Middle-earth has plenty of famous mountains, from the peaks of the Misty Mountains to Erebor, but perhaps the most important to the story is Mount Doom, the volcano at the center of Sauron’s evil domain of Mordor. In the latest episode of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, we got a surprising and explosive origin story for the series’ most famous volcano.
[Ed. note: The story contains spoilers for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 6.]
To answer the most obvious question first, yes, that was in fact Mount Doom that erupted at the end of the episode. In case you, like Galadriel, are terrible at remembering what Middle-earth looks like on a map, the Southlands of The Rings of Power, where the besieged village of Ostirith sits, also happens to be the land that will later become Mordor.
It seems that the evolution of the land from lush fields and beautiful mountains was part of a grand design by either Morgoth or Sauron and was triggered by the sword-key, releasing a massive flood. This flood destroyed the land, thanks to the tunnels the orcs had already dug, and triggered an eruption of the volcanic Mount Doom (though in the show’s time it doesn’t have that name yet) until it erupted. This eruption spewed molten rock and magma in a miles-wide radius that it appears will remain scorched forever, or at least until Frodo, Sam, and Gollum arrive there with the One Ring.
While the history of Mount Doom isn’t very explicit in Tolkien’s lore, the show’s story does seem to mostly line up. We know that the land wasn’t always called Mordor, and that the name likely arrived after Mount Doom’s eruption, but there’s no mention of the eruption itself being caused by an intentional flood.
As for what will happen to the area next, and how long it will take before Sauron takes up residence there, we’ll just have to wait to see where The Rings of Power takes its story next.