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"Upon it sat a shape, black-mantled, huge and threatening. A crown of steel he bore, but between rim and robe naught was there to see, save only a deadly gleam of eyes: the Lord of the Nazgûl... now he was come again, bringing ruin, turning hope to despair, and victory to death. A great black mace he wielded. "
The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"

The Witch-king of Angmar, also known as the Lord of the Nazgûl, was the leader of the Nazgûl (Ringwraiths) and Sauron's second-in-command in the Second and Third Ages.

His true identity is unknown; once a mortal king of Men, he was corrupted by one of the nine Rings of Power, becoming an undying wraith in the service of Sauron. After Sauron's defeat by the Last Alliance, he eventually reappeared to found the evil realm of Angmar, where he gained the epithet "Witch-king" and ruled for almost seven centuries until the kingdom of Arnor was conquered.

The Witch-king returned to Mordor to facilitate Sauron's return to power, then took Gondor's city of Minas Ithil and refortified it as Minas Morgul, and snuffed out the line of Kings of Gondor. He led Sauron's armies in the War of the Ring, stabbed Frodo Baggins on Weathertop during the first months of Frodo's venture out of the Shire to Rivendell, and at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields he broke the Great Gate of Minas Tirith, killed King Théoden of Rohan, and met his own fate.


The Second Age: the Nine Rings and the advent of the Nazgûl

The Witch-king is gifted his Ring of Power as a human

The forging of the Rings of Power began some 1500 years into the Second Age. In SA 1600 Sauron created and first donned the One Ring, and in SA 1693 began the War of the Elves and Sauron during which the Dark Lord recovered the Nine Rings and gave them to mighty lords and rulers of Men. The mightiest of all of them was likely a king and a powerful sorcerer, possibly of Númenórean heritage, but little is known of his (or the others') earthly life except that over the coming centuries they prospered as their power, wealth and mortal lifespans extended under the corrupting influence of their rings. The only certainty is that eventually he and all the others slipped into the shadow-world and became Nazgûl – Ringwraiths – enslaved wholly to the will of Sauron.

The first sighting of the Nazgûl in Middle-earth was reported in SA 2251. For the next 1200 years the greatest among them, known simply as the Lord of the Nazgûl, would serve Sauron as the commander of his army. He fought in the Age's climactic war against the Last Alliance of Elves and Men between SA 3434 and SA 3441, when the Dark Lord was eventually defeated and the One Ring taken from him. With Sauron's spirit and power dissipated the nine Nazgûl were no longer able to maintain their physical presence and they too disappeared – at least temporarily – from Middle-earth.

The Third Age: return and the arising of Angmar

The Witch-king's true undead appearance in the first Lord of the Rings film

One thousand years into the Third Age, Sauron took form in the world again and, incognito, founded the fortress of Dol Guldur in southern Mirkwood in TA 1050. This signalled the return of the Nine to Middle-earth. Their chief, re-empowered, would set about enacting his master's long vengeance upon the Realms in Exile of the Dúnedain, the descendants of the Faithful of Númenor who had escaped its destruction and who subsequently brought him low with the Last Alliance.

By now the northern Dúnedain realm of Arnor, sister-kingdom to the southerly Gondor, had already become split into three warring successor states – Rhudaur, Cardolan and Arthedain. It was into this febrile situation that the Lord of the Nazgûl reappeared in TA 1300 and began to fulfil Sauron's plan to bring down the North-Kingdom altogether. Adjacent to its territories he founded the dark domain of Angmar – where, from his capital of Carn Dûm, he began his campaign of open war against the Dúnedain of Arnor. It was during this series of conflicts that they labelled their new enemy's undead sorcerer-chieftain with the title of "Witch-king, Lord of Angmar".

The Witch-king's conquest of the North

In TA 1356, the "Witch-king" began his assault against the northerly Dúnedain in alliance with a vassal Hill-men king of Rhudaur. King Argeleb I of Arthedain was killed leading the defence of his realm against Rhudaur and Angmar. In TA 1409 the army of the Witch-king assaulted the fortress of Amon Sûl (Weathertop) and burned the tower, during which conflict King Arveleg I of Arthedain was killed. The Witch-king then invaded and overran the kingdom of Cardolan and annexed Rhudaur, expelling or killing the last Dúnedain.

