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Gothmog on the Pellenor Fields

What was Gothmog?

  • A man similar to the Mouth of Sauron

    Votes: 9 60.0%
  • An orc chieftain

    Votes: 2 13.3%
  • One of the Nazgul

    Votes: 2 13.3%
  • Other

    Votes: 2 13.3%

  • Total voters
    15
M

mattthecliff

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Gothmog

After the Lord of the Nazgul is slain at Pellenor, Tolkien writes that Gothmog leads the armies of Sauron. Obviously, this is not the Gothmog of the Silmarillion, the Lord of the Balrogs, so who is he? Is he another Nazgul? I don't think there is another reference to him in LOTR but perhaps I have missed something,

Thanks,

Matt
 
T

Thranduil

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No, it's not the Lord of the Balrogs. He was the lieutenant to the Lord of the Nazgûl at the Battle of the Pelennor. He took command of the forces of Minas Morgul after the loss of his lord.
 

Gothmog

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Hello, there is another thread about this question, I will try to find it later.

No it is no the Lord of Balrogs. The Gothmog in The Lord of the Rings is lieutenant of Morgul and commands the troops in the absence of the Lord of the Nazgul. I think that he is a man similar to The Mouth of Sauron, but others think that he is one of the lesser Nazgul.
 

Ancalagon

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Gothmog - Lieutenant of Morgul

He now was destroyed; but Gothmog the lieutenant of Morgul had flung them into the fray; Easterlings with axes, and Variags of Khand. Southrons in scarlet, and out of Far Harad black men like half-trolls with white eyes and red tongues.
From - The Battle of the Pelennor Fields, The Return of the King

Who was this Gothmog? It is strange to think that we have our old foe Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs and High Captain of Angband, who led the charge of evil at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, in Beleriand and to the Hidden City of Gondolin, where he was slain by Ecthelion!

But we can see here our later Gothmog, Lieutenant of Morgul is once again leading an army into battle. Could it be that this is the very same Maia who created such acts of evil in the service of Morgoth. Yet, like all Maia could over time assume a new form, weaker than its previous incarnation, but still capable of clothing itself in the raiment of earthly form as certain Maia (Sauron and Olorin come to mind) were apparently able to do?

Or is it simply coincidence? If so, what exactly was Gothmog? What kind of evil was he that he was powerful enough to vcommand a multitude of forces, including the black host and those Men who had come from the South to join them. Surely he was more than an Orc, more than a Man, more than a Troll or any other similar creature.

If I remember, Grond touched upon this subject way back, but it has been on my mind a lot, so please present your thoughts on the subject.
 
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Grond

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I doubt that any Maia, no matter how weakened, would become subservient to a mere mortal. The Lt. of Minas Morgul would have been subservient to the Capt. of Minas Morgul (Lord of the Ringwraiths) and therefore (to my mind) highly unlikely to be the original Lord of the Balrogs (Gothmog).

I am more certain (in my mind) that Gothmog was one of the lesser Eight Ringwraiths, likely the third in command, behind the Witch-king and Khamûl the Easterling. But, as I have said fairly definitively before, I have combed every single resource from Hobbit to LotR to Sil to UT to HoMe and found nothing definate as to Gothmog's true race.
 
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Ancalagon

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Hmmm, I don't subscribe to this idea at all. For one thing; why would a mortal have been named Gothmog? Certainly in Black Speech it may be attributed to 'Lord' or 'Master' as Morgoth may also. Yet in Quenya it seems more difficult to specify. It may possibly be similar to that name given to Morgoth; The Black Enemy. Though in Sindarin a possible translation for Goth means 'despair'. My knowledge of language is not great at all, possibly Cian could do a little research into this name and come up with a more fitting meaning.

Either way, I do not beleive this Gothmog to be one of the Nazgul. I could only assume that those 9 whom were subject to Sauron would have assumed their original names, though may not directly have been referred to by their original name. This then begs the question; why would one of the Nazgul be given the name equated with the 'Lord of the Balrogs' who fell by the sword of Ecthelion?

One also wonders why no reference is made to the fact that, were this actually one of the Nazgul, he ought to be seated upon a steed exactly as all the others rode. No mention of Gothmogs foul smelling creature.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't subscribe to the possiblity of the two Gothmogs being related, though I have to also reject the idea of this Gothmog,being one of the Nazgul. The problem here is that there is little to no supporting evidence for any theory, however, what evidence there is; does not point to him being one of the nine.
 

