An encyclopedia of Middle-earth and Numenor
The Witch-king uncloaked
in the New Line Cinema film
The Witch-king in armor
in the New Line Cinema film
The Lord of the Nazgul was Sauron's most dreadful servant. He was once a Man who became corrupted by one of the Nine Rings of Power. He established the realm of Angmar and became known as the Witch-king, and though Angmar was defeated it was foretold that the Witch-king would not fall by the hand of man. During the War of the Ring, the Witch-king led the hunt for the Ring-bearer and he commanded the forces at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields where at last he met his doom.
Nothing is known about the Lord of the Nazgul's original identity. It is said that three of the Nine Nazgul were originally great lords of Numenor. The Lord of the Nazgul was probably one of these.*
Sauron had deceived Celebrimbor and the Elven-smiths of Eregion and had taken part in creating the Nine Rings of Power in the 1500's of the Second Age. Then Sauron created the One Ring for himself to rule the others and the Elves realized they had been betrayed. Sauron attacked Eregion in 1697 and seized the Nine Rings.
Sauron gave the Nine Rings to Men, who proved easily corrupted. The Men used the Rings to claim power and wealth for themselves, but over time they became wraiths enslaved by the will of Sauron.
Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing. They had, as it seemed, unending life, yet life became unendurable to them. They could walk, if they would, unseen by all eyes in this world beneath the sun, and they could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thralldom of the ring that they bore and of the domination of the One which was Sauron's. And they became forever invisible save to him that wore the Ruling Ring, and they entered into the realm of shadows. The Nazgul were they, the Ringwraiths, the Enemy's most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death.The Nine first appeared in the form of Nazgul around 2251 of the Second Age. The most powerful of them became the Lord of the Nazgul.
The Silmarillion: "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age," p. 289
In 3434, the Elves and Men of the Last Alliance marched to war against Sauron in Mordor and at last in 3441, Sauron was overthrown and the One Ring was taken by Isildur. The Nazgul vanished into the shadows.
Sauron returned in secret around 1050 of the Third Age and built a stronghold on the edge of Mirkwood at Dol Guldur. Around 1300, the Nazgul reappeared. The Lord of the Nazgul went north to Eriador and established the realm of Angmar on both sides of the Misty Mountains. The Witch-king's stronghold was Carn Dum in the northernmost peak. He gathered a force of evil Men, Orcs, and other creatures.
The Witch-king had chosen to establish his realm in the north because while Gondor remained strong in the south, the North-kingdom of Arnor was in disarray. Arnor had been divided into Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur in 861 and there was dissension among the three kingdoms. The Witch-king took advantage of this disunity to further his own plans of conquest.
Rhudaur was the first to fall under the Witch-king's power. There were few Dunedain remaining in Rhudaur and an evil lord of the Hill-men in league with the Witch-king seized power. In 1356, King Argeleb I of Arthedain claimed rule of all of Arnor. Rhudaur objected and waged war on Arthedain and King Argeleb was killed in battle.
In 1409, the Witch-king sent forth a great host from Angmar. Cardolan was overrun and ravaged, though some of the Dunedain took refuge in the Barrow-downs and the Old Forest and continued to resist. The Dunedain of Rhudaur were utterly defeated and evil Men who practiced sorcery and were subjects of the Witch-king occupied the land.
The Witch-king's forces surrounded Weathertop. The Tower of Amon Sul was destroyed, but the Dunedain managed to rescue the palantir. King Arveleg I of Arthedain was slain and the Dunedain were defeated and retreated to Fornost. Arveleg's young son Araphor prevented the Witch-king from taking Fornost. He was helped by a force of Elves from Lindon led by Cirdan, and Elrond also brought Elves from Rivendelland Lothlorien. The Witch-king's plan to conquer all of Arnor was halted.
The remnants of the Dunedain in Cardolan perished during the Great Plague of 1636. The Witch-king then sent evil spirits from Angmar and Rhudaur to occupy the mounds of the Barrow-downs and these spirits became known as the Barrow-wights.
By 1974, the Witch-king had risen to power again. In the winter, he sent a force to invade Arthedain and he captured Fornost. King Arvedui sent word to Gondor for aid and resisted for a time in the North Downs, but at last he was forced to retreat and later perished at sea. Arvedui's sons and the remainder of the Dunedain retreated across the River Lune.
