The Dagorlad ~ Battle Plain before the Black Gate

A vast and treeless plain that lay before the very gates of Mordor,
upon which endless battles had been fought and so was left a lifeless and forsaken waste, that would never see another spring.

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TolkienCanon3The Dagorlad was a vast desolate plain in the southeastern regions of Rhovanion, that sat before the Black Gate of Mordor. To the North of the Dagorlad lay the Brown Lands, while to the West lay the Emyn Muil and the Dead Marshes. To the East lay the lands of Rhûn and the Eastern Wastes in which few men traveled. To the south lay the Ash Mountains and the haunted pass of Cirth Gorgor.

A largely treeless wasteland, bereft of life and beauty. The name Dagolrad means ‘battle plain’ in the Sindarin tongue. It was named for the Battle of the Dagorlad, which occurred in the year 3434 of the Second Age of Middle-earth. The Last Alliance of Elves and Men fought there and defeated the forces of Mordor. Many thousands died in this battle and were buried there. Slowly over time the creeping midge-waters of the Wetwang moved Eastward into the plain and this area became known as the Dead Marshes, as those fallen in battle could be seen as spectral apparitions in the fetid waters.

Dagorlad1Over millennium, this plain became a lifeless waste, after countless battles were fought there. At the end of the Third Age, when Gollum guided the hobbits Frodo and Sam across this desolate waste to the Black Gate of Mordor, it had become a place of loathing and despair.

“Frodo looked around 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 has vomited the filth of their entrails upon the lands about. High mounds of crushed and powdered rock, great comes of earth fire-blasted and poison-stained, stood like and obscene graveyard in endless rows, slowly revealed in the reluctant light.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in the chapter ‘The Passage of the Marshes’


Dagorlad2“They had come to the desolation that lay before Mordor; the lasting monument to the dark labors of it’s 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.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in the chapter ‘The Passage of the Marshes’


“For a while they stood there, like men on the edge of sleep where nightmare lurks, holding it off, though they know that they can only come to morning through the shadows. The light broadened and hardened. The gasping pits and poisonous mounds grew hideously clear. The sun was up, walking among the clouds and long flags of smoke, but even the sunlight was defiled. The hobbits had no welcome for that light; unfriendly it seemed, revealing them in their helplessness – little squeaking ghosts that wandered among the ash-heaps of the Dark Lord.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in the chapter ‘The Passage of the Marshes’


Across this dead land the hobbits were led by the creature Gollum, until they came to it’s terrible end and their journey to Mordor was over. Fore as the light of dawn crept over the Ash Mountains. they stood aghast before the Black Gate into the land of Shadow.


Looking down upon the Dagorlad from the sharp peaks of the Emyn Muil


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 Posted by at 6:58 am