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Thread: The Nine

  1. #1
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    The Nine

    I just was hopeing some people could tell me their back stories and such. All i know about them is that they were great kings of man but the witch king was evil does this mean that the other 8 were also evil?
    And also since i am talking about the Nine where the heck did the witch king get all of his power? I thought we was only human and did the ring that turned him into a nazgul give him that power? Or was he just that strong before the turned? The only thing i know about him was that he was a evil king that the men of old tried to destroy and that the daggers they made to destroy him got lost and ended up in the barrow downs where the hobbits came upon them.

  2. #2

    Re: The Nine

    Tolkien never really says, they were kings and sorcerers of old (in the Second Age). In the Unfinished Tales he names the number two Nazgul, Khamul and calls him the "black easterling". But that's about it. Most likely he ensnared a Numenorean or two, some leaders of nearby areas such as the Harad, and so on.

    If they were not predisposed to evil in the first place, their rings would drive them there as they were subject to Sauron's ultimate control. It's possible they might have absorbed some of Sauron's "magic" or learnt it from his tutelage. I daresay someone like the Witch King was already dabbling in magic when Sauron came along with a "gift". That would have made him a prime candidate in the first place.
    "You can't fight the Enemy with his own Ring without turning into an Enemy" - J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter # 81



  3. #3

    Re: The Nine

    i believe its stated somewhere that 3 of the nazgul were numenorians. the numenorians of pelargir and umbar were under the sway of sauron even before numenor was destroyed. the rest were just random kings and heroes of men, one is known to be an easterling.

    as for where the witch king got his power, thats obvious. his ring. look at what gandalf, elrond and galadriel were able to accomplish with their rings.

  4. #4
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    Re: The Nine

    To totally troll and steal the thread, I've often wondered there is any significance to the number nine in Tolkien's work. I can only assume it's coincidence because there are only three instances of it: 9 Black Riders, 9 Walkers, 9 Ships of Elendil. I guess watching LOST has got my brain looking for patterns and meaning everywhere.

    Sorry to divert the thread.
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  5. #5
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    Re: The Nine

    Quote Originally Posted by shipwreck View Post
    To totally troll and steal the thread, I've often wondered there is any significance to the number nine in Tolkien's work. I can only assume it's coincidence because there are only three instances of it: 9 Black Riders, 9 Walkers, 9 Ships of Elendil. I guess watching LOST has got my brain looking for patterns and meaning everywhere.

    Sorry to divert the thread.
    The Nine Walkers are deliberately contrasted to the Nine Riders. So that dependency is specific. I don't know about the 9 ships of Elendil though. Ask Reddhawk.

    As to the OP, the witch king probably was into magic initially. I think Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond would have had some power without their rings. But the rings certainly amplified their powers. I don't think the rings would "make" you a wizard/witch if you weren't already somewhat skilled. Frodo didn't gain such powers when he wore the One Ring. But his hearing was amplified. Do hobbits have naturally good hearing? We know they can be much quieter than humans or dwarves. (Bilbo complained about the racket dwarves make which is less than we clumsy humans make.)

    I don't think the Barrow blades were unique. I think the daggers were a few of many that were forged for the Witch King's downfall. Kind of like armour piercing bullets. Made with a specific thing in mind, but not unique.
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  6. Re: The Nine

    In Jewish belief, the number three stands for holiness. Elendil's nine ships (3, to the power of 3) could be symbolic of their holiness as opposed to the corruption of Ar-Pharazon and his followers, under the sway of Sauron.

    But obviously that wouldn't make sense for the Ringwraiths, who were anything but holy, in the common sense. I don't know. Maybe there is no meaning.
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  7. #7

    Re: The Nine

    Quote Originally Posted by Arasilion View Post
    In Jewish belief, the number three stands for holiness. Elendil's nine ships (3, to the power of 3) could be symbolic of their holiness as opposed to the corruption of Ar-Pharazon and his followers, under the sway of Sauron.

