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Thread: The Nazgul

  1. #26
    Nice discussion.

    Only one thing to add. Galadriel did not give the Elf-stone to Aragorn when he became king of the united kingdoms, she Gave it to him when they last met at Lothlorien. She does say that she had passed it down to her daughter, and she to hers and had been left in Lothlorien for Aragorn should he pass that way. However, Not only was he foretold to be called Elessar, but in this way, it also served as the gift of the bride-to-be's mother to the groom. Elf customs had the mother of the bride giving the groom a gift, and since Celebrian was no longer in Middle-earth, it became Galadriel's duty as Grandmother of Arwen.

  2. #27

    The Quest to answer the OP's question ...

    ... has, alas!, been diverted 'long way around the barn' by, I deem, agents of The Enemy.

    Before I make any assay as to the "reincarnatability" of the Witch King, I will speak towards the other issue, the fate of the Rings of Power after the One is destroyed, because --logically-- restoration of the Witch King could be achieved only if his Ring retained its power.

    At the climax of Book 6, Frodo, standing on the very brink of Doom, rejects his quest and claims the One Ring for himself. Sauron is fully-aware of this, and of Frodo, and of His own desperate peril, immediately, and all of the eight remaining Nazgul abandon the battle before the Black Gate, and rush madly south to Mount Doom. They never make it: when Gollum falls into the chasm, the One is destroyed, and all of the Nazgul, shrieking impotently, "disintegrate" and blow away with the wind. When the One was destroyed, so was Sauron, but also the Nazgul: it is clear that the Nine Rings lost their power with the destruction of the One; hints and suppositions aside, there is no reason to think that the same fate did not apply to all the Rings of Power.

    Now, the OP question: if the Quest had failed, or if the Rings of Power retained their magic, could/would the Witch King somehow/somewhen return?

    On the one hand, impossible to say, as in, the author never made any declaration on the issue. On the other hand, there is enough evidence in the texts to permit some reasonable supposition.

    My own opinion: in time, the Witch King would "regenerate"; his "death" on the Fields of Pelennor did not (completely) break the magic spell that bound his hroa and fea (body and soul) to his Ring, merely destroyed that specific incarnation, which could be slowly restored/replenished (in much the same way that Sauron required c. 1000 years to recover from his defeat at the end of the Second Age). Sauron's assistance, or even existence, would not necessarily be required, it would suffice only that the Witch King's own Ring (still) "worked".

    A point of trivia of which some readers might be unaware: neither Merry nor Eowyn found "a pretty gold ring" on the ground after the Witch King got his block knocked off and went "poof" on the Fields of Pelennor; Sauron had dispossessed the Nazgul of their Rings: the Nine were in His keeping.

    HoG

    EDITED for spelling mistake, above: wich king is the Witch King ...

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harper_of_Gondolin View Post
    My own opinion: in time, the Witch King would "regenerate"; his "death" on the Fields of Pelennor did not (completely) break the magic spell that bound his hroa and fea (body and soul) to his Ring, merely destroyed that specific incarnation, which could be slowly restored/replenished (in much the same way that Sauron required c. 1000 years to recover from his defeat at the end of the Second Age). Sauron's assistance, or even existence, would not necessarily be required, it would suffice only that the Witch King's own Ring (still) "worked".
    I'm not convinced by this because for Sauron, being a Maia and hence one of the Ainur, it was natural for him to be able to create a physical form of his own from scratch (however long it might take for him to gather the strength to do so unassisted after the violent destruction of his previous one) whereas the Witch-king had only ever been a Man (albeit one who'd been rendered into a state somewhere between life and death) and was still inhabiting his original form - it was preserved as 'undead flesh' by Sauron's power, the curse that he'd placed on the Nine before he gave them to Men. Once the Witch-king's body 'died' then as I see it that'd be a case of his long-postponed death catching up with him, and he'd be subject to the customary fate of Men after death (something that was solely in the power of Iluvatar, and which none of the Valar could change). Hanging around Middle-earth probably wouldn't be an option then, even if the Nine Rings had kept working. I wouldn't have thought Iluvatar would want to leave him floating around like a bad smell because even if the WiKi couldn't create a new form for himself, Tolkien's line of thinking on the subject of disembodied spirits (the 'Houseless' as he called them) included the possibility of them forcibly taking possession of someone else's body, if that someone were weak-willed and fool enough to have dealings with them.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    I'm not convinced by this because for Sauron, being a Maia and hence one of the Ainur, it was natural for him to be able to create a physical form of his own from scratch (however long it might take for him to gather the strength to do so unassisted after the violent destruction of his previous one) whereas the Witch-king had only ever been a Man (albeit one who'd been rendered into a state somewhere between life and death) and was still inhabiting his original form - it was preserved as 'undead flesh' by Sauron's power, the curse that he'd placed on the Nine before he gave them to Men. Once the Witch-king's body 'died' then as I see it that'd be a case of his long-postponed death catching up with him, and he'd be subject to the customary fate of Men after death (something that was solely in the power of Iluvatar, and which none of the Valar could change). Hanging around Middle-earth probably wouldn't be an option then, even if the Nine Rings had kept working. I wouldn't have thought Iluvatar would want to leave him floating around like a bad smell because even if the WiKi couldn't create a new form for himself, Tolkien's line of thinking on the subject of disembodied spirits (the 'Houseless' as he called them) included the possibility of them forcibly taking possession of someone else's body, if that someone were weak-willed and fool enough to have dealings with them.
    I don't agree here is my reasoning:

    Nazgul were like Gollum in a way, they had a condition that turned them into "Undead" realm, only their will was bound to Sauron and the One. This is clear when you read how Sauron was able to "Make the Nazgul".

