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  1. #1
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    Who exactly were the Ringwraiths before they were Ringwraiths?

    After reading the simarillion I don't recall seeing who they are other then Lords and warriors of their time. It is very possible I skipped over it while falling asleep or something.

    What I'm wondering is names, where exactly were they from, and who were they if they have any stories.

    Thanks!

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    Unless he did so in a HoME volume I don't think he specified in detail. Vague references to Black Numenoreans, those who were either exiled or left before the downfall, may be made.

    I don't recall if his name is actually in LotR but Khamul is thrown out as a pretty strongly accepted name for one referred to as "The Easterling" if I remember correctly. The ICE MERP game names them all but makes 'em up to flesh things out.
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  3. #3
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    as far as i know the right hand of the witch king was called morgomir a black numenorean

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    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazgûl
    "Only two of the Nazgûl are named or identified individually in Tolkien's works. Their leader was the Witch-king of Angmar, and his second in command was named Khamûl, the "black Easterling" or the "shadow of the East".[8] Tolkien stated that three of them were great Númenórean lords;[9] in his notes for translators, Tolkien speculates that the Witch-king was of Númenórean origin.[10] Khamûl was a lord of the Easterlings, and the only Nazgûl whose name is given."

    Those who used the
    Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing. They had, as it seemed, unending life, yet life became unendurable to them. They could walk, if they would, unseen by all eyes in this world beneath the sun, and they could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring that they bore and of the domination of the One which was Sauron's. And they became forever invisible save to him that wore the Ruling Ring, and they entered into the realm of shadows. The Nazgûl were they, the Ringwraiths, the Úlairi, the Enemy's most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death. — The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age", 346
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jailwartho View Post
    as far as i know the right hand of the witch king was called morgomir a black numenorean
    That's not something from Tolkien, though, but from another, more modern elaboration.

    As Jewl_of_the_lake offered, only two of the Ringwraiths were 'identified' by Tolkien: the Witch-King and Khamûl. Incidentally, they're also the only ones who apparently held any kind of autonomy after they became wraiths, instead of being 'just' extensions of Sauron's will.

    Other than that... it's anyone's guess, really.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daeross View Post
    That's not something from Tolkien, though, but from another, more modern elaboration.

    As Jewl_of_the_lake offered, only two of the Ringwraiths were 'identified' by Tolkien: the Witch-King and Khamûl. Incidentally, they're also the only ones who apparently held any kind of autonomy after they became wraiths, instead of being 'just' extensions of Sauron's will.

    Other than that... it's anyone's guess, really.
    ah thank you i think i got something wrong(again...) /sigh

  7. #7
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    Wink

    Originally Ringwraiths were wrung from a runty rabble of Ringwrugwrats.

    (Really best be read with rolling r's and wr's.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by jailwartho View Post
    as far as i know the right hand of the witch king was called morgomir a black numenorean
    There have been a few games (other than LOTRO) that gave Middle-earth-like names and biographies to some of the ringwraiths, but none of them are canon. Regardless, some of them have been accepted as pseudo-canon by the community, just as the names of the Blue and Green Wizards have been. I believe there is a card game that exists that gives names to all the ringwraiths. I'm not sure if it maintains Khamul or not.
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  9. #9
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    "Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old"

    "A tiger?, in Africa?", A Sorcerer in (low magic) Middle earth?, but the lore monkeys told me that RKs and loremasters were "lore breaking" because there was no magic in Middle earth, but here the prof tells me there were sorcerers, running around, well I never. This takes me back to my theorey that all spells and magic use mentioned in LOTR and the Hobbit were performed by ring weielders ie Gandalfs pyrotechnics using the ring of fire and Galadriels' water magic using nenya, its posible that the ringwraith who became a "Sorcerer" was only able to do so after obtaining one of the nine rings, but what if he was a Sorcerer before obtaining the ring and it just made him more powerful. This leads me back to the chicken and the egg situation if magic is only facilitated through use of a magic ring then how are magic rings made in the first place, Sorcery?, I hope those posters in the "what classes in Lotro are mentioned in the texts" dont get hold of this one.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morthaur View Post
    "A tiger?, in Africa?", A Sorcerer in (low magic) Middle earth?, but the lore monkeys told me that RKs and loremasters were "lore breaking" because there was no magic in Middle earth, but here the prof tells me there were sorcerers, running around, well I never.
    Some people take the whole 'low magic' thing too far and start ignoring things in the books, yes. But some of us don't. There are other very good reasons why LMs and RKs are simply a case of gameplay over lore.

