Witch-king of Angmar
(redirection from Black Captain)

(aka Lord of the Nazgūl, Witch-king, Witch-lord, Sorcerer-king, Wizard-king and BlackCaptain)

Described by Gandalf, "King of Angmar long ago, Sorcerer, Ringwraith, Lord of the Nazgūl, a spear of terror in the hand of Sauron, shadow of despair."

No clear explanation of the name is given. The only passage concerning a possible origin of the name can be found in The Peoples of Middle-earth:

"The Witch-king taking advantage of war among the Dśnedain comes down out of the North. He overruns Cardolan and Rhudaur. Cardolan is ravaged and destroyed and becomes desolate. The Tower of AmonSūl is razed and the Palantķr is broken. Evil spirits come and take their abode in the mounds of the hills of Cardolan. In Rhudaur an evil folk, workers of sorcery, subjects of Angmar, slay the remnants of the Dśnedain and build dark forts in the hills."

At the end of the ThirdAge, the Lord of the Nazgūl commanded the seige of Gondor, driving his slaves in madness before him. It is not until the Gates of Gondor are broken that he comes forth himself.

Then the BlackCaptain rose in his stirrups and crird aloud in a dreadful voice, speaking in some forgotten tongue words of power and terror to rend both heart and stone. . . In rode the Lord of the Nazgūl. A great black shape against the fires beyond he loomed up, grown to a vast menace of despair. In rode the Lord of the Nazgūl, under the archway that no enemy ever yet had passed, and all fled before his face.

All save one. There waiting, silend and still in the space before the Gate, sat Gandalf upon Shadowfax. . .

'You cannot enter here,' said Gandalf, and the huge shadow halted. 'Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!

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.

'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 an flames ran down the blade.

This advance was halted by the coming of the Rorhirrim, which proved his bane. It had been prophesied by Glorfindel that he would not fall at the hand of Man. He met his end at the hands of Eowyn and Merry, a woman and a hobbit.

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 wasn ever heard again in that age of this world.


Notes and additions

An interesting speculation upon the origins of the Witch-king are given here: ("The name of the Witch-King?; a proposed answer")


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