Did the Nazgul Remember?

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Lady d`Ecthelion 09/Jul/2006 at 01:03 AM
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A question ...

Knowing what we know about the Nazgul, do you think that already being in their accomplished state of Ringwraiths, they still remembered who they were before?

Looking forward to your opinions!
Shiraz 09/Jul/2006 at 01:21 AM
Stablemaster of the Mark Points: 679 Posts: 337 Joined: 06/Jul/2006

I think they remembered but could do nothing about it for they were enslaved by the ring. Im not sure how many of the Nazgul were of Numenorian descent but those who were would not regret their actions but would have thought their previous lives a horrible waste of time when they could have been serving Sauron.

Rohanya 09/Jul/2006 at 02:39 AM
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Aldoriana, there is the text as exterior, of which David is the Maestro. There is text of the interior, and here I come in.

So what is a book, as interior text, when it comes to the matter of the Ringwraiths? You ask me if they remembered who they were before? I approach that issue this way. Ringwraiths are no real existant inside. Nothing to fear there, full of answers.

But I have to do so in a way manifesting my own personal belief that your thoughts and communications are exceptionally sharp these days. That, in truth, is the interior approach. It is knowing and sensing that all is of relevance, yes, even to women in Bulgaria who are professional Tolkienists. Interior perspectives, to continue, make the exterior text relevant here now, and in some way of obvious nature to some, though not all, alas

Interior readings of texts just push human wholeness to its logical conclusion. Not true.
emotional release, sensational delight, intuitive repose, even conquering.

Ringwraiths? If you want, now, my exterior impression, having been away from the books for quite a while, I would probably argue this way. They remember both the foolishness of their past (still in some sense an ongoing present) and the deathly nature of their present, barren. That, I suggest, would be a fitting torment.

My comments here, however, would explain the Western portion of my soul. As an Easterner as well, just pure actors. Ringwraiths. No sense of anything deeper. Now that is not torment but sheer stupidity, for all, evolving. A play has to take place in a safe environment.

Hmm.... There you go, Aldoriana. Off to you in the deepest, darkest portions of Eastern Europe.
Ragnelle 09/Jul/2006 at 04:22 AM
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I would think that they did not. It would fit with the way they are described, as nameless wraiths that once were men. When the Mouth of Sauron, who was a ’normal’ man, could forget his own name, then I find it rather natrural that the Nazgûl did too.

I did think of something else when I read the posts, but it has sliped my mind now. I will have to get back to that.

halfir 09/Jul/2006 at 05:26 AM
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Ragnelle:

I did think of something else when I read the posts, but it has sliped my mind now. I will have to get back to that.

be careful my  friend, sounds like the first stages of wraithdom to me!X(

One interesting point that has always stuck in my mind was one that our good friend Timloth made many moons ago- that in fact the Nazgul- as they became -were the only real ’successs story’ that Sauron had with the Great Rings of Power. He blew it with the elves, and he made a grave error of judgment with the dwarves- increasing their greed did nothing to make them sympathetic  or subservient to his will.

That being the case - and this is where this point fits in to Aldoriana’s question -would Sauron have permitted such memories -or would he have preferred for them to have had a ’tabula rasa’ with regard to memory, in order to serve him better?

Alternatively,  if they had  no memory would that have impeded or enhanced their value to Sauron?

Or did they have selective -or a ’selected’  memory? They, like the Mouth of Sauron , had no name (we can leave the Khamul red-herring out as it does not appear in LOTR) and, as Ragnelle observes-if you cant’ remember your name what else can you remember? {And one definition of ’memory’ is ’the faculty by which things are remembered, this faculty considered as residing in a particular individual’.OED  And if you have lost the ability to remember your name- your individuality-can you then have a faculty of memory?X(}

Conversely, the Witch-king must have had some memories for he ’knew’ that :

"No living man may hinder me’ {ROTK-Battle of  the Pelennor Fields}

a memory whether correctly remembered or not, from many years before.

And one would presume that Sauron would have wanted them to remember their previous military or sorcerous abilites - to give - as it were- an added value  to him.

And even if they were totally subservient to his will he could usefully have employed their minds (and thus memories) in carrying out his orders as long as they remained within the parameters that his will had defined.

Aldoriana’s question thus  actually raises a whole series of other points about the relationship of the Nazgul to their master which hopefully we will ponder and perhaps unravel in this thread, including the view that I have always held, that the Witch-king has to be disitnguished from all the other Nazgul

 

Dragons Malice 09/Jul/2006 at 07:55 AM
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I don’t think any of the other Ringbearers lost their ability to remember their past, even Gollum - twisted and tortured by the One Ring - retained his memory.
The Nine however are unique in that Sauron has total control over them, so I would think that Sauron could force their thoughts in a direction of his choosing.

If the Nine could in fact remember their past, then there is a possibility that they may regret what they have become and that then may lead to them to rebellion. Something which Sauron would definately not allow to happen.

Lord_Vidύm 09/Jul/2006 at 08:01 AM
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In my oppinion- no they didnt remember their past.

From the time they turnt into darkness, they forgot who they are. Having the ability to remember their past, this meant they also had the ability of free will. They werent however gifted the free will. They were ringwraiths, whose will was Sauron’s one, and they could do nothing without his permission- except for Witchking, but hello, He was so evil-that his will could possibly be Sauron’s one with no big deal. If they could remember their past, and see how they had ended up being, i dont think they could stay under sauron’s orders. But behind everything was the Ring.

geordie 09/Jul/2006 at 08:57 AM
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I think I read somewhere - probably in Paul Kocher’s book Master of Middle-earth - that the Nazgul had [or may have had] a corner of their mind which retained their personality; and memory. Or at least part of their memory.

This would not be out of any kindness by Sauron; quite the reverse. Sauron merely wishes to dominate, not kill off all the people. There’s no point in having a slave who does’nt know he’s a slave. So, he leaves the Nazgul with a bit of themselves, so they know terror, and this is used to induce terror in others.

Remember the description of a Nazgul’s cry - ’the wail of a lost and lonely creature’
halfir 09/Jul/2006 at 09:34 AM
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geordie: Your comment:

 

Remember the description of a Nazgul’s cry - ’the wail of a lost and lonely creature’

 

rang a bell in my mind regarding a post I had made ages ago in a now archived thread:

 

Nazgul: Puppets or People

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=62016&PagePosition=1

 

Thursday, May 01, 2003 at 17:27

 

It is said that the Orcs hated Melkor, their creator. Is this the same with the Nazgul - are they unhappy under the thrall of Sauron, or are they so enslaved to his will as not to know they are unhappy or not? Other than the Witch-King we are given little or no insight into the nature of the Nazgul. Could their cries which instil such fear also be a wailing for themselves at what they have lost and what they have become?

And as to their Leader - we know from the Eanur reference something of the Witch-King’s nature. As to his confrontation with Gandalf and the episode of the Pellenor Fields we learn, from Tolkien’s Letters that he had at this point been given an ’added demonic force’ by the Dark Lord, but the text also seems to demonstrate a personal aspect. The Witch-King at least, I believe, exulted in the evil state into which he had chosen to fall, perhaps some of his comrades are of a different complexion

N.B. Apologies about the post- my computer seems to have gone haywire in terms of bold and color!

 

Wídfara 09/Jul/2006 at 10:01 AM
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I have always believed that they were fully aware of their past, present and future and therein lies the horror of their fate and downfall. If they did not remember who they had been and what had become of them they would not contain the powerful malice and hatred for living things and for themselves. Trapped by their greed and lust the pain of their exsistence would be less without memory of life and their folly.  There is this quote that has always made me think they were fully cognizant of what had happened to them. Merry has asked Aragorn if the riders can see. Aragorn explains how they perceive the world and offers this...
" And at all times they smell the blood of living things, desiring it and hating it." FOTR, A Knife in the Dark

I think that it was Tolkien’s intent that we see the Ringwraiths as having memories as well. In this letter it could be interpreted that he is describing the wraiths punishment and torment which would be meaningless without memory.
"
Freedom from Time, and clinging to Time. The confusion is the work of the Enemy, and one of the chief causes of human disaster. Compare the death of Aragorn with a Ringwraith. The Elves call ’death’ the Gift of God ( to Men). Their temptation is different: towards a faineant melancholy, burdened with Memory, leading to an attempt to halt Time. ",  Letters, #208

Beyond Sauron’s will in the matter, is the punishment inflicted on mortals that attempt to change the will of Eru in the matters of fate and immortality.

"To attempt by device or ’magic’ to recover longevity is thus a supreme folly and wickedness of  ’mortals’. Longevity or counterfeit ’ immortality’ ( true immortality is beyond Ea ) is the chief bait of Sauron - it leads to the small to a Gollum, and the great to a Ringwraith. " Letters, # 212

Radagast Rasta 09/Jul/2006 at 12:32 PM
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I think that they did have an awareness of thier past but maybe it was not complete because all thier energy and will is bent on finding the ring which could cause them to lose part of their memories because thier minds would not wander into their pasts rather to the ring. And as a respones to Maracthor’s comment on rebelling out of regret of what they had become I think that would be impossible because how can you rebel against the very thing the rules your mind and will?
Brandywine74 09/Jul/2006 at 02:54 PM
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I think they do remember their past but I don’t know if they regret what they’ve done or would like to choose differently if the rings were presented to them again. After all, they have become more powerful than they once were and they have a kind of immortality. Whether they would give this up knowing that they would only have lived the same length as ordinary men is a big question. They would also have had limited power as well.
halfir 09/Jul/2006 at 04:48 PM
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Azultur: I am afraid that I think you completely misconstrue Letter # 208. The lines:

The Elves call ’death’ the Gift of God ( to Men). Their temptation is different: towards a faineant melancholy, burdened with Memory, leading to an attempt to halt Time.

are quite explicitly related to the Elves, not to the Ringwraiths.

Aragorn’s noble death (Tolkien seeing Death as no Enemy) is compared (implicitly) to the false extended existence of the Nazgul under the power of the One/Nine.

There is no way you can properly link the phrase burdened with Memory, leading to an attempt to halt Time. to the Ringwariths. It is Tolkien’s description of what faces the elves as opposed to the Death of men.

Nor do you correctly contextualize Letter # 212 (draft) which -in the passage you quote is dealing with the Elves view of Death. There is no statement that Eru inflicts a punishment on mortals as you suggest, in that Letter, for attempting to avoid  death. The term  divine’punishment’  is not connected in any way to the sentence you quote but to the Creator’s making of ’punishments’  a good.

To attempt to avoid death is indeed a folly  and wickedness which results in -at a  de minimis level Gollum and at a de maximus one the Ringwraiths -but this is not a punishment of Eru but a fraud on the part of Sauron.

As to punishment and torment certainly as far as the Witch-king is concerned in his personal confrontation with Gandalf-for example -one certainly gets no sense of a punished and tormented being, quite the opposite- a sense of exultation from one who really believes that his hour has come.

As for the quote:

 And at all times they smell the blood of living things, desiring it and hating it." FOTR, A Knife in the Dark {my emphasis}

we know, from

Home 10 Morgoth’s Ring -Myths Transformed -Notes on Motives in the Silmarillion - Text 7 that

all evil hates

Ragnelle 09/Jul/2006 at 04:56 PM
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halfir: Do you mean that I should get rid of that pretty ring I got as a brithdaypresssent?

But reading all the comments, I see that I probably need to rethink the issue a bit. Originally I made some conection to Gollum as well, but after a quick look I see that he can not be given as any sort of ’proof’ that the Nazgûl did not remeber anything. But since I am rethinking the issue anyway...

Gollum have memories, but have looked away most of them.

