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Characters / Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor - Protagonists

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The protagonists of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Middle-earth: Shadow of War.

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Voiced by: Troy Baker
"These aren't Orcs, they're Uruks. They're worse, and there's far too many."

One of the Rangers of Gondor ego was stationed at the Black Gate, Talion is the sole survivor of Sauron's return, if only because instead of being sacrificed for the Black Hand to retrieve a powerful wraith from the dead, it joined with him instead. Already a masterful swordsman, a skilled acrobat, and a formidable fighter, the wraith's power has turned him into a One-Man Army, bent on revenge against the Black Hand for killing his family, and for the Resurrective Immortality that keeps him from reuniting with them.

  • Achilles' Heel: The only thing stopping Talion from passing on is The Wraith. When the Black Hand severs their connection, Talion's lethal wounds immediately re-open. Shadow of War shows that a Ring of Power (which has the life force of its creator inside of it) can also sustain him.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: After taking Isildur's ring, Talion becomes a Ringwraith himself and bound to Sauron's service.
  • Animate Dead: The logical endpoint for Talion's abilities, considering his banishment from death. Ironically, he gains this ability after Celebrimbor leaves his body in Shadow of War. In his place are Nazgûl powers that let him raise deceased orcs to fight for him once more.
  • Anti-Hero: Talion's primary motivation is avenging his and his family's murders and he's willing to do just about whatever it takes to accomplish that. While he still limits himself to orcs, his domination and slaughter of them takes a toll and one monologue in the Lord of the Hunt DLC is that he starts questioning who is the real beasts between Mordor's fauna, the orcs and himself who hunts all of them.
  • Armored But Frail: He remains as strong as a normal human throughout the game, only able to cause and receive more damage due to his armor and weapons.
  • Badass Baritone: Courtesy of Troy Baker.
  • Badass Cape: Has one, and it can never be removed in gameplay. Shadow of War reveals it to be a Tragic Keepsake of his dead wife. His wraith form also has one, like the other Nazgúl.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Interestingly inverted with Ratbag, an orc who gets Talion (a Man) to kill his enemies for him. Also arguably averted, since Ratbag is a Harmless Villain and Talion was arguably planning on killing those enemies anyway.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Due to being Celebrimbor's host, he has his powers by proxy but he is still qualifies as The Hero. This trope becomes even stronger at the end of Shadow of War when Talion pretty much becomes a Nazgûl himself after rejecting Celebrimbor's goal to replace Sauron, and then uses his powers to defy the Dark Lord, keeping his armies divided for as long as he can to defend Middle-earth from being invaded by him.
  • Big Good: Downplayed. Talion isn't the most morally correct hero in Middle Earth, but he is the co-leader of the army of Orcs and Ologs opposing Sauron and gets promoted to supreme leader after Celebrimbor's Face–Heel Turn.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: In Shadow of War, when he claims Isildur's Ring — or when he just wears the Servant set, his sclera turn black to accompany his yellow irises. It becomes more fitting once he succumbs to the ring and joins the Nazgûl.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Plus his Tragic Keepsake "dagger." The bow is technically the Wraith's, but given their bond together, that amounts to semantics. After becoming a Ringwraith, he gets to have one, but canonically changes to a small hammer.
  • Bullet Time: A power the Wraith grants him that acts as a gameplay feature, slowing down time in order to allow for easier shots with the bow/hammer.
  • Canon Character All Along: He becomes one of the Nine Ringwraiths at the end of Shadow of War. Specifically, the Winged Wraith that hunts the Ringbearer. It gives a little more weight to Gollum's fear about the "wraith on wings", because he knew him personally.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: All through Shadow of Mordor, Talion's main objective is to break the curse that prevents him from being Together in Death with his family. However, by the time he finally gets his chance, he's gotten a glimpse of Sauron's power and menace, which causes him to forgo death in favor of stopping him.
  • Charm Person: By proxy, as the Wraith channels his branding powers through Talion's scarred hand.
  • The Chessmaster: His interactions with the Nemeses can easily become this, and this is in fact encouraged by the gameplay mechanics.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back:
    • At the end of Shadow of Mordor, Talion has what he wanted, a way to die and rejoin his family. He refuses on the basis that he can't rest knowing Sauron would be free to attack the rest of Middle-earth.
    • In Shadow of War, with Celebrimbor's betrayal, Talion has another chance to rejoin his family in death, but after Shelob explains the need to counter the victor of Sauron and Celebrimbor's duel, Talion again chooses to return to the land of the living to hold back the darkness — this time in a bleak Forever War which he is doomed to lose.
  • Creepy Good: As a Ringwraith in Shadow of War Act IV, since he uses many dark powers granted by Isildur's Ring to fight against Sauron and his minions.
  • Cursed With Awesome: His bond with the Wraith means he is "banished from death," meaning he cannot pass on and reunite with his family. On the other hand, he also has access to the Wraith's vast array of powers.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Despite having sinister, dark powers, and being generally very dour and cynical as the Gravewalker, Talion is still a noble, good man at heart.
    • In Shadow of War, he can sport the Vengeance and Servant sets, highly sinister looking sets of black armor worn alongside a tattered black hood and cloak, both of which make him look like the Black Hand of Sauron. During Act IV "Shadow Wars" of the story mode, Talion dons the Servant set after he is forced to take Isildur's Ring and turns into a Nazgûl himself — and even if he swaps it for different armor his spectral form is always shown wearing it. Even then, he devotes several years fending off Sauron's invasion of Mordor until he eventually succumbs to Sauron's control.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: If you go and read the item descriptions of some of Talion's items from the past (namely his cloak, Ioreth's Embrace, and Acharn) after completing several of the Nazgul missions, they will change to reflect that Talion is losing his memory of Dirhael and Ioreth. Ioreth's Embrace is changed to Dark Embrace, and prior to the Servant set being completed it states that while he can still remember it is a memento from their anniversary, the days are rapidly becoming more distant. Acharn, meanwhile, when fully upgraded flatly states that its original owner is long forgotten.
    Acharn: The dagger Acharn. Forever cursed, its original owner long forgotten.
    Ioreth's/Dark Embrace: A tattered cloak so stained in blood its origins can no longer be discerned.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Dialogue in certain loading screens of Shadow of Mordor reveal that he murdered a nobleman who was trying to assault Ioreth. As this was quite a crime, the law was that he be put to death immediately — the only reason he wasn't is because Ioreth's father learned she was pregnant with Talion's child (and that she'd claim she murdered the noblemen to defend him), thus giving Talion a choice between execution or service at the Black Gate in his place. He chose the latter.
  • Darth Vader Clone: In the endgame of War. After he's left to die and undergoes an Emergency Transformation, he's got Supernatural Yellow Eyes and wears a black cloak - which the player can replace with a black, face-covering armor. His status as an One-Man Army with access to an invisible force is doubled down upon since Celebrimbor is gone. And then there's his new voice.
  • Death Seeker: All he wants to do is die and join his wife and son. That goal changes in the finale of Mordor, where he decides to wage war against Sauron.
    Talion: Could you really rest for all of eternity, knowing that you had the chance to stop him but did nothing?
  • Determinator: Even in the Darkest Hour after Celebrimbor's betrayal, when he decides to put on one of the Nine Rings, he defiantly pronounces, "As long as I have breath in my body, my fate is my own!"
  • Died Happily Ever After: After decades of torment and fighting against the dark forces of Mordor he finally dies when Mt Doom explodes and his fell beast is taken out by a lava bomb, granting him peace at last and finally the chance he was literally dying to have: to be with his family again for all eternity.
  • Dragon Rider: Shadow of War introduces fire-drakes, and naturally, Talion can learn to dominate and ride them. Also just like the other Nazgûl, he rides fell beasts as well and is actually seen mounted on one in the Golden Ending when he is killed by Mount Doom's eruption.
  • Dramatic Irony: Throughout Act I, one of Celebrimbor's primary objectives is acquiring the Palantír of Minas Ithil. While the city falls and the Palantír falls into the Witch-king's hands, Talion eventually manages to retake both city and Seeing-stone — after being abandoned by Celebrimbor, who has moved on to bigger things. For added irony, the first thing Talion uses the recaptured Palantír to see is Celebrimbor and Eltariel's duel against Sauron at the summit of the Barad-dûr.
  • The Dreaded: Some Uruk Captains can develop a trait called Fear of the Gravewalker (Overwhelming Awe in Shadow of War), which causes them to flee in a blind panic as soon as they see Talion.
  • Dying as Yourself: A Freeze-Frame Bonus in the Golden Ending shows Talion with his human features again as opposed to the jagged metal face mask of the Nazgûl, suggesting that he was free of Sauron's darkness with the One Ring's destruction in the last moments of his life.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Unlike Celebrimbor, Talion holds onto his humanity and fights against the forces of darkness as long as he can. While he still ends up succumbing to the Ring's influence and becomes a Nazgûl, his holding back the forces of Mordor earns enough time for an unlikely hero to emerge and destroy the One Ring, finally allowing Talion to find freedom in death.