Grond

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Originally posted by Ancalagon
Hmmm, I don't subscribe to this idea at all. For one thing; why would a mortal have been named Gothmog? Certainly in Black Speech it may be attributed to 'Lord' or 'Master' as Morgoth may also. Yet in Quenya it seems more difficult to specify. It may possibly be similar to that name given to Morgoth; The Black Enemy. Though in Sindarin a possible translation for Goth means 'despair'. My knowledge of language is not great at all, possibly Cian could do a little research into this name and come up with a more fitting meaning.

Either way, I do not beleive this Gothmog to be one of the Nazgul. I could only assume that those 9 whom were subject to Sauron would have assumed their original names, though may not directly have been referred to by their original name. This then begs the question; why would one of the Nazgul be given the name equated with the 'Lord of the Balrogs' who fell by the sword of Ecthelion?

One also wonders why no reference is made to the fact that, were this actually one of the Nazgul, he ought to be seated upon a steed exactly as all the others rode. No mention of Gothmogs foul smelling creature.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't subscribe to the possiblity of the two Gothmogs being related, though I have to also reject the idea of this Gothmog,being one of the Nazgul. The problem here is that there is little to no supporting evidence for any theory, however, what evidence there is; does not point to him being one of the nine.
Anc, Anc, Anc.... First off, Sauron invented the Black Speech, so I highly doubt that the name Gothmog has any relation to Sauron's dark language since he existed well before Sauron ascended to power.

As to your question, "why would one of the Nazgul be given the name equated with the 'Lord of the Balrogs' who fell by the sword of Ecthelion?" One could easily ask "Why did the Dark Lord give the name Grond to his battering ram?" Surely you aren't suggesting that the Cave Trolls were actually wielding "Grond the Hammer of Hell" at the gates of Minas Tirith? I would theorize that the Lt. of Minas Morgul was the son of a Dark Numenorean from Harad who worshipped Melkor. What better name for their little child than that of the Capt. of Angband, the leader of the hosts of Melkor?

Thirdly, whatever gave you the idea that the Wraith's went into battle "exclusively" on their winged steeds?
from The Two Towers, That Stairs of Cirith Ungol,
All that host was clad in sable, dark as the night. Against the wan
walls and the luminous pavement of the road Frodo could see them, small black figures in rank upon rank, marching swiftly and silently, passing outwards in an endless stream. Before them went a great cavalry of horsemen moving like ordered shadows, and at their head was one greater than all the rest: a Rider, all black, save that on his hooded head he had a helm like a crown that flickered with a perilous light. Now he was drawing near the bridge below, and Frodo's staring eyes followed him, unable to wink or to withdraw. Surely there was the Lord of the Nine Riders returned to earth to lead his ghastly host to battle? Here, yes here indeed was the haggard king whose cold hand had smitten down the Ring-bearer with his deadly knife. The old wound throbbed with pain and a great chill spread towards Frodo's heart." My goodness, the Lord of the Nazgul was on a horse... who would have thunk it?
And finally concerning your question as to the root of the name,
from The Annals of Arda,
Kosomot in early Quenya. The name Gothmog means Strife-and-hatred in Noldorin...
Link to description of Balrogs and Gothmog can be found here... http://www.annalsofarda.dk/annals-of-arda/Others-index-tables/Others.htm and here http://www.annalsofarda.dk/annals-of-arda/Others-index-tables/Others/Gothmog.htm

As an aside, Robert Foster in his Complete Guide to Middle-earth also surmises that Gothmog, Lt. of Morgul, could be a Nazgul. I'm not sure his opinion is worth any more than mine though. :);)
 
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aragil

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One of my favorite theories comes from the Middle-Earth Role Playing game of the late 80's and early 90's. They took it as fact that the description 'and out of Far Harad black men like half-trolls with white eyes and red tongues' actually did refer to half-trolls (no wonder it's one of my favorite theories). They then assumed that Gothmog was such a creature- doubtlessly due to the fact that the names appear in such close proximity. So there you have it- 'more than an Orc or Man', yet not a Maia or Nazgûl. Someone with the intelligence of a Man, and the strength and power of a troll. That could be pretty intimidating (although they'd be more intimidating IMO with Red eyes and White tongues).

