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Places in Middle-earth

Black Trough of the Morgai, The

Type: Valleys, Caves, Tunnels

Region: Mordor/Allies

Other Names
the great ravine
the valley between the mountains

Location: The long north-south cleft valley in Mordor, between the Ephel Dúath on the west and the Morgai on the east.


The eastern faces of the Ephel Dúath were sheer, falling in cliff and precipice to the black trough that lay between them and the inner ridge. A short way beyond the way-meeting, after another steep incline, a flying bridge of stone leapt over the chasm and bore the road across into the tumbled slopes and glens of the Morgai. ...

Slowly and painfully they clambered down..., scrambling among rock and briar and dead wood in the blind shadows ...

now led the way, northward as near as he could guess, among the stones and boulders lying thick at the bottom of the great ravine.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 2, The Land of Shadow

The light ... was now enough for them to see that they were deep in the valley between the mountains. It sloped up gently northward, and at its bottom went the bed of a now dry and withered stream. Beyond its stony course they saw a beaten path that wound its way under the feet of the westward cliffs. ...

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 2, The Land of Shadow

Out of a gully on the left, so sharp and narrow that it looked as if the black cliff had been cloven by some huge axe, water came dripping down: the last remains, maybe, of some sweet rain gathered from sunlit seas, but ill-fated to fall at last upon the walls of the Black Land and wander fruitless down into the dust. Here it came out of the rock in a little falling streamlet, and flowed across the path, and turning south ran away swiftly to be lost among the dead stones.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 2, The Land of Shadow

It was rough going, for they dared not cross over to the path on the westward side. After a mile or more they saw, huddled in a hollow at the cliff's foot, the orc-hold...: a wall and a cluster of stone huts set about the dark mouth of a cave. ... [The] hobbits crept by cautiously, keeping as much as they could to the thorn-brakes that grew thickly at this point along both sides of the old water-course.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 3, Mount Doom

The trough between the mountains and the Morgai had steadily dwindled as it climbed upwards, and the inner ridge was now no more than a shelf in the steep faces of the Ephel Dúath; but to the east it fell as sheerly as ever down into Gorgoroth. Ahead the water-course came to an end in broken steps of rock; for out from the main range there sprang a high barren spur, thrusting eastward like a wall. To meet it there stretched out from the grey and misty northern range of Ered Lithui a long jutting arm; and between the ends there was a narrow gap..., the Isenmouthe, beyond which lay the deep dale of Udûn.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 2, The Land of Shadow

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 22Aug06

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