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"... all that were left fled to the hills at the rumour of the coming of the King of the Dead."
The Return of the King, Chapter II: "The Passing of the Grey Company"

The King of the Dead, originally "King of the Mountains", was the king of the Dead Men of Dunharrow in Dwimorberg, and before that had been a living man. His spirit resided along with those of his kin in the Paths of the Dead.


In the later years of the Second Age, he and his men also served and worshiped Sauron, until he and his people swore allegiance to the realm of Gondor upon the Stone of Erech. Isildur was the King of Gondor at that time. The King of the Dead made an oath to fight on Isildur's side when needed, but when that moment of need arrived in the War of the Last Alliance he did not come. Isildur cursed the King of the Dead and his people. As a result, the King of the Dead and his people could not rest until their oath was fulfilled.


The King of the Dead in the films, portrayed by Paul Norell

In the late Third Age, the king and his people joined with Aragorn and the Grey Company during the War of the Ring, after Aragorn passed through Dwimorberg and summoned them at the Stone of Erech.[1] The Dead Men of Dunharrow then followed Aragorn to Pelargir, where they defeated the Corsairs of Umbar. Aragorn, as Heir of Isildur, subsequently declared the oath of the Dead Men as fulfilled. Upon hearing this, the king broke his spear and threw it aside then bowed to Aragorn, turned away, and with the rest of his people "vanished like a mist that is driven back by a sudden wind," never to be seen again.[2]

In adaptations[]

The Lord of the Rings film trilogy[]

The way is...shut. It was made by those who are dead...and the dead keep it. The way is shut.
—The King of the Dead

In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, several details are changed from the book. This king first appears to Aragorn as a quick vision when he is looking at the Dimholt road. He later manifests to Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli when they are taking the Paths of the Dead. He spars briefly with Aragorn, resisting Aragorn's authority at first but later agreeing to fight. The king and his army attack the Corsairs, preventing them from entering Gondor, after which they accompany Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli to Minas Tirith. To complete the oath he helped defend Minas Tirith when it was under attack by an army of Orcs and Trolls and their leader the Witch-king of Angmar. After the battle the curse was broken by Aragorn, putting the Oathbreakers at rest.

Voice dubbing actors[]

Foreign Language Voice dubbing artist
Spanish (Latin America) Gonzalo Curiel
Spanish (Spain) Gonzalo Dúran
Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD) Wellington Lima
German Jürgen Jung
Czech Bedřich Šetena
Italian (Italy) Nino Prester
French (France) François Siener

Video games[]

In the console versions of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King video game (for instance, the PlayStation 2 version), he is the first boss on Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli's path. Other than wielding a large sword, he uses sorcery to create blasts of wind called "Wind of the Mountain", and chants spells to summon his undead army including undead archers and swordsmen. If one listens closely, it appears and sounds as if he is reciting part of the first line of the inscription on the One Ring, specifically "Ash nazg durbatulûk". He was voiced by Jairon Monroe.

In the Game Boy Advance version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, he is again a boss fought in the Paths of the Dead and battles Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli under similar circumstances as the console version. Differences from the console version are that his Wind of the Mountain power is limited though his undead soldiers are stronger, and he is confronted by all three of the companions at once whereas only the player character faces him in the console version. Later he appears at Pellenor Fields emerging from the ships after the player has slain the orc commander at the port and orders his army to charge.

In the console versions of The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, he appears briefly during the final skirmishes of the game at Pelennor Fields wherein Aragorn has temporarily joined the player's party and is able to direct the army of the dead to charge into all enemies in the party's way. This is one of the strongest attacks in the game, though only made available to the player for a short amount of time.

The King of the Dead appears as a non-playable character in The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest. In the Wii and PS3 versions, he appears in the penultimate story level and is fought as an optional boss in the Shire overworld, after that level is completed. This optional boss fight is the culmination of a particular Side Quest where Frodo Gamgee goes into Mushroom Woods to re-enact Aragorn's journey into the Path of the Dead to recruit the Armies of the Dead, fighting him and his men along the way to convince them to join him to save Minas Tirith.

