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Old 03-01-2011, 10:28 PM   #1
Gastonason
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What is the whole story behind Minas Morgul, Gondor, and Mordor?

Okay so obviously Minas Morgul is the old capital of Gondor. How did Sauron capture it? What does it look like inside of the fortress? What did it look like before it was Sauron's, or the Witch Kings? How did they change it? I've been wondering about this for years and I have no clue what the heck happened.
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Old 03-02-2011, 04:04 AM   #2
Selmo
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Minas Morgul wasn't the old capital of Gondor; that was Osgiliath.

When Gondor was founded and Osgiliath established, the Gondorians built two fortresses at the feet of the mountains on either side of the Vale of Anduin. In the East stood Minas Ithil, the Tower of the Moon. It later became Minas Morgul. In the West was Minas Anor, the Tower of the Sun, later called Minas Tirith, the Tower of Guard.

There is a lot of information in the appendices to Lord of the Rings, in The Tale of The Years. Alternatively, you could check out a Tolkien encyclopedia such as The Encyclopedia of Arda at http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/

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Old 03-02-2011, 02:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Gastonason View Post
Okay so obviously Minas Morgul is the old capital of Gondor. How did Sauron capture it? What does it look like inside of the fortress? What did it look like before it was Sauron's, or the Witch Kings? How did they change it? I've been wondering about this for years and I have no clue what the heck happened.
I hate to sound sardonic, but did it ever occur to you, during these long years, to google "Minas Morgul"?
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Old 03-02-2011, 08:03 PM   #4
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Well, we don't really know much what exactly was inside Minas Ithil, but whatever it was, Sauron probably destroyed it and changed everything into orc barracs and storages of weapons.


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I hate to sound sardonic, but did it ever occur to you, during these long years, to google "Minas Morgul"?
Ah, well, googling takes so much time! Especially for Tolkien - every website has contradictive information about who, what, where, when, etc. It's soooo much easier to just ask a friend who knows.
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:58 AM   #5
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it would be sad if every query were reduced to a curt "go to Google", accurate and plentiful as information there may be

Gastonason, you are quite right to intuit a very good story lying half submerged there; but the best bit is the last King of Gondor riding off to his doom to pursue a duel, I take it you know that bit?
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:21 AM   #6
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I hate to sound sardonic, but did it ever occur to you, during these long years, to google "Minas Morgul"?
And if he had, he'd have found about half the results refer to death metal bands.
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:25 AM   #7
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Well said Anguirel. I must admit one reason I stopped going to another site was the sneering attitude to anyone whose Tolkien knowledge was regarded as deficient - not tha Skip was sneering himself.

Sometimes such questions lead me to look up and think about stuff I hadn't thought of for years. And we get a new member who may stick around so win win... Frankly it is nice to see a post by a newcomer that has a bona fide Tolkien question and isn't trying to sell me an increasingly surreal range of serices (often in the same post)!
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Old 03-03-2011, 09:38 PM   #8
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Minas Ithil was taken by the Nazgul very soon after the Witch-King's utter defeat in Arnor by a Gondorian expeditionary force. That's right, a fraction of Gondor's forces can annihilate a great evil power which resides hundreds of miles away, but allow that same power to capture one of their most crucial fortresses, just a short ride from their capital city, with horrendous consequences for years to come. Go figure.
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:42 AM   #9
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Minas Ithil was taken by the Nazgul very soon after the Witch-King's utter defeat in Arnor by a Gondorian expeditionary force. That's right, a fraction of Gondor's forces can annihilate a great evil power which resides hundreds of miles away, but allow that same power to capture one of their most crucial fortresses, just a short ride from their capital city, with horrendous consequences for years to come. Go figure.
Let's not forget that this expeditionary force was acting in concert with the Elves of Lindon, some Dunedain soldiers of Arthedain, and a force out of Rivendell led by a powerful elf-lord capable of putting the Witchking to flight!

By contrast, in the South the forts at the Morannon and Cirith Ungol had been abandoned, the civilians of Minas Ithil had left and there was likely just a small garrison there when ALL Nine Nazgul came against it.