The Witch-king took the throne in Fornost and filled the city with his evil minions. In 1975, a force from Gondor led by Earnur arrived to challenge him. With Earnur came horsemen from the Vales of the Anduin and princes of Rhovanion. Cirdan summoned a force of Elves from Lindon to join them, and Glorfindel led a company from Rivendell. It is said that the Hobbits of the Shire sent a company of archers as well.
The Witch-king rode out to meet his enemies clad in black robes and a black mask and mounted on a black horse. There was a great battle on the plain between the North Downs and Lake Evendim. The forces of Angmar were defeated and the Witch-king tried to retreat to Carn Dum but he was pursued by Earnur and his cavalry. The Witch-king was filled with hatred for Earnur and rode to confront him. Earnur tried to stand his ground but his horse fled in terror and the Witch-king laughed. Then Glorfindel approached and the Witch-king vanished into the shadows. Glorfindel counselled Earnur not to pursue him, saying:
"Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall."The realm of Angmar was ended and all the Orcs and Men of the Witch-king's forces were killed or driven from Eriador. The Witch-king returned to Mordor in 1980 and he gathered the other eight Nazgul to him. There they began to prepare for Sauron's return.
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "Gondor and the Heirs of Anarion," p. 332
In 2000, the Nazgul besieged Minas Ithil and in 2002 they captured it and claimed it as their stronghold. It was renamed Minas Morgul, the Tower of Black Sorcery. The Witch-king became the Lord of Morgul and his second-in-command was Khamul. The palantir called the Ithil-stone was claimed by the Nazgul and was later given to Sauron.
Earnur became King of Gondor in 2043. The Witch-king challenged his adversary to single-combat, mocking him for his failure to stand and fight at the Battle of Fornost. Mardil, the Steward of Gondor, convinced Earnur to refuse the Witch-king, but seven years later the challenge was renewed and Earnur accepted. He rode with a small company of knights to Minas Morgul and they were never seen again. Earnur was believed to have died in torment in Minas Morgul. He left no heir, and it was from that time that the Stewards began to rule Gondor in absence of a King.
The Watchful Peace began in 2063 after Sauron went into hiding when Gandalf the Grey came to Dol Guldur. The Nazgul remained quiet in Minas Morgul during this time, but they continued to build the forces of Mordor including a race of black Uruks of great strength.
The Watchful Peace ended in 2460 when Sauron returned to Dol Guldur. In 2475, a host of black Uruks issued from Mordor and attacked Osgiliath. The bridge was destroyed and the city was ruined and no one dwelled there afterwards. Boromir, the son of Denethor I, resisted fiercely and even the Witch-king feared him. Boromir reclaimed Ithilien for Gondor but he received a Morgul-wound that shortened his life. (Note: This Boromir is not the same as Boromir of the Fellowship.)
Sauron returned in secret to Mordor in 2942 and in 2951 he declared himself openly. He sent Khamul and one or two other Nazgul to Dol Guldur while the Witch-king remained in Minas Morgul with the others.
In 3017, Sauron extracted information from Gollum that the One Ring was in the possession of a person named Baggins in the Shire. Gollum deceived Sauron into thinking that the Shire was in the Vales of the Anduin. Sauron decided to send his most loyal servants the Nazgul to hunt for the Ring. It is believed that he kept their Nine Rings in his possession, and since they were enslaved to his will through their Rings, they would be compelled to bring the Ruling Ring back to him.
In order to disguise the purpose of the mission, Sauron launched an assault on Osgiliath on June 20, 3018, as a feint. The Witch-king led the attack and the Men of Gondor could not withstand his presence. Boromir, son of Denethor II, led the defense of Osgiliath along with his brother Faramir. They cast down the bridge and held the western shore against the Enemy's forces, but they did not realize that the Nazgul had secretly crossed the Anduin.
The Nazgul traveled unseen in Wraith form to Sarn Gebir, where they received horses and were clothed in black robes. They continued north to the Field of Celebrant where they met the Nazgul of Dol Guldur led by Khamul. Khamul told the Witch-king that there was no trace of a land called "the Shire" in the Vales of the Anduin. The Witch-king decided to continuing searching along the river anyway, but they found nothing.
In September, the Nazgul returned south empty-handed. Messengers from Mordor brought them word of Sauron's wrath and the Witch-king was filled with fear and dismay. The Nazgul were told to proceed to Isengard to discover what Saruman knew of the One Ring.
Accounts of the meeting between the Nazgul and Saruman differ. According to one version, Saruman told the Witch-king that he did not know where the Shire was but that Gandalf did; the Nazgul later encountered Grima from whom they learned the location of the Shire and that Saruman had lied. In a different version, Saruman revealed the location of the Shire himself.
