Khamûl

From Tolkien Gateway
Khamûl
Easterling (early)
Ringwraith (later)
John Howe - Khamûl the Easterling.jpg
"Khamûl the Easterling" by John Howe
Biographical Information
Other namesthe Shadow of the East, the Second Chief, the Black Easterling
PositionSecond-in-command to Witch-king
LocationEast of Middle-earth
Mordor
Dol Guldur
AffiliationSauron
BirthSecond Age
East of Middle-earth
Death25 March T.A. 3019 (aged 4200+)
Battle of the Morannon
Notable forCommanding Dol Guldur
Pursuing Frodo Baggins
Physical Description
RaceEasterling (early)
Ringwraith (later)
GenderMale
SteedBlack horse
GalleryImages of Khamûl

Khamûl was one of the nine Ringwraiths, second only to the Witch-king himself, and since T.A. 2951[1] Sauron's lieutenant at Dol Guldur. He was also called "the Shadow of the East".[2]

History[edit]

Gaffer Gamgee and the Black Rider by Stephen Hickman

It is possible that Khâmul was an Easterling.[note 1][3] Like the other Ringwraiths, he was one of nine Men to whom Sauron gave one of the Rings of Power, who became mighty kings, sorcerers or warriors, and eventually faded into a wraith that was under the rule of Sauron.[4] By S.A. 2251 he and the other eight Men who had received rings of power first appeared as Ringwraiths.[5]

After the Witch-king, Khamûl had the best ability to perceive the presence of the One Ring, but his power was most confused and diminished by daylight.[6]

In T.A. 2951 Sauron declared himself openly to his enemies and sent Khamûl and two other Ringwraiths to Dol Guldur,[7] with the former taking command[2].

Around 22 July T.A. 3018 Khamûl with another Ringwraith who lived at Dol Guldur met the Witch-king and six other Ringwraiths that lived at Minas Morgul in the Field of Celebrant. The Ringwraiths from Dol Guldur informed their fellow Ringwraiths from Minas Morgul that Gollum had escaped and vanished. Khamûl also told them that the villages of the Stoors at the river Gladden had been deserted for a long time and that it had not been possible to find a dwelling of Halflings in the Vales of Anduin.[2]

In the evening of 23 September T.A. 3018 Khamûl arrived in Hobbiton and asked Hamfast Gamgee about "Baggins". Hamfast Gamgee misled him that Frodo Baggins had already left and he rode to the east. On 24 September T.A. 3018 he rode on the Stock Road and overtook Frodo and stopped, because he sensed the Ring, but he was not certain because of the bright daylight and left again and waited until the night.[8] After the sunset he sensed the ring again and pursued Frodo. He did not dare to attack, because he was intimidated by the Elves and by the song about Elbereth. He could not sense the ring clearly as long as Frodo was surrounded by the Elves.[9]

After the departure of the Elves Khamûl continued to pursue Frodo, but does not find him and called the other Ringwraith from Dol Guldur to him with cries. He and another Ringwraith from Dol Guldur went east over the fields and Khamûl visits farmer Maggot. After leaving farmer Maggot he sent his companion off to take the Causeway in the direction of the Overbourn Marshes and he went north in the direction of the Brandywine Bridge. Khamûl then arrived too late at the Bucklebury Ferry in the night of 25 September T.A. 3018.[10]

After Frodo had left on the ferry Khamûl summoned the other four Ringwraiths who had entered the Shire with him. He ordered one to watch the Brandywine Bridge and sent two to ride east on the East Road and inform the Witch-king that the ring has moved east. Khamûl and another Ringwraith from Dol Guldur entered Buckland in secret through the north gate.[11] They searched the Buckland and arrived at Crickhollow in the night of 28 September T.A. 3018. Khâmul sent the other Ringwraith from Dol Guldur to collect the Ringwraith who guarded the Brandywine Bridge and the horses that they had left behind and waited. The three Ringwraiths then watch Crickhollow through the night until the next morning.[12]

He was also one of the six Ringwraiths, led by the Witch King, that followed Gandalf on Shadowfax and attacked him during the night on Weathertop, but were repulsed after a violent fight on 4 October T.A. 3018, when Frodo and Aragorn saw the lights of that battle from their camp. The Witch King and Khamûl stayed behind to watch Weathertop (waiting for the Ring Bearer to come) for two days thereafter, along with two other Ringwraiths and sent four Ringwraiths to pursue Gandalf.[13]

