In the Peter Jackson movie, once the One Ring is thrown into the volcano in Mount Doom, why does the mountain and tower collapse, and the ground disappears everywhere where the orcs are standing but not where the humans are? Where are all the orcs running to, what do they do next?

  • 1
    I gather you have seen the movie but not read the books?
    – Kevin
    Mar 1, 2013 at 4:13
  • Yes, exactly. Well, I've read the Hobbit...
    – Scholar
    Mar 1, 2013 at 4:13
  • Here is what happened to the main characters imgur.com/a/Hp6ew Jun 2, 2013 at 19:48
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    @scholar - There are multiple (good) questions here; 1) Why does Mordor fall apart, 2) What happens next to Gandalf. In your absence, I've asked them both and asked/closed the gandalf one as a dupe.
    – Valorum
    May 30, 2015 at 8:05

2 Answers 2


The Tower collapses because its foundations was built by the power of the Ring. When the Ring was destroyed, the foundations crumbled, and the tower fell.

The mountain collapsed for much the same reason. Sauron had reshaped the volcano in the past, and those changes were being un-done.

The ground collapsing under the orcs and not the humans was a visual effect added by Peter Jackson and his crew.

The Orcs fled in fear and madness after the will of their Master was removed.

No, evil still exists in the world. One of my favorite post-Ring chapters "The Scouring of the Shire", was completely removed from the movie. It deals with the evil that men continue to do in the world.

As above, there is quite a lot of story, post-Ring, found in the novels that was removed when the movie was made. But, even in the movie, Gandalf and Bilbo leave Middle-Earth for the undying lands.

  • 3
    A brief glimpse of the scouring can be seen when Frodo looks into Galadriel's magic bird-bath and sees the Shire burning & under attack. That's as close as we get to seeing it.
    – Omegacron
    Jun 2, 2014 at 19:24
  • @Omegacron in fact, IIRC, the scene was included in the script at first (thus they filmed it, or parts of it), but was later dropped. I believe it's mentioned in the Additional Materials from FOTR. May 31, 2015 at 16:36
  • The Orcs fled from the battle in fear after Sauron's will vanished when he was defeated. I edited your answer to reflect this. Sep 27, 2017 at 15:43
  1. Sauron built the tower of Barad-Dur using the Ring, and when the Ring was destroyed, so were all the things Sauron had built with it.

  2. In the books, the Orcs are not swallowed up by the earth, but many of them are killed. The rest scatter and go back to their usual habits of waylaying people, robbery, and low level criminality.

  3. Evil is not eradicated from the world, but the singular evil that became incarnate in Sauron will be replaced by many smaller, more difficult to conquer evils.

  4. Gandalf is immortal. He goes to the Undying Lands with Frodo and Bilbo, as well as Galadriel, Elrond, and a number of other characters.

  • " the singular evil that became incarnate in Sauron will be replaced by many smaller, more difficult to conquer evils." which are not nearly as dangerous as that posed by Sauron. Jan 13, 2019 at 0:51
  • @WhatRoughBeast we may have mosquitos, but at least we don't have giant magical stirges flying around trying to suck our blood. Nov 17, 2023 at 20:58

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