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Nightmare Fuel / Middle-earth: Shadow of War

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     Talion & Celebrimbor 
  • Talion being more and more in the thrall of Celebrimbor, as in one scene when addressing Uruk troops, more than half of Talion is replaced by the withered ghostly visage, complete with the dark commanding voice. What's more, his speech about serving the Bright Lord sounds an awful lot like Galadriel's "all shall love me and despair" speech...
  • Some of Talion's executions show how brutal, or even outright cruel our heroes can be.
    • Some of the combat finishers by Celebrimbor are even more brutal, such as exploding his enemies' heads with his hammer blows. And to make matters worse, upon closer inspection, his hammer blows are eerily similar to the ones Sauron killed Celebrimbor with. Anyone who tries to use the One Ring for good, would only turn into another Sauron indeed... Sadly, this animation doesn't seem to be on the final version of the game.
    • With two full might bars, performing an execution from behind may result in Talion slicing his opponent's legs off with one swing, and as the poor Uruk tries to crawl away, Talion just walks up to them and shoves his sword in their throat.
    • Another brutal execution with two full might bars involves Talion driving his sword through the side of an orc's skull from behind, then pulling and twisting the blade until the orc's head comes clean off in his hands!
  • In one of the preview videos, the narrator casually makes reference to one Orc chieftain under Talion's command having more slaves than another. Though Branded Orcs in the previous game also kept slaves, it's safe to say Talion and Celebrimbor have no more qualms about doing evil for (what appears to be) a good cause.
  • Shaming Uruks. As a bid to make too-strong Nemeses more suceptible to Domination or sheer spite and sadism Celebrimbor can Mind Rape an Uruk to reduce his level and willpower with a chance to make them utterly Deranged in the process. Brûz is the first to suffer this power, and the relish in Celebrimbor's voice when he does it is horrifying. Not to mention the pitiful, terrified, sobbing screams of Bruz after the act, which are absolutely horrifying.
    Brûz: Enough, kill me! Just end it.
    Celebrimbor: (slams his other hand down on Brûz's face) No.
    • With Brûz, this literally breaks his mind, causing him to wander around muttering "It's your fort. I never wanted the fort!" or variations thereof.
    • Even if they maintain their sanity, the Uruks still have a brownish mark of shame as if Celebrimbor burned their faces with his hand.
      Celebrimbor: You disgust me!
    • The deranged Uruks who cackle and scream are the least disturbing ones.
      Baz: Brûz is fine, I just talked to him, Brûz is fine!
      Orc: Let me rest!
    • One of Celebrimbor's shaming lines shows exactly how much he loathes orcs; He yells "Pathetic creature!" "It" Is Dehumanizing, Indeed. By contrast, Talion's shaming lines never do the same, showing how Talion still at least aknowledges that Orcs, as bad as they are, are sapient beings not too different from him.
  • At the end of the first stage in Act 3, Celebrimbor and Talion have their last argument, prompting Celebrimbor to leave Talion, possess Eltariel, and take the ring along with him. However, he and the ring were the only things keeping Talion in the land of the living...which means Talion is once again down on the ground, choking on his own blood while it seeps from his cut throat. Eltariel at least tries to assure Talion that all he fought for wouldn't be in vain, but Celebrimbor offers no such comfort, in spite of all the time he and Talion spent together. Talion manages to survive by taking Isildur's ring and becoming a Ringwraith, but the events beforehand are still tough to watch.
    • The moment when Celebrimbor decides Talion is of no more use to him as a host body is quite scary as Celebrimbor derides Talion in a cold voice dripping with contempt as nothing more than a vessel, and that if Talion won't aid his ambitions, there are others who will.
      Celebrimbor: [mocking Talion] This isn't about your petty vengeance or mine...this is about restoring order to Mordor. To all of Middle-earth. "The end you fought for"? You are but a vessel...and there are others.
    • Ringwraith Talion from this point on is his own brand of Nightmare Fuel. His eyes turn bright yellow, his skin turns deathly pale, and deep dark veins seep from his eyes. All this combined makes him look like a walking corpse. Not to mention him suddenly gaining a deep, resounding voice like the other Ringwraiths.
      Talion: I am one... but we are many.
    • While he has always been Nightmare Fuel for the uruks, the above change in appearance and certain powers cause Talion to become absolutely horrifying from an uruk's viewpoint. This Obviously Evil, seemingly unstoppable tark keeps teleporting around the battlefield and through uruks, can rise the dead, summon spiders, caragors, graugs or a fucking drake, and might be guarded by an undead, olog bodyguard. Someone actually manages to bring him down? It won't stick for long... And the most horrific part of it all? This tark is so utterly unstoppable that even a ring filled with the power of the great Sauron himself (who uruks have been taught is their all-powerful overlord) couldn't bend him to its will for two decades. While idle chatter has them blowing it all off as a test, they were effectively fighting a rebel Nazgul for twenty years.
      Random orc during a fight: He moves like the Nazgûl!
    • Special note for how utterly terrifying it must've been for the uruks who served under him when he did eventually succumb, knowing that the ghostly being that now commands you and could cut you down for the slightest insolence was once known as the gravewalking scourge of Mordor.
    • In February 2018, Talion's wraith form was changed in an update; his hood is now part of it, and it's connected to a large capenote  that would make Batman jealous. When seen from behind, his resemblance to the Nazgul is so uncanny, not seeing a metal mask covering his face feels off.
    • Before it was changed in an update, Talion had no lines for dominating orcs, and just stared them into doing his bidding (Although he did grunt/growl at them). While this was divisive in the fanbase, when he eventually got his own lines the silence/grunting wasn't removed and can still sometimes play, since some people (Including the devs) found it to be creepy as hell.