    When the One ring is destroyed, also is destroyed the will that bind them, but their condition is Nazgul now not men, so they might just stay lingering as oathbreakers did which is my opinion they did.

    Nazgul were their condition, and Nazgul are immortal in their Undead state.

  5. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    I'm not convinced by this because for Sauron, being a Maia and hence one of the Ainur, it was natural for him to be able to create a physical form of his own from scratch ... whereas the Witch-king had only ever been a Man ... [preserved by] the curse that [Sauron had] placed on the Nine before he gave them to Men. Once the Witch-king's body 'died' then as I see it that'd be a case of his long-postponed death catching up with him, and he'd be subject to the customary fate of Men after death (something that was solely in the power of Iluvatar, and which none of the Valar could change). Hanging around Middle-earth probably wouldn't be an option then, even if the Nine Rings had kept working. I wouldn't have thought Iluvatar would want to leave him floating around like a bad smell because even if the WiKi couldn't create a new form for himself, Tolkien's line of thinking on the subject of disembodied spirits (the 'Houseless' as he called them) included the possibility of them forcibly taking possession of someone else's body, if that someone were weak-willed and fool enough to have dealings with them.
    I certainly agree with you on the differences between Sauron, as maia, and WiKi, as man, but I'll contest you on the points I've bolded.

    Regarding the source of Wiki's "WiKi" stature, this was bestowed by his Ring, not by "Sauron's Power" (the Rings of Power were such because of the craft of their construction: they were Rings of Power before there was ever a One Ring, including the Three, which Sauron had never touched nor even seen; the Three were nevertheless bound to the One); if the Ring still "worked", WiKi would persist, independent of the existence of Sauron (evidently, this line of thinking led the Lords of the West to originally suppose that the Necromancer was one of the Nazgul: they still hoped/believed that Sauron had been irrevocably vanquished but, at the same time, acknowledged that the Nine would continue as long as the One Ring endured).

    Regarding Illuvatar, he's never involved himself hitherto in any such affairs: He didn't stop the Nazgul from becoming Nazgul, nor prevented evil spirits from animating corpses into the Wights of the Barrow Downs; I certainly cannot conceive of Him abruptly "interceding on WiKi's behalf", however WiKi smelt ... Otherwise, the back of my mind is tickled by the idea that the Nazgul had renounced the Gift of Men, or that thralldom to their Rings had robbed them of it: there would be "no place to go" once their Rings were destroyed, and they would have no powers whatsoever; they would persist as completely impotent spirits, "houseless", eternally condemned to empty anguish.

    Your observations regarding the "Houseless" open up an interesting possibility: instead of WiKi regenerating himself "as he was" around his Ring, perhaps he would have to regenerate his fea to the point where he could invest, and animate, a corpse, and then walk the corpse over to the rubble of Barad-dur to dig out his Ring ... I concede that this a speculation regarding mechanics, but I'm pointing-out that I do find it compelling that non-maia WiKi would not be able to manufacture a new physical body, nor even restore his former one.

    Anyway, we are left fencing with our opinions, I suppose.

    HoG

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    When the One ring is destroyed, also is destroyed the will that bind them, but their condition is Nazgul now not men, so they might just stay lingering as oathbreakers did which is my opinion they did.
    The Dead only lingered because it was their fate to; the Powers had heard Isildur's curse on them and made it real. They weren't flesh, but spirits; they'd actually died but weren't allowed to depart, they weren't cheating death like the Nazgul were. (And the Dead could ride out over water as if it were dry land - the Nazgul couldn't do that).

    Nazgul were their condition, and Nazgul are immortal in their Undead state.
    Their state was 'undead flesh', 'neither living nor dead', and they were protected by powerful spells placed on them by Sauron. Something that was indestructible wouldn't need that - it was only once those spells were broken that the Witch-king became vulnerable to ordinary weapons. They're not immortal, just cheating fate by never having died - they'd just gone on and on until their flesh had 'faded' entirely into the realm of shadows. Gandalf told Frodo that was what would eventually happen to a mortal who wore one of the Great Rings. The Nazgul couldn't truly be immortal because changing the fate of Men like that was beyond Sauron's power, or even Morgoth's.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    The Dead only lingered because it was their fate to; the Powers had heard Isildur's curse on them and made it real. They weren't flesh, but spirits; they'd actually died but weren't allowed to depart, they weren't cheating death like the Nazgul were. (And the Dead could ride out over water as if it were dry land - the Nazgul couldn't do that).
    You forget something important, Nazgul were impervious to normal dead means not even by water or fire.

    Their state was 'undead flesh', 'neither living nor dead', and they were protected by powerful spells placed on them by Sauron. Something that was indestructible wouldn't need that - it was only once those spells were broken that the Witch-king became vulnerable to ordinary weapons. They're not immortal, just cheating fate by never having died - they'd just gone on and on until their flesh had 'faded' entirely into the realm of shadows. Gandalf told Frodo that was what would eventually happen to a mortal who wore one of the Great Rings. The Nazgul couldn't truly be immortal because changing the fate of Men like that was beyond Sauron's power, or even Morgoth's.
    Those spells you mention there is never any indication of them, in fact there is mention of the opposite:

    Merry's barrow Blade was the one with "spells" to pierce the WK undead flesh. Literally.

    There weren't any spells by Sauron on the Nazgul, they were transformed men by the rings, they were ring wraiths. They never faded into the real of shadows they were in both physical and dead realm, their fate isn't entirely explained not even by the fate of men because they are not men, not mair, not even spirits, they are wraiths.

