I was re-watching the movies and kept hearing that "no man can kill the witch king". I am wondering if this is true or was it basically the Witch-King bragging. Did Éowyn sneaking into battle actually win the battle?

  • See Could Gandalf have killed the Witch King?
    – Oriol
    Feb 14, 2016 at 23:44
  • Are you asking specifically about the book, or the movie?
    – Mithical
    Feb 14, 2016 at 23:47
  • @Mithrandir Either or, I am curious to what he could have done or even if a man could actually kill him Feb 14, 2016 at 23:52
  • In your question title, you seem to be asking two questions: Would the battle outcome be different if the Witch-King hadn't died? And: Could anyone other than Eowyn kill the Witch-King? Feb 15, 2016 at 0:32
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because asking "what if" questions are off-topic: scifi.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask
    – Möoz
    Feb 15, 2016 at 1:45

1 Answer 1


At that point in the movie, the Witch King is probably bragging, as all bad guys should do in a movie when the good guy is almost but not yet dead. It is however based on some truth. Long ago, Glorfindel had prophesied the defeat of the Witch King, who had probably heard of the prophesy in the long years since:

"He will not return to this land. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall." - The Return of the King, Appendix A (iv)

The rest of the answer is partly of my own argument: The prophesied "hand" that will bring about the Witch King's downfall is not of Eowyn, but of Merry.

After all, is it not by the hand of Merry that the dark wards protecting the Witch King were dispelled, after which pretty much anybody can kill the Witch King? Merry's blow was the crucial one - Eomer could have replaced Eowyn and the Witch King would still be dead.

That said, we can also say that it was Tom Bombadil (not a man) who gave Merry (not a man) that enchanted blade, and it was Eowyn (not a man) who brought Merry into battle and then unwittingly distracted the Witch King (a man) from noticing Merry.

Edit: I read from an answer on another question here that an analysis suggests only Eowyn - a woman - is light enough to carry Merry into battle on a horse (remember in the movie Merry couldn't get his own horse moving) because a man and Merry combined would be too heavy for a horse. In that sense, you can argue that Eowyn's sneaking into battle is necessary to bring Merry there - otherwise who else in the Rohirrim wields an enchanted blade? It's not by Eowyn's hand, but by her weight, that Merry's hand can be present in that battle at all.

  • Not so simple. Because without the sword of the Westernesse that Merry stabs the Witch-king with Éowyn couldn't have delivered that fatal blow. Fatal of course means he became an impotent shadow but all things considered the same result. And he almost certainly heard the prophecy because he fled and was to be chased but for Glorfindel stopping that. So actually he wasn't just bragging. He knew very well his power but he didn't expect to be stabbed by the Westernesse blade either.
    – Pryftan
    Dec 12, 2017 at 1:59

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