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I am trying to understand what "Barrow-Wights" are. For some reason I cannot picture them, for I do not understand the nature of what they are. I am terrified of them, however.

Could someone please explain this to me?

Elf Confused Smilie
I think that barrow wights are dead Arnorians that the Witch King of Angmar sent some spirits to occupy. But yeah... they are creepy, especially the big hand one (if there was a big hand one)!
That is pretty much the case. The barrows were the burial mounds of the Anorian kings and lords etc. The Witchking sent evil spirits into these mounds to occupy the bodies, and they became "undead" creatures. I imagine they appear as walking corpses, in varying degrees of decomposition, donned in whatever armour and finary they were buried in.
Similar to zombies, ghouls, ghasts, etc. Barrow wights are spirit animated undead who are jealous of all living creatures and have the desire to remove the wellspring of life wherever they find it.
Ah, like football hooligans?
Were they similar to the burial mounds found around and about ...... Question Smilie without the spookies though... Super Scared Smilie
I understand there are quite a few ancient barrows left in England that remain undisturbed. Or have the hobbits and archaeologists already invaded those domains too?
Barrow Wight was one of the most popular singer-songwriters in Middle-Earth.
We have a tv programme called Time Team, they all get excited when they find old things. They have found burial mounds - no spooks though - !!!!!?????

Just imagine what they'd do if they found what Frodo found - hehehe
Want to know what it is, eh? Well then.... I'm a barrow wight!! :P MWAHAHAHAHA!! *flies away*
Yes, undead....
I actually find the barrow-wights to be one of the scariest things in the books. We only see them once, before the adventure has really started and even before Frodo really understands what he is going to have to do. But somehow their description just seems so much more tangible than those of the Eye, the orcs, Shelob, or maybe even the Nazgul. They seem to be right on the border between something that we can understand and deal with and something that we can't even imagine encoutering, and that makes them scary. The Nazgul have some of that too. But I'm not really scared of Sauron as I'm reading the books...
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I actually find the barrow-wights to be one of the scariest things in the books


A big YES to this...... gives me the creeps, especially the hand creeping towards Frodo. Even the fact that Merry, Pippin and Sam are dressed up, is creepy.

Can you imagine what this would have been like in the films.....arrgh Super Scared Smilie Super Scared Smilie

There are several barrows still in England, like the ones on Salisbury plain not far from Stonehenge. (I should know, I pass it every few months)
I think the barrow wights are among the scariest of JRRT's creations, up there with the Nazgul. When I was a child of 11 first reading the books, I didn't know what a barrow was, though! I envisioned a monsters pushing a wheelbarrow, into which he piled unsuspecting victims. I guessed this was wrong fairly quickly and looked the meaning up in the dictionary.
I have visited many, many barrows over the years, as I am interested in archaeology. The most interesting are West Kennet in Wiltshire, which was in use over 1000 years, Maes Howe on Orkney with viking runes in the chamber, and the massive passage grave of Newgrange in Ireland which allows the entrance of a shaft of sunlight only on the shortest day of the year
I don't think that the barrow wights are decomposed undead but rather like the nazgul in the sense that you cannot see their features but only theirs pretty eyes. If they were decomposed undead, the smell alone would probablt have made the hobbits use the road instead of the old forest....and tom would not certainly live there with goldburry.
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If they were decomposed undead, the smell alone would probablt have made the hobbits use the road instead of the old forest....and tom would not certainly live there with goldburry.

No, but surely he'd live there with Goldbury.
Somehow to me they seem so silly. I realize that anyone walking about at night would be frightened by them, but then again so too a bunch of bratty teens or any age really that have as sole intention to take that which does not belong to t hem by grave robbing and terrorizing people at night. It is about power and that was the Sauron thing. Making everyone afraid and forcing them accept it and suffer whatever was imposed upon them. The fact t hat Tom didn't even raise an eyebrow and upon ordering the stupid things to stop it shows that they were in fact just cowards whose bark was always worse than there bite when a power greater came along.Just the same old same old in new clothes really.
Ah but Leelee, that hand was going to use that sword to unmake our four heroes and that was not silly nor even a laughing matter. For using Butterbur's words, they would have been '...killed, killed dead! If you'll believe me.'