  • Emergency Transformation: When the Wraith leaves his body, he is forced to take Isildur's ring and become a Nazgûl himself so he can devote his following years resisting whomever emerges the victor in Sauron and Celebrimbor's duel.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: He held his own very well at the Black Gate, and only stood down when his family was threatened. He's even more badass now that he's bonded with the Wraith and all his powers.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Over the course of Shadow of War, he grows more and more uneasy with Celebrimbor's brutal methods and growing lust for power, but the final straw truly comes when Celebrimbor tries to dominate Isildur; Talion, having seen Isildur's memories of how he became one of the Nazgûl, decides this is a line he won't cross and instead opts to put Isildur out of his misery, much to Celebrimbor's fury.
    Celebrimbor: (furious) He was not yours to release!
    Talion: (disgusted) And he was not YOURS to enslave!
    • Moments later, Talion has another such moment when he discovers Celebrimbor's plan is to dominate Sauron and take his place as ruler of Mordor.
      Talion: I will not trade one Dark Lord for another! This is not the end I have fought for!
  • Evil Costume Switch: Twice in Shadow of War: first, when he puts on Isildur's ring and becomes a rogue Nazgûl (not quite evil, but Darker and Edgier than before), he dresses in a black cloak and hood not too different from the Black Hand in Shadow of War. Second, after completing the Shadow Wars and unlocking the Golden Ending, Talion dresses just like the other Nazgûls under Sauron's control.
  • Evil Weapon: Urfael and Acharn become this when Talion turns into a Ringwraith. Anything they kill has the chance to get back up as a Revenant under Talion's command.
  • Evolving Weapon:
    • In Shadow of Mordor, completing specific missions lets the Wraith reforge his weapons twice over, completely transforming Urfael and Acharn.
    • In Shadow of War, Talion's initial equipment, including Urfael and Acharn, will incrementally upgrade into the Servant Set, as Talion fights and is exposed to the Nazgûl. The set is completed when Talion takes Isildur's Ring and becomes a Ringwraith himself.
  • Expy:
    • According to the developers, Talion is based on Boromir as a Gondorian warrior willing to wield dangerous powers to fight against the Dark Lord. His powers also make him vaguely similar to the Ringwraiths, a similarity which is emphasized in the second game when he actually confronts them, especially since they all wield Rings of Power. He actually winds up turning into a Ringwraith himself, but he still remains heroic for many decades until his eventual fall.
    • In War, his arc resembles that of a certain Skywalker... namely Anakin. Both are an One-Man Army with a link to an unseen power, can sense people they can't physically see, and despite some morally questionable decisions deep down they're a good guy. Their backstories involve losing a loved one to the settings's savages, whom they avenge by massacring every member of said savages they come across. Eventually their attempts to use evil powers for good cause them to be left to die by someone they saw as a friend, after which they go through an Emergency Transformation that turns them into a slave for the Big Bad. Years later, they die as themselves, having earned their rest. By the endgame, this even applies to his looks; Talion's black hood and yellow eyes resemble Anakin's from Episode III, while the unlockable Nazgûl gear is a black, faceless armor not unlike Vader's iconic attire.
  • Eye Colour Change: He has brown eyes in the prologue, but they turn light blue following his possession by the Wraith. When he pledges to create a new Ring of Power, his eyes are a dull gold color, but they're back to being blue in Shadow of War. At the end of Shadow of War his irises turn yellow due to him falling under the influence of Isildur's Ring of Power. After he dies and ends up in Valinor, his eyes are a striking blue again.
  • Face–Heel Turn: He finally succumbs to the corruption of Isildur's Ring at the very end of Shadow of War, and the circumstances of his fall are shown in detail in the Blade of Galadriel Downloadable Content.
  • The Faceless: He adopts the mask all Nazgul wear when he finally succumbs to one of the Nine Rings. With the February 2018 update, Talion can don a Nazgul outfit that hides his face during the Shadow Wars.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Of the Who Wants to Live Forever? variety. In fact, his big What the Hell, Hero? to Cerebrimbor is that he lied about letting him die. It gets worse in the true ending of Shadow of War, where he becomes one of the Nazgûl in place of Isildur. He only gets out of it by the end of The Lord of the Rings when the One Ring gets destroyed.
  • Fallen Hero: Becomes one of the Nazgûl during the true ending of Shadow of War.
  • A Father to His Men: Talion can be a massive Benevolent Boss to the Uruks under his command, and a generally more personable leader than Sauron ever was, to the point where he can actually befriend his army's leaders.
  • The Fettered: There are lines that he won't cross, unlike Celebrimbor. Downplayed in that he never has any qualms about slaughtering and Mind Raping Orcs.
  • Fighting Spirit: Celebrimbor is his "Fighting Spirit" throughout the two games, being the force that prevents Talion from dying permanently, and he eventually gets his own wraith clone when Celebrimbor abandons him..
  • Final Boss: For the Blade of Galadriel Downloadable Content. Notably, he was an ally throughout the DLC story, all the way up to the introductory cutscene of the final battle.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: He was raising his son, Dirhael, to become a Ranger.
  • Forced to Watch: Forced to see his wife and son die in a dark magic ritual before being killed himself.
  • Frontline General: In Shadow of War, Talion personally leads his Uruk armies in assaulting and taking enemy strongholds. This notably sets him apart from Sauron, who stays far away from the action, and it's a trait that commands respect from his Uruk followers.
    Uruk: You know what I like the most about the Bright Lord? He actually fights alongside us.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Every move he shows off during his boss fights in the Blade of Galadriel DLC can be performed during normal gameplay in the main game. His jumping teleport is a combination of Eagle's Eyrie and Bird of Preynote  with the Talon Strike upgrade enabled, the fan of daggers he sometimes throws is the Rain of Blades upgrade to Brace of Daggers, and the explosions he causes are from the hammers he tosses around. He can even perform executions!
  • Good Counterpart: To the Nazgûl, since Talion is also an undead Man brought back to life with special powers, but he fights to protect Middle-earth from the Shadow and its minions. Taken Up to Eleven in Shadow of War, where Talion wields a Ring of Power just like the Nazgûl and actually encounters and fights them on a regular basis. It's taken Up to Eleven again at the end of the game, where Talion becomes a Ringwraith himself, albeit a renegade one waging war against the Dark Lord's forces to protect Middle-earth until his eventual fall.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Unlike Celebrimbor, Talion is unambiguously good, and he will always choose helping his fellow Men over pursuing domination of Mordor. However, he has no mercy for orcs and will not hesitate to slaughter or Mind Rape them; as the story progresses, the brutality of his war against Sauron is shown to be enough to corrupt him and get the attention of the Witch-king. In one particularly dark example, he initially plans to kill Brûz after the latter betrays him, but after enduring one too many of Brûz's Bullying a Dragon antics, he opts to let him live after breaking his mind and driving him insane.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: A mixture of both: his hand is scarred from being smashed by the Hammer of Sauron, and serves as the focus point for the Wraith's Bad Powers, Good People abilities.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Except for Shelob herself, no one in Middle-earth will know that it was actually one of Sauron's own Nazgûl that waged war on him for many years, preventing him from uniting his forces and delaying his invasion of Middle-earth.
  • The Hero: In the game series, since he is the primary Playable Character and is more noble and straightforward than Celebrimbor.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: When Celebrimbor abandons him, Talion begins to die from his slashed throat again. Seeing Isildur's Ring of Power lying on the ground nearby, he grabs it and puts it on, knowing full well that he's dooming himself to eternity as a Ringwraith and giving up his final chance to be Together in Death with his family. In doing so, however, he buys himself the strength to resist the Enemy from within Mordor, sparing the rest of Middle-earth from his wrath.
  • Heroic Willpower: After putting on Isildur's Ring of Power to save his own life, Talion's will to resist the Ring and wage war against Sauron lasts for decades.
  • Heel Realization: While looking at Isildur's memory, Talion realizes that enslaving Sauron's minions makes him and Celebrimbor no different from Sauron.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: While he does have other weapons at his disposal, Talion's primary weapon is Urfael. In Shadow of War, he has the option to wield a variety of different blades.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Talion is the first line of defense between Middle-earth and the forces of darkness, but being one man he had to use the power of the Wraith and ring of power to have a fighting chance which consumes him slowly. Even the orcs comment that Talion is Not So Different than them except they can rest in peace when they die.
  • Hidden Depths: Shadow of War's Gondorian artifact sidequests have Talion reveal a few sides to his character through commentary on the artifacts he finds. For instance, he always wanted to learn to play the lute, and in his younger days had an interest in carpentry.
    Celebrimbor: Talion the craftsman. That I'd have liked to see.
  • Human Sacrifice: He, along with the rest of his family, were sacrificed in a ritual to summon the Wraith and bind him to the Black Hand. He alone revived because the Wraith bonded with him instead.
  • Hurting Hero: The pain of losing his family (and, to a lesser extent, his fellow Rangers) carries throughout his journey. He looks sad when Hirgon and Eryn happily reunite, and the Wraith has to tell him off when he starts projecting onto Lithariel.
