Tolkien Gateway


John Howe - Gorbag.jpg
"Gorbag" by John Howe
Biographical Information
PositionUruk Captain
LocationMinas Morgul
Death14 March T.A. 3019
Cirith Ungol
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Gorbag

Gorbag was the captain of the Uruks of Minas Morgul. He served the Nazgûl who dwelt in the Dead City. However, due to the Silent Watchers exhibiting unease after Frodo Baggins had passed by them, Gorbag and a patrol were sent to Cirith Ungol where Shagrat was in command.[1]

On 13 March T.A. 3019 Gorbag and Shagrat came across Frodo,[2] who had been paralyzed by Shelob. They ordered Frodo carried back into the Tower of Cirith Ungol as their prisoner. During their return to the tower Sam, who was wearing the One Ring, overheard them talking.

During their conversation, it quickly became apparent that Gorbag was the more observant of the two: After Shagrat says that the Nazgûl were uneasy and that something nearly slipped Gorbag says that something had slipped. Shagrat says that Shelob got him, meaning Frodo, but Gorbag points out that there must have been more than one because someone else cut the cords from Frodo. Shagrat dismissed Gorbag's reasoning by claiming that he always took a gloomy view. Shagrat, who had been in the tower longer, was able to tell Gorbag that Frodo was not dead.[1]

On 14 March[2] the two Orc leaders stripped Frodo of his possessions. Upon discovering Frodo's mithril coat Gorbag tried to keep it, which provoked a fight between Gorbag's and Shagrat's followers. Gorbag knifed Shagrat but Shagrat throttled him. However, Gorbag did not actually die at that moment. Later he attempted to stab Shagrat with a broken spear but Shagrat, hearing him, then stabbed him in the throat and trampled on his body.[3]

[edit] Adaptations

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King:

Portrayed by Stephen Ure, Gorbag is portrayed as a smaller, regular Orc while Shagrat is an Uruk. Instead of coming up from Minas Morgul, he comes down with Shagrat from the Tower of Cirith Ungol and is the one that explains to the Orcs about Shelob and her choice to leave victims alive. Later, he is killed by Samwise Gamgee.

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (video game):

Gorbag appears as a boss at the end of the "Cirith Ungol" level. In the game, Gorbag knocks down Shagrat and then Sam must defeat him by stunning him with pikes.


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Choices of Master Samwise"
  2. 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"