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Although Merry didn't know it, the sword he wielded had been specifically created to fight the Witch-king. The barrow-blade, a Dúnedain dagger, had been created during a war against the Kingdom of Angmar, founded by the Witch-king.

In the cinematic adaptation, Merry actually loses his original blade, and is simply armed with a Rohirrim shortsword. He is still able to injure the Witch-king due to the strict wording of a prophecy, that he could not be killed 'by the hand of Man'. Though the Witch-king believed it meant 'by a human', it turned out to mean male humans, as he was wounded and then killed by a hobbit and a human woman.

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Q: Why could merry hurt the witch king in Lord of the Rings?
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