    Talion: I had a family once, a wife and a son...and I buried them, along with everyone I've ever known.
  • Informed Flaw: In Shadow of War, Orcs sometimes insult Talion by claiming that he's horrifyingly ugly and looks like he's rotting. Despite being an undead being, he remains relatively handsome throughout the game, and even if hit by a Cursed weapon, he just turns pale. As a bonus, he doesn't seem to age a day during the decades he fought Sauron as a rogue Nazgúl, although this is simply an effect that Rings of Power have on Men.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Not so much in Shadow of Mordor, but Shadow of War uses new character models, and Talion's looks a lot like his voice actor Troy Baker. In fact, the model looks uncannily similar to a hairier version of Delsin Rowe.
  • In the Hood: Can wear some hooded capes in Shadow of War. His default Ringwraith appearance and his own wraith form also have them, like all the Nazgûl.
  • Living on Borrowed Time: The only thing keeping him alive is his bond to Celebrimbor, as his fatal throat wound reopens whenever they are separated. Shadow of War reveals that Rings of Power can also keep Talion alive.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: In Shadow of Mordor, after picking up an artifact, Talion muses that his father-in-law Hallas never let him forgetinvoked that, unlike Hallas and his daughter Ioreth, Talion didn't have a drop of Númenórean blood in his veins.
  • Meaningful Name: His name comes from the law of talion in the Bible, which is the origin of the saying "an eye for an eye".
    • Apparently subverted, if you believe the devs' comment during a Shadow of War pre-release interview that the characters' names were derived from Northern European languages (just like Tolkien).
  • Motive Decay: In contrast with Celebrimbor, whose quest for revenge twisted into planned tyranny, Talion goes the opposite route; first he just wishes to die, then to destroy Sauron before dying, and once given the chance to finally rejoin his family, he realizes he cannot let Sauron or Celebrimbor win and picks up the only way he could slow either of them down, knowing that doing so will turn him into Sauron's servant and prevent him from joining his family in death possibly forever. In effect, the loss of his way in his motivation serves to show his Character Development, rather than being The Dark Side Will Make You Forget.
  • Multi-Melee Master: He's skilled in both longsword and dagger combat, and while he only wields one at a time, he can alternate between them on the fly. In the sequel he gets to use smithing hammers and glaives.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: His attitude towards Orcs in a nutshell: those who can't be dominated die, and those that betray him die too. Talion states that he is only using Orcs to get to Sauron, and he couldn't care less about Celebrimbor's politics.
  • Necromancer: He gains the power after he takes Isildur's Ring. At first, it only allows resurrecting grunts, but upgrades allow him to resurrect Olog-hai, beasts, or even captains.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: At the end of Shadow of Mordor, Celebrimbor dismissed challenging Sauron as futile and was ready to pass on to the afterlife, but was persuaded into forging a new Ring of Power by Talion. Talion comes to regret this when Celebrimbor becomes a ruthless tyrant and betrays him.
  • Noiseless Walker: Thanks to one of his potential abilities, he can walk and even run straight past uruks without them noticing unless they're directly looking at him. And even then.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: When the Black Hand severs Talion's connection to Celebrimbor, Talion's lethal wounds reopen. Instead of collapsing and bleeding out, like he did the first time, Talion holds on long enough to kill the Black Hand and get Celebrimbor back. This happens again in Shadow of War when Shelob takes the New Ring from him, and when Celebrimbor takes the New Ring and abandons him to possess Eltariel.
  • Not So Different: His bond with Celebrimbor makes him similar to the Nazgûl, being beings with superpowers who cannot die. Battles with the Nazgûl are somewhat of a Mirror Match with them each having some similar powers to his own, and he even keeps the majority of his powers after becoming one himself, even taking Isildur's Necromancer traits.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Talion faces a Balrog in Shadow of War, it's the first time in either game he's clearly panicking, and tells Celebrimbor that the creature is "beyond us."
  • One-Man Army: The series' premise is that Talion, with Celebrimbor along for the ride, is effectively waging a one-man war against Sauron and all the forces of Mordor. And while he doesn't win, he doesn't lose easily either.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: After becoming a Ringwraith, some Uruks still call him the Bright Lord, since most orcs don't know what he looks like, and he still fits the same description of a One-Man Army as before Celebrimbor abandoned him.
  • Only Sane Man: Being an Audience Surrogate many times, he doesn't have much time for lunacy. For instance, when dealing with Ratbag, he looks like he's going to roll his eyes at any moment. Instead, he grits his teeth and makes not-so-veiled threats.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: The Hand of Sauron kills him to power a ritual — the same ritual that goes slightly askew and grants Talion his Resurrective Immortality.
  • Power Echoes: During the Shadow Wars, when Talion claims a fort and is in his Wraith form, his voice is distorted and echoic.
  • Pragmatic Hero: The developers explicitly compare him to Boromir. He's reluctant to use various methods advocated by the Wraith, but does so nonetheless in order to continue on his mission.
  • The Red Baron: He's known amongst the Orcs as the "Gravewalker", especially at his most fearsome. If his legacy starts to wane, however (if he dies a lot in succession, or stops killing off captains for a time), he's more likely to be referred to as the more derisive "Tark". He's later known as the Bright Lord, which makes sense as most Orcs can't see Celebrimbor, who actually holds the title.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Thanks to his bond with the Wraith, he's "banished from death" and revives at a Forge Tower some time later when he's slain. Isildur's ring keeps him alive after he turns into a Ringwraith.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Subverted. Talion has the perfect bedrock for one of these, being magically kept alive after the murder of his wife and son, hunting the people who did that to him. However, his main motivation is to break the curse and die, not to take revenge. In fact, Celebrimbor has to keep reminding him about what he's lost and how he wants revenge in order to keep them moving.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Has this look in his Ringwraith state after taking Isildur's Ring, replacing Celebrimbor's ghostly bluish overlay.
  • Spanner in the Works: He becomes this in the second game to Celebrimbor and Sauron; by mercy-killing Isildur and refusing to follow Celebrimbor, he completely undoes one Bad Future from happening where Celebrimbor would have prevailed over the Dark Lord and proceed to enslave Middle-earth, while his continuous defiance against Sauron prevented uniting his forces much sooner and invading Middle-earth decades before the events of Fellowship of the Ring.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: During the Fall of Minas Ithil, the Witch-king of Angmar subjects Talion to a Face Palm Of Doom, causing Talion's irises to turn red-and-yellow. Much later, Talion's eyes turn yellow after he claims Isildur's ring.
  • That Man Is Dead: Talion practically quotes this trope upon succumbing to the Ring's corruption.
    Talion: This Ring is mine...and Talion is no more.
  • The Quiet One: Originally, he had no newnote  lines whatsoever during Act IV and beyond, with the exception of speeches when his army captured a fortress, and just grunted when dominating orcs. He was later given more lines with a patch.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Not that he wasn't badass at the start of the series, but the power gap from where he began increases as the series progresses: he is revived as a Empowered Badass Normal with spectral powers and the ability to return to life every time he is killed. In the second game, after forging a Ring of Power under Celebrimbor's instruction, he uses it to become Sauron's rival by building his own army of minions instead of just harassing his foes. By the end of Shadow of War, he has become so powerful as a Ringwraith that he is quite literally the only thing standing between Sauron and Middle-earth. Not to mention that he singlehandedly defeats the Witch-king and reclaims Minas Morgul, which an army of Gondorians (ironically supported by Talion himself) failed to do earlier in the game.
  • Undeathly Pallor: Averted while the Wraith is bound to Talion, as he retains his normal skin tone. After becoming a Ringwraith, his skin becomes ashen grey with visible black veins.
  • Voice of the Legion: Whenever Celebrimbor takes over him, and after he becomes a Ringwraith.
  • We Used to Be Friends: He still bears a grudge against Eltariel for betraying him alongside Celebrimbor and refuses to hand over his Ring of Power to her, prompting a boss fight between the two.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Talion calls out of Celebrimbor after defeating the Ringwraith that was once Helm Hammerhand and seeing that Celebrimbor was just as complicit in the man's corruption as Sauron himself.
    Talion: You stood beside Sauron as he gave these kings the very rings that doomed them!
    • Celebrimbor replies, not unreasonably, that he was deceived by Sauron just like everyone else, but Talion fires back a follow-up that Celebrimbor is unable to refute.
    Talion: Knowing what you know now...still you crafted a New Ring.
    • At the end of the Blade of Galadriel DLC, he snarls this at Eltariel when she urges him not to betray the good man he was by refusing to give up Isildur's Ring, pointing out that she has no right to talk to him about betrayal when it is her and Celebrimbor's fault that he was forced to take up the Ring in the first place.
    Eltariel: Talion, do not betray the Man you were.
    Talion: You speak to me of betrayal?! You abandoned me! You and Celebrimbor! You took EVERYTHING from me!
  • Wrecked Weapon: Acharn is the broken hilt of Dirhael's sword, doubling as a Tragic Keepsake. Talion uses it as a makeshift dagger, and completing specific side-missions will see the dagger grow from a shattered longsword to a reforged dagger, courtesy of the Wraith.
