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Constructed in the early days of Gondor, quite possibly before the end of the Second Age
At the source of the river Isen, at the southern end of the Misty Mountains
Built by the early Gondorians
Built by Men, but latterly occupied by a Wizard
A translation of the name Orthanc from Elvish1
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 2 March 2016
  • Updates planned: 1

Mount Fang

A name for the tower of Orthanc

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Map of Mount Fang (Orthanc)

A picturesque name for Orthanc, the citadel of the Wizard Saruman. 'Mount Fang' translates Orthanc's name as if it were Elvish, but the meaning 'Cunning Mind' was also possible if the name is interpreted in the old language of the Rohirrim.



The origins of the name Orthanc are ambiguous, but it seems most likely to be a late name, having been given to the Tower after the coming of Saruman in III 2759 (since orthanc to the Rohirrim meant 'cunning mind', and it was Saruman to whom this name referred). The fact that the name could also be treated as Elvish and roughly translated from that language as 'Mount Fang' appears to have been a simple coincidence.

The alternative view, that Orthanc was named early and always intended to mean 'Mount Fang', seems rather less plausible. For that interpretation to work, the name would have had to coincidentally form a single meaningful word in the entirely different language of a people who would not settle the land in the future, and also be perfectly fitted an occupant who would take up residence there thousands of years in the future.

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