Top 15 Lord of The Ring Villains, From Least to Most Powerful

lord of the rings villains

The Top 15 Lord of The Rings Villains

When Tolkien created his world of Middle-Earth, he invented a place where different races and cultures lived amongst each other. Sometimes they lived in peace and other times in war. In most cases certain areas were dominated by a specific race, such as the Elves in the forest, Dwarves in the mountains, and Hobbits in the plains. This segregation never stopped heroes from all different backgrounds to come together for an adventure but this also never stopped the villains from doing the same. 

For all the fascinating things that Middle-Earth has to offer it also has evil and terrifying ones. The Villains and monsters of Middle-Earth are nothing to scuff at, everything has the ability to put your and your fellowships life at risk. So when adventuring through Mirkwood be sure to keep an eye out for these evil creatures.

Here is a list of the top 15 Lord of the Rings villains, from least to most powerful…just in case you run into any.

15. Gollum

Gollum lives in the caves of the misty mountain

You may remember him as the “My precious!” guy but Gollum could seriously mess up your day. Originally known as “Smeagol” Gollum was a hobbit that got corrupted by the One Ring causing him to go mad and extending his life passed the normality for his kind. Gollum’s role in the story was to serve as a guide to Frodo and Sam and get them through Moria to Black gate which is the entrance of Mordor. Being so corrupted by the ring for so long, the “Smeagol” side of him started to show when Frodo demonstrated his kindness to Gollum.  Gollum’s journey came to an end when Frodo puts on the ring at Mount Doom and is attacked by Gollum. Biting off Frodo’s finger along with the ring he loses his balance and falls into the fire. He dies with the only thing he ever cared about.

Gollum holding the ring in the fires of Mount Doom

14. The Great Goblin

The Great Goblin in all his hideous glory

Next on the list is a villain of great note but not of great action. The Great Goblin is the goblin chieftain of the Misty Mountain where they prey on travelers who take the easy path avoiding the mountains. He first appeared when the dwarven company led by Thorin, were caught and captured at the front porch of the High pass and brought to him. In an attempt to escape all the torches in the cave were extinguished and a glowing blue sword was held up. Being a sword known for killing Goblins the Great Goblin leapt out of his seat in rage and was killed by Gandalf. From this point the company had to fight off armies of enraged goblins and find a way out of the mountain. The Great Goblin is low on this list because he was all talk and not enough action, but he is number 1 in being hideous. 

Gandalf stares at the dead Goblin as his companion is stuck underneath


A warg sniffing the air of battle

While not having a personal vendetta against the heroes of Middle-Earth Wargs are still nasty and incredibly violent beasts that one does not want to come across in the wild. A warg is a type of wolf that is almost exclusively bred by orcs and is much larger than an average wolf. Wargs were used to attack the fellowship as they travelled to Moria as well as ambush Thorin and company in the Misty Mountains. Many of the wargs die in combat when fighting but the ones that live go on to breed more. 

Hunting down the dwarves from The Hobbit film

12. Uruk-Hai

Uruks discussing battle

You know what is worse than running into one villain or creature? Running into a whole army of them! The Uruk-Hai refers to great soldier orcs that serve the dark lord. Also called Uruks, these creatures are mean, cruel, killing machines. They are born out of the mud of Isengard and are immediately trained to fight. While simple creatures they are proficient in making crude weapons and battle. The Uruks were the main obstacle that both the fellowship and Thorin’s company had to face. Most Uruks give their life in battle because that is all they know and all they want to do the few left alive become a war chief and make the plans for the next attack.

Uruks antagonizing their enemies

11. Bolg

Bolg for the film “The Hobbit”

There a hundreds of orcs and uruks in Sauron’s army but there are main ones that are “badder” than the rest. Bolg was an orc leader of the Misty Mountain and son of Azog, another great orc leader. Bolg was the ruler of the northern goblins and lead an army of wargs, goblins and bats into the battle of five armies. During the battle Bolg fell to Beorn, avenging the fallen Thorin Oakenshield. It is safe to say that anything over 8 feet tall is too dangerous for me. 

Despite his size Bolg was a very agile fighter

10. Azog

Azog the Defiler also known as the pale orc

A good villain does more than just physical pain and Azog, not being at the top of this list, is one of the best villains in Middle-Earth. Responsible for the death of King Thror and driving King Thrain mad, Azog has already affected Thorin before even encountering him. Azog and Thorin from the start were destined to battle each other. Azog is covered in battle scars and has a claw hand from where Thorin cut it off. Azog died during the battle of five armies when pinning down Thorin, he was stabbed by Thorin’s sword right through his heart. The double kill ends the long history between the two warriors.

The last fight ever between Azog and an Oakenshield

9. Watcher in the Water    

The Watcher in the Water attacking the fellowship

If you are ever by the west gate of Moria trying to figure out the Elven word for friend and happen to take a break by a stagnant pool, well it might be too late for you already. In that stagnant pool, caused by the damming of the Sirannon River, lives the Watcher in the water. This horrifying beast has many tentacles and teeth that some describe looking like a kraken but isn’t well known enough. The creature attacked the fellowship outside the west gate and grabs Frodo with one of its big tentacles. After Sam slashes it with his sword the creature lets go and they all run inside to avoid any more of the creatures wrath and that is the last we see of it. It is believed to still be in the stagnant pool outside of the west gate into Moria, if you are brave enough to find out.