  • You Are in Command Now: Downplayed. Orcs can't see Celebrimbor, so Talion's followers have always assumed that he's in charge; however, in reality, he was always a joint commander alongside Celebrimbor. After Celebrimbor abandons Talion, he's left as the sole leader of his troops.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Talion can pull this on orcs he's dominated, abandoning them to die. However, this can backfire on him in Shadow of War since it undermines his authority with the rest of his army and abandoned orcs can come back looking for revenge.
    • At the end of Shadow of War, Talion refuses to let Celebrimbor dominate Isildur. In response, Celebrimbor takes the New Ring and gives it to Eltariel, dismissing Talion as nothing more than a vessel that he no longer has use for before leaving him for dead.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: After he kills Nazgûl-Isildur and he is abandoned by his allies for it, he takes Isildur's ring to oppose and slow down whichever tyrant beats the other one atop Barad-Dûr.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Realizing the futility in fighting Sauron with the Ring of Power, he takes control of Minas Morgul and does this as long as he can against the forces of Mordor until he becomes a ringwraith in the ending.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Can easily invoke this on a regional scale after claiming Isildur's ring. This makes him one of the most powerful of the Nazgûl, able to hold his ground against all of Mordor for decades.


"It is a gift. We shall use the enemy's weapons against him."
Celebrimbor before his death
Voiced by: Alastair Duncan

A powerful spirit of vengeance who was summoned on the night of Sauron's return by the Black Hand to serve the Dark Lord, but instead possessed the ranger Talion, using him as an instrument for its own revenge.

  • Adaptational Intelligence: In the books, he had no part in forging the One Ring, only the lesser ones; furthermore, he was originally "just" the greatest of the Elven ringmakers, while here he's the only one other than Sauron.
  • Adaptational Villainy: He was a fully heroic character in the books, albeit an Unwitting Pawn of Sauron. Here, thanks to heavy exposure to the One Ring before his death, he's severely more Ambiguously Evil.
  • Aesop Amnesia: As Talion brings up after learning of his part in the fall of Helm Hammerhand, he completely ignored the idea of the corruption of Rings of Power, and decided to create the New Ring anyway, believing it to be perfect and incorruptible.
    Talion: Knowing what you know now...still you crafted a New Ring.
  • Ambiguously Evil: If the Bright Lord DLC is anything to go by. After stealing the One Ring from Sauron, his motivation begins to shift from saving his family to dethroning Sauron and ruling in his place. And his reaction just before possessing Talion?
    Celebrimbor: Finally...all will fear me and rejoice!
    • Shadow of War shows that he was involved in Sauron's plot to hand out Nazgúl rings to at least one human king. Celebrimbor claims to have been deceived alongside everyone else, but given that we know he will become more covetous of power later on his motivations are unclear.
  • And I Must Scream: After being absorbed by Sauron and turned into the Flaming Eye of Barad-dûr, Celebrimbor spends several years trapped in eternal battle for dominance against his enemy. He is freed after the One Ring is destroyed and Sauron with it.
  • Archer Archetype: The Wraith's a master archer, a skill he lends to Talion as a byproduct of his possession of the ranger, and he is a very cold and pragmatic voice in most matters.
  • Badass Boast: Has plenty of these to go around, often screamed at the top of his lungs.
    • After the Witch-king possesses an Orc to inform Talion that he's coming for him, Celebrimbor has his own message for Sauron.
      Celebrimbor: I COME FOR HIM!
    • After recapturing the fortress of Núrnen from Brûz:
      Celebrimbor: Here, my enemies will find no weakness! No mercy! Only the unassailable strength of MY ARMY!!!
  • Bad Powers, Good People: The Wraith is a good guy, but he has some freaky and dangerous powers, including the ability to mind-control Uruks. Or is it?. By the end of Shadow of War, he's become an example of Bad Powers, Bad People.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: With Sauron, Zog the Eternal and Shelob for Shadow of War. After forging his own Ring of Power, Celebrimbor sets his sights on dominating Sauron and ruling Middle-earth as the Bright Lord. In Shelob's Bad Future vision, he actually succeeded.
  • Blade on a Stick: In Shadow of War, he can manifest a spectral glaive for Talion to take on groups of enemies, and is seen having wielded it himself in flashbacks (especially when mounted on caragors). Notably, the Appendices reveal that this glaive is none other than Aeglos, the spear wielded by the Noldorin High King Gil-galad during the War of the Last Alliance.
  • Body Surf: His wraith form can take over willing hosts. While Talion wasn't exactly a willing host, he was his initial host due to the Human Sacrifice aspect.
  • Byronic Hero: He's incredibly ruthless, coolly advising Talion on how to best demoralize and terrify the Orcs, and enjoying his branding and Interrogation powers a bit much. If you've read The Silmarillion and know who he's related to, this probably isn't a surprise. To be precise, he's Fëanor's grandson and his father, Curufin, was said to be the most like his father of all of his brothers, but far calmer and more calculating. note 
  • Canon Character All Along: Initially known only as the Wraith, he's eventually revealed to be Celebrimbor.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: Celebrimbor isn't shy about pointing out the many areas in which the Elves are superior to Men. However, he doesn't seem to mind when Talion pokes fun at this attitude.
    Celebrimbor: One Elven archer is worth three Gondorian archers.
    Talion: Really, only three?
  • Consummate Liar: Technically averted. Celebrimbor never really tells a lie over the course of the games, but he has a bad habit of withholding information and dealing in half-truths. Most notoriously, he claims that that the Black Hand is responsible for his bond to Talion (while the Black Hand performed the bonding ritual, it was Celebrimbor who chose to bond with Talion and performed the actual bonding) and that he must be destroyed in order to break the "curse" and allow Talion to die (this is pretty much a falsehood, since Celebrimbor is capable of severing his bond to Talion at any time; however, he is planning on holding up his end of the bargain and releasing Talion after the Black Hand's death, but Talion convinces him otherwise). However, it's telling during gameplay with developers, when Celebrimbor calls Sauron a "master of lies", one of them chuckles and says, "No, you are."
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: It's revealed in a flashback that he was beaten by Sauron with his own smithing hammer (that Sauron, under the guise of Annatar, gifted to Celebrimbor at the beginning of their partnership) until his head apparently split open, then had the spike of that hammer driven into his brain. note 
  • Cultural Posturing: Constantly. For instance, when Talion finds a Númenórean helmet, Celebrimbor says that the Númenórean craftsmen did an adequate job in making it. Talion will snark that was the closest Celebrimbor ever came to complementing a fellow craftsman.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget:
    • Due to the Ring's influence, as the Bright Lord DLC progresses, it becomes clear that he's becoming more and more disinterested in his original interests of saving his family and saving Middle-earth, which is slowly being replaced by a desire to dominate and rule Mordor as the Bright Lord.
    • In Shadow of War, Talion asks "How much of your soul was lost in that Ring?" Celebrimbor tells him that the deaths of their families no longer matter, and all he cares about is bringing order to Mordor.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In Shadow of War, he likes to make snarky comments about Orc culture, artifacts, history, and even deaths. And not just about Orcs, either:
    Talion (recently resurrected): I'll never get used to dying.
    Celebrimbor: Perhaps we should stop dying, then.
  • Deuteragonist: He's Talion's battle partner, the source of Talion's power and undeath, he's playable in his own DLC scenario, he's one of the causes of the plot, being the one who helped perfect the One Ring, and, by way of Fusion Dance, he's half of the Eye of Sauron.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: In a flashback, it's revealed that he stole the One Ring literally from right under Sauron's nose and tried to wield it against him. It didn't work out.
  • Doomed by Canon: There was no way he was going to come out on top of Sauron, since the games are set before the events of the main trilogy.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: As shown by his actions as a Wraith, he believes that the fact that he lost to Sauron and his corruption was due to the One Ring being forged with Sauron's power. He completely ignores the fact that he forged the rings of the Nazgûl, albeit at Sauron's behest, and they ended up causing corruption on their own. Predictably, when he forges one himself using Talion's body, his own corruption increases significantly, if he were not Evil All Along.
  • Drop the Hammer: Tends to use one in his off-hand in Shadow of War. You can claim it for Talion's use by completing the Shadows of the Past missions.
  • Enemy Within: Inverted. He quickly befriends Talion after they wind up in the same body, and they get along pretty well after that (although they can still bicker on occasion). Played absolutely straight after Talion frees Isildur. Celebrimbor decides he's had enough of him. However, unlike most examples of this trope, he opts to abandon Talion's body for a host willing to work with him rather than force him to obey.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Mixed with Even Evil Has Standards, but despite his propensity to brand Orcs and his plans to dominate Sauron, even he thinks that trying to control a Balrog is just plain crazy. He also agrees with Talion that something as destructive as Tar Goroth can't be allowed to run loose in Middle-earth.
  • Eye Colour Change: In a flashback, his irises turn from blue to yellow when he succumbs to the One Ring's corruption.