    When the One ring was destroyed, we assume they were destroyed moments after by the volcano eruption, but how can lava even harm them is not possible, the only other way is that they were not destroyed.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    You forget something important, Nazgul were impervious to normal dead means not even by water or fire.
    By virtue of not being entirely 'there' physically in the real world (and having faded into the other realm), of having a limited interaction with the physical world; the gear they wore lent them a physical shape ('the black robes were real robes that they wear to give shape to their nothingness when they have dealings with the living' - FOTR). They couldn't be fatally harmed by any normal means as long as Sauron's power protected them: 'The power of their master is in them, and they stand or fall by him.' (FOTR). They died once it didn't, when they were caught by the eruption of Mount Doom.

    Those spells you mention there is never any indication of them, in fact there is mention of the opposite:
    What do you think usually shattered every blade that even tried to pierce the Witch-king? '...all blades perish that pierce that dreadful King.' (FOTR). And which no longer worked after Merry had stabbed him, allowing Eowyn to strike a fatal blow. (This would also be why they could not be slain with arrows, as Gandalf had told Legolas).

    Merry's barrow Blade was the one with "spells" to pierce the WK undead flesh. Literally.
    That alone wouldn't have been enough. The exact quote is "cleaving the undead flesh, breaking the spell that knit his unseen sinews to his will". Never any indication of spells, did you say?

    There weren't any spells by Sauron on the Nazgul, they were transformed men by the rings, they were ring wraiths. They never faded into the real of shadows they were in both physical and dead realm, their fate isn't entirely explained not even by the fate of men because they are not men, not mair, not even spirits, they are wraiths.
    It's the fading that makes them wraiths - it's to do with the same thing that happens temporarily when a mortal wears the Ring and turns invisible. Over time, their physical substance becomes ever more frayed and 'thin' in the real world (the same thing Bilbo was beginning to complain of). You can tell that the wraiths exist in the shadow realm because they can be plainly seen by Frodo when he wears the Ring.

    'A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becomes in the end invisible permanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings.'

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    By virtue of not being entirely 'there' physically in the real world (and having faded into the other realm), of having a limited interaction with the physical world; the gear they wore lent them a physical shape ('the black robes were real robes that they wear to give shape to their nothingness when they have dealings with the living' - FOTR). They couldn't be fatally harmed by any normal means as long as Sauron's power protected them: 'The power of their master is in them, and they stand or fall by him.' (FOTR). They died once it didn't, when they were caught by the eruption of Mount Doom.
    Ill elaborate on next part, but actually when Sauron fell, they didn't they supposed to be catched by the fire of the volcano right?

    What do you think usually shattered every blade that even tried to pierce the Witch-king? '...all blades perish that pierce that dreadful King.' (FOTR). And which no longer worked after Merry had stabbed him, allowing Eowyn to strike a fatal blow. (This would also be why they could not be slain with arrows, as Gandalf had told Legolas).
    The witch king, is a special case as"he also wouldn't be killed by the hand of man"FOTR.
    That alone wouldn't have been enough. The exact quote is "cleaving the undead flesh, breaking the spell that knit his unseen sinews to his will". Never any indication of spells, did you say?
    Thats ironic, the spell could be their curse actually, they are wraiths their unseen flesh is a by product of that, so the blade what it did was broke the spell they united their flesh temporarily that is. Sauron spell is not mentioned, a spell could mean curse of their condition

    It's the fading that makes them wraiths - it's to do with the same thing that happens temporarily when a mortal wears the Ring and turns invisible. Over time, their physical substance becomes ever more frayed and 'thin' in the real world (the same thing Bilbo was beginning to complain of). You can tell that the wraiths exist in the shadow realm because they can be plainly seen by Frodo when he wears the Ring.

    'A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becomes in the end invisible permanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings.'
    You forget they are also physical, Nazgul are also different from other wraiths they are both in physical and undead world, frodo wounded by a morgul blade would fade, but Nazgul didn't fade so...no Nazguls aren't normal and also by logic are bound to physical realm aswell.
    Last edited by Al.; Sep 30 2013 at 08:51 PM.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Ill elaborate on next part, but actually when Sauron fell, they didn't they supposed to be catched by the fire of the volcano right?
    So not instantly, but very shortly afterwards. Near enough. The point was that they don't perish until after his power is gone.

    The witch king, is a special case as"he also wouldn't be killed by the hand of man"FOTR.
    It was his fate that he wouldn't fall by the hand of man, not that he couldn't.

    Thats ironic, the spell could be their curse actually, they are wraiths their unseen flesh is a by product of that, so the blade what it did was broke the spell they united their flesh temporarily that is. Sauron spell is not mentioned, a spell could mean curse of their condition
    I'm going to say it again:: what makes blades that pierce the Witch-king shatter? They're not simply invisible undead guys, there's something more than that going on. Having unseen flesh isn't some by-product of them being wraiths, it's a fundamental part of their condition.

    You forget they are also physical, Nazgul are also different from other wraiths they are both in physical and undead world, frodo wounded by a morgul blade would fade, but Nazgul didn't fade so...no Nazguls aren't normal and also by logic are bound to physical realm aswell.
    They're only partly physical, that's why their perceptions of reality were odd and why when they're 'naked', all they seem to be able to do is be scary. And yes, the Nazgul damn well had faded, that's what Gandalf told Frodo. If his heart had been pierced by the Morgul-blade he'd have faded immediately and become like them, it says, just weaker and under their control.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    So not instantly, but very shortly afterwards. Near enough. The point was that they don't perish until after his power is gone.
    Proves my point, the spell or curse of the ring perdured After the fall of sauron.