Gondor was still very strong then, but the fear and dread of the Ringwraiths must have been an effective deterrent to breaking their siege, or recapturing the citadel. Now if I had been in charge, I would have thrown everything I had at 'em anyway and enlisted Gandalf and/or Saruman to help. One of the two should have been around somewhere at that time! Slackers!
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Old 04-10-2011, 04:04 PM   #10
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The Eye

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Well, we don't really know much what exactly was inside Minas Ithil, but whatever it was, Sauron probably destroyed it and changed everything into orc barracs and storages of weapons.
Well, I'm thinking he didn't destroy the palantír of Minas Ithil. I've always wondered if the Ithil palantír might be the 'Eye' of Sauron. Does anyone know of a reference to 'The Eye' that comes from before Minas Ithil fell?
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Old 04-10-2011, 05:44 PM   #11
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I remember reading somewhere in LOTR (might have been the end of FOTR or the beginning of the second half of TTT) that "eye" is the name that Frodo gave to the force that he felt searching for him. However, this term is used by other characters as well. When does it first appear?

PS: the term "palantir" is curious as well. It's never mentioned until Gandalf discovers what the stone is. After that point, many characters mention the palantiri in an off-hand way, but it sound somewhat unnatural. They all start talking palantirs after the discovery. (Even people like Denethor who have no idea about the story of Saruman's stone talk palantirs! It's creepy!)
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:26 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
I remember reading somewhere in LOTR (might have been the end of FOTR or the beginning of the second half of TTT) that "eye" is the name that Frodo gave to the force that he felt searching for him. However, this term is used by other characters as well. When does it first appear?

PS: the term "palantir" is curious as well. It's never mentioned until Gandalf discovers what the stone is. After that point, many characters mention the palantiri in an off-hand way, but it sound somewhat unnatural. They all start talking palantirs after the discovery. (Even people like Denethor who have no idea about the story of Saruman's stone talk palantirs! It's creepy!)
Well, Denethor talks palantíri because he owns one.

But generally, of course, it is assumed that Sauron got his hands on the Ithil-stone and that's what was at Barad-Dur and that's how he had trapped Saruman and Denethor.

"The Eye" is more like a metaphor for Sauron's current form by the time of LotR, where he is not really corporeal in the strict sense, and he is more like a "presence" which has certain attributes: and one of the most important thing about him seems to be that he "sees". This is where the Eye comes from, and I am curious as to whether this has something to do with Sauron himself or if it is a direct consequence of the Palantír (since that would mean that the Eye is a rather new symbol, only a hundred or so years old - would make sense in one way, on the other hand, I am rather interested as to what Sauron would have as his symbol earlier on, since we are all so much used to this... now I must confess that I am rather uncertain, I don't know whether there is any mention of the "Eye" prior to these late-third-Age events, resp. after Sauron's return to Mordor...).
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:41 PM   #13
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"The Eye" is more like a metaphor for Sauron's current form by the time of LotR, where he is not really corporeal in the strict sense, and he is more like a "presence" which has certain attributes
Ai, Legate, the world must be coming to end if even you have fallen for this movie-meme! From the mouth of an eye-witness (no pun intended):
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Originally Posted by LotR Book IV, The Black Gate is Closed
'He has only four [fingers] on the Black Hand, but they are enough', said Gollum shuddering.
If he had a hand, with the finger Isildur cut off still missing, I dare say he must have had a body.
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now I must confess that I am rather uncertain, I don't know whether there is any mention of the "Eye" prior to these late-third-Age events, resp. after Sauron's return to Mordor...).
Yes, there is:
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power...
There now he brooded in the dark, until he had wrought for himself a new shape; and it was terrible, for his fair semblance had departed for ever when he was cast into the abyss at the drowning of Númenor. He took up again the Great Ring and clothed himself in power; and the malice of the Eye of Sauron few even of the great among Elves and Men could endure.
(referring to the end of the Second Age)
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