     The orcs 
  • Orc Captains can betray you now and rejoin Sauron, who will reward them with superior power and make it impossible for them to be branded again. The gameplay trailer made Talion's confrontation with one such orc particularly unsettling: the background noise gets distorted, Talion's skin begins to distort to a more orc-ish color palette, and you can hear Sauron's voice.
  • Remember in the previous game when defeated Orc enemies could inexplicably return to life after a long time period has passed, unless if they were decapitated? They can now do this even during battle when you least expect them. At least in the first game, their faces were bandaged or covered in plates; here you can see the full extent of the damage you inflicted on them like in the image picture.
    Thrak Storm-Bringer: Did you really think you could kill me that easily?!
    • It was bad enough when orcs could return to life even after you killed them. But at least you could rest easy once you chopped their heads off, right? Not anymore. It's entirely possible for an orc — or, for that matter, a troll — to come Back from the Dead, even after his head has been chopped off. The head will have been resewn onto the body, with visible stitching at the base of the neck.
  • Think the Uruks with growths covering half their bodies in the last game were bad? This game has some Uruks whose Body Horror take that Up to Eleven.
    • One Uruk, usually with a title like "Of the Flies", was shown in the gameplay previews to have the nests of Morgai Flies from the last game growing and taking up his shoulder and half of his face. And he brags about this!
    • Members of the Terror Tribe can have the same armor as The Tower from the last game.
    • One particular Uruk can have a second head growing out of the side of his face. Although it's soon subverted as he introduces him and his "Twin" to you in a calm and eloquent voice.
    • Not a Body Horror case, but skinners might wear clothing they've made from their enemies... and you can actually see their victims faces in said clothing.
    • There is some Uruk who host maggots in them and keeps raving on how they feel them wiggling inside.
    • On occasion, an Uruk who you killed may return with the "Poisoned" title. They reintroduce themselves acting completely deranged, ranting about how they swallowed poison to cheat death, with their faces half-melted off and hanging off their skulls in strips.
    • If you used fire to beat them the first time, especially if they were afraid of burning, sometimes an Uruk will return as "Flame of War", covered in burn marks and ranting insanely.
    ''OH, LITTLE MOOOOOOOTH!"
    • The "Stitched" ologs. Even after you cut their head off, it gets sewn back together. The worst part is when they say that their ally didn't resurrected him, but you made them immortal with your actions.
    • Orcs with the title "The Machine" are horrific, a fusion of flesh and metal plates and prosthesises to compensate for where Talion has cut off limbs, or (in at least one case) even cut them in half!
    • Especially if any of the above are in effect, uruks can become absolutely horrifying. How about an uruk who is taller than Talion, has half of his face melting off, is clad in black, carries two poisoned axes and whose "dialogue" consists only of screaming like a pig being tortured? Add in a few immunities, rage triggers, and no real weaknesses to speak of, and you're going against a freak of nature who hands Talion his ass every time you meet.
  • Uruk Necromancers are able to Resurrect fallen soldiers. These soldiers are not mindless zombies, they are truly brought back to life. Getting killed by one will even result in him becoming a captain, with unique quips referencing his reanimation. One such voice line has the Uruk state he has been brought back to life again and again to fight for over a millennium.
  • Mostly Fridge Horror, this one, but some of the orcs you encounter carry the moniker “Of the White Hand.” They will talk in detail about how through them, their master will learn all of Talion and Celebrimbor’s secrets. The encounter also unlocks a new bio: Saruman. Considering the trouble he caused with Queen Marwen the last time you encountered him, one can only imagine what else he has planned. Just be thankful he hasn't started breeding Uruk-hai... yet.
  • The Slaughter Tribe. Dear God, the Slaughter Tribe. These nutcases make the Terror Tribe look like Hobbits.
    • To elaborate, the Slaughter Tribe is obsessed with meat. Cooking meat, eating meat, wearing meat, you name it. Even their fortress is covered in huge chunks of flesh made to look like faces, as well as dotted with huge meat-grinding contraptions that they’ll dump entire bodies into. And their Tribal Bonus? Rapidly flinging meat cleavers at you.
    • Also, they eat their enemies, regardless of race — including other Orcs and Ologs.
  • Orcs now have more animations when they kill Talion, such as slowly strangling him with a chain and a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from an Olog.
  • Shame an Orc/Uruk enough and you risk turning them into the strongest enemy NPCs in the game, which can be a frightening thought in and of itself, even without their strengths and weaknesses applied. But the worst part about these “Deranged” Orcs is that, in every introductory scene they’re in after becoming “Deranged”, some of them will do nothing but smile and laugh, maniacally.
  • Sometimes, you'll be betrayed by an Uruk in such a way that they arrive holding one of your bodyguards hostage, after which they will leave that bodyguard bleeding out. Most of the time, there's a reason—valid or otherwise—for the betrayal. But sometimes, an Uruk will betray you out of pure psychopathic compulsion.

