Let’s venture into Mordor and learn about Mount Doom. That is right, folks. The Digital Fix is heading back to Middle-earth to investigate the history and origin of one of the most famous fictional volcanoes of all time.
If you have watched The Lord of the Rings (aka some of the best movies ever made), chances are that you remember the fiery mountain in Mordor. Mount Doom has always stood tall as a beacon of evil, a monument that only the best Lord of the Rings characters can conquer. Over the years, it has become a symbol of JRR Tolkien’s writing and even appeared in Amazon’s recent Rings of Power series. So, you may be wondering what the true story, origins, and history of this famous location are. Well, worry not, Tolkien fans! We answer all your burning questions below.
What is Mount Doom?
Mount Doom was a massive volcano in the northwestern region of Mordor. It is also where Sauron’s One Ring was forged by the Dark Lord and where it was later destroyed by Frodo Baggins.
Also known as Orodruin and Amon Amarth, Mount Doom is one of the most famous locations in The Lord of the Rings franchise. It is a symbol of Mordor’s destruction and also the only place where Sauron can be stopped once and for all.
During The Fellowship of the Ring, we learn that Frodo, as the Ring-bearer, must head to the fiery mountain and cast Sauron’s magic ring back into the fires from whence it came. So, while Mount Doom is evil, it is also a beacon of hope in The Lord of the Rings.
How was Mount Doom created?
Contrary to popular belief, Mount Doom wasn’t created by Sauron. Instead, Melkor (aka Morgoth) created Mount Doom during the First Age.
Long before Mordor became known as the go-to Lord of the Rings villain’s hangout spot, Morgoth created a fortress known as Angband in the northwest of Middle-earth. There, he and his servant Sauron would erect volcanoes and nurture a mountain-filled wasteland where they could grow their power and be protected.
However, after Angband was destroyed during the War of Wrath in the First Age, Morgoth set out to build a new empire and willed Mount Doom into existence. The land where Mount Doom was erected would later be known as Mordor – which would be the location where Sauron chose to settle and make his base of operations during the Second Age.
Mount Doom in the Second Age
Mount Doom became a dormant volcano for years after its creation. However, it was still vital for Sauron as he used its fire in his forging and sorcery.
During the year SA1600, Sauron forged the One Ring in the Cracks of Doom (the volcanic fissure in Mount Doom, also known as Sammath Naur). The Second Age was also a big moment for the volcano when it erupted in SA 3429. This eruption was caused by an extension of Sauron’s power and signaled his attack on Gondor, beginning the War of the Last Alliance.
However, Mount Doom’s fiery nature did cool down a bit before the Third Age. After Isildur cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand, Mount Doom became silent again – awaiting the return of the Dark Lord.
Mount Doom in the Third Age and Lord of the Rings movies
Mount Doom woke up again in TA 2954, marking Sauron’s return to Mordor. But the volcano wasn’t just a cool feature in the villain’s fortress. It was also a massive part of the Third Age as it was the location where the One Ring could be destroyed, and Sauron stopped for good.
If you watch all of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies in order, you see The Fellowship of the Ring set out to accompany Frodo (the Ring-bearer at the time) on a quest to Mount Doom. The plan was to venture into Mordor and go to the Cracks of Doom, where the Ring was originally forged. There, they would cast it into the fire and destroy Sauron’s power. Despite tons of obstacles and dangerous enemies, Frodo and Sam reached Mount Doom on March 25, TA 3019.
The One Ring was destroyed, and with it, Mount Doom erupted once again. However, this time, the explosion was its final as the cone of the volcano was ripped apart, and it ultimately destroyed itself.
Mount Doom in The Rings of Power
Amazon’s The Rings of Power series changes Mount Doom’s history, so we have to discuss the alternate lore. During season 1 of the show, fans saw Mount Doom breaking out of its dormant state during the start of the Second Age, with a sword hilt being used as a key to activate the volcano eruption manually – marking Sauron’s return.
OK, that may sound strange, so let’s explain. In the series, the Southlands have a dormant volcano called Orodruin. However, as Sauron’s influence returns to the land, an ancient sword is discovered. The sword (acting like the One Ring) seemingly has the power to corrupt Men. After whispering to the young boy who originally found it, Theo, it is eventually taken by one of Sauron’s followers.
The stolen sword is then slotted into a mechanism that triggers the landscape to change and the mountain to erupt. And so Mordor and Mount Doom come into existence. Obviously, this is quite a big jump from the canon history of Morgoth creating Mount Doom, Mordor’s creation, and finally, Mount Doom’s eruption history.
At least the change reminded us that Sauron was a master forger and genius – who (in theory) would be capable of building such an earth-shattering mechanism. I mean, let’s just forget that he was a sorcerer, too, and wouldn’t probably bother with such a convoluted way to create a wasteland, right?
Hopefully, when the Rings of Power season 2 release date gets here, Mount Doom’s lore will be corrected in some way or, at the very least, not changed so drastically this time around. Fingers crossed!
If you are after more on Middle-earth, here are our guides breaking down some of the best Lord of the Rings characters of all time, such as Aragorn, Gandalf, and Gollum. We also have explainers for all the details on the new Lord of the Rings movie and everyone in the Lord of the Rings cast.