The tower of Orthanc rises. What is this structure saying? The principle that it seems to have been constructed out of is pessimism. There is no community in a tower like this. It says we cannot live side by side. This is no Hobbiton clearly where the lines of housing are all alongside each other. The pessimistic tower speaks of upward hierarchy, vertical organisation. The orders come from on high. The message is of the primacy of aboveness, the supremacy of hierarchy and pessimism about any spreading of community. Orthanc appears as a bulwark against chaos. A tower of Babel.
The function of the construct is to be exclusive. Surrounding nature is shut out. Inside there is a chamber, for example, with four doors. One door to shut out each of the four elements. It is a place where one person can experience a deep exclusiveness, shut in against any encroachment by living matter. The structure advertises the exclusion. It states its function honestly. It is as black inside as outside. There is no camouflage.
What does the structure say about the resident. Clearly we would expect to find a solitary and withdrawing figure. We would have to enjoy a very high qualification to enter. This is a place to be alone. The resident here spends long periods with some interior concern of their own. No interruptions.
This is a construct for the most high. But what is the need for such scale? The owner needs to be elevated, physically high up to realise his project. This is the home of a wizard. This wizard wants to hurl his magic down on us. The magic projected from here needs velocity and it needs it to smash, to break, to destroy. No good comes down. This is certainly not the dwelling of a wandering wizard, one who might roam freely, getting his hands dirty with work for the populace.
Orthanc is almost a shadow of a building. Its as if a great structure should exist outside of this image and what we are seeing might be its shadow. Orthanc speaks to us of the shadow of the mind. The owner has made the choice to live in this darkness, to keep his own intentions hidden. Perhaps we should not be surprised if the predominant hue of the owner was white. Not the white of purity but the white of the fish that live at the bottom of dark oceans where light never comes.
The function of this building is a secret of the owner. Within it we cannot know what goes on. We may spy a figure on the summit but what he does there we cant really say. The steps do not lead us to the entrance but only convey the owner down to our level when he might choose to come. This structure is high but not good. It reaches up but its secret is within. It is expansive but it conceals.