And then Professor Tolkien's story as we know it, would have had to end. Orc Sad Smilie
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The fact t hat Tom didn't even raise an eyebrow and upon ordering the stupid things to stop it shows that they were in fact just cowards whose bark was always worse than there bite when a power greater came along.Just the same old same old in new clothes really.


But leelee since we don't know what exactly old tommie is we cannot blame the poor wights.
And Leelee, if Tom were actually Eru on sabatical, which Virumor says he isn't, then those barrow-wights jolly well might have reason to be cowardly.
How you all made me laugh. I love everyone of you. Tom Bombadil told those doughty little Hobbits exactly what to do. He expected them to not have any fear and the words he gave them should have done the trick right? They had evidence of t his when they stayed at Tom's home. He specificially told them not to fear and pay no attention to whatever they heard.I am the first to admit that it is easier said than done. I too get afraid from things at times. But the germaine point is when they stayed within the jurisdiction of Tom's protection physically nothing could harm them. So he gave them then the same sort of protection through words. That hand had no power over those words. So that shows me that that hand and whatever, whoever was behind it, was pretty cowardly and relied on fear of the unknown to subdue and kill. If , Tom, not being equal to Illuvatar could have authority and power over those stupid things, then they weren't much, were they. It is rather like being amazed and overwhelmed at some magician like Blackstone or Copperfield, and then upon learning a secret or two, yawning through a further show. The element of surprise is gone.
And so now I can smile as I expect further boisterous comments. That is the joy of this place, everyone is quite childlike in their honest showing of feeling. That is why I greatly miss it when I cannot be here.
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If , Tom, not being equal to Illuvatar could have authority and power over those stupid things, then they weren't much, were they.

They have no power over anyone who does not fear them.

It's the same theme during the Paths of the Dead - Legolas and Aragorn went through it whistling and singing the Yankee Doodle for the spirits hath no power over them (due to Legolas being an Elf and Aragorn having the right being there considering his heritage), whilst Gimli and the rest of the Grey Company wet their pants and almost turned back screaming like girls, but the stalwartness of their leader prevented them from doing so.
Darling Vir,
you have changed forever the images in my mind of the Paths of the Dead journey by Aragorn and company. I never pictured that Norse like and Eleven and dwarf group of guys as singing Yankee Doodle. No, never. It was a rather shattering shock really. Smile Smilie. And the thought of the others having and embarrassing bladder moment and not having time to wash up and change and be refreshed made me feel , oh I don't know, rather queasy and uncomfortable, to say the least.

Question to Grondy or Vir: When Tom dealt with the hideous, odious things, well what happened to them, where did they go. And after the defeat of Sauron what became of them. I mean were they mere spirits by then and if so where did they go. I never understood that, nor of what became of the Nine when their Dread Lord was defeated. Help anyone?
The Spirits passed beyond.
They are freed from being tied to Arda and pass on to whatever lies beyond: the afterlife. Some believe to heaven or hell; but in Middle-earth it is probably to the House of Mandos where the spirit of each man/woman (and all these spirits: the barrow wight, the oath-breakers, and the Ring-wraiths were of the race of Men) goes to await the second playing of the music. Our knowledge of it is limited to looking through a glass darkly. Of course Virumor will point out the fallacy in my argument, but this is my current unalterable opinion. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
Atani spirits do not stay in the Halls of Mandos until the Breaking of Arda, they only remain there a short while before passing on further. I take it the ones deemed fit pass to the Halls of Eru and the bad ones pass to the Void.
Oh thankyou that helps. The Void sounds so frightening really. Now that IS something to be afraid of. A huge never ending void of ......nothing.Terrible.
It isn't that terrible ask melkor for one.
Oh dear Lord! You've jinxed us!
Barrow Wights, ugh! I imagine myself reacting to them exactly as I react to the dead rat my dog (oh-so-lovingly) presents to me on my back doorstep after he's had good hunting. First, yech! :P and then, business-like, 'ok, let's get rid of this'
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I take it the ones deemed fit pass to the Halls of Eru and the bad ones pass to the Void.


