It is unknown if there was more than one Morgul-knife, as only that used by the Witch-king is mentioned in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Elrond, however, references the blade as "a Morgul-knife", possibly implying it to be a type of weapon.
Alternately described as a long knife and a blade, it was used by the Nazgûl to poison enemies. As explained by Elrond, the purpose of the knife was to break off in the wound, leaving a shard in the victim's body. The remaining blade would soon turn to dust, and the shard works its way through the body to the heart. If the shard of the blade stays in the victim for too long, the victim becomes a wraith.
It is unknown when the knife was created, but was known to be in use by the Witch-king by the late Third Age.
In the year TA 3018, the Witch-king used the knife to stab Frodo Baggins at Weathertop, during the Nazgûl's attack upon him and his companions. Though the knife's blade dissolved soon afterwards, a fragment remained within Frodo's wound, working its way toward his heart and threatening to turn Frodo into a wraith. Elrond was able to remove the shard and heal the wound, but each year on the anniversary of receiving the wound Frodo became seriously ill. Only his eventual departure to Valinor, also known as the Undying Lands, offered a permanent cure.
Athelas (or Kingsfoil) was known to slow the poisonous effect of the Morgul-blade, though true healing was necessary in order to fully cure a victim. This remedy was also known to heal the effects of the Ringwraiths' Black Breath.
Portrayal in adaptations
The Lord of the Rings film trilogy
In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the Witch-king uses the Morgul-knife, referred to as the "Morgul-blade", to wound Frodo as in the book. However, it disintegrates very shortly thereafter, as opposed to the period in the novel. Also, the shard of this blade doesn't remain in Frodo's wound but his condition after being stabbed is much more dramatic than in the book.
The Hobbit film trilogy
In the film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), a shade of the Witch-king uses a Morgul-blade to attack Radagast the Brown at Dol Guldur, but Radagast fends off the shade and takes the weapon, giving it to Gandalf. Gandalf later tries to use the Morgul-blade as proof that the White Council should attack Dol Guldur, but Saruman overrules him. Saruman believes that there is no proof that it could be a Morgul blade. Galadriel points out that the blade was buried with the Witch-king of Angmar by the men of the north within the High Fells of Rhudaur. Elrond adds that it was in a cave sealed by powerful Elven magic.
In the film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013), Kili is wounded by a Morgul-arrow to the thigh. He nearly dies, but is saved by Tauriel, as she treats him with Athelas and Elven healing. Although it is a Morgul-weapon, if wounded by an arrow, the victim does not turn into a wraith, although the same healing and treatment is required.
- In EA's Battle for Middle-earth II, the Mordor faction has access to the Nazgul hero unit with the Morgul Blade ability. This ability stuns a unit and turns it into a wraith when it is killed under this effect. The wraith can then be controlled by the owner of the Nazgul.
- In EA's BFME II: Rise of the Witch-king, Captain Carthaen was stabbed with a Morgul-blade by Morgomir and became Karsh the Whisperer after the Dark Plague Ritual on the Barrow Downs; Carthaen became a wraith that journeyed across the Northern lands hunting for the enemies of the Witch-king. His tortured spirit became free after Elrond of Rivendell killed him with his Noldorin sword. The spirit of Carthaen went to the Valar and Karsh's body was later destroyed (in the campaign).
- In The Lord of the Rings Online, the Ranger Amdir was wounded by a Morgul-blade at the beginning of the Man and Hobbit Epic Quest lines. Even after Strider's attempt to cure him with Kingsfoil gathered by the player, Amdir leaves with the Cargul during the assault on Archet. His appearance has changed when the player encounters him again in the Blackwold's Hideout, where he is shown to be transforming into a wraith. Amdir runs away from the hideout, and is encountered again under Marshwater Fort. Later, fully under the Enemy's control, Amdir fights against the player a final time and is defeated.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Belarusian Cyrillic||Мо́ргул лязо|
|Bulgarian Cyrillic||Моргул блейд|
|Catalan||Fulla de Mórgul|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||魔窟劍|
|Dutch||Lemmet van Morgul|
|French||Lame de Morgul|
|Italian||Lama di Morgul|
|Kazakh||Моргұл жүзі (Cyrillic) Morgul jüzi (Latin)|
|Kyrgyz Cyrillic||Моргул лезвие|
|Latvian||Morgul asmens ?|
|Macedonian Cyrillic||Моргул сечило|
|Portuguese||Lâmina de Morgul|
|Sanskrit||मोर्गुल् धारा ?|
|Serbian||Моргул сечиво (Cyrillic) Morgul sečivo (Latin)|
|Spanish||Cuchilla de Morgul|
|Swahili||Jani la Morgul|
|Uzbek||Моргул пичоқ (Cyrillic) Morgul pichoq (Latin)|
|Barrow-blades • Sting|
|Durin's Axe • Orcrist|
|Grond • Grond (Warhammer) • Morgul-knife|
|Aeglos • Anglachel • Anguirel • Angrist • Aranrúth • Belthronding • Dailir • Glamdring • Orcrist • Ringil|
|Andúril • Black Arrow • Dagmor • Dramborleg • Gúthwinë • Gurthang • Herugrim • Narsil • Red Arrow|
- The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Ch. I: "Many Meetings"
- The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Ch. XI: "A Knife in the Dark"
- The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Six, Ch. IX: "The Grey Havens"
- The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, Ch. VIII: "The Houses of Healing"