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When Gandalf encounters the Witch King during the battle at Minas Tirith, he tells the Witch king:

'Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!'

Return of the King Book V Chapter 4: "The Siege of Gondor"

I was wondering if Gandalf was referring to the same place Morgoth is imprisoned in or somewhere else.

Edit:Here's an interesting paragraph from The Silmarillion,Valaquenta,Of the Enemies: "Among those of his servants that have names the greatest was that spirit whom the Eldar called Sauron.In his beginning he was of the Maiar of Aule ,and he remained mighty in the lore of that people. In all the deeds of Melkor the Morgoth upon Arda ,in his vast works and cunning,Sauron had a part,and was only less evil than his master in that for long he served another and not himself.But in after years he rose like a shadow of Morgoth and a ghost of his malice,and walked behind him on the same ruinous path down into the void".

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    That is Gandalf's way of telling the Witch King to go to hell – thegreatjedi Apr 13 '16 at 1:40
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I find it unlikely that Gandalf is referring to the Void where Morgoth was sent after the War of Wrath; it seems doubtful to me that this would have been Sauron's fate, and the fate of the Witch-King (as a mortal) is unknown to us and Gandalf - declarative statements made from ignorance aren't his style.

Although no writings directly confirm this, I'm inclined to suggest that Gandalf isn't referring to any specific location, and is rather being poetical; a fancy way of saying that the Forces of Evil will lose the war, and Sauron and the Witch-King will be destroyed.

My interpretation is at least partially supported by a draft version of the line, which seems to more clearly imply that "the nothingness that awaits you and your Master" is merely the nothingness of death:

'You cannot pass,' said Gandalf. 'Go back to the black abyss prepared for you, and fall into nothingness that shall come upon your Master.'

History of Middle-earth VII The War of the Ring Part 3: "Minas Tirith" Chapter VI: "The Siege of Gondor"

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    Does the legendarium contain a hell? “Prepared for you” reminds me of “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt 25:41). – Molag Bal Apr 13 '16 at 1:26
  • @amarillo Not clear. Probably, since Tolkien was writing an intensely Catholic work, but it's unlikely Gandalf would have had any more information on it – Jason Baker Apr 13 '16 at 1:30
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    @iMerchant Because the Void isn't a place you go, it's a place you're sent. Sending Morgoth into the Void required explicit action on the part of the Valar (possibly with the assistance of Illuvatar); something like that couldn't happen with the Witch-King, because his fate is in the hands of Illuvatar, and is unlikely to be done to Sauron partly because he's not that big of a threat, and partly because the Valar's ability to take meaningful action in the world is waning – Jason Baker Apr 13 '16 at 3:22
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    There is some suggestion that the Valar did intervene to do it: a wind comes out of the west to dispel his spirit: "Enormous it reared above the world, and stretched out towards them a vast threatening hand, terrible but impotent: for even as it leaned over them, a great wind took it, and it was all blown away, and passed; and then a hush fell." The same happened with Saruman. "For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing" – Shamshiel Apr 14 '16 at 0:15
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    @Shamshiel I'm not convinced that should be taken literally, as opposed to a variation of "Sauron followed Morgoth on the path to damnation." It is a valid interpretation, though; I'll edit my answer to be a little less emphatic – Jason Baker Apr 14 '16 at 0:35
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Well, it is clear that Gandalf is connecting the fate of the Witch-King with that of Sauron. From the movie (the book's wording is similar):

GANDALF: (He holds his staff across the front of him.) Go back to the abyss! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your master!

Now, this answer explains what happened to Sauron: He existed a bodiless spirit, incapable of doing harm. Since Gandalf must have know that this would be Sauron's fate, it seems clear that the Witch-King is doomed to a similar state. Though the Witch-King was originally human, it is possible that his corruption has forced him to remain bound to Sauron even unto death.

  • I've wondered about the Nazguls fate,because as u pointed out they were once human, plus they were enslaved to Saurons ring,basically they had to do whatever Sauron told them to do.Maybe they were seen as totally corrupted & incapable of redemption. – turinsbane Apr 13 '16 at 5:05
  • Sauron's magic does not have the power to alter the Gift of Men. Nazgul or no, when the Witch-King dies, his soul will pass beyond the circles of the world. – Buzz Apr 13 '16 at 11:45
  • @Buzz Sauron did alter the gift of men with the Nazgul but,look how long they lived. – turinsbane Apr 13 '16 at 13:06
  • The gift of men can certainly be altered but it is silly to think it could be permanently revoked by anyone in Arda. Sauron is not more powerful than Eru, and all human souls will eventually leave Arda from whatever he plans for them. The Nazgul would not remain in Arda after the Ring was destroyed unless Eru decided to do that. – suchiuomizu Apr 13 '16 at 22:45
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    Eh, I guess Gandalf didn't get the memo. – Adamant Apr 13 '16 at 22:46
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Yes, he was likely condeming the Witch-King to the Void. Most of the villains in the Lord of the Rings end up going there. As you say, the Silmarillion confirms that Sauron ended up in the Void:

"Sauron had a part, and was only less evil than his master in that for long he served another and not himself. But in after years he rose like a shadow of Morgoth and a ghost of his malice, and walked behind him on the same ruinous path down into the Void.”

(Silmarillion)

This probably did occur with the intervention of the Valar:

The realm of Sauron is ended!’ said Gandalf. The Ring-bearer has fulfilled his Quest.’ And as the Captains gazed south to the Land of Mordor, it seemed to them that, black against the pall of cloud, there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable, lightning-crowned, filling all the sky. Enormous it reared above the world, and stretched out towards them a vast threatening hand, terrible but impotent: for even as it leaned over them, a great wind took it, and it was all blown away, and passed; and then a hush fell.

(Return of the King

Our hint is the "great wind" which is clearly meant to provide an association with Manwe.

Something very similar happened to Saruman:

To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing.

(Return of the King)

Tom Bombadil sent the Barrow-wight to the Void:

Tom stooped, removed his hat, and came into the dark chamber, singing:

Get out, you old Wight! Vanish in the sunlight! Shrivel like the cold mist, like the winds go wailing, Out into the barren lands far beyond the mountains! Come never here again! Leave your barrow empty! Lost and forgotten be, darker than the darkness, Where gates stand for ever shut, till the world is mended.

At these words there was a cry and part of the inner end of the chamber fell in with a crash. Then there was a long trailing shriek, fading away into an unguessable distance; and after that silence.

(Fellowship of the Ring)

But this shouldn't surprise us. Most likely, all Men go to the Void. Even Gandalf did, in mortal form.

Then darkness took me, and I strayed out of thought and time, and I wandered far on roads that I will not tell.

(The Two Towers)

The Gift of Men is precisely that they are not bound to the world.

It is one with this gift of freedom that the children of Men dwell only a short space in the world alive, and are not bound to it, and depart soon whither the Elves know not

(Silmarillion)

That said, there are other things in the Void besides just Void: the Halls of Illuvatar are not a bad place.

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    It's not clear to me that Gandalf and men go to the Void. Clearly, they go somewhere outside the world, but how do you associate those locations with the Void? – Molag Bal Apr 14 '16 at 2:32
  • @amarillo: 'Outside the world' is the Void, though there are things located 'in' it, like the Halls of lluvatar and the world itself. An analogy would be if I said I was going to Mars, you could say I was going to space. – Shamshiel Apr 14 '16 at 9:56

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