Now, the only resistance against his forces was the kingdom of Arthedain. The Witch-king's armies invaded Arthedain and came close to destroying it, but King Araphor with the help of the Elves of Lindon and Rivendell managed to defend the capital, Fornost Erain, and drive back the invaders.

File:The Witch-king sits on his throne in Angmar.JPG

The Witch-king in his throne of Angmar

An uneasy peace descended, but the deathless Lord of the Nazgûl could wage his war over hundreds of years. After the last surviving Dúnedain of Cardolan died in TA 1636, he sent evil wights to the Barrow-downs in order to prevent the rebirth of that kingdom. Ultimately, in TA 1974 the Witch-king claimed victory in the north, when his forces captured Fornost Erain. With its fall, the final bastion of the old North-Kingdom collapsed, and although Arvedui Last-King attempted to escape via the far north he was drowned in the Icebay of Forochel and the last remnants of the realm of Arnor were extinguished.

The Witch-king took his seat of power in the newly conquered Fornost, but in the next year an army from Gondor under their general and crown prince, Eärnur, landed at the Grey Havens. Too late to save their north-kindred, they were nonetheless joined by the Elves of Lindon and the remnant of the northern Dúnedain, and together marched against the Witch-king.[2]

The Battle of Fornost

Eärnur's host did not meet the Witch-king at Fornost Erain itself, but on the plains west of it toward Lake Evendim, near the site of the ancient capital of the High Kings of Arnor, Annúminas. The struggle was however known after as the Battle of Fornost. Crucially, the cavalry of Gondor split off before the arrival of Angmar's forces and rode north into the Hills of Evendim to wait in ambush; as the main part of Eärnur's force met the enemy in battle, the cavalry emerged from the hills to strike the rear of the army of Angmar. This pincer movement served as the turning point of battle, giving the Dúnedain decisive advantage.

Realizing that his troops were all but completely crushed, the Witch-king attempted to flee back eastward – but an Elven army from Rivendell led by Glorfindel came up out of the south and blocked his escape, destroying what was left of his crumbling army. As a last resort, the Witch-king revealed himself in person and challenged Eärnur. Eärnur made to assail him, but his horse was terrified of the Witch-king and bucked. The Witch-king's laughter turned to flight as Glorfindel rode up to challenge him. When Eärnur attempted to follow, Glorfindel stopped him with a warning that would become prophetic in the future:

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

The Witch-king, beaten, yet having successfully brought down the kingdoms of the former Arnor, fled the North. Angmar was now leaderless, and soon collapsed.

Return to Mordor and the rise of Minas Morgul

Minas Morgul, the final seat of the Witch-king

Despite the rout at Fornost, the Witch-king had fulfilled his mission to destroy the northern Dúnedain kingdoms in Eriador, and so now he returned to Mordor. Although Sauron was still hiding in Dol Guldur (disguised as "the Necromancer"), the Nazgûl rallied back around their chief, re-entering the Black Land in TA 1980. Together, the nine Ringwraiths laboured to rebuild their master's power in Mordor, gathering Orc hordes about themselves. In the year TA 2000 they came out of Mordor and attacked Gondor – which had recovered from the Great Plague but then been devastated by the Wainriders – and laid siege to Minas Ithil. The city fell two years later and the Nazgûl took the place for their own. It became known as Minas Morgul, the "Tower of Sorcery", and remained a place of great evil for centuries thereafter.

In TA 2043, King Eärnil II of Gondor passed away and his son Eärnur, the Witch-king's old foe, inherited the throne. Upon his coronation, the Lord of the Nazgûl challenged the new king to single combat, but Eärnur refused. However, seven years later in TA 2050 he challenged Eärnur again, and Eärnur accepted. Gondor's king rode out of Minas Tirith to meet his enemy in combat at Minas Morgul. He entered and was never seen again. Thus ended the reign of the Kings of Gondor and the rule of the Stewards of Gondor began. In TA 2063 the Watchful Peace began when Sauron fled Dol Guldur to avoid the investigations of Gandalf and hid in the East, and the Nazgûl remained quiet in Minas Morgul for the next 400 years.

