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Discussing: Need info on Nazgul

Need info on Nazgul

Hi there!

It seems this forum hasn't been too busy lately, Sleepy but I'm doing my best to keep it going!

I'm trying to find out more about the Nazgul - specifically these two things:

* How the Nazgul react to Gandalf after he returns as Gandalf the White? There's a brief reference in RotK, but the Witch King clearly does not flee because of Gandalf. I'm wondering if there's any info to be found somewhere else more specific in this regard. Yes, it's for a fic where Gandalf will face a Nazgul, but I'm really at a loss as to how that would look like with Gandalf as The White.

*How much knowledge of the Nazgul do the Rohirrim have pre-Ring War? Before the Fellowship folk enlighten them, that is. Do they even know what they are? What might they call them? I need to know how Eowyn would react on first hearing about them.

If anyone has any ideas, please feel free to post!

thanks!

docmon 

 

 

Re: Need info on Nazgul

Hi Docmon!

* How the Nazgul react to Gandalf after he returns as Gandalf the White?

I have not seen any further details about the confrontation of Gandalf the White and the Witch-king at the gate of Minas Tirith.... However, I can't help but wonder if some of WiKi's defiance ("Old Fool!") is for show; Gandalf was a Maia, like Sauron, whereas WiKi was "merely" an undead Man corrupted and controlled by Sauron. But that is pure speculation on my part.

And there are a couple of relevant quotes from Unfinished Tales. The first is how WiKi was in awe (or fear) of Sauron, a Maia like Gandalf, though with the added advantage of being his employer:

[The Ringwraiths] met messengers from Barad-dûr conveying threats from their Master that filled even the Morgul-lord with dismay.

And this passage sheds light on his wariness about the three Elven-rings, one of which Gandalf wore; though they were supposed to be secret, WiKi was aware that Galadriel wore Nenya:

That [the Shire] would prove to be not far from the hated land of Lórien seemed to [the Lord of Morgul] not unlikely, if it was not indeed within the fences of Galadriel. But the power of the White Ring he would not defy, nor enter yet into Lórien.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 4, The Hunt for the Ring: Of the Journey of the Black Riders


*How much knowledge of the Nazgul do the Rohirrim have pre-Ring War?

The ancestors of the Rohirrim were acutely aware both of the Witch-king of Angmar and of Sauron's growing shadow on Dol Guldur; I believe that knowledge would be preserved in their oral histories. In fact, one of their earlier migrations, led by Frumgar, was triggered by WiKi's overthrow:

The Éothéod... loved best the plains..., but there were many men in the middle vales of Anduin in those days, and moreover the shadow of Dol Guldur was lengthening; when therefore they heard of the overthrow of the Witch-king, they sought more room in the North, and drove away the remnants of the people of Angmar on the east side of the Mountains.

<i>The Return of the King</i>, LoTR Appendix A, <i>Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The House of Eorl</i>


As for what the Rohirrim would call them, I do not know... but Éowyn used a aptly insulting name for the WiKi on the Pelennor:

'Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion! Leave the dead in peace!'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 6, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields


Dwimmerlaik is translated in the LoTR index thus: "[in Rohan, work of necromancy, spectre....]"; which sounds pretty appropriate to me. ;)

We do know that the Rohirrim had some disconcerting experiences with the Nazgûl right at the very beginning of the Ring War (after the attack on Osgiliath): in 3018, the Nazgûl passed through Rohan on their Hunt for the Ring. This is only hinted at in canon:

[18 September 3018]
Gandalf escapes from Orthanc in the early hours. The Black Riders cross the Fords of Isen.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Third Age


But Unfinished Tales expands greatly upon the hunt, and shows that the Ringwraiths in fact passed through Rohan twice, once north through the Wold, and then later from the Wold west through the Gap of Rohan, sowing terror along the way (emphases mine):

Yet this weakness [the Ringwraiths] had for Sauron's present purpose: so great was the terror that went with them (even invisible and unclad) that their coming forth might soon be perceived....

Therefore when Osgiliath was taken and the bridge broken Sauron stayed the assault, and the Nazgûl were ordered to begin the search for the Ring... as secretly as they could....