  • Evil All Along:
    • His distinct brutality, cruelty and general presence over Talion show through in Shadow of War almost from the beginning, raising the question as to what degree this is going on. Is Talion with the New Ring merely a vessel to reclaim his Bright Lord mantle as opposed to the stated goal of defeating Sauron for its own sake? He did lie to Talion about their condition in the first game and certainly doesn't hesitate to leave Talion for dead and possess Eltariel the moment it becomes clear Talion won't go through with certain "steps" (by mercy killing Isildur's wraith). Both Shelob and Eltariel, far more knowledgeable characters than Talion, view Celebrimbor with icy hostility.
    • A flashback shows that Celebrimbor willingly helped Sauron with dominating Men to be Ringwraiths, calling into question if he were ever good in the first place.
      Sauron: In the body of Elf or Man, you are unchanged, Celebrimbor!
      Shelob (to Talion): You saw Celebrimbor for what he really was.
  • Evil Counterpart: Ultimately, he turns out to be this when compared to Talion. While the Ranger is willing to do anything to just be Together in Death with his wife and son, and has a Heel Realization that results in him refusing to Brand Isildur (a misguided human not unlike himself, instead of an Uruk or Olog), Celebrimbor ends up Jumping Off the Slippery Slope if he were not Evil All Along, and seems to decide that vengeance and power is more important than his family. However, when Talion makes his fateful choice, Celebrimbor points out that Sauron can't actually be killed forever like Talion seems to think, since they have no idea where the original One Ring is. Nobody has a better plan than what Celebrimbor is proposing.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: He already had scars in Shadow of Mordor, but by Shadow of War his face has become nothing but scars; according to Celebrimbor, this is because he put almost all of his life force into the New Ring. Even during the Bright Lord DLC his wraith form is already scarred, although this is less because of his corruption and more because of his character model being reused, and in the Shadows of the Past missions in Shadow of War, his wraith form is practically identical to his normal appearance, with the exception of its blue glow and white eyes.
  • Face Palm Of Doom: The Wraith's branding involves placing his hand on the side of his target's face.
  • Fantastic Racism: Celebrimbor looks down on all non-Elf races. He assures Talion that it's okay to brainwash Orcs, since they are Always Chaotic Evil. When forsaking Talion, he openly appeals to Eltariel, saying an elf host would be far better than a human one.
  • Fighting Spirit: In the most literal sense given he is a living soul attached to a dead man. During certain combo strings one can see the Wraith attacking on each off-swing Talion gives, making it appear that he is mimicking his host's attacks — or has simply taken control of Talion.
  • Foil: To Galadriel. He seems to be everything she fears becoming. Also to Talion. See Evil Counterpart.
  • Forced to Watch: After defeating him, Sauron punished Celebrimbor for his audacity in stealing the One Ring by forcing him to watch the murders of his wife and daughter before his own death.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: While a High-elf blacksmith isn't exactly a nobody, he is singlehandedly opposing a Maia that took an alliance of men and elves to push back last time — and Shelob, at least, believes that he'd actually have succeeded in conquering Middle-earth had Talion remained on his side. The Blade of Galadriel DLC confirms that he is actually still alive, and now that Sauron is dead, Middle-earth is short of one Dark Lord....
  • Fusion Dance: He and Sauron are fused into one being, becoming the flaming eye at the top of Barad-dûr.
  • Generation Xerox: Like his grandfather and father before him, what starts as a justified wish for revenge against the Dark Lord spirals into committing atrocities for rather unconnected reasons. Quite tragic considering he was once the white sheep of the family.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: As it turns out, the Wraith remembered enough of his life to understand that Sauron was responsible for a lot of his misery before he died. Whoops.
  • Good Counterpart: More like less evil counterpart, as he's the Bright Lord to Sauron's Dark Lord. Shelob actually sees him as worst since he can win the war and rule over Middle-earth unlike Sauron who is still too weakened.
  • Ghost Amnesia: The Wraith can't remember his life, but certain items help to restore his memories and, consequently, increase his powers. He can't even remember his own name until Gollum leads him to the right artifact. While the ending of the Bright Lord DLC suggests that he might have been faking it, his entry in the Appendices of Shadow of War confirms that the amnesia was genuine.
  • Headbutting Heroes: With Talion in the Shadow of War, on two notable occasions.
    • During the siege of Minas Ithil, Celebrimbor's top priority is obtaining its palantír, while Talion would rather secure it by helping his fellow Men defeat the besiegers. Since their end goal is the same, Celebrimbor generally goes along with Talion's efforts, although he never misses a chance to remind Talion of the palantír. (Talion's frequent visits to Shelob, whom Celebrimbor distrusts, doesn't help matters.)
    • Upon defeating Isildur and glimpsing his past, Talion opts to Mercy Kill him, rather than dominate him as Celebrimbor intended. To make matters worse, Celebrimbor reveals that his plan is to enslave Sauron rather than destroying him, which Talion flatly rejects. This time, Celebrimbor opts to sever ties with Talion and leave him to die.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Sauron mocks Celebrimbor by telling him he will "become what he seeks to destroy." In Shadow of War, Celebrimbor's stated desire to "bring order" to Mordor is exactly what Sauron set out to do after the fall of Morgoth in The Silmarillion, indicating that this trope has come around full circle. It then becomes a Literal Metaphor when Sauron absorbs Celebrimbor at the end.
  • Hijacking Cthulhu: His endgame in Shadow of War is to turn Sauron into his thrall and conquer Middle-earth. And in the timeline Shelob saw in a vision and seeks to prevent, he would have succeeded.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: He died an Ironic Death when Sauron killed him by beating him to death with his own smithing hammer.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: All of his allies betray him, with the exception of Eltariel, who isn't too fond of him anyway. As a twist, he betrays Talion instead of the other way around. When he admires Brûz the Chopper, that should have clued player in that Brûz would try to betray him, too.
  • Hypocrite: Celebrimbor suffers from Protagonist-Centered Morality. Once, Celebrimbor will scoff at the Feral Tribe that they dominate that which they can't control, and kill those they can't dominate. Sound familiar?
  • Jumped Off The Slippery Slope: At some point, his Roaring Rampage of Revenge went from Well-Intentioned Extremist to The Dark Side Will Make You Forget.
  • Kick the Dog: Abandoning Talion for Eltariel can at least fall into the excuse that it was for his plan. Then he decides to twist the knife and dismisses Talion as nothing more than a replacable vessel.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Face it, ending up being merged with Sauron after trying to Brand him is pretty appropriate.
  • Light Is Not Good: While Celebrimbor is ultimately well-intentioned, and sincerely wants to defend Middle-earth from the shadow, he is very ruthless, downright vicious, and willing to cross any moral boundary fighting against Sauron. Unlike Talion, Celebimbor does desire power for its own sake, as well. His harsh blue light becomes more forboding when compared to Eltariel and Galadriel's soft golden light motif.
  • Limited Wardrobe: He is never seen without his blue & grey armor. He had it on when he stole the One Ring, had it on when he died, and still has it on as a wraith hundreds of years later.
  • Lucky Translation: His name in Sindarin means "Silver Hand," which in retrospect draws an easy parallel with the White Hand of Saruman, another would-be Dark Lord with a Light Is Not Good motif who brands his Uruk servants with a hand-print. The only reason it's this and not a Meaningful Name from the start is because of his expanded role compared to the books.
  • The Minionmaster: In the Bright Lord DLC, he is capable of branding Uruks en-masse, meaning that he can quickly create a small army in a short period of time.
  • Motive Decay: Late into Shadow of War, he admits it's no longer about revenge for him, but rather installing a new rule on Middle-earth.
  • Near-Villain Victory: At the end of Shadow of War, Shelob tells a dying Talion that in the future she originally saw, Celebrimbor enslaved Sauron and went on to become a tyrant who was just as ruthless but far more successful, and that Talion narrowly averted that future by refusing to let Celebrimbor dominate Isildur. Even without Talion, with Eltariel as his host Celebrimbor almost succeeds in dominating Sauron using his New Ring. However, Sauron resists long enough to cut the New Ring off Eltariel's hand — freeing himself — and then returns the favor by absorbing him.
  • Never My Fault: After seeing Helm Hammerhand's memories in Shadow of War, Talion calls out Celebrimbor for his complicity in building Sauron's rings of power, and then knowingly repeating it by building a second ring of power. Celebrimbor insists that he built the rings to bring order, and that the second ring is different because the people they enslave are "savage Orcs", and that if Talion doesn't like it, he should remember that technically, he forged the ring with a smug smile on his face. Celebrimbor's hatred for Sauron has to do with personal vengeance and grievance entirely and he doesn't seem to have any guilt or responsibility for enabling his rise to power. In fact, this is the point at which Talion seems to finally realize that Celebrimbor is not as infallible as he seems even then.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Thanks to his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, he's the reason Sauron gets his One Ring back.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Even when Talion killed Isildur, there are still 8 Ringwraiths, each one powerful on their own. Losing one isn't that terrible, but at that point he is so crazed by power that he considers the slightest misstep betrayal. Heck, nothing would have stopped him from staying silent about it and turning Talion into Isildur's replacement for disobeying him after they dominated Sauron. Once the two separate, he is doomed to fail.
