Death of the Witch-king

User avatar
rednell
Posts: 1798

Death of the Witch-king

Post#1 » Thu Apr 15, 2004 6:54 pm

From Lord of the Rings/Appendix A/Gondor and the Heirs of Anarion
Glorifindel says to Earnur of the Witch King:
“Do not pursue him! He will not return to this land. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the of hand man will he fall.”


From Lord of the Rings/The Battle of the Pelennor Fields:
Merry’s sword had stabbed him from behind, shearing through the black mantle and passing up beneath the hauberk had pierced the sinew behind his mighty knee.

So passed the sword of the Barrow-downs, work of Westernasse. But glad would he have been to know its fate who wrought it slowly long ago in the North-kingdom when the Dunedain were young and chief among their foes was the dread realm of Angmar and its sorcerer king. No other blade, not though mightier hands wielded it, would have delt that foe a wound so bitter, cleaving the undead flesh, breaking the spell that knit his unseen sinews to his will.


During our last class discussion in Bilbos-study, we had quite a bit of discussion about the role of the Barrow-downs blade in the death of the Witch-king. Who or what really killed the Witch-king?
Was the spell of the Ring broken by the blade making him vulnerable to the sword?



User avatar
Vee
Posts: 2711

Death of the Witch-king

Post#2 » Fri Apr 16, 2004 3:39 am

My views are documented in the Bilbo-study notes. I'm not about to bash my head against another brick wall. Good subject though, one I find interesting.

User avatar
rednell
Posts: 1798

Death of the Witch-king

Post#3 » Fri Apr 16, 2004 5:19 am

True, V, but rather then have people read through the entire log to find your insight on this topic, it would be a good starting point for the discussion if you would post your views. :teacher:

User avatar
Vee
Posts: 2711

Death of the Witch-king

Post#4 » Fri Apr 16, 2004 6:10 am

Not sure I can do it justice at the moment but the quotes you give are the pertinent ones. Neither Merry nor Eowyn were men. But I don't think it was just a matter of Eowyn being a woman and killing the WK - it was a joint effort.

The Barrow-blade was set up in the FotR and Tolkien makes it clear that this blade was the right blade in the right hands at the right time. Merry finally has a part. He breaks the spell, she kills him. Neither one without the other.

User avatar
virumor
Posts: 3567

Death of the Witch-king

Post#5 » Fri Apr 16, 2004 8:58 am

It would indeed seem that Merry broke the spell with the Westernesse blade (if he had any other blade it wouldn't have worked), by which he also saved Éowyn's life so the latter could finish the work.

I think at this point it didn't even matter who thrusted a sword under the crown, after Merry broke the spell the Witch-King of Angmar was vulnerable to anyone. A man would also be able to kill him after the undoing of the spell, but a woman did it at that time so Glorfindel's prophecy was fulfilled.

The Witch-King pointing out that 'no man can kill me' is confusing, though. Clearly he is referring to the spell that protects him against any 'normal' blade. But if a man would thrust the Westernesse blade into him, would the spell be broken too? Would for instance Aragorn with Merry's blade be able to break the spell? I say yes. Glorfindel's prophecy doesn't say a man is unable to kill him, it only says a man will not kill him.

I always thought that the Witch-King's quote referred to the fact that a woman could kill him if she put a sword into him. But it seems that a woman wouldn't be able to break through the spell that protected his body either (with a normal blade, at least). The fact that a blade of Westernesse was involved in his death, proves this.

In one word, the Witch-King of Angmar wrongfully thought he was invulnerable, he didn't count on his enemies, thought he was invincible, was arrogant like all evil dramatis personae are. And like always, this proved the downfall of evil.

Teehee.
Give up the Halfring, she-elf...

User avatar
rednell
Posts: 1798

Death of the Witch-king

Post#6 » Fri Apr 16, 2004 2:00 pm

But if a man would thrust the Westernesse blade into him, would the spell be broken too? Would for instance Aragorn with Merry's blade be able to break the spell? I say yes. Glorfindel's prophecy doesn't say a man is unable to kill him, it only says a man will not kill him

I agree with you, Virumor. The blade from the Barrow-downs was significant in that it broke the spell that Sauron held over the Witch-king through the Ring.
I also think you have a valid point about Glorfindel's prophecy and it is entirely possible that the Witch-king could have been killed by Theoden or Aragorn provided the Barrow-down blade had done its work.
Does this mean that the blade held stronger "magic" (or curse, if you will) then the one Ring?

User avatar
virumor
Posts: 3567

Death of the Witch-king

Post#7 » Fri Apr 16, 2004 5:09 pm

Does this mean that the blade held stronger "magic" (or curse, if you will) then the one Ring?

Well, the Nazgûl are just shadows from the mighty, threatening spirits they would be if Sauron would have the One Ring back. I believe Gandalf said this. I think in that case, the Nazgûl would be pretty invincible.

The reason why the Westernesse spell worked was because the One Ring wasn't in Sauron hands. Of course, even without the One Ring his Nazgûl were still quite unstoppable, only a few LOTR characters would be able to survive a confrontation with them. So at that point, the Nazgûl are just supported by a part of Sauron's power (absence of the ring). Apparently the Westernesse spell was stronger than part of Sauron's power...

We don't know who made the spell on the blade and how the spell was made, of course. Maybe the spell was similar to the Elvish spell on Andúril, or the spells on a lot of Elvish swords. Apparently Westernesse craftsmen had the power to put spells on things too... i never really thought about this until now. I thought only Elves were able to put spells because they were the only of the children of Eru who were alike a bit to the Valar. But... remember that Isildur was able to curse the hill people who betrayed him too. And they are descendants from Melian, so it's logical they still have a bit of Ainu powers in them.

.
Give up the Halfring, she-elf...

User avatar
Vee
Posts: 2711

Death of the Witch-king

Post#8 » Fri Apr 16, 2004 5:27 pm

Is anything mentioned in The Letters?

It doesn't really matter anyway because neither Aragorn nor Theoden were in the right place at the right time but Eowyn and Merry were and they were the two who shouldn't have been there so I think Tolkien was showing the prophecy fulfilled.

Silme
Posts: 5

Death of the Witch-king

Post#9 » Fri Apr 16, 2004 7:32 pm

Ok, my first forum post, but I couldn't resist this topic. I have though a lot about this subject. It occurs to me that Merry is no more a man than Eowyn is, as Pippin is quick to point out upon entering Minas Tirith with Gandalf.

User avatar
Vee
Posts: 2711

Death of the Witch-king

Post#10 » Sat Apr 17, 2004 3:52 am

Yo Silme, weetie!

And yep, neither Eowyn nor Merry are men, neither should be there, Merry had the barrow blade... what a set up! I bet the WK didn't see *that* one coming.




Return to “The Lord of the Rings”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests