Mount Doom is a volcano in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. It is located in the heart of the black land of Mordor and approximately 15,553 feet (4.7 km) high. Alternative names, in Tolkien's invented language of Sindarin, include Orodruin ("fiery mountain") and Amon Amarth ("mountain of fate"). The Sammath Naur ("Cracks of Doom") is a chasm located deep within the mountain.
The mountain represents the endpoint of Frodo Baggins' quest to destroy the Ring which is recounted in The Lord of the Rings. The chasm is the site where the One Ring was originally forged by the Dark Lord Sauron and the only place it can be unmade.
When Sauron began searching Middle-earth during the Second Age for a permanent dwelling place, his attention was immediately drawn to Mordor, and especially to Orodruin, whose power he believed he could use to his advantage. He subsequently established his kingdom based around Orodruin and "used the fire that welled there from the heart of the earth in his sorceries and his forging". The most famous of Sauron's creations forged at Mount Doom is the One Ring. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf explains that the materials of which the Ring is made are so durable and the enchantments with which it is imbued so powerful that it can only be destroyed in the Cracks of Doom where it was made.
Orodruin is more than just an ordinary volcano; it responds to Sauron's commands and his presence, lapsing into dormancy when he is away from Mordor and becoming active again when he returns. When Sauron is defeated at the end of the Third Age, the volcano erupts violently one final time and then ceases all activity permanently.
Cracks of Doom
The phrase "crack of doom" is the modern English for the Old English term for Ragnarök, the great catastrophe of Norse mythology. The term became used for the Christian Day of Judgement, as by William Shakespeare in Macbeth (Act 4, scene 1, 112). This appealed to Tolkien, who was a Professor of Old English. Another possible source of the name is a long story by Algernon Blackwood.
In Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, Orodruin was represented by two active volcanoes in New Zealand: Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Ruapehu. In long shots the mountain is either a large model or a CGI effect, or a combination. It was not permitted to film the summit of Ngauruhoe because the Māori hold it to be sacred. However, some scenes on the slopes of Mount Doom were filmed on the slopes of Ruapehu.
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