The Vale of Udûn ~ The Dark History of Udûn


A Dark Vale that lay just within the Black Gate

A long gorge that stretched between the Teeth of the Morannon and the Guard towers of Carach Angren at the Isenmouthe.
Here lay countless Orc-holds, forges and armories that fed the vast forces unleashed upon Middle-earth.

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TolkienCanon3Udûn means “hell” in the Sindarin tongue, which is perhaps a fitting description of this Dark Vale within Mordor. Once an empty landscape, where the two mountain ranges of Mordor, the Ephel Dúath and the Ered Lithui came together at the Haunted Pass of Cirith Gorgor were the Black Gate of Mordor was built.

At the end of the third Age of Middle-earth this shadowy defile was pocked marked with Orc-holds, Man-holds, Armories, Food-stores that fed and housed a large legion of Uruks and Dark men in the service of Mordor. The central part of the vale was kept clear for a well maintained road, over which the vast armies of Mordor could march for an assault upon the Dagorlad.

ValeUdun2As Frodo and Sam were forced to march north between the Mountains of Shadow and the Morgai, which formed a natural inner wall in defense of Mordor, ever hoping to find a passable way down into Gorgoroth.

“The trough between the mountains and the Morgai had steadily dwindled as it climbed upwards, and the inner ridge was now no more then a shelf in the steep faces of the Ephel Dûath; but to the east it feel as sheerly as ever down into Gorgoroth.  Ahead the water-course came to an end in broken steps of rock; for out from the main range there sprang a high barren spur, thrusting eastward like a wall. To meet it there stretched out from the grey and misty northern range of Ered Lithui  a long  jutting arm; and thrusting eastward and between the ends there was a narrow gap; Carach Angren, the Isenmouth, beyond which lay the deep dale of Udûn.
In that dale behind the Morannon were the tunnels and deep armories the the servants of Mordor had made for the defense of the Black gate of their land; an there now their Lord was gathering in haste great forces to meet the onslaught of the captains of the West. Upon the out-thrust spurs forts and towers were built, and watch fires burned; and all across the gap and earth-wall had been raised, and a deep trench delved the could be crossed only be  a single bridge.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in the chapter ‘The Land of Shadow’


ValeUdun3The hobbits emerged from the path along the Morgai and found a land preparing for war. They hid among some broken rocks and tried to find a way down to the plain below.

“A few miles north. high up in the angle where the western spur branched  away from the main range, stood the old castle of Durthang, now one of the many orc-holds the clustered about the dale of Udûn. A road already visible in the growing light, came winding down from it, until only a mile or two from where the hobbits lay it turned east and ran along a shelf cut in the side of the spur, and so went down into the plain, and on to the Isenmouth.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in the chapter ‘The Land of Shadow’


The vale of Udûn was a strategic location in Mordor, being just within the Black Gate and so formed a vital defense of the Land of Shadow, it’s tunnels and armories where made the by the minions of the Dark Lord. Few now live, who remember the black walls of Udûn and the part it played in the War of the Rings.

The vast Armies of Mordor converge on the Black Gate.



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 Posted by at 2:19 pm