled his army of Uruk-hai and Half-orcs at Isengard for a final attack against Théoden's Rohirrim at Helm's Deep. While the Battle of the Hornburg unfurled, a host of Ents and Huorns led by Treebeard of Fangorn attacked Isengard, wrecking all of Saruman's industry, though unable to force entry into or damage Orthanc. His servants and allies destroyed or scattered, Saruman remained hidden in his tower.

Isengard, Cavini

The base of Orthanc, after Isengard's fall, by Ivan Cavini

The Hobbits Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took, as the new "doorwardens", received Théoden, Aragorn, and Gandalf at the gates. Saruman was confronted but refused to beg for pardon, and he was kept under Treebeard's guard together with his footman, Gríma Wormtongue. It was planned by Sauron that Isengard would be given to his ambassador, the Mouth of Sauron, a far more trustworthy servant than Saruman.[6] The corrupted Wizard nonetheless abandoned the stronghold after Saruon's downfall, playing off Treebeard's hatred of caging any living thing in order to manipulate him into letting him leave.

After the War of the Ring[]

Early in the Fourth Age, Isengard was restored and Treebeard replanted many trees. Orthanc again became a tower of the Reunited Kingdom of King Aragorn II Elessar.

Under the Ent dominion, the ring-wall was torn down and the Ents planted the Watchwood there, naming the new forest the "Treegarth of Orthanc". Saruman's pits and caverns were filled, and the land was healed. The Valley was now filled with trees, and a small lake was constructed near Orthanc. Nan Curunír was given to the Ents by Aragorn, to do with as they wished, granted that they keep watch upon Orthanc and prevent anyone without permission from entering.[citation needed]


Foreign Language Translated name
Amharic ዒሰንጋርድ
Arabic ايسينجارد
Armenian Իսենգարդ
Assamese আইচেনগাৰ্ড
Belarusian Cyrillic Ізенгард
Bengali ঈসেঙার্দ
Bulgarian Cyrillic Исенгард
Catalan Ísengard
Czech Železný Pas
Chinese (Hong Kong) 艾辛格
Danish Isengard
Estonian Raudlinn
Finnish Rautapiha
French Isengard
Georgian იზენგარდი
German Isengart
Greek Άιζενγκαρντ
Gujarati ઈસેઙર્દ
Hebrew אייזנגארד
Hindi आइसेंगार्ड
Hungarian Vasudvard
Japanese アイゼンガルド
Kannada ಇಸೆನ್ಗಾರ್ಡ್ನಲ್ಲಿ
Kazakh Ысенгард (Cyrillic) Isengard (Latin)
Konkani आयझनगार्ड
Korean 아이센가드
Kyrgyz Cyrillic Исэнгард
Macedonian Cyrillic Исенгард
Marathi ईसेङ्गर्द
Mongolian Cyrillic Исенгард
Nepalese ईसेङर्द
Norwegian Jarnagard
Pashto یسېنګارد
Persian آیزنگارد
Punjabi ਈਸੇਨ੍ਗਰ੍ਦ
Russian Изенгард
Sanskrit ईसेङर्द्
Serbian Изенгард (Cyrillic) Izengard (Latin)
Sindhi ايسنگارڊ
Sinhalese අයිසන්ගාර්ඩ්
Slovak Isengard
Swedish Isengård
Tajik Cyrillic Исенгард
Tamil ஈஸெஙர்த்
Tatar Исенгард
Telugu ఇసెంగార్డ్
Ukrainian Cyrillic Ізенгард
Urdu اسانگآرد
Uzbek Исенгард (Cyrillic) Isengard (Latin)
Yiddish איסענהױף
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