Morgul-knife

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Morgul-knife
Dagger
"Morgul-blade" by Audrey Corman
LocationWeathertop, Ford of Bruinen, Rivendell
OwnerNazgûl
AppearanceLong, thin, and glowed with a pale light.
DestroyerElrond
Rivendell, 20-24 October, T.A. 3018
Notable forInjuring Frodo Baggins
GalleryImages of the Morgul-knife

A Morgul-knife was a magical dagger. The Witch-king, the Lord of the Nazgûl, used one such Morgul-knife to stab Frodo on Weathertop.

History

Morgul-knife by Campbell White

Morgul-knives were magical weapons, which remained in the wound of the victim and turned the victim into a wraith that was weaker than the Nazgûl and thus under the rule of the Nazgûl and of Sauron.[1]

On 6 October T.A. 3018,[2] during his journey to Rivendell with the One Ring, Frodo was stabbed by the Lord of the Nazgûl' with a Morgul-knife on Weathertop. The Morgul-knife that was used by the Lord of the Nazgûl was long and thin[3] and glowed with a pale light.[4] It had an evil inscription on its hilt that was probably invisible for Men.[5] The point of the Morgul-knife had broken off[3] and had remained within the wound and was working inwards threatening to turn Frodo into a wraith.[1] When Aragorn managed to drive away the Nazgûl, the Lord of the Nazgûl left behind his Morgul-knife. When dawn came the blade of the Morgul-knife seemed to melt in the growing light of the sun and vanished so that only its hilt was left. Aragorn collected leaves of the herb Athelas and bathed the wound with water in which the leaves had been soaked. However, Athelas only had limited power to ease the effects of the wound, because Frodo felt a lessening of the pain and the sense of frozen cold.[3]

When they met the Elf Glorfindel on 18 October T.A. 3018,[6] he shuddered when he touched the hilt, but was able to see the evil inscription on it and to advise Aragorn to touch it as little as possible. Glorfindel declared that his healing skill was not sufficient to heal the wound of this weapon, but Frodo felt a lessening of the chill, an easing of the pain, warmth returned from his shoulder to his hand and the world seemed to grow lighter and he was able to see things better again.[5]

After Frodo arrived in Rivendell on 20 October T.A. 3018 Elrond was able to locate and remove the shard and to heal the wound in the night before Frodo woke up on October 24 T.A. 3018.[1]

One year after the stabbing with the Morgul-knife[7] the wound in Frodo's shoulder ached and the memory of darkness lay heavily on Frodo. Frodo's eyes seemed to neither see his companions nor the world around him. However, the pain and unease passed by the end of the next day.[8]

On the second anniversary of the stabbing with the Morgul-knife Frodo fell ill,[9] turned very pale and seemed to look far away, but it passed and Frodo was quite normal again on the next day.[10]

Frodo's eventual departure over the sea to Tol Eressëa on 29 September T.A. 3021[11] gave him a chance to be fully healed from his wounds.[12]

Etymology

Morgul means "necromancy",[13] "black arts" or "sorcery" in Sindarin.[14]

Portrayal in adaptations

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

The enchanted Morgul-knife, wielded by the Ringwraiths, strikes as a short sword with many additional effects on a character.[15]

1995-8: Middle-earth Collectible Card Game:

The "Morgul-knife" modifies a Nazgûl's prowess, and affects the corruption points of a character. "Morgul-blade" is a Permanent-event card, playable by a Ringwraith or a Ringwraith follower.

2001-03: The Lord of the Rings (film series):

Artist John Howe made the original design of the daggers of the Ringwraiths.[16] They are straight, double-edged daggers with a prominent taper toward the tip. The crossguard is notably turned downward, with a couple of spikes protruding from the center line. It features a small pommel, also with decorative spikes.

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Many Meetings", p. 222"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years", entry for the year 3018, October 6, p. 1091
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Flight to the Ford", p. 198
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "A Knife in the Dark", p. 195
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Flight to the Ford", pp. 209
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years", entry for the year 3018, October 18, p. 1091
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Chief Days from the Fall of Barad-dûr to the End of the Third Age", entry for the year 3019, October 6, p. 1096
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "Homeward Bound", p. 989
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Chief Days from the Fall of Barad-dûr to the End of the Third Age", entry for the year 3020, October 6, p. 1096
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Grey Havens", p. 1025
  11. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Chief Days from the Fall of Barad-dûr to the End of the Third Age", entry for the year 3021, September 29, p. 1096
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 246, (dated September 1963)
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Unfinished index for The Lord of the Rings", in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, entry Imlad Morgul, p. 482
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), entry Q noldo, p. 125
  15. Wolfgang Baur (1994), Treasures of Middle-earth (2nd edition) (#2010), p. 38
  16. Gary Russell, The Art of The Fellowship of the Ring
Weapons in Tolkien's legendarium
 Arrows:  Black Arrow · Dailir · Red Arrow
Axes:  Dramborleg · Durin's Axe
Bows:  Belthronding · Bow of Bregor · Bow of the Galadhrim
Knives:  Angrist · Barrow-blades · Morgul-knife · Sting
Maces:  Grond
Spears:  Aeglos
Swords:  Anglachel/Gurthang · Anguirel · Aranrúth · Dagmor · Glamdring · Glend · Gúthwinë · Herugrim · Narsil/Andúril ·  Orcrist · Ringil · Sword of Manwë