In The Lord of the Rings Online, the King of the Dead is named Rioc. Although his men were unwilling to fight Sauron because they had worshiped him, his excuse for not honoring the oath given to Isildur was because his daughter Bravantel had an out-of-wedlock child with one of his Númenórean warriors. He leads his people after joining Aragorn's host and is freed after the liberation of Pelargir.

In The Third Age: Total War (Medieval II Total War modification) submod DCI: Last Alliance, the King of the Dead is named Zarazir. His faction, the Men of the Mountains, can either join in an alliance with Islidur's or Sauron's factions, or can go their own route and conquer both the Númenóreans and Mordor.

In LEGO The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game, the King of the Dead is a boss that the players have to fight in the Paths of the dead story mission.



Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Die Koning van die Dood
Albanian Mbreti i të Vdekurve
Amharic የሙታን ንጉሥ
Arabic ملك الأموا
Armenian Թագաւորը մեռելներուն
Belarusian Cyrillic Кароль Мёртвых
Bengali মৃত রাজা ?
Bulgarian Cyrillic Краля на мъртвите
Burmese လူသေ၏ဘုရင်
Cambodian ស្ដេចនៃការស្លាប់
Catalan El Rei dels Morts
Chinese (Hong Kong) 亡靈之王
Croatian Kralj mrtvih
Czech Král mrtvých
Danish Kongen af Døde
Dutch De Koning van de Doden
Estonian Kuningas surnud
Fijian Na tui mai na mate
Finnish Kuningas kuollut
French Le Roi des Morts
Frisian De kening fan 'e Deaden
Galician O Rei dos Mortos
German König der Toten
Greek Ο βασιλιάς των νεκρών
Gujarati ડેડ ઓફ કિંગ
Hebrew המלך המת
Hindi मृत के राजा
Hmong Tus huab tais ntawm cov neeg tuag
Hungarian A halottak királya
Icelandic Konungur af Dauðum
Igbo Eze nke ndị nwụrụ Anwụ
Indonesian Raja Kematian
Irish Gaelic An Rí na Marbh
Italian Il Re dei Morti
Japanese 死者の王
Javanese Raja Mati
Kannada ಸತ್ತ ರಾಜ
Kazakh Cyrillic Өлгендердің патшасы
Korean 죽은 자의 왕
Kyrgyz Cyrillic өлгөндөрдүн Кинг
Laotian ກະສັດຄົນຕາຍ
Latin Rex mortuorum
Latvian Karalis mirušo
Lithuanian Mirusiųjų karalius
Luxembourgish D'Kinnek vun den Doudegen
Macedonian Cyrillic Кралот на мртвите
Malay Raja yang Mati
Malayalam ഡെഡ് രാജാവ്
Marathi मृत राजा
Mongolian Cyrillic Үхсэн хаан
Norwegian Kongen av Døde
Nepalese मृत राजा
Pashto د وژل پاچا
Persian پادشاه مرده
Polish Król Umarłych
Portuguese O Rei dos Mortos
Punjabi ਮਰਿਆ ਰਾਜਾ
Romanian Regele Morţilor
Scottish Gaelic Tha righ de na Marbh
Serbian Краљ мртвих (Cyrillic) Kralj od Mrtvih (Latin)
Sinhalese මළ රජු
Sindhi مردار جو بادشاهه
Slovenian Kralj mrtvih
Somalian Markaasaa boqorkii dalka Dhimatay
Spanish Rey de los Muertos
Swahili Mfalme wa Wafu
Swedish Kungen av Döda
Tajik Cyrillic Подшоҳи мурдагон
Tamil டெட் கிங்
Telugu కింగ్ ఆఫ్ ది డెడ్
Thai ราชาแห่งความตาย
Turkish Ölüler Kralı
Ukrainian Cyrillic король Мертвих
Urdu مردار کے بادشاہ
Uzbek Ўлик Қироли (Cyrillic) O'lik Qiroli (Latin)
Vietnamese Vị vua của cái Chết
Welsh Brenin y Meirw
Xhosa UKumkani Abafileyo
Yiddish דער מלך פון די דעד
Yoruba Ọba Òkú