    It was his fate that he wouldn't fall by the hand of man, not that he couldn't.
    It would take more than just a man to kill the witch king.

    I'm going to say it again:: what makes blades that pierce the Witch-king shatter? They're not simply invisible undead guys, there's something more than that going on. Having unseen flesh isn't some by-product of them being wraiths, it's a fundamental part of their condition.
    They have undead flesh, that important because it takes a barrow blade to do that exactly, and even that wasn't permanent.

    The blade construction was exactly that, it was made precisely to harm the Nazgul, no ordinary weapon could do the same. The blade shatters because the witchking is impervious to any blade to boot.

    They're only partly physical, that's why their perceptions of reality were odd and why when they're 'naked', all they seem to be able to do is be scary. And yes, the Nazgul damn well had faded, that's what Gandalf told Frodo. If his heart had been pierced by the Morgul-blade he'd have faded immediately and become like them, it says, just weaker and under their control.
    "The Nazgûl were they, the Ringwraiths, 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"

    They are more than just scary, darkness went with them it on their flesh....Morgoths ring is Arda itself, hence the Shadow realm, hence the Nazgul...

    Frodo would become a shade in the shadow world less than a Nazgul becuase he would be able to be in the physical world.

    The fires of Mount Doom didn't have the invisible power to destroy the Nazgul, only very few things could even harm them barrow blades specifically without the ring they lost most of their power I do agree, but not all, not their darkness.
    Last edited by Al.; Sep 30 2013 at 10:22 PM.

  12. #37
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    The only thing that can destroy the Nazgul is an unseen force like the Oathbreakers or a Powerful man like Aragorn with Anduril Flame of the West. Tolkien-wise.

    The new prophecy is: the Last Nazgul will be vanished by his mortal enemy a Furian, easily.
    Last edited by Al.; Sep 30 2013 at 11:18 PM.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Proves my point, the spell or curse of the ring perdured After the fall of sauron.
    Whatever, that passage in RotK has the remaining Ring-wraiths being destroyed in mid-air by the eruption and there is no reason to doubt Tolkien's intent there - it's another part of the 'clean-up' in which Sauron's stuff falls down in ruin and his creatures perish en masse. There's no reason to think Tolkien would leave a loose end.

    It would take more than just a man to kill the witch king.
    Says who? The point is that it wasn't fated to happen that way, so it doesn't; that gives him an effective immunity as far as the plot goes but doesn't make it absolute.

    They have undead flesh, that important because it takes a barrow blade to do that exactly, and even that wasn't permanent.
    So? That doesn't require them to be fully solid in the real world. The way they act when 'unclad' implies they're not entirely solid in the real world, that they're not simply invisible undead. Gandalf applies the term 'formlessness' to their state, that's more than simply being unseen.

    The blade construction was exactly that, it was made precisely to harm the Nazgul, no ordinary weapon could do the same. The blade shatters because the witchking is impervious to any blade to boot.
    Yes, but he's not impervious by accident, that's been deliberately engineered.

    They are more than just scary, darkness went with them it on their flesh....Morgoths ring is Arda itself, hence the Shadow realm, hence the Nazgul...
    The point was that when they're unclad they don't seem to be fully engaged with the real world - they can cause terror but they seem to be otherwise limited in what they can do. Hence (and facetiously) 'scary'.

    Frodo would become a shade in the shadow world less than a Nazgul becuase he would be able to be in the physical world.
    That's not what it says, it says he would become like they are, just weaker.

    The fires of Mount Doom didn't have the invisible power to destroy the Nazgul, only very few things could even harm them barrow blades specifically without the ring they lost most of their power I do agree, but not all, not their darkness.
    They were leery of even ordinary fire, and there's supposed to be something extraordinary about the fires of Mount Doom so that's not an assumption you can leap to like that.

  14. #39

    I'll offer some clarifications that might help.

    This is a bit of a "grab-bag", and cut-short for clarity:

    The barrow-blades are described as being, "wound with spells for the destruction of Angmar", or words to that effect: if this description does not appear in Book 5, then it's in Book 1, either after Bombadil first rescues the hobbits from the barrow, or in the wilds with Aragorn when he gets a peek at their equipment. I'm also sure that after Merry's blade breaks a passage reads something like, "happy would be he, who first wrought [Merry's barrow-blade] to know [that it would strike the blow that ham-strung the Witch-King]".

    I pointed out earlier that the Nazgul are Nazgul because of their own Rings, not because of any "empowerment" by Sauron; please refer to my most-recent post.

    Same post, I reminded everyone that the (remaining) Nazgul were destroyed when the One Ring was destroyed, not because destruction of the One destroyed Sauron, but because the Nine Rings lost their Powers when the One was destroyed. The eruption of Orodruin that ensued had nothing to do with the destruction of the Nazgul: they "disintegrated" in mid-air and, presumably, mid-shriek.

    Gandalf's remarks ("the Nazgul stand or fall by their master") remain true: Sauron could only be overthrown by the destruction of the One Ring, which is the only event that could break the spell of the Nine Rings over the men who had become Nazgul.

    Gandalf's words to Legolas in Rohan remain true: any Nazgul has become, unnaturally, not-mortal, so no "mortal wound" would appreciably vex one.

    Glorfindel's Witch-King prophecy, "not by the hand of man will [the Witch King] fall" should not be misinterpreted: the prophecy is foresight, not a dissertation on the nature of the Nazgul.

    The Nazgul hated and feared water, as well as fire: all natural forces accosted their unnatural existence; even more, they hated and feared a High Lord of the Eldar, fully revealed in his wrath and wielding fire.