The Nazgul sped northwards to Eriador in search of the Shire. They encountered a squint-eyed Southerner who was one of Saruman's agents and the Witch-king questioned him. The Southerner had maps of the Shire and information that a Hobbit named Baggins lived in the town of Hobbiton. The Witch-king sent the squint-eyed Southerner to Bree to keep watch for travellers leaving the Shire.
The Nazgul reached Sarn Ford on the Brandywine on September 22 and found it guarded by Rangers. The Rangers held the ford for a while, but after nightfall the Witch-king swept through their ranks, killing some and causing the rest to scatter.
The Witch-king sent four or five Nazgul** into the Shire, including Khamul who went to Hobbiton. The other Nazgul were sent to guard the Greenway. The Witch-king himself proceeded to the Barrow-downs to rouse the Barrow-wights to be on the watch for trespassers crossing their land. The Barrow-wights captured Frodo Baggins, the Ring-bearer, on September 28 but he escaped with the help of Tom Bombadil.
In the early hours of September 30, the Nazgul in the Shire attacked Frodo's house at Crickhollow. Two other Nazgul had entered Bree and learned that their agent the squint-eyed Southerner and his cohort Bill Ferny had seen Frodo vanish into thin air at the Prancing Pony. The inn was attacked during the night, but Frodo and his companions were kept safe by Aragorn.
The Nazgul brought news of their failure to capture Frodo to the Witch-king, who was waiting south of Bree. The Witch-king suspected that the Ring-bearer would head east from Bree and he sent four Nazgul to Weathertop. He led the other four south along the Greenway but found nothing. They returned to Bree, breaking down the gates and storming through town after midnight on October 1.
The Witch-king led the four Nazgul east along the Great East Road. They were followed by Gandalf who had arrived in Bree before them. The Nazgul realized they were being followed and hid by the roadside and let Gandalf pass them on October 3.
The Witch-king led the Nazgul in an attack on Gandalf at Weathertop on the night of October 3-4. The flashes of light and fire from their battle could be seen for miles around. At dawn the next day, Gandalf escaped and four of the Nazgul pursued him for a while.
On October 6, the Witch-king and the other four Nazgul found Frodo and his companions on Weathertop. The Nazgul attacked their camp in the night and in their presence Frodo was compelled to put on the Ring. He perceived the Nazgul in their true forms as Wraiths. They had white faces and keen, merciless eyes and grey robes. The Witch-king was the tallest of them, and he had long, gleaming hair and a crown on his helm.
The Witch-king advanced on Frodo with a sword and a Morgul-knife. Frodo slashed the Witch-king's robe with his sword and invoked the name of Elbereth, one of the Valar, and the Witch-king cried out at the sound of her name. He stabbed Frodo in the shoulder with his Morgul-knife and a sliver of the blade broke off in Frodo's shoulder and began working its way to his heart. Although the sliver was later removed, the wound continued to trouble Frodo for as long as he remained in Middle-earth.
Aragorn came out of the darkness armed with flaming brands. The Witch-king and the Nazgul withdrew. They believed the Ring to be within their grasp. The wound from the Morgul-knife was turning Frodo into a Wraith and he would then fall under the power of the Nazgul.
The Witch-king was troubled by what had occurred at Weathertop. He had been shaken by his confrontation with Gandalf and he feared Aragorn. But he was also concerned that the Ring-bearer had resisted him even though he was not a person of great power. He feared that Frodo was in league with the High Elves because he invoked the name of Elbereth.
The Witch-king also recognized that Frodo's sword from the Barrow-downs had been made by the Dundedain for the war against Angmar. He knew that the blow that had narrowly missed him would have been deadly to him. (In fact at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, Merry Brandybuck would use the same kind of sword to deal the Witch-king a mortal blow.)
Because of these concerns, the Witch-king failed to observe the withdrawal of Frodo and his companions from Weathertop and he lost track of the Ring. It was not until later on October 7 that he resumed pursuit. He and the other four Nazgul rode down the Great East Road to the Last Bridge over the Hoarwell.
On October 11, Glorfindel drove three of the Nazgul including Khamul off the Last Bridge and then encountered two more including the Witch-king. Glorfindel was one of the High Elves, and the Witch-king could not confront him in the daylight with only one companion, so he fled southward.
