Did the Nazgul know?
#1
...that weapons such as the Barrow-blades existed?  How close a parallel can be drawn between them and Morgul knives, if at all?

Also, were similar weapons made, or attempted, in Gondor?
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
Reply
#2
How did Aragorn know that "all" blades that pierce Witch-King perish? How many times had Witch-king suffered non-fatal wounds from bladed weapons which were retrieved by his enemies to see that the blades did perish, rather than captured by Witch-king´s bodyguard to a fate unknown to eemies?
Reply
#3
In re Mordy's OP questions, I would venture:

1. The Ringwraiths apparently knew or suspected the Good guys might have some efficacious weapon among them, at least their lords and most elite warriors. The Wraiths did seem to go to some trouble to almost always lead from behind, not presenting man-to-er, wraith themselves in the heat of battle when they could avoid it. Notice that at Minas Tirith the Wraiths generally stayed high and out of reach until and unless they were sure the target wasn't bearing any such weapon if not altogether helpless like Théoden after his horse was shot out from under him. Perhaps Sauron in some fashion learned that Men in Arnor had somehow acquired such weapons, and warned his servants against risking getting creased with them. More in Paragraph 3.

2. What the Ringwraithicide-treated blades might have had in common with Morgul knives, I have no solid clue, but I found the idea interesting that the two kinds were in some sense counterparts of each other. Sauron would have invented special weapons for special purposes such as capturing a Ringbearer anyway.

3. I've had a theory on how the "ringwraithicide" blades came to be. It provides an explanation for why they might have occurred in Arnor but not Gondor. It's very simple: Elrond sheltered refugees from Eregion at Imladris from day one while the Eregion War still raged, per "Galadriel and Celeborn" in Unfinished Tales. Presumably that might have included some Mírdain, at least lesser ones who were only indirectly involved or uninvolved with the Rings of Power, maybe journeymen and advanced apprentices, possibly a master or two, who perhaps had crafted lesser Rings or assisted. Folk of Feänor (if any remained other than those who might have joined the Mírdain) are also possible. It could be that Elrond enlisted as many Mírdain as were willing to remain in Middle-Earth with him at Imladris and assist (out of shame and a sense of duty, and revenge on Sauron their betrayer?), and by their craft, incl. some indirect knowledge of the lore of the Rings of Power, to come up with such countermeasures as the "spells for the bane of Mordor" (aka "Ringwraithicide") that could be utilized against the Ringwraiths.

IMO the fact that Elves capable of reforging Narsil like new were apparently available at the time of LotR, is indirect evidence that Mírdain dwelt at Imladris in Elrond's service even that late.

Because Elrond was closer to the Dúnedain of Arnor, geographically and relations-wise, than to Gondor, those swords might be more plentiful and perhaps better remembered there than in Gondor (although it was Bombadil who recovered and selected them).

Added thought: I'm sure the late Paul Goode would have appreciated how this thread's title with its syllables and meter evokes the last line of the ABBA hit song's chorus "Does Your Mother Know"!
Many Defeats & Many Fruitless Victories Memoirs Gateway
For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
Reply
#4
(January 27th, 2020, 05:30 PM)Jaak Wrote: How did Aragorn know that "all" blades that pierce Witch-King perish? How many times had Witch-king suffered non-fatal wounds from bladed weapons which were retrieved by his enemies to see that the blades did perish, rather than captured by Witch-king´s bodyguard to a fate unknown to eemies?
That's a great question.  It deserves its own thread.  :::hinthint:::  LOL!
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
Reply
#5
(February 2nd, 2020, 05:37 PM)Mordomin Wrote:
(January 27th, 2020, 05:30 PM)Jaak Wrote: How did Aragorn know that "all" blades that pierce Witch-King perish? How many times had Witch-king suffered non-fatal wounds from bladed weapons which were retrieved by his enemies to see that the blades did perish, rather than captured by Witch-king´s bodyguard to a fate unknown to eemies?
That's a great question.  It deserves its own thread.  :::hinthint:::  LOL!

That is indeed a great question! Jaak asked it before!

I only recall two accounts (other than Merry & Eowyn taking out the WK on the Pelennor) of a Man under the influence of a Ring of Power getting pierced with a bladed weapon (in both cases, a spear)


member Mordomin wrote one!

I wrote the other!

Added:
But it really is a great question, because only if the attempt had been made before, and became a tale retold in the West of Middle-Earth, would Aragorn have acquired this bit of lore. One would think that if one of the Dúnedain had actually stabbed, struck, or slashed a Ringwraith with sword, spear, billhook, club, halberd, morningstar, misericorde, mace, or you-name-it, we'd have been told the specifics. In any case, the Ringwraiths seem rarely to have made themselves available to receive such attacks, and most Men who found themselves in a position to offer one probably attempted to flee instead.
Many Defeats & Many Fruitless Victories Memoirs Gateway
For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
Reply
#6
Aragorn implies he has met the Nine before (or at least some of them), or that he has heard stories about encounters with them. Given that they feature prominently in the history of the northern lands, he probably heard many stories about them.

