The subject of this article or section originates from non-canonical sources. To find out about what is considered "canon" see LOTR:Canon.
He is non-canonical as he does not originate from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Portrayal in adaptations
Talion was born in Gondor. At some point after marrying Ioreth and fathering a son, Dirhael, he joined the Rangers of Gondor, quickly rising through the ranks to become captain. He killed a nobleman in defense of his wife, and instead of being executed was appointed to the Black Gate as a punishment by a sympathetic judge. Because Sauron had been gone for over three millennia, life at the Black Gate was usually uneventful, and Talion would often pass the time taking care of his family and sparring with his son. One fateful night, however, Sauron and his Black Captains returned, putting everyone at the Gate to the sword until only Talion and his family remained. After being ritualistically murdered by Sauron's Black Hand and left for dead, Talion learned he had been bonded with Celebrimbor's wraith, who offered to help him find the ones responsible for murdering him and his family.
Agreeing, he will use anything the Wraith (who has his own motives) gives him to kill those responsible. Talion hunts down and kills Uruk Captains, and makes a reluctant alliance with Ratbag the Coward, helping Ratbag become a War Chief. During this, Talion encounters Gollum (searching for his "Precious"), who is able see the wraith form of Celebrimbor (whom he calls the "Bright Master").
Gollum helps them to find gifts of The Bright Master's past that, through touching them, grants visions of Celebrimbor's past. Collecting and finding the gifts, he learns Celebrimbor was an Elf-Lord who had helped Sauron create the rings of power.
Helping Hirgon, a former soldier from the Black Gate, destroy the statue of Sauron at an Uruk stronghold, the Hammer of Sauron comes and (seemingly) kills War Chief Ratbag (for being the only surviving War Chief). Talion battles and kills The Hammer. Afterward, he meets Lithariel, the daughter of Queen Marwen, who claims to be able to assist Celebrimbor with his mission. Marwen is the ruler of Núrn, a kingdom of sea raiders located in the south of Mordor. She uses prophetic powers to guide Talion and Celebrimbor to another of Celebrimbor's relics.
Talion also gets help from a Dwarf hunter named Torvin, teaching Talion the ways of the hunt to dominate Caragors and Graugs (beasts native to Mordor), eventually fighting a massive Graug from Torvin's past who killed Torvin's hunting partner, later revealed to be his brother. Later, Marwen advises them to use Celebrimbor's powers to take control of an army of orcs and other beasts, using them to lead an assault against Sauron.
Talion eventually realizes that the wizard Saruman is possessing Marwen, and assists Lithariel in freeing her from his control. Talion, however, still carries out Saruman's plan, leading an army of mind-controlled orcs in an assault against the Black Hand's stronghold in the Ered Glamhoth. However, rather than the Black Hand, Talion finds the Tower of Sauron waiting for him. The two battle and Talion emerges victorious after viciously stabbing the Tower to death with his son's sword.
Talion now returns to the Black Gate for a final confrontation with the Black Hand. The Black Hand quickly incapacitates him with a spell that also restores the last of Celebrimbor's memories. He then kills himself as part of a ritual that forces Celebrimbor to depart from Talion and merge with himself. This allows Sauron to possess the Black Hand's body and incarnate in physical form. However, Celebrimbor is able to briefly paralyze Sauron from within, allowing Talion to destroy Sauron's physical form. With the Black Hand dead, Celebrimbor wishes to depart for Valinor. Talion instead convinces him to stay and attempt to overthrow Sauron. Gazing at Mount Doom, Talion declares his intention to forge a new Ring of Power.
Talion and Celebrimbor forge a new ring for Talion to use, a pure ring that is not corrupt. Celebrimbor, however, is captured by the spider Shelob, and she forces Talion to give her the ring so that he can save Celebrimbor. With this ring Shelob sees into the future, she sends Talion and Celebrimbor to Minas Ithil. Here they find it to be under attack by Sauron and the Ringwraiths. Talion learns that this is because in the city there is a palantir.
