Tolkien Gateway


Shadow of Mordor - Durthang.jpg
General Information
LocationNorthern Ephel Dúath, west of the valley of Udûn
InhabitantsGondorians (early)
Orcs and other evil creatures (later)
GalleryImages of Durthang
"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 that clustered about the dale of Udûn."
The Return of the King, "The Land of Shadow"

Durthang was an old castle in northern Mordor. It stood in the northern Ephel Dúath, on the southwestern slopes above the valley of Udûn, overlooking the Morannon and the Isenmouthe.[1]


[edit] History

It is possible that Durthang was originally a fortress of Gondor.[2] The Gondorians had constructed several fortresses overlooking the entrance to Mordor in the aftermath of the War of the Last Alliance like the Towers of the Teeth or the Tower of Cirith Ungol, but many of them were abandoned by the troops after the Great Plague.[3][4][note 1] By T.A. 1640 Mordor was left unguarded.[5] Durthang was an Orcish stronghold at the time of the War of the Ring.[6]

[edit] War of the Ring

On 18 March, T.A. 3019,[7] a troop of Orcs from Durthang caught up with a band of Orcs that was marching eastward in Mordor. Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee were in that band, disguised as Orcs and they were forced to march along with the troop for some distance before they were able to slip away.[6]

[edit] Etymology

Durthang is Sindarin for "Dark Oppression",[8] from dûr ("dark") + thang ("oppression").[9]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

1987-96: Middle-earth Role Playing:

In the Gates of Mordor adventure module it is mentioned that Durthang was built by the Dúnedain of Gondor at the beginning of the Third Age after the fall of Sauron to keep evil things from re-entering Mordor and to monitor the interior of Mordor. It is mentioned that the Gondorian troops abandoned Durthang after the plague and that it was afterwards occupied by a lieutenant of Sauron with a garrison of orcs. The castle of Durthang consists of five interconnected towers with its spire surpassing a height of 200 feet. Durthang consists of a ground floor, three levels and caverns below the ground floor. In the Gorgoroth campain module the basic garrison of Durthang is said to consist of 36 Uruk-hai and 90 orcs.

2014: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor:

Durthang is one of the strongholds in Udûn, which is the starting location of the game.

2017: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Durthang was added, along with a number of landmarks in Mordor, in the game's sixth major expansion.


  1. The history of Durthang is not explained in the text, but the Sindarin name (possibly Gondor Sindarin), location, and description in The Land of Shadow, strongly suggest that it shared the same history as other Gondorian fortresses. Robert Foster accepts this scenario which he states like a fact in The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, without providing a specific source. Christopher Tolkien also seems to accept it as "...originally a fortress of Gondor" in the Sauron Defeated Index, but without disclosing a source for that statement.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Map of Rohan, Gondor, and Mordor"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "Index I: To Part One The End of the Third Age", entry Durthang, p. 444
  3. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, entry "Durthang"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion", entry for king Telemnar
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Land of Shadow"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
  8. 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. 610
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names", entries dûr, thang