The Great Plague began in the east beyond Mordor, reaching Osgiliath in TA 1636 just two years after King Minardil of Gondor had been killed at Pelargir by the Corsairs of Umbar, and two centuries after the Kin-strife of Gondor. The new king, Telemnar died along with his children, as well as many others of the Dúnedain. These losses served to greatly weaken the people of Gondor.
Movement of the plague
The Plague had first hit Rhûn and Rhovanion, and after the plague had passed more than half, the people had been killed. From Osgiliath, the plague spread west and then north. Minhiriath and Cardolan were especially hard hit and the remaining population in those regions mostly wiped out. The last of the Dúnedain of Cardolan died at the Barrowdowns, and evil spirits from Angmar entered the tombs there.
In Gondor, the cities of Osgiliath and Minas Ithil were hit especially hard, suffering the highest casualties outside of Rhovanion. Many fled both cities and re-located to Ithilien and Anórien, and Minas Anor became the King's seat as Osgiliath was so depopulated it began to fall into ruin. After this time, the province of Calenardhon, never densely populated, was mostly empty.
The casualties were so high that the fortresses guarding Mordor were abandoned along with the garrisons in Enedwaith, as the surviving troops were recalled. For the next two centuries, Gondor, as well as its enemies, did little but try to regain strength. Gondor had begun to recover by the 19th century of the Third Age, but was then hit by the Wainrider War.
Portrayal in adaptations
The Great Plague appears in The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king, in which the plague is planned by the Witch-king to weaken the Dunedain kingdoms even further. The plague is created by Angmar's sorcerers by corrupting the Barrow-downs of Cardolan, creating many Barrow-wights, including Karsh. Afterwards, the plague ravages Arnor, then spreads across the Misty Mountains, affecting Osgiliath, Rhovanion, and Rhun, presumably in the same way as in the books.
In The Lord of the Rings Online, the Great Plague is revealed to be an evil of Sauron, created by his chief poisoner Lhaereth the Stained. Various versions of it were tested in Rhun before a suitable variant was unleashed onto the lands in the west. However, despite the devastation it brought, the Plague was deemed a failure by Sauron for not being deadly enough, and Lhaereth fell out of his favor for many years hence. It is revealed that the Rangers of the North could heal those affected by the Plague with kingsfoil. After the downfall of Sauron, the player works with two Rangers to stop Lhaereth from unleashing a new, improved version of the Great Plague.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Albanian||murtajë e Madhe|
|Belarusian Cyrillic||Вялікая Чума|
|Bulgarian Cyrillic||Голямата чума|
|Danish||Den Store Pest|
|Filipino||Mahusay na Peste|
|Irish Gaelic||An Phlá Mór|
|Kazakh||Үлкен оба (Cyrillic) Ülken oba (Latin)|
|Macedonian Cyrillic||Голема чума|
|Serbian||Велика куга (Cyrillic) Velika kuga (Latin)|
|Tajik Cyrillic||Бемории калон|
|Ukrainian Cyrillic||Велика чума|
|Uzbek||Катта чума (Cyrillic) Katta chuma (Latin)|
|Vietnamese||Đại dịch hạch|