The Watchful Peace ended in TA 2460 when Sauron, still identified only as the Necromancer, returned with increased strength to Dol Guldur. In TA 2475 the Lord of the Nazgûl sent hordes of newly bred Black Uruks against Gondor's former capital Osgiliath, long decimated by war and plague, and seized its eastern half. The city was finally ruined, and the great stone bridge linking the east and west banks of the River Anduin was destroyed.

The Witch-king at Barad-dûr, by John Howe

In TA 2941, after Gandalf finally confirmed that it truly was Sauron in disguise, the White Council belatedly moved to expel the Dark Lord from Dol Guldur. Sauron however simply withdrew to his old stronghold of Mordor, openly declared himself once more in TA 2951 and began the reconstruction of the Barad-dûr. He began preparations to find his One Ring and sent three Ringwraiths to reoccupy Dol Guldur. In TA 3018, with the capture and torture of Gollum, the Dark Lord learned that his ring was in the possession of a creature called 'Baggins' in a land called 'Shire'. Unfortunately, Gollum had no idea where that was, leading to a fruitless quest of nearly a year. In June 3018, the Witch-king and six other Wraiths attacked Osgiliath then rode north to the Vales of Anduin. Finding the Hobbit dwellings there long deserted and Sauron's anger growing, the chief Nazgûl led all the Nine to Isengard, where Saruman refused to tell them the location of the land of the Halflings. However, the Lord of the Nazgûl chanced upon Gríma Wormtongue in Rohan, who, for fear of his life, told where the Shire was.

The War of the Ring

The Ringwraiths rode swiftly north into Eriador, continuing to search for the "Baggins" Gollum had told of until they tracked the name to Crickhollow in Buckland. They raided Buckland but could not find the Ring. During this time the Lord of the Nazgûl camped in Andrath, coordinating the searching Ringwraiths and stirring up the Barrow-wights.

He then led four others of his kind to Weathertop – the ruined watchtower he had destroyed 1600 years earlier, where they discovered Frodo, Aragorn, and the other hobbits. The Nazgûl attacked the party and their lord stabbed Frodo with a Morgul-knife. Though they were driven off by Aragorn, Frodo's wound threatened to turn him into a wraith like the Nazgûl. Fortunately for the stricken hobbit, Elrond Half-elven sent Glorfindel to guide Frodo to Rivendell where Elrond could heal his wound, and in the race there Glorfindel lured the Ringwraiths into the River Bruinen. Here, Elrond released a great flood, with Gandalf giving the waves of the torrent the form of horses. This flood destroyed the physical forms of the Nine, killed their horses, and sent the shapeless Wraiths back to their master in Mordor, buying the Fellowship time to plan their next move.

With their return to Mordor, Sauron bestowed upon the Nazgûl great winged creatures as their new mounts. The Dark Lord used the lesser eight Nazgûl for reconnaissance work; their leader, however, returned to Minas Morgul and resumed the role of commander of Sauron's forces. He then launched the campaign against Gondor, issuing from Morgul Vale with a great host. There, at the bridge over Morgulduin he paused, feeling the Ring nearby – until Frodo touched the Phial of Galadriel, turning aside his enemy's thought. It would prove the closest the Lord of the Nazgûl would come to recovering his master's prize.

Siege of Gondor

The final Battle of Osgiliath was fought on March 13, 3019 against the garrison led by Faramir. Faramir's forces could not hold back the Orc hordes and pulled back, first to the Causeway Forts and then to Minas Tirith, assailed by flying Nazgûl, losing many in the retreat. With Gondor's defeat at Osgiliath, nothing stood in the way of Sauron's ambitions of destroying Minas Tirith and the strongest of his enemies.