    When the Nazgul are overwhelmed in the flood at Rivendell, they are robbed of their shapes and forced to return to Mordor, rather than continue to pursue their errand: this can only mean that they were, if only temporarily, un-made by that torrent of elemental force; "shapeless", how did they cross Anduin, or any other intervening rivers? (rhetorical question).

    Gandalf (and possibly others) comment on the "nothingness", or "emptiness", of the Nazgul: all of these remarks should be considered in the context of double-entendre; the Nazgul are devoid of (real) life, virtue and love, and free will; they are nothing but malicious automatons, abominate effigies enthralled to the Power of their Rings, and to the will of the Master thereof.

    "All blades perish, which pierce that dreadful King", or words to that effect, is the reason given for the breaking-of-blades-against-the-Witch-King, specifically: this is merely an imprecation, the provenance of which remains unknown; it could have been bestowed by Sauron, or by the Witch-King's own sorcery, but it is strongly suggested that it is part-and-parcel with the unnatural nature not of Nazgul, which is dependent on the nature and Powers of the Nine Rings, but of the Witch-King-Nazgul-Chief himself (as if he were, to other Nazgul, what a superduperintendant would be to lowly superintendants).

    "Subintendant" Morgul-knife-Frodo would be exactly like the Nazgul, only weaker: magically cursed into the form of the Ulairi, but not linked to any Ring of Power.

    The Curse of the Dead of Dunharrow was empowered by two things: the "virtue" of the Stone of Erech, as a rescued hallow of Numenor, and Isildur's right to command that "virtue" (itself derived from two sources: Isildur was, by direct line of descent, the true heir of Elros, first King of Numenor; secondly, Isildur had personally rescued the Stone of Erech from the Downfall); in short, this curse is "The Divine-Right Stuff" (that no one at NASA can claim to have ...).

    If I've left any loose ends, I'm sure I'll rue it.

    HoG

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harper_of_Gondolin View Post
    This is a bit of a "grab-bag", and cut-short for clarity:

    The barrow-blades are described as being, "wound with spells for the destruction of Angmar", or words to that effect: if this description does not appear in Book 5, then it's in Book 1, either after Bombadil first rescues the hobbits from the barrow, or in the wilds with Aragorn when he gets a peek at their equipment. I'm also sure that after Merry's blade breaks a passage reads something like, "happy would be he, who first wrought [Merry's barrow-blade] to know [that it would strike the blow that ham-strung the Witch-King]".

    I pointed out earlier that the Nazgul are Nazgul because of their own Rings, not because of any "empowerment" by Sauron; please refer to my most-recent post.
    Yes that is my point too.

    Same post, I reminded everyone that the (remaining) Nazgul were destroyed when the One Ring was destroyed, not because destruction of the One destroyed Sauron, but because the Nine Rings lost their Powers when the One was destroyed. The eruption of Orodruin that ensued had nothing to do with the destruction of the Nazgul: they "disintegrated" in mid-air and, presumably, mid-shriek.
    This is a loose end by tolkien sadly, when Sauron is destroyed we are told that they are leaderless and shriek in terror just to be put down by the volcano. But they are Nazgul they can recover their form from that.

    Gandalf's remarks ("the Nazgul stand or fall by their master") remain true: Sauron could only be overthrown by the destruction of the One Ring, which is the only event that could break the spell of the Nine Rings over the men who had become Nazgul.
    Gandalf remark is true, they stand or fall by their master, because their master is their leader, but the Nazgul can become independant too after the One ring is destroyed.


    Glorfindel's Witch-King prophecy, "not by the hand of man will [the Witch King] fall" should not be misinterpreted: the prophecy is foresight, not a dissertation on the nature of the Nazgul.
    I agree, but remember that prophecy is only for the witch king, which is a witch to start and a nazgul both!

    The Nazgul hated and feared water, as well as fire: all natural forces accosted their unnatural existence; even more, they hated and feared a High Lord of the Eldar, fully revealed in his wrath and wielding fire.
    Yes they feared water, with expection of the Witch King. But they could be temporarily weakened by it and thats it.

    When the Nazgul are overwhelmed in the flood at Rivendell, they are robbed of their shapes and forced to return to Mordor, rather than continue to pursue their errand: this can only mean that they were, if only temporarily, un-made by that torrent of elemental force; "shapeless", how did they cross Anduin, or any other intervening rivers? (rhetorical question).
    This, if they weren't destroyed by a torrent of water which they feared btw, how would they be destroyed by a volcano?

    Gandalf (and possibly others) comment on the "nothingness", or "emptiness", of the Nazgul: all of these remarks should be considered in the context of double-entendre; the Nazgul are devoid of (real) life, virtue and love, and free will; they are nothing but malicious automatons, abominate effigies enthralled to the Power of their Rings, and to the will of the Master thereof.
    This completely true thats what Nazgul are, but once the One Ring is destroyed they recover free-will but their darkness remains, they become even more evil.

    Thanks harper I agree with most you said so far, good discussion.
    Last edited by Al.; Oct 01 2013 at 02:45 PM.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harper_of_Gondolin View Post
    I pointed out earlier that the Nazgul are Nazgul because of their own Rings, not because of any "empowerment" by Sauron; please refer to my most-recent post.
    Their basic state as invisible 'wraiths', sure. Everything else? Debatable, particularly as it can be seen from the books that Sauron can and does empower them, and that he lends them more power once open hostilities begin. They don't wear their Rings any more.