  • Not So Different: It becomes clear by the end of Shadow of War that in his pursuit for vengeance against Sauron, he has become no different from Sauron. Further emphasized by the fact that he and Sauron literally become one during their final battle, and the Blade of Galadriel DLC confirms he survived because his soul is tied to the New Ring which continues to exist even after the One Ring was destroyed. At this point, their only difference seems to be that he has no lesser rings to control others with... yet.
    • Celebrimbor put all of his life force into the New Ring, much like Sauron did with the One Ring.
    • Celebrimbor's stated desire to "bring order to Mordor" should have set off alarm bells in the heads of any player familiar with the Silmarillion, since that's exactly what Sauron set out to do after Morgoth's fall.
  • Not Quite Dead: When Sauron killed him years ago. The Blade of Galadriel DLC confirms he managed to survive against Sauron until the latter perished, and is now free again since while Sauron was killed when the One Ring was destroyed, Celebrimbor's Ring still exists...
  • No, You: After Talion calls Celebrimbor out on creating a new ring despite knowing their danger, he points out that they forged the new ring, as Talion ended the first game by suggesting the idea and willfully used Celebrimbor's hammer.
  • Obviously Evil: It is vaguely plausible early in the series that Celebrimbor may really just be a Knight Templar willing to sacrifice anything or anyone to defeat Sauron. The line of missions involving Bruz clarify his moral character. Listening to Bruz after shaming is possibly the most horrifying thing in any Lord of the Rings book, movie, or game.
  • Oh, Crap!: When he faces Carnán, he knows he's dealing with an entity as powerful as Tom Bombadil.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Tolkien's Elves are already very powerful beings, superior to humans in speed, stamina and wisdom. Being a ghost has given the Wraith a great deal of mystical power on top of that. As a close relative of Feanor, he qualifies as a High Elf, said to be much wiser and more powerful than "normal" Elves.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: He wielded the One Ring against Sauron and his Uruks, turning them into his murderous army.
  • Pinned to the Wall: One of the abilities for the Wraith to unlock is the "Pin in Place" ability that will temporarily keep Uruks from running away... provided they aren't immune to ranged attacks.
  • Player Character: You control him during the Bright Lord DLC in Shadow of Mordor, the Shadows of the Past missions in Shadow of War, and the final battle against Sauron in Shadow of War.
  • Playing with Fire: The Wraith's powers tend to be linked with fire, such as causing campfires and grog to explode or shooting arrows of mystical fire. Word of God is that this is tied to his Ultimate Blacksmith nature.
  • Pride: According to Word of God, Celebrimbor thinks that since the new Ring wasn't touched by Sauron, it won't be corrupted. It doesn't quite click with him that it was not some abstract dark influence that made the One Ring evil: it was power, plain and simple, and the will to use it to dominate others, and Celebrimbor is too short-sighted to realize that he made his new Ring in exactly the same way.
  • Promoted to Playable: The Bright Lord DLC allows you to play as him when he was still alive, and is set after he stole the one Ring. He is also playable in some flashbacks in War, and is the playable character during the final fight against Sauron.
  • Pure Is Not Good: Celebrimbor certainly thinks it is, since his new ring is untouched by Sauron's influence. Eltariel is not convinced and questions just what his ring is purely made out of.
  • Sharing a Body: His soul is bound to Talion's body, and they alternate control as needed. He controls the body in the Wraith World (including the use of his bow, Azkâr), while Talion does so in the normal world.
  • Scars Are Forever: In his case, they really are. Despite being nothing but a soul, his face still has the scars he received when Sauron bashed his face in. By Shadow of War, his condition has worsened due to him putting almost all of his life force into the New Ring.
  • Shipping Torpedo: Scolds Talion for having romantic thoughts so soon after his wife and son's murders, and also because he's dead and Lithariel isn't.
  • Today, X. Tomorrow, the World!: When visiting the fort in Lithlad, Celebrimbor says that while the fort isn't strategically important, they must conquer it at some point to hold more power in Mordor — and beyond.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Played With. In the milennia he's been around after his death, he has become this, as he consider orcs completely disposable, but he wishes to destroy Sauron. However, he also actively lies to Talion about his missing memory and his true goal. Like the orcs, Talion to him is just a way to reach and defeat Sauron. Until he reveals this, he is arguably a hero. Afterwards, not so much.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: He's a lot colder and more ruthless in the sequel, to the point of even leaving Talion to die after he kills Isildur. Crafting another Ring of Power certainly had it's downsides.
  • Tragic Hero: In life, Celebrimbor was an elf prince famed for the beautiful pieces he forged. He was one day visited by a charming elf who convinced him to forge rings of power and distribute them to certain men, elves, and dwarves. Before forging the final and most powerful ring, he realized his patron was actually the Great Deceiver Sauron and sought to use the power of the One Ring to end Sauron's reign of terror and redeem himself, but Sauron had prepared for such a plot and imprisoned the elf prince. Celebrimbor was beaten to death with his own smithing hammer soon after, after watching his wife and child die before him. Celebrimbor the Wraith cannot be called a tragic hero, however. He is something far worse.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: According to Shelob, had Talion stayed with him to the bitter end, this is what would have happened; they would have had their revenge upon Sauron, but at the cost of the Bright Lord becoming a far worse threat than the Dark Lord ever was.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: In addition to his connection to the Forge Towers (activated through striking a spectral anvil with a spectral hammer), he inscribes mystical runes into Talion's weapons and can reforge them after completing enough weapon challenges (Shadow of Mordor), or forge a wide variety of weapons/armor/runes based on the enemies Talion's defeated (Shadow of War). On a story level, he forged the Rings of Power on Sauron's behalf, inscribed the heat-activated text on the One Ring, and created a New Ring to rival the One Ring (in more ways than one).
  • The Unfettered: In contrast to Talion, he is willing to cross any line to stop Sauron. This is not remotely a good thing.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Due to his Fantastic Racism, he despises the very Orcs who gave him enough power to face Sauron. When he goes mad with the New Ring's power, he abandons Talion without a second thought once he disobeys him, despite the fact that without Talion's suffering, death and help, the Elf would never have gotten anywhere near Sauron.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Whenever he recaps his history, his fight with Sauron takes place on a huge battlefield, with massive armies on both sides. In the Bright Lord DLC, their battle takes place in a relatively small area inside an uruk camp, with only a few captains at his side. Since the playable region has several locations that look more like the area seen in flashbacks, it's likely that Celebrimbor is exaggerating the scale of the fight.
    • This is likely more due to limitations with the game engine. The Shadows of the Past sidequests in Shadow of War reveal that Celebrimbor's operations stretched across all six of the game's playable regions (not counting Mordor's Bright Lord DLC story, which takes place in Udûn), and they were extensive enough to have necessitated the creation of barrows in five of those regions.
  • Victory by Endurance: The Blade of Galadriel DLC implies that he managed to outlive Sauron. Pretty impressive, when you think about the fact that their wills dueled for decades.
  • Villain Protagonist: During the Final Battle with Sauron, he serves as the Player Character in an inverted Dual Boss alongside Eltariel. However, Shelob had, not long before, revealed to Talion that if Celebrimbor managed to defeat Sauron, the result would be even worse than if he loses, making him serve as this instead.
  • Walking Spoiler: All that's initially known about the Wraith is that he's a dead elf. Everything else gets revealed later on.
  • Warp Whistle: The spectral Forge Towers serve as this for the Wraith, serving as points for respawn, fast-travel, and manually progressing time.
  • Weaponized Teleportation: When the Shadow Strike is unlocked, the Wraith can teleport to a shot arrow and immediately attack the target.
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: In the Distant Finale, when Sauron explodes, one of his sparks that fades away is blue; the last remnants of the Wraith.
  • You Have Failed Me: The reason for his below mentioned You Have Outlived Your Usefulness. Aside from his dismissal, he also seems to view Talion as having failed due to refusing to dominate Isildur, and giving him a Mercy Kill instead.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: At the end of Shadow of War, Celebrimbor dismisses Talion as nothing but a vessel he no longer has use for after their falling out and gives the New Ring to Eltariel, possessing her and leaving Talion to die.


Eltariel, the Blade of Galadriel
"Great threats make for unlikely alliances."
Voiced by: Laura Bailey

An elven warrior and assassin in service to Lady Galadriel, sent to fight those corrupted by the power of the rings. The main character of "The Blade of Galadriel" DLC in Shadow of War.

  • Action Girl: She has centuries of experience hunting the Nazgul, and has become very adept at killing them. Her Establishing Character Moment shows her fending off several of the Ringwraiths including the Witch-king singlehandedly to save Talion's life. And during the final battle, she takes on Sauron herself alongside Celebrimbor.
  • Anti-Villain: She took Celebrimbor's offer because she had became tired of hunting the Nazgúl due to their immortality. Galadriel doesn't allow her to return home before they are dead, and so she felt that dominating Sauron would make her job much easier.