I have seen the Void as Morgoth's personal hell (so to speak). Possibly joined by Sauron, Saruman and perhaps the other sprits who worked for him. I like the idea of them floating around, blaming each other for ending up there. Wink Smilie But I haven't imagined any of the Children ending up there. Maybe it is because the halls of Mandos reminds me more of the halls from Norse mythology than the Christian Heaven/Hell idea. In Norse mythology the dead went to different halls depending on how they died (sickness, old age, battleÖ). It didn't matter if you had been naughty or nice. When elves die they basicly have to sit in their room and think about what they have done untill they are ready and allowed to come out. Being patient with the one child (elves) and sending the other (men) into the hands of evil sounds a bit strange to me.

Also, sending people to the Void seems to me like rewarding Morgoth. "Stop arguing with Sauron. Here's some of my children to play with! Have fun!"

I haven't actually sat down to study this. It's just a sort of first impression I have. Interesting subject though.

There is a very nice article about barrow-whites in a new magazine called othermindsmagazine...

The magazine is downloadable from here... www.othermindsmagazine.com/

It is very intersting...
The part where Tom Bombadil comes to t he rescue, sings I think or well says a poem and freaks out the Barrow wight with the exceedingly long arm and then y ou h ave this grotesque and macabre picture of that dread h and on it's own, well the fact that it has an arm and a hand that can be severed suggests flesh and blood of sorts. So where they real people who were caught in some sort of strange existance like the Nine who seem to be neither flesh and blood or spirit exactly. It is all so confusing to me. I feel rather stupid and slow in understanding t his.
Vir?, Grondy, any help please.
The Barrow-wights were spirits of evil men from Angmar, killed earlier in the Third Age during the Wars between Angmar and the Kings of Arnor (the Northern Kingdom). I believe the Barrow-wights later moved into the existing tombs of the honored dead Numenorians buried there during those wars and the Barrow-wight which threatened the hobbits, activated the forearm and hand of one of those long dead ancient heroes.
I felt last week that since I had not read a single Tolkien thing in months it was time once more to start with the Fellowship of the Rings. The only time I have had to read it was between about two and four in the mornings and for some reason the bit of the Hobbits first becoming aware and frightened of the dark riders, the scene where one is talking to the Gaffer, then Maggot and such really made me feel the fear Frodo went through. Never before has it done so .
And then yesterday at about three in the morning I came to the part where the Hobbits were lost in the fog and were worsted by the barrow wights and taken under ground. Just as the part of the moving arm and creeping hand came I suddenly let go of the book and fell asleep. It just seemed so strange to me when I awoke a little bit later to realize that that part didnt do a thing for me, but just the Hobbits moving about with the Dark riders searching th em out was truly frightening to me.
The most frightening parts for me personally were Gimli's monologues about the Glittering Caves of Aglarond, Galadriel, the Glittering Caves of Aglarond, Galadriel and Galadriel : I thought those would never come to an end.
Oh that is so funny Smile Smilie. Sort of like Elaine from Seinfeld watcing the English patient. She finally just shrieks out loud for him to die or something, the monologue is driving her insane!
Very good point Vir. One man's agony is another's ecstasy I suppose!
If Gimli's axe had been as sharp as his tongue, he would've single-handedly won the Battle of Helm's Deep - and more importantly, the Orc maiming contest with Legolas.
I still find these creatures hard to understand. If they are deceased and spirits were sent to occupy them so they could do the evil that Sauron wanted, well what spirits are they. I thought, since Sauron himself was merely a created being, that he could only do things with those whose spirits are still in them, so that they were neither really dead n or really alive in the truest sense. I am terribly confused about all of this.