"Even Gollum was not wholly ruined. He had proved thougher than even on of the Wise would have guessed - as a hobbit might. There was a little corner of his mind that was still his own, and light came though it, as through a chink in the dark: light out of the past. It was actually pleasant, I think, to hear a kindly voice again, bringing up memories of wind, and trees, and sun on the grass, and such forgotten things." FotR, The Shadow of the Past

But then Gollum has not faded, something we safly can say the Ringwraiths have, and is not completly ruined - again something I think we can say about the Nazgûl. Gandalf seem to regard Gollum’s memory as a sign that he was not a hopeless case. Which would make it not unreasonable to think that the Nazgûl, who are hopeless cases - did not retain this "corner of their minds that was still their own" to pharaphrase Tolkien.

Hm. I am not at all sure now. But I think, Az, that Tolkien are talking about the Elves being burdened with Memory in the Letter #208-quote you give, and not the Ringwraiths. Thus it can’t help us very much. (BTW, it is good to see you outside of the Mark as well )

Now, the cry that geordie and halfir comments on, is something to consider, but do they have to remeber what they have been in order to be lost? Or is it just enough that they know they have lost something even if they don’t remeber what it is?

I would also separate between memories of themselves and memories of acquired skills, I would even think that it is not the same that they remember things that happened after they became wraiths.

Shiraz 09/Jul/2006 at 05:06 PM
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The nazgul were proud of their current state and thought their past lives quite a waste of time. This is what Sauron wanted them to think. That service to him was an honour. The nazguls scream was merely an interpretation of the hobbits that it was a "lost and lonely creature". I have always pitied the nazgul. They were betrayed by Sauron and then when they were transformed, their own kind no longer cared that they were once men. They didnt pity them but hated them. This means that men thought the nazgul remembered who they were and even so were merciless.
halfir 09/Jul/2006 at 05:38 PM
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The nazgul were proud of their current state and thought their past lives quite a waste of time. This is what Sauron wanted them to think. That service to him was an honour.

I think that some of us would like to see a little more textual proof of how you arrive at this conclusion!X(

Shiraz 09/Jul/2006 at 05:44 PM
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Sorry, its just my opinion that Sauron would imagine his servants loved him. Obviously he was wrong regarding the orcs and since he held the nazguls will, he could have installed pride into their hearts. Sauron thought it was an honour to serve the Lord of the Rings (ie himself). All that mattered to him was victory.
halfir 09/Jul/2006 at 09:48 PM
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Shiraz: There’s no need to apologize  at all. The important thing though, particularly if you post in AL is to make a clear distinction betwen your opinion-based as it were on your intuitive response to the text overall, and specific passages that substantiate or at least give credence to the opinion you hold, in which case you can justifiably argue tha the text demonstaraes -or appears to demonstrate the conclusion you arrive at.

X(

Wídfara 09/Jul/2006 at 10:17 PM
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halfir and Ragnelle: I see your point about the passage actually refering to Elves in the case of memory. I misconstured  that as halfir puts it.

The confusion is the work of the Enemy, and one of the chief causes of human disaster. Compare the death of Aragorn with a Ringwraith.

I guess I wrongly was taking this part of the letter as reference to humans in general, whether it be Ringwraiths or Numenoreans, seeking to avoid death or fate is a sin and punished in one way or another. Admittedly extrapolating other material without supplying contextual proofs. No books available at this time though that not help me anyway.

And at all times they smell the blood of living things, desiring it and hating it." FOTR, A Knife in the Dark ( my bold)

Desiring suggests envy to me. Envy suggests an awareness of loss of self and a past. Just opinion though. Thanks for setting me straight. I will run back to the Kingdom now.

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 09/Jul/2006 at 10:22 PM
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*...Ohooo! Room full of people!
Guys, the fridge is over there... beer’s ice-cold
...*


I thank you all for your comments. Very interesting thoughts!

For the time being, I prefer only listening to you, yet I’d still say that the argument of
have a name known = have an identity >> remember one’s past"
seems a bit "misty" to me. The books reveal large groups of characters around certain individuals. Those who form these groups are not presented by their names, yet they do leave the reader with the acute impression of them being very realistic living beings - acting as individuals, their actions being motivated by common ideals, causes, common history, etc. >> all these presupposing the presence of vivid memories of their past, hence of a fully functioning mind, the ability to remember being part of it. Right?
So, even if I can, to an extent, accept the logic of :"if you cant’ remember your name what else can you remember? ", I still think this argument can’t be taken too much into consideration.
We first have to find out whether the Nazgul remembered their past in general. If yes, then they must’ve remembered their names, too.
There must be a reason for Master T. to leave these 9 nameless, while the other 9 (of the Fellowship) so well "popular". This may be relevant to the present question...or not...

Anyway, what I’m "hungry" for, is to hear more on the issue of the complex interaction ’Sauron <> Nazgul’. I think that the answer to my own question lies there.
Namely:
"did they have selective - or a ’selected’ memory?
-*-*-*-

Az, indeed, those comments refer to the Elves. Was your intention to come to some sort of a comparison or deduction, concerning the Nazgul?

Well, I’m looking forward to more opinions here

Oh, and ... Rohanya, with your spiritual Estern philosophies and concepts you have totally confused mi poor materialistic mind, man!
And... believe me, I do not live in the "deepest, darkest portions of Eastern Europe" ... where could that be?! So, you won’t find me there... wherever this might be!
halfir 09/Jul/2006 at 10:24 PM
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Azultur: Don’t run away so quickly!X( We haven’t established that you are wrong- simply that the quotes in question don’t apply in the way you initially used them.

 And even though ’all evil hates’ I can see justification in the way you gloss  the line:

And at all times they smell the blood of living things, desiring it and hating it." FOTR, A Knife in the Dark ( my bold)

Moreover, as I said in an earlier post:

"Conversely, the Witch-king must have had some memories for he ’knew’ that :

"No living man may hinder me’ {ROTK-Battle of  the Pelennor Fields}

a memory whether correctly remembered or not, from many years before."

So we haven’t established any open and shut case either way.

So your very welcome  to join the Baker Street Irregulars in their quest for a solution!X(

Shiraz 09/Jul/2006 at 10:29 PM
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But that memory came from when he was still a nazgul and thus it is not a part of what we are trying to prove. Whether or not they have a memory at all is obvious. Yes they do. Otherwise how would they know information they recieved for instance. Also how would they remember where they saw travellers and what roads to watch.
halfir 09/Jul/2006 at 10:48 PM
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Shiraz: You make a fair point there -my quote does refer to when the Witch-king was a Nazgul- but in order to try and answer Aldoriana’s question

Knowing what we know about the Nazgul, do you think that already being in their accomplished state of Ringwraiths, they still remembered who they were before

we need to establish if they have a ’short-term’ or a ’long-term’ memory or, to put it the way I did earlier a ’selective’ or ’selected’ memory - and one of the few quotes that gives us any idea as to time-frame  is that about the Witch king and Eanur.

Ragnelle 10/Jul/2006 at 06:18 AM
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Az: Don’t run. I don’t think you are wrong in "taking this part of the letter as reference to humans in general, whether it be Ringwraiths or Numenoreans, seeking to avoid death or fate is a sin and punished in one way or another." I just don’t think Memory is a punishment for the Ringwraiths, but part of temtation for the Elves.

Aldoriana: As I understand you question (and I may well not have) you asked if the Ringwraiths who they were before they became Ringwraiths. To me that seem to include their names and identities, but not nessererarly their skills. Nor, would I think, more objective historical events. I am reminded of Tom Bombadil’s answer to Frodo:

"Don’t you know my name yet? That’s the only answer. Tell me, who are you, alone and nameless?" FotR, In the House of Tom Bombadil

When we are asked who we are, we always - or almost always, answer with our names. But the Ringwraiths have no names. Nor do they, with the exeption of the Witch-king, seem to display a self, a personality. The large groups of characters that you refer to, are a different situation. We are not told the name of every orc or soldier in Gondor, yet that does not lead us to think that they don’t have names or identities.

But the Nazgûl is different. They are named as a group but not as individuals - the only exeption being the Witch-king, and he is named with a title, not a propper name. Yet even this naming gives him an identity and a character the others does not display.

At the moment I see the Nazgûl as having suffered a loss of self, and that would alos include the memory of who they once was. They may remeber that they once was something/-one different, which is something, but to remeber who you was, is also a beginging to recover that lost self and I do not think the Nazgûl could do that. Ever. The Witch-king seem to have gained a self of a sort, but that is not the same as remebering the old self. I would even think it less probable that he remebered - like the evil side of Gollum resenting the memories of "wind, and trees, and sun on the grass, and such forgotten things." (FotR, The Shadow of the Past) as Gandalf puts it.

halfir: I think ’selective’ or ’selected’ memory perhaps is more useful than ’short-term’ or ’long-term’. The Nazgûl are no longer men, they have become wraiths, and to me that seems that this transformation could be a dividing line or a watershed. At least I have no problems with imagining that they could remeber things that happens after they became wraiths but not before.

I also have this thought that it is a difference between remebering what I - for lack of better words - would call historical events (things that happen) and remembering your self. But then again many of our memories of what has happened to us, is part of remebering the self. Perhaps I am just making things difficult for myself

Lady d`Ecthelion 10/Jul/2006 at 07:15 AM
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Ragnelle, yes, you have quite well understood my question. Why do you doubt?!
I am aware that if we stick to the ’names’-argument, sooner or later Master halfir shall direct us to that famous thread about "THE Name" (Master, help me find it when the time comes ).
What I however wish to say here is that we should not forget the well known fact that the concept of ’a name’ in our modern times is very different from that of ancient times. In those times "names" were given to people like for example we read about it in Tolkien’s essay "Laws and Customs among the Eldar - Naming" , or even in Turin’s tale - that is - THE name was chosen to describe some very typical, very individual and very characteristic feature(s) of the person being named, and most often those were not just one word. In fact, this tradition is still present with some more "primitive" peoples even in our days.

Then ... Ringwraith could well be a "name" chosen for each one of these creatures for their present state; the WK having an additional one, being their leader. No other names were applicable to describe them. But this still refers to their present state.

Now, what you’re saying, namely that: "But the Nazgûl is different. They are named as a group but not as individuals - the only exeption being the Witch-king, and he is named with a title, not a propper name. Yet even this naming gives him an identity and a character the others does not display." , is very much connected with my remark up here that: "There must be a reason for Master T. to leave these 9 nameless, while the other 9 (of the Fellowship) so well "popular". ". We are both stating one and the same fact - the one I describe in the above paragraph. Does this fact, however help us come to conclusions about their past? These "names" they have now, for this is who they are - ringwraiths, yet they might have had other names in the past when they were somebody else.
The Law stipulates : "Not knowing the Law cannot be an excuse for violating it".
Not knowing the previous names of the Nazgul - can this be accepted as an argument for the lack of memories about their previous individuality, character and personality?
Ragnelle 10/Jul/2006 at 08:14 AM
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Aldroiana: Do you mean this: The Naming of Sauron 

And I just wanted to make sure I really did understand your question, and not just thought I did.

But even if Ringwraith can be considdered the ’name’ of each Nazgûl, still it is not a induvidual name, they are too much of a homogenous groop for that to work. It is not a name meant to descrbe a "very typical, very individual characterisic feature" as you put it. Why? Because it describes what they are, not who they are.

To give an example. I am a human being. In a sosiety where there are no human beings (elves, Dwarves, Ailiens -you name it), I might be called "the human" as a name, but it is still only a decription of what I am, and in a group of human beings, it would not work as a name because it does not say who I am: this particular indivdual and not another. Ringwraith might work as a name (of a sort) if there was only one of them, but they are a group so it does not work as a individual name. "The Wicth-king", or better "the Witch-king of Agmar" does work as a name because there is only one of him and though it is a title, it describes a bit more about who he is rather than what.