    Sauron and the Nazgul 
  • The Haedir towers give quite the Paranoia Fuel: whenever you enter into the Wraith World, you can see an image of the Eye of Sauron. It allows him to see everything around for potentially miles, managing his forces and otherwise keeping watch of you when you're nearby, literally even - the flaming eye will always shift to face your direction, with whispering Black Speech audible when beneath it. Even when the Haedir towers are purified to work for Talion and Celebrimbor, all that changes is that the Eye turns from red-orange to blue-white... yet it still watches you and everything around for miles.
  • This one line from the trailer, which indicates Sauron is done playing around and is willing to unleash all of his most powerful and dangerous lieutenants to retrieve the ring from Shelob.
    Witch King: My lord, we have located the new Ring.
    Sauron: Send the Nazgûl...all of them!
    • Relating to this is the fact that Celebrimbor acknowledges even as powerful as the new Ring is, the Ringwraiths together can match it with the combined strength of their own Rings of Power, even to match the power of one like Shelob.
      Talion: Can the Nazgûl defeat one so great as Shelob?!
      Celebrimbor: Together they wield a terrible power!
      Talion: Shelob has the New Ring!
      Celebrimbor: You need not remind me. But powerful though my Ring is, the Nazgûl wield rings of their own.
  • The fact that the trailer seems to show Sauron and his minions can use the bodies of slain Orcs to communicate, predominantly to issue demands or make threats.
    Witch King: [speaking through a dead Orc] I come for you, Talion of Gondor!
  • In the music video, we get a glimpse of one of the Nazgûl's creation: the corpse of a human general being carted away to a spectral entity which puts a ring at his finger ... and then the man rises up, his eyes turning orange. While in the actual game shows that certain Nazgûl were tricked by Sauron, some of the Nine didn't choose their fate, or weren't even deceived into taking the rings - their nightmarish statute was forced upon them.
    • Even worse, the game confirms who the poor man was: Isildur.
  • Mixed with a healthy dose of Tear Jerker is the identity and revealed fate of one of the Kings of Men who became one of the Ringwraiths. The cutscene at the end of a mission to hunt one of the Nazgûl reveals the creature Talion has been hunting was once Helm Hammerhand, a legendary king of Rohan (namesake of the fortress Helm's Deep). Fatally injured in an ambush orchestrated by the prince of the neighbouring kingdom of Dunland, angered by Helm's refusal to wed his daughter to the prince to form an alliance, Sauron (in the form of Annatar) and Celebrimbor came to Helm on his deathbed and gave him one of the Nine Rings of Men, Sauron promising Helm it would grant him the power to ensure his daughter's safe return. Healed by the Ring, Helm and his army stormed Dunland; his daughter and her new husband tried to reason with Helm to prevent him from starting war between Rohan and Dunland, but Helm, his rage, bloodlust and desire for revenge presumably exacerbated by the ring's corruption, refused to listen, and when his daughter tried to put herself between her father and her husband, Helm killed her without a second thought, only realising what had happened afterwards. He is briefly seen staring in horror at the reflection of himself in the spreading pool of his daughter's blood... before the ring washes away his guilt and replaces it with bloodlust, prompting Helm to slaughter his daughter's Dunlending husband, his men, and even Rohirrim captains who tried to stop him. The last image is of him surrounded by the bodies of the dead, covered in blood, staring at the ring with a murderous gleam in his eyes.
    Celebrimbor: Of all the Nazgûl, his fall was most tragic.
  • Another Nazgul fought by Talion and Eltariel turns out to be none other than Isildur himself and his boss fight involves summoning undead ghosts to assist him. What makes this truly horrible? These ghosts were Gondorian men raised from the dead to serve him and they are completely broken shells of their former selves still remembering their former lives. Among them is General Castamir, who even in his ghostly form, still calls out for his daughter Idril.
    • Even more nightmarish is the manner in which Isildur became one of the Nazgûl: after he was killed in an Orc ambush, having been betrayed to his death by the One Ring, his Orc murderers took Isildur's corpse to Barad-dûr, where Sauron, presumably as punishment for daring to take the One Ring from him placed the ring of power that would complete Isildur's corruption onto his finger.
      Sauron: Now you will serve me for all eternity.
  • The next time you play the game after Act 3, The Lord of the Rings himself will appear as you load the game, Glaring directly at the player while mocking the futility of your actions.
    Sauron: Your armies will return to me. This land will return to me. And yes, even you will return to me. We are coming. We are coming for you.
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    Other Creatures and beings 

