The beacons were great fireplaces permanently manned by men of Gondor, and were placed on top of seven peaks in the range of the White Mountains. From east to west they were the Amon Dîn, Eilenach, Nardol, Erelas, Min-Rimmon, Calenhad, and Amon Anwar (or Halifirien).
In the late Second Age and early Third Ages, they mainly served to warn southern Gondor of a danger for the northern province of Calenardhon, or vice versa, but after the Steward of Gondor Cirion granted Calenardhon to the Éothéod, they were used mainly to warn the people in Anórien of danger.
The tomb of Elendil was hidden on the summit of Halifirien, westernmost of the beacon mountains.
Portrayal in the films EditOne of the major changes made to the story by Peter Jackson's film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is that when Gandalf and Pippin ride to Minas Tirith the beacons are not lit, since the despairing Denethor has decided not to send for help. In the movie there is a beacon just above the city, and to summon the Rohirrim, Gandalf asks Pippin to evade the guards and light it. Once he has done so, the film depicts the other beacons being lit one by one until the last is sighted by Aragorn who is in Edoras, and it is this (and not the Red Arrow, which is not mentioned in the film) which finally helps him to persuade Theoden to muster the Rohirrim to Gondor's aid.
In the film depiction, some viewers believed the number of beacons to be far greater than the seven described in the book. In actual fact, the film makers showed each beacon being lit from several angles, such that each close up is of the beacon shown as having been lit in the distance of the previous shot. If viewed in this way, one can count seven beacons, however the film still differs from Tolkien's writings as it depicts the first as directly above Minas Tirith instead of atop Amon Dîn as in the novel.
|Warning beacons of Gondor|
|Amon Dîn | Eilenach | Nardol | Erelas | Min-Rimmon | Calenhad | Amon Anwar (Halifirien)|