Talion travels to Minas Ithil and quickly comes to odds with Celebrimbor. Talion wants to help his fellow Gondorians, while Celebrimbor believes the city is already lost and the retrieval of the Palantir must take priority. Talion reasons that protecting Minas Ithil will also protect the Palantir and he meets up with the city's defenders: General Castamir, his daughter Idril, and his lieutenant Baranor. Together, they sabotage Orcish efforts to break into the city until Castamir betrays them, allowing the Orcs to breach the gates and handing over the Palantir to the Witch-king of Angmar in return for sparing Idril. Talion fought with The Witch-king, who nearly defeated him and Celebrimbor. Castamir is killed by the Witch-king and Talion is escaped thanks to the help of Eltariel, an Elven assassin working on Galadriel's behalf. The Witch-king seizes Minas Ithil, renaming it Minas Morgul. With the Palantir, Sauron realizes that Shelob is holding Celebrimbor's Ring and sends the Nazgûl to attack her. Talion and Eltariel are able to save Shelob, who returns the Ring to him and tells him that the fate of Middle-earth is in his hands.
With the Ring back in his possession, Talion begins to use its power to dominate Orcs and build his army. During this time, he assists Idril and Baranor rescue Gondorian survivors, helps the forest spirit Carnán defeat the Balrog Tar Goroth, helps Ratbag defeat a traitor, and hunts the Nazgûl alongside Eltariel. Eventually, Talion builds up enough strength to assault Sauron's fortress directly. During the battle, Talion faces Isildur, now corrupted into a Nazgûl. Talion manages to defeat Isildur, and he and Celebrimbor use the New Ring's power to break Sauron's hold over him. Celebrimbor attempts to dominate Isildur, but is stopped by Talion, who horrified by this, frees Isildur by killing him. Celebrimbor lashes out angrily that Isildur would have been a valuable asset to their cause, leading Talion to realize that Celebrimbor's desire for revenge and thirst for power has corroded all reason, and Talion fiercely states "I will not trade in one dark lord for another." Talion refuses to follow Celebrimbor's orders any more, causing the wraith to abandon him, giving the ring to Eltariel, and possessing her instead.
Without Celebrimbor, Talion begins to die, but is visited by Shelob in a vision. Shelob informs him that if Talion had gone on to fight Sauron, they'd have succeeded and Celebrimbor would have enslaved Sauron and marched on to conquer the rest of Middle-earth. She implores Talion to continue to fight to contain the darkness within Mordor as her goal was to prevent the rise of Celebrimbor. Deciding to put his fate in his own hands, Talion dons Isildur's Ring of Power to preserve his own life. He then uses the power of Isildur's Ring to assault and seize Minas Morgul, defeating the Witch-king in the process. Talion then takes possession of the Palantir and observes Celebrimbor and Eltariel making their assault on Sauron. The two manage to gain the upper hand and Celebrimbor attempts to dominate Sauron, only for Sauron to cut off Eltariel's ring finger and merge himself with Celebrimbor. As a result, Sauron and Celebrimbor remain trapped in Sauron's tower in the form of a flaming eye as their spirits continue to battle for dominance. Talion decides to use Minas Morgul as a fortress to keep Sauron's forces contained in Mordor and out of Middle-earth for as long as he can. By doing this, Talion hopes that by keeping Mordor in a constant state of war, the rest of Middle-earth can prepare for Sauron's coming.
Decades later, Talion eventually succumbs to the corruption of Isildur's ring and joins Sauron's forces as a Nazgûl, replacing Isildur. He goes with the others to hunt Frodo and the One Ring and pursues Frodo from the Shire to Bree. Like the rest of the Nazgûl, he lost his horse at the Ford of Bruinen and received a Fellbeast as his new mount. Talion was also present at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and Battle of the Black Gate. However Talion's prior efforts were not in vain as he bought Middle-earth enough time to prepare enough for Sauron which eventually lead to the destruction of Sauron and the One Ring. Talion dies with the rest of the Nazgûl, killed when his fellbeast is struck by debris from the final eruption of Mount Doom following the One Ring's destruction and his spirit is freed. He is last seen in the afterlife discarding his weapons and armor as he walks off into the sunrise, finally able to rejoin his family once again.