I agree that the must be a reason that Tolkien left the Nazgûl nameless, and I do think it can give us some clues about them. I find it highly probably that the ringwraiths had names before they became wraiths. The fact that they are nameless now, is what makes me think they have lost their individuality, their self. I find it probable that this loss also include the loss of the memory of who they were - and the memory of their names. As I pointed out in my first post, the Mouth of Sauron has forgotten his name, and he is still a mortal man: "yet this was no Ringwraith but a living man." (RotK, The Black Gate Opens) The Nazgûl are no longer men, but wraiths and they (with possibly the exeption of the Witch-king) have less individuality than the Mouth.

Not knowing the previous names of the Nazgul - can this be accepted as an argument for the lack of memories about their previous individuality, character and personality?

Definite proof - no. Argument, yes, I think so. As I do not know about any statement form Tolkien about the subject, I would try to find out what is probalbe form the description of them, and their namelessness is such a big part of how Tolkien describes them, that I would take that as a clue. But this is not, to me, something with clear answer and I may change my mind before the dicucsion is over. At the moment I find it more probable that they do not remeber who they were - perhaps even not what they were (men), though the last I am more uncertian about.

Arvellas 10/Jul/2006 at 11:44 AM
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I think it is very probable that the Nazgul had selective or "selected" memories.  If Sauron has great control over their minds, then I believe there are certain things he would allow or not allow the Nazgul to think and/or remember, based on what would be most effective for achieving his means.  He may have left them with some memories, however few, and a vague sense of who and what they were to enforce the idea that Sauron was capable of bringing them down from glory, and thereby enforce the idea that they were slaves and could not hope to rise above Sauron.  Maracthor stated that having memory of their pasts might cause the Nine to want to rebell, but if Sauron had enough control over their minds to choose what they remembered, I would argue that he probably would have been able to stomp out any thoughts of rebellion.  This would then, of course, raise the question of whether taking their memories away would be necessary, but I think this only proves how complicated the situation really is.

I would also like to bring up the wounding of Frodo with the Morgul blade.  On that occasion, he put on the Ring, and so the Nazgul were "revealed" to him as he was to them.  He saw the Witchking, and through him, we, the readers see the Witchking.  My impression was that the leader of the Nazgul, enslaved as he was, had formidable- and royal -bearing.  Because of this, I think it likely that he was at least vaguely aware of being important in his past life, and I think that on such occasions Sauron may have wanted him to appear great and terrible, and would have wanted him to be proud to serve under an even greater and more terrible force(ie, Sauron himself), the purpose being to make him a more powerful tool, at least in that moment.  This would show the Witchking as a mixture of puppet and person: thoughts and actions of a person, selectively manipulated and switched on and off in puppet fashion.

Wídfara 10/Jul/2006 at 12:20 PM
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Thanks halfir and Ragnelle, wading  back in...

Ragnelle you make some great points regarding the use of names and the example of the Mouth of Sauron forgetting his name is an interesting comparison. He seems on one hand to have forgotten his name.  The suggestion is that he has lost self in subjecting himself to Sauron and to become the physical manifestation of Sauron’s voice. Yet he still has enough of his individuality left to remain personally ambitious and that seems like a contridiction.
" Looking in the Messenger’s eyes they read his thought. He was to be that lieutenant, and gather all that remained of the West under his sway; he would be their tyrant and they his slaves." ROTK, The Black Gate Opens

May I suggest that Tolkien uses naming or not naming characters in a unique way that has a powerful effect on the reader. We are immediately impacted by the fact that characters are called "nameless". It evokes emotion in us. To be nameless, to be nothing, what could be worse? We are feeling a horror based on our own fear of loss of self and identifying with the character on some level. We are not told they have lost their individuality but it is our gut reaction.  Also to be nameless adds mystery and power to these characters that the named evil beings do not have. The named individual orcs or Gothmog, as examples, do not evoke the same fear or implied power that the Ringwraiths have. I would argue the Wraiths would not have the stature and strong imagery with us if they were named. Aldoriana mentions the contrast with between the named nine fellowship members and the unnamed nine Wraiths. To name them would diminish them and the terror of them in some way. Now they are unknowable and remain enigmatic which is why they are so very interesting as characters. All the great horror or suspense films leave things to your imagination. I think Tolkien is a master at letting the reader fill in the blanks on some subjects.  It is also interesting, to me anyway, that we have examples of those highest in command in Sauron’s forces called nameless while the lowliest orc has a name. Maybe they have transcended the need for names in that twisted world?  Is there something somewhere about Sauron not allowing his name to used by his servants?
Long way of saying that I am not convinced that these examples of namelessness means loss of self or memory. Will stand by for further arguements.
In my opinion, the Wraiths and the Mouth of Sauron have made the ultimate Faustian bargain. To be truly evil one must know what one is doing is wrong or more importantly in this case what one did and the consequences which would imply memory and self knowledge. They would be merely robotic or zombies if they were without their individual memories. The idea of the lost soul does not work if the individual does not know he has lost his soul.

Geirve 10/Jul/2006 at 05:17 PM
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I am completely with Halfir on treating the Witchking as a case distinct and separate from the other Nazgul, and I will make use of his invitation not to limit myself to the problem of memory of the Nazgul, but to treat the subject more broadely. The WK was special, and I have realized only recently in full how special.

a) The WK had powers beyond the other Nazgul - apparently independent on what additional power Sauron would ’pour’ into him (the WK alone did not fear water, and he alone was able to save his horse from the flood at the Ford of Bruinen);

b) The WK had apparently greater independence of mind and will than the other Nazgul ("if one of them, even the Witch-king their captain, had seized the One Ring, he would have brought it back to his Master", UT, The Hunt for the Ring - it clearly implies that the WK could act against Sauron’s orders in minor matters - and he did, see below);

c) The WK had a very special position in Mordor. What I find very intriguing and significant is that the WK had, apart from his title and his seat in Minas Morgul, his own heraldic device, distinct from Sauron’s: "Two liveries Sam noticed, one marked by the Red Eye, the other by a Moon disfigured with a ghastly face of death", RoTK, The Tower of Cirith Ungol. So it seems Sauron was treating the WK not as his slave or even his servant, but as his vassal! (Compare also the WK’s title of the Morgul-lord.)

d) I am not sure how to word this, but the WK had something like... Sauron’s affection. I have found this astonishing quote from an unpublished fragment of "The Hunt for the Ring" in "LoTR. The Reader’s Companion" by Hammond and Scull:

"The wrath and fear of Sauron then may be guessed; yet if there was anyone in the world in whom he trusted it was the Lord of Angmar"

This quote also implies that it was possible for the WK to act against Sauron’s orders to some extent - Sauron could not ’trust’ (or mistrust) someone who was only his puppet.

And the same source (here, I think, a caveat is in order: "The Hunt for the Ring" is not a finished work, and each quote should be carefully evaluated for contradictions with LoTR) gives an example of the WK actually acting against Sauron’s orders: "But desiring to attract as little notice as possible he [the WK - my insertion] (mistakenly and against Sauron’s orders) sacrifices speed to stealth"

This independence did not extend as far as resisting Sauron’s will as to the aim of his actions: "They were by far the most powerful of his servants and the most suitable for such a mission, since they were entirely enslaved to their Nine Rings, which he now himself held; and they were quite incapable of acting against his will" (UT, The Hunt for the Ring) but it seems the WK had quite a lot of leeway otherwise. I don’t think this extends to the other Nazgul, though.

More to the original point, I think, same as Halfir in his old post in the "Puppets or People" thread, that the WK was proud of his state and his service to Sauron ("Come not between the Nazgul and his prey!" - he was proud of being "the Nazgul"). Could it be so that the WK, unlike (some of) the other Nazgul, made (as a man) a conscious and deliberate decision to serve Sauron? (Remember: "And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring that they bore and under the domination of the One, which was Sauron’s ", Of the Rings of Power; The Silmarillion - not all Nazgul had originally evil will.) This would mean the WK preserved enough memory of his original self to remember he wanted to serve Sauron.
halfir 10/Jul/2006 at 06:14 PM
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Geir: What a splendid post!X( aldoriana is to be congratulated for starting such a stimulating thread. And I was fascinated by the quotes that you provided from the unpublished  Hunt for the Ring contained in Hammond&Scull. I’ve got that reading  on my ’to do’ list with regard to my Witch King’s flying steed theory among other things. And although you rightly  caution us against running down any primrose path of textual self-indulgence with regard to use of those quotes ,to me they align perfectly and mesh completely  with the image that we get from the text on the Witch King in LOTR. He likes what he does! His will is not simply dominated by Sauron’s- it is aligned with it! There is a complementarity there. {Perhaps shades of Morgoth and Sauron’s relationship ?).

Your post has given us many new things to digest and then return to discuss, and I look forward to doing so shortly, along with some comments on posts that others have made, but if I don’t get  ’Tom and walking as a definition of freedom ’ out of my system today I will go mad! (Or perhaps I should more correctly say: ’even madder’!X(

Lady d`Ecthelion 10/Jul/2006 at 10:40 PM
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Ragnelle, call me stupid, but I still can’t find the logical connection between the fact that the writer (for whatever reasons) left the Nazgul nameless, on one hand, and on the other - the issue of them being able, or not, to remember their past before becoming ringwraiths.

Of course, I realize that there is almost no information about it, and all we can do is speculate or do even better - deduct.
But that’s the thrill of the "game", isn’t it!

You say:
"At the moment I find it more probable that they do not remeber who they were - perhaps even not what they were ..."

I am every time amazed with how one and the same thing (a text in this particular case) can produce different effect upon different individuals!
For ... I personally am certain that these nine men did have memories of their past, and it is perhaps realizing what they had and had lost, that produces their fierce hatred towards any and every living creature, also explaining why they would willingly serve Sauron.

Azultur:
"Long way of saying that I am not convinced that these examples of namelessness means loss of self or memory. "
Better late than never! But I’m glad to read an opinion, similar to mine, even though you have come to it from a very different ’road" .

Geir, every leader has been and is always more special than the rest of his "squad". That is why only some become leaders.
So, if I have understood you correctly, you claim that the WK did preserve some memory of who he was, while the other 8 did not?
And why’s that?

You also provide that quote and your comment, namely:
Quote:
"The wrath and fear of Sauron then may be guessed; yet if there was anyone in the world in whom he trusted it was the Lord of Angmar"


"This quote also implies that it was possible for the WK to act against Sauron’s orders to some extent - Sauron could not ’trust’ (or mistrust) someone who was only his puppet."

What I find highly illogical is the last ascertainment(my bold).
I find it quite on the contrary. One can always and unconditionally trust a "puppet", for the latter has no will or ability to take decisions of its own, and all its actions are completely guided by the "puppeteer".
This is far not the case with the Nazgul!

Anyway, it seems that even if we see things differently, I sense an opinion of yours, namely - that the Nazgul did have memories of their past, remembering who they were before.
halfir 10/Jul/2006 at 10:48 PM
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One can always and unconditionally trust a "puppet", for the latter has no will or ability to take decisions of its own, and all its actions are completely guided by the "puppeteer".

Aldoriana: OED: Trust -To have faith or confidence ; to place reliance; to confide, to rely or depend upon’.

How can you depend upon a puppet? All a puppet can do is carry out your imposed will and orders. What if a contingency arises-it is incapable of reacting because it has not been programed to do so. Trust implies an element of mutuality- not of singular imposition or domination.
 

Lady d`Ecthelion 10/Jul/2006 at 11:35 PM
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Does the OED also provide the psychological variations of ’trust’, Master?
The "puppets" are, to an extent only, one certain "expression" of one own self. If one does not trust his/her own self, or his/her own creation, then, this ’one’ does not qualify to be of a character like Sauron.