    Story DLC 

The Blade of Galadriel

  • Eltariel is not allowed to return home until the Nazgúl are dead... and she then immediately finds out that Talion is now one of them. The man who built an army to challenge Sauron himself, and who she left to die. We know that Talion doesn't die until the One Ring is destroyed, and so Eltariel's fate doesn't look like it will be a happy one. Fortunately, the DLC ending reveals that Eltariel did survive at the end and Galadriel did allow her to return home after she defeated Talion, but she chose to remain in Mordor for many years, knowing that he would return.
  • The DLC's main antagonist are two female Nazgûl who when dominated are revealed to have been twin sisters, princesses of one of the eastern regions of Middle-Earth like Khand or Rhûn, who in their desire for power claimed Rings of Power from two of the Ringwraiths, ignoring the warnings of their former owners that the rings would control them, not the other way around. They promptly returned home, claiming to have honoured their father and king, but sensing their actions were more for themselves, he demanded they hand over the Rings of Power they'd taken as trophies; rather than hand over their prize, the sisters killed their father and took his place, slowly becoming more and more corrupted by the Rings until Sauron himself finally came and added them to the ranks of the Nine.
    • It would also seem that becoming Nazgûl hasn't diminished the ambition of the sisters at all; they themselves note that with Sauron trapped by his continuing battle for supremacy with Celebrimbor, and the Witch King weakened by his defeat at Talion's hand, they plan to raise an army of Orcs and conquer Middle Earth for themselves.
      Rogue Nazgûl: The Dark Lord and the Ringmaker burn atop Barad-dûr. The Witch King is diminished. We are ascendant!...You face the army we have assembled to dominate all of Mordor and you will have the honour of being its first triumph. And when your bodies lie broken on the battlefield, we will hack the Rings from your fingers and begin our conquest of Middle-Earth!
    • The way they dispatch of their father is also horrifying: they both stab him with their scythes, before throwing the chains attached to said scythes around his head and pulling on opposite directions. They used chains to decapite their own father in front of his empire.
  • Talion finally succumbing to the corruption of Isildur's ring. As Eltariel urges him not to forget the man he was, Talion turns to face her, his eyes gleaming a fiery red and a demonic grin on his face as he answers her.
    Talion: This Ring is mine...and Talion is no more.
    • Before that, Talion and Eltariel's last interaction as the Ring slowly exerts its hold over him is quite frightening as Talion becomes more and more aggressive under its thrall. Eltariel urges him to give up Isildur's ring before he loses himself to Sauron's hold, but Talion (like Frodo and Bilbo) asks her why he should give up the Ring. Eltariel bids him not to betray the honourable man he once was, but Talion snarls back that she is in no position to talk to him about betrayal after what she and Celebrimbor did to him, and that it is their fault he has become a monster.
      Talion: Such a little thing...why should I give it up?
  • Talion's final words to Eltariel before she strikes the killing blow. She whispers her hope that Talion will find some peace in death; in response, Talion, or more accurately the Ringwraith he has become, gives her a look of pure hate and snarls that essentially she has failed to kill him, as thanks to her actions, he is now a servant of Sauron who can never truly die as long as the Dark Lord endures.
    Eltariel: May you gain some freedom in death.
    Talion: I am banished from death and bound to the Flaming Eye!
  • Talions voice goes from "slightly deeper with an echo" to "straight-up Nazgûl". He sounds almost exactly like Isildur and Helm did in the main game.
  • The implication at the ending that Celebrimbor's twisted spirit still survives and like the One Ring before it, the New Ring wishes to be reunited with its master. And Eltariel is happy to oblige it.