    But obviously that wouldn't make sense for the Ringwraiths, who were anything but holy, in the common sense. I don't know. Maybe there is no meaning.
    the number 3 doesnt have any real significance in judaism. there are 3 'forefathers' in judaism, but i dont think the number really comes up elsewhere

  8. Re: The Nine

    Quote Originally Posted by newwwwb View Post
    the number 3 doesnt have any real significance in judaism. there are 3 'forefathers' in judaism, but i dont think the number really comes up elsewhere
    From the "Jewish Encyclopedia":

    The number three was the symbol of holiness. The Holy of Holies occupied one-third, and the Holy Place two-thirds, of the entire Temple. The tapestries were ten times three ells in length, and there were three vessels each for the altar of burnt offering, the altar of incense, and the Ark. The candlestick had twice three arms (besides the shaft, which also held a lamp), and each arm had three knobs. The blessing of the priest consisted of three sections (Num. vi. 24, 25), and in the invocation of God the word "holy" was repeated thrice.
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  9. #9
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    Re: The Nine

    Quote Originally Posted by shipwreck View Post
    To totally troll and steal the thread, I've often wondered there is any significance to the number nine in Tolkien's work. I can only assume it's coincidence because there are only three instances of it: 9 Black Riders, 9 Walkers, 9 Ships of Elendil. I guess watching LOST has got my brain looking for patterns and meaning everywhere.

    Sorry to divert the thread.
    The number three is even more prevalent in Tolkien's writing. There are many examples of it, such as:


    • 3 houses of Edain
    • 3 elf-fathers (Imin, Tata, Enel)
    • 3 elven tribes (Minyar, Tatyar, Nelyar)
    • 3 elven ambassadors to Valinor (Ingwë, Finwë, Elwë)
    • 3 Ages (the 4th age isn't covered in its entirety like the first 3)
    • 3 rings for the elven-kings
    • 3 races (Elves, Dwarves, Men -- hobbits are an offshoot of men);
    • 3 Wizards that actually play a role in the War of the Ring
    • 3 farthings that converge (at the 3-farthing stone)
    • 3 sons of Eärendur, that formed:
    • 3 Kingdoms from the Kingdom of Arnor (Arthedain, Cardolan, Rhudaur)
    • 3 Kinslayings by the Noldor
    • 3 Silmarils
    • 3 Man-elf unions (a 4th is mentioned, but is questionable)
    • 3 divisions of hobbits (Stoors, Fallohides, Harfoots)
    • 3 named Smials (Bag End, Brandy Hall, Great Smials)
    • 3 important blades found in the Trolls' horde (Sting, Glamdring, Orcrist)
    • 3 volumes of The Lord of the Rings


    And, that's just about all that I can think of off the top of my head.


    Quote Originally Posted by BlancoFallowhide View Post
    Ask Reddhawk.
    Hehe. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arasilion View Post
    In Jewish belief, the number three stands for holiness. Elendil's nine ships (3, to the power of 3) could be symbolic of their holiness as opposed to the corruption of Ar-Pharazon and his followers, under the sway of Sauron.
    Well, I'm no authority on such matters, nor do I ascribe any particular importance to numerology, however I'll present at least one possible scenario. The number 9 could represent a sense of finality, being the last of the single digit numbers. In that regard we can see the departing of the 9 ships of Elendil as an act of finality: this is the end of the Downfall and these are the final few remnants of the Faithful. Likewise, the contrast between the 9 Riders and the 9 Walkers also represents an act of finality. These two groups are a microcosm of the opposing forces in the War of the Ring which, at its conclusion, represents both the final appearance of Sauron and the end of his evil Ring.




    While we're on the topic, it seems to me that the importance of the number 3 isn't limited to just the Jewish faith. In fact, it seems to extend throughout the Abrahamic religions. Certainly, its importance is continued in the Christian faith where, for example, you have the Holy Trinity, the 3 men (including Jesus) crucified on Calvary, and the apostle Peter who thrice denies Christ.
    Last edited by Reddhawk; May 31 2009 at 04:49 PM.
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