The Nazgûl: Ringwraiths and Servants of Sauron

While the imagery of the Nazgûl soaring through the night sky is iconic, their aerial abilities deserve a closer look. Let’s dispel some myths and explore the true nature of these fearsome servants of Sauron. The Nazgûl: Ringwraiths and Servants of Sauron

Not Winged Themselves:

Contrary to popular belief, the Nazgûl themselves lack wings. They are wraiths, incorporeal beings bound to their physical forms by the power of the Rings.

Fowl Fiends as Mounts:

Their aerial prowess comes from their terrifying steeds: Fell Beasts (not Nazgûl mounts, as they predate the Ringwraiths). These monstrous creatures, bred from dark magic, possess powerful wings and unmatched agility in the air.

Hunters, Not Gliders:

The Nazgûl don’t gracefully glide like eagles. They command their Fell Beasts with chilling screeches and telepathic commands, using them as extensions of their own will for swift movement and surprise attacks.

Fear, Not Flight, Their Weapon:

While their aerial presence is undeniable, their true power lies in their ability to inspire terror. Their wraithly forms and chilling cries, amplified by the darkness and their monstrous mounts, sow panic and despair in their enemies’ hearts.

Vulnerable Despite the View:

Sunlight weakens the Nazgûl, and they are susceptible to specific blades forged with ancient magic. Even without wings, their dependence on Fell Beasts and vulnerability to light means they’re not invincible in the skies.

The Nazgûl: Flying Wraiths, Ringwraiths
Frodo and the Nazgul, Ringwraiths

A Legend Beyond Flight:

The Nazgûl’s enduring impact lies not in their literal flight, but in their embodiment of fear and darkness. They serve as a chilling reminder that even the mightiest can be corrupted, and that true power often lies in the manipulation of emotions rather than brute force.

So, while the Nazgûl might not be literal gliders, their aerial presence and association with fear remain a potent symbol in Tolkien’s legend. Remember, even grounded shadows can cast a long and terrifying reach.

References and Further Reading:

image source: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/rPge2, https://www.councilofelrond.com/imagegallery/frodo-and-the-nazgul/

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book I, Chapter 2: “The Shadow of the Past”
“And the Nazgûl were abroad. They were the chief servants of Sauron, his most deadly weapons. They were the Nine Ringwraiths, neither living nor dead. Nazgûls had once been mighty kings, but they had been corrupted by the Rings of Power that they had received from Sauron. Now they were his slaves, and they could only be seen when they were mounted on their fell beasts.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book I, Chapter 9: “At the Bridge of Khazad-dûm”
“Frodo looked back. The Nazgûl were coming. They were riding on fell beasts, winged shapes that were black against the moon. Frodo could see the riders’ eyes gleaming in the darkness, and he could hear their high-pitched cries.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Book VI, Chapter 1: “Minas Tirith”
“A great black shape swept over the city. It was a Nazgûl, riding on a fell beast. The beast had a long, serpentine body and huge, leathery wings. The Nazgûl was clad in black armor, and his face was hidden by a black hood. He carried a long sword in his hand.”