  • The Beastmaster: While unable to brand orcs to serve her, she is capable of taming animals like caragors, graugs and drakes though presumably using Galadriel's light to soothe them rather than enslaving them.
  • Big Damn Hero: Appears out of nowhere to save Talion from being turned into a Ringwraith by the Witch-king.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: One of the reasons she ignores Galadriel's invitation to return home is that Talion is a Ringwraith because of her.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: While Talion shared his body with someone else's wraith and is completely willing to use slavery to reach his goals, Eltariel's wraith form doesn't say a word, she doesn't like the idea of domination, and she uses her limited arrows when quick-firing instead of unlimited daggers.
  • Determined Defeatist: By the time she meets Talion, she seems to be resigned to her fate to hunt and kill unkillable enemies in a hostile land indefinitely. It doesn't make her any less lethal in combat.
    • Deconstructed in the Blade of Galadriel DLC, which reveals that Eltariel fully expects to die in Mordor and is not at all happy with Galadriel for condemning her to this fate...and then sort-of Reconstruction at the end, when learning of Nazgûl!Talion's Back Story while banishing him motivates Eltariel to postpone Galadriel's invitation to return home in favor of remaining in Mordor to continue the fight against Sauron's forces — presumably including the Nazgûl, including Talion himself.
  • Disintegrator Ray: Besides her more mundane weaponry, she can use the light of Galadriel to "infuse" enemies with light until they are blinded and stunned (and glowing), and such enemies can then be instantly and painlessly disintegrated with one more shard of light.
  • Dramatic Irony: She saves Talion before he is forcibly turned into a Ringwraith. Later, she sides with Celebrimbor, causing Talion to willingly become one.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: When she becomes Celebrimbor's vessel she comments on the power it gives her in an enthusiastic tone and during the fight with Sauron he shouts about her and Galadriel's power.
  • Enemy Mine: Her task is to kill Talion, but the situation forces them to work together. Similarly, her refusal to brand Orcs means that she has to make them cooperate with her out of their own free will.
  • Everyone Has Standards: She is completely willing to kill, even for revenge, but she hates the idea of domination since it's basically slavery.
  • Fingore: Sauron slices Celebrimbor's ring off her hand, taking off her pinky and ring finger. In the Blade of Galadriel DLC, she gains fingers made of light after putting Celebrimbor's ring back on.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • Celebrimbor is shocked that Galadriel would be employing assassins. Eltariel invokes the trope by retorting that things have gotten that bad. Galadriel's tone in the DLC's opening cutscene implies that she is pretty desperate, as she doesn't allow Eltariel to return home to Lothlórien until the Nazgûl are dead.
    • She hits this herself near the end of the base game when it's shown that Celebrimbor can actually defeat the Nazgûl but is also on the path to being just as bad as Sauron. Eltariel sides with him over Talion anyway, because she's been trapped in a Forever War with the Nazgûl so long that any way out looks good to her.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Played with. While obscured by her hood, she has blonde hair and is one of the good guys devoted to stop Sauron at all costs. With that said, she throws her lot with an aspirant Evil Overlord such as Celebrimbor in hopes to defeat Sauron and becomes a Well-Intentioned Extremist. She deeply regrets this move and works for many years to atone for it. Her powers in combat are also more benevolent in nature (no surprise, given that Lady Galadriel serves as her source) than Talion's despite wielding Celebrimbor's ring, she is unwilling to dominate her enemies like him.
  • Heal Thyself: Eltariel has the power to heal her injuries using Galadriel's Radiance, instead of draining her enemies' life force like Talion did.
  • He Who Fights Monsters:
    • Invokes this regarding Talion, fearing what effect the influence of the Ring is having on him and Celebrimbor.
      Eltariel: I struck down men corrupted by those not become one of them.
    • Ironically, this happens to her to a degree, as she helps Celebrimbor discard Talion and willingly becomes the Bright Lord's new host for the sake of striking directly at Sauron.
  • Hold the Line: Her official purpose.
    Eltariel: In the war against darkness, sometimes stalemate is victory.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Given she spends most of the game wary of Talion and Celebrimbor because of how similar they are to Sauron, it can be pretty jarring that when Talion ultimately turns on Celebrimbor for effectively wanting to become the next Sauron, Eltariel sides with Celebrimbor. How much this was her choice, and how much of this was Celebrimbor corrupting/tempting her with power — of which the New Ring had plenty of too — is unclear.
    • In her DLC, she urges Talion not to betray who he was and become a Nazgûl. He angrily retorts that she's the one who betrayed him in the first place, which is why he took up Isildur's ring. She acknowledges the truth of this and after defeating him stays in Mordor to do right by him by continuing his fight.
  • I Choose to Stay: After dispatching Talion in her DLC, she ignores Galadriel's invitation to go West, and remains in Mordor to continue fighting, avenging Talion.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: She bears more than a passing resemblance to Laura Bailey, her voice actress.
  • In the Hood: The only time she doesn't wear one is in the mobile version of Shadow of War, where she has a long blond ponytail instead.
  • It's All My Fault: Throughout her story DLC, she is clearly horrified of what Talion became because of her actions.
  • It's Personal: After seeing Talion's Back Story when dispatching him, she realizes just how much Talion sacrificed, and remains in Mordor to continue fighting the Nazgul.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Eltariel tends to be dismissive (at best) of her orc allies and can even betray some of them should the player choose to. She also tends to be a Deadpan Snarker. However, when interacting with Talion, she does exhibit signs of regret for how her actions affected him, and she does try to treat him civilly.
    • It's telling that Eltariel is sharpening Urfael when Talion wakes up in Cirith Ungol's barrows (after Eltariel mercy-killed him), and she hands it back to him before they leave to confront the Nazgûl at Shelob's lair.
  • Legacy Character:
    • Invoked by Celebrimbor while privately discussing Eltariel with Talion.
      Celebrimbor: Have you thought about why Eltariel was selected to be Galadriel's Blade?
      Talion: I can't presume to know what is in an Elf's mind. Surely this Galadriel would send the best.
      Celebrimbor: I don't question whether she is the best...only whether she is the first.
    • Confirmed in the Appendices, which reveal that Eltariel is the latest in a long line of Blades of Galadriel, and that only one Blade is active at a time.
  • Light 'em Up: Her gameplay is all about using light for both offensive and defensive purposes, ranging from blinding and killing enemies to healing herself in battle.
  • Long-Range Fighter: While she's no less capable in close range, her ranged attacks are far more potent than Talion's, allowing her to blind groups of enemies with a cone of light and quickly executing them with bolts of light that can be upgraded to chain to multiple targets.
  • Mercy Kill: She "kills" Talion as one, though he eventually returns as a full-fledged Nazgul later.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • When she realizes that Talion became one of the nine Nazgûl because of her actions.
    • Seeing Talion's memories and realizing how her actions not only led to the above, they turned a man who was trying to exact revenge on Sauron for killing his family into one of his servants.
  • My Greatest Failure: Her decision to take the New Ring from Celebrimbor and to leave Talion to die after the latter refuses to continue the assault. She ends up regretting this moment for a long time, especially after she finds out what happened to Talion.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • In Act 3, it is implied that part of the reason Eltariel never turned to dark magic to combat Sauron was not only because she knew it would corrupt her, but because she did not honestly believe it would work anyway. Talion and Celebrimbor defeating Isildur once and for all ironically seems to convince her that making a Deal with the Devil might be worth it after all.
    • Averted through sheer dumb luck more than anything else. Shelob states that if Celebrimbor were to be victorious he would become worse than Sauron. Eltariel tries to help Celebrimbor triumph over Sauron but ultimately fails without Talion's help.
    • Accepting Celebrimbor's offer and abandoning Talion had the side-effect of Talion picking up Isildur's ring and becoming a ringwraith; and thus is now one of her targets. As she seems to consider him a friend, her mission is now even harder than before.
  • No Body Left Behind: The light of Galadriel can vaporize orcs if they are affected by it for too long. Yes, even captains.
  • Power Palms: The "Light of Galadriel" that she wields, which has the same source as the Phial of Galadriel given to Frodo, is contained in a device attached to her left hand. She can use it to create a barrier of holy light, or fire beams capable of blinding and disintegrating enemies.
  • Pragmatic Hero: She's clearly not happy about working with Talion and Celebrimbor, but acknowledges Sauron is a far greater threat.
    Celebrimbor: Since when does Galadriel work with assassins?
    • Deconstructed harshly when she makes the pragmatic choice to accept the New Ring and allow Celebrimbor to possess her to take the fight to Sauron, while leaving Talion to die.
  • Promoted to Playable: She's the Player Character in the Blade of Galadriel story DLC.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Implied. Eltariel has been effectively banished until she can kill the Nazgúl, who cannot actually die. Unlike most examples of this trope, it's stated in the Appendices that she accepted the assignment with relish, but by the time she meets Talion, the strain of fighting a one-Elf Forever War is clearly taking its toll on her. Eventually Galadriel takes pity on her and lets her come home without completing her mission.
  • Red Baron: Her enemies refer to her as the Blade of Galadriel.