Of course, on a less 'out there' level we have the Mouth of Sauron as the Lieutenant of Barad-dûr. If a man can rise to such a position in Mordor, then shirley he could do it in Morgul. Also, we have the Mouth of Sauron abandoning his given name. Again, shirley the Lieutenant of Morgul would be allowed to take a new name, combing through the collected records of darkness until he found a pseudonym sufficiently Eeevil. I think it likely that the lieutenant of Morgul was a mortal, as there are certain day-to-day issues that would give the Nazgûl troubles, and so would be better looked after by a Man.
 

Lantarion

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And furthermore, if the Lt. of Morgul was a Nazgûl then I doubt that the Easterlings and Haradrim would have dared to march anywhere near him! Isn't it said that the greatest weapon of the Nazgûl is fear?
I for one might agree with Aragil's statement, if no further evidense is presented to prove the matter otherwise. :)
 

Grond

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Errrr... Ummm... Lantarion, the quote I cited earlier shows the Lord of the Nazgul at the head of the forces of Minas Morgul and led a great cavalry of horsemen. It seems as if some Men could be in close proximity to the Nazgul and not be overly alarmed.

I have found a relevant passage in HoMe #VIII, The War of the Ring which might shed some light on the matter. It states,
from HoMe #VIII, The War of the Ring, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields,
...it was said of the Black Captain; "He was gone, and the Nazgul in fear had feld back to Mordor bearing ill tidings", but this was lost in the rewriting of the passage, where appear Gothmog, lieutenant of Morghul, the Variags of Khand and the black 'half-trolls' of Far Harad.
This seems to indicate that the author likely did not mean for Gothmog to be considered a Wraith. *shrugs* I don't guess we'll ever know for sure.

BTW, a great answer Aragil. I can't argue with your logic. The orcs in general seemed scareder than s*** of the Nazgul and your hypothesis makes great sense. The Lord of the Ringwraiths to kick their butts into battle and a mortal Lt. to handle the actual day to day People/Orc-work. ;)
 

aragil

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So that's what happened to the Nazgûl. I always thought they put in a rather poor showing at Pelannor- other than the Witch-King I don't think they're mentioned at all beyond chasing Faramir & co. to the gates.

So nobody's daring the Half-trolls of Far Harad route? C'mon, it'd be fun! I've decided to step back a bit from the stance in my above post. If Tolkien meant that 'with white eyes' meant that the pupil itself was white, then that would definitely be intimidating. Sort of demonic, actually. Nobody in the mood for considering half-trolls as the Third Age equivalent of a Balrog?
 

Ancalagon

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Grond, Grond, Grond; I love it when you hit me with your smartarse rhetoric and try to make me feel small:) Still, there are a few areas I wish to look at in your reply in order to retain some measure of dignity. Though I do not doubt you will enjoy taking this reply apart also:)

One could easily ask "Why did the Dark Lord give the name Grond to his battering ram?" Surely you aren't suggesting that the Cave Trolls were actually wielding "Grond the Hammer of Hell"
Why wouldn't they call The Battering Ram (which in itself is an implement used for banging stuff) after the Great Hammer of Morgoth. Rather a fitting tribute that it is seen to be as devastating as the mighty foe-hammer itself in its ability to smash objects to pieces.

I would theorize that the Lt. of Minas Morgul was the son of a Dark Numenorean from Harad who worshipped Melkor. What better name for their little child than that of the Capt. of Angband, the leader of the hosts of Melkor?
If Gothmog is a name given by the Noldor to The Lord of Balrogs, why would a Black Numenorean from Harad whose original language being a probable mix between Adûnaic, The Common Tongue of Numenor and Saurons own devised version of Black Speech which would have been mingled into the Languages of Men who travelled South and were want to praising Sauron. Adûnaic itself was more akin to Sindarin yet since Saurons arrival at Numenor he attempted to fully remove any remnant of Sindarin and by all accounts suceeded, except for those of the Faithful who retained links to Sindarin, which was their first used tongue.

Quenya itself was not spoken in Numenor, so I find it difficult to understand why someone from Harad, of Black Numenorean descent would call their child a name in Quenya. That said, top marks to these peoples from Harad who have preserved a History of this said Balrog and passed it down through generations. Then again, if it was Sauron who walked among them, whom they praised and who taught them their History, I can't understand why Sauron would refer to Gothmog in High Noldorian language when by this stage he had already created his 'black speech', designed for all his servants. Then again, it may be that these far-flung people spoke in Westron, the common tongue of Middle-Earth. Yet the fact remains that Sauron was intent on eradicating any form of Elvish Language origin from Middle-Earth, so I can't fathom Elvish names being passed down through the generations.

