Sauron knew that the One Ring could be destroyed only in Mount Doom, where it was forged. From Sauron's perspective, no one would think about destroying the One Ring. But if someone did, then Mount Doom would be the only place to do so.

Why did he keep Mount Doom active? Wasn't the risk too high?

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    "From Sauron's perspective, no one would think about destroying the one ring." I kind of feel like you answered your own question. Sauron never considered that somebody would do anything other than try to claim it, so there was no reason to consider Mount Doom an issue. Jan 22, 2014 at 9:56
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    What if he ever wanted to forge another? or something similar? If he destroyed Mount Doom then this would not of been possible.
    – SaturnsEye
    Jan 22, 2014 at 10:00
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    What makes you think Sauron ever had the power to destroy Mount Doom? Jan 22, 2014 at 12:06
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    Additionally, I don't know that Sauron originally thought that Mount Doom was the only place the ring could be destroyed.
    – The Fallen
    Jan 22, 2014 at 13:49
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    @DanielRoseman - I must agree with anacron on this; don't forget Galdor at the Council of Elrond: "And yet we see that Sauron can torture and destroy the very hills".
    – user8719
    Jan 22, 2014 at 23:51

5 Answers 5


My answer here provides the reason; I'll repeat the relevant quote from Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age:

...there was a fiery mountain in that land that the Elves named Orodruin. Indeed for that reason Sauron had set there his dwelling long before, for he used the fire that welled there from the heart of the earth in his sorceries and in his forging; and in the midst of the Land of Mordor he had fashioned the Ruling Ring.

In summary:

  • Sauron chose Mordor for his lair 600 years before he made the One Ring.
  • The reason why he chose it was to use Orodruin for his "sorceries and forgings".
  • Sauron had used Orodruin for these for some considerable time before making the Ring.
  • There's no reason to suppose that he didn't continue to use it afterwards.
  • Potential evidence of a future use of it was for making the battering ram Grond in the War of the Ring.
  • Sauron's returns to Mordor are normally accompanied by eruptions of Orodruin, which may indicate Sauron using it for something.

In other words, it's wrong to think of Orodruin as being solely connected with the Ring: Sauron had other uses for it too.

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    Good answer. Also, Sauron was not necessarily capable of destroying Mount Doom. He might have been able to level the mountain, but to stop it from erupting again he would have to get rid of the geological fault underneath it. Messing around with the structure of continents appears to be well beyond his power. Jan 22, 2014 at 11:23
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    @RoyalCanadianBandit You're assuming that Mordorian geotectics are the same as on our Earth :-) . What if Mount Doom were a local ancient magic spot which produced lava w/out connecting to a subsurface magma layer? After all, we don't really know what caused the Doom of Valirya either :-) Jan 22, 2014 at 14:37
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    @CarlWitthoft - there's a consensus in some areas that Mordor was under the Inland Sea of Helcar in the First Age (e.g Karen Wynn Fonstand's maps) so it's unlikely to have been an ancient magic spot.
    – user8719
    Jan 22, 2014 at 17:27
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    @Default_User - the books apparently reveal that there is no water in the vicinity of Mount Doom, which would make a permanent barracks there unlivable. Mordor is a very dry place, so trucking water in would be very difficult. Also, if Mt. Doom is anything like real volcanoes, it ejects TONS of toxic gases on a regular basis. Sauron probably wouldn't care about how many Orcs died from inhaling deadly gas, since he is pure evil, but the Orcs would certainly be reluctant at best to stay put after their kin had been wiped out by the gases several times, and Orcs are already prone to disloyalty
    – Wad Cheber
    May 16, 2015 at 5:00
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    @Default_User - since Orcs are willing to go AWOL and desert their master over relatively slight matters, it is reasonable to assume that they would desert if they were ordered to take on a seriously risky assignment like living next to a volcano that emits toxic gases and equally deadly lava without warning.
    – Wad Cheber
    May 16, 2015 at 5:03

Tolkien answered that himself:

"He is in great fear, not knowing what mighty one may suddenly appear, wielding the Ring, and assailing him with war, seeking to cast him down and take his place. That we should wish to cast him down and have no one in his place is not a thought that occurs to his mind. That we should try to destroy the Ring itself has not yet entered into his darkest dream."