Khamûl and two other Ringwraiths were at the bridge over the Hoarwell on 11 October T.A. 3018 when they were attacked by Glorfindel who drove them back off the road until they scattered. However Khamûl, the Witch-king and three other Ringwraiths assembled again and continued with their pursuit.[14]

He was among the Ringwraiths who dared to use the ford to ride into the river Loudwater,[15] but was swept down the river by the flood that was called by Elrond.

From 20 March T.A. 3019[16] on, Khamûl and the other seven remaining Ringwraiths were flying on their Fell beasts over the Army of the West watching its movements as it marched to the Black Gate.[17]

On 25 March T.A. 3019,[18] Khamûl and all the other seven Ringwraiths were flying on their Fell beasts over the Army of the West during the Battle of the Morannon.[19] When Frodo put on the ring at the Cracks of Doom in Mount Doom Sauron realised the danger and ordered Khâmul and the other Ringwraiths to race to Mount Doom.[20] Khamûl probably perished with the rest of the Ringwraiths when they flew on their Fell beasts to Mount Doom and were caught in the fiery eruption of Mount Doom that took place after the destruction of the One Ring, because they "crackled, withered, and went out".[21]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit]

The bynames "the Second Chief (the Black Easterling)" were used for an unnamed Ringwraith that was based in Dol Guldur in a rejected version of the passage of the earlier movements of the Ringwraiths in "The Hunt for the Ring", but not in the final version where the Ringwraith who was Sauron's lieutenant at Dol Guldur was named Khâmul.[6]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit]

2001-: The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game:

Khamûl received two named miniatures in the game, one depicting his cloaked form and the other his armored appearance as seen in The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. The latter explicitly identifies Khamûl as the Ringwraith with a more ornate version of the Easterling helmets seen in The Lord of the Rings.

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game):

During the nighttime section of the Shire level, Frodo overhears the conversation between Khamûl and Gaffer Gamgee just as he is about to deliver the Bag End key to Number 3, Bagshot Row. The conversation plays out as it does in the novel except that Khamûl's lines are audible. Instead of simply walking back down the path after the conversation ends, Khamûl (who is mounted on his horse) intimidates the Gaffer by rearing his steed while letting out a ghastly wail, before galloping back down the road. No voice actor is specified for the role.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

The Nazgûl in charge of Dol Guldur is known simply as "The Lieutenant of Dol Guldur", formerly "The Cursed Rider". He is said to have been an Easterling chieftain who wielded the Ring "Orôm, the Warmonger".

Notes

  1. The earlier byname "the Black Easterling" of a then unnamed Ringwraith at Dol Guldur and his later byname "the Shadow of the East" suggest that he was originally from the East, but the latter may also refer to the fact that he was based in Dol Guldur, which is in the East

References

  1. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "A Knife in the Dark", p. 167-9
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Hunt for the Ring", "(i) Of the Journey of the Black Riders"
  3. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, "was from the East", p. 84
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age", entry for the year 2251, p. 1083
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Hunt for the Ring", Notes, note 1
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age", entry for the year 2951, p. 1089
  8. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, citing from an unpublished version of The Hunt for the Ring, p. 97
  9. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, citing from an unpublished version of The Hunt for the Ring, p. 99
  10. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, citing from an unpublished version of The Hunt for the Ring, p. 164
  11. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, citing from an unpublished version of The Hunt for the Ring, p. 164
  12. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, citing from an unpublished version of The Hunt for the Ring, p. 165
  13. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion citing from an unpublished version of The Hunt for the Ring, p. 168
  14. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, citing from an unpublished version of The Hunt for the Ring, p. 194
  15. Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, citing from an unpublished version of The Hunt for the Ring, p. 196
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years", entry for the year 3019, March 19, p. 1094
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Black Gate Opens", "near the end of the second day of their march from the Cross-roads", p. 885
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years", p. 1094
  19. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Black Gate Opens", p. 887
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Mount Doom", p. 946
  21. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Mount Doom", p. 947