Btw, Annals of Arda also refers to Gothmog as 'Hateful, Enemy' though there is no explanation for where would this might have originated from? http://valarguild.org/varda/Tolkien/encyc/maiar.html#GothmogBalrog

Thirdly, whatever gave you the idea that the Wraith's went into battle "exclusively" on their winged steeds?
It is clear that only The Nazgul Lord was horsed as he was leading his army to victory over Gondor. The other Nazgul it seems are all riding their winged steeds, which of course the Witch King himself eventually uses to alight before Theoden.

The Nazgûl came again, and as their Dark Lord now grew and put forth his strength, so their voices, which uttered only his will and his malice, were filled with evil and horror. Ever they circled above the City, like vultures that expect their fill of doomed men's flesh. Out of sight and shot they flew, and yet were ever present, and their deadly voices rent the air. More unbearable they became, not less, at each new cry.
Either way, we are still no closer to knowing who Gothmog is;)
 

Grond

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Originally posted by Ancalagon
...Why wouldn't they call The Battering Ram (which in itself is an implement used for banging stuff) after the Great Hammer of Morgoth. Rather a fitting tribute that it is seen to be as devastating as the mighty foe-hammer itself in its ability to smash objects to pieces.
Can't argue with that. :)
Originally posted by Ancalagon
If Gothmog is a name given by the Noldor to The Lord of Balrogs, why would a Black Numenorean from Harad whose original language being a probable mix between Adûnaic, The Common Tongue of Numenor and Saurons own devised version of Black Speech which would have been mingled into the Languages of Men who travelled South and were want to praising Sauron. Adûnaic itself was more akin to Sindarin yet since Saurons arrival at Numenor he attempted to fully remove any remnant of Sindarin and by all accounts suceeded, except for those of the Faithful who retained links to Sindarin, which was their first used tongue.
You show weakness when you start playing language games. Tolkien makes it clear in the works that he tried to translate everything into the Westron tongue, using near equivalents of the place names and people's names. Sauron is Quenya (I think), and his Sindarin name is Gorthaur the Cruel.
Originally posted by Ancalagon
Quenya itself was not spoken in Numenor, so I find it difficult to understand why someone from Harad, of Black Numenorean descent would call their child a name in Quenya. That said, top marks to these peoples from Harad who have preserved a History of this said Balrog and passed it down through generations. Then again, if it was Sauron who walked among them, whom they praised and who taught them their History, I can't understand why Sauron would refer to Gothmog in High Noldorian language when by this stage he had already created his 'black speech', designed for all his servants. Then again, it may be that these far-flung people spoke in Westron, the common tongue of Middle-Earth. Yet the fact remains that Sauron was intent on eradicating any form of Elvish Language origin from Middle-Earth, so I can't fathom Elvish names being passed down through the generations.
The Black Numenoreans worshipped Melkor as they were taught by Sauron. Surely minor dieties they worshipped would have included Gothmog, Capt of Angband, Glaurung the Golden, First of Dragon-worms, Ancalagon the Black, Greatest of the Winged-dragons, to mention a few. It seems to me that Gothmog and the rest would have been popular surnames. But that is just my opinon.
Originally posted by Ancalagon
It is clear that only The Nazgul Lord was horsed as he was leading his army to victory over Gondor. The other Nazgul it seems are all riding their winged steeds, which of course the Witch King himself eventually uses to alight before Theoden.
It seems the other Nazgul are all riding their winged steeds??? How could you possibly know that? They could have just as easily been in that host and all nine of the winged steeds were waiting for them across the river when the need arose.
Originally posted by Ancalagon
Either way, we are still no closer to knowing who Gothmog is;)
I have already resolved myself to the fact that the race of Gothmog, Lt. of Minas Morgul, will never be known.

And, as you are well aware, I AM A SMART-ARSE!!!:)
 

Walter

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Gothmog - Lieutenant of Morgul : Resume

Q: Who is Gothmog, Lieutenant of Morgul?
A: Who knows...

Did I get that right? ;)
 

pohuist

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I always thought that the Liet. of Mordor was another mortal like the Mouth of Sauron. If it was one of the Nasgul, it would be illogical that someone else but Khamul (the second in command of Nasgul) would rally the forces.

As far as the name goes, surely one could pick a nickname for himself. And the names do repeat. I believe that Glorfindel in LOTR was not the original Glortfindel from the Sil either.
 

