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“One Does Not Simply Walk into Mordor” (snowclone: “One Does Not Simply X into Mordor”) is a memorable quote from the 2001 fantasy epic film Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Variants of the phrase are often used in image macros featuring Mordor, a fictional location from The Lord of the Rings franchise, or the character Boromir, who originally says the line in the film.
Lord of the Rings
The phrase “One does not simply walk into Mordor” originates from a scene in Peter Jackson’s 2001 film adaption of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. In the scene, the Council of Elrond reveals that an evil ring must be destroyed by being thrown into the fires of Mount Doom, a volcano deep in the territory of Mordor. Boromir promptly points out the difficultly of the task by saying, “One does not simply walk into Mordor."
Elrond: The ring cannot be destroyed, Gimli, son of Gloin, by any craft that we here possess. The ring was made in the fires of Mount Doom. Only there can it be unmade. The ring must be taken deep into Mordor and cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came. One of you must do this.
Boromir: One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its black gates are guarded by more than just orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep. The great eye is ever watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire, ash, and dust. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. Not with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly.
As a Snowclone
In the “One does not simply X into Mordor” snowclone, the word “walk” is typically substituted with another verb which is often related to the subject of an image. The variation “One dos not simply walk into Y”, swaps “Mordor” with another location that has relevance to the situation depicted in the image.One of the first instances of this usage in image macro form was posted in a Something Awful thread with the caption “One does not simply / drive into Mordor” on January 16th, 2004.
On May 3rd, 2004, the Something Awful image macro was used in a YTMND page titled “Drive Into Mordor.” On September 10th, 2005, a “more cowbell” mashupYTMND was created titled “One does not simply cowbell into Mordor,” which received over 21,000 views within seven years. On June 21st, 2006, an image macro with the caption “One does not simply Telnet into Morder” (shown below, left) was posted on the Internet humor blog My[confined]Space. On February 28th, 2007, an image of Boromir riding a cat with the caption “One does not simply / Tank Cat into Mordor” (shown below, right) was posted on the humor site I Can Has Cheezburger.
Google Maps implemented a reminder that one cannot simply walk into Mordor on their walking directions from a Wisconson address masked as the Shire to an address masked as Mordor in Illinois. The meme has continued to spread on Tumblr, Memebase, Reddit and Facebook.
Search for the phrase started in December 2005, when a gif of the phrase was circulating the web, picked up again in October 2006, which may coincide with Rick Santorum explaining the Iraq war with a Mordor analogy.