The Great Plague, known also as the Dark Plague, was a disastrous pestilence in Middle-earth during the Third Age.

Beginning Edit

The Great Plague began in the east beyond Mordor, reaching Osgiliath in TA 1636 just a year after King Minardil of Gondor had been killed at Pelargir by the Corsairs of Umbar, and only two centuries after the Kin-strife of Gondor. The new king, Telemnar was killed together with his kin, as well as many others of the Dúnedain. Together these events served to further destroy the people of Gondor.

Movement of the PlagueEdit

The Plague had first hit Rhûn and Rhovanion, and after the plague had passed more than half the folk of the Kingdom of Rhovanion had been killed. From Osgiliath the plague spread west and then north. Enedwaith and Dunland were scarcely affected, but the Plague regained strength as it went north, and Minhiriath (the southern part of Cardolan) was especially hit hard. The last of the Dúnedain of Cardolan died on the Barrowdowns, and evil spirits from Angmar and Rhudaur entered the realm.

Arthedain further to the north and the Shire were scarcely affected, although the Hobbits recorded casualties in the South Farthing. Arthedain still defended Fornost to the north.

The city of Osgiliath was especially hit hard, suffering the highest casualties outside of Rhovanion. Many fled the city and re-located to Ithilien and Anórien, and Minas Anor became the King's seat there.

After the Plague Edit

The casualties were so high that the fortresses guarding Mordor were abandoned as the troops were recalled. For the next two centuries Gondor, as well as its enemies, did little but try to regain strength. Eventually Gondor did recover and reguard the fortresses for a short time.

Portrayal in adaptations Edit

In Great Plague appears in The Battle for Middle-earth II: The Rise of the Witch-king. In the game, the plague has a completely different origin and went in the opposite direction. It was a plan by The Witch-king to weaken the Dunedain kingdoms even further. The plague is created by Angmar's Sorcerers by corrupting the Barrow-downs of Cardolan, creating many Barrow-wights, including Karsh. Afterwards, the plague ravages Arnor, then spreads across the Misty Mountains, affecting Osgiliath, Rhovanion, and Rhun, presumably affecting them the same as in the books.

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