  • Sadistic Choice: Either accept Celebrimbor's offer to act as his host to fight Sauron or stay trapped in a bleak Forever War with the Nazgûl. It's no wonder she went with the former.
  • Sequel Hook: Eltariel lives to see the destruction of Sauron, but senses that Celebrimbor's spirit is now freed and he is calling to her.
  • She-Elf of Kryptonite: Creatures of darkness, like orcs and Nazgûl (and Shelob), are Weakened by the Light, which Eltariel weaponizes to great effect via the Light of Galadriel attached to her left palm. Averted and inverted with the handful of orcs in the Blade of Galadriel DLC who are Immune to Light and Enraged by Light, respectively.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Unlike Talion, Eltariel refuses to recruit orcs through Heel–Face Brainwashing, equating this to slavery. Therefore, she is unable to do so in gameplay and has to bolster her forces using other methods.
  • Sour Supporter: Judging from her comments after killing Ratak the Lawless and recovering the final piece of Fallen Blades gear, she eventually becomes this towards Galadriel. Broken Pedestal may also be in effect here.
    Galadriel: You have done a fine thing. You've avenged your forebears.
    Eltariel: You can save your praise for whoever avenges me...and finds my gear strewn about this cursed land.
  • This Cannot Be!: In the Blade of Galadriel DLC, this is essentially Eltariel's reaction to Galadriel telling her that Talion is still alive, albeit now as one of the Ringwraiths.
    Galadriel: Look to Minas Morgul, and the Nazgûl who dwells within it. You know the one of whom I speak.
    Eltariel: He died. I took the New Ring and left him to die!
    Galadriel: He now wears the ring of Isildur. He belongs to the Dark Lord.
  • True Sight: Thanks to The Light of Galadriel, or simply due to being a powerful enough Elflore , she can see Celebrimbor.
  • Uncertain Doom: Her ultimate fate is unknown as she is last seen with her hand mutilated by Sauron watching as he absorbs Celebrimbor and the two become the flaming eye on Barad-dûr. The story DLC adds to her story, according to which she outlived Sauron, but it's implied that the New Ring has had an effect on her, before the DLC ends with a Sequel Hook.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Eltariel ends up becoming Celebrimbor's vessel after she finds out he could put Sauron's reign to a permanent end by dominating him, despite the possibility of him also becoming a dangerous tyrant. She deeply regrets this.
  • Who Are You?: After she kills Talion — and he returns — she's very curious about what kind of person he is, and what it's like to be unable to die.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Galadriel doesn't allow her to return to her home until the Nazgûl are dead — and, as Eltariel is all too aware by the time of Shadow of War, the Nazgûl possess a form of Resurrective Immortality that prevents them from dying permanently, meaning that she's effectively stuck in Mordor for good. Ultimately, she can return home after she defeats Talion in combat, but decides not to and instead continues to face the forces of the Dark Lord.


"Set them ablaze! For Gondor!"
Voiced by: Ike Amadi

A Gondorian captain of Haradian origin, Baranor is second-in-command of the defence of the besieged city of Minas Ithil. Recognizing Talion's superior combat prowess and experience with fighting the armies of Mordor, Baranor tends to place himself at the Ranger's disposal whenever their paths happen to cross. Some time after the fall of Minas Ithil, Baranor makes his way to the eastern desert of Lithlad, where he's playable in Shadow of War's "The Desolation of Mordor" DLC.

  • A Day in the Limelight: Baranor was something of a sidekick in the base game campaign, but the Desolation of Mordor DLC gives him a chance to shine.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: He is playable in his own DLC, and since he has no wraith abilities or magical rings, he relies on gadgetry and hired mercenaries.
  • Badass Baritone: Comes with being voiced by Ike Amadi.
  • Badass Beard: Quite a small one, but it's there.
  • Badass in Distress: Is captured by a duo of Warchiefs after the fall of Minas Ithil.
  • Badass Normal: Unlike the other playable characters, Baranor has no magical powers of any sort. Nonetheless, he has his own ways of compensating.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Is seen skillfully wielding a sword as well as a bow. During his own DLC this is seen to its fullest extent, as with the gauntlet Baranor can accurately target and take out Uruk targets at lightning quick speeds.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Baranor is pretty laid back most of the time. When Talion grabs him, throws him to the ground and puts a blade to his sternum, he simply gives a mild, "Ho, Ranger."
  • Chain Pain: The thing can cut full grown Uruk clean in half!
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: He's a playable Muggle in a series where you mass-slaughter orcs with superpowers.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: The Desolation of Mordor DLC can see Baranor becoming a one man death machine even more efficient than Talion, getting to the point he's wiping out Captains as easily as Worms. Justified in that the mode is basically a speed-and-score challenge.
  • Expy: Of Batman. Specifically, gameplay-wise, of Batman: Arkham Series, with the same grapple, gliding, and so on. While Talion heavily borrowed Arkham's combat, the Desolation of Mordor DLC removes the fantastic elements and uses the same gadget-based gameplay to make it resemble an Arkham game even more.
  • Final Death: A variation; due to his lack of Resurrective Immortality, if he dies in his DLC then everything save for story progress and skill upgrades are reset.
  • Fire-Forged Friends:
    • Downplayed with Talion. The two are definitely Bash Brothers, but from Baranor’s perspective, he and the garrison at Minas Ithil were on their last legs when a strange Ranger with bizarre supernatural powers suddenly showed up and offered his support to the defenders, and Baranor didn't ask questions.
    • Played straight with Serka, who also happens to be his long-lost older brother. The two get off on the wrong foot almost immediately: Baranor is disgusted that Serka is willing to (pretend to) work for the Orcs who are pillaging Baranor’s adoptive home, and Baranor’s sabotage of the loot trail gets him chewed out by Serka. A subsequent infiltration/fact-finding mission in Shindram ends with Baranor blowing up the overlord’s grog barrel while he’s standing next to it, causing Serka to accuse Baranor of being a Death Seeker. Things start turning around after Baranor saves Serka from the Circus, and by the end, Serka proudly stands alongside Baranor as the Vanishing Sons besiege Shindram.
  • Given Name Reveal: Early on in The Desolation of Mordor it is revealed his true Haradrim name was Warad.
  • Happily Adopted: According to his background, Baranor was born in Harad, but adopted by a wealthy family in Minas Ithil and that in time, he came to think of the city as his home.
  • Head Swap: Unlike Eltariel, Baranor's playable skin just replaces Talion's head and arms in the main game.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: To General Castamir. Since Castamir leads from the rear and is secretly plotting with the Witch-king, it falls to Baranor to co-ordinate the defences.
  • Implied Love Interest: He is very close to Idril. Due to his reaction when he finds out she is still alive, it's implied that he has some sort of crush on her. Their romance is confirmed in her bio in the Desolation of Mordor DLC.
  • Instant Expert: He doesn't seem to need any training to utilize his Super Wrist-Gadget or any of its various upgrades. Perhaps Númenórean technology is just that intuitive.
  • Kill It with Fire: Quite a lot of his arsenal revolves around this, such as flame arrows, bombs and a flaming shield.
  • Know When to Fold Them: When the Witch-king's army storms the city, Talion orders Baranor to retreat and save his men. Baranor doesn't argue.
  • Long-Lost Relative: It is quickly revealed in the Desolation of Mordor DLC that the leader of the Vanishing Sons Mercenaries is his long lost brother Jagai who has changed his name to Serka.
  • Official Couple: With Idril, as confirmed on her bio in Desolation of Mordor DLC.
  • Promoted to Playable: He is set to be a playable character in the Desolation of Mordor DLC.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Downplayed. After the fall of Minas Ithil, Baranor leads a band of surviving Gondorian soldiers to harass the enemy and rescue any captives they can find. He then ends up alone and joins up with Serka and his mercenary band of misfits.
  • Straight Man: Plays something of this role for his Large Ham older brother Serka.
  • Super Wrist-Gadget: In the Desolation of Mordor DLC, he carries a multi-purpose gadget that functions as a shield, a grappling hook and an arm-mounted crossbow to compensate for his lack of magical abilities.
  • Shield Bash: One of Baranor's most powerful abilities with his Númenórean gear allowing him to steamroll everything in his path. Some augments allow Baranor to also set people on fire as he bashes.
  • Token Minority: Seems to be the only Man of Minas Ithil of non-Westernesse stock, though this is explained by his adoption at a young age. Averted when he meets up with his brother Serka, and introduces the Easterlings, who are a swarthy race of Men whose society recall the nomadic Steppe people of Russia and Central Asia. Could also qualify as Token Enemy Minority when you remember that Gondor and Harad were at war at the time this game is set.
  • Uncertain Doom: He stays by Idril's side even when they know that standing their ground in Mordor will lead to certain death and is last seen marching towards it with her.
    • This is technically his fate at the end of the Desolation of Mordor DLC as well, but it ends on a much more upbeat note.
  • You Talk Too Much: Mutters this trope verbatim to himself, referring to Lithlad's overlord, right before he blows up the grog barrel that's sitting beside him.


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