An artist rendering of Sam fighting the Watcher to protect Frodo

8. Shelob

Frodo fighting Shelob

There are a lot of things you wouldn’t want to bump into out in the wild, and giant spiders are most likely at the top of those things. Shelob is a great spider and the greatest offspring of Ungoliant. She fed indiscriminately on pretty much anything that wondered by her webs. Frodo and Sam stumbled upon Shelob while traveling through the Mirkwood forest. In attempts to escape her lair, Sam and Frodo managed to stab one of her eyes, legs and belly. Unknown if Shelob survived the attack it is said her offspring will continue to produce the next generation of great spiders.

Shelob the great spider

7. Nazgul

The Nazgul chasing down the One Ring

The Nazgul, also known as Ringwraiths, are ring servants to the dark lord Sauron.  They were once the nine powerful men who were giving rings of power by Sauron. Becoming corrupted by the rings they turned evil and tried to achieve great power. The Nazgul often tracked down Frodo every time he put the ring on letting them see his location. Their job was to kill Frodo or anyone in their way to regain the ring for the dark lord. The Nazgul failed at their mission when the ring was cast into Mount Doom and Sauron was defeated. 

The Nazgul surrounding the hobbits

6. Khamul

Khamul under the dark robes

Khamul, also known as Khamul the Easterling, was second to the witch-king out of the nine Ring wraiths. He was once a mortal human who ruled the lands to the East known as Rhun. He was corrupted into a path of evil after receiving a Ring of power from Sauron. He was the wraith that chased the hobbits out of the shire to Bucklebury ferry and asked farmer Maggot for a person named “Baggins”. He assumed power of the Nazgul after the Witch-king fell and led the attack on Black gate with their Fell beasts. He fell with the other Nazgul after the One ring was destroyed. 

Searching towns for the hobbits who carry the ring

5. The Witch-King of Angmar    


The Witch-King holding a flaming sword

If you run into something bad, chances are you don’t want to run into the leader of the bad things. That is exactly what the Witch-King of Angmar is, he is the leader of the Ringwraith group known as the Nazgul. He is Sauron’s second in command and was tasked with finding the ring and bringing it back at any cost. When the hobbits built a fire at Weathertop and alerted the Nazgul that they were there, it was the Witch- King that stabbed Frodo poisoning him. 

During the battle of the Pelennor Fields the Witch-King was killed by Mary with the help of Eowyn. That fight can be seen here  Eowyn fight with Witch-King

The Witch-King riding a fell beast

4. Smaug

Smaug protecting the gold and treasure in his lair

The true king under the mountain isn’t a dwarve but a dragon. Smaug is actually a fire drake but is considered to be the last great dragon to exist in Middle-Earth. Keeping the treasure of the lonely mountain to himself, Smaug hoarded the gold until a company of dwarves woke him from his hibernation. Once raising from his slumber Smaug took flight and set to destroy the neighboring city lake-town because he believed they helped the dwarves enter the mountain. Setting the town on fire and destroying everything a villager named Bard was able to kill him using a special black arrow.

Smaug meeting Bilbo Baggins after he stole a gem 

3. Saruman

Saruman contacting the Dark lord Sauron

Being chief of the wizards and white council that opposed Sauron one would think that he would be a hero not a villain. After extensive studying on the ring he grew to desire the ring for himself and thought he could ally with Sauron and then eventually betray him to gain the ring and its power. His ultimate goal was to betray everyone to eventually become the ruler of Middle-Earth. His overwhelming lust for power eventually led to his downfall at the battle of Isengard where he was cast from one of his towers.

Using his influence and power to train Uruk-Hai

2. The Balrog 

Gandalf faces off against the Balrog

By far the Balrog is the scariest and most terrifying thing on this list. They have the appearance of giant flaming demons but were once wizards like Gandalf. What makes these monsters so scary is that they aren’t just large brute like monsters. They have intelligence and use weapons. The Balrog that fought Gandalf, Durin’s Bane, used a whip and sword made of fire. How is a person even supposed to fight that? Gandalf fought Durin’s Bane in a great battle and was able to slay the beast at the peak of Zirakzigil where he also lost his life but later was able to come back as Gandalf the white. If the only way to defeat this creature is to die with it then hopefully you don’t ever have to fight one.

Are you that brave?

1. The Dark Lord Sauron

The Dark Lord wearing the One ring of power    

The lord of the rings himself was a fallen Maia, which is a wizard type, that was second in command to the first dark lord Melkor. He became the second dark lord and strove to take over not just Middle-Earth but the world of Arda as well. He forged the rings of power in the fires of Mount Doom, three rings for the elven kings, seven for the dwarven lords, and nine for the men who he assumed would be the easiest to enslave. War after war the rings were destroyed except for the One ring to rule them all which ended up in the pocket of an unaware hobbit. Sauron’s lust for power and domination lasted throughout most of the third age in Middle-Earth and only ceased once the ring was destroyed.

The eye of Sauron

Thanks for reading our list of “The top 15 Lord of the Rings Villains from least to most powerful”. 

Hopefully while you are out adventuring you won’t encounter any of these.  Do you think we missed someone or got the order wrong? 

We hope you enjoyed this list and if you are interested in looking at more related ones why not check out these:

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Growing up as the outcast of his Elvin clan in the forest of the Moonshile islands, Tommy has hung up his bow and quiver for a notepad and laptop, he now plays and writes gaming articles.
Gamer Since: 1999
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Gwent
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Diablo
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