But ... in fact, are the Nazgul "puppets" of Sauron?
I’d only mention an opinion I developed in more details in some past threads dedicated to these characters - The Nazgul were far not simple "puppets" or brainless creatures.
Which proves the OED right on the issue of ’trust’.
Geirve 11/Jul/2006 at 12:59 AM
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"So, if I have understood you correctly, you claim that the WK did preserve some memory of who he was, while the other 8 did not?"

No, Aldoriana, I don’t claim anything like that, where have you got this idea from? I have written that I think Angmar did, and nothing about the others. (I am rather of the opinion they did, too.)

As to the notion of ’trust’, Halfir understood my point perfectly. ’Trust’ implies mutuality - and a logical possibility of ’mistrust’. You cannot ’mistrust’ someone who is an extension of yourself, thus you cannot ’trust’, either.

The more extended quote may make it clearer in what light Sauron saw the WK (remember also poor Shagrat’s fate - Sauron had no patience with failures):

"The wrath and fear of Sauron then may be guessed; yet if there was anyone in the world in whom he trusted it was the Lord of Angmar; and if his wrath were lessened by perceiving that his great servant had defeated by ill chance (and the craft of the Wise) rather than by faults of his own, his fear would be the more..." (quoted after The LOTR Companion, The Ring goes south)

I would say Sauron overestimated the WK, since the latter made errors of judgement during the Hunt (as shown above), and completely lost his nerve after Weathertop. The whole enterprise was, IMHO, a drastic show of incompetence of the WK et comp - but that’s a completely different topic.

Halfir, concerning the winged steeds (plural, I am afraid, but perhaps the WK’s one was a de luxe version), see the later part of the same fragment (The LOTR Companion, The Ring goes south, 275 (I: 288)).
halfir 11/Jul/2006 at 01:05 AM
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Geir: Halfir, concerning the winged steeds (plural, I am afraid, but perhaps the WK’s one was a de luxe version), see the later part of the same fragment (The LOTR Companion, The Ring goes south, 275 (I: 288)). X(

Thanks.

Lupul Alb 11/Jul/2006 at 01:28 AM
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I think that the Witch King was the one that remembers the most. He was not just the servant of Sauron, but had a lot of emotions. the way that Smeagol describes the Nazgul was somehow an error. The WK seems to have a personal interest in destroing Gandalf, because he tells the orcs that he will deal personally with him. Maybe he still remembered who he was but the ring’s power was to great.
Lady d`Ecthelion 12/Jul/2006 at 10:52 PM
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*...a shameless bump...*
halfir 12/Jul/2006 at 11:43 PM
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What of course is so interesting about The Hunt for the Ring -particularly the new information that has been made availble to us via Hammond & Sculls’ LOTR Companion- is that we increasingly see parts of the LOTR story -told from the other side!

By that I mean that as opposed to LOTR which:

’is seen mainily through the eyes of Hobbits"{Letter # 131}

in The Hunt for the Ring we are getting a picture painted much from the point of view of the protagonists on the other side - which I suggest could well account for why in THFTR Tolkien went as far as naming Khamul.

I will not elaborate further on this at present as I am developing my ideas on the subject but geir’s references I think have thrown this point into sharper relief.

 

DeluhatholSilverleaf 13/Jul/2006 at 02:29 AM
New Soul Points: 1108 Posts: 3651 Joined: 18/Nov/2008
it would be just like sauron to allow the ringwraiths to remember who they once were, just like how morgoth allowed hurin to see the doom of his children..
Lady d`Ecthelion 13/Jul/2006 at 03:13 AM
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wraith921, cruel thought... but I’d accept it!

As to the matter of ’trust’, I’m more inclined to think that it was about mutual ’dependence’ rather.

Geir, sorry! I must’ve misunderstood.
It’s good though to find out that you, too, perhaps, have the same "suspicion" about the Nazgul being able to remember.
And if we take into consideration what wraith921 have just posted, I think we can have a large "space" to explore this "suspicion". Don’t you think?

Looking forward with even greater interest to more on this issue!
DeluhatholSilverleaf 13/Jul/2006 at 09:38 AM
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Also, the wraiths, who are soldiers of Sauron, they fight..the WK actually lead saurons army, this suggests he, if we can call the WK he for the purpose of this discussion, was a good strategist, so we may assume that he was experianced in the art of warfare. These experiances are stored for later use, which means the WK could remember them, and chose a strategy to fit the current senario which meant he could propably remember other things too, such as his past.. 

Aldoriana thanks for accepting that point of mine, i actually thought it would go unnoticed!

 

 

Bearamir 13/Jul/2006 at 11:42 AM
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Ladies & Gentlemen: This thread has been nominated for transfer to Ad Lore...and from what I can see therer *is* some interesting discussion developing.  After I move this thread, however, do remember that a certain quality of posting is expected in Ad Lore threads, so please try to keep the extraneous chatter to a minimum.  Thanks and good luck with your discussion.  
Kirinki54 13/Jul/2006 at 02:33 PM
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And after that admonishing note, I have but some very practical remarks (touched upon by others above). Though the Nazgûl did not use names that we know of, it must be assumed that they had some form of differentiating identification. It might have been just a number, but whatever it was, their missions cannot have been structured and obeyed unless they had a clear view at least among themselves and Sauron (and likely some top minions as well) of who was who.

 

And also the missions per se would have been hard to perform unless they themselves had a clear sense of identity. These monsters were some of Sauron´s most valued assets, “the apple of the eye”, and they were constantly in charge of rather complex tasks. It might seem that they sometimes came across as rather bumbling along, but that I suspect was the fault of their limited – or perhaps different is a better word – perception.

 

Nevertheless we know from the tale that they often had to deal with the real world and not a faded Wraith one. It involved interaction and communication with living creatures – individuals - of several societies, cultures and/or races. This implies to take my reasoning further, a rather complex ability to cope with that to them was an “outside” world, and this in turn implies that they must have retained (perverted) social skills and a rather vast memory. Likely their long lives before turning Wraiths constituted a training period that was not forgotten, and it is my opinion (at least for now not backed by any quotes) that it was even a prerequisite in their present tasks to be able to draw on those experiences.

 

Whether they still thought of themselves as an extension of those former personalities is another matter; they had evolved into something completely different, and memories of that past life was totally useless – and thus – as happens with unused knowledge – largely forgotten. But I believe it was still there in some corners of their twisted minds, and is one reason why they still could fear, and hate and triumph – as long as Sauron and the One existed.

 

BTW, I agree with posters above: great post!

Lady d`Ecthelion 13/Jul/2006 at 09:24 PM
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Oh, wraith, that’s what I’d call an ’iron evidence’!

And what my dear friend Kirinki has posted above seems to me very much in line with your logic.
Reading about the complex tactical moves the Nazgul squad did during the hunt for the Ring, separating, grouping, attacking at different spots at almost one and the same time, reasoning on whether or not and when and where and who to attack ... all these examples undoubtfully prove sharp mind capable of applying experience from before.
Kirinki mentions in his above post that : "...their missions cannot have been structured and obeyed unless they had a clear view at least among themselves and Sauron (and likely some top minions as well) of who was who"
Which reminded me that obviously hierarchy they did have. Khamûl was Sauron’s ’lieutenant’, the WK was ’Lord of the Nazgûl’ or the ’Black Captain’ (I am tempted to also give his other titles:
Lord of the Úlairi, Lord of Morgul, Lord of the Nine Riders, Wraith-king, Captain of Despair, First of the Nazgûl, High Nazgûl, Chieftain of the Ringwraiths, Lord of Minas Morgul, Sorcerer. )

Well, where have we come to then?
We have obviously started to find more and more evidences to prove that the Nazgul were far from being brainless "puppets"; to understand that they were capable of reasoning and of applying knowledge and skills accumulated in their past (’past’ - as from the time of the events in the book).

Can this be also taken as a proof that thy did remember who they were before falling under the Ring’s power, and what and where their former lives were?

Returning to the issue of names/titles, I am thinking ... Khamûl was known as ’the Shadow of the East’ or the ’he Black Easterling’. If the others knew him under these titles, he himself must’ve also known them, too. He, then, must’ve well remembered whence he came from and who he was.

* * *

Thank you very much for bringing the thread into AL!
halfir 13/Jul/2006 at 09:43 PM
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Oh, wraith, that’s what I’d call an ’iron evidence

Really? Then I wouldn’t want  have you as a judge in any case I might be involved in. It is quite possible that Sauron, or indeed the effects of the Nine through the One, either induced, or permitted ’selective’ memory - so that what was of value to Sauron was retained and what wasn’t was wiped out. Modern techniques of brain-washing  contain such possibilities. Moreover as Sauron totally controlled the will of the Nazgul -OED -the movement or attitude of the mind which is directed with conscious intent to some action, physical or mental  one could argue that it was Sauron -not the Nazgul- acting in these instances.{I except the Witch-king because I have always belived -with textual justification in my view from LOTR- that Tolkien identified him as a ’special case’ -hence the fact that he was the leader}.

As far as I can see this thread is currently flawed in two major ways at the moment. None of us has given a specific definition of what we mean by memory, which a consensus has assented to-thus we are using a word without finite definition, and because of that the ’evidential’ assertions  that we are making have no base datum line against which to be judged.

Moreover, we can only, in my view, use non LOTR evidence where it does not conflict with LOTR- and in the case of Khamul it most certainly does.

Certain basic ground rules need to be established  for this to actually become a thread which may provide a positive enhancement of our knowledge on this important aspect of the Nazgul- as it stands at the moment there are far too many loose ends for that to be the case.

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 13/Jul/2006 at 10:15 PM
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Well, Sauron could be very persuasive, we know that! And he was a master in manipulating minds, true. But the strategical and tactical decisions taken by the Nazgul, and especially by their two leaders, must’ve depended on their own experience and skills from before, rather than on some particular orders which Sauron might’ve "programmed" into their minds. Whether their memories demonstrated in these skills are ’selective’ or ’selected’ - do we know?
Besides, if you accept the latter to be the case, then shall I understand that you read the Nazgul really as the "brainless puppets of Sauron"?
Hmmm...

The fact stays that they skillfully dealt with the world they had lived in for decades, acting at that with the clear conscience of them being superior to most creatures of this same world, and IMO, this state of mind must be based on memories of their past, too.

As to providing a definition to what we mean by ’memory’ - Why complicate a simple question like the initial one? What is it that you see the necessity of providing such a definition for?

And finally, re: sources.
If I have understood you correctly (for obviously, I most often lack this ability, so lavishly demonstrated by others), we should stick to the LOTR-books as canon? Why ignore the UT?

"Then I wouldn’t want have you as a judge in any case I might be involved in. "
But as much as I know, the parties in a legal suit are not actually allowed to choose judges! Would you want me at least as ’an opponent’, I wonder?
DeluhatholSilverleaf 14/Jul/2006 at 12:20 AM
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Rotk Appendix A, Page 389 states:

"It was in the beginning of the reign of Malvegil of Arthedain that evil came to Arnor....(the lord of that land was known as the Witch-king, but it was not known untill later that he was indeed the cheif of the ringwraiths, who came north with the purpose of destroying the Dunedain, seeing hope in their disunion, while Gondor was strong)..." (My Bold)

In my opinion this quote give the impression that the WK came with purpose or intent to do something, acheive a goal, he decided to go after the weaker enemy, in a strategic manner, also, if im correct, sauron, during this time period was some what out of the picture, we can then assume that he (again the qoute says he, meaning has some sort of personality) had a choice, to weaken the enemy at Arnor or consider some other alternative.

Also the qoute says the WK saw hope, an emotion, which probably means he was not a brain-washed puppet etc.

Aldoriana - your very welcome!