    Same post, I reminded everyone that the (remaining) Nazgul were destroyed when the One Ring was destroyed, not because destruction of the One destroyed Sauron, but because the Nine Rings lost their Powers when the One was destroyed. The eruption of Orodruin that ensued had nothing to do with the destruction of the Nazgul: they "disintegrated" in mid-air and, presumably, mid-shriek.
    They didn't just happen to 'disintegrate' at that precise moment, what we're told is that 'caught in the fiery ruin of hill and sky they crackled, withered, and went out.'

    The Curse of the Dead of Dunharrow was empowered by two things: the "virtue" of the Stone of Erech, as a rescued hallow of Numenor, and Isildur's right to command that "virtue" (itself derived from two sources: Isildur was, by direct line of descent, the true heir of Elros, first King of Numenor; secondly, Isildur had personally rescued the Stone of Erech from the Downfall); in short, this curse is "The Divine-Right Stuff" (that no one at NASA can claim to have ...).
    There's a simpler explanation: that the Stone is hallowed, and the Powers would bear witness to oaths sworn upon it. Like other Numenorean rulers, Isildur was effectively a priest-king (from a tradition of offering solemn prayers on behalf of the people, with the Eagles of Manwë bearing witness) and so the Powers would heed his curse on the Men of the White Mountains for their oath-breaking. It's traditional: break your solemn oath and the gods will punish you, and if you really take the mickey then you can expect something epically dreadful to happen to you, as the gods really don't like being mocked like that. No magic rock needed for the punishment part, no need for it to have some weirdly specific 'virtue', just some rather sharp divine displeasure attracted by having broken an oath sworn upon it. And yes, it's Isildur being heeded as to the manner of their punishment because he's king by divine right.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Their basic state as invisible 'wraiths', sure. Everything else? Debatable, particularly as it can be seen from the books that Sauron can and does empower them, and that he lends them more power once open hostilities begin. They don't wear their Rings any more.
    Not really, he orders them to do tasks for him the rest is Nazgul deal.


    There's a simpler explanation: that the Stone is hallowed, and the Powers would bear witness to oaths sworn upon it. Like other Numenorean rulers, Isildur was effectively a priest-king (from a tradition of offering solemn prayers on behalf of the people, with the Eagles of Manwë bearing witness) and so the Powers would heed his curse on the Men of the White Mountains for their oath-breaking. It's traditional: break your solemn oath and the gods will punish you, and if you really take the mickey then you can expect something epically dreadful to happen to you, as the gods really don't like being mocked like that. No magic rock needed for the punishment part, no need for it to have some weirdly specific 'virtue', just some rather sharp divine displeasure attracted by having broken an oath sworn upon it. And yes, it's Isildur being heeded as to the manner of their punishment because he's king by divine right.
    Wrong, the stone of erech is key part, just like Anduril is the king's sword that enables to summon them. Its not "just divine" intervention when Aragorn does things its half and half, Aragorn deserve respect for the things he does aswell.

    The curse of the oathbreakers by Isildur is also half-half deal, he definetly cursed them and Iluviatar did the rest.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Not really, he orders them to do tasks for him the rest is Nazgul deal.
    Don't talk rot, they're far more powerful later in the books.

    Wrong, the stone of erech is key part, just like Anduril is the king's sword that enables to summon them. Its not "just divine" intervention when Aragorn does things its half and half, Aragorn deserve respect for the things he does aswell.
    No, you just prefer to imagine it that way, probably because you're over-used to thinking in those terms. You want to think it's some powerful artifact with dark magical properties, without thinking for a second "but why have the Numenoreans even got something that could do that" or that it'd be an oddly specific power for a great big rock to have. The idea of it being a sacred stone rather than a magical one isn't some wild notion - belief in such things is, after all, traditional. Nobody said it was 'just' divine intervention when Aragorn does things - it's a huge deal. He can command the Dead because he's a worthy successor to Isildur, his true heir (something of which items like the reforged Sword of Kings are tokens), and so they still owe him allegiance. That's it - and to do that he has to be kingly in a suitably Numenorean style, which means something - he has to be able to look the Dead in the eye and have the will to command them. It's hardly a small thing to take command of an army of the dead! Don't reflexively assume that because Aragorn uses the word 'summon' that has to mean it's some sort of spell. The word has a more straightforward meaning, of calling on people to attend, and because he's the genuine article they're bound to obey by his word alone. No magic needed. Now that's power.

    The curse of the oathbreakers by Isildur is also half-half deal, he definetly cursed them and Iluviatar did the rest.
    Hardly. Nobody except Iluvatar himself could control the fate of the spirits of Men after their death, so Isildur could have no power of his own that'd do that - nor can he plausibly possess the sort of dark magic it'd otherwise take to make an entire people fail to thrive and die out. You're overused to thinking in terms of personal power in fantasy, of it being magic rather than divine power. Classically, when you curse someone like that you're asking the gods to do something on your behalf - sometimes it'd be to take revenge for some slight, and in this case it's to call down a specific punishment on the heads of a bunch of lying, evil, oath-breaking scumbags. But it'd just be words if they weren't heard and acted on by the Powers. To pronounce a curse and have the 'gods' enact it for you in such spectacularly brutal fashion is no small thing, it's a direct recognition of Isildur's status and worthiness that they'd heed his words like that.

  19. #44
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    Hilarious but wrong.

    Nazgul were always that powerful, they just "expressed their power" as events unfolded.

    The stone of erech is magical, just like Oaths thats key to understand both Silmarillion and the Lord of the Rings, the Oath of Feanor, The Oath of Isildur, the loyal numenorians that got an island because of their loyalty.