The Lord of the Nazgûl during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields

On March 14, an enormous force of Orcs, Haradrim, and Easterlings marched on the gates of Minas Tirith. Sauron had given the Witch-king newfound strength; he appeared on a black horse, his presence casting a shadow of utter paralysis and fear upon defender and foe. Directing the assault, the wasted no effort on the city's impenetrable outer wall, instead focussing on setting the city ablaze, sapping the defenders' strength with multiple siege towers before the main assault came against the Great Gate. Crying incantations in "some forgotten tongue", he enhanced the power of the battering-ram Grond and weakened the already damaged gate of the city. Grond broke open the gate, and the Lord of the Nazgûl entered.

The defenders inside fled, terror-stricken by his dark presence. However, his entrance was halted by Gandalf the White, the only one able to withstand his power. There was a duel of words between them, and the Nazgûl-king doffed his hood revealing a crown on empty air, mocking Gandalf as an "old fool" and bidding him die. Threateningly he drew his blade, which blazed of its own accord. Gandalf held firm, ready to do battle – yet, before they could clash, the horns of Rohan sounded, signalling the belated arrival of aid to Minas Tirith. The Ringwraith then withdrew to order the forces of Mordor's defence against this new threat.


The Witch-king mounted his winged beast and rallied his troops against the furious cavalry charge of the Rohirrim. The army of Rohan was slowed, their initial impetus overthrowing many companies of Orcs but then being blunted by fresh reserves, including Mûmakil – allowing the hosts of Mordor to reorganize. The Witch-king seized this opportunity to strike down King Théoden while his troops were in confusion. Flying on the back of his beast he drove down upon the king, and the surrounding Rohirrim horses panicked as his beast attacked. Théoden's horse Snowmane became frightened, was struck by a black dart and fell upon his master, crushing him.

As the Nazgûl hovered on his great beast over the dying Théoden, the king's niece Éowyn and the hobbit Meriadoc Brandybuck stood in his way.

Éowyn: Be gone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion! Leave the dead in peace!
Nazgûl: Come not between the Nazgûl and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shriveled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.
Éowyn: Do what you will, but I will hinder it, if I may.
Nazgûl: Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!
Éowyn: But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Eomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Be gone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.

The Witch-king's last moments

Éowyn slew his winged beast with a single stroke of her sword, severing its neck. The Wraith-king arose, and giving a cry of hatred he shattered her shield and broke her left arm with a single blow of his mace. But as he towered over her, preparing to deliver the final blow, Merry stabbed his sword – an enchanted Barrow-blade, one of the few weapons that could have penetrated his defences – from behind into the sinew of his knee, breaking the spell binding his undead flesh to his will. While the Lord of the Nazgûl was distracted, Éowyn drove her sword where the head of the wraith would have been, slaying him.

The prophecy made by Glorfindel at the Battle of Fornost centuries before was fulfilled, as Éowyn was a woman. The Witch-king's death changed the tide of the battle, and ultimately the outcome of the War.


Only a few days later, during the final council of war before the assault on the Black Gate, Gandalf predicted that the Witch-king's defeat was one of several factors that would undermine Sauron's confidence in the superiority of his forces. The Dark Lord's growing awareness that he was facing the Heir of Isildur in Aragorn, the shock loss of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, and the fall of his single most powerful servant all made him more likely to throw his entire remaining strength at whatever force Gondor and Rohan challenged him with in an attempt to annihilate them once and for all – thus giving Frodo and Sam their one slender chance to pass unhindered through Mordor and convey the One Ring to Mount Doom:

Gandalf: [Sauron] studies the signs: the Sword that robbed him of his treasure remade; the winds of fortune turning in our favour, and the defeat unlooked-for of his first assault; the fall of his great Captain. His doubt will be growing, even as we speak here. His Eye is now straining towards us, blind almost to all else that is moving. So we must keep it.

This counsel proved correct, and no more than ten days later, Sauron himself was finally defeated when the Ring was unmade in the Cracks of Doom. The remaining Ringwraiths perished in the cataclysmic eruption of the mountain. [3][4][5]

Powers and abilities

As a Nazgûl, the Witch-king had a wide arsenal of powers. He was surrounded by an aura of fear, enough to make trained soldiers and horses run in terror. He was a masterful duelist and warrior, able to slay even mighty foes, or slaughter lesser men. A cunning commander and politician, he was the mastermind of the fragmentation and fall of Arnor and the near total annihilation of the bloodline of the Kings of Arnor and had a hand in the demise of the Kings of Gondor. Moreover, he almost conquered Gondor in the War of the Ring and lead many successful attacks against the West.