    Here's a thought for you: what if Men 'as such' weren't supposed to have magical power, and could only gain it by 'cheating', by throwing their lot in with a seriously supernatural supervillain like Sauron? Like people selling their souls to the Devil in return for knowledge and power, say? What if the good guys have no direct equivalent, thus explaining the apparent lack of anyone like that among Men, and how among the Free Peoples magic is instead associated with other beings (Elves, in particular, but also Dwarves to some extent and seemingly the occasional Dunadan*, too) who are supposed to have such power?

    A game has to have all and sundry using magic in order to keep Joe Gamer happy. A book does not. The sort of symmetry you're implying (that because there are evil sorcerers there must be something equivalent among the good guys) is not a given, and does not in fact appear in the books.


    *Like whoever fashioned the Barrow-blade that messed up the Witch-king so badly.

  11. #11
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    Tolkien also names "Gothmog" as the Lieutenant of Minas Morgul, but reveals no details about who or what he is. He takes command at the Pelennor Fields after the Witch King is slain; he might, conceivably, be another of the Nazgul.

    In the film, he is an orc, but I have trouble believing that an orc would be second in command of Sauron's army, and Lieutenant of Minas Morgul. It would also be very odd for an orc to have a Sindarin name. A Nazgul or an evil man along the lines of the Mouth of Sauron seems far more likely.
    Last edited by LagunaD; Nov 22 2012 at 09:31 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Some people take the whole 'low magic' thing too far and start ignoring things in the books, yes. But some of us don't. There are other very good reasons why LMs and RKs are simply a case of gameplay over lore.

    Here's a thought for you: what if Men 'as such' weren't supposed to have magical power, and could only gain it by 'cheating', by throwing their lot in with a seriously supernatural supervillain like Sauron? Like people selling their souls to the Devil in return for knowledge and power, say? What if the good guys have no direct equivalent, thus explaining the apparent lack of anyone like that among Men, and how among the Free Peoples magic is instead associated with other beings (Elves, in particular, but also Dwarves to some extent and seemingly the occasional Dunadan*, too) who are supposed to have such power?

    A game has to have all and sundry using magic in order to keep Joe Gamer happy. A book does not. The sort of symmetry you're implying (that because there are evil sorcerers there must be something equivalent among the good guys) is not a given, and does not in fact appear in the books.


    *Like whoever fashioned the Barrow-blade that messed up the Witch-king so badly.
    Yeah right you are forgetting, like the mirror of galadriel or aragorn ability to curse or obtain loyalty by his sheer will, palantirs, Elrond power of the Ford bruinen, etc. The good guys have the equivalent in magic just as bad guys, hence why Black Numenorians are Sorcerors and Numenorians (good guys) are healers and men of great power "experts" in detroying black art practicioners.

    And btw its all in the books, magic is there.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Yeah right you are forgetting, like the mirror of galadriel or aragorn ability to curse or obtain loyalty by his sheer will, palantirs, Elrond power of the Ford bruinen, etc. The good guys have the equivalent in magic just as bad guys, hence why Black Numenorians are Sorcerors and Numenorians (good guys) are healers and men of great power "experts" in detroying black art practicioners.

    And btw its all in the books, magic is there.
    Reading the books, it just seems that sorcerors, wizards, and magic in general does not come as much of a surprise to the inhabitants of ME. My impression was that there was more magic (and there were more 'fantastic' creatures) than we happen to encounter in the particular stories we read.

  14. #14
    No one really denies wizards and sorcerers exist in LoTR. The debate is on the magic itself. When you normally think of "wizard" or "sorcerer" you think of throwing fire balls and lightning bolts and conjuring eldritch creatures, etc. Which obviously doesn't exist in LoTR...for the most part.

    Sorcerer in LoTR pretty much refers to the people who learned "dark arts" from Sauron and worshipped him, which would be the Black Numenoreans, which are what most of the Nazgul are/were.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkheart06 View Post
    No one really denies wizards and sorcerers exist in LoTR. The debate is on the magic itself. When you normally think of "wizard" or "sorcerer" you think of throwing fire balls and lightning bolts and conjuring eldritch creatures, etc. Which obviously doesn't exist in LoTR...for the most part.
    'For the most part', as in the only time you'd see anything remotely like that would be when a Maia is involved, and even then there's no comic-book style hurling of lightning bolts from anyone's fingertips or chucking of D&D-style fireballs. Tolkien was at pains not to have magic dominating the action, which is why when Gandalf really lets rip it's generally only told of in retrospect (as in his fight with the Nazgul at Weathertop, and his epic mountain-top battle with the Balrog). There's no conjuring of any tangible eldritch creatures, either, just 'evil spirits'. (The Barrow-wights were like that, apparently, just spirits until they found a corpse to possess).