    Also Aragorn is not a priest-king, we are given data to know this, the scepter of annuminas, the sword of elendil, the crown of ereandil he is more like a pharaoh-king atlantean decent, second his curse is magic like or not, Iluviatar or Mandos did the rest. Its called Flame Imperishable by Tolkien.

    Also on numenorian "crafts", they are clearly magical barrow blades, Anduril, Palantir, Orthanac, Mithril, etc. Numenorians were the elite the closest to the elves and even surpassed or equal them in some things.
    Last edited by Al.; Oct 02 2013 at 03:37 PM.

  20. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    The stone of erech is magical
    Can you provide a quote by Tolkien stating the Stone of Erech was magical? If not, then it is conjecture since the Stone of Erech does not HAVE to be magical in order for the Oathbreakers to have been cursed.

    Also Aragorn is not a priest-king,
    Tolkien disagrees.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tolkien in letter 156
    But the 'hallow' of God and the Mountain had perished, and there was no real substitute. Also when the 'Kings' came to an end there was no equivalent to a 'priesthood': the two being identical in Númenórean ideas.
    [later in the same letter:]
    It later appears that there had been a 'hallow' on Mindolluin, only approachable by the King, where he had anciently offered thanks and praise on behalf of his people; but it had been forgotten. It was re-entered by Aragorn, and there he found a sapling of the White Tree, and replanted it in the Court of the Fountain. It is to be presumed that with the reemergence of the lineal priest kings (of whom Lúthien the Blessed Elf-maiden was a foremother) the worship of God would be renewed, and His Name (or title) be again more often heard. But there would be no temple of the True God while Númenórean influence lasted.
    Also on numenorian "crafts", they are clearly magical barrow blades, Anduril, Palantir, Orthanac, Mithril, etc. Numenorians were the elite the closest to the elves and even surpassed or equal them in some things.
    Anduril was reforged by the Elves of Rivendell from Narsil which was made by the Dwarven smith Telchar.
    The Palantiri were made by Feanor.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ceredig View Post
    Can you provide a quote by Tolkien stating the Stone of Erech was magical? If not, then it is conjecture since the Stone of Erech does not HAVE to be magical in order for the Oathbreakers to have been cursed.
    this is the quote:
    "The Dead awaken; for the hour is come for the oathbreakers: at the Stone of Erech they shall stand again and hear there a horn in the hills ringing."? Malbeth the Seer

    Tolkien disagrees.
    you sure?


    Anduril was reforged by the Elves of Rivendell from Narsil which was made by the Dwarven smith Telchar.
    The Palantiri were made by Feanor.
    Anduril even if made by Telchar …the sword of Elendil filled Orcs and Men with fear, for it shone with the light of the sun and of the moon, and it was named Narsil." ~ Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age. - The Silmarillion

    Palantir were magical stone too made by feanor, Barrow blades were magical swords made in arnor, Mithril is a magical material, Orthanac is a magical tower, Mallorn were magical trees from numenor, steel-bows of numenor did not break, Numenorian boats were almost unsinkable.

    On the priest-kings...
    Doubles and King page 123 for whole quote:
    At the same time, proving he has power over the dead-that he can summon them and they will come to his aid-proves Aragorn is ready to become king.
    Although there is no organized religion in Lord of the Rings, Tolkien made clear in the Silmarillion proved that there has been worship of God in Númenor,and that the king of Númenor were priest-kings (the Faint echo of that religion is seen in the Gondorian practice of facing west, were the temple had been before eating.) As a general rule, priest-kings are believed to echo in their person the order of the whole cosmos, when the king is healthy, wise and fruitful, the land is fruitful too. This connection between king and the land is also the source of the belief that the true king is a healer....
    Now the connection with pharaoh king is more obvious:

    http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/...on/pharaoh.htm

    Pharaohs were believed to be divine and mortal, land flourished because of them, they believed to have power over the dead.
    Last edited by Al.; Oct 02 2013 at 05:17 PM.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Hilarious but wrong.

    Nazgul were always that powerful, they just "expressed their power" as events unfolded.
    O'rly?

    "The Witch-king, their leader, is more powerful in all ways than the others; but he must not yet be raised to the stature of Vol.III. There, put in command by Sauron, he is given an added demonic force."

    - Letter #210

    So there you go, in the author's own words.

    The stone of erech is magical, just like Oaths thats key to understand both Silmarillion and the Lord of the Rings, the Oath of Feanor, The Oath of Isildur, the loyal numenorians that got an island because of their loyalty.
    Nowhere does Tolkien say the Stone is magical so you're simply leaping to a conclusion there. And no, oaths are most emphatically not magical. If you're a witness in court in the UK and you swear on the Bible to tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God" that's an oath. The whole point about such things is that to be forsworn invites divine punishment. That's the sort of thing oaths have always been about - swear by the gods, and the gods will be displeased or angered if you break your word, and Bad Things will happen. Curses are similar - if you say "God damn you" then that's a curse, you're asking God to punish someone using his power. Nothing to do with you at all, if you truly mean it you're really hoping he'll hear you. Same thing with Isildur - he curses those Men, his words are heeded, and *pow* divine punishment.

    So no, I don't think you understand oaths, and if you don't understand them then I'm afraid you don't understand the Sil, either. Which explains a lot.

    Also Aragorn is not a priest-king, we are given data to know this, the scepter of annuminas, the sword of elendil, the crown of ereandil he is more like a pharaoh-king atlantean decent, second his curse is magic like or not, Iluviatar or Mandos did the rest. Its called Flame Imperishable by Tolkien.
    Err, hello, the Pharaohs of Egypt were god-kings (believed to be divine) so if anything that's worse. You need to read Tolkien's description of Numenor in UT: as I said, the kings would offer prayers on behalf of their people (Manwe would send a couple of his Eagles to bear witness), and that puts them in the role of priest-kings: they mediated between the people and the Powers, and they were crucial to the spiritual health of their people. That's why everything is so suddenly wonderful again once Aragorn's on the throne, the old relationship is renewed (complete with a new little White Tree, as a miraculous token of that).

