Dark History of Orodruin, the Heart of Sauron’s Realm
“Orodruin, the Mountain of Fire; ever and anon the furnaces far below its ashen cone
would grow hot and with a great surging and throbbing pour forth rivers of molten rock from chasms in its sides.“
LOTR: ROTK, B6, C5
This page written and edited by our Dark Historian Grievous
Mount Doom (known also as the Mountain of Fire, Orodruin, Amon Amarth, and Amon Angren) is a great volcano in the center of the Gorgoroth Plateau. Always it was known as a symbol of the might of Sauron, and was believed by many to be connected to him in some way. An eruption of the mountain would often occur upon a return of Sauron, or an occurrence of great importance.
Mount Doom was likely created in the turmoil caused by the Breaking of Thangorodrim, when what would become Mordor was made from the draining of the Sea of Helcar. Mount Doom and possibly other volcanoes flamed to life due to geological activity, which at this time also created the mountain-borders of the Land of Shadow. Mount Doom rendered all the land between Cirith Gorgor and the Mithram Spur a wasteland, and spread ash over the half-withered plains of Lithlad and Núrn. The mountain created great dark clouds that blotted out the sun over Mordor. Orcs fleeing from the ruin of Angband drawn here even before Sauron arrived, due to these conditions.
“In the land of Mordor, in the fires of Mount Doom, the Dark Lord Sauron forged in secret, a master ring, to control all others.
And into this ring he poured all his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate all life: One Ring to rule them all.”
LOTR: FOTR ‘Movie Extended Edition’
It was because of Orodruin that Sauron chose Mordor as his realm. The heat generated from the molten rock inside was tremendous. Near the mountain he began the construction of Barad-dûr, the Dark Tower that would become a symbol of fear across Middle-Earth. Into the side of Orodruin was delved the Sammath Naur, the Chambers of Fire, and within these chambers were forges that utilized the power of the mountain, as well as the Cracks of Doom. For the Cracks of Doom were carved so that some of the hotter lava in the mountain was accessible from a pinnacle of rock, and there was the heart of Sauron’s power. It was in the Cracks of Doom that Sauron forged the One Ring. With it he finished Barad-dûr and strengthened Mordor sevenfold, and gathered to him vast armies with which to conquer Middle-Earth. So Orodruin burned while the might of Sauron waxed and waned in the world beyond in his conflicts with Númenór and Lindon.
Eventually Sauron realized that he could not overcome Númenór through strength alone; and so he left the One Ring in Barad-dûr under the guard of the Nazgûl, and surrendered to Ar-Pharazon at Umbar. Orodruin went dormant. So Sauron corrupted the minds of the Númenóreans, which led to their destruction. Sauron returned to Mordor to find that exiles of Númenór were setting up a kingdom on his borders. His wrath was beyond measure, and Mount Doom burst into flame once more. Thus he started the War of the Last Alliance.
The Last Alliance of Elves and Men retaliated against Sauron’s attacks on Gondor, and after the Battle of Dagorlad they broke through to Gorgoroth and camped between Orodruin and Barad-dûr. The Siege of Barad-dûr lasted for seven years, for the Dark Tower of Sauron could not be overcome. But at last Sauron himself came forth with a great army of Orcs. They pushed the Alliance to the feet of Orodruin, and upon the great mountain’s slope Sauron fought a last combat with Elendil and Gil-galad. Both were slain; yet Isildur, son of Elendil, cut the One Ring from Sauron’s finger and defeated him. Elrond and Círdan led Isildur to the Sammath Naur, to destroy the Ring; yet Isildur did not do as they wished, and so Sauron survived. Orodruin slumbered once more.
“Mount Doom was burning, and a great reek rising.”
LOTR: FOTR, B2, C10
At the end of the Third Age, Sauron had returned and was yet again preparing for war. The Dark Tower had been rebuilt, the fortresses of Mordor were garrisoned and ready, and millions of troops were armed for war on the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. The Naur Trench was dug from the mountain to Barad-dûr, and streams of lava flowed across Gorgoroth to the moat at the feet of the Dark Tower of Sauron. Orodruin burst once more into flame, and the fury of the tumult of Gorgoroth could be seen from Minas Tirith. War was coming at last.
It was Orodruin for which the Fellowship of the Ring headed, so as to destroy the Ring and Sauron once and for all. Ultimately, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee entered Mordor in secret, and crossed the dreadful plateau until they came at last to the feet of Orodruin. They scaled Mount Doom until they came upon Sauron’s Road, and followed it up the cone of the volcano. After an altercation with Gollum, they came at last to the Sammath Naur and the Cracks of Doom. The Ringbearer initially claimed the Ring for his own; yet Gollum took it and fell into the Cracks, destroying it, himself, and Sauron forever. Mount Doom burst into a greater tumult than had been seen since the formation of Mordor. The fury of it shook Barad-dûr and the Towers of the Teeth to the ground, and great storms of ash and molten rock purged Udûn and Gorgoroth. Mount Doom imploded in a rage of fire, and so the power of Sauron passed and never returned to Middle-earth.