Paul Kocher highlights Aragorn's apparent personal pain/memory of encountering them in Master of Middle-earth - it's the scene where Aragorn tells Frodo and the hobbits about them.
Reply
#7
(February 4th, 2020, 10:39 PM)Michael Wrote: Aragorn implies he has met the Nine before (or at least some of them), or that he has heard stories about encounters with them. Given that they feature prominently in the history of the northern lands, he probably heard many stories about them.

Paul Kocher highlights Aragorn's apparent personal pain/memory of encountering them in Master of Middle-earth - it's the scene where Aragorn tells Frodo and the hobbits about them.
Do you think that Aragorn one of the Guard of Rangers that the Ringwraiths "drove off" at Sarn Ford on September 22, 3018, on their way to narrowly missing Frodo's departure from Bag End and Hobbiton?  That would leave him plenty of time to get from SF to Bree ahead of Frodo.  And a recent encounter that went badly would explain his pained expression when speaking to the hobbits about them.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
Reply
#8
(February 6th, 2020, 09:34 PM)Mordomin Wrote:
(February 4th, 2020, 10:39 PM)Michael Wrote: Aragorn implies he has met the Nine before (or at least some of them), or that he has heard stories about encounters with them. Given that they feature prominently in the history of the northern lands, he probably heard many stories about them.

Paul Kocher highlights Aragorn's apparent personal pain/memory of encountering them in Master of Middle-earth - it's the scene where Aragorn tells Frodo and the hobbits about them.
Do you think that Aragorn one of the Guard of Rangers that the Ringwraiths "drove off" at Sarn Ford on September 22, 3018, on their way to narrowly missing Frodo's departure from Bag End and Hobbiton?  That would leave him plenty of time to get from SF to Bree ahead of Frodo.  And a recent encounter that went badly would explain his pained expression when speaking to the hobbits about them.

I don't think so, but presumably some near him, maybe even he himself while out on his errantries, actually encountered one. Perhaps one of his fellow Dúnedain of Arnor ran into one and got a "poisoned wound" for his trouble like that which slowly and painfully killed Steward Boromir of Gondor (Namesake and possibly idol of Boromir son of Steward Denethor II), and Aragorn had to watch. In any event Elrond would have preserved whatever lore was extant on them for Aragorn to learn, and he would be expected to know full well they don't make good housepets!

I had of course read Kocher's book, but forgot what a point was made of Aragorn's evident personal reaction to the idea of Hobbits falling into the clutches of Ringwraiths.

There are multi manuscripts cited by Chris Tolkien in "The Hunt for the Ring" in Unfinished Tales, but only the most complete and coherent version, "Of the Journey of the Black Riders according to the account that Gandalf gave to Frodo" describes the entry of the first Ringwraiths into the Shire by way of Sarn Ford. They slew and drove off many Rangers guarding the region, and after nightfall "swept away" Dúnedain who attempted still to hold the Ford against them. That passage says Aragorn their chieftain was not there with them but on the East-West Road near Bree, and the Ringwraiths had succeeded in preventing any Rangers bringing him news of the assault on the fords beforehand. Aragorn apparently had already anticipated the Ringwraiths might show up sooner or later since he didn't seem surprised to hear they were pursuing the hobbits once they met him at The Prancing Pony.

Now, in that essay JRRT said that the Ringwraiths had long remained lurking in Minas Morgul and Dol Guldur, but did not openly come forth until the assault on Osgiliath and the last remaining bridge at the end of June TA 3018, which tale Boromir related at the Council of Elrond, including the impression of a formidable figure that instilled fear in the defenders. (I still can't forget Coconut Ent's "inflatable Nazgûl" idea; I keep picturing a parade of Orcs with a parade-balloon of a giant Ringwraith bobbing over them as they're approaching the bridge thru ruined Osgiliath!). However, there seem to be various hints the Ringwraiths "snuck around" on missions for their Master previously, especially in the vicinity of Dol Guldur and Minas Morgul. Aragorn all but stated he'd lurked even around Minas Morgul, so we can't rule out an actual encounter with a Nazgûl, and he's not invulnerable to them like Mordomin.
Many Defeats & Many Fruitless Victories Memoirs Gateway
For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
Reply
#9
(February 6th, 2020, 11:30 PM)Alvin Eriol Wrote:   ::: snip  ::: However, there seem to be various hints the Ringwraiths "snuck around" on missions for their Master previously, especially in the vicinity of Dol Guldur and Minas Morgul. Aragorn all but stated he'd lurked even around Minas Morgul, so we can't rule out an actual encounter with a Nazgûl, and he's not invulnerable to them like Mordomin.
Mordomin isn't 'invulnerable' to the Nazgûl.  True, he isn't affected by their 'aura of fear' in the way that Men (including hobbits) are.  Certainly, in The King's Champion, Mordomin was not stricken by fear when facing the Witch-king in single combat.

