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Thread: Nazgul / Ringwraith

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Taz, you have to work with people who don't know that they're the same thing! How unfortunate for you. Though I do remember that on my first reading of LOTR I thought initially that they were only Nazgul once they were airborne, as that's when the word becomes more common in the text. Mind you, that's also the point where Tolkien abandons any pretence of using easy language and gets all grandiose and biblical about it.
Nazg - gul = ring - wraith in Black Speach. Different names for the same thing. How could anyone think otherwise? It would be a curious argument.
Úlariri in Quenya, the language of the High Elves = Nazgúl in Black Speech, the language of the enemy = Ring-wraiths in Westron, the Common Speech of men and hobbits. Of course Nazgúl also sounds Dwarvish, but I don't think it is.

The above is only my way of looking at the usage, and may be partially wrong.

Not much I can add except people in your office have not picked a very good subject to debate. To simplify the argument just point out the index in ROTK, under Nazgul it states: Also called Black Riders, the Nine (Riders), Ringwraiths, Winged Messenger, Wraiths. The word according to Tolkien.
just out of curiousity...what are the people in your office saying the difference between a Nazgul and a Ringwraith is?
I'd like to know that too. Cos there is none! Big Laugh Smilie
Sad Smilie if you watch LOTR Aragorn tells the hobbits that the Nazgul are ringwraiths
And somewhere in the book you can read that too: "Nazgul, or Ringwraiths, or Black Riders." Same name for the same thing. Read Smilie
But maybe Taz's mates had a point though. Must check my book again, but I can't remember if Gandalf or Elrond every used Nazghul & Ringwratihs interchangeably. Since they're two of the most learned beings on ME, I suppose then there could be room for debate.

Of course, I may be talking out of my a*se again, so I'll have to toodle off to check the book.

See Rednell and my comments of 09 July above. It is the old Tolkien thing, his love of languages gave the different peoples different names for the same thing: i.e.. trucks, lories, vans, and semi's. Cool Smilie
I'm trying to think of the possible reasons why someone would think that the Nazgul & Ringwraiths are not the same thing here.

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. One Eye Smilie
It should also be pointed out that the word nazg also appears in the ring inscription:

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.
Dunno if this's been asked elsewhere...

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?
Hmmm. Interesting question Golly.

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.
I'm having a hard time imagining spirits that can carry physical objects, Tommy. Even Sauron left his ring at home when he went to Numenor, so his spirit wasn't burdened with carrying the OneRing across the sea and back to Barad-dur when he drowned.

But maybe you're right - Sauron took the rings from them once they became wraiths. I'll check the Appendices. Read Smilie
hhhhhmmmm execllent question, I will check mine too, Golly.
Maybe I'm right? Oh that does sound good! Dunce Smilie
Big Laugh Smilie

Can't find it anywhere though... Sad Smilie
I remember reading somewhere, although I cannot find the passage at the moment, that when the Nazgul reappeared in TA 1050, Sauron retained possession of their nine rings, for having lost the One Ring, retaining them better abled him to dominate and control the Nazgul from afar and project his presence through them.

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) Super Scared Smilie
Super Scared Smilie
Very Big Grin Smilie

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 Tongue Smilie
Val, I can't find it in Of the Rings of Power, Silm. Or the LotR Appendices. Must be in the Ut or HoME then... Sad Smilie

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 had the book many years now and have found it to be a valuable reference to have by my side while reading the Silmarillion etc. It is very informative and covers a wide area of subjects (it is not often I cannot find a reference that I am looking for.)
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?
Hmmm...I guess you're right Val. A couple of errors shouldn't make it a bad guide - especially if Chris T. himself used it as a reference. Liked that bit...lol, and I thought circular references only happened in MsExcel spreadsheets...

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.
Nazgul are deffinteally ringwraiths. At first when I thought that Nazgul were the dragon like things that the ringwraiths fly on