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Places in Middle-earth

Topmost Chamber of the Tower of Cirith Ungol

Type: Fortresses, Towers, Defenses

Region: Mordor/Allies

Other Names
the high chamber of the turret

Location: The chamber at the top of the Tower of Cirith Ungol where Frodo was imprisoned.


From what he had heard of the captains' talk Sam knew that... Frodo would most likely be found in a chamber high up in the turret far above; but he might search for a day before he found the way.

'It'll be near the back, I guess,' Sam muttered. 'The whole Tower climbs backwards-like.'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 1, The Tower of Cirith Ungol

He had climbed right to the flat roof of the third and highest tier of the Tower: an open space, about twenty yards across, with a low parapet. There the stair was covered by a small domed chamber in the midst of the roof, with low doors facing east and west. Eastward Sam could see the plain of Mordor vast and dark below, and the burning mountain far away.... [The] rivers of fire blazed so fiercely that even at this distance... the light of them lit the tower-top with a red glare. Westward the view was blocked by the base of the great turret that stood at the back of this upper court and reared its horn high above the crest of the encircling hills. Light gleamed in a window-slit. Its door was not ten yards from where Sam stood. It was open but dark....

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 1, The Tower of Cirith Ungol

[Sam] came cautiously to the turret-door and stepped inside.... [Soon] his staring eyes were aware of a dim light at his right hand. It came from an opening that led to another stairway, dark and narrow: it appeared to go winding up the turret along the inside of its round outer wall. A torch was glimmering from somewhere up above.

Softly Sam began to climb. He came to the guttering torch, fixed above a door on his left that faced a window-slit looking out westward.... Quickly Sam passed the door and hurried on to the second storey.... He came next to a window looking east and another torch above the door to a passage through the middle of the turret. The door was open, the passage dark.... But here the stair stopped and climbed no further. Sam crept into the passage. On either side there was a low door; both were closed and locked....

'A dead end,' muttered Sam; 'and after all my climb! This can't be the top of the tower. But what can I do now?'

He ran back to the lower storey and tried the door. It would not move. He ran up again....

At last..., he sat on a step below the level of the passage-floor and bowed his head into his hands.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 1, The Tower of Cirith Ungol

Sam, now peering over the corner of the passage-threshold, saw a flicker of light in an open doorway, and the dim shape of an orc coming out. He seemed to be carrying a ladder. Suddenly the answer dawned on Sam: the topmost chamber was reached by a trap-door in the roof of the passage. Snaga thrust the ladder upwards, steadied it, and then clambered out of sight. Sam heard a bolt drawn back....

He sprang up, ran, and went up the ladder.... His head came out in the middle of the floor of a large round chamber. A red lamp hung from its roof; the westward window-slit was high and dark.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 1, The Tower of Cirith Ungol

Down the great stairway they plodded. The high chamber of the turret behind... seemed almost homely: they were out in the open again now, and terror ran along the walls. All might be dead in the Tower of Cirith Ungol, but it was steeped in fear and evil still.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 1, The Tower of Cirith Ungol

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 14Mar07

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