Spoilers for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the wizard Radagast encounters what appears to be the spirit of the Witch King of Angmar, as well as "the necromancer", who I assume is Sauron. Radagast defeats the spirit of the Witch King of Angmar and takes the Witch King's sword, which he subsequently hands over to Gandalf, who takes it to Rivendell.

The Witch King clearly has his sword in The Fellowship of the Ring. How and when did he get his sword back? Judging by the shape of the swords in the films, they appear to be the same one.

I've read The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, but have not read The Silmarillion or The Return of the King. I've seen Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings Trilogy many times. I just got The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on BD this past Tuesday, so I'm pretty unfamiliar with it still. I.e. I'm not a Tolkien scholar, so please pardon me if this is an obvious question to those in the know.

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    According to the book, those events never happened. In film canon, I guess he just got another one. They don't appear to be super special.
    – The Fallen
    Apr 28, 2013 at 3:19
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    I don't understand, then, why, when Aragorn picked up the Morgul blade on the Watchtower, the handle burned his hand and the blade dissipated. There seems to be something to the Witch King's blade. Apr 28, 2013 at 3:45
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    Why the close vote and downvote? This is a valid question; it is either supported by the text (which it isn't :P ), it's an invention of Peter Jackson, or a case of We Don't Know Yet. In any case, it's still valid!
    – Andres F.
    Apr 28, 2013 at 17:51
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    @aSlytherin - it might be 'special' in the sense that they have certain powers, but not in the sense that they are unique and rare (like Glamdring, the One Ring, etc). I assume he just got another one.
    – The Fallen
    Apr 30, 2013 at 13:50
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    @childcat15 - the Necromancer was always intended to be Sauron though; in the original drafts of the Hobbit Bladorthin (the original name of Gandalf) confirms it too: "Beren and Tinuviel broke his power, but that is quite another story".
    – user8719
    Nov 24, 2013 at 13:23

6 Answers 6


This is an invention of Peter Jackson & co and has absolutely nothing to do with the books, so the only relevant sources we can use for answering the question are the movies.

However, the last 2 Hobbit movies have yet to be released.

So it's going to be a clear "WAFO" ("Watch and find out") answer to this one.

Update - 16th November 2013

In the commentary for the Extended Edition of AUJ, Peter Jackson confirms that the sword Radagast finds is the same sword that the Witch King used to stab Frodo, and Philippa Boyens remarks:

It comes into play even more. There's a reason for it.

Finally Jackson comments:

A lot of this is very early setup material for events which are expanded on in the next two Hobbit movies.

This just serves to underline the fact that it's a "watch and find out" answer. You shouldn't expect to be given all information up-front, particularly with a 3 part movie series of which the last two parts have yet to be released.

Update - 15th December 2013

No, there was nothing on it in the second movie, unless there are extra scenes relating to it being held back for the extended edition. It looks possible that the Nazgul are going to put in an appearance in the third movie, however, so either way we must continue waiting.

Update - 2nd July 2014

According to this page at TheOneRing.net it's actually Elrond who gives it back to him! We're apparently going to see this happen in the third movie. Scroll down to the section headed "Elrond and the Morgul-blade" and we read:

Ringer LaurelinDena reminds of us of this snippet from the Weta Book 'Cloaks and Daggers' on page 166 where swordmaster Peter Lyon talks about the Morgul Blade.

Later we came to film a scene in which Elrond is seen casting the blade into the Witch-King’s tomb...

I don't have access to the cited source and so can't confirm the authenticity of this quote, but for now it's the best explanation we have. Unless the Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition upsets things, we'll be able to confirm come December.

Update - 1st November 2014

No, there was nothing about it in the Extended Edition of DoS either, although there was a scene of the supposed original burial of the Witch-king, with his sword being thrown into his tomb, and I'm wondering if this is the scene that was referred to above (I'll need to rewatch it to check if it was Elrond). I haven't yet listened to the commentary though.

So unless the commentary reveals any details we're definitely going to have to wait on the third movie.

(7 hours later: I've rewatched and listened to the commentary on that scene, and it's Men who are burying the WK, with Royd Tolkien (JRRT's great-grandson) playing the (unnamed) character throwing in the sword. So that confirms that it's not the same scene.)

Update - 14th December 2014

Nothing about it in the third movie; I guess we'll have to wait for the extended edition.

