What is 'Udun,' the Ominous Chant of the Orcs in Episode 6 of Rings of Power?

Heavy spoilers are ahead. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. 

In Episode 6 of The Rings of Power, the show’s slow-burn build-up came to end in an explosive climax. The latest episode might just be the show’s best yet as it unearthed even more layers to each character, hinted at important LOTR plot points, and finally gave us the action we were waiting for. 

The entirety of Episode 6 was essentially the first big battle sequence of the show. The episode began with Arondir, Bronwyn, and the remaining Tirharad villagers fighting against the forces of Adar and his orc “children.” The battle isn’t looking too good for them—at least until the Numenoreans make a grand entrance and save the day. 

But of course, we’re only halfway through the first season so we shouldn’t have expected things to end in a happily ever after. Just as the Southlanders, Numenoreans, and elves rejoice in their victory, it’s revealed that the human Waldreg stole the dark sword from Arondir.

He places it in a strange dial in a keep that unlocks dams in the mountain pass, unleashing a waterfall. The water sinks into the tunnels dug by the orcs, which leads to the magma-filled base of a dormant volcano—which becomes dormant no longer. The volcano erupts, covering the Southlands valley in fire and ash, thereby creating what is most likely… Udun, a valley in Mordor that houses the Black Gate—which is just a few miles from Mount Doom.

The Black Gate

Photo by New Line Cinema.

Mount Doom

Photo by New Line Cinema.

It’s highly possible that we just saw the formation of the iconic Black Gate in The Lord of the Rings movies. And even Mount Doom, where the One Ring was forged and later destroyed by Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. 

By the time of The Rings of Power, Mordor is not yet the giant “country” it becomes in The Lord of the Rings. The volcanic explosion is likely the start of the black plain’s expansion into the Southlands, until the Southlands was no more. 

The impact of Episode 6 to the history of Middle-earth is huge. In the Silmarillion and Tolkien mythology, the story of the Southlands is a tragedy, and we’re now sure we're going to see this tragedy unfold in The Rings of Power. 

Catch the next episode of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power only on Amazon Prime Video on Fridays, 12 noon, Philippine time.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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