Thread: Nazgul / Ringwraith
The above is only my way of looking at the usage, and may be partially wrong.
Of course, I may be talking out of my a*se again, so I'll have to toodle off to check the book.
Ok. Maybe it's possible that :
a) since the LotR was supposedly a reproduction of the Red Book of Westmarch (RBoW), which Tolkien himself said contained errors (in the Appendices I think).
b) So Tolkien's index in the Appendices could be taken as a compilation of the terms (by a historian, taken from the RBoW, a source which contained errors) that the characters used to describe the Nazgul, the Nine, The Black Riders, etc. So ina sense, JRRT had to group the terms together, since they were used interchangeably by the characters.
c) Plastic made an excellent point when he said that he thought that they were Nazgul only when they were airborne, because that was the context in which Gandalf used the terms as well (most of the time). The two most learned characters in the story were Elrond and Gandalf, and they never used one term to define the other (on shaky ground here). I guess within the context of the story, the Nazgul and the Ringwraiths could be confused as being different creatures.
d) RotK, page 925 in the one volume copy of LotR: 'At his summons, wheeling with a rending cry, in a last desperate race there flew, faster than the winds, the Nazgul, the Ringwraiths, and with a storm of wings they hurtled southwards to Mount Doom.' I think that this is the most likely source of confusion though. Someone reading at first glance may mistake the passage to mean that two sets of servants, the Nazul and the Ringwraiths flew to Mount Doom.
So yeah, that may be it, but I don't believe all that since I know they're one and the same.
Ash nazg durbatuluk, ash nazg gimbatul ...
Clearly, nazg means ring, so there is no debate there. According to my handy dandy American Heritage Dictionary, gul is the Arabic ancestor of the English word ghoul, possibly Tolken's inspiration for gul meaning wraith in the Black Speech.
I think it's fairly certain that Nazgul is simply Ringwraith in the Black Speech and can therefore be used interchangeably.
What happened to the nine rings when the physical forms of the Black Riders were destroyed at the Ford of Bruinen? Were they wearing them then? If they were, how did they carry them back?
Were they still wearing the Rings after all, or did Sauron take them from them when they were under his spell? And if they were still wearing them, then I suppose the water rid them from their shapes, but their spirit carried the Ring with it back to Mordor. Just guessing here.
But maybe you're right - Sauron took the rings from them once they became wraiths. I'll check the Appendices.
Can't find it anywhere though...
Robert Foster's Guide to Middle Earth, however, contrasts with this view by saying eight of the nine were destroyed in Orodruin when the One Ring was cast in, but that the ring of the Witchking most likely survived this fate. This suggests the Nazgul were still wearing their rings when they raced to stop Frodo destroying the Ring. The witchking's ring in such a scenario was probably picked off the bloody grass of the Pelennor Fields by some Rohirrim trophy hunter. Perhaps in a few years time we will be flocking to the cinema to see Lord of the Rings part 4 (the return of the Witchking of Rohan)
Hmmm. I still believe that Sauron took those Rings from them, to gain more power. Cos he still needed that One Ring of his, but couldn't find it, I think he grabbed all the others he could find. IMHO
Interesting point about Robert Foster's Guide to ME though...you're right, he did say that the remaining eight Nazgul were destroyed along with their rings at Mt. Doom. I wonder where he got the information from.
How do people here view the Guide to ME though? I thought it was a very informative & accurate guide for all Tolkien fans, until I came to the bit where he said that Sauron was an eyeball. Didn't agree with that at all...and then I realised that was where PJ got his info from.
A way to confirm this would be to watch the 3rd movie, and see if he shows the remaining 8 Nazgul wearing their rings at Mt. Doom. If he does...then I'd know that PJ's talk about doing a complete and in-depth research of all of Tolkien's works was just bollocks.
How do people here view the Guide to ME though?
I have found that it does have one or two mistakes, but I still consider the book to be beneficial rather than otherwise and do use it a great deal.
Funny enough, it even gets a mention in Unfinished Tales. In note 33 on page 284-285, Christopher Tolkien, himself, uses a reference from the Guide but then goes on to add that the Guide was the only reference he had managed to find on the subject he was currently discussing. If this is the case, Robert Foster has either found subject matter that even Christopher wasn't privy to, or has used his own imagination in places.
Does anyone know anything about Robert Foster?
What are the errors though? Do you want to discuss it (and the postAuthorID) here, or under a separate thread - maybe under Books, Other..? That'll give the average browser a greater chance of finding & participating in the discussion.