Tolkien Gateway

King of the Dead

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Revision as of 19:33, 12 September 2015

King of the Dead
Biographical Information
Other namesKing of the Mountains
LocationWhite Mountains
AffiliationSauron, Gondor
BirthSecond Age
Physical Description
GalleryImages of the King of the Dead

The King of the Mountains, or later, the King of the Dead, was the ruler of the Oathbreakers.


He was the King of the Men of the Mountains, and when the Realms in Exile were founded, he met Isildur at Erech and swore his affiliation to Gondor on behalf of his people.

Then the time came when their former lord, Sauron arose again, and Isildur summoned them, but the Men of the Mountains were unwilling to turn against Sauron as they worshipped him during the Dark Years. Isildur cursed them for not fulfilling their oath, that there will be no other King after him, and they will never find rest, until someone else calls for them.

His people dwindled and in the following centuries, the wraith of the King of the Dead was a terrifying rumor for the Men of Gondor south of the Mountains.

During the War of the Ring, Aragorn came to the Paths of the Dead as the Heir of Isildur and offered him to redeem themselves. On their way to Erech, people were scared of the news that the King of the Dead was out again, and defenders and foes alike fled away.[1]

The Oathbreakers followed the Grey Company to Pelargir where they drove off the enemy. Having fulfilled their oath, the King of the Dead broke and threw down his spear, bowed to Aragorn and turned away, as the Shadow Host vanished.[2]

Portrayal in adaptations

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

The King of the Dead is played by Paul Norell.

2011: The Lord of the Rings Online:

The King, named Rioc, appears in a Session Play telling the tale of the Oathbreakers. He can be seen as a shade among Aragorn's host later in the game.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Passing of the Grey Company"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Last Debate"