Talion is a rather humble individual, and as captain of the Black Gate was respected by the men under his command. After the death of his family and subsequently revived by Celebrimbor, Talion became stricken with remorse for being unable to save his wife and son and set out to kill those responsible. Even after being possessed by Celebrimbor, Talion's kindness and humble attitude still remained, and he often verbally sparred with Celebrimbor about protecting humanity. Eventually, this came to a head when Talion opted to free Isildur, instead of enslaving him. Celebrimbor then betrays Talion and leaves him, effectively killing him. Instead of dying, Talion learns that Shelob's only goal was for Talion to prevent the rise of Celebrimbor who would turn out to be a much bigger threat than Sauron, as Talion would be unable to resist and would lose himself to Celebrimbor, who would march over Middle-earth and conquer the entire world. Realizing he must keep fighting, Talion opted to take on Isildur's ring and accepted his eventual fate as a Nazgûl, once again putting the greater good in front of his own desires. Even with his impending fall, Talion bravely fought Sauron and his forces for many decades, holding Sauron's forces in Mordor and refusing to allow him to march over Middle-earth, using what little freedom he had left to buy time for the forces of Middle-earth to prepare for the coming of Sauron.
Skills and abilities
Being a ranger of Gondor for most of his life, Talion is a skilled swordsman and archer. Adept with swords and daggers, he can hold his own against multiple Uruks at once, amplified thanks to his new Wraith abilities. His experience as a Ranger has also provided Talion with a reasonable degree of stealth efficiency, as he is also adept at moving swiftly and quietly to eliminate his enemies without being detected. Talion is a skilled freerunner, capable of scaling large walls, slack-lining ropes, and vaulting over Uruks in combat. After Celebrimbor betrays him and leaves Talion for dead, Talion takes the ring of recently killed Nazgul Isildur, to prevent himself from dying to continue his war to save Middle-earth from the forces of evil, whether it'd be against Sauron or Celebrimbor. The ring not only allows him to use any powers he was granted by Celebrimbor and the New Ring, but also enables him to raise the dead, and bear his own new wraith form, which resembles the other Nazgul.
- Undead: Being dead, Talion returns to Mordor as a wraith (Celebrimbor's spirit bound to Talion's body), and so cannot fully die. After Celebrimbor betrays him, he takes Isildur's ring which keeps him alive and still allows him to return from death.
- Amplified physical abilities: Talion's already formidable physical might, resilience, stamina and endurance are greatly increased by Celebrimbor's wraith powers and then increased significantly more when Celebrimbor's wraith leaves his body and he takes one of the Nine Rings made for Men.
- Domination: With his wraith abilities, Talion can dominate a Uruk with the hand of Celebrimbor. With this ability, Celebrimbor can interrogate and get information, kill the Uruk, or dominate and brand the Uruk. These enemies will then perform tasks such as gathering intel, spreading dissent, or attempting to assassinate their peers, underlings and commanders.
- Wraith World: Talion can see within the Wraith realm. This gives him the ability to see humans, Uruks, Caragors, etc. through walls, or to single out important entities such as Uruk Captains or War Chiefs.
- Attacks: Talion can round his attacks, causing his sword to glow blue, gaining the ability to execute his target or ground slam. He can stun enemies with a single punch, providing an opportunity to strike and temporarily slow time for better aim with the bow and arrow. Talion can also chain an attack, giving him the ability to slice an Uruk's head clean off.
- Shadow Strike: Allows Talion to teleport to his enemies' location and quickly kill them, as well as easily navigate over the terrain
- Shadow Pull: Talion can also pull an enemy toward his location and kill them.
- Raise Dead: After equipping the ring of Isildur, Talion can raise dead orcs or humans to fight for him. Talion uses this ability to retake Minas Ithil from the Witch-king by rising those who died when it was lost. Noticeably, while Talion doesn't seem to mind undead orcs, undead Gondorians are let go once he doesn't need their help.
- Elven Light: Talion can strike with his hand into the ground to create a flash of light that will kill any enemies in range.
- Elven Rage: While bound to Celebrimbor; Talion can unleash a flurry of attacks and execution attacks for a limited time. (This ability is replaced with "Raise Dead" when Talion acquires Isildur's ring)
Behind the scenes
Talion is voiced and portrayed via motion-capture by Troy Baker, who is known for other roles in video games (such as The Last of Us and Bioshock: Infinite). Talion's name comes from the Latin phrase lex talionis, or the law of talion, known today as "eye for an eye".