The Fallen Watchtower of Amon Sûl

“In the first days of the North kingdom, they built a watch-tower on Weathertop, Amon Sûl they called it.”


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TolkienCanon3Weathertop was a large hill upon which Amon Sûl the watchtower was built by the Dúnedain of Arnor. It was the southernmost of the Weather Hills and stood upon the norther side of the East/West Road. It’s summit was well over a thousand feet and it’s strategic position was not lost on the kingdom of Arnor. The the hill, with the watch tower at its top overlooked the Great East Road for many miles, offering a commanding view in every direction. Weathertop sat about halfway between the Shire and Rivendell.

During the reign of Elendil, the watchtower was built upon its summit. The most powerful of Arnor’s three Palantíri was kept in the tower, which enhanced it’s strategic importance. When Arnor split into three smaller kingdoms, the tower stood at the junction of their borders. Amon Sûl became the most coveted prize between the warring factions of the northern kingdoms of Arthedain, Cardolan and Rhudaur. With the rise of Angmar in the far north and it’s ally Rhudaur, the tower on Weathertop was taken and destroyed by the Witch-king.

In the year 3018 of the Third Age, when Aragorn led the four hobbits though wilderland to Weathertop, all that remained of the tower was a ring of broken stonework.

Weathertop2Away in the distance eastward they could now see a line of hills. The highest of them was at the right of the line and a little separated from the others. It had a conical top, slightly flattened at the summit.
‘That is Weathertop,’ said Strider. ‘The old Road, which we have left far away on our right, runs to the south of it and passes not far from it’s foot.'”
“The Men of the West did not live here; though in their latter days they defended the hills for a while against the evil that came out of Angmar. This path was made to serve the forts along the walls. But long before, in the first days of the North Kingdom, they built a great watch tower on Weathertop, Amon Sûl they called it. It was burned and broken, and nothing remains of it now but a tumbled ring, like a rough crown on the old hill’s head. Yet once it was tall and fair.  It is told the Elendil stood there watching for the coming of Gil-galad out of the West, in the days of the Last Alliance.

From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘A Knife in the Dark.’


Strider led Frodo and Merry to the summit of Weathertop

Weathertop1“On top they found, as Strider had said, a wide ring of ancient stone-work, now crumbling or covered with age-long grass. But in the center a cairn of broken stones had been piled. They were blackened as with fire. About them the turf was burned to the roots and all within the ring thew grass was scorched and shriveled, as if flames had swept the hill-top; but there was no sign of any living thing.
Standing on the rim of the ruined circle, they saw all around below them a wide prospect, for the most part of lands empty and featureless, except for patches of woodland away to the south, beyond which they caught here and there the glint of distant water. Beneath them  on the southern side there ran like a ribbon the Old Road, coming out of the West and winding up and down, until it faded behind a dark ridge of land to the east. Nothing was moving on it. Following it line eastward with their eyes they saw the Mountains: the nearest foothills were brown and sombre; behind them stood the taller shapes of grey, and behind those again were high white peaks glimmering among the clouds.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘A Knife in the Dark.’


Frodo spies the Black Rider upon the road below…

“The stood for a while silent on the hill-top, near the southward edge. In this lonely place Frodo for the first time fully realized his homelessness and danger. He wished bitterly that his fortunes had left him in the quite and beloved Shire. He stared down at the hateful Road, leading back westward – to his home. Suddenly he was aware that two black specks were moving slowly along it, going westward, and looking again he saw three others were creeping eastward to meet them. He gave a cry and clutched at Strider’s arm.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘A Knife in the Dark.’Nazgul3


In a grassy bowl-shaped dell at the base of Weathertop the company made their stand against the black riders.

“Over the lip of the little dell, on the side away from the hill, they felt, rather then saw, a shadow rise, one shadow or more than one. They strained their eyes, and the shadows seem to grow. Soon there could be no doubt: three of four tall black shapes were standing there on the slope, looking down on them. So black were they that they seemed like black holes in the deep shade behind them. Frodo thought the he heard a faint hiss as of venomous breath and felt a thin piercing chill. Then the shapes slowly advanced.”
“Terror overcame Pippin and Merry, and the threw themselves flat upon the ground. Sam shrank to Frodo’s side. Frodo was hardly less terrified then his companions; he was quaking as if he was bitter cold, but his terror was swallowed up by a sudden temptation to put on the Ring.” 

From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘A Knife in the Dark.’


“It had a conical top, slightly flattened at the summit.”


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 Posted by at 9:44 am