The Witch King
Witch King




Sword of Terror, Flail






In the manuscript of his notes for translators Tolkien stated that the Witch-king's name and background were not recorded, but that he was probably of Númenórean descent. In the Second Age, the Rings of Power were forged by the Elves of Eregion under Sauron's direction, and nine of these were given to powerful kings of Men of the time; one of these was the Witch-king. The rings gave them immense power and made them immortal, but eventually corrupted them, turning them into the ghastly, undead Nazgûl. The Witch-king became their leader. The Lord of the Nazgûl served Sauron as his second in command for over 4000 years. He fought in the war against the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. When Sauron was defeated by the Alliance, the nine Nazgûl went "into the shadows".

A millennium into the Third Age, the Witch-king first appeared in Angmar, a realm in the far North straddling the Misty Mountains. He quickly dominated Angmar, and turned to levy war against the three splinter kingdoms of Arnor (Arthedain, Rhudaur, and Cardolan); for Sauron, seeing that Gondor remained strong, sought to capitalize on the dissension among the northern kingdoms. It is in these northern wars, prosecuted against the Dúnedain for the next several hundred years, that the evil King of Angmar became known as the Witch-king. Rhudaur was soon compromised; power there was seized by evil Hillmen allied with Angmar. Argeleb I of Arthedain fortified the border against Rhudaur along the Weather Hills, but was killed in battle with Angmar and Rhudaur.[3] The Witch-king then invaded Cardolan. King Arveleg I of Arthedain was killed defending Weathertop, but the palantír there was saved and removed to Fornost. The last Prince of Cardolan was killed, and most of the Dúnedain of Rhudaur were killed or driven out. Later the Great Plague destroyed many of the remaining Dúnedain of Cardolan, and evil spirits from Rhudaur and Angmar infested the burial mounds in the Barrow Downs.

Only Arthedain remained to resist the Witch-king (though with frequent help from both Lindon and Rivendell). Araval won a victory over Angmar and sought to reoccupy Cardolan, but the Barrow-wights terrified all who sought to dwell near the Barrows. Finally, as it became apparent that Angmar was preparing another stroke, Arvedui appealed for help from King Eärnil II of Gondor. But before help could arrive, Angmar overran Arthedain. The Witch-king captured Fornost Erain, the capital of Arthedain. Arvedui fled north, only to drown in the Ice Bay of Forochel early the next year when the rescue ship from Lindon foundered.

Prince Eärnur of Gondor soon landed at the harbours of Mithlond, leading an army of Gondor. The Elves of Lindon and the remnant of the northern Dúnedain joined his army and the combined forces marched on the Witch-king.[5] On the plains west of Fornost, Eärnur's army met the army of Angmar, which was forced to retreat toward Fornost. As his army was routed, the Witch-king fled north toward Carn Dûm in Angmar; but Eärnur and Glorfindel, with reinforcements from Rivendell, pursued the retreating party and utterly defeated them. The Witch-king fled into the gathering darkness. Eärnur attempted to follow him, but Glorfindel stopped the prince and prophesied:

"Do not pursue him! He will not return to these lands. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall."

The Witch-king returned to Mordor and led the Nazgûl in the victorious siege of Minas Ithil. The city afterwards became known as Minas Morgul, the Tower of Black Sorcery. It was here that the Witch-king made his stronghold, giving him the title of "Lord of Morgul".

Eventually King Eärnil II of Gondor died and his son Eärnur, the Witch-king's old enemy, inherited the throne. The Witch-king challenged him to single combat, but Eärnur refused. However, seven years later, the Witch-king again challenged him; this time he accepted. Eärnur rode out of Minas Tirith to meet the Witch-king in Minas Morgul. He entered the city's gates and was never seen again. From this time the Stewards of Gondor ruled the kingdom on behalf of the absent line of kings.

During the time of the events of The Lord of the Rings, Sauron learned from Gollum that the One Ring was located in an area called "Shire" and held by a hobbit named "Baggins", and sent forth the Ringwraiths disguised as riders in black. At this time, the Riders did not know the location of the Shire, but when they by chance came upon Gríma Wormtongue in Rohan, he told them what he knew of Saruman's plans, including his interest in the Shire, and its location.

The Witch-king of Angmar and the other eight Nazgûl rode swiftly from Mordor to the lands of the Shire. They continued to search for "Baggins" until they tracked him to Buckland. Five of the Riders raided Buckland but could not find the Ring. The Witch-king led three other Nazgûl to Weathertop where they discovered Frodo Baggins and the other hobbits, accompanied by the Ranger Aragorn. The Ringwraiths attacked the party and the Witch-king wounded Frodo with a Morgul-blade. Frodo's wound threatened to turn him into a wraith like the Nazgûl.

On the way to Rivendell, the realm of Elrond Half-elven, the company met Glorfindel, who lent Frodo his horse Asfaloth. Pursued by all nine Nazgûl, the horse bore Frodo across the River Bruinen. From the far bank Frodo defied the Witch-king and the other Nazgûl, who remained on the other side of the river. The river was under the control of Elrond, who released a great flood, augmented by Gandalf the Grey, which caught three of the Nazgûl and their horses. Glorfindel's advance drove the terrified horses of the remaining Nazgûl into the flood; all the horses drowned, and the Nazgûl were swept away.

With their return to Mordor, Sauron provided the Nazgûl with great winged beasts as their new mounts. Sauron used the lesser eight Nazgûl for reconnaissance work. The Witch-king, however, returned to Minas Morgul and reassumed the role of commander of Sauron's forces. The soldiers of Gondor defending Osgiliath named him the "Black Captain". The final battle for Osgiliath was fought against Faramir's Rangers, who were driven back.

The Witch-king soon led massive numbers of Orcs, Haradrim, and Easterlings to besiege Minas Tirith. After the gates were broken he stood on the threshold at the head of his army. However, he was prevented from entering the city further by Gandalf.

Théoden had just slain a leader of the Southrons when the Witch-king attacked him. The advancing Rohirrim's horses panicked as his fell beast attacked. Théoden's horse, Snowmane, became frightened, was struck by an arrow, fell and crushed his master. As the Witch-king hovered over Théoden, Éowyn, the king's niece, stood in his way. She slew his winged beast by striking off its head, whereupon the Witch-king arose and attacked her, breaking her arm and her shield with a blow from his mace. Before he could finish her off, however, Meriadoc Brandybuck plunged his enchanted sword into the back of his knee. Merry's sword had been forged by the men of Arnor long ago, who put spells on it for the ruin of Angmar. Tolkien writes that only such a sword could have wounded the Witch-king so. Éowyn rose and thrust her sword into the Witch-king's face; as her sword shattered, his clothing fell to the ground and he vanished with a wailing cry.

But this was not his end, as he was revived by a being known as "The Dark Lord".

Where he is now is currently unknown.


The Which-king weilded a the Sword of Terror, which was made from Morgul steel. He was also know to carry a large flail.


  • It is speculated that his real name is:Er-Murazor