Durin’s Tower ~ History of the Tower & The Endless Stair ~ Secret Language of the Dwarves ~ Battle of the Peak
Durin’s Tower Stood Upon the Highest Peak of Celebdil
“Durin’s Tower was carved in the living rock of Zirakzigil, the pinnacle of the Silvertine.”
LOTR: TTT B2 C5
Durin’s Tower was carved out of the top most peak of Silvertine, named Celebdil by the Elves and Zirakzigil in the secret tongue of the Dwarves. It stood high above Khazad-dûm. It was reached by climbing the Endless Stair that led from the deepest halls of Khazad-dûm up to Durin’s Tower on the highest peak. At the top of the stairway, a windy chamber known as Durin’s Tower was carved from the rock of the mountain, where the Dwarf kings would gaze out over the Misty Mountains. When the Dwarves abandoned Khazad-dûm after the coming of the Balrog, the stair and chamber became legend and was thought to be lost in time.
Zirakzigil was the southern most of the three mountain peaks over Moria and Durin’s Tower remained standing until the battle between Gandalf and the Balrog of Morgoth. Lighting flashed upon the mountaintop and Durin’s Bane was cast down and smote the mountain-side. Durin’s Tower was broken into dust and the entrance to the Endless Stair was made impassable on the 25th of January, 3019 of the Third Age of Middle-earth.
When Gandalf led the Fellowship of the Ring into the darkness of Moria, only Gimli son of Glóin was not troubled by the endless night.
‘We are high up on the east side of Moria. Before today is over we ought to find the Great Gates and see the water of the Mirrormere lying in the Dimrill Dale before us.
‘I shall be glad,’ said Gimli. ‘I have looked on Moria, and it is very great, but it has become dark and dreadful, and we have found no sign of my kindred.’
From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘A Journey in the Dark’
Gandalf the White tells his companions, under the eaves of Fangorn, how he was delivered from the Darkness of Khazad-dûm.
‘Long time I fell,’ he said slowly, as if thinking back with difficulty. Long time I fell, and he fell with me. His fire was about me. I was burned. Then we plunged into the deep water and all was dark. Cold it was as the tide of death; almost it froze my heart.’
Deep is the abyss that is spanned by Durin’s Bridge, and none has measured it,’ said Gimli.
‘Yet it has a bottom, beyond light and knowledge,’ said Gandalf. ‘Thither I came at last, to the uttermost foundations of stone. He was with me still. His fire was quenched, but now he was a thing of slime, stronger than a strangling snake.’
‘We fought far under the living earth, where time is not counted. Ever he clutched me, and ever I hewed him, till at last he fled into dark tunnels. The were not made by Durin’s folk, Gimli son of Glóin. Far, far below the deepest delvings of the dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he. Now I have walked there, but I will bring no report to darken the light of day. In that despair my enemy was my only hope, and I pursued him, clutching at his heel. Thus he brought me back at last to the secret ways of Khazad-dûm: too well he knew them all. Ever up now he went, until we came to the Endless Stair.’
‘Long has that been lost,’ said Gimli. ‘Many have said that it was never made save in legend, but others say that it was destroyed.’
‘It was made, and had not been destroyed,’ said Gandalf. ‘From the lowest dungeon to the highest peak it climbed, ascending in unbroken spiral in many thousand steps, until it issued at last in Durin’s Tower carved in the living rock of Zirakzigil, the pinnacle of Silvertine.’
‘There upon Celebdil was a lonely window in the snow, and before it lay a narrow space, a dizzying eyrie above the mists of the world. The sun shone fiercely there, but all below was wrapped in cloud. Out he sprang, and even as I came behind, he burst into new flame. There was none to see, or perhaps in after ages songs would still be sung of the Battle of the Peak.’ Suddenly Gandalf laughed. ‘But what would they say in song? Those the looked up from afar thought the the mountain was crowed with storm. Thunder they heard, and lightening, they said, smote upon Celebdil, and leaped back broken into tongues of fire. Is not that enough? A great smoke rose about us, vapor and steam. Ice fell like rain . T threw down my enemy, and he fell from the high place and broke the mountain-side where he smote it in his ruin.’
‘The tower behind was crumbled into dust, the window gone, the ruined stair was choked with burned and broken stone.’
From The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers in the chapter ‘The White Rider’