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Gothmog (Third Age)

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Tolkien character
AliasesLieutenant of Minas Morgul
Book(s)The Return of the King

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Other articles of the topic Speculative fiction : Northmen (Middle-earth), Ulmo, Masks of Avalon - The Alloy Heart, Fingolfin, Minor places in Beleriand, Idril, Elder Days
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Gothmog is a fictional character from Tolkien's Legendarium. He appears briefly in The Return of the King, the third volume of The Lord of the Rings as originally printed.

The only reference to Gothmog in The Lord of the Rings is one sentence in The Return of the King.[1] He served in Sauron's army during the War of the Ring as the lieutenant of Minas Morgul, second-in-command to the Witch-king of Angmar, lord of the nine Nazgûl. He took command of the forces of Morgul during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields after the Witch-king was slain by Éowyn and Meriadoc Brandybuck. In response to the arrival of the Rohirrim and the parallel attack from Minas Tirith, Gothmog throws all of his army's reserves into the fray.[2]

His fate is not described, although Tolkien writes that almost all of the servants of Sauron who fought before the gates of Minas Tirith were killed. Tolkien writes nothing else about Gothmog — not even what race he belonged to. In 1971, it was suggested in The Complete Guide to Middle-earth that he was possibly the second highest Nazgûl,[3] but in Unfinished Tales (first published posthumously in 1980), previously unpublished texts by Tolkien called that character Khamûl, "the Black Easterling".[4]

Gothmog shares his name with another character, Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, who is featured in The Silmarillion.

In 1988, a new species of Helferella beetles was named Helferella gothmogoides after Gothmog.[5]


In the 1977 SPI board game War of the Ring, Gothmog is described as the second-most powerful Nazgûl and chief lieutenant of Minas Morgul.

In Middle-earth Collectible Card Game by Iron Crown Enterprises Gothmog is depicted as a half-troll, wielding a flail.

In Peter Jackson's Return of the King, Gothmog is portrayed as an Orc leader.

In Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King film, Gothmog is portrayed by Lawrence Makoare (who also portrays the Witch-king of Angmar and Lurtz) and voiced by Craig Parker who played Haldir of Lorien. Here Gothmog's role is significantly expanded to the point that he is one of the film's main antagonists along with the Witch-king, Sauron, Denethor, and Gollum. Gothmog is interpreted as a deformed Orc general with a stunted arm. He prides himself on self-reliance (brushing off a subordinate's offer of help to dismount) and leads courageously from the front-line. Gothmog is a cunning tactician who possesses a cruel sense of humour, evident when he gives orders for catapults to release the "prisoners", and when he impales the dying Madril with a spear. According to Peter Jackson, Gothmog's affliction is an elephantiasis-type disease; he dubbed him "the Elephant Man Orc".[clarification needed] Jackson asked the Weta Workshop designers to make Gothmog look diseased. Knowing his penchant for outrageous creatures, they piled elephantiasis growths onto a model in such a way that they hoped even he would find it excessive. However, to their surprise, Jackson deemed it to be 'just about right', thus giving Gothmog his "Elephant Man"-type appearance.[6] Jackson's adaptation of Gothmog and Makoare's makeup have been called "the most extreme representation" of the "visual horror" that is created by the general appearance of orcs in the film series.[7] The extended edition of the film shows his death at the hands of Aragorn and Gimli as he moves to attack the wounded Éowyn.

As revealed in the director's commentary for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Gothmog was supposed to make a cameo appearance as a juvenile orc and one of Azog's lieutenants during the titular battle. A design for him was even approved. However, due to time restrictions any scenes that he would have appeared in were not filmed.

Gothmog is also a playable Mordor hero in Electronic Arts' real-time strategy game The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king, based on Jackson's films as well as Tolkien's writings; Electronic Arts' The Lord of the Rings: Tactics; in the Evil Mode of Electronic Arts' The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age; in Guardians of Middle-earth,[8] and in the 2nd downloadable upgrade for Lord of the Rings: Conquest. In the Fantasy Flight board game "Middle-earth Quest", he is one of five minions of Sauron. In the 'Lords of Middle Earth' Expansion Pack for the 'War of the Ring' board game, he is added as 'minion' of the forces of Sauron.

The Lord of the Rings Online depicts Gothmog as the restored Mordirith, who is himself the wraith-form of Eärnur, last king of Gondor.


  1. Tolkien, J. R. R. (1955), The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields", ISBN 0-395-08256-0
  2. Foster, p. 117.
  3. Foster, p. 184.
  4. Tolkien, J. R. R. (1980), Christopher Tolkien, ed., Unfinished Tales, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Index, entry for Khamûl, ISBN 0-395-29917-9
  5. Williams, G. A.; Weir, T. A. (1988). "Further new Species of Australian Mastogeniinae (coleoptera: buprestidae)". Australian Journal of Entomology. 27 (3): 179–181. doi:10.1111/j.1440-6055.1988.tb01518.x. The species name is derived from Gothmog, a commander within the evil host of Mordor, and oides, latin [sic] suffix signifying 'resembling'
  6. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Special Extended DVD Edition
  7. McLarty, Lianne (2006). "Masculinity, Whiteness, and Social Class in The Lord of the Rings". In Mathijs, Ernest; Pomerance, Murray. From Hobbits to Hollywood: Essays on Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings. Rodopi Publishers. p. 185. ISBN 978-90-420-1682-8. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  8. Lien, Tracey (9 November 2012). "Thrain and Gothmog revealed as the newest characters in Guardians of Middle Earth". Polygon. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
Works cited

External links[edit]

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