    As for the Flame Imperishable, that's Iluvatar's secret power of true creation. Nobody else gets a look in, that was the thing Melkor coveted most of all.

  23. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    this is the quote:
    "The Dead awaken; for the hour is come for the oathbreakers: at the Stone of Erech they shall stand again and hear there a horn in the hills ringing."? Malbeth the Seer
    I asked for a quote proving the Stone of Erech was magical. Malbeth's prophecy in no way indicates that since it merely states that the oathbreakers will gather at the Stone of Erech.
    you sure?
    You said Aragorn was not a priest-king.
    Tolkien says the Numenoreans were and that Aragorn re-established the institution.
    Of course I am sure. It's all there in plain English.


    Anduril even if made by Telchar …the sword of Elendil filled Orcs and Men with fear, for it shone with the light of the sun and of the moon, and it was named Narsil." ~ Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age. - The Silmarillion

    Palantir were magical stone too made by feanor, Barrow blades were magical swords made in arnor, Mithril is a magical material, Orthanac is a magical tower, Mallorn were magical trees from numenor, steel-bows of numenor did not break, Numenorian boats were almost unsinkable.
    Glad to see you admit you were mistaken when you listed Anduril and the Palantiri as examples of Numenorean craft..
    As for Mallorn trees, they were originally from Tol Eressea and were brought to Numenor by the elves. They were introduced to Middle-earth by the Numenoreans yes, but were not originally from there.

    On the priest-kings...
    Doubles and King page 123 for whole quote:
    So this secondary source agrees with what Tolkien actually said because this person obviously read his letters. It merely reinforces what Tolkien already said: namely, that Aragorn was a 'priest-king', something you said was not the case.

    Now the connection with pharaoh king is more obvious:

    http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/...on/pharaoh.htm

    Pharaohs were believed to be divine and mortal, land flourished because of them, they believed to have power over the dead.
    [/quote]
    Sorry, how is an article which does not even reference Tolkien be more obvious than Tolkien's actual words.
    You said "Aragorn is not a priest-king". Tolkien says he was. You are wrong, Tolkien is right.
    Last edited by Ceredig; Oct 02 2013 at 06:11 PM.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    O'rly?

    "The Witch-king, their leader, is more powerful in all ways than the others; but he must not yet be raised to the stature of Vol.III. There, put in command by Sauron, he is given an added demonic force."

    - Letter #210
    Its not complete quote and also that only indicates WK was empowered not the rest of the Nazgul.

    Complete Quote:
    "Their peril is almost entirely due to the unreasoning fear which they inspire . They have no great physical power against the fearless; but what they have, and the fear that they inspire, is enormously increased in darkness. The Witch-king, their leader, is more powerful in all ways than the others; but he must not yet be raised to the stature of Vol. III. There, put in command by Sauron, he is given an added demonic force."

    Nowhere does Tolkien say the Stone is magical so you're simply leaping to a conclusion there.
    Im not, Malbeth the Seer said the Stone is were Aragorn will summon the Oathbreakers, a Stone brought from Numenor non-the-less key for tha oath....

    And no, oaths are most emphatically not magical. If you're a witness in court in the UK and you swear on the Bible to tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God" that's an oath. The whole point about such things is that to be forsworn invites divine punishment. That's the sort of thing oaths have always been about - swear by the gods, and the gods will be displeased or angered if you break your word, and Bad Things will happen. Curses are similar - if you say "God damn you" then that's a curse, you're asking God to punish someone using his power. Nothing to do with you at all, if you truly mean it you're really hoping he'll hear you. Same thing with Isildur - he curses those Men, his words are heeded, and *pow* divine punishment.

    So no, I don't think you understand oaths, and if you don't understand them then I'm afraid you don't understand the Sil, either. Which explains a lot.
    The contrary actually, curses usually happen when a powerful person does it, Gods or God have very few power in that. That is why Feanor cursing Morgoth as Black Enemy of the World is profound, the Valar even disagreed with him but his curse took place, Morgoth was then named the Balck enemy of the world ever since.


    As for the Flame Imperishable, that's Iluvatar's secret power of true creation. Nobody else gets a look in, that was the thing Melkor coveted most of all.
    I can't tell you you would never understand.

    to Ceredrig:
    You don't understand, Tolkien grabbed ideas from multiple mythologies including Pharaos, Kings, Atlantis, and so on, you lack of understanding different myths forbids you of knowing priest-king is the same as Pharao.

  25. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    to Ceredrig:
    You don't understand, Tolkien grabbed ideas from multiple mythologies including Pharaos, Kings, Atlantis, and so on, you lack of understanding different myths forbids you of knowing priest-king is the same as Pharao.
    If that is what you are saying now, then fine. But that is NOT what you said earlier.
    You said he was NOT a priest-king. I provided evidence proving your statement false.
    If that makes me ignorant that I can only assume your country of origin is Orwell's Oceania.

    Refrain from commenting on other's people's knowledge or understanding of which you are utterly ignorant. Their knowledge may be greater than your own. That people do not agree with your speculations does not make them ignorant. It means that they prefer to base their understanding of Tolkien on that which can be substantiated with textual evidence as opposed conjectures made by individuals who are emotionally invested in their personal flights of fancy.

 

 
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