Beware of spoilers!
Introduced in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Ioreth and Dirhael
Talion's family, his wife and his son, respectively. Living a peaceful life in the Black Gates, Ioreth had joined her lover in his exile, his son had been training to become a ranger and continue his father's legacy. The former had expressed many, many times an interest in leaving the Black Gates, a wish that unwittingly, tragically becomes true on the night of Sauron's return.
- Badass Family: Dirhael, despite his youth, slays many Uruks before his capture by the Black Captains, and Ioreth bravely faces death and assures Talion this is not the end.
- Human Sacrifice: Used as such to summon the Wraith.
- Noodle Incident: Audio during the loading screens indicate that in their youth Talion killed a Gondorian nobleman who assaulted Ioreth. The penalty for that was death, but when Ioreth told her father Hallas she was pregnant with Dirhael and threatened to claim she killed the nobleman in self-defense, her father pulled strings to get Talion transferred to the Black Gate instead.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Killed off at the beginning of the story as a Human Sacrifice.
- Together in Death: Ioreth tearfully assures Talion that they'll be together forever after the Black Hand kills them. Sadly, it was not to be... at least, not for much, much longer than anyone expected.
- Tragic Keepsake:
- Acharn, Talion's "dagger," is the broken hilt of Dirhael's sword, recovered immediately after Talion initially revives and used to devastating effect throughout both games. Even more tragically, after succumbing to Isildur's ring and becoming a full-blown Nazgûl, Talion even comes to forget why he's keeping it at all.
- Shadow of War reveals that Talion's cloak is also one, given to him by his wife Ioreth on their first wedding anniversary and named "Ioreth's Embrace" in her honor — and later in her memory. Talion also comes to forget the cloak's significance as he succumbs to the influence of Isildur's ring.
The peacekeeper of the Outcasts, tribes of men and women who chose not to live in the Black Gates. Technically the daughter of the jailer, her peaceful demeanour and beautiful singing voice had calmed more trouble and defused more tense situations than the guards ever could.
- Fantastic Racism: She despises Talion for being a Man of Gondor, the nation that mistreated her people.
- Hero Antagonist: Downplayed, but while she's one of the good guys, there's no love lost between her and Talion.
- Happily Married: To Hirgon.
- Made a Slave: Talion helps Hirgon to rescue her from Uruk custody.
Saruman the White
Leader of the Istari Order, Saruman has a presence that echoes even into Mordor.
- Meat Puppet: He uses Queen Marwen as one in the same manner in which he will later use King Théoden in the Lord of the Rings films.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Despite never showing up in the game, it turns out that it was Saruman who influenced Marwen to suggest to Talion and Celebrimbor that they utilize HeelFace Brainwashing to raise an army of orcs, which has enormous ramifications across both games.
- The Spymaster: Heavily implied to be this in the artifacts that reveal insider information about Sauron's movements within Mordor. In the sequel you can find captains named "the White" who comments that there is another tower rising and implying that they are The Mole in Sauron's army.
- The Voice: Aside from dialogue, he doesn't make a physical appearance in the story.
- Villain of Another Story: His corruption is implied to have already taken place, and he is plotting to overthrow Sauron by the time of the series. Having said that, he only "shows up" through Marwen in one scene to try to bind Celebrimbor's spirit to him. In Shadow of War, you can run into Uruks in his service (usually but not always bearing the title "of the White Hand") who have infiltrated Sauron's army.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Significantly downplayed, but since Saruman's treachery is not revealed to the Free Peoples until the beginning of The Lord of the Rings, Saruman enjoys this status throughout the games. In Shadow of War, the Appendices entry for Rohan mentions that the kingdom is "aided" by Saruman's counsel.
- We Can Rule Together: Offers this to Celebrimbor, insisting that together they can overthrow Sauron and claim Mordor for themselves.Saruman: (speaking through Marwen) Do not resist me, Celebrimbor! Together we can be invincible! The Dark Lord Sauron is still weak. Our army can destroy him!
The Blue Istari
Two of the five Istari, the blue wizards travelled east long ago and have not been seen since.
- Face Death with Dignity: If the two are indeed dead, it seems they foresaw their doom and took it in stride, counting the days and leaving behind items that they would no longer have use for.
- The Ghost: Mentioned in the memories of various artifacts (and conversations therein), but never actually seen in-game, save for an azurite figurine representation.
- No Name Given: At the rate at which people forget their names, it's implied that they deliberately wipe it from people's minds.
- Those Two Guys: Everybody would forget their names and either refer to them as "the Istari" or "the big one and the little one."
- Uncertain Doom: Many artifacts suggests that the Istari were ultimately killed, but it isn't conclusively revealed.
Defeated in ancient days, he was the first Dark Lord and Sauron's master.
- God of Evil: An idol depicting him is a collectible artifact. He's more of a Satanic Archetype, but he's depicted as a god. Though, being one of the Valar — the equivalent of gods, though weaker than Eru Ilúvatar, in Tolkien lore — this fits quite well.
- Greater-Scope Villain: The very first Dark Lord and Sauron's master back in the day.
- Predecessor Villain: Long gone by the time of the game.
- Religion of Evil: The subject of one at any rate. Sauron influenced Ar-Pharazon's mind to institute the worship of Morgoth as Númenor's state religion, a fact very much resented by a woman who narrates the idol's memory found by the players.
Introduced in Middle-earth: Shadow of War
Helm Hammerhand's Daughter
The daughter of Helm Hammerhand, who is unfortunately caught up in a web of violent political intrigue.
- Accidental Murder: Is subjected to it by her own father.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Her abduction is arguably Helm's Start of Darkness, as evidenced by the below quote (although the fact that Helm had been mortally wounded during said abduction didn't help matters any), and her death marks the point that Helm descends into outright villainy.Sauron (slipping a Ring of Power onto a dying Helm's hand): For your daughter's safe return...
- No Name Given: Even in the credits, she's listed as "Helm's daughter."
- Posthumous Character: Long dead by the time of Shadow of War.
- Sacrificial Lamb: The poor girl does nothing but get manhandled by various parties until her own father accidentally kills her.
- Trauma Conga Line: Her father gets ambushed and murdered in front of her, and when he turns out to be Not Quite Dead and returns to exact revenge on his would-be murderer, she tries to talk him down only to become his (accidental) first victim.
Helm's Daughter's Suitor
A nobleman who seeks the hand of Helm Hammerhand's daughter in marriage...and is not afraid to spill blood to obtain it.
- Asshole Victim: Given that he and his men ambushed Helm and his daughter, shot Helm full of arrows, and abducted his daughter as he lay dying, it's quite clear that his death at the hands of the Not Quite Dead Helm is entirely his own fault.
- Hypocrite: When Helm storms his base with murder on his mind, he warns him, "If you kill me, you'll start a war." Of course, he should have thought of this before ambushing and attempting to murder the King. Helm's Shut Up, Hannibal! (quoted below) almost comes across as a Lampshade Hanging of such blatant hypocrisy.Helm Hammerhand: War has come!
- No Name Given: Even in the credits, he's listed as "Daughter's Suitor."
- Posthumous Character: Long dead by the time of Shadow of War.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Well, he clearly meant it to be, but...Suitor: You should have given me your daughter's hand when I asked.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: The apparent implication of his warning, quoted below. Unfortunately for him, an enraged Helm simply responds with a very violent Shut Up, Hannibal!Suitor: If you kill me, you'll start a war.