We have detected that cookies are not enabled on your browser. Please enable cookies to ensure the proper experience.
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 34
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Lothlorien
    Posts
    1,708

    More Questions on the Nazgul

    1.) How did the change from human to wraith occur? Was it kind of a "instantaneous" thing (i.e went to sleep human one night, woke up a wraith the next)?
    2.) Is there any indication from any of Tolkien's works that, before becoming Ringwraiths, the 9 Kings knew what was happening to them? I've always wondered whether the story of the wraiths was more tragic or kind of a "you got what you deserved" type of thing.
    3.) Were all of the Nazgul evil before their transformation?
    I've been at the mercy of men just following orders. Never again.

  2. #2
    The change is slow and gradual same as with the One Ring. As Gandalf explained to Frodo, a mortal wearing one of the great rings gets stretched gradually and ultimately becomes a shade.

    At least 3 of them were supposed to have been Black Numenoreans, one (Khamul) the Easterling lord. Others most likely of a similar sort.

    The concept of "evil" mortal is a complicated question in itself. But they were hardly innocent victims, they wanted power. Sauron knew who to present with the Rings. They used the gifts to gain great power while still being mortal becoming various lords and kings. They most likely didn't realize their ultimate fate, but they were happy to play along with Sauron and at least had some idea who their "benefactor" was.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Middle-earth
    Posts
    1,700
    Which begs the question: since they no longer had a will of their own as Nazgûl, would their evil doings during their time as Nazgûl be forgiven by Mandos and/or Iluvatar?
    In other words, would they only be 'punished' for their crimes during life (if any), or also during the Nazgûl period?
    [I]In the sea without lees standeth the Bird of Hermes.
    [/I][I]When all his feathers be from him gone, He standeth still here as a stone.
    Here is now both white and red, And all so the stone to quicken the dead[/I][I].
    The Bird of Hermes is my name, Eating my wings to make me tame.[/I]

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    Which begs the question: since they no longer had a will of their own as Nazgûl, would their evil doings during their time as Nazgûl be forgiven by Mandos and/or Iluvatar?
    In other words, would they only be 'punished' for their crimes during life (if any), or also during the Nazgûl period?
    Since they didn't lose their will at once after receiving the Rings, I'd say they did quite enough evil before fading to be punished thrice over. So for them at least their crimes after fading are a moot point.
    But yes, as Nazgul I'd say their mortal aspects are pretty much absent at that point.

  5. #5
    Not so much evil before coming under the spell of their rings; but greedy and power hungry, perhaps a sort of evil. It was their hunger for power that madethem so susceptible to the influence of Sauron.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Land of Entrapment (come on vacation, leave on probation)
    Posts
    347
    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    Which begs the question: since they no longer had a will of their own as Nazgûl, would their evil doings during their time as Nazgûl be forgiven by Mandos and/or Iluvatar?
    In other words, would they only be 'punished' for their crimes during life (if any), or also during the Nazgûl period?
    One thing, I have not read all of the Histories of M-e, but I cannot recall any references to punishment for "crimes" (read sins) apart from a sojourn in the halls of Mandos, with the exception of Morgoth, who was cast out of Arda into the void. Neither Iluvatar, Manwe, Mandos, nor indeed any of the Ainur seem to have much of a desire to dole out punishment. Please correct my ignorance if I'm wrong. Would love to hear Rad's opinion here.
    "Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn." -C. S. Lewis-

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Duathrandir View Post
    One thing, I have not read all of the Histories of M-e, but I cannot recall any references to punishment for "crimes" (read sins) apart from a sojourn in the halls of Mandos, with the exception of Morgoth, who was cast out of Arda into the void. Neither Iluvatar, Manwe, Mandos, nor indeed any of the Ainur seem to have much of a desire to dole out punishment. Please correct my ignorance if I'm wrong. Would love to hear Rad's opinion here.
    Yes, the Valar have some jurisdiction only concerning the Elves and then the only punishment seems to be the amount of time spent in Mandos. Men are beyond the Powers and even the Valar have no idea what happens to them. What Eru may do with their souls is another question, but that's completely unknown.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bristol, England
    Posts
    6,284
    Quote Originally Posted by Duathrandir View Post
    One thing, I have not read all of the Histories of M-e, but I cannot recall any references to punishment for "crimes" (read sins) apart from a sojourn in the halls of Mandos, with the exception of Morgoth, who was cast out of Arda into the void. Neither Iluvatar, Manwe, Mandos, nor indeed any of the Ainur seem to have much of a desire to dole out punishment.
    Agreed, it seems there was no punishment other than perpetual confinement in the Halls of Mandos for anyone who'd been really naughty (like Feanor, say). Leaving Morgoth's fate aside, it does seem there was also some sort of exile for those who weren't wanted at all (whose sins were too great to be redeemed?) - like whatever happened to Saruman's spirit after Wormtongue had killed his physical form.