Lady d`Ecthelion 14/Jul/2006 at 01:03 AM
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wraith, it was you, I see, who nominated the thread to be moved to AL! Why! Thank you!

Now, from what I see, the discussion has developed as if on several tracks, and I’d most welcome an opinion on each of the issues the initial question spurred.
One of these issues is an exciting one :

Our friend wraith posted above:
"it would be just like sauron to allow the ringwraiths to remember who they once were, just like how morgoth allowed hurin to see the doom of his children.."
As I said, it’s a cruel thought, yet it may well be a truth. This thought actually goes aline with the issue of "selected/selective" memory of the Nazgul, methinks.
So, brother-wraith , you are most welcome to develop this issue, too!
DeluhatholSilverleaf 14/Jul/2006 at 02:15 AM
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Well, Hurin angerd Morgoth by being defiant in his presence, thats how he got sent to the peaks of thangorodrim, where morgoth cursed hurins offspring and was nice enough to let hurin witness it, so maybe, im just speculating, the ringwraiths angered sauron in someway, before he corrupted them, i mean why did he corrupt them in the first place? He could have tried to summon some abomination that morgoth created, since sauron served under him he would have known about morgoths...pets.
Geirve 14/Jul/2006 at 08:33 AM
Guard of Erebor Points: 4985 Posts: 6056 Joined: 11/Jul/2003

Military experience of the WK is not ’iron evidence’, I agree with Halfir. Apart from the issues he raised, there is one more possibility for him (the WK, not Halfir) to have special skills but not memory of his human existence. The Nazgul were active already in the end of II Age (when one had plenty of opportunities for learning military strategy). If we assume that they were, in their wraith state, capable of learning (and Halfir has given above the proof that the WK remembered the experiences gained as a wraith), the WK could acquire his knowledge after the change of his status. I don’t think this was the case, but it has not been disproven yet.

Why my impression of the Nazgul ’remembering’? It is mostly because the quote about them ’hating and craving’ (quoting from memory) blood of the living things - this suggests they were aware of what they were once. There is also the appearance of the WK in the wraith world - why the crown, if not because of his status as a Man (of course, it could be because of his role in Angmar). Plus, Khamul’s name - another indirect evidence of memory (I doubt Sauron would have bothered with calling him with his name). I know, Halfir, that you do not accept this as canon, but you have noticed yourself the shift in perspective in the ’Hunt for the Ring’. And, as you probbaly noticed, the WK is also referred there by something like a name: the surname Angmar.

wraith, re your last question, I would have answered that Sauron had no warrancy that any of Morgoths ’pets’ would obey him. He wanted absolute control. And, more importantly, you assume Sauron wanted to ’create’ the Ringwraiths. I cannot recollect any evidence this was the case. Sauron gave the rings to some outstanding Men (and Dwarves), wanting to control their wills and to enhance their powers (so his servants would be more powerful). I think it is quite possible that the final outcome with Men was not originally intended by him. (If Sauron has known all about the effects the rings had on non-elven races, he would have never bothered with Dwarves.)

Ragnelle 14/Jul/2006 at 03:26 PM
Guard of the Mark Points: 2850 Posts: 4765 Joined: 11/Sep/2002

Just a very quick thought about ’Angmar’ used as a surname. I do not think that is the case; Angmar was the name of the land the Witch-king ruled and to refer to him as Angmar is simular to Henry V being called ’England’, which the king of France does in Shakepeares’ play. It is still a title, not a name.

I need to get back to the rest that has come up. I am trying to collect my thoughts on the matter, but it takes some time and I want to consider the points made already.

halfir 14/Jul/2006 at 07:12 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Wraith 921 quoted: "It was in the beginning of the reign of Malvegil of Arthedain that evil came to Arnor....(the lord of that land was known as the Witch-king, but it was not known untill later that he was indeed the cheif of the ringwraiths, who came north with the purpose of destroying the Dunedain, seeing hope in their disunion, while Gondor was strong)..." (My Bold)

and went on to state that in his view this demonstrated:

In my opinion this quote give the impression that the WK came with purpose or intent to do something, acheive a goal, he decided to go after the weaker enemy, in a strategic manner, also, if im correct, sauron, during this time period was some what out of the picture, we can then assume that he (again the qoute says he, meaning has some sort of personality) had a choice, to weaken the enemy at Arnor or consider some other alternative.

Also the qoute says the WK saw hope, an emotion, which probably means he was not a brain-washed puppet
With regard to the last sentence I have not seen anyone state in terms that either the Witch King or the Nazgul were ’brain-washed  puppets’.  That is something that might well need to be examined in the course of this thread. So I fail to see why the argument concludes with negativing a statement that no one has made.

And the quote that is used to ’prove’ the Witch -king’s personal intent- could also be glossed -equally validly- as the historical reporter who wrote those words- for they are not the words of the Witch-king per se - imputing such motives to him. Read virtually any history book and you will find excatly the same type of descriptive wording about any number of actual historical figures.

Now, I in fact, do not dispute that the  statement-imputed or otherwise- is not a valid indicator of the Witch-king’s state of mind at that point in time (but then I except the Witch-king from the Nazgul per se and always have done) but it does emphasize the fact that in AL we must be absolutely rigorous in understanding the source we are using and how it can justifiably be taken as legitimate argument in the case we are seeking to establish.

Aldoriana ask why can’t we use UT. I did not say we couldn’t, although I would have thought that CT’s very strong caution in his Introduction should give us pause for reflection- and he knew his father much better than we do. What I said was that where non-canonical sources (and by non-canonical I mean those published after Tolkien’s death and not subject to his final authorial scrutiny prior to publication) conflict with published sources  most scholars defer to the published source, unless there is a clear error. There is no clear error in the LOTR regarding the non-naming of the Nazgul- it is consistent throughout the text and in the 1966 revision (as Hunt for the Ring is c. 1954-55 it pre-dates the revisons by many years). Therefore, if there is conflict between LOTR and Hunt for the Ring we need overwhelming reasons for substituting the latter for the former. There is no such conflict between the Witch-king as portrayed in Hunt for the Ring and LOTR , with Khamul there  is, -he is nowhere named there.

And while it is an uncomfortable truth for those who seek ’consistency’ throughout Tolkien’s writings on ME the reality is that such consistency is not always there. He wrote different things at different times for different reasons, and we cannot simply assume that because it is later is therefore correct, for Tolkien often explored concepts and ideas-different to those he had used earlier- without necessarilly implying that they were the ones he would finally have adopted. ’Second-guessing’ Tolkien despite the canoncial text is nothing more nor less than the individual intrepreter’s personal whim- howevere educated it might be - it demonstrates nothing of the Master’s authorial intent.

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 14/Jul/2006 at 10:31 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Let me draw you a picture ... by words, that is.

A large hall, well lighted, elegantly furnished. A large dinner table stands in the middle of this hall - wide, round, massive table, covered with a frost-white table cloth, richly adorned and all the knives and forks, and all the plates and glasses beautifully arranged on it. People are sitting around the table. They are waiting for the meal to be served. They lightly chat to each other, anticipating the delicacy-taste of the promissed dinner dishes.
Waiters carefully and poltely approach the table, and with utmost pedantry fix the parallel of the items of a pair of cutlery; move a glass an inch to the right or to the left on its ’exact’ place; take a plate or a spoon away, and polish it thoroughly ... again - it has to be impeccably clean; smooth a table-napkin and make sure it has been folded by the rule...
But the table is empty, though the guests know what’s on the menu for dinner, and they can even smell the aroma of the food, coming from the kitchen ...


Why has our discussion so far evoked this picture in my mind?


I can’t exactly say whether I’m one of the ’guests’ or of the ’waiters’, but what I do know, is that obviously the ’menu’ does not offer the ’dish’ of ’Nazgul being brainless creatures’ tonight.
The exotic ’dish’ of ’Nazgul being with controlled minds’ might be the closest in ’taste’, but ’The Master Cook’ seems to be offering a slightly different ’theme’ of his gala-dinner. The guests are expected to discover the original and primordial ’flavour’ of his dishes, which he has masterfully mixed with many others, yet left it there intact.
Shall people succeed in tasting this flavouor?
* * *

I’ll now take you to the ’kitchen’.
Some ’food’ has been already coked and ready to be served on and in silver, so let’s see what we have :

>> name - How important is the fact that the "main course" is left nameless?

>> main flavour - Is it there? Or is it not... or purposely hidden and controlled?

>> composition - What original "ingredients" has the Master Cook allowed to be recognized? Can we find their origin? Can we then taste the bouquet of these original flavours with all the added ones?

* * *
Murduk 14/Jul/2006 at 10:57 PM
Tree of Fangorn Points: 222 Posts: 53 Joined: 05/Jul/2006
I hope I’m not repeating too much, but I think without a doubt the wraiths have at least some idea of who they were based on a couple of things:

1. The witchking of Angmar is the leader, and the other wraiths seem to recognize it — and the witchking definitely seems to know it. It’s as if his leadership position has changed only in form, but basically he is in death what he was in life (not death death, but you know what I mean).

2. The way the wraiths go about haggling for information with the Shirefolk makes me think they must hold on to some memories of their former, normal lives. If their memories were erased by Sauron, how would they know how to interact with others? Obviously, he could train them, but I see it more of an enlistment of who they already were vs. a total recreation.
halfir 15/Jul/2006 at 01:20 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

name - How important is the fact that the "main course" is left nameless?

I would say it it goes to the heart of the matter of memory. Name in Tolkien, name in myth -is quintessential essence. If you have no memory of your name then you have no personal identity and conception of self.  

Vainonen the wizard in the Kalevala derives much of his power from the fact that he knows the origin of things for he was there at the beginning- :

He saw the creation of things, heard their names, and knows the songs of their origins {David Elton Gay-JRRTolkien and the Kalevala essay in Tolkien and the Invention of Myth 2002 –quoted in Hammond &Scull LOTR Companion.

And Mr. Gay not surprisingly compares Tom with Vainonen- as have several other commentators.

Tom ‘names’ the Hobbits’ ponies- and from that time on they answer to that name- they remember it.

Both Tom and Vainonen know the essence  -the real core –of things- indeed- their power lies in the fact that they are themselves namers-for they are ab origine- of the Beginning.

Ursual le Guin sees the critical importance of naming in her mytho-ficitonal works. In her Earthsea trilogy every creature and inanimate object has a true name that describes its innate essence.

 

For Ursula Le Guin, to know the true name of a thing in the Old Speech is to have power over it.

In my first thread on The Naming of Sauron (http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive3/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=130347&PagePosition=5)

I made the following comments:

“So what were some of the main themes that the external mythology saw as being part of the process of ‘naming’;?

1.That a person’;s name, particularly that of a god or king, but also of any individual was part of his/her very essence and had to be closely guarded and virtually never spoken.

2.That naming a person or thing with a ‘true’; name is to take possession over it.

3.That uttering a ‘true’; name acts as an invocation to the person or thing named.

4.That nicknames or names other than the ‘true’; name were used to protect the individual.

5.That to give one’;s true name oneself is to open one to harm, or to diminish one, but to allow a friend to name one’;s ‘true’; name is acceptable.”

In reference to Letter # 153 Tolkien is referring to the first of the comments included in my list of external myhtology:

That a person’;s name……was part of his/her very essence’;

In a recent post in Al (What is a symbol? http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=194322&PagePosition=1

gerontian wrote:

‘I am not aware of any symbol, either, which can claim to represent the totality of its subject, except, perhaps, a proper name. “ i.e. his/her very essence’;

In the revised and expanded Road to Middle-Earth {2005}, talking of Tom B’’s utterances, Tom Shippey observes:

‘There is an ancient myth in this feature, that of the ‘true language’; the tongue in which there is a thing for each word and a word for each thing, and in which signifier then naturally has power over signified – language ‘isomorphic with reality’; {isomorphic- a one –to-one relationship- signifier and signified are ad idem}once again. {Chpt 4. A Cartographic Plot} i.e.The very essence of the thing is contained in the ‘true language’; – the word is that which it describes.

