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Black Númenóreans are a fallen subdivision of Númenóreans (a group of Men that populated the island of Númenor before migrating to the north-western part of Middle-earth, which became one of the most advanced mortal cultures) that are loyal to the Númenórean crown and oppose the Valar and the Elves. They have been corrupted by the influence of Morgoth and Sauron, and serve under them.

Though they are "fallen", they are still Númenóreans, and are able to live for hundreds of years and can survive lesser injuries, such as when Talion stabs the Tower four times and the Tower seemingly survives until stabbed a fifth time by Talion. Though they are corrupted by Morgoth, some of the Black Númenóreans were able to snap out of the spell that held them and became good again.

The Black Captains[]

These are the first time the Black Númenóreans were truly seen in any adaption of The Lord of the Rings, as there have been no other representations of them in the past. They are the primary antagonists of Shadow of Mordor. They are the Hammer, the Tower, and the Black Hand; each one of them represents a part of Sauron. The Hammer was a Númenórean soldier in the Battle of the Last Alliance who was bound to the Dark Lord Sauron when he tried to claim Sauron's mace. The Tower was a Númenórean tortured and forced into armor that did not grow with him. It's unknown how the Black Hand came to be, but it's rumored by some (and hinted at by Celebrimbor) that the Black Hand is Sauron taking physical form. The Black Captains, unlike some of their Númenórean brothers and sisters, show no signs of even a chance of redemption throughout the story, and even if they had this chance at first, they lost it when they died by Talion's hand.

The Hammer of Sauron[]

The Hammer is the first Black Captain Talion faces. At the beginning of the story, the Hammer stabs a wound in Talion's hand with the pike of his mace, and then strikes him unconscious. He's not seen again until the battle at the ruins of the Gorthaur. The Hammer represents Sauron's malice and strength. He is the Black Captain to have a true battle with Talion, and the only way to seriously damage him is by using combat finishers. Before their battle, the Hammer strikes Ratbag the Orc in the head with his mace, and Ratbag's being presumed dead (he is revealed to have survived in Shadow of War) is drive for Talion to face the Hammer in open combat rather than to find a stealth advantage.

The Hammer faces death with no hesitation, but he does taunt Talion before his death; he asks "How does your vengeance taste, Talion? Is not the Darkness sweet?" This could be foreshadowing Talion's uncertainty in Shadow of War, when he seems on the fence about defeating Sauron or giving up entirely. Still, Talion finishes the Hammer by cutting his jugular, and before he bleeds out Talion stabs him in the throat.

The Tower of Sauron[]

The Tower is the second Black Captain and the second-to-final boss. The Tower captures Talion's wife, Ioreth, and holds her still when the Black Hands cuts her throat. He isn't seen after the beginning until his battle with Talion. The Tower represents Sauron's cunning and deceit. There isn't quite a "battle" with him. The Tower reveals that Celebrimbor wasn't forced into bonding with Talion, but he chose to do so. Celebrimbor admits that he can leave Talion to die, but he wanted to help Talion get revenge as his only way of truly passing on to the Halls of Waiting in Valinor is for the One Ring to be destroyed. During their encounter, the Tower teleports across the fortress he resides in, using his power to telepathically tease Talion with the voices of Ioreth and Dirhael, Talion's son. Talion weakens the Tower by branding him through stealth, and as a last attempt the Tower assumes the form of Ioreth to bait Talion to get closer to him.

The Tower isn't afraid of death; in fact, he seems to welcome it as a friend. Talion, as stated before, brutalizes the Tower with his son's broken sword (which became the dagger) Acharn. Though the dagger is lodged in the Tower's chest, he laughs, only cut off when Talion buries his sword in his throat. Angry at Celebrimbor's lies about having amnesia, Talion argues with him. When the argument is resolved, they agree to head directly for the Black Gate to challenge the Black Hand.

The Black Hand of Sauron[]

The Black Hand is the last Black Captain and the final boss of Shadow of Mordor. He sends five Warchief Uruks out to face Talion at the Black Gate, called the Talons of the Black Hand. When Talion kills the Talons, he makes his way to the top of the Gate. The Black Hand represents Sauron's will to dominate and his effortlessness in intimidation. He has the shortest battle of the three Black Captains; it consists simply of quick-time events, as the Black Hand represents nothing directly offensive about Sauron and Talion is weakened. The Black Hand catches Talion and Celebrimbor off-guard when he forces one of Celebrimbor's memories upon them.

The memory is of Celebrimbor's defeat and death. By the point the memory starts at, Celebrimbor, using the power of the One Ring, has gathered an army of Uruk-Hai to attack Sauron, who stands with his own army. When Celebrimbor sees his family chained to a rock behind the Dark Lord himself, he sounds the charge. He uses the Ring to make himself invisible and slow time around him, effortlessly chopping a line through Sauron's Orcs in mere seconds from everyone else's perspective. He reappears to alert Sauron so that he'll prepare to attack, but when Celebrimbor charges at Sauron he vanishes again and gets behind him, and he uses this advantage to disarm and knock Sauron down. Before he delivers the killing blow, the Ring changes its own size and slips off Celebrimbor's finger, directly onto Sauron's. Celebrimbor, horrified, drops to his knees. When Sauron murders Celebrimbor's wife and daughter, he becomes Annatar, his fair form, and uses Celebrimbor's own smithing hammer to bludgeon him to death.

Thrown off-guard, Talion and Celebrimbor are defenseless against the Black Hand's next move; he slits his own throat, and he says "Return to me, Ringmaker!" as Celebrimbor is pulled from Talion's body. Talion's throat and hand, the wounds he received at the beginning of the game, start to bleed profusely, but he does not die; he is incredibly weakened, however, and can barely stay on his feet. This could be more hinting at Sauron being the Black Hand; Celebrimbor perfected the One Ring before the Black Captains even rose, and the Black Hand calls for Celebrimbor to return to him, rather than to Sauron. Nonetheless, Sauron is the form the Black Hand assumes, and he nearly kills Talion with the power he is granted. As he moves to deliver the killing blow, however, Celebrimbor holds him in place. Through quick-time events, Talion delivers blows to the ankle and face before stabbing Sauron directly in the chest, with both returns Celebrimbor to him and kills the Black Hand. He has no last words or taunts.


Black Númenóreans
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