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Narchost was the western[1] of the two Towers of the Teeth, that stood on two sheer hills that were thrust forward on either side of the mouth of the pass of Cirith Gorgor at the northwestern end of Mordor where the Ered Lithui met the Ephel Duath. It was strong, tall, stony-faced and had dark window-holes facing north, east and west.[2]



Narchost was built by the men of Gondor after the War of the Last Alliance to prevent Sauron from returning to Mordor[2] and to keep watch on Mordor where the creatures of Sauron still lurked.[3] At the time of the death of king Ondoher it was still manned by the men of Gondor.[4] As the strength of Gondor failed, Narchost was abandoned by the the men of Gondor and was empty for long years and fell into decay. After the return of Sauron Narchost was repaired and garrisonned with the forces of Sauron.[2] It fell down during an earthquake[5] after an eruption of Orodruin when the One Ring fell into the Sammath Naur in the Orodruin[6] on 25 March T.A. 3019.[7]


The name Narchost is translated as "bitter-biting fort".[1] Its initial element narch "bitter-biting" is not otherwise attested, but a similar (Noldorin) verb narcha- "to rend" appears in the Etymologies as a derivative of the root NÁRAK.[8] The second element is ost "fortress".[9]

Portrayal in adaptations

1987-96: Middle-earth Role Playing:

In the Teeth of Mordor module in the Fortresses of Middle-earth series Narchost is incorrectly described as the eastern tower of the pair of towers and to stand at the end of the Ered Lithui. Narchost is described to consist of nine levels including an underground level. The tower is described to have one gate with a massive iron door set deep in a niche that is visible from the plain outside of Mordor. The module contains drawings of the Black Gate with the Towers of the Teeth and floor plans and descriptions for each level of the towers of the teeth and for the Black Gate. It is described that Isildur began an grand plan to seal off Mordor and that the construction began before the end of T.A. 3019 and was completed during the reign of Rómendacil I (T.A. 492 - T.A. 541). It is mentioned that by T.A. 1640 the last citadel guarding Mordor was abandoned. It is said that in the same year of the closing of the Dúnadan fortresses guarding Mordor Sauron sent all Ringwraiths except the Witch-king and Khamûl to lake Núrnen with the mission to ready Mordor for his return. It is described that they sent scouts north who found that the Gondorian fortresses were abandoned and that the Ringwraith Dwar of Waw occupied the Black Gate with Orcs, Trolls and mannish servants. It is further said that he repaired and changed the towers and the Black Gate in secret and that Gondor concerned with internal matters scarcely noted the activity. It is described that in the cataclysm of Sauron's fall only the Black Gate and the upper levels of the Towers of the Teeth were destroyed and that the lower levels up through level six were left virtually intact.


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Unfinished index for The Lord of the Rings", in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 601
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Black Gate is Closed"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan", "Notes", note 15
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Field of Cormallen"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Mount Doom"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years", entry for the year 3019, March 25
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", NÁRAK
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", os(t)