This is also an aspect in Barfield’;s Poetic Diction with its  concept of the ancient ‘semantic unity’; which so influenced Tolkien and Lewis – signifier and signified are one and the same.

So, how can we address Tom’;s question:

Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?

In a seminal post in my first The Naming of Sauron thread (http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive3/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=130347&PagePosition=5)

Mireth Guilbain gave this response, which I do not think I can better:

Who are you, alone, yourself and nameless? I read this as an affirmation that the name by which an individual is called is reflective and indicative of the individual’;s personal nature {cf. the paragraphs above this quote of MB’;s in this thread}.That there is no way to answer “Who are you?’; with anything other than a name, and therefore the name you supply in response is a summation of everything that makes you ’;you’;. Why else are name changes, multiple names, and translations so important in Tolkien’;s works?’;

Why change Melkor to Morgoth, uness the name change also signified a change in the individual? Why is Gandalf deliberately called ‘Gandalf the White’; andf ‘the White Rider’; after he is sent back unless we are supposed to attach significance to the change from Grey to White. And yet, despite all this, Tom B challenges Frodo’;s question of ‘Who areyou?” by bringing up the idea of being nameless. Without such a label, a clear identifier, how can you answer the question? Perhaps one might be tempted to answer ‘Who is Gandalf’; by answering ‘An Istar”. Or answering ‘Who is Melkor’; by responding ‘A fallen Vala’;. Yet these responses do not answer the questions’;Who’; but rather the question ‘What’;.

{cf. Tolkien’;s comment in Letter # 153 above- Frodo has asked not ’;what is Tom Bombadil’; but ’;Who is he’;. We and he no doubt often laxly confuse the questions}

And so Tom B’;s challenge to Frodo remains: ‘Who are you, alone , yourself and nameless?”

(6) You may be able to conceive of your unique relation to the Creator without a name - can you: for in such a relation pronouns become proper nouns’;? But as soon as you are in a world of other finites with a similar, if each unique and different, relation to Prime Being, who are you? Tolkien asserts that in a unique one-to-one relationship with the Creator pronouns and proper nouns –names - are interchangeable, but in a world of many beings with their own unique and different relation to the Prime Being without a name- a defined essence- you have no identity.

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=193589&PagePosition=1&PagePostPosition=4

And if you have no identity then what memory can you have of self?

 

 

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 15/Jul/2006 at 05:00 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
*... Mmmmm... D e l i c i o u s !... *

(I guess, I might be one of the "guests", after all )

Yet, here’s a question, Master:

The author must have left these characters nameless for all the 5 blue] reasons above.
But are we actually told that they themselves did not know or have forgotten their names?

We are told plainly and straight that the Mouth of Sauron had.
You know the text far better than me. Is it said anything of the kind about the Nazgul?
halfir 15/Jul/2006 at 08:58 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Aldoriana: Actually the reason for the lack of names as it relates to the Nazgul is not contained in those five points in my previous post for the simple reason that they deal with the importance of guarding the real name.

The Nazgul have no names to guard ergo they have no essential personality- no spiritual  being- all of their will is in thrall to Sauron via the Nine and the One, and latterly, with his loss of the One, with the Nine which he had repossessed.

In all the draft versions of LOTR {that which we know as HOME 6-9}  written between 1937-1948 and the LOTR published text,1954-55,  including the 1966 revised text in which Tolkien did make changes  there are no names for the Nazgul.

Tolkien never gives an explicit reason for this,(so the answer to your question are we actually told they have forgotten their names must be ’no’- but then they never had any in the LOTR text!}  and by inference, given his comments on the significance of names – both textually in LOTR and in the Letters- and On Fairy Stories - we can deduce that he sees this as an absence of personal identity - a loss of ’the light’.

In an essay written c. 1954-55 -The Hunt for the Ring-  and published posthumously  in1980 as part of a number of essays included in Unfinished Tales  he names one of the Nazgul -Khamul- and refers to him as second in command.

If he had meant this as a serious revision to LOTR he could have included it in the 1966 revised version which does include revisions taken  from another essay included in UT -The Palantiri. He did not do so.

However, the Witch-king is always seen by Tolkien as more powerful in all ways than the others cf. Letter # 210 and I have always treated the Witch-king as a special case., and one I think we will have to explore more fully in order to come to some answer to your original thread question.

But as a generality – treating the WK as the rest of the Nazgul for the moment – one thing that stikes again and again is Tolkien’s reiteration of  the domination of Sauron’s will over them:

Letter # 246 They were naturally fully instructed

’who still through their nine rings {which he held ) had primary control of their wills {Frodo in this instance holding the One} (ibid)

 

Nomenclature under Ring wraiths –major invisible servants of Sauron dominated entirely by his will. {cf. Hammond & Scull LOTR Companion  p.762 my bold emphasis}

 

And we have already seen that ‘will’ is defined in the OED as the movement or attitude of the mind which is directed with conscious intent to some action, physical or mental  one could argue, as I suggested before,  that it was Sauron -not the Nazgul- acting in all instances.

 

And, as I pointed out before,  one definition of ’memory’ is ’the faculty by which things are remembered, this faculty considered as residing in a particular individual’. OED  And if you have lost the ability to remember your name- your individuality-can you then have a faculty of memory of former self?

 

It seems to me that these are two major obstacles to the proposition that the Nazgul retained memories of their former selves- for –by definition- they no longer had a former self.

 

Paul Kocher- in his Master of Middle-Earth  also emphasizes the Nazguls’ loss of will:

 

‘no longer having any wills of their own’ {ibid  Chapter 1V Sauron and the Nature of Evil}

 

And he makes one very interesting observation, which geordie slightly misremembered in an earlier post in this thread. In talking of the  Nazguls’ wail- ‘like the cry  of some evil and lonely creature’ and  the despair that this  induces and that Sauron uses as a weapon, and identifying most fully it with his greatest captain the Witch-king of Angmar, Captain of Despair – both for allies and enemies alike, Kocher makes this interesting observation:

 

 

‘He{the Witch –king} cannot induce it in others {Despair} unless he first feels it in himself, and in the last analysis it may even come from some corner of Sauron’s withered  conscience. {my bold emphasis}

 

So to Kocher, the wail of the Nazgul like the cry  of some evil and lonely creature’ far from being a residual memory of the Nazgul,  is possibly a residual memory of their great master, Sauron, the Dark Lord himself. And if that is the case, and I stress if, then that too as an argument of Nazgul memory fails also.

DeluhatholSilverleaf 15/Jul/2006 at 09:23 AM
New Soul Points: 1108 Posts: 3651 Joined: 18/Nov/2008
Sort of like the part  "wraith" in ringwraith meaning insubstantial? is this what you are saying Lord Halfir?
 Oh and abuot the Witch-King not being a brain-washed puppet, i thought i saw someone had post that he was, looks like my name caught up with me..wraith>insubstantial>negligible in size or amount!
Rohanya 15/Jul/2006 at 05:42 PM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
I have tasted enough of this Thread, big portions, to wish to participate. So I take Aldoriana`s hint and make it a public attestment of a very social act. Tolkien thinkers, young and old, new or not are sitting down together at this point and having a good time (hopefully!) and getting food for thought, food for feeling, food for intuition, food for sensation, food for the purposes of being whole, recognized, not alone, and very much alive, regardless of individual differences (the food; do you like it? Subjective), regardless of cultural differences.

I am trying to formulate my own notions re all this via my own Interior Text approach. Yes, discovering your primordial name, personal name, as it were, is a very real dynamic. And once that name is discovered, or gifted over, then deeper memory traces kick in. For it is not just this discovery of a name, no, it is marshalling all necessary skills so as to keep that name in balanced external-internal format.

Meaning that a name, linked up with the concept and reality of a Self plays out in those very tangible forms, characteristic of the species (talking about us now). That translates, in very obvioius ways, to how such well-named names (actual entities, true, yet because of that specific achievement, in arguably an ongoing state of self-transcendence, self transcendence, that is, in relation to reality, to beauty, to goodness, etc.

via felt actions, sensed actions, intuitions of a public and private source. Up to you!

Nobody will ever convince me that wraiths have feelings; nobody will ever convince me that they intuit in any meaningful sense, nor that they, well, have at least the 5 traditional sensations (hearing, smelling, feeling, tasting, seeing); nobody will, switching cultural frameworks, now and only now Eastern (ie., to the very end of this sentence -- no farther) convince me that they are nothing but sheer illusion, playful.

To acquire a real name, personal, is as Aldoriana senses a public act, akin to eating. The Nameless ringwraiths are not able to participate on the bounteous level. Who are you alone and nameless; at least Tom Old Boy was good enough to say that in the House, House which in every respect known is the seat of convivialness, of art, of goofing around, of simple childish wonder, not at odds with the self. Naming, proper, is an Imaginative Act, gift of the gods, via poesy, related however to something equally as fundamental, just harder to locate -- being in front of your nose, as it were, at all times.

Wraiths are symbols of such opposition.

Ragnelle, interesting suggestion of yours that Angmar is a Title, not a real name. Names here should be seen in a wider sense than is usual; the very act of naming locations is part of Tolkien`s own ritual, in which he inserts, as it were, or eeks out, the greatest personal value in each and every place name. So Hobbiton is bang on, in the ever suggestive sense. Rohan is bang on. Perhaps we ought to think then of how Selves -- even Kings of England, etc. -- link up with realms, with Geography.

Wraiths have no sense of Place. Place is the grounding zone. For to be in sync with place is to validate the objectivity of whereever it happens to be; that means, to some very real degree, to be outside, sitting back, as it were (though very much enjoying the data, one with it) and finding delight in its otherness, on any level you can experience. Nameless wraiths cannot do so. They can only scurry about the landscape, not actually be anywhere, at any time.

Tom, however, has much better things to do, as does Goldberry, as do the Hobbits, as does Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, et al. They are thick in the middle of things, yet at home in the larger geographical tapestry.

Wraiths? To sum up, faithless (oops, faceless), placeless, raceless, and
as anybody knows
not playing, no nothing at all
.

Hmm.
Lady d`Ecthelion 15/Jul/2006 at 11:24 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
I see your point, gentlemen, yet even if I fully accept the logic of the arguments, I beg you to let me not agree with you. Not yet.

To me, the facts that:
1/ the author had decided to leave these characters nameless
and
2/ Sauron’s ability to control their souls and minds

cannot convince me that the Nazgul did not remember, hence - that they had not feelings, understanding and awareness of who/what they were, and who they had been long before they’d turned into ringwraiths.
My huge "misfortune" is that I still cannot remember / find a solid evidence to back up my opinion with.
I think Geir was more successful in this than me. wraith also hinted at some points that might be accepted as ’evidence’, though only deducted.

But since the subject is an intriguing one, I may very well remember of such an evidence one day.
Until then, please, serve more "food".
halfir 16/Jul/2006 at 01:04 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

My huge "misfortune" is that I still cannot remember / find a solid evidence to back up my opinion with.

That’s probably because it doesn’t exist!X(

But we have not yet either proved nor disproved whether or not the Nazgul had a remembrance of their pre-Nazgul existence - we have simply raised questions as to what hurdles we need to jump in order to perhaps come to some conclsuion- for it does not follow that we can conclusively decide either way. So, as you request - we’ll go on serving -up more ’food.’
X(

Dragons Malice 16/Jul/2006 at 08:21 AM
Scholar of Isengard Points: 792 Posts: 179 Joined: 16/Jan/2006

Will is the capability of conscious choice and decision and intention.
The wills of the Ringwraiths are in total control of Sauron, and therefore the decisions the Ringwraiths make are in fact not theirs but Sauron’s.