  9. #9
    In fact the only one who has ever shown a mean streak is, surprisingly, Eru.
    The indiscriminate drowning of Numenor always bothered me. I mean, saving 9 ships to save some heritage is all fine and great, imprisoning the whole army under the Pelori is also understandable. But the total sterilization of the problem is an unexpected move for a benevolent deity as he appears elsewhere.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Middle-earth
    Posts
    1,700
    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Agreed, it seems there was no punishment other than perpetual confinement in the Halls of Mandos for anyone who'd been really naughty (like Feanor, say). Leaving Morgoth's fate aside, it does seem there was also some sort of exile for those who weren't wanted at all (whose sins were too great to be redeemed?) - like whatever happened to Saruman's spirit after Wormtongue had killed his physical form.
    This is what I mean. IF they are held accountable for their misdeeds during their Nazgûl time, I would expect the same sort of punishment Saruman received. The WK for example did some pretty horrible deeds (poor Arnor folk, poor Eärnur). But since he no longer had any evident free will, perhaps those actions would not be held against him.



    Quote Originally Posted by Egorvlad View Post
    In fact the only one who has ever shown a mean streak is, surprisingly, Eru.
    The indiscriminate drowning of Numenor always bothered me. I mean, saving 9 ships to save some heritage is all fine and great, imprisoning the whole army under the Pelori is also understandable. But the total sterilization of the problem is an unexpected move for a benevolent deity as he appears elsewhere.
    This seems to be one of those points where Tolkien's catholic views shine through. The vengeful deity that performs genocide is the Torah / The Old Testament in a nutshell.
    On a side note, strangely enough Tolkien decided to show Eru's nicer side through mostly pagan deity qualities, i.e. not requiring worship, not requiring a personal deity and such. I mean I know he really loved pagan, nordic and greek religions, but for a man who praised the Catholic church (and christian faith in general) he really picked some its worst qualities of it to create his own religions.
    EDIT: I know I know, religious talk is forbidden on the forums. But this is about Tolkien's work after all and not delving into any sort of philosophical discussion.
    Last edited by BirdofHermes; Oct 17 2013 at 05:08 AM.
    [I]In the sea without lees standeth the Bird of Hermes.
    [/I][I]When all his feathers be from him gone, He standeth still here as a stone.
    Here is now both white and red, And all so the stone to quicken the dead[/I][I].
    The Bird of Hermes is my name, Eating my wings to make me tame.[/I]

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    This is what I mean. IF they are held accountable for their misdeeds during their Nazgûl time, I would expect the same sort of punishment Saruman received. The WK for example did some pretty horrible deeds (poor Arnor folk, poor Eärnur). But since he no longer had any evident free will, perhaps those actions would not be held against him.
    Actually an interesting question is what exactly are they at the point of destruction? Are they still Men and thus depart from Ea as all others, or are they more spirits now bound within Arda and open to the judgement of the Powers...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bristol, England
    Posts
    6,284
    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    This seems to be one of those points where Tolkien's catholic views shine through. The vengeful deity that performs genocide is the Torah / The Old Testament in a nutshell.
    Since Iluvatar was (so far as Tolkien was concerned) the Judaeo-Christian God in all but name, you'd expect a bit of OT-style wrath at some point. And in any case, given the scenario (a bunch of extremely powerful Men fall under the sway of evil and declare war oh heaven) what other option was there? It was a bit past just rapping their knuckles. Simply removing Valinor from the circles of the world wouldn't have fixed the problem. Besides, the inspiration was the legend of Atlantis, and with that particular vision in his head (the great wave sweeping across the land, etc.) there was really only one way it could turn out.

    On a side note, strangely enough Tolkien decided to show Eru's nicer side through mostly pagan deity qualities, i.e. not requiring worship, not requiring a personal deity and such. I mean I know he really loved pagan, nordic and greek religions, but for a man who praised the Catholic church (and christian faith in general) he really picked some its worst qualities of it to create his own religions.
    But by no means all, since the lack of Hell (and the consequent lack of the grotesque punishment of sins in the afterlife) makes it decidedly un-Catholic (at least as regards medieval-style hellfire and damnation).

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Middle-earth
    Posts
    1,700
    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Since Iluvatar was (so far as Tolkien was concerned) the Judaeo-Christian God in all but name, you'd expect a bit of OT-style wrath at some point. And in any case, given the scenario (a bunch of extremely powerful Men fall under the sway of evil and declare war oh heaven) what other option was there? It was a bit past just rapping their knuckles. Simply removing Valinor from the circles of the world wouldn't have fixed the problem. Besides, the inspiration was the legend of Atlantis, and with that particular vision in his head (the great wave sweeping across the land, etc.) there was really only one way it could turn out.
    The other option was not drowning Númenor, or at least saving those innocent besides the few Faithful that escaped on their dingies. There have to have been more innocents after all; you can't expect me to believe that every lowly farmer sweating on the fields or every child knew about what was going on up in those High and Mighty Citadels, let alone participating in human sacrifice. Not that I'm saying it's impossible, but it seems so far-fetched that nigh every inhabitant was guilty of such crimes.



    But by no means all, since the lack of Hell (and the consequent lack of the grotesque punishment of sins in the afterlife) makes it decidedly un-Catholic (at least as regards medieval-style hellfire and damnation).
    Oh no, certainly not all. I think the most iconic Catholic construct he used was something akin to -but not entirely the same as- purgatory (in this case the baddies waiting for the final battle in The Void) and the genocide and DD were in turn probably the most iconic judaic and christian elements respectively. There's even a Messiah like figure that is destined to kill Melkor to be found in Túrin.
    None of those are very pleasent, but he could have done a lot worse by including things like original sin, hell, forced worship/slavery/####, etc. Thankfully he didn't, he mixed it up with more forgiving religions he liked and the end result is -to me at least- much more enjoyable to read.
    [I]In the sea without lees standeth the Bird of Hermes.
    [/I][I]When all his feathers be from him gone, He standeth still here as a stone.
    Here is now both white and red, And all so the stone to quicken the dead[/I][I].
    The Bird of Hermes is my name, Eating my wings to make me tame.[/I]

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    The Lowlands
    Posts
    358
    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    The other option was not drowning Númenor, or at least saving those innocent besides the few Faithful that escaped on their dingies. There have to have been more innocents after all; you can't expect me to believe that every lowly farmer sweating on the fields or every child knew about what was going on up in those High and Mighty Citadels, let alone participating in human sacrifice. Not that I'm saying it's impossible, but it seems so far-fetched that nigh every inhabitant was guilty of such crimes.
    Except that the Numanorians did not have lowly farmers. During the reign of Ar Pharazon the Numanorians were colonizing Middle Earth and enslaving the people there, the Numanorians would not need lowly farmers, anywhere on Numanor. Children generally believe what their parents believe until they become mature and start reasoning for themselves. And rich people do strange things, i mean who actually needs 10 Hummers all in a different color(i know people who do).

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Middle-earth
    Posts
    1,700
    Quote Originally Posted by c_the_awesome View Post
    Except that the Numanorians did not have lowly farmers. During the reign of Ar Pharazon the Numanorians were colonizing Middle Earth and enslaving the people there, the Numanorians would not need lowly farmers, anywhere on Numanor. Children generally believe what their parents believe until they become mature and start reasoning for themselves. And rich people do strange things, i mean who actually needs 10 Hummers all in a different color(i know people who do).
    I'm afraid you haven't convinced me since in pretty much every culture that enslaved others to work, there were still many lower classes that worked. As for children believing what their parents believe; wouldn't you call that innocent?
    [I]In the sea without lees standeth the Bird of Hermes.
    [/I][I]When all his feathers be from him gone, He standeth still here as a stone.
    Here is now both white and red, And all so the stone to quicken the dead[/I][I].
    The Bird of Hermes is my name, Eating my wings to make me tame.[/I]

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    The Lowlands
    Posts
    358
    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    I'm afraid you haven't convinced me since in pretty much every culture that enslaved others to work, there were still many lower classes that worked. As for children believing what their parents believe; wouldn't you call that innocent?
    In ancient cultures your people worshiped the god of their region and people. Except a small minority worshiped something else. I know this for a fact, I live in South-East Asia, where there are many people groups and they all participate in the religion of their people, be that Buddhism or Animism, or what other deity their tribe honors, except a small minority is Christian or Muslim. As for your children statement, I know children who are more religious and spiritual then their parents.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Middle-earth
    Posts
    1,700
    Quote Originally Posted by c_the_awesome View Post
    In ancient cultures your people worshiped the god of their region and people. Except a small minority worshiped something else. I know this for a fact, I live in South-East Asia, where there are many people groups and they all participate in the religion of their people, be that Buddhism or Animism, or what other deity their tribe honors, except a small minority is Christian or Muslim. As for your children statement, I know children who are more religious and spiritual then their parents.
    I'm afraid I don't see how having different religions is relevant to there being farmers.
    And of course children can be more religious and/or spiritual than their parents, but that doesn't mean they aren't innocent.
    Young children do not yet comprehend what many of a religion's aspects mean, nor do they possess the intellectual tools to discern these logically. They repeat what they are told until they come of an age where they learn to use logic and come into contact with life views other than their parent's. Then they may choose to continue or abandon their religion.
    [I]In the sea without lees standeth the Bird of Hermes.
    [/I][I]When all his feathers be from him gone, He standeth still here as a stone.
    Here is now both white and red, And all so the stone to quicken the dead[/I][I].
    The Bird of Hermes is my name, Eating my wings to make me tame.[/I]

  18. #18
    The Men of Numenor, above all others in Arda, know who Eru is. They know who Manwe and the rest are. And they are given, really, only one commandment to abide by - don't go to the Undying Lands. The Numenoreans lost their land because they grew arrogant enough to think 1) that Eru was wrong; 2) that they deserved eternal life on Arda; and 3) that they could by any force defeat the Valar. Eru, in response, removed the temptation entirely from the world so that they could not find it anymore, and destroyed their land and the larger part of their people, nearly all of whom were in agreement with Ar Pharazon. It was mutiny or turning traitor or treason or whatever against the highest authority in the universe of Arda. I find it kind of funny that anyone would have issue with Eru's response in light of that, when NO ONE at any time in Earth's history has ever been okay with being betrayed - we are as a race far more likely to forgive a stranger who wrongs us than a friend who does.

    Or, looked at in another way, Numenor was a gift for the Edain's service and faithfulness in the First Age and during the War of Wrath. Why should they not expect to lose the gift if they cease to be faithful? Clearly, the Faithful did expect this, which is why they were ready on the day.

    Were they deceived? Sure. But they had two choices to believe - that Eru meant his commands for good and that the Gift to Men really is a gift, or that Sauron is correct and Eru is lying. And they knew Sauron was a murderer, deceitful, treacherous and evil to his core. They'd known it for centuries. Yet they believed him anyway. I call that willingness to be deceived, desiring to be deceived, and siding with a traitor because he tells you what you want to hear, which has never been excused by any authority that has ever existed. And, by the way, this was several hundred years in the making. It wasn't a spur of the moment wake up, have coffee, I think I'll sail west and murder the Valar today thing.

    Also, remember that in ending their lives in the Downfall, Eru has not ended their existence. Humans are eternal in the universe of Arda. It is only their bodies on Arda marred that perish.

    Discussion on the fate of children (and I don't think there were many left in Numenor, given the decline in birth rate that is implied elsewhere and so forth) will inevitably descend into a discussion on why bad things happen to children, whether God is good, how He can be just if good people suffer and so forth - in other words, this will be and probably already is a discussion of religion and I don't want to go down that road on a game forum, though I'd gladly do so in another medium. My point here is merely to show that this wasn't a case of Bobby has been bad, you should spank him and not kill him; rather, it is a case of a multitude who willingly attempted to make war on Eru and the Valar - they wanted to murder the gods and take their loot and life for their own. Annihilation should have been expected, not a surprise.

  19. #19
    Great summarization, Mulkfather.
    I think it's a given that:
    - A whole nation to the last person cannot be "evil" in any sense
    - Killing them all is not nice
    - Numenor's fate is one instance (rare enough to be fair) where Tolkien's Christian background shows through

    But we digressed. The question of the ultimate fate of the Nazgul is still open. Anyone got solid theories?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Mulkfather View Post
    Discussion on the fate of children (and I don't think there were many left in Numenor, given the decline in birth rate that is implied elsewhere and so forth) will inevitably descend into a discussion on why bad things happen to children, whether God is good, how He can be just if good people suffer and so forth - in other words, this will be and probably already is a discussion of religion and I don't want to go down that road on a game forum....
    There have been many discussions in this forum about religion in Middle-earth, as well as how it relates to Tolkien's personal beliefs, for example. I think most of us have shown a fair amount of restraint in these matters, and learned to skip around the more delicate areas and generally kept to the subject of Tolkien's make believe deities.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by BirdofHermes View Post
    This is what I mean. IF they are held accountable for their misdeeds during their Nazgûl time, I would expect the same sort of punishment Saruman received. The WK for example did some pretty horrible deeds (poor Arnor folk, poor Eärnur). But since he no longer had any evident free will, perhaps those actions would not be held against him.
    I'll make an attempt to neatly tie in the recent discussion with the earlier discussion more aligned with the OP:
    Since it seems that several members here are in agreement that the Numenoreans got what they deserved for allowing themselves to be deceived by Sauron, wouldn't it be contradictory to say that the Nazgul didn't really deserve any blame for the choice they made to follow the same Sauron? I think the Nazgul would be held accountable for their choice to accept the rings and have allegiance to Sauron in the first place. Whether they are also accountable for their deeds as Nazgul is akin to debating whether a murderer should be sentenced to life in prision or to life in prison +100 years - in the end, does it really make any difference as they are already spending life in prison?
    "I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend," Faramir in TTT by JRRT.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Lothlorien
    Posts
    1,708
    Quote Originally Posted by Wilros View Post
    I'll make an attempt to neatly tie in the recent discussion with the earlier discussion more aligned with the OP:
    Since it seems that several members here are in agreement that the Numenoreans got what they deserved for allowing themselves to be deceived by Sauron, wouldn't it be contradictory to say that the Nazgul didn't really deserve any blame for the choice they made to follow the same Sauron? I think the Nazgul would be held accountable for their choice to accept the rings and have allegiance to Sauron in the first place.
    They made the choice to accept the Rings out of greed and lust for power, yes, but did they know that Sauron was Sauron at the time? I though that he, at that time, still took the "fair form" appearance when he was dealing with Elves, Men, and Dwarves. I know that the Elves were tricked by this guise, how would the Men be able to see through it and see Sauron for what he really was? Did they Nazgul know who they were getting their Rings of Power from? Or heck, was their greed so great that they didn't even care?
    I've been at the mercy of men just following orders. Never again.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bristol, England
    Posts
    6,284
    Quote Originally Posted by Selebrimbor View Post
    They made the choice to accept the Rings out of greed and lust for power, yes, but did they know that Sauron was Sauron at the time? I though that he, at that time, still took the "fair form" appearance when he was dealing with Elves, Men, and Dwarves. I know that the Elves were tricked by this guise, how would the Men be able to see through it and see Sauron for what he really was? Did they Nazgul know who they were getting their Rings of Power from? Or heck, was their greed so great that they didn't even care?
    We'll never know but not all of them were bad guys to start with - we're told that how long they lasted before they became wraiths had to do with 'the good or evil of their wills in the beginning' (Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age) as well as how strong they each were in themselves.

  24. #24
    I realize that much of the above arguments about ERU are trying to make him a consistent benevolent God. But the Akallabeth, the Fall of Numenor, really couldn't have any other ending or result when you consider the story was, in a way, written backwards. It was written to give a story and reason FOR that destruction. this was Tolkien's story to tie the Atlantis myth into his own Mythos, so it had to end with the sinking of Numenor.

  25. #25
    There is the possibility that the Nazgul themselves were deceived at least in the beginning. You can't make that argument for the Numenoreans as a whole, though. They had been at war on and off with Sauron for centuries before Ar Pharazon took the fleet to Umbar and forced his capitulation. They knew he was bad, knew what he was capable of, and had for many lives of the Numenoreans. He just had a knack for telling them what they wanted to hear.

    I'm uncomfortable with laying total blame on the Nazgul. I think someone above mentioned that Sauron was a fairly good judge of the content of character, even if he wasn't able to judge the actions of those who were not like him, and I find it plausible that he found very powerful but very vain men who were likely to go along with him in any case, so it may be that having obtained the power they desired, they didn't care about the price. Or it could be that they were deceived, and by the time they found out Sauron's true intent they were so addicted to their drug of choice that they wouldn't part with it.

 

 
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

This form's session has expired. You need to reload the page.

Reload