Destruction of Isengard

Destruction of Isengard

Infobox Me battle

location= Isengard
date= ME-date|TA|2 March 3019
result= Decisive Fangorn victory
books= "The Lord of the Rings"
("The Two Towers")
adaptations= See below
combatant1= Fangorn
combatant2= Isengard
participants1= Treebeard, Merry, Pippin
participants2= Saruman
strength1= Nearly 20-30 Ents
strength2= 400-500 uruks

The Destruction of Isengard is a fictional battle from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium. It is an important event in the War of the Ring because it signifies the destruction of Saruman's army production facilities.


After a three day long Entmoot, an army of Ents and Huorns set off for the tower-fortress of Isengard, making terrifying music. They arrived and began their attack on March 2nd. The time of their attack was fortunate, because they arrived just when the wizard Saruman was emptying Isengard for a final assault on Rohan. As a result, there were few left to defend Isengard besides Saruman himself.

Once the army of Isengard had left for Rohan, the Ents launched their attack on the walls. Attempts were made to hinder them with arrows, but these only served to irritate the attackers further, and, in a matter of minutes the gate and much of the southern wall was reduced to ruin. As Merry and Pippin later recounted to their friends, Ents are so strong that their punches can crumple iron like tinfoil, and they can tear apart solid rock like breadcrusts. A ring of Huorns surrounded Isengard and killed all escaping Orcs.

Once the gate and walls had been reduced to rubble, a young Ent named Bregalad or ‘Quickbeam’ in the Westron tongue, spotted Saruman, and made for him, shouting ‘The Tree Killer!’, for his people and all Fangorn forest in general had suffered from heavy deforestation to fuel the furnaces of Saruman. He was followed by other Ents, but Saruman narrowly succeeded in escaping into the tower of Orthanc. Once in the tower, he activated spouts and vents all over the plain, scorching many Ents who had entered the fortress. One ent, Beechbone, was unlucky enough to be caught fully in one of the fiery blasts, and the death of this ent by Saruman's fire caused the ent host to go berserk. The hobbits Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took, who were present there and later narrated the battle to the Three Hunters, recounted the fury of the Ents, saying that their enraged roars were enough to crack the stones. They destroyed the buildings and machinery on the plain, but could do nothing to hurt the tower itself.

At this point the Ents took counsel, and came up with a new plan of attack. By digging trenches and destroying Saruman's dam, the Ents and Huorns diverted the course of the river Isen itself, causing it to flood the ‘bowl’ of Isengard, submerging everything but the tower and filling in all the tunnels and holes where the machinery of war had been. The destruction of Isengard was complete, although Saruman was still untouched in the tower.

Saruman’s sound defeat at the Battle of the Hornburg and the destruction of his fortress rendered him incapable of causing the West any military harm, although he still had the power of his persuasive and commanding voice, with which he could still do (and did do) further harm. Had the Ents not destroyed Isengard, although Saruman's main army had been destroyed he could still have withstood a siege with his few remaining forces behind Isengard's normally impregnable walls, and bided his time until he could renew his strength.


*Tolkien later noted that the destruction of Isengard by the Ents was based on his disappointment in "Macbeth"; when "Birnham Wood be come to Dunsinane", Tolkien was less than thrilled that it amounted to men walking on stage with leaves in their hats. He decided that when he did that scene for himself, he would do it right.
*The band The Fall of Troy has a song, "The Last March of The Ents", about this event.


The battle is depicted in Peter Jackson's film adaptation of "The Two Towers" (2002).


*"The Lord of the Rings"

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