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Gothmog (Lieutenant of Morgul)

(See also Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs)

Gothmog was the lieutenant of Minas Morgul, second-in-command to the Witch-king of Angmar, lord of the Nazgûl. He commanded the forces of Morgul during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields after the Lord of the Nazgûl was slain by Éowyn. This is the only reference in "The Lord of the Rings" to Gothmog, and his fate is not recorded, although it is strongly implied that he and almost all of the servants of Sauron that fought before the gates of Minas Tirith were destroyed.

Gothmog by John Howe

Almost nothing is known of Gothmog, not even what type of beings he was. Tolkienists speculate that he might have been one of the Nazgûl, an Orc or a Man (in which case he was probably a Black Númenórean like the Mouth of Sauron, the Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr). Since the Lord of the Nazgǔl's lieutenant is named by Tolkien in Unfinished Tales as Khamûl, the "Black Easterling," it is less likely that Gothmog was a Ringwraith, unless it was an alternate name for the same character. That an Orc could command so complex an assault also seems unlikely, strengthening the case for Gothmog having been an evil man grown powerful in Sauron's service. It is even possible that while not a Ringwraith, Gothmog was an undead human, similar in some respects to the Barrow-wights, although more powerful and with greater capacity for independent action.

Gothmog shares his name with a much earlier character, Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs. The original Gothmog is clearly a different character than the Gothmog of The Lord of the Rings despite sharing the same name. It would seem that the Gothmog of the Third Age had taken, or been given, the name in memory of Morgoth's captain; an interesting choice, since Sauron and the Lord of Balrogs were presumably rivals for Morgoth's favor during the Elder Days.

Portrayal in the Films

In Peter Jackson's The Return of the King film, Gothmog is portrayed as an Orc with a misshapen face, and is played by Lawrence Makoare, a New Zealand actor. It is also possible that he was in fact a Boldog (a fallen Maia in Orc form).

In the Special Extended Edition of Return of the King, Aragorn and Gimli kill an injured Gothmog while he is heading towards Éowyn with the intention of killing her, after she has been injured fighting the Witch King.