    Sorcerer in LoTR pretty much refers to the people who learned "dark arts" from Sauron and worshipped him, which would be the Black Numenoreans, which are what most of the Nazgul are/were.
    Mostly the Black Numenoreans, yes. However, if I remember rightly there's some mention of sorcery in connection with the Men of Rhudaur and Angmar, too. Personally I'd imagine all the powerful sorcerers in Sauron's service would have been Black Numenoreans, though, with the Mouth of Sauron as an obvious case in point (since we're told he was one, and that he'd learnt 'great sorcery' from his master).

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Yeah right you are forgetting, like the mirror of galadriel or aragorn ability to curse or obtain loyalty by his sheer will, palantirs, Elrond power of the Ford bruinen, etc. The good guys have the equivalent in magic just as bad guys, hence why Black Numenorians are Sorcerors and Numenorians (good guys) are healers and men of great power "experts" in detroying black art practicioners.

    And btw its all in the books, magic is there.
    That doesn't follow from anything I said there. I was talking about Men, and you start talking about stuff like the Mirror of Galadriel? The point was that there were apparently some sorcerers among common Men on the evil side (of undisclosed ability) but there is no apparent equivalent among the common Men of the Free Peoples (the sort that player-character Men are supposed to be). Feel free to point to an example, if you like. It might be a given in games that Men can use powerful magic but it's not like that in the books.

    Neither are there any examples of extant, living magicians among the Dunedain, in the books. Denethor was a loremaster but do remember that only really meant that he'd got a lot of knowledge. Nor will you find any magical healers among the Dunedain, not even in Gondor. Had you forgotten that it took Aragorn's gift of kingly healing to save Eowyn and Pippin from the Black Breath? The healers were powerless against it. This all seems to have a lot to do with you imagining things on the basis of what you expect to find in a fantasy rather than what's actually in the books.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by PerfectApproach View Post
    There have been a few games (other than LOTRO) that gave Middle-earth-like names and biographies to some of the ringwraiths, but none of them are canon. Regardless, some of them have been accepted as pseudo-canon by the community, just as the names of the Blue and Green Wizards have been. I believe there is a card game that exists that gives names to all the ringwraiths. I'm not sure if it maintains Khamul or not.
    The names of Pallando (also known as Rómestámo ) and Alatar (also known as Morinehtar) for the two Blue Wizards are canon, I believe. If I remember correctly, they are mentioned in the Unfinished Tales.

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    Quote Originally Posted by O'Cathain View Post
    The names of Pallando (also known as Rómestámo ) and Alatar (also known as Morinehtar) for the two Blue Wizards are canon, I believe. If I remember correctly, they are mentioned in the Unfinished Tales.
    While Pallando and Alatar are names from the Unfinished Tales, Rómestámo ("East-helper") and Morinehtar ("Darkness-slayer") come from the Peoples of Middle-earth. Which makes them just as valid as anything else from those writings.
    Last edited by Daeross; Nov 25 2012 at 08:07 AM. Reason: hit 'post' too soon... :p

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daeross View Post
    While Pallando and Alatar are names from the Unfinished Tales, Rómestámo ("East-helper") and Morinehtar ("Darkness-slayer") come from the Peoples of Middle-earth. Which makes them just as valid as anything else from those writings.
    Thanks for the correction. I remembered Pallando and Alatar from the Unifinished Tales but made the mistake of using wiki as a quick reference to double check my memory wasn't playing tricks. That would explain why I couldn't recall those other names

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daeross View Post
    While Pallando and Alatar are names from the Unfinished Tales, Rómestámo ("East-helper") and Morinehtar ("Darkness-slayer") come from the Peoples of Middle-earth. Which makes them just as valid as anything else from those writings.
    I stand corrected.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    That doesn't follow from anything I said there. I was talking about Men, and you start talking about stuff like the Mirror of Galadriel? The point was that there were apparently some sorcerers among common Men on the evil side (of undisclosed ability) but there is no apparent equivalent among the common Men of the Free Peoples (the sort that player-character Men are supposed to be). Feel free to point to an example, if you like. It might be a given in games that Men can use powerful magic but it's not like that in the books.

    Neither are there any examples of extant, living magicians among the Dunedain, in the books. Denethor was a loremaster but do remember that only really meant that he'd got a lot of knowledge. Nor will you find any magical healers among the Dunedain, not even in Gondor. Had you forgotten that it took Aragorn's gift of kingly healing to save Eowyn and Pippin from the Black Breath? The healers were powerless against it. This all seems to have a lot to do with you imagining things on the basis of what you expect to find in a fantasy rather than what's actually in the books.
    Ill give you an example of Man race magical ability: Aragorn able to summon the dead from dunharrow.

    A curse is magic and literally it works in favor of free people in middle earth, other examples are like you previously said "Westernesse weapons", The Numenorians were at their peak and only used weapons as a sport before Sauron arrived, but even those weapons had "benign properties against evil" they were the anti-tesis of Black Numenorians, that is why Dunedain are obssesed in "twarting" Higher evil beigns and rituals they were in their origin "Good sided powerful warriors and magicians of old", its even hinted that elves passed on some knowledge to them, so the making of palantirs were magical in process.