The Desolation of Mordor

  • Unlike in the main game where they are more of a nuicance, Mordor's fauna shows just how horrifying it can be. Graugs and Drakes become absolutely terrifying to face, since they can kill Baranor with ease and he has very few ways to fight back. Not to mention the new Were-wyrms, that just appear from the ground and devour whatever being is closeby. And speaking of Were-wyrms...
  • The Rumbler. A wyrm of gigantic size, large enough to cave in an entrance to the valley with ease. Luckily it never appears in gameplay, but there's a reason it's feared across Lithlad. Undercut by Torvin, who treats it like any dangerous animal, and has even sexed it. It's a girl.
  • As formidable as Baranor can be, one has to remember that he is still just a normal human unlike other protagonists who wield rings of power that grant them immortality. To them, death is merely an setback and they will resurrect given a certain amount of time. For Baranor, all ends are final and he can't come back. Add the fact he is a lot more vulnerable than Talion, Celebrimbor and Eltariel, and deep down he must be terrified about his current situation.

    Other 
  • As bad as things may be for Talion, the game makes it abundantly clear just how unrelentingly cruel life can be for the average Gondorian soldier.
    • You're at war with an enemy who can throw an inexhaustible supply of bloodthirsty warriors your way, so any victory is Pyrrhic by default.
    • The Orcs you fight are universally sadistic, and will gladly take the time to make your death as painful and humiliating as possible. Your body will almost certainly be mutilated, defiled, or consumed upon death and you should be prepared to see it happen to the remains of those friends who fell in battle.
    • You're facing not only Orcs, but also hulking Ologs that only the most skilled ranger can take one-on-one, freakishly nimble caragor cavalry where the mount is even more dangerous than the rider, siege beasts that can turn you into paste both up close and at range, and Drakes that can cover you in third degree burns from on high before carrying you off to a gruesome fate. And those are just the mundane threats.
    • If you somehow manage to prevail against the first wave of the aforementioned horrors, Sauron will deign to send a Nazgul your way; an utterly relentless foe who can only be hindered temporarily by powerful Elven magic, which barring some miracle you will not have at your disposal.
    • If you are captured, torture will be a certainty. From there, expect to ether be butchered in an arena for sport, or eaten alive by your captors. If you are truly unfortunate, you may even be "gifted" to a giant spider near Cirith Ungol, who will keep you alive for as long as possible while consuming you one small bit at a time.
    • Don't assume that death will save you; regardless of whether you die on the battlefield or in captivity, your soul will be torn from whatever afterlife it was heading toward to be twisted into a mindless, tormented slave of the very power you were fighting against, and then set loose against your former comrades so that they may join your ranks.
    • Yet beyond all the horrors mentioned above, the Dark Lord's ultimate weapon is undoubtedly the soul-crushing despair of knowing just how doomed you are. Simply mustering the will to face all the vile things the Lord of the Rings can throw at you is a feat unto itself, but it is also implied that the Sauron can directly sap the moral and resolve of an entire army from afar, meaning you stand a good chance of losing before the enemy even shows up.
  • Using the Baranor skin for Talion in the main game is eerie. There's something about Baranor, explicitly human during the entire game, finally giving in to a Ring of Power.
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