  • Was this ever explained?
    – Ian
    Nov 5, 2015 at 14:05

Gandalf took it into Dol Guldur with him and it was taken from him.

Peter Jackson: So Philippa, in the commentary on the first of the Hobbit movies, we said that we were going to talk about how the Morgul blade from The Fellowship of the Ring that we saw in the council in Rivendell actually gets back into the hands of the badguys and I think you had a plan.

Philippa Boyens: Yes, we never did show we actually don't show it. But it's on Gandalf. Gandalf has it.

Peter Jackson: So Gandalf has it under his robes when he's captured. They frisk him. They get all his weapons off him. They get his pistols and his ninja throwing stars and everything else out of his robes and they find that as well. His nunchucks --

Philippa Boyens: It was one of those things, and it was just a talisman too far. You can't show everything. But just for the record, Gandalf took it into Dol Guldur with him and it was taken from him.
The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition - Director's Commentary [35:34 - 36:23]


It is most likely that the witch-king just got another one. Morgul blades are rare, but not unique. I'm sure that another one could be forged and enchanted before the events of LOTR. Also, Elrond and Aragorn both refers to it as A morgul-blade, implying there are more than one. Even if it was the only one I don't think the elves would care to guard it day and night, it could easily be stolen (if they can find Rivendell). But it is most likely that they take it in for a study and then trows it away.

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    The commentary on the extended edition confirms that it is the same sword, however, and that the answer to this question will be coming in one of the next two movies.
    – user8719
    Nov 24, 2013 at 12:31
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    The Morgul Blade that stabs Frodo is a one-use item. Angmar's sword is not. If Wetta wants to call the sword "Morgul Blade" they are being confusing.
    – Oldcat
    Jul 2, 2014 at 22:43

Morgul blades were daggers, not swords, and were used to "turn" people to serve the dark lord who otherwise would not. The books talk of the blade that was used to stab frodo as disintegrating in daylight. I would think that this happens to all morgul blades? As such, it would seem that it is/was a use once weapon and therefore something that would be supplied and used as needed.

It's been a while but I don't remember any of the books (Silmarillion, Book of Lost/Unfinished Tales, LoTR or the Hobbit) mentioning either Radagast going to Dol Guldur or him obtaining a morgul blade. The films seem to have gone too far from the books. Gandalf went to Dol Guldur and the Necromancer fled from before him. Alas, the film always seems to show Gandalf as a weakling, which is not correct.

  • This is true but we're talking about within "movie canon" here. It is important to distinguish that from the books, yes, but once we've established the scope of the question it remains valid to ask.
    – user8719
    Dec 29, 2013 at 2:35
  • You know. I don't really care if it 'answers' the question: your answer deserves to be voted up. You're right: the Morgul-knives do in fact have that property; that is when they reach the heart the victim becomes a wraith under the command of the Nazgûl (and thus under Sauron). Trivia: originally it was to be his right shoulder but this was changed in a later draft to be his left. Anyway, I don't personally believe in 'film canon' but even if it 'exists' what you say is worth pointing out.
    – Pryftan
    May 21, 2018 at 22:32

Ιn the movie at the watch tower (Amon Hen), the witch king pulls out a smaller sword, more of a dagger, from a spot in his cloak. This dagger poisons Frodo and starts to turn him into a wraith himself. The dagger does have dark magic properties, and once it is used, the blade will disintegrate into dust.


I think you're confusing the standard swords of Nazgul and the morgul-knife a bit here (movie isn't exactly the best in explaining things especially when we're talking about such inventions which has nothing to do with Tolkien, like this very scene from the Hobbit :).

Ringwraiths used many weapons, (apparently they also could use some poisoned darts as Aragorn says in book that if Faramir was struck with one he would have died during night) swords were one of them (not surprising as they were ,,sorcerers, warriors and kings of old" with looong military carieers) so those used in battle can be replaced from armories of Mordor (they had entire factories to produce them, we can say, though there is possibility that all swords used by Nazgul were in some ways magical, Witch-king could made his burst in flames for example, a pretty neat trick if you ask me :) but the ,,sword" in question is most likely the morgul-knife, special enchanted weapon. This magical dagger was capable of turning living people into wraiths by piercing hearts of victims. I think that said artifact could have been made by skilled sorcerer serving the Dark Lord or possibly were given to Ringwraiths by Sauron himself and thus his creations. Concluding: losing such an item wouldn't be a problem, if another could be gained.

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