    About black breath I think only few, and i mean very few "lore masters" or "healers" could heal it, maybe elrond and couple of others, I agree most magic comes from maia or valar come into play, but men were able to do some magic aswell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    ---"Westernesse weapons"---
    The blade from the Barrow-downs that Merry slashed the Witchking with? That was a blade forged in Arnor, the Northern Kingdom, before its fall, but long, long after Númenor had sunk, and the Men of the West had already mingled with the Men of Middle-earth and thus been diminished...

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    I can see casing points for each side of the argument here and my conclusion would be that men of Numenor and their descendants learnt many crafts from the elves, the main ones being weaponcrafting and lore. Be that lore healing lore, history or the odd bit of "Magic".
    However it must be said that Magic and sorcery used by the men would not have been them casting fireballs at people, it would have been things such as fortifying armor, giving hope back to the hopeless and perhaps the odd bit of foresight (Casing Point: Marbeth the Seer, right hand of Arvedui Last-King.)
    The reason why the blade that Merry had hurt the Witch-King so badly was because it was indeed Arnorian and even though it was not especially "Magic" per se it was forged for the purpose of destroying the Witch-King and his realm of Angmar and some of this got poured into the weapon as it was made. That is the type of "Magic" Numenorians (Even diminished ones, for what is Aragorn?) have, a passive type of magic stronger in a select few.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Storm-Winterwolf View Post
    I can see casing points for each side of the argument here and my conclusion would be that men of Numenor and their descendants learnt many crafts from the elves, the main ones being weaponcrafting and lore. Be that lore healing lore, history or the odd bit of "Magic".
    However it must be said that Magic and sorcery used by the men would not have been them casting fireballs at people, it would have been things such as fortifying armor, giving hope back to the hopeless and perhaps the odd bit of foresight (Casing Point: Marbeth the Seer, right hand of Arvedui Last-King.)
    The reason why the blade that Merry had hurt the Witch-King so badly was because it was indeed Arnorian and even though it was not especially "Magic" per se it was forged for the purpose of destroying the Witch-King and his realm of Angmar and some of this got poured into the weapon as it was made. That is the type of "Magic" Numenorians (Even diminished ones, for what is Aragorn?) have, a passive type of magic stronger in a select few.
    Seeing as there's a reference to 'spells for the bane of Mordor' and those spells were capable of messing up some really high-end sorcery, I think we have to consider it to be just plain magic in the case of those blades. Nothing passive about it. Usually, magical weapons were of either Dwarven or Elvish manufacture (I don't recall any legendary weapons made by Men) so something like that is wildly exceptional. The work of a lone genius, perhaps (it'd certainly explain why there weren't more of those blades around).

    We're told that the Dunedain learned all manner of lore from the Elves and became 'mighty in crafts'. No mention of magic, though. Tolkien's a bit inconsistent about Men and magic - he'd said (in a draft letter which he never sent) that Men 'as such' had no magic, but we know from a marginal note that he'd realised that was a bit problematic because of the Barrow-blades. Logically, some sort of exception would have to apply there. It does however demonstrate that Tolkien was disinclined to think of Men doing magic, as a rule. So we can maybe posit an exception for a very few Dunedain having some talent in that direction (which would also explain the Black Numenorean sorcerers, as well as Malbeth the Seer) but not really any more than that.

    Aragorn wasn't like other Dunedain, though, so I wouldn't take him as an example of that. His gift of healing came from his ancestry, from being descended from Elros and hence ultimately from Beren and Luthien.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Ill give you an example of Man race magical ability: Aragorn able to summon the dead from dunharrow.
    That's not magic. How a curse works, traditionally, is that if someone's sworn a solemn oath and then breaks it then they'll be punished by the gods. In this case, the only power sufficient to keep the spirits of Men from going to their destined fate after death was that of Iluvatar himself. So Isildur pronounced a curse on the Men of the White Mountains, and that curse was heard and empowered on his behalf. What then happened later with Aragorn was that those Men still owed him their allegiance: they answered his summons to war because it was the only way they would ever know peace. Nothing like being undead for thousands of years to teach people the error of their ways.

    About black breath I think only few, and i mean very few "lore masters" or "healers" could heal it, maybe elrond and couple of others, I agree most magic comes from maia or valar come into play, but men were able to do some magic aswell.
    There's no evidence of that in Gondor at all. We have one example of something magical made by the Dunedain and that had been made at least sixteen hundred years before, somewhere in the North-kingdom. (The Barrow-blades have to be that old because they were found in Cardolan). By contrast there was certainly nothing fancy about Boromir's sword, as it couldn't cleave troll-hide.

 

 
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