Besides the common Black Breath, any weapon that struck the Lord of the Nazgûl would be destroyed (a fate shared by Merry Brandybuck's and Éowyn's swords), and its bearer would be poisoned. This was so severe that it was worse than a blow from his mace. Unlike the other Nazgûl, the Witch-king was not daunted by rivers and could perceive more clearly in daylight.

The Witch-king – as his title suggests – was also a feared sorcerer, having powers over the physical world, breaking Frodo's sword with just a gesture of his hand and weakening the Gates of Minas Tirith, allowing Grond to break them. In tandem with the final strike of Grond, he conjured in that moment a huge blast of lightning to break down the gate, which could be seen from miles away.

He was stronger at night time. It was claimed that he could create or thaw ice at his whim. He could set his blade ablaze and could send forth and control wights. His power fluctuated greatly over his existence, as his strength was bound up with Sauron's own; the more powerful Sauron became, the more powerful the Nazgûl became. Due to this, he was, in the White Wizard's and the other Nazgûls' estimation, possibly the equal to Gandalf in magic and might during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

Roots in mythology

An undead "witch-king" named Þráinn appears in Hrómundar saga Gripssonar, a work of Norse mythology. A "witch-king" also appears in Greek mythology, Aeëtes of Kolkhis, who more resembles the Witch-king of Angmar. The former, however, was more likely an inspiration for Tolkien, as he fancied and studied northern mythologies much more than southern mythologies (Greek, Roman, etc.).

Name and identity

The Lord of the Nazgûl's true name is never given, and therefore he is known only by a host of epithets.

Properly, Witch-king is solely the title/description applied to him for the middle part of the Third Age by those in the North of Middle-earth, during his years as dread sorcerous ruler of Angmar. The phrase Witch-king of Angmar, in full, is only used by Tolkien once – in Appendix B to The Lord of the Rings, in the entry for the year 1409 of the Third Age.

Beforehand, and again afterwards following his return south to Mordor, he is known as simply the Lord of the Nazgûl or versions such as Lord of the Nazgûl, Wraith-king, High Nazgûl, etc. – and, after his taking of Minas Ithil, as variants on the Lord of (Minas) Morgul. Other honorifics such as the Black Captain are applied to his role as leader of the forces of Morgul during the siege of Minas Tirith.

The perhaps more distinctive moniker Witch-king (or Witch-king) is however used frequently on merchandise and other supplementary materials derived from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, contributing to its higher profile in the present day – including the title of this page.

At the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, Éowyn challenges him with the words: "Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion!" It is supposed that the word dwimmerlaik is formed from the Old English words "gedwimer" (sorcery), and "lic" (corpse, as in 'lich'); in Rohirric the term is said to mean 'spectre' or 'work of necromancy'.

Among Tolkien fans he has sometimes been called by the soubriquet Angmar, the name of the realm he once founded and ruled (similar to how a real-life earl/duke/marquess etc. is referred to by his peerage: e.g. Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, is simply "Wellington"). In the now-defunct Middle-earth Role Playing game, he was named Er-Murazor, a Númenórean prince, though this is strictly non-canonical. In the Angband computer game he was listed as Murazor, the Witch-king of Angmar. Many Tolkien scholars also identify the Witch-king as one of the three Black Númenóreans who Tolkien stated had become Nazgûl; in particularly, many theorize that Isilmo, a Númenórean prince and father of Tar-Minastir, could possibly be the man who became the Witch-king of Angmar. The first price of evidence for this theory is that the time in which he was alive allows for the possibility of him becoming the Lord of the Nazgûl. However, this was never explicitly implicated. This claim is supported by multiple identifiable references. The first reference is being that Isilmo was the only Númenórean prince to be passed over for the sceptre of Númenór in favor of a sister. This may have been motivation enough for Isilmo to stray; the succession was made contrary to Númenórean tradition, and all that was said about the circumstances was that "it was made a law of the royal house." Alternatively Isilmo may have been passed over for the sceptre due to his corruption by the ring given to him by Sauron; it is possible that he had already become a wraith by the time he should have come into his inheritance. The Lord of the Nazgûl was described as wearing a "kingly" crown in The Lord of the Rings, which may symbolize Isilmo's unfulfilled claim to kingship in addition to the kingship of Angmar. Lastly, the root of Isilmo's name is the Sindarin word for "moon" (just as Isildur, the founder of Minas Ithil) whereas the livery of Minas Morgul was described as that of a "moon disfigured with a ghastly face of death."[6]