Why didn't he destroy Orodruin? Morgoth couldn't do it and he was the mightiest of the Valar. Why should Sauron, a Maia, be able to? I also imagine it may have something to do with its creation by Eru Ilúvatar. Notice that there are very few geographical things are actually destroyed in the mythoi. Even the lands that lie under water still exist, but are difficult to access. :D

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    As stated in my other comment, Morgoth probably could have done it. But Morgoth's abilities are beside the point.
    – Spencer
    May 20, 2016 at 18:55
  • @Spencer Well, volcanoes aren't just mountains. If you "throw it down", it will just rise up again, violently. It may very well be that while Melkor can change the surface geography, he can't do anything about what happens a few hundred kilometers under the ground.
    – Luaan
    Oct 7, 2016 at 8:13
  • @Luann Well,only if you insist that the normal processes of geology happen on pre-Change Arda. Which is doybtful. Melkor's struggles with the Valar provide Tolkein's entire aetiology for the geography of Middle-Eath and the rest of Arda.
    – Spencer
    Oct 7, 2016 at 11:39

I have answered that question here in detail, the answer also got accepted.

I will provide a section from my answer here and include it in this answer:

Brief overview:

He 'used the fire that welled there from the heart of the earth in his sorceries and his forging.' The most famous result of his forging, and in fact the only one we know of for sure, was the One Ring.

Mount Doom was much more than just any volcano - Sauron seems to have extended his own power into it, just as his former master Melkor had extended his own power into the flesh of Arda as his means of corrupting the Valar's shaping of the world. In his case, it was probably due to his use of it as a foundry for the forging of the Ring, and was able to control its fires. It seems to have lain dormant when Sauron was away from Mordor, and sprung into life when his power grew.

It's an important place for Sauron as it represents the instrument for his ruling of the world. The more his power grows, the more roaring and fizzing the fires become. We can offer two conclusions. First one, that Sauron's own powers are tied into Mount Doom along with his sorceries. Second one, that he needed Mount Doom for the construction of other items, preservation of his power, form or he was attempting other things with it.

Additionally, we can offer a conclusion that every spawn or forgery of Mount Doom was destroyed or perished with its final eruption...

The world was bent, so that thereafter, only Elven-Ships could sail into the Utter West. Sauron's body was destroyed, but his spirit was not diminished, and he fled back to Mordor bearing the Ring, where he slowly rebuilt a new body and his strength during the time known as the Dark Years. From this point on, he lost the ability to assume a fair shape, and ruled now through terror and force.

...even Sauron's ability to assume any kind of shape or form again.

But while Sauron had much of his former strength, he was still much weakened without the One Ring and remained hidden in the shadows, directing his armies from afar.

Furthermore, we can conclude that he needed it running in order to forge something else, when he grew more stronger, and tie his strength and power into it once more.

The Road approached the east side of the base at a causeway and then wound up like a snake; at that point the Road seemed damaged by the lava and re-repaired several times.

It is also placed deep inside Mordor and thus needn't much protection. He was seeking The Ring with the Eye and flying Nazgul over it as he was rebuilding and wanted to maintain it for himself, only his purposes, whatever they may be. He didn't even consider that someone planned to destroy the One Ring.


"Sauron never considered that somebody would do anything other than try to claim it"

In my opinion, a more phylosophical approach would apply better, as implied by Anthony Grist. A complementary reason for the ring's creation was to corrupt and therefore get valuable information. Sauron in the end represents corruption itself and not necessarily the effects of it. It wasn't even thinkable for it to be destroyed. Who would even dare to think and try to destroy it, apart from an "innocent" and pure hobbit. It is an amazing parallelism of modern society's egoism an concentrated power i.e. political leaderships etc.


Why didn't Sauron Guard Mt. Doom answers this pretty well. He could not conceive that anyone should seek to destroy it. Not to mention the magic of the ring is so powerful that even Frodo could not throw it into the fire at Mt. Doom.

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