Gothmog (Lieutenant of Morgul)

From Tolkien Gateway
This article is about the Lieutenant of Morgul. For the Balrog of the First Age, see Gothmog (balrog).
John Howe - Gothmog 01.jpg
"Gothmog" by John Howe
Biographical Information
TitlesLieutenant of Morgul
PositionSecond-in-command to the Lord of the Nazgûl
AffiliationSauron, the Lord of the Nazgûl
Languagepresumably Westron and/or Black Speech
Deathprobably 15 March T.A. 3019
Battle of the Pelennor Fields
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Gothmog

Gothmog was the lieutenant of Minas Morgul.[1] It is possible that he was second-in-command to the Lord of the Nazgûl or less likely second-in-command of the troops of Minas Morgul.[2] He shared his name with Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs from the First Age.[3][4]

History[edit | edit source]

On March 15 T.A. 3019[5] after the Lord of the Nazgûl was slain by Éowyn during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields,[6] Gothmog ordered reserves consisting of Easterlings with axes, Variags of Khand, Southrons in scarlet and black men like half-trolls with white eyes and red tongues, which had been accumulated at the ruined city of Osgiliath to move into the Pelennor Fields to attack the cavalry of the Rohirrim and of Gondor.[1]

His fate is never specified; presumably he perished along with almost all of the servants of Sauron that fought before the gates of Minas Tirith, or he fled with the others out of Rammas and across the Anduin.

Origin[edit | edit source]

Almost nothing is known of Gothmog, not even what being he was. Tolkien scholars speculate that he might have been one of the following:

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

Gothmog in adaptations
Eärnur as Gothmog in The Lord of the Rings Online  

1977: War of the Ring (board game):

Gothmog is the second most powerful Nazgûl. He begins the game at Dol Guldur.

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Gothmog is a half-troll, a crossbreed of trolls and Variags.[9]

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

Gothmog is portrayed as an Orc-general with a misshapen face. He is played by Lawrence Makoare and voiced by Craig Parker.[10] Peter Jackson wanted to show a hideously deformed orc, one that would aptly convey the "ugliness" of Mordor. The upper left side of Gothmog's body is swollen and pock-marked from a disease of some sort, as described by the design department. His pale, yellow skin may also be a consequence of this illness. Gothmog's intelligence is far above that of the common orc and he, understandably, would be the perfect link between the Witch-King and the other planners of the siege of Minas Tirith (most likely men in Sauron's service) and the mindless mass of orc infantry on the front lines. While Gothmog likely did not have the intelligence to design the attack on the White City he certainly would have been able to ensure orders were carried out. Gothmog is clearly a brutal commander, but also an over-confident one. Peter Jackson comments that Gothmog feels powerful with Mordor's massive army behind him, but in reality is a crippled orc, as seen in his failed dismount from a Warg in the Extended edition. Gothmog does, however, seem to be a capable warrior, though somewhat inhibited by his crippled left side.
In October 2021, news spread that Elijah Wood claimed on a podcast that one of the orc masks in the films "was designed to look like Harvey Weinstein".[11] While Wood did not explicitly refer to Gothmog as portrayed in the movie, Gothmog's orc mask was widely identified as the orc character in question.[12][13][14]
In the midst of the chaos, Gothmog is forced into hand-to-hand combat. He sees a pocket of particularly stiff resistance, primarily from Théoden and Éowyn, and decides to fight Éowyn. She is a more skilled fighter than he, however, and soon injures him on his crippled left leg, rendering him essentially unable to walk and useless to Mordor's army as a whole. After Éowyn has killed the Witch-King, in an act of revenge, Gothmog attempts to kill her with a mace he finds nearby. He is, however, killed just in time by Aragorn and Gimli. As he is about to strike, Aragorn cuts off his armored right arm, but Gothmog persists and Gimli hits him in the abdomen with his axe. Aragorn then cuts through Gothmog's armor on the right side with his sword to finally bring the Orc down.

2015: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Gothmog plays a major role in the game as the chief antagonist of several Epic story-lines and is also combined with the character of Eärnur. In the game's version of events, in Minas Morgul Eärnur was transformed into a wraith named Mordirith in service of the Witch-king, who in mockery of the Stewards of Gondor made Mordirith his own Steward at Carn Dûm in Angmar. Long absent from that evil bastion, Mordirith returns to Carn Dûm shortly before War of the Ring, launching attacks against the Free Peoples of Eriador. Mordirith is defeated at the end of the game's original storyline, plunging the other servants of Sauron into a civil war over his position before he returns and his identity is revealed at the end of Volume I. He is defeated again, but instead of being sent back to the North he is bestowed upon the name of Gothmog and is ordered to lead the Witch-King's armies against Gondor.
The player doesn't meet him again until Osgiliath, shortly before the Siege of Minas Tirith. During the Battle of Pelennor Fields Gothmog personally kills the Ranger Halbarad, but when his master is undone and can no longer bring him back from the Void, he suddenly feels fear again and flees the battlefield before Aragorn. Gothmog barricades himself inside Minas Morgul, refusing even Sauron's muster to the Black Gate. Though he outlives the Dark Lord's demise, his other surviving servants blame Gothmog for it and combine their forces to assault of the City of the Dead. This gives the players and a group of Rangers of Ithilien the opportunity to sneak inside and challenge Gothmog, delivering a final defeat to him.

External links[edit | edit source]


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields", p. 846
  2. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 565
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Ring, "Part Three: Minas Tirith", "IX. The Battle of the Pelennor Fields", note 9, p. 372
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names", entry Gothmog
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years", entry for the year 3019, March 15, p. 1094
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields", p. 842
  7. Steuard Jensen, "Gothmog as a Human", (accessed 6 December 2023)
  8. Robert Foster, The Complete Guide to Middle-earth, p. 172
  9. Peter C. Fenlon, Coleman Charlton, Jessica Ney, John Croudis, Keith Robley, Anders Blixt (1990), Gorgoroth (#3112)
  10. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Extended Edition) , Director's Commentary
  11. Ryan Parker, "Elijah Wood Claims ‘Lord of the Rings’ Orc Was Designed to Resemble Harvey Weinstein" dated 4 October 2021, (accessed 8 October 2021)
  12. Chris Robertson, "Harvey Weinstein was used as inspiration for an orc in Lord Of The Rings, Elijah Wood says" dated 6 October 2021, (accessed 8 October 2021)
  13. Gloria Oladipo, "Lord of the Rings orc was modeled after Harvey Weinstein, Elijah Wood reveals" dated 5 October 2021, (accessed 8 October 2021)
  14. Patrick Benjamin, "Elijah Wood reveals a Lord of the Rings orc was based on Harvey Weinstein" dated 6 October 2021, (accessed 8 October 2021)