Portrayal in adaptations

The Witch-king confronts Gandalf and Pippin in Minas Tirith.


The Lord of the Rings film trilogy

"Do you not know death when you see it, old man? This is my hour! You have failed. The world of men will fall."
The Witch-king to Gandalf in the The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Lord of the Nazgûl appears in all three of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. He is portrayed by Brent McIntyre in wraith form in The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers and by Lawrence Makoare in The Return of the King. Ben Price portrays him in human form in flashbacks. He is voiced by Andy Serkis.

In The Fellowship of the Ring, he appears unnamed as one of the nine Nazgûl. He is shown briefly as a king of men in the prologue, and serves as one of the primary antagonists throughout the film alongside the other Ringwraiths. He is the Wraith who stabs Frodo with a Morgul-blade on Weathertop, although this is only revealed in The Return of the King by Gandalf.

The Lord of the Nazgûl returns in The Two Towers atop his fellbeast, hunting for the Ring in the Dead Marshes. His presence causes Frodo to once more feel the wound dealt by him at Weathertop, as later confirmed in the next film.

It is only in The Return of the King that the "Witch-king" is identified by this name and becomes an antagonist separate from the other Nazgûl. He is now identifiable by a distinctive helmet and armour, and wields a giant flail and flaming sword in battle. The Witch-king first appears in an introductory scene voiced over by Gandalf's description of him, and is later seen by Frodo, Sam and Gollum leaving Minas Morgul with a massive army.

He serves as Sauron's commander at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, giving orders to the Orc lieutenant Gothmog. During the battle itself, the Witch-king joins the other Ringwraiths in destroying various buildings and material inside Minas Tirith while the Orc army besieges the city. In an extended scene, he confronts Gandalf and breaks the wizard's staff using dark magic. As he is about to strike down Gandalf, the reinforcements of Rohirrim arrive and the Witch-king departs for battle. Later, as Théoden musters his knights to attack the Haradrim, the Witch-king swoops out of the sky and causes Théoden to be crushed beneath his horse. As he is about to finish off the stricken king, Éowyn arrives and confronts him. The two duel briefly before Merry stabs the Witch-king in the leg, disabling him and allowing Éowyn to deliver the killing blow. Unlike the novel, the Witch-king does not know of Éowyn's gender when their duel at the Pelennor begins; Éowyn only takes off her helmet right before she deals the final blow.

The height of the Witch-king's powers and skills are demonstrated during the films. In The Fellowship of the Ring, for example, he easily evades the torch held by Aragorn at Weathertop and fights the Ranger sword-to-sword before he is backed onto the edge, forcing him to retreat; in the extended version of The Return of the King, he is portrayed as more powerful a sorcerer than even Gandalf. It should be noted, however, that the novel also portrayed the Witch-king's powers as varying significantly: he and four other Nazgûl were driven off by Aragorn at Weathertop in The Fellowship, yet by The Return of the King Gandalf himself was not certain which one of them was the more powerful.

The Witch-king fights Radagast

The Hobbit film trilogy

The Witch-king's burial in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Witch-king also appears in the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, briefly fighting Radagast. The Witch-king's portrayal in the film is also different from in the book. In the film he is said to have been killed after the fall of Angmar and buried, prior to his revival by the Necromancer; in the book, however, the Witch-king does not die following the fall of Angmar, and instead goes to Mordor. In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, he, along with the other Ringwraiths, fight the White Council in Dol Guldur. After being defeated, they flee to Mordor with Sauron.

