Was Naming the Mountain “Mount Doom” a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

Mount DoomI’m no expert in mountain-naming, but it seems to me that the person or creature who chose the name “Mount Doom” had to know he was creating trouble for future generations.

Imagine yourself sitting around a council chamber among all the other cartographers of the land. You’ve been using all the different languages of Middle Earth to name things, and you finally decided to come up with a consistent nomenclature.

The elf to your left clears his throat and points to a corner of the map. “Lord Winklebottom of the Tinkletree clan would like to select a name for the large, volcanic mountain to the east.”

King Mystus, whose wife has been playing footsie with you for the last 10 minutes, sheathes his sword and proposes that the mountain be called “Volcanic Mountain.” He’s a very literal man.

“And my axe!” one of the dwarves say.

Gandalf (of course Gandalf is there) strokes his beard and says, “Volcanic though the mountain may be, a power far greater than magma will soon rise from the depths of Mordor!”

“Why so cryptic?” you say. “Can’t you just tell us what’s going to happen without all the riddles?”

Before he can answer, Gandalf jumps out of the window onto an eagle and rides away.

The elf speaks again. “Lord Wilkebottom of the Tinkle–”

“We don’t have to say your name every time, Winky” you say. “That’s why we played a getting-to-know-you game at the beginning of the meeting.”

The dwarves stomp their axes in approval.

Lord Winklebottom blinks and continues, “The Tinkletree clan recommends the mountain be named ‘Mount Doom.'”

Somewhere, a nazgul howls.

You shake your head. “Really? Mount Doom? Is that the best we can do? If we call it something like that, we’re practically guaranteeing that’s where evil dudes are going to hang out from now on. How about Mount Pleasantridge? Or Mount Smiles? Anyone? Bueller?”

King Mystus raises his sword. “I second Mount Doom!”

“And my axe!” a dwarf proclaims.

You stand up. “Guys, guys, think about this. Mount Doom is a terrible name. We’re literally dooming the place before it even has a chance. No one is going to build there. We need something that will attract businesses–maybe a cupcake place on the ground floor, a Quiznos, then lofts along the ridges. Think of the view! How about Mount Sunrise or Mount Cuddles? Anything but Mount Doom.”

Lord Winklebottom waves her spindly hand. “And it is so. On the third day of the fourth moon of the eighth year of the twelfth age, it will come to pass that the volcanic mountain to the east shall be known as Mount Doom.”

You grab your lunchbox and head for the door. “Don’t say I didn’t tell you so. I’m moving my people out west to start a shire in New Zealand. Us hobbits are staying as far away from Mount Doom as possibles. See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya!”

“And my axe!” you hear as the door closes. Idiots.

(end deleted scene from Lord of the Rings)


7 Responses to “Was Naming the Mountain “Mount Doom” a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?”

  1. JT says:

    Ah, self-fulfilling to the reader, but to the writer it’s the opposite of dramatic irony. Remember that Middle Earth was created with the end already known by the Ainur, to allow the music of Ainulindale to play out its melody.

  2. I always appreciate when you post the meanderings of your creative imagination. Makes for good Monday morning humor.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Thanks Dustin! I have another one in mind for next week, so I’m glad some people like them! 🙂

      JT: It appears that you know the world of Middle Earth well better than I do. 🙂

      Joe: That’s amazing.

  3. Red says:

    I know you all missed me, especially when I’m THAT guy.
    Elves named it “Orodruin” which means “Fire Mountain.” Makes sense for a volcano. After Sauron’s more-evil boss got hauled to god-jail, Sauron moved into the dormant volcano, woke it up, and used it to to make bad things like Balrogs, dragons, rings and general bad juju. When the inhabitants of Numenor (Aragorn’s ancestors, and basically magic-men) realized what was going on, they named it “Amon Amreth” (“Mount Doom”).

    Also, I hiked part of it in New Zealand on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. (https://www.tongarirocrossing.org.nz/the-lord-of-the-rings.html)

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Wait, Sauron had an even more evil boss?! Why do we not hear about him in the movie? I demand another trilogy.

      • Red says:

        Morgoth is locked away in The Void during LOTR. But Gandalf mentions him when they run into the balrog in the Fellowship movie. It’s a hard read, but there’s a lot of neat stuff in The Silmarillion.

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