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Places in Middle-earth

The Desolation of the Morannon

Type: Forests, Fields, Plains

Region: Mordor/Allies

Location: The slag mounds and mires at the Black Gate of Mordor.

Description: At the Morannon, beyond the Towers of the Teeth, lies a road that runs east to Dagorlad and Rhûn and west to Minas Morgul and beyond. "North of the roads lay the desolation of slag mounds and mires that stretched away for miles. In one of the heaps a small hollow had been delved, and from it Frodo, Sam, and Gollum had peeped out to watch the arriving armies of the South."
From The Atlas of Middle-earth, Revised Edition, Karen Wynn Fonstand, p. 140.

"The marshes were at an end, dying away into dead peats and wide flats of dry cracked mud. The land ahead rose in long shallow slopes, barren and pitiless, towards the desert that lay at Sauron's gate.
"... For two more nights they struggled on through the weary pathless land. The air, as it seemed to them, grew harsh, and filled with a bitter reek that caught their breath and parched their mouths.
At last, on the fifth morning since they took the road with Gollum, they halted once more. Before them dark in the dawn the great mountains reached up to roofs of smoke and cloud. Out from their feet were flung huge buttresses and broken hills that were now at the nearest scarce a dozen miles away. Frodo looked round in horror. Dreadful as the Dead Marshes had been, and the arid moors of the Noman-lands, more loathsome far was the country that the crawling day now slowly unveiled to his shrinking eyes.
Even to the Mere of Dead Faces some haggard phantom of green spring would come; but here neither spring nor summer would ever come again. Here nothing lived, not even the leprous growths that feed on rottenness. The gasping pools were choked with ash and crawling muds, sickly white and grey, as if the mountains had vomited the filth of their entrails upon the lands about. High mounds of crushed and powdered rock, great cones of earth fire-blasted
and poison-stained, stood like an obscene graveyard in endless rows, slowly revealed in the reluctant light.
They had come to the desolation that lay before Mordor: the lasting monument to the dark labour of its slaves that should endure when all their purposes were made void; a land defiled, diseased beyond all healing – unless the Great Sea should enter in and wash it with oblivion. `I feel sick,' said Sam. Frodo did not speak.
The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 2, The Passage of the Marshes

Contributors: docmon, 11 Sept 05

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