If all the strategic plans, schemes, intentions and orders are directly from Sauron, then there is very little need for the Nazgul to discuss things amongst themselves and therfore virtually no need to call each other by name. Doesn’t mean they don’t have names, just that there is no need to use them. After 4000 years or so the only ones living that might know those names are Saruron and the Nazgul themselves - and none of them are likely to use them.

halfir 16/Jul/2006 at 06:33 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Maracthor: But the whole concept of naming both in classical myth and in Tolkeinain myth is the establishment of self. That is a well established fact. Not to have a name, not to be named is effectively not to have an independent existence- to be a bond slave- which is what the Nazgul are to Sauron. They are in thrall to his will.

And the power of this will is well summed-up in Tolkien’s comment about Sauron and the Orcs:

’This servitude to a central will that reduced the Orcs almost to an ant-like life was seen even more plainly in the Second and Third ages under the tyranny of Sauron, Morgoth’s chief lieutenant. He was, of course. operating on a smaller scale and had no enemies so great and so fell as were the Noldor in the Elder days.’{HOME 10 Morgoth’s Ring Myths Transormed Text X}

The Nazgul are not named in the LOTR text, they have no names in the LOTR tetxt and thus both in the classical and Tolkienian mythical sense they do not exist as individuals- they exist as extensions of Sauron’s will- not their own. It is not a question of their not needing to use their names- they no longer have names to use.

Lady d`Ecthelion 16/Jul/2006 at 09:31 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Quote: Originally posted by halfir on Sunday, July 16, 2006
That’s probably because it doesn’t exist!

But we have not yet either proved nor disproved whether or not the Nazgul had a remembrance of their pre-Nazgul existence - we have simply raised questions as to what hurdles we need to jump in order to perhaps come to some conclsuion- for it does not follow that we can conclusively decide either way. So, as you request - we’ll go on serving -up more ’food.’

You, ol’Fox, you ...

So, if I’ve understood the logic of your argument, it must be :

Sauron rules the minds of the Nazgul, therefore > they have no identity of their own, < which is also explained by the fact that they have no names, because and which leads to the conclusion that > an individual without an individuality has no name, nor he needs a name > therefore, the Nazgul, having no names for the above reasons, "do not exist as individuals - they exist as extensions of Sauron’s will- not their own."

Of course, you are well aware that such an argument can hardly be accepted as an evidence to the main issue of whether the Nazgul did or did not remember their past from before they’d become ringwraiths.

But I am strongly tempted to put to a test the very argument of yours.

Applying your also well known opinion about the sentience of the Ring, which is inevitably connected with the Ring’s ability to possess and control the soul and the mind of anyone who has had some interaction with it, and knowing how powerful and devastating this effect was, I’m thinking...

The Ring - the sentient "extension" of Sauron himself, in fact - a part of Sauron himself, possessed ruthlessly the soul and the mind of a Ring-bearer.
Yet all the Ring-bearers had names all right!
And even though their minds were controlled by the Ring (a.k.a. by Sauron), they still had identities - they were someone, and we very well know who they were, and what their names were... Why?!!! A Ringbearer happens to even have not one, but twoidentities (Smeagol-Gollum).

A similar situation - that is, of controlled minds - we see in the case with the Palantir of Sauron.
Through this powerful object Sauron had got control over the minds of a couple of very strong personalities - over Denethor, and even over a Maia - Saruman. Using this control, Sauron had achieved some very important strategical victories, and the very "victims" of the effect of his control over their minds, were not even aware of how much they had been enslaved to his will.
Yet, as we know, both these men did have their identities (it is especially well emphasized in the case of Denethor, for Master T. had dedicated many pages to describe the tragedy of the Steward), and names they did have, too.

Well? What d’you say, Master?
Lady d`Ecthelion 16/Jul/2006 at 09:59 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
I shall deliberately post the following in a separate post, for this is a new thought, I think we perhaps should have in mind.

For the 9 men, falling under the control of Sauron through the rings, and as a consequence - their turnining into wraiths - it all did not happen overnight!
So, I’m thinking ...
I suspect that the process took quite a wide span of time - an intermediate period of time, when these men still were who they had been before taking the rings of power, but already falling under the control of Sauron.
It was exactly the time, however, when they started to turn into the mighty warriors and sorcerers - the time of Sauron still being "good" to them, winning them over, giving them all and everything they’d dreamt of and wished for...

So, their memories of that time must be vivid. Even if we accept that their memories were strongly "censored" by Sauron, there’s no reason for him to delete the memories from that particular time - it was in favour of his own purposes; why should he delete them?!

So, if the Nazgul remembered that time, then their memories must have include also recollection of their original identities, of who they had been before and just after having taken the rings.

Now ... returning back to wraith’s argument, I’m thinking ...
Since it was that particular time when the 9 were most "busy", establishing the dominion of Sauron, and destroying, as much as it was possible, the establishments of the forces of ’good’ in ME, their major warring and strategic skills and experience must have been gained at that time precisely.

And herefrom I might also deduct, that whatever strategic, warring etc. actions we see demonstrated by them in the time of the War of the Ring, they all are a result of that experience, hence based on reminiscences of the past. And that ’past’ is not necessarily only the time after they had already completely fallen under the control of Sauron, but also includs an earlier period - the transitional period of time, and in that time, as I said above, they were still not complete ringwraiths, but still had their original identities from before.
Kirinki54 17/Jul/2006 at 01:45 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Aldoriana wrote:

And herefrom I might also deduct, that whatever strategic, warring etc. actions we see demonstrated by them in the time of the War of the Ring, they all are a result of that experience, hence based on reminiscences of the past. And that ’past’ is not necessarily only the time after they had already completely fallen under the control of Sauron, but also includs an earlier period - the transitional period of time, and in that time, as I said above, they were still not complete ringwraiths, but still had their original identities from before.

As I, some 30 posts back, wrote

Likely their long lives before turning Wraiths constituted a training period that was not forgotten, and it is my opinion (at least for now not backed by any quotes) that it was even a prerequisite in their present tasks to be able to draw on those experiences.

you can see that I agree with you!

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 17/Jul/2006 at 01:49 AM
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Whangin’ my head for forgetting it!
halfir 17/Jul/2006 at 01:59 AM
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a training period that was not forgotten,

We are talking of the loss of individuality not the loss of basic military training.

Unfortunately I haven’t time to deal with this in any detail at the moment, as Tom is in control, not me,  but I assure you I will return!X(

(at least for now not backed by any quotes) Kirinki 54- I see you’re picking up Aldoriana’s bad habits!X(

Lady d`Ecthelion 17/Jul/2006 at 02:24 AM
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Hmmm... and which are these "bad habits", I wonder?
halfir 17/Jul/2006 at 04:43 AM
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not backed by any quotesX(
Alyarin Mordagnir 17/Jul/2006 at 05:55 AM
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I think, that Nazguls can’t remember all what they were and what they done before. I think that they can remember that they were mighty and they can remember all evil to make their lover to Shadow bigger, but they can’t remember all good, because if they can, that won’t be able to be as bed as they are... so I think they have only parts of they memories, parts, which are useful for Sauron...
Dragons Malice 17/Jul/2006 at 09:41 AM
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halfir wrote "The Nazgul are not named in the LOTR text, they have no names in the LOTR tetxt and thus both in the classical and Tolkienian mythical sense they do not exist as individuals- they exist as extensions of Sauron’s will- not their own. It is not a question of their not needing to use their names- they no longer have names to use."

If the Nazgul do not exist as individuals and are only direct extensions of Sauron himself, why then does the messenger sent to Dain refer to Sauron as another identity?

’Come back! Come back!’ they called. ’To Mordor we will take you!’ Flight to the Ford (FotR)
The three Riders that were still in the midst of the Ford were overwhelmed: they disappeared, buried suddenly under angry foam. Those that were behind drew back in dismay.’Flight to the Ford (FotR)

Dismay - the sudden or complete loss of courage in the face of danger. If the Nazgul are only extensions and not individuals, why would Sauron feel dismay - he didn’t fear water, and he himself wouldn’t suffer if the Nazgul drown, so why be dismayed?

halfir 17/Jul/2006 at 05:04 PM
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Maracthor: I expressed myself clumsily. I was seeking to assert the point that the Nazgul had no free will ergo no identity ergo no memory of their former selves. That is totally different to saying that they had memory of learned skills.

why would Sauron feel dismay - he didn’t fear water,

As we know from UT-The Hunt for the Ring Tolkien nowhere explained the Nazgul’s fear of water and indicated to CT that he had caused a problem for himself in introducing this concept. But water- on a symbolic level- is life- and the Nazgul and Sauron are the anithesis of life. Moreover, Morgoth hated and feared Ulmo Master of the Waters, and it is not unreasonable to see Sauron as having that same aversion. So I don’t think you have any textual reason to assert that Sauron did not fear water-where is this ever stated?

’Water is represented as being almost entirely free of Morgoth. (This, of course, does not mean that any particular sea, stream, river, well, or even vessel of water could not be poisoned or defiled -as all things could).{HOME 10 Morgoth’s Ring Myths Transformed Text V11}

chaosruler1035 17/Jul/2006 at 07:18 PM
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i think they might
after all gollum remembered that he was smeagol
and he didn’t have the ring for very much shorter than the nazgul
it was vague and clouded to him
but he remembered
maybe only familiar things make them remember
because gollum didn’t really remember until frodo said his name

maybe if they were to enter the territory they ruled as kings they would remember

or maybe sauron wiped their minds

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 17/Jul/2006 at 10:34 PM
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Quoting can’t be the only acceptable way for someone to present his/her arguments in a discussion or/and analyses, nor a prerequsite for the argument/analyses to be taken into consideration as a credible one. As long as this argument/analyses rests upon and is built upon sober understanding of the sources, it is true and valid - quotes or no quotes.
Even without quoting, I don’t see my arguments UNtrue.

Besides, what am I to quote? That Saruman’s name is ’Saruman’, or that Denethor’s name is ’Denethor’ and that this man, though being already under the control of Sauron, apart from having his own name, had also a very remarkable individuality, had memories, too? We are supposed to know well such facts.
And what about Gollum? If I start quoting in order to show his individuality - the double one, I’m afraid I’ll have to fill in quite some space.
Like for exammple:

LOTR, The Taming of Sméagol

"Then suddenly his voice and language changed, and he sobbed in his throat, and spoke but not to them. `Leave me alone, gollum! You hurt me. O my poor hands, gollum! I, we, I don’t want to come back. I can’t find it. I am tired. I, we can’t find it, gollum, gollum, no, nowhere. They’re always awake. Dwarves, Men, and Elves, terrible Elves with bright eyes. I can’t find it. Ach! ’ He got up and clenched his long hand into a bony fleshless knot, shaking it towards the East. ’We won’t! ’ he cried. ’Not for you.’ Then he collapsed again. ’Gollum, gollum,’ he whimpered with his face to the ground. ’Don’t look at us! Go away! Go to sleep!’

Quotes or no quotes, my argument stays valid - ring-bearers and Palantir-brain-washed personages we have in ME, and they have their names, individualities, memories ...
Therefore, I argue that the fact that Sauron had control over the will of the Nazgul cannot be accepted as a proof that they did not remember their past, nor that they had no individuality of their own.
Nor is the ’name-argument’ so very much important to the ’remembering-issue’, either, even if you have done a magnificent job by backing it up with quotes - as we have a saying here : "bringing water from nine wells" .
I’d also add, that the ’self’, the ’individuality’ of an individual comes not because of the name. Yes, I’m aware of the importance of naming in the genre of fantasy/myth (and to a great lot - thanks to you ! ), yet we can not spin up too much this particular argument and rely on it. It’s shaky.

