While I realise that it's a parody on "One does not simply walk into Mordor!" (I believe it's a statement made by Boromir), I was wondering where that particular meme comes from. The connection (no pun intended) between Mordor and the Telnet Protocol is just so arbitrary.

  • 8
    The One Does Not Simply X Into Mordor snowclone/image macro/meme seems to have originated in the Something Awful forums in 2004.
    – Plutor
    Feb 13, 2012 at 13:04
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    @Plutor That should probably be an answer.
    – Beofett
    Feb 13, 2012 at 14:13
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    While telnetting into mordor is certainly a bad idea, one can in fact, SSH into mordor. However, this involves getting Sauron's public key, which no one has managed yet.
    – Fake Name
    Feb 13, 2012 at 19:58
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    @FakeName: Don't you mean his private key?
    – bitmask
    Feb 13, 2012 at 20:02
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    Saruman had one.
    – horatio
    Feb 15, 2012 at 20:14

5 Answers 5


According to Know Your Meme, the "One Does Not Simply X Into Mordor" snowclone/image macro/meme seems to have originated in the Something Awful forums in 2004. Lots of great examples of other ones (including puns) on that page.

  • 8
    That's how you turn a nonchalant comment into 145 rep :)
    – bitmask
    Feb 15, 2012 at 21:56
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    @bitmask More like 355 and rising
    – Zommuter
    Jul 13, 2015 at 20:42

Yes, it is arbitrary. That's what happens with memes. It started with "one does not simply walk into Mordor," as you said, then various people just posted "one does not simply walk into x" and "one does not simply x into Mordor" for all x they could think of, and someone just happened to put telnet into it. There's nothing deeper about it, it's just the nature of memes.

  • How disappointing - I expected a weird back-story, there.
    – bitmask
    Feb 13, 2012 at 4:43
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    @bitmask if it'll make you feel better, I'll try and think of a good story for it tomorrow.
    – Kevin
    Feb 13, 2012 at 4:52
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    The meme has actually gone so far as "One does not simply x".
    – Anthony
    Feb 13, 2012 at 12:25

It might be related to [the custom of naming computers after LotR characters

enter image description here

and Mordor might then be the name of a Network that is claimed to be difficult to access without permission.

However, Telnet is also used for MUDs, and indeed there is at least one LotR MUD with telnet access. So, this might refer to a MUD and a difficulty that is most likely so high that playing for the good side one could not simply get to Mordor. However I'm just speculating here, maybe someone who has played LotR MUDs can confirm/falsify this.

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    +1 for MUDs! That was the most likely source of the meme Feb 13, 2012 at 14:34
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    +1 for MUDs! This was the answer I first thought of, but dismissed with the thought that no one except me still remembered them. Glad to see I'm wrong; maybe the Mud I'm still on will find more players again, some day :)
    – K-H-W
    Feb 13, 2012 at 14:51
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    I object to the characterization of LotR and SW as "equally dorky" ;) Feb 13, 2012 at 16:00
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    @Jagd: To paraphrase Tuvok; LotR is to SW what Kal-toh is to Chess ...
    – bitmask
    Feb 14, 2012 at 0:58
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    @bitmask Using a ST:VOY quotation to compare LotR to SW, to boldly compare where no Vulcanian... nevermind. Fun fact: there's an actual thesis on Kal-toh: uwspace.uwaterloo.ca/bitstream/10012/5882/1/Anderson_Terry.pdf
    – Zommuter
    Jul 9, 2013 at 6:14

I have not read the LOTRs books, but I have come across this meme on our servers. I have noticed UNIX servers named mordor (and gondor too) and directory paths such as /home/mordor.

Once some log files I needed were stored in one of these, but when I tried to access them I found out that I lacked the required permissions. Then of course, someone said "One does not simply cd (change directory) into mordor".

If one tries to telnet into a server named mordor, one usually gets the smug response "One does not simply telnet into mordor. One uses SSH."

  • 4
    I am tempted to give you a +1 for having a server named Mordor. But then you have not read LotR, so I can't really. Feb 13, 2012 at 10:34
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    What if I tell you I haven't even seen the movie beyond the point where Gandalf says "You shall not pass!" ?
    – HNL
    Feb 13, 2012 at 10:54
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    You are asking for a dowvote..... Feb 13, 2012 at 11:05
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    Who is that sysadmin that allows usernames such as mordor? He should be cast into /dev/mountdoom.
    – Janoma
    Feb 19, 2012 at 0:52
  • What about this evil One Ring that corrupts files?
    – MadTux
    Mar 12, 2013 at 11:20

My guess is that it's a spin on the Star Wars telnet. If you're not familiar with Star Wars telnet, open up a command prompt and type telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl

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