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The Nazgûl ~ A Dark History of the Ringwraiths ~ The Nine


The Nazgûl ~ the Dark Lord’s most Deadly Servants

Once great kings of men, they have now fallen into Shadow.

“Nine he gave to Mortal Men, proud and great, and so ensnared them. Long ago they  fell under the dominion
of the One, and they became Ringwraiths, shadows under his great Shadow, his most terrible servants.”

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The Nazgûl or Ring-wraiths were know as the Ulairi in Quenya, language of the High-Elves. They became the Dark Lord Sauron’s most terrible servants and fear was ever their greatest weapon. Their fate is tied the fate of their Master, Sauron the Dark Lord of Mordor.

TolkienCanon3Throughout the Second and Third Ages of Middle-earth their power grew and in the later years of the Third Age they dwelt in the dead city of Minas Morgul and the ruined fortress of Dol Guldur.

Once great Kings of Men, they were each given a Ring of Power. The Nine took them and in their desire for power, became slaves of Sauron, and later his chief lieutenants, once he assumed control through the forging of the One Ring. After a time the effect of the rings left the kings spectral, invisible to all but those who could see into the wraith world (such as high elves or the bearer of the One Ring). Their rings were forged c. SA 1500.

Only two of the Nine were ever named in the Tolkien Canon, the Witch-king of Angmar, who was the Lord of the Nazgûl and Khamûl the Easterling. However, as the lore if Middle-earth has grown, names for all of the Nine have been unearthed.

The Nine Kings with the Rings of Power.

During the Second Age of Middle-earth the Elven-smiths of Eregion deceived by Sauron forged the Rings of Power. Nine were gifted to the race of Men. For many years these nine kings of men used these rings, gaining great wealth, prestige and power. However, under the influence of the One Ring upon the hand of Sauron, the effect of the rings drove them slowly into Shadow. They became wraiths, slaves to the will of Sauron. Their fates became tied to the One Ring of Power.

Disguised as Riders in Black

Gandalf finds Radagast along the side of the Road and discovers he has been searching for him. Radagast has a message from Saruman of a most disturbing nature.

“Nazgûl”, he whispered… “The Nine are abroad again. They have crossed the River secretly and are moving westward. They have taken the guise of riders in black.”  Radagast the Brown

The Black Riders in the Shire

The Gaffer tells one of the Black Riders that Mr. Bilbo has gone away down yonder to Buckland. Later to Sam, the Gaffer recounts the conversation…

“He seemed mighty put out, when I told him Mr. Baggins had left his old home for good. Hissed at me, he did. It gave me quite a shudder!”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘Three is Company’


A Black Rider Seen for the First Time

Frodo, Sam and Pippin hid in the woods on either side of the road when the hear the sound of a horse approaching. Sam and Pippin hide on a sloping hill and are unable to see the Road, Frod on the other side has a clear view from behind a tree.

“Round the corner came a black horse, no hobbit-pony but a full-sized horse; and on it sat a large man, who seemed to crouch in the saddle, wrapped in a great black cloak and a hood, so that only his boots in the high stirrups showed below; his face was shadowed and invisible.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘Three is Company’



Ringwraiths at Weathertop

Five of the Nazgûl descend on Weathertop, they are drawn by the Ring. The rise up black and engulf the night.

“Over the lip of the little dell, on the side away from the hill, they felt, rather than saw, a shadow rise, one shadow or more than one. They strained their eyes, and the shadows seemed to grow. Soon there could be no doubt; three or four tall black figures were standing there on the slope, looking down on them. So black were they, that they seemed like black holes in the deep shade behind them. Frodo thought he heard a faint hiss as of venomous breath and felt a thin piercing chill. Then the shapes slowly advanced.”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘A Knife in the Dark’






Frodo faces the Nine at the Ford of Bruinen…

Frodo nearly overcome by the wound from the Morgul knife,

“His enemies laughed at him with a harsh and chilling laughter.
‘Come back! Come back! To Mordor we will take you!’
‘Go back!’ He whispered…
‘The Ring! The Ring!’ they cried with deadly voices; and immediately their leader urged his horse forward into the water, followed by closely by two others.
By Elbereth and Luthien the Fair,’ said Frodo with a last effort, lifting up his sword, ‘you will have neither the Ring nor me!’

From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter ‘Flight to the Ford ‘



The Lord of the Nazgûl

Eowyn stands against the might of Mordor upon the Pelennor, as eh defends her King!

“Come not between the Nazgûl and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shriveled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye!”

From The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in the chapter ‘The Battle of the Pelennor Fields’

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 Posted by at 4:02 pm