|“||Send forth all legions. Do not stop the attack until the city is taken. Slay them all.||„|
|~ The Witch-king of Angmar.|
|“||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 of Angmar to Gandalf the White.|
The Witch-king of Angmar is a major antagonist in J.R.R. Tolkien's 1954 fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings, and Peter Jackson's film trilogy based on the novel. Originally a great king of Men, he is corrupted by Sauron and becomes his chief servant, along with eight other similarly corrupted kings. As the leader of the Nazgûl, he scours Middle-earth looking for the One Ring. He founds the kingdom of Angmar and becomes known as a great sorcerer, thus earning his title.
In Rankin/Bass' Return of the King, he was voiced by the late John Stephenson. In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, he was portrayed by Lawrence Makoare, who also played Lurtz, Gothmog, and Bolg in the same films, and was voiced by Andy Serkis, who also played Gollum in Jackson's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies, Spike in Flushed Away, Ulysses Klaue in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Kertasnikir in Netflix's Hilda, Mr. Grin in Stormbreaker, Capricorn in Inkheart, and Supreme Leader Snoke in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
Nothing is known about the Witch-king's origins except that he was a great lord of Men, possibly a Númenórean. He was seduced by Sauron's promises of power and became a wraith after his master gave him one of the nine rings of Men. He founded the kingdom of Angmar and used it to destroy the kingdom of Arnor. After realizing the threat that the Witch-king imposed, Gondor (Arnor´s sister kingdom) allied with the elves to destroy Angmar. After the destruction of Angmar, the Witch-king returned to Mordor and captured Minas Ithil, in Gondor, renaming it Minas Morgul.
He was briefly seen in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, with his true spirit form visible appearing from a statue of him. He was driven away by the wizard Radagast, who took his Morgul blade.
The Ringwraiths returned in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, during which they were defeated and apparently killed by Galadriel, Saruman, and Elrond, but the Necromancer resurrected them. Galadriel then banished all nine Ring Wraiths and Sauron to Mordor.
The Witch-king led the hunt for the Ring disguised as a Black Rider. After being defeated at the Ford of Bruinen by a flood summoned by Elrond and Gandalf, the Nazgûl returned to Mordor and prepared to destroy Gondor. They got giant winged steeds named fell beasts. The Witch-king led his armies to the Siege of Gondor and the Battle of the Pelennor Fields where he killed King Théoden of Rohan, but he was confronted by a warrior who revealed herself as Éowyn, niece of the King.
She killed the beast and confronted the Witch-king, who broke her shield arm, but he was stabbed by Merry (a Hobbit) with a sword of the Westernesse (a sword made specially to bring ruin to the Witch-king), which broke the protection spell of the Witch-king, then Éowyn killed the Witch-king by stabbing him in the face. Both swords that pierced his undead flesh were broken a few seconds later.
|“||You fool! No man can kill me! Die now!||„|
|~ The Witch-king of Angmar to Eowyn.|
Once a great king blinded by his greed and desire for power, the Witch-king is now little more than a slave of Sauron and an extension of his will, bound to obeying Sauron and desiring nothing more than to ensure his lord would emerge victoriously.
The Witch-king was an exceptionally intelligent and powerful being, skilled in strategy and possessing great knowledge of warfare. He was arrogant and proud, emboldened by the prophecy that he could not be killed by any man. This led him to believe that he did not need to be concerned for his own existence or any danger which he might face while fighting in battles.
The Witch-king despised the race of Men and lacked emotions such as love, fear, joy, anger, or happiness.
Powers and Abilities
- Swordsmanship: The Witch-king was a skilled swordsman having used the weapon for more than 3,000 years. He also used a mace (flail in the movies) which implied great physical strength. The most powerful physical weapon of the Witch-king was his smaller one, the Morgul Blade. Anyone wounded by this dagger will be infected by an extremely powerful poison, and if they die, they will become a Wraith servant of the Witch-king.
- Magic: The Witch-king was also a very talented sorcerer, being able to break both Frodo's sword and Gandalf's staff (in the movies) by using his magic. Any weapon that harmed the Witch-king will be destroyed and the wielder will end up being poisoned. If someone was near the Witch-king it will suffer from the Black Breath which causes nightmares and unconsciousness, and if exposed for enough time, it can cause death.
- Fear-Inducement: The greatest weapon the Witch-king got was fear, he was a terrible sorcerer known by the Dunedain and feared by them and then his simple aura gave fear to all except the bravest and his screech caused people to forget war, honor, and courage replacing those thoughts with the single thought of Death.
- Enhanced Durability: The Witch-king was immune to normal weapons (weapons should be made specifically to kill him), and could not be killed by men.
Besides being sold on eBay as a custom LEGO figure, the Witch-king also appeared in the LEGO game 'LEGO Lord of the Rings and appears as an official LEGO figure in a 2014 Lego set of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
- The Witch-king's true name was never given, and therefore among Tolkien fans, the Witch-king is often simply called Angmar, after the name of the realm he founded and led.
- The Witch-king is the only Middle-earth villain who takes the role of a protagonist villain in the Lord of the Rings RTS game The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth 2: The Rise of the Witch-king, which tells of his war against Arnor.
- For Peter Jackson's film adaptation, the Witch-king was originally designed with a helmet based on John Howe's design featured in his paintings but was later changed as the crew felt the design was too similar to Sauron's. The original helmet is featured in behind-the-scenes footage of The Return of the King.
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