On the other hand (lol, 'hand'), Mordomin was wounded nearly to the death by a Morgul blade (in my 'Dragonstone' series), wielded by a Ringwraith.  The 'healing' power in his cursed hand was losing the battle against the knife-shard in his back.

Perhaps you referring to the incident in "The Road and the Sword", in which Mordomin strikes a Nazgûl with a sword, held in his cursed hand:  "The horseman gave another high, keening cry, and Mordomin felt a shock run up his cursed arm.  This second cry was answered by several other fell voices near at hand.

Shredded cloth lay upon the ground nigh to the sword of the wraith, but the creature seemed little hurt otherwise by a stroke which should have cloven it torso from legs; but the sword of Mordomin was like a smoldering brand in his hand.  It withered away to nothing as he watched in wonder and dismay."

 The sword is destroyed, but Mordomin takes no lasting hurt from the contact, unlike Merry or Eowyn.  In this case, yes, his cursed hand absorbed/deflected/was immune to the usual malign effects of striking a Ringwraith.  What would have happened if he had struck the Ringwraith using his left (uncursed) hand?  Much the same as what befell every other Elf who struck a Nazgûl, I suppose.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
Reply
#10
(February 6th, 2020, 09:34 PM)Mordomin Wrote: Do you think that Aragorn one of the Guard of Rangers that the Ringwraiths "drove off" at Sarn Ford on September 22, 3018, on their way to narrowly missing Frodo's departure from Bag End and Hobbiton?  That would leave him plenty of time to get from SF to Bree ahead of Frodo.  And a recent encounter that went badly would explain his pained expression when speaking to the hobbits about them.
I am skeptical of the idea that Aragorn was there, but maybe that is what Tolkien intended. All we know for sure from what Aragorn says is that he was unable to meet with Gandalf and so decided to watch the East road for Frodo. I'd say there is wiggle room in there.
Reply
#11
(February 11th, 2020, 09:50 PM)Michael Wrote:
(February 6th, 2020, 09:34 PM)Mordomin Wrote: Do you think that Aragorn one of the Guard of Rangers that the Ringwraiths "drove off" at Sarn Ford on September 22, 3018, on their way to narrowly missing Frodo's departure from Bag End and Hobbiton?  That would leave him plenty of time to get from SF to Bree ahead of Frodo.  And a recent encounter that went badly would explain his pained expression when speaking to the hobbits about them.
I am skeptical of the idea that Aragorn was there, but maybe that is what Tolkien intended. All we know for sure from what Aragorn says is that he was unable to meet with Gandalf and so decided to watch the East road for Frodo. I'd say there is wiggle room in there.


In UT it says that Aragorn was not there when the Ringwraiths drove off the guard of Rangers at Sarn Ford and it implies that he was away at Bree.   This is in the Hunt For the Ring but I do not know if this is considered canon.  

I think if Aragorn had been anywhere close to the Shire when this happened he would have mentioned it on the journey to Rivendell or after he and the Hobbits arrived.
Reply
#12
(January 27th, 2020, 05:30 PM)Jaak Wrote: How did Aragorn know that "all" blades that pierce Witch-King perish? How many times had Witch-king suffered non-fatal wounds from bladed weapons which were retrieved by his enemies to see that the blades did perish, rather than captured by Witch-king´s bodyguard to a fate unknown to eemies?


I think what really was meant was that all KNOWN blades that pierced the Witch-King had perished.  Would Glamdring had perished if it pierced TWK?  I do not think so.  I doubt TWK realized his peril when he confronted Gandalf at Gate of Minas Tirith.  Would Narsil/Anduril have perished if it pierced the King of all Nazguls.  Well it pierced Sauron if only to cut a finger off his hand and it did not perish.  Would Isildur's Numenorean have perished?   Perhaps it did and this source of the legends.

According to Unfinished Tales Isildur's sword was recovered and presumably brought back to Valandil along with the rest of his effects.   When King Argeleb was slain in 1356 in combat with Angmar and Rhudaur he wielded this sword.  I would suggest that he fought TWK and even though he was pierced TWK the sword perished and Argeleb, now defenseless,  was killed.  This was no doubt observed and led to the creation of Witch-King Killing swords in the interim between this conflict and in invasion of 1409.

