Monday, October 14, 2019

The Nazgûl Rule in Malaysia! (revisited)


The Nazgûl, or Ringwraiths, were Sauron's most terrible servants. They were originally mortal Men. Sauron gave them the Nine Rings of Power in order to enslave them to his will and they became Wraiths.

Little is known of the original identities of the Nazgûl. Three were said to be great lords of Numenor. One was an Easterling named Khamul. He is the only one whose name is known.

At first the Men who received the Nine Rings used them to gain power and wealth for themselves. They became great kings, sorcerers, and warriors. The Nine Rings made the Men invisible and prolonged their lives.

But eventually, the Men bearing the Nine Rings fell completely under the control of Sauron. They could not disobey him and no longer had wills of their own. Some of the Men were quickly enslaved, while others who had greater native strength or goodness took longer.

The Nazgûl were condemed to exist only in the Wraith-world. Their lives were stretched out until their very existence was torture. They were permanently invisible except when they wore black robes to give themselves a visible shape. Sauron and anyone who wore the One Ring could see them in their Wraith forms, as pale figures with burning eyes, grey hair, grey and white robes, and silver helms.

The Nazgûl perceived the Unseen world, but much of what they saw were phantoms and delusions created by Sauron. They could not see well in the physical world of light, and in the noonday sun they could see nothing. They saw people as shadows. However they could see one another clearly even in daylight and from far away. In the darkness they were most dangerous because they could perceive things that ordinary people could not.

Their sense of smell was acute. They could smell the blood of living things, which they envied. They could also sense the One Ring, and they could see the person wearing it even though he was invisible to others. In turn the Ring sensed the Nazgûl. Frodo Baggins was tempted to put on the Ring when the Nazgûl were near so that the Ring could return to Sauron.

The Nazgûl were able to speak to people using the Common Speech, though their voices sounded strange and unpleasant. They called to one another with piercing, blood-curdling cries. They could hear one another across great distances.

There was a sense of fear and dread around the Nazgûl and the air around them felt cold. People could feel the presence of Nazgûl without even seeing them. In fact, the feeling of fear was strongest when the Nazgûl were invisible, without their black robes. The terror was also greatest in the darkness and when all nine of the Nazgûl were together.

Terror was the main weapon of the Nazgûl. Few people had the willpower to stand against them. The Nazgûl exuded a miasma known as the Black Breath which caused illness and even death in those who were exposed to it.

Animals were also terrified of the Nazgûl. The black horses that the Nazgûl rode were trained to endure them. The horses were born in Mordor, but they may have been bred from stock stolen from Rohan. Later in the War of the Ring, Sauron gave the Nazgûl new mounts - terrible winged creatures known as Fell Beasts.

The Nazgul did have some weaknesses. The eight Nazgûl excluding the Lord of the Nazgûl feared water, and they did not like to cross rivers except over bridges. They could endure the Sun, but the eight lesser Nazgûl tended to become confused in daylight when they were alone and their power was diminished. They also hated fire.

Elves were among the few beings the Nazgûl feared, particularly the High Elves who had lived in the Undying Lands because they had power in the Unseen world. The Nazgûl also feared the Powers known as the Valar, especially Elbereth who created the Stars and was revered by the Elves.

The Nazgûl did not have great physical power against those who did not fear them. However, they could not be killed by ordinary means. Most weapons could not harm them, and any blade that touched the Lord of the Nazgûl disintegrated.

It took a special sword - forged by the Dunedain and wound with spells - to strike the blow that rendered the Lord of the Nazgûl powerless. Flames from the eruption of Mount Doom destroyed the other eight Nazgûl. But ultimately it was the destruction of the One Ring to which they were bound that ensured that the Nazgûl would never arise again.

Banish the Nazgûl... Return to Lothlorien!

[First posted 16 October 2008]