Ralph Bakshi film

File:Ralph Bakshi's Witch-king.PNG

The Witch-king in the Ralph Bakshi's adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.

The Witch-king appears in the animated 1978 film The Lord of the Rings.

Rankin/Bass film

The Witch-king in the Rankin/Bass adaptation of The Return of the King.

The Witch-king also appears in the animated 1980 film The Return of the King.

Video games

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Witch-king appears in all The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King games as a boss, although in the PS2/Xbox/GameCube the player merely shoots his fell beast a number of times until it dies and crashes on the battlefield, where the Witch-king is then battled and killed by Éowyn in a cutscene. He was also in the The Third Age PS2 game as a Pelennor Fields boss and in the GBA version as an optional Evil commander that focuses mainly on dealing out huge amounts of damage directly.

The Battle for Middle-earth

The Witch-king as he appears in the game

His more notable appearance is in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king which features Angmar's rise to power and eventual destruction, including new heroes such as Morgomir.

In this game, the Witch-king's powers of sorcery come from elemental forces (of ice and the cold) and necromancy. He is noted for being extremely cruel, as he will attack friend and foe alike. The only two other units in the franchise that show this savagery are the Balrog and the Spectral Werewolf. He also has the largest health pool for a standard hero, at 8,000 health-points at the start, but has very little to no armour.

The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest

The Witch-king appears as a boss in the Wii and PS3 versions of The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest, which depict Aragorn directly confronting this powerful foe. However, to stay true to the source material, Aragorn is unable to actually kill the Witch-king.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

In Middle-earth: Shadow of War, the Witch-king appears as the ranger Talion's nemesis, and is shown taking the city of Minas Ithil and the palantír housed there. His appearance is similar to his depiction in The Hobbit films, albeit altered slightly.

Full list of game appearances

Games Workshop

File:Witch-king GW.jpg

The Witch-king with Flail, from Games

Games Workshop has released several miniatures of the Witch-king based on his appearances in the movies. He is depicted on foot, as riding a fellbeast and as riding a horse. He is also included in a mini diorama depicting his last moments in The Return of the King.



View of the Witch-king's sword and armor

The sword of the Witch-king

In films and game adaptations, the Witch-king's primary weapon is his fiery broadsword. It is seen in the game The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, when he is attacking Éowyn and Berethor's party, who has joined with Éowyn against the mighty Lord of the Nazgûl.

Although it is not officially named in the Lord of the Rings book, those who preordered The Lord of the Rings: Conquest video game were given a replica of the Witch-king's sword. On the box art (and playing as the Witch-king in the game), EA provides a name for the weapon: The Sword of Terror.


The Witch-king's other primary weapon was a great, deadly mace which can shatter shields or kill enemies in one swing. Together with his sword, the Witch-king was an unstoppable force, vulnerable only to the combined efforts of an extremely lucky shield-maiden and hobbit whose blades were very powerful against the Witch-king specifically (a fact which was unknown to them).

In the movies, the Witch-king uses a flail instead of a mace, but with the same effectiveness.

In The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, the Witch-king is featured using a sword and a flail; however in the expansion pack, The Rise of the Witch-king, his character in the Angmar faction uses a steel sceptre, appearing as a small trident, and no flail.



The Witch-king's smallest – yet still potent – weapon is a Morgul-blade, a deadly sorcerer's device that could slowly turn victims into a lesser wraith slave to the Nine and to Sauron. He used it on Frodo, in an attempt to claim the Ring and punish its bearer by putting him in a state worse than death. Fortunately for the hobbit, the blade failed to complete its task, as Frodo was swiftly brought to Rivendell and healed there by the ministrations of Elrond.


Main article: Witch-king's Fellbeast

The fellbeast as depicted in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Besides weapons crafted from forges in Mordor, the Witch-king also used his winged 'fellbeast' as a method of attacking his enemies. This beast served two purposes: to take down enemy structures and catapults and to kill massive amounts of enemies at once. When the Witch-king (or indeed, any other Ringwraith) swooped down upon his enemies, they would flee in terror and attempt to save themselves (usually unsuccessfully). The beast was finally slain by Éowyn via decapitation.

Voice dubbing actors

Foreign Language Voice dubbing artist
Spanish (Latin America) Alejando Mayen
Spanish (Spain) Enrique Serra Frediani
Portuguese (Brazil) (Television/DVD) Cassius Romero
Japanese Kiyoshi Kobayashi
Korean 송준석(Jun-Suk Song)
Czech (Czech Republic) Bohumil Švarc
German Thomas Rauscher
Italian (Italy) Paolo Buglioni



Foreign Language Translated name
Afrikaans Heks-koning van Angmar
Albanian Mbreti magjik i Angmarit
Arabic ساحره--ملك انغمار
Armenian Անգմար-ի կախարդ թագավորը
Azerbaijani Anqmarın cadugər kralı
Belarusian Cyrillic Кароль-чарадзей Ангмара
Bengali উইচ-কিং অফ আংমার
Bosnian Kralj-Vještac od Angmara
Bulgarian Cyrillic Кралят-магьосник на Ангмар
Catalan Rei bruixot d'Àngmar
Cebuano Magwahing hari sa Angmar
Chinese 安格馬巫王
Croatian Kralj-Vještac od Angmara
Czech Černokněžný král Angmaru
Danish Heksekongen fra Angmar (Morgulkongen)
Dutch De Tovenaar-Koning van Angmar
Estonian Nõid-kuningas Angmar
Finnish Angmarin Noitakuningas
French Roi-sorcier d'Angmar
Galician Rei Bruxo de Angmar
Georgian ანგმარის გრძნეული მეფე
German Hexenkönig von Angmar
Greek Μάγος Βασιλιάς της Άνγκμαρ
Gujarati અંગરર ઓફ વિચ-રાજા
Hebrew המלך המכשף של אנגמר
Hindi चुड़ैल-एन्गर का राजा
Hungarian Angmari boszorkánykirály
Icelandic Norn konungur Angmar
Indonesian Penyihir raja Angmar
Irish Gaelic Draíochta Rí na Angmar
Italian Re Stregone di Angmar
Japanese アングマールの魔王
Kannada ಅಂಗ್‌ಮಾರ್ ಮಂತ್ರವಾದಿ-ರಾಜನನ್ನು
Korean 앙그마르의 마술사왕/앙마르의 마술사왕
Latin Rex-magus Angmaris
Latvian Angmaras raganu karalis
Lithuanian Ragana-karalius Angmar
Luxembourgish Hexekinnek vun Angmar
Malaysian Penyihir-raja Angmar
Nepalese अङ्ग्मारको डायनराज
Norwegian Heksekongen av Angmar
Persian پادشاه جادوگر آنگمار
Polish Czarnoksiężnik z Angmaru
Portuguese Rei bruxo de Angmar
Punjabi ਆਨ੍ਗ੍ਮਰ ਦਾ ਡੈਣ-ਰਾਜਾ
Romanian Regele-vrăjitor din Angmar
Russian Король-чародей Ангмара
Scottish Gaelic Bhuidseach de rìgh Angmar
Serbian Краљ-Вештац од Ангмара (Cyrillic) Kralj-Veštac od Angmara (Latin)
Sinhalese ඇන්ගර්හි රජ්ජුරුවන්ගේ මායාකාරිය ?
Slovak Černokňažný kráľ Angmaru
Slovenian Čarovni kralj Angmar
Spanish Rey Brujo de Angmar
Swedish Häxkungen av Angmar
Telugu అంగ్మార్ యొక్క విచ్-రాజు
Thai วิชคิงพญาโหงแห่งอังก์มาร์
Turkish Angmarlı Cadı Kral
Ukrainian Cyrillic Анґмарський Король-Чаклун
Urdu انجمار کے ڈائن بادشاہ
Vietnamese Vua phù thủy của Angmar
Welsh Wrach-brenin Angmar
Yiddish מעכאַשייפע-מלך פון אַנגמאַר
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