The only other sword that I can think of that could have pierced TWK was the one carried by the first Boromir.  In the Appendix it is said that TWK feared him.  Perhaps it because Boromir faced him in single combat and was able to wound him before getting the Morgul wound that shortened his life.  However the context in the Appendix leads me to think TWK feared him in the sense that he was a threat to his plans and not that he feared to face Boromir.
Reply
#13
(February 13th, 2020, 06:17 AM)Travis Stephens Wrote:
(January 27th, 2020, 05:30 PM)Jaak Wrote: How did Aragorn know that "all" blades that pierce Witch-King perish? How many times had Witch-king suffered non-fatal wounds from bladed weapons which were retrieved by his enemies to see that the blades did perish, rather than captured by Witch-king´s bodyguard to a fate unknown to enemies?


I think what really was meant was that all KNOWN blades that pierced the Witch-King had perished.  
I really think that you are really onto something here, Travis.  The Witch-king fought in many wars against the Dunedain of Arnor, and it seems as though his 'style' was to be near to the battlefront, and to engage his chief opponents personally.  True, Boromor's description of the battle at Osgiliath depicts a leader who drives his troops with madness, from a safe distance.  But Angmar's confrontations with Earnur, Glorfindel,  Mordomin, Gandalf, Theoden, and even Eowyn and Merry show that, while he might be evil, he is not craven.

My point being that, throughout his long career as a Warrior-king, there was ample opportunity for him to be struck by an enemy's weapon, and have that weapon be destroyed.  Such tales and anecdotes would likely have come down to Aragorn.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
Reply
#14
Just for fun, I wonder what would have happened if the WK had gotten into a confrontation with Durin's Bane.
Would that glowing red sword have "perished"?

Based on the fact that Nazgul were afraid of fire, I think WK would be out of his depth there.
Reply
#15
Actually, they probably did know about the blades since they soon realized after they had been turned into ghost riders they had been tricked by Sauron. They were either angry, horrified, or shamed. They knew they were his slaves and had no choice but to serve. They probably happy they were able to kill by those blades to end their suffering. They disgraced themselves and their families. They lost their kingdoms to evil, etc. They probably knew Aragorn was their kin so they probably tried their least to prevent winning.
Don't insult the precious, my precious!:book:
Reply
#16
"Black Riders In The Shire"
An old Ranger went riding out one dark and windy day
Upon a ridge he rested as he went along his way
When a gang of black-clad riders he saw, he coulda swore
Shrieking through the grassy fields, across the Sarn Ford

Their swords were lit on fire and their Morgul-blades of steel
Their boots were black and shiny and their Black Breath he could feel
A bolt of fear went through him as they thundered ‘cross the rise
For he saw Black Riders coming hard and he heard their fearsome cries

Yippie I oh oh oh
Yippie I aye ye ye
Black riders in the Shire

Their faces gaunt, invisible, their hauberks soaked with sweat
They’re riding hard to catch that Ring but they ain't caught It yet
Cause they got to ride forever on under the Nameless’ eye
On big black pteradactyls, as they ride on hear their cries

As the riders swooped on by him he heard one’s remonstration
'If you wanna save your soul from the House of Lamentation
Then Ranger change your ways today or with us you will ride
Trying to catch the Dark Lord’s Ring across these endless skies’

Yippie I oh oh oh
Yippie I aye ye ye
Black Riders in the sky
Black Riders in the sky
Black Riders in the sky

I think one of the biggest "hooks" that got them enslaved to Sauron to begin with was the fear of the natural ordained Death of Men, so they were too terrified to renounce their Rings and accept Death even if they could have done so.
Many Defeats & Many Fruitless Victories Memoirs Gateway
For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  the nazgul badlands 14 1,253 February 11th, 2011, 07:09 AM
Last Post: Alvin Eriol
  If a Nazgul rides to the East, does he break wind? Mordomin 5 962 September 29th, 2009, 09:21 AM
Last Post: Coconut Ent
  How to tell a Nazgul from a Duck Elenmir 17 1,367 August 7th, 2006, 06:48 AM
Last Post: Coconut Ent
  Where are all the Nazgl? Alcuin 14 1,575 July 29th, 2006, 08:12 PM
Last Post: Elenmir
  "Of all the slaves of the Dark Lord only the Nazgul could have warned him of the Peri Master Samwise 7 698 October 17th, 2004, 06:46 PM
Last Post: EagleoftheStar
  question about the nazgul Unregistered 8 1,875 June 7th, 2004, 06:55 PM
Last Post: Gandalf the White
  Unnoticed Nazgl Kirinki54 15 1,035 October 17th, 2003, 10:24 AM
Last Post: Attalus

Forum Jump: