26 September 2011

365 Days of Middle-earth ~ Day 88: the Witch-King

The Witch-King at Minas Morgul; John Howe

Also known as: the Lord of the Nazgûl, the Lord of the Nine Riders and King of the Nine Riders, the Wraith-Lord and Wraith-King, the Morgul-lord, the Morgul-king, the King of Minas Morgul, the Lord of Morgul, the Black Captain, the Captain of Despair, the Captain of Sauron, the Black Rider, the Black Shadow, the Dwimmerlaik, and the High Nazgûl. His real name remains unknown.

SA 1600 – TA 3019

The Witch-King was the mightiest of Sauron’s servants; he was once a king and sorcerer, enslaved by Sauron when he received the greatest of the Nine Rings. His fortunes were bound to Sauron’s, and when he arose again in TA 1300, he formed the realm of Angmar, of which he became King. As the Witch-King of Angmar, he sought to destroy the Dúnedain of Arnor; until 1975, he waged wars on the North-Kingdom. Though he finally crushed Arthedain, his own armies were destroyed by the armies of Círdan, Glorfindel, and Eärnur of Gondor during the Battle of Fornost.

In 2000, the Witch-King and other Nazgûl attacked Minas Ithil, and after a two-year siege, took the city, which was then renamed Minas Morgul. In 2043 and 2050, he challenged Eärnur, now the King of Gondor, to single combat. In 2050, the challenge was accepted, and Eärnur was slain.

The Witch-King fronted the search for Frodo during the War of the Ring; he stabbed Frodo atop Weathertop; and he led the army that attacked Minas Tirith during the Siege of Gondor. While he killed King Théoden of Rohan during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, he was in turn slain by Éowyn and Meriadoc Brandybuck, thus fulfilling Glorfindel’s prophecy that he would not fall by the hand of any man.

With the passing of the Witch-King, the armies of Morgul were left without a captain, and they were all destroyed in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Minas Morgul was later destroyed by the Dúnedain.

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