Grond

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Originally posted by pohuist
...As far as the name goes, surely one could pick a nickname for himself. And the names do repeat. I believe that Glorfindel in LOTR was not the original Glortfindel from the Sil either.
pohuist, that issue is another can of worms that needs to remain shut. Apparently the author initially simply repeated the name Glorfindel but in HoMe goes back and comes up with a way in which Glorfindel was reincarnated (aka restored to an Earthly body) and accompanied Mithrandir (Olorin) back to Middle-earth in the Third Age in time to help King Earnur defeat the Witch-king of Angmar.

If you like, I can provide you with the references from the HoMe. There was a whole thread on this issue there at one time that was quite in depth and well thought out. :)

Here's a current link on the subject. http://www.thetolkienforum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4986

I'm looking for the classic one where the subject was discussed early this year. :)

A more indepth discussion occurs here. http://www.thetolkienforum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1462
 
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pohuist

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Thanks for the links, Grond, that was interesting reading. One question remains -- there was a side discussion as to whether Elrond knew about Aragorn/Arwen relationship with the consensus that it was never official but he still knew b/c parents always know when their children are in love. Now, I vaguely recall reading somewhere of the conversation b/w Elrond and Aragorn where they expressly discussed that relationship and Elrond stating that he will only allow Arwen marry him if Aragorn regains his kingdom. Is my memory playing tricks on me? What gives?
 

Grond

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Originally posted by pohuist
Thanks for the links, Grond, that was interesting reading. One question remains -- there was a side discussion as to whether Elrond knew about Aragorn/Arwen relationship with the consensus that it was never official but he still knew b/c parents always know when their children are in love. Now, I vaguely recall reading somewhere of the conversation b/w Elrond and Aragorn where they expressly discussed that relationship and Elrond stating that he will only allow Arwen marry him if Aragorn regains his kingdom. Is my memory playing tricks on me? What gives?
Good pohuist, you test me... but, alas, I am up to the test.
from The Return of the King, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers, ...Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

"That will indeed be your fate," said Gilraen; but though she had in a measure the foresight of her people, she said no more to him of her foreboding, nor did she speak to any one of what her son had told her.

But Elrond saw many things and read many hearts. One day, therefore, before the fall of the year he called Aragorn to his chamber, and he said: "Aragorn, Arathorn's son, Lord of the Dúnedain, listen to me! A great doom awaits you, either to rise above the height of all your fathers since the days of Elendil, or to fall into darkness with all that is left of your kin. Many years of trial lie before you. You shall neither have wife, nor bind any woman to you in troth, until your time comes and you are found worthy of it."

Then Aragorn was troubled, and he said: "Can it be that my mother has spoken of this?"

"No indeed," said Elrond. "Your own eyes have betrayed you. But I do not speak of my daughter alone. you shall be betrothed to no man' child as yet. But as for Arwen the Fair, Lady of Imladris and of Lórien, Even star of the people, she is of lineage greater than your, and she has lived in the world already so long that to her you are but a yearling shoot beside a young birch of many summers. She is too far above you. And so, I think, it may well seem to her. But even if it were not so, and her heart turned toward you, I should still be grieved because of the doom that is laid on us."

"What is that doom?" said Aragorn.

"That so long as I abide here, she shall live with the youth of the Eldar," answered Elrond, "and when I depart, she shall go with me, if she so chooses."

"I see," said Aragorn, "that means i have turned my eyes to a treasure no less dear than the treasure of Thingol that Beren once desired. Such is my fate." Then suddenly the foresight of his kindred came to him, and he said: "But lo! Master Elrond, the years of your abiding run short at last, and the choice must soon be laid on your children, to part either with you or with Middle-earth."

"Truly," said Elrond. "Soon, as we account it, though many years of Men must still pass. But there will be no choice before Arwen, my beloved, unless you Aragorn, Arathorn's son, come between us and bring one of us, you or me, to a better parting beyond the end of the world. You do no know yet what you desire of me." he sighed, and after a while, looking gravely upon the young man, he said again: "The years will bring what they will. We will speak no more of this until many have passed. The days darken, and much evil is to come."
 
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pohuist

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Grond, thanks again. I do not test you or anybody else. I just ask questions to those I consider knowledgeable (you, of course, included). Unfortunately, I don't have books at the location I post, so I have to rely on my memory which is less than perfect.

LOL :)
 

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