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  • Updated 29 March 2022
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Witch-lord of Angmar

Bane of the Northern Dúnedain

A title used by the Lord of the Nazgûl for a period of nearly seven hundred years during which he ruled the kingdom of Angmar in the far northern reaches of the Misty Mountains. 'Witch-lord' is in fact a rare variant of his more usual title during this period, and as the ruler of Angmar, the Lord of the Nazgûl was more commonly called the 'Witch-king'.1

The Witch-lord's reign began in about the year III 1300, when the Nazgûl Lord was sent northward by his master Sauron. During this period of history, the North-kingdom of Dúnedain had fractured into three lesser realms, and the purpose of the Witch-lord was to exploit this disunity to bring about the downfall of the Northern Dúnedain. To this end he established the realm of Angmar in the Misty Mountains, threatening the northern and eastern borders of the old lands of Arnor.

Rhudaur was the easternmost of the realms of the Dúnedain, and it offered little challenge to the Witch-lord. Its rule had already been usurped by Hill-men within its borders, and these Hill-men had agreed to a secret alliance with Angmar. When the Witch-lord launched a westward assault in III 1409, Rhudaur fell under his complete control. He pushed westward into Arthedain and Cardolan, the two remaining realms, but his forces were repulsed, at least for a time.

Arthedain and Cardolan held against Angmar for more than two centuries, until the Great Plague passed through those lands. Cardolan was left desolate, and Angmar extended its power, with the Witch-lord sending wights to infest the Barrow-downs on the borders of Arthedain. Nonetheless Arthedain stood alone against Angmar, as the Witch-lord slowly built his power. In III 1974 he brought an unstoppable force against the last realm of the Northern Dúnedain, capturing its city of Fornost and forcing its last King, Arvedui, to flee into the wilds.

The victory of the Witch-lord soon turned to defeat. A force from Gondor had come north to aid their fellow Dúnedain, and though they came too late to save the North-kingdom, they set out about avenging its loss. The Witch-lord was driven out of Fornost, and fled into the south to rejoin his fellow Nazgûl in Mordor. So the realm of Angmar came to an end, but as the Lord of the Nazgûl, the Witch-lord survived to trouble the Dúnedain until the close of the Third Age.


Notes

1

In fact the title 'Witch-lord of Angmar' is only used on a single occasion, with reference to the sending of a force of bowmen sent to the Battle of Fornost by the Shire-hobbits. This might be taken to suggest that 'Witch-lord' was the preferred form in the Shire records, though given the paucity of detail this is hardly definitive.

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About this entry:

  • Updated 29 March 2022
  • Updates planned: 1

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