The Lord of Morgul therefore led his companions over Anduin, unclad and unmounted, and invisible to eyes, and yet a terror to all living things that they passed near. It was, maybe, on the first day of July that they went forth. They passed slowly and in stealth, through Anórien, and over the Entwade, and so into the Wold, and rumour of darkness and a dread of men knew not what went before them....

Passing... between Lórien and the Mountains the Nine rode ever on into the North; and terror went before them and lingered behind them; but they did not find what they sought....

At length they returned; but the summer was now far waned.... When they came back to the Wold September had come; and there they met messengers from Barad-dûr conveying threats from their Master.... Speed alone would now serve, and secrecy must be abandoned.

The Ringwraiths therefore were ordered to go straight to Isengard. They rode then through Rohan in haste, and the terror of their passing was so great that many folk fled from the land, and went wildly away north and west, believing that war out of the East was coming on the heels of the black horses.

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 4, The Hunt for the Ring: Of the Journey of the Black Riders


And, in at least one version of the Hunt for the Ring, the Ringwraiths actually waylaid Gríma Wormtongue in an episode that sheds delicious light on his character, though it appears he never told anyone about it:

Thus it was that on the evening of the next day the Black Riders came upon Gríma Wormtongue as he hastened to bring word to Saruman that Gandalf was come to Edoras, and had warned King Théoden of the treacherous designs of Isengard. In that hour the Wormtongue came near to death by terror; but being inured to treachery he would have told all that he knew under less threat....

The Lord of the Nazgûl spared the life of the Wormtongue, not out of pity, but because he deemed that so great a terror was upon him that he would never dare to speak of their encounter (as proved true), and he saw that the creature was evil and was likely to do great harm yet to Saruman, if he lived. So he left him lying on the ground, and rode away....

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 4, The Hunt for the Ring: Of the Journey of the Black Riders


Anyway, I hope this helps!

Happy Holidays!
- Barbara

 

 

Re: Need info on Nazgul

Thank you, Elena!

This is SO helpful! It sheds light on a lot of things I was wondering about.  

Gandalf was a Maia, like Sauron, whereas WiKi was "merely" an undead Man corrupted and controlled by Sauron. 

Very good point. Sure, I knew it, but I hadn't thought about it all in this light.  (WiKi ROTFLMAO)  Though you say it's purely speculation - well, isn't all our fics? The other quotes are very helpful as well. This is enough to make my scene, which is what I was missing. Before, what I had was quotes that he "ran" from the Witch King at Weathertop and such stuff. That makes for a very different scene.

Your quotes on Rohan are priceless and really give me a lot to work with. Thank you so much. I was aware of what Eowyn said, but not the more obscure references in the Tale of Years. And the quotes from the Unfinished Tales, just what I needed! I had begun to think they hadn't had any experience with them, so this cleared that right up. Thank you again! 

Happy Holidays to you! 

docmon 

 

 

Re: Need info on Nazgul

Hi docmon!

Glad I could be of help! Happy Holidays!

- Barbara

 

 

Re: Need [a bit more] info on Nazgul

Thank you and Happy Holidays to you, Barbara!

If I can ask one more question: 

How are elves affected by the Nazgul? I'm finding very little on that in the Research section.

And btw, by replying to this question, will this show up as new somehow, somewhere, or will it just look like the same thread, with another reply? Maybe I should make this a new question?

thanks,

docmon 

 

 

Re: Need [a bit more] info on Nazgul

Hi docmon,

How are elves affected by the Nazgul? I'm finding very little on that in the Research section.

I've only found a few things, which appear to be somewhat contradictory; on one hand, Elves who have lived in Aman do not seem to fear the Nazgûl:
'[In] Rivendell there live still some of [the Dark Lord's] chief foes:... lords of the Eldar from beyond the furthest seas. They do not fear the Ringwraiths, for those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds, and against both the Seen and the Unseen they have great power.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 1, Many Meetings
On the other hand, they do seem to make most Elves very nervous:
[Gandalf said,] 'For even the Wise might fear to withstand the Nine, when they are gathered together under their fell chieftain. A great king and sorcerer he was of old, and now he wields a deadly fear.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 2, The Council of Elrond

'There are few even in Rivendell that can ride openly against the Nine; but such as there were, Elrond sent out north, west, and south....

