Barad-dûr (Sindarin "Dark Tower", sometimes given as The Barad-dûr, Lugbúrz in Black Speech) is the fortress of Sauron in the fantasy world of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The Eye of Sauron kept watch over Middle-earth from its highest tower.
Barad-dûr was built by Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor, with the power of the One Ring, during the Second Age. The building took six hundred years to complete; it was the greatest fortress ever built since the Fall of Angband, and much of Sauron's personal power went into it.
Barad-dûr was besieged for seven years by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men and was levelled after Sauron's defeat at the end of the Second Age, but because it was created using the power of the One Ring, its foundations could not be destroyed completely unless the Ring itself was destroyed. Isildur cut the Ring from Sauron's hand but refused to destroy it, so the Tower was quickly re-built when Sauron returned to Mordor thousands of years later, in T.A. 2951.
A contradiction exists regarding the Dark Tower: Appendix B has Sauron beginning to build the Tower in c. S.A. 1000, completing it at the same time he forges the One Ring c. S.A. 1600, yet Elrond asserts that its foundations "were made with the power of the Ring." No explanation is offered in the text.
The Dark Tower was described as existing on a massive scale so large it was almost surreal, although Tolkien does not provide much detail beyond its size and immense strength. Since it had a "topmost tower" it presumably had multiple towers. It is otherwise described as dark and surrounded in shadow, so that it could not be clearly seen.
In his vision at Amon Hen, Frodo Baggins perceived the immense tower as "wall upon wall, battlement upon battlement, black, immeasurably strong, mountain of iron, gate of steel, tower of adamant...Barad-dûr, Fortress of Sauron".
There was an "immeasurably high" look-out post, "the Window of the Eye in Sauron’s shadow-mantled fortress", said to face Mount Doom. In this window, Frodo and Sam had a terrible glimpse of the Eye of Sauron.
There is a drawing by Tolkien that he titled "Barad-dûr"; since he did not publish it during his lifetime, it is unclear how close the drawing is to his mature vision of the tower. The picture shows only the left edge of the lower part of a structure that seems to be constructed of immense masonry blocks of some greenish-gray stone. The few existing windows are small and either dark or lighted dark red; one is clearly barred. One high, thin vertical spire is visible in the background. The whole building seems to stand on top of a large monolithic rock with almost vertical edges and a relatively flat top. A narrow stone bridge leads across the chasm to the single visible door, through which flames can be seen inside the tower. An erupting volcano (presumably Mount Doom) can be seen in the background, a lava stream flowing from there past the side of the monolithic rock.
Depiction in adaptations
In The Lord of the Rings film trilogy by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor and his design team built a 9 meter high miniature ("big-ature") of Barad-dûr for use in the film.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King also shows Barad-dûr as clearly visible from the Black Gate of Mordor. Even granting its enormous size, it was located one hundred miles away and to the east of the Gate, not to mention being behind the inner mountain ridges of Udûn so Aragorn's army would not have been able to see it. It is also shown in front of Mount Doom, but when looking from the gate as shown in the maps of Middle-earth, Barad-dûr is actually somewhat behind Mount Doom (although some of the maps of Mordor in the film are altered so that Barad-dûr is not blocked by the mountains of Udûn.) In the case of the Black Gate scene, having Barad-dûr visible from the Gate means that the army can see the Eye of Sauron staring at them. The reason this was done is due to the deleted "Aragorn Vs Sauron" scene. Originally there would be a "blinding light" and Aragorn would see Annatar (Sauron's pleasant appearance that he had used to deceive the Elves in the Second Age), who would then become Sauron and attack. However the filmmakers decided this deviated too far from the books, so instead the blinding light scenes were used to depict a "staring contest" between Aragorn and the Eye of Sauron.
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