On October 20, the five Nazgul were rejoined by the other four. They pursued Frodo to the Ford of Bruinen. Glorfindel's horse Asfaloth bore Frodo across the river, but Frodo felt compelled to stop. The Nazgul commanded him to give up the Ring, but Frodo refused, saying, "By Elbereth and Luthien the Fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me!" (FotR, p. 226-7) The Witch-king advanced into the river and raised his hand. Frodo's sword broke and he could not speak.
Then the waters of the Bruinen rose at the command of Elrond, assisted by Gandalf. The Witch-king and the other Nazgul were swept away by the flood. The bodies of eight of their horses and the cloak of the Witch-king were later found downstream. The Witch-king apparently rode the ninth horse back to Mordor, probably arriving there in early December. Help was then sent to the other Nazgul and they returned to Mordor in secret.
In Minas Morgul, the Witch-king prepared for the main assault against Minas Tirith. On March 10, 3019, a red signal came from Mordor and Minas Morgul responded with a livid flash of blue flame. There was a terrible cry and the gates opened and out came a great host led by the Witch-king, who was clad in black with a helm like a crown on his head.
Frodo was in the Morgul Vale, and when he saw the Witch-king the wound in his shoulder ached. The Witch-king stopped and seemed to sense his presence. Frodo's hand reached for the Ring but he clasped the Phial of Galadriel instead. The Witch-king turned away and led his host in haste to the Anduin. As they crossed Ithilien the Morgul-host was joined by regiments of Haradrim from the South.
As the commander of Sauron's forces, the Witch-king's power was increased. Terror spread before him and even his own forces feared him. The Morgul-host won the river crossing on March 12. Faramir, who was leading the defense, retreated with his men to the Causeway Forts and tried to prevent the retreat from turning into a rout, but they were outnumbered ten to one. The Rammas Echor encircling Minas Tirith was breached and the Morgul-host overran the Pelennor Fields.
The Witch-king sent out other Nazgul mounted on flying Fell Beasts, though he did not yet come forward himself. As the Nazgul descended on them, the retreating Men of Gondor panicked and fled before them. Faramir came in contact with their Black Breath and he was struck down by an arrow. A sortie led by Prince Imrahil came to the aid of Faramir and his men and brought them back to the City.
The Morgul-host surrounded Minas Tirith and laid siege to the City. The Witch-king was cunning and it was his intention to fill his adversaries with fear and despair. Catapults hurled shot that burst into flame by some secret art, and then the severed heads of the Men of Gondor who had died in the assault were flung over the walls to rain down among their comrades. The Winged Nazgul circled overhead and their cries filled the City with horror.
When he perceived that the people of Minas Tirith were disheartened and afraid, the Witch-king launched his full assault on the City. The great battering ram Grond was drawn to the Gate of Minas Tirith. The Witch-king himself appeared on a black horse and raised his sword. A stillness fell over the battlefield. Then the Witch-king cried words of terror and power in an ancient tongue three times, and each time Grond was hurled against the Gate. The third time, the Gate was destroyed.
The Witch-king rode through the Gate which no enemy of Gondor had ever passed through before. All fled before him except Gandalf who denied the Witch-king entrance to the City.
The Black Rider flung back his hood, and behold! he had a kingly crown; and yet upon no head visible was it set. The red fires shone between it and the mantled shoulders vast and dark. From a mouth unseen there came a deadly laughter.Then the dawn came and the horns of the Rohirrim sounded on the Pelennor Fields. The Witch-king turned away from the Gate to meet the assault. He mounted a Fell Beast and descended onto the field wielding a black mace, bringing ruin and despair to his foes. He bore down upon King Theoden of Rohan and pierced the King's horse Snowmane with a black dart, and the horse fell and crushed Theoden beneath him.
"Old fool!" he said. "Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!" And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade.
The Return of the King: "The Siege of Gondor," p. 103
Then a young Rider of Rohan challenged the Witch-king and commanded him to leave Theoden in peace.
A cold voice answered: "Come not between the Nazgul 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 shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye."But the Rider was not a man, it was Eowyn of Rohan, the King's niece. The Witch-king regarded her with malice and doubt. She slew his Fell Beast with one swift stroke. The Witch-king was enraged and he swung his mace at her, shattering her shield and her shield-arm. He raised his mace to deliver the death blow.
A sword rang as it was drawn. "Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may."
"Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!"
The Return of the King: "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields," p. 116
But then the Hobbit Merry Brandybuck came up from behind and pierced the sinew of the Witch-king's knee with his sword. Ordinary blades could not harm the Witch-king, but Merry had a sword of Westernesse that had been made for the war against Angmar long ago, and it broke the spell that knit the Witch-king's sinews together. The Witch-king stumbled forward and Eowyn drove her sword into the space between his crown and mantle. The crown and mantle fell empty to the ground and the Witch-king passed away.
... a cry went up into the shuddering air, and faded to a shrill wailing, passing with the wind, a voice bodiless and thin that died, and was swallowed up, and was never heard again in that age of this world.Thus it was that the words spoken by Glorfindel after the Battle of Fornost came to pass, and the Witch-king met his doom at the hands of a woman and a Hobbit.
The Return of the King: "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields," p. 117
On March 25, the One Ring was consumed in the fires of Mount Doom and Sauron and the eight remaining Nazgul were destroyed. The power of the Nine Rings was lost and so was any chance that the Witch-king and the other Nazgul could ever return to Middle-earth.
*Note 1: A note written by Tolkien in the manuscript of his "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" says: "the name and origin of the Witch-king is not recorded, but he was probably ... of Numenorean descent." (The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 20)
**Note 2: According to "The Tale of Years" in Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings, four Nazgul entered the Shire while the other five pursued the Rangers eastward. Gandalf also stated that four Nazgul entered the Shire at the Council of Elrond (FotR, p. 277). However, in The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion there is a much more detailed account of the Nazgul's movements prepared by Tolkien which says five Nazgul including Khamul entered the Shire while the other four including the Witch-king went eastward.
The Nine Rings are made.
Sauron makes the One Ring to rule the others.
Sauron takes the Nine Rings.
The Nine Nazgul first appear.
The War of the Last Alliance begins.
Sauron is overthrown and the One Ring is taken by Isildur. The Nazgul go into the shadows.
Sauron returns in secret and establishes a stronghold at Dol Guldur.
The Nazgul reappear. The Lord of the Nazgul establishes the realm of Angmar in the north and becomes known as the Witch-king of Angmar.
Angmar and Rhudaur wage war on Arthedain. King Argeleb I of Arthedain is killed.
The Witch-king sends a great host forth from Angmar. Cardolan is occupied though some resistance remains. Rhudaur is overrun by evil subjects of Angmar. King Arveleg I of Arthedain is killed and the Tower of Amon Sul is destroyed. Elves come to the aid of the Dunedain and prevent the Witch-king from overrunning all of Arnor.
The Great Plague comes to Eriador. The Witch-king sends evil spirits to occupy the Barrow-downs.
The Witch-king invades Arthedain and captures Fornost. The North-kingdom of Arnor is ended.
The Witch-king's forces are defeated at the Battle of Fornost by the Dunedain of the North, Men of Gondor, and Elves of Lindon and Rivendell. The Witch-king vanishes from the north. Glorfindel speaks a prophecy concerning his doom.
The Witch-king returns to Mordor and gathers the other eight Nazgul to him.
The Nazgul besiege Minas Ithil.
The Nazgul capture Minas Ithil. It becomes their stronghold and is renamed Minas Morgul.
The Witch-king challenges Earnur to single-combat but is refused.
The Witch-king renews his challenge and Earnur accepts. Earnur is never seen again. From this time the Stewards rule Gondor in the absence of a King.
Gandalf investigates Dol Guldur and Sauron goes into hiding. The Watchful Peace begins and the Nazgul remain quiet in Minas Morgul.
Sauron returns to Dol Guldur and the Watchful Peace ends.
A force of black Uruks invades Ithilien and takes Osgiliath. They are driven back by Boromir, son of Denethor I.
Sauron returns in secret to Mordor.
Sauron declares himself openly and begins to build his power in Mordor.
Sauron gains information from Gollum about the One Ring.
June 20: The Witch-king leads the assault on Osgiliath.
July 1: The Witch-king leads
the Nazgul across the Anduin in secret.
July 17: The Nazgul receive clothing and horses at Sarn Gebir.
July 22: The Witch-king meets Khamul in the Field of Celebrant. He learns that no place called "the Shire" has been found in the Vales of the Anduin. The Witch-king decides to continue searching along the Anduin but they find nothing.
September: The Nazgul return
south and receive word from Sauron to proceed to Isengard.
September 18: The Nazgul cross the Fords of Isen.
September 22: The Nazgul drive away the Rangers guarding Sarn Ford.
September 23: Four Nazgul including the Witch-king pursue the Rangers and then patrol the roads while the Witch-king goes to the Barrow-downs to rouse the Barrow-wights. The other five including Khamul enter the Shire. Khamul goes to Hobbiton and speaks to Gaffer Gamgee.
September 26: Two Nazgul enter Bree and ask about Baggins at the Prancing Pony.
September 27: The Witch-king leaves the Barrow-downs. He meets the two Nazgul from Bree and hears their report on the Ring-bearer. He sends three Nazgul across country to Weathertop and back while he and two others patrol the Greenway.
September 28: Frodo Baggins is captured by a Barrow-wight but escapes with the help of Tom Bombadil.
September 29: The Witch-king's agent in Bree sees Frodo vanish into thin air at the Prancing Pony.
September 30: The inn is attacked in the night but Aragorn keeps Frodo safe. Crickhollow is also attacked.
October 1: The Witch-king
and four Nazgul storm through Bree after midnight. Gandalf pursues them.
October 3-4: The Nazgul fight with Gandalf on Weathertop. He escapes and leads four of them away.
October 6: The Witch-king and four Nazgul attack Frodo and his companions on Weathertop. The Witch-king stabs Frodo and the tip of his Morgul-knife is lodged in Frodo's shoulder.
October 7: The Witch-king resumes pursuit of the Ring-bearer.
October 11: Glorfindel drives three Nazgul including Khamul from the Last Bridge and then encounters the Witch-king and one other.
October 13: Aragorn and the Hobbits cross the Last Bridge.
October 14: The Witch-king and four Nazgul reassemble and resume their pursuit.
October 19: The Nazgul sense the Ring nearby.
October 20: The Nazgul pursue Frodo to the Ford of Bruinen and are swept away by a flood created by Elrond and Gandalf. The Witch-king rides the one surviving horse back to Mordor.
Early December: The Witch-king arrives in Mordor.
March 10: The Witch-king leads the Morgul-host forth from Minas Morgul.
March 12: The Morgul-host wins the passage of the Anduin and Faramir retreats to the Causeway Forts.
March 13: The Morgul-host overruns the Pelennor.
March 14: The Morgul-host lays siege to Minas Tirith.
March 15: The Witch-king is confronted by Gandalf at the Gate of Minas Tirith. The Rohirrim arrive at dawn and the Witch-king departs to the battlefield. Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The Witch-king is vanquished by Eowyn and Merry Brandybuck.
March 25: The One Ring is destroyed and Sauron is defeated. The Nine Rings lose their power.
The leader of the Nazgul was called by several titles including Lord of the Nazgul, Lord of the Ringwraiths, Chieftain of the Ringwraiths, Lord of the Nine Riders, King of the Nine Riders, Wraith-lord, Wraith-king, and High Nazgul.
The Lord of the Nazgul established the realm of Angmar in 1300. It is not clear how he acquired the title Witch-king, but many of his subjects were said to have practiced sorcery and he was a sorcerer himself. He was also called the Witch-lord of Angmar.
After establishing Minas Morgul as his stronghold, the Witch-king took the titles Lord of Morgul, Morgul-lord, and King of Minas Morgul.
As the leader of the Morgul-host during the War of the Ring, the Witch-king was called the Black Captain and the Captain of Despair.
Eowyn called the Witch-king a foul Dwimmerlaik. The word dwimmerlaik means "work of necromancy" or "spectre." In Old English, the word dwimor means "phantom, ghost, illusion, delusion, apparition." The word laik is derived from the Old Norse leikr and Old English lác meaning "play, game" or "offering."
The History of Middle-earth, vol. VIII, The War of the Ring: "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields," p. 372 note 2; Old English Made Easy
Eowyn also called the Witch-king lord of carrion, meaning "dead or decaying flesh."
Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings: "The North-kingdom and the Dunedain," passim; "Gondor and the Heirs of Anarion," p. 331-33
Appendix B of The Lord of the Rings: "The Tale of Years," passim
The Silmarillion: "The Akallabeth," p. 267; "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age," p. 287-89, 296-97, 302-3
Unfinished Tales: "The Hunt for the Ring," passim
The History of Middle-earth, vol. XII, The Peoples of Middle-earth: "The Heirs of Elendil," p. 194, 204-205; "The Tale of Years of the Third Age," p. 230
The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion by Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull: "Prologue," p. 20; "Three Is Company," p. 97; "Fog on the Barrow-downs," p. 145; "A Knife in the Dark," p. 164-68, 179-81; "Flight to the Ford," p. 194-96; "The Ring Goes South," p. 262-63; "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields," p. 562-64
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