'It was my [Glorfindel's] lot to take the Road, and I came to the Bridge of Mitheithel, and left a token there, nigh on seven days ago. Three of the servants of Sauron were upon the Bridge, but they withdrew and I pursued them westward. I came also upon two others, but they turned away southward.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 12, Flight to the Ford


And btw, by replying to this question, will this show up as new somehow, somewhere, or will it just look like the same thread, with another reply? Maybe I should make this a new question?

Yes, every forum post shows up on the front page, which is where I saw your post. There is no need to make this a new question, since it's really a continuation of an existing topic.

Hope this helps, docmon! Happy Holiday to you, too!

- Barbara

 

 

Re: Need [a bit more] info on Nazgul

Thank you for your helpful response! It certainly clears things up. It seems that the Nine have to be present as a group to intimidate an elf, at least a strong one.

[Gandalf said,] 'For even the Wise might fear to withstand the Nine, when they are gathered together under their fell chieftain.

But:

[S]ome of [the Dark Lord's] chief foes:... lords of the Eldar from beyond the furthest seas... do not fear the Ringwraiths.

So, if we're talking one of the Nine, it might not be enough to instill fear in one of the Wise.

Hmm... However, when Gandalf says "the Wise" he doesn't refer to every elf, does he? Even the other quote refers to lords of the Eldar. So if we're talking ordinary elves, Legolas in particular, he wouldn't really fall into this category. 

Just to be clear, I'm not talking about a scenario of Legolas vs. a Nazgul. Only Legolas in the vicinity of one. I know men in the vicinity of Nazgul are reduced to well, it's not a pretty sight, let's say. But I'm not sure how he'd react. He isn't a lord of the Eldar, and I think you'd agree Glorfindel isn't an example to go by. Hmm... thoughts?

docmon 

 

 

Re: Need [a bit more] info on Nazgul

Just to be clear, I'm not talking about a scenario of Legolas vs. a Nazgul. Only Legolas in the vicinity of one.... I'm not sure how he'd react. He isn't a lord of the Eldar, and I think you'd agree Glorfindel isn't an example to go by. Hmm... thoughts?

Yeah, I have one word for you: Sarn Gebir! Ummm, okay, well, that's two, isn't it? Guess I'm a little punchy....
Frodo looked up at the Elf standing tall above him, as he gazed into the night, seeking a mark to shoot at.... A sudden dread fell on the Company.

'Elbereth Gilthoniel!' sighed Legolas as he looked up. Even as he did so, a dark shape... came out of the blackness in the South, and sped towards the Company.... Soon it appeared as a great winged creature, blacker than the pits in the night.... Frodo felt a sudden chill running through him and clutching at his heart; there was a deadly cold, like the memory of an old wound, in his shoulder. He crouched down, as if to hide.

Suddenly the great bow of Lórien sang.... Frodo looked up. Almost above him the winged shape swerved. There was a harsh croaking scream, as it fell out of the air.... The sky was clean again. There was a tumult of many voices far away, cursing and wailing in the darkness....

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 9, The Great River


*Fangurly sigh*

Um, where were we? So, the Nazgûl was close enough for the Black Breath to affect Frodo (who might be especially susceptible, carrying the Ring and having been wounded by WiKi before) and possibly even the other members of the Fellowship, but Legolas kept his head and shot its winged steed out from under it, after invoking the sacred name of the Queen of Stars (Go, Legolas!).

Not sure I'd react quite so level-headedly, but that's what Tolkien invented Elves for....

Hope this helps, docmon. And, I'm retiring for the night very soon (was up all night finishing MEFA reviews), so if you have any further questions, I'll try to get to them tomorrow, unless someone else answers you first.

- Barbara

 

 

Re: Need [a bit more] info on Nazgul

It certainly does help. Thanks for reminding me how he kept his head during that moment. WaveI'll let you retire for the night, Barbara. You've done wonderfully! Thanks so much!

docmon 

 

 

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