Isildur was a ruler of Gondor, the son of Elendil the Tall, one of the founders of th Kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor. Isildur was responsible for separating the One Ring from its master, Sauron. Unfortunately, he didn’t live long after that – until the Dark Lord’s evil wrongdoings turned him to the other side. So, is Isildur a Nazgul?
After his death at the Disaster of Gladden Fields, Isildur’s body was taken to a weakened yet enraged Sauron. Instead of letting Isildur die, Sauron put one of the Nine corrupted Rings on his finger, enslaving Isildur and turning him into a Ringwraith.
Therefore, yes – Isildur became a Nazgul after his death. However, the heritage he left behind after his death – namely, his 39th heir, Aragorn – finally liberated his spirit after 3000 years of Sauron’s control. Here’s everything you need to know about the tragic faith of Isildur.
After the Downfall of Numenor – a civilization of the Dunedain who the Eldar granted prolonged life, the Numenoreans separated into two groups. The many, called the Black Numenoreans later, turned their back on the Light and Illuvatar and started worshiping the Dark and Morgoth after being brain-washed by Sauron.
The few who remained loyal to their tradition and Illuvatar settled in the north of Middle-earth, where they were known as the Faithful Numenoreans. Elendil the Tall, their leader, founded a new Kingdom. His sons, Isildur and Anarion, ruled in the southern regions, while Elendil ruled the north, creating the Kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor.
Many battles were fought and won, but eventually, Elendil fell to Sauron during the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. The Dark Lord broke Narsil, Elendil’s mighty and faithful sword, and killed him on the spot.
Isildur, enraged by his father’s death, took a shard of the broken blade and used it to cut off the Dark Lord’s finger, on which he wore the One Ring. It severely hurt Sauron, who had to escape, crippling himself within Mordor for thousands of years.
Isildur took the Ring, but instead of destroying it and ending such evil once and for all, the Ring’s power corrupted him, so he kept the Ring from harm.
A short time later, Isildur and his entourage got attacked by Orcs in the Disaster of the Gladden Fields. They did not know that Isildur had the One Ring. Had they known, they could’ve taken it back to Sauron, which would mean the Dark Lord would heal much faster.
The initial attack was held back, but the Orcs attacked again with reinforcements at nightfall, causing complete slaughter and mayhem. Isildur’s son Ciryion was dead, while Aratan was mortally wounded. Isildur’s eldest son, Elendur, urged his father to escape so that Sauron didn’t get the Ring back.
Isildur listened and escaped with great sorrow in his heart, while Elendur got slaughtered like the rest of the men. Isildur took off his armor to try and cross the river, but the current was too strong and pulled him, while the Ring fell from his finger and got lost in the waters.
Isildur managed to swim out and resurface, but Orcs spotted him and filled him with arrows. As Isildur didn’t have any armor, he died on the spot – but it wasn’t the end for him. As for the ring, it remained dormant in the waters for years before Deagol and Smeagol found it while fishing.
After Isildur’s death, the Orcs decided to take his body back to Mordor, where Sauron awaited. Weakened but enraged, especially at Isildur – who he hated almost as much as his father Elendil – the Dark Lord found that death is not a suitable punishment for Isildur.
Instead, he put one of the Nine Rings onto his finger, keeping Isildur alive, but barely. For those who don’t know, the Nine Rings were given to Men by Sauron. However, the power which they carried corrupted the men, eventually turning them into Sauron’s slaves, crumbling under his control and becoming the Nazgul, or the Ringwraiths.
Some Nazgul have been like that for so long nobody even remembers their names, let alone who they were. Not even them seem to remember who they were before. That goes for the Witch-king of Angmar and the Mouth of Sauron, both Ringwraiths and Sauron’s second and third-in-command.
As it turns out, when the Orcs brought Isildur’s body to Mordor, Sauron put one of the Rings on him, turning him into a Nazgul. He made him forget everything about who he was, controlling him completely.
His soul had been enslaved for thousands of years before The Fellowship of the Ring, led by the 39th Heir of Isildur, Aragorn II Elessar, finally destroyed the One Ring and Sauron for good.
After Sauron’s demise, the souls of the Nazgul are believed to be free, meaning Isildur’s soul was finally liberated as well.