I sum up facts and draw conclusions. To demonstrate the credibility of each and every one of them, especially by quoting from the texts of the books ... why? ; the texts in the books, which we use as a foundation for our conclusions and arguments, are supposed to be well known.

Of course, sometimes quoting is necessary, especially from sources other than the fiction books themselves!
But again, it cannot be a prerequisite for an argument’s credibility, methinks. An argument can easily be assessed as credible or not so much credible, if knowing the source texts and some logical thinking are applied.

* ... raising her mithril shield to meet the back-fire of that halfir-dragon ... or dragon-of-a-halfir
halfir 17/Jul/2006 at 11:57 PM
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If there are no supportive textual quotations then ultimately anyone can argue anything. I have no doubt that some of the zanier theories propunded by some are based on a genuine belief that they have a correct ’sense’ of the text.

Inductive reasoning can only go so far -there has to be some substantive objective  textual base.

As long as this argument/analyses rests upon and is built upon sober understanding of the sources, it is true and valid - quotes or no quotes.

And what if two sober understanding of the sources come to totally opposing views? I would suggest tetxual support is far more critical than you allow, and indeed Tolkien’s own heavy emphasis on his very specific choice of words and phrases lends support to this view.

And Denethor is not under Sauron’s control as Tolkien makes very clear in UT-The Palantiri. His view of things is suborned by Sauron’s ’editing’ of the information Denethor sees in the Palantir- a very different aspect to the thrall that the Nazgul are held in. And Saruman too is in no way controlled in the way the Nazgul are - the comaprison of Denethor and Saruman with a Nazgul-type control is way off beam.

Yes, I’m aware of the importance of naming in the genre of fantasy/myth (and to a great lot - thanks to you ! ), yet we can not spin up too much this particular argument and rely on it. It’s shaky.

Really? In whose view, and why? Perhaps you would care to elaborate on the ’shakiness’ seeing that it is the foundation of much of Tolkienian and non-Tolkeinian mythology.

I sum up facts and draw conclusions.

You do nothing of the sort. You sum up what you claim to be ’facts’ based upon your particular view of the text- which I consider to be erroneous- which is one of the reasons I ask for textual support to establish some finite objectivity. I can as easily say I sum up facts and draw conclusions. and all that is achieved then  is a  Mexican stand-off!

Lady d`Ecthelion 18/Jul/2006 at 02:12 AM
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Well, what can I say?
Thank you for your most "favourable" opinion on my abilities.
halfir 18/Jul/2006 at 02:45 AM
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aldoriana: It has nothing to do with my favorable or otherwise view of your abilities, which are of the highest order. As I said in my final paragraph if two individuals looking at the same text come to totally opposite conclusions then the only way out of a stand-off is to see if there is textual support for one or other of the opinions. One cannot have some ’mystical sense’  of a text, it has to be gounded in the language of the text for it is the text we are discussing.

As to your Denethor and Srauman examples let tolien not me, amswer your question. You  said:

A similar situation - that is, of controlled minds - we see in the case with the Palantir of Sauron.
Through this powerful object Sauron had got control over the minds of a couple of very strong personalities - over Denethor, and even over a Maia - Saruman. Using this control, Sauron had achieved some very important strategical victories, and the very "victims" of the effect of his control over their minds, were not even aware of how much they had been enslaved to his will.
Yet, as we know, both these men did have their identities (it is especially well emphasized in the case of Denethor, for Master T. had dedicated many pages to describe the tragedy of the Steward), and names they did have, too.

Well? What d’you say, Master?
{my emphasis}

"Saruman fell under the domiantion of Sauron and desired his victory, or was no longer opposed to it. Denethor reamined steadfast in his rejection of Sauron , but was made to believe  that his victory was inevitable, and so fell into despair.{UT-The Palantiri}

In neither case can this be compared to Sauron having primary contorl of the wills of the Nazgul. Denethor fought against Sauron- Saruman tried to cheat him- hardly the actions of totally controlled minds:  Sauron had got control over the minds of a couple of very strong personalities - over Denethor, and even over a Maia - Saruman


 

Rohanya 18/Jul/2006 at 03:24 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

Aldoriana, going back to you initial question, I see and present in public this -- Knowing what we know about the Nazgul, do you think that already being in their accomplished state of Ringwraiths, they still remembered who they were before?

We have to stick to basics. Your use, and highlighting, of the word `do you think...?` makes this in essence of open format, which is often very, very beneficial. So people you are inviting to your thread, wanting them to say, in whatever manner, what they think.

The second layer of text would be textual -- what does the text say? Here, I am always guided and nourished by Lord halfir. Knows his books! I am very much inclinded to agree with his analysis, thus far, not that I have been able to follow each and every line of the total thread, this being the Age of Information, and so much out there, which no single mind can access, of which, as global sociological reality we should be frank.

On to 
the third level. What is external text in conjunction with a standpoint that just does not think, as if thinking made up the full nature of the human response, individual, collective? Internal-external, together, and fully cognizant of the fact...no mere what do you happen to opine stuff?

Again, simple factums -- we think, we feel, we intuit, we have sensations.

In this respect, if say, we were to respond, in your initial sense, just as, say, come and open up, convivially, it being, well, a dinner (by analogy) then one could, if personally in the text, say these.

My Thoughts? I think they remember nothing of themselves, for precisely because they were not whole to begin with. Getting into the bad side of life, so to speak, cannot in any way make them Selves. So no memory of any germane kind.
My Feeling? Incapable, they are, of such. The root feeling is love. Sheer traditional common sense, and not anything that can be shown otherwise, in any realm, religious or materialist, religious mating with materialism. For feeling, as linked above to the bare given of entity, good in potentiality, is other validating.
My Intuition? Symbolic. No book ever written has no data for today, in anybody`s real world, liveable, playable, better than before. Wraiths forward no future of that just external book sort, wishing in some very real sense to end the whole process. Any entity, I argue, has within it the legacy of evolution -- obviously to further, not to cut short. Again, just the books tell the story -- the thing works out in the end, in the right way, regardless of er...Them.
My Sensations? I sense how they, Ringwraiths, are, as quantity datum in book, which is largely via the eyes, yet eyes to thing, tangible, there...not often. Selves matter, often, always. You know, if Ringwraiths just menace around, deadly, occasionally, in the first few portions of the very first story, then that is the verdict. Not part of the story, in any truly substantial way.

If only to say that selves, linked to memory, tell the entire story, and are there, the entire story, validating the entire story. With, yes, surprising conclusions, not at all envisaged in that thing, Memory.

Wraiths-Memory-Bombadil. Do these non-selving acts and your name is nameless -- alone, and not even asked, as ownmost question. 

For Wraiths just do not ask themselves the question of Being. Meaning, who are they, You,  in relation to the whole? As Heidegger taught us, or should have, that is the only way that selfhood occurs. So, yes, from Interior Text, pinned down. Just nothing at all consonant with the question of selfhood, external text.

They ain’t there.

Anyway, Aldoriana, thanks for the delicious fare. Glad to see the quality responses.



Lady d`Ecthelion 18/Jul/2006 at 06:22 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
You don’t talk to me ! You’re Sauron’s ... that is ... halfirien’s merged extension! What would I expect to hear from you other than your ’merged’ p.o.v. ?!!!

I know one for sure, though - I’d charge them twice (at least !) if they wanted me to translate you! Another >>

I feel like banging someone’s head, only I’m not sure whose. A third >>
Rohanya 18/Jul/2006 at 06:26 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
Laugh. Yes, that would be a feat of translation.

I just have to swoop in from the Inner, psychologically together approach; the psychologically together approach is unbeatable; meaning, I add, that it has enough answers in its pockets for yesterday, today, tomorrow, any and every eventuality.

Yes, what has he in his pocketses, we wonder?

We do wonders.

The interior, psychological approach, just has to have answers as a result.

Why? Because if not, not.

Okay?

Ringwraiths are this. (   Nothing, stated accurately, via this mode of language  )

Hmm. However, if too much, I shall back out of this thread.
Lady d`Ecthelion 18/Jul/2006 at 06:33 AM
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Why? Where are you going? What’s the rush to run away from this thread?
A fourth >>

You wait until the merging comes of all others, that have the feeling - unquoted still on my part - that the Nazgul ARE and DO!
A fifth >>
halfir 18/Jul/2006 at 06:38 PM
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Further to my comments regarding Sauron’s use of the Palantir -in HOME 10 Morgoth’s Ring Myths Transformed Text V11 Tolkien observes:

’Sauron had, in fact, been very like Saruman, and so still understood him quickly and could guess what he would be likely to think and do, even without the aid of the palantiri or of spies..’

Sauron played on Saruman’s own pyschological weaknesses to entrap him, the palantir was simply an adjunct to this, not the reason that Sauron dominated Saruman. And in any case, there is still a huge difference between the complete thrall of will through the One and the Nine and other forms of spiritual and pscyhological control including , in the case of Denethor, simple trickery, by showing him the ’appearance’ of the overwhelming power and thus supposed  ultimate victory of Mordor.

And Tolkein also observes {UT-The Palantiri}:

’It must also be considered that the stones were   only a small item in Sauron’s vast design and operations: a means of dominating and deluding two of his opponents {hardly the same description as the Nazgul- ’major invisible servants of Sauron dominated entirely by his will-cf. Nomenclature} but he would not (and could not have the Ithil-stone under perpetual observation. It was not his way to commit such instruments to the use of subordinates; nor had he any servant whose mental powers were superior to Saruman’s or even Denethor’s.{my emphasis}

And Saruman’s wilfulness- unlike that of the Nazgul- is also shown in TT- The Palantiri when Sauron, initially thinking that it is Saruman using the palantir, not Pippin says:

’So you have come back? Why have you neglected to report for so long?’

Saruman’s behavior hardly demonstrates  the response of someone dominated entirely by his{Sauron’s} will!

DeluhatholSilverleaf 18/Jul/2006 at 07:36 PM
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hi all, i’m a little out of the loop here, i was occupied on other parts of the plaza and didny have the time to come this way, could some one please post a summary for the last 10 or so posts? Sorry if im asking too much.
halfir 18/Jul/2006 at 08:28 PM
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Sorry if im asking too much

You are!X(

DeluhatholSilverleaf 19/Jul/2006 at 12:27 AM
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Halfir-

Lady d`Ecthelion 19/Jul/2006 at 10:02 PM
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I am well aware of the fact that the Palantiri had less strength than the Rings of power, and also that the ’domination’ over minds achieved through this device is perhaps weaker than what was normally achieved by the Rings... or should I say, not ’weaker’ but just ’different’ although very powerful, too!
But the very fact that Saruman - initially an emissary of "Good", turned to ... No! - was turned to "Evil", and that Denethor - a noble and strong-will and strong-character man was turned to a state to be unable to think rationally, that is a very serious form of domination and control over minds.

Even so, both of them preserved their names, identities, and moreover - their memories. In fact, in the case of Denethor, it were the memories about Boromir that made his mind suceptible to what power was emanated through the Palantir on part of Sauron.

In that other thread, where we crossed the lines of this one and that one, we spoke about hatred etc. issues.

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=200712&PagePostPosition=2

I,d like to bring in here the following thought.

The nazgul hated. And as I wrote there,

"A non-sentient mind could not possibly IMO either hate, or love, or feel whatever, if it were "washed" to such an extent as to only serve as a field whereto other being’s thoughts, feelings, will etc. are being extrapolated. Therefore, since the Nazgul did hate, and their hatred and their feelings are distinguished from those of Sauron’s (and they themselves distinguished themselves from him), then they must have had sentient minds - very strongly "censored" yes, yet not fully "washed" - not to such a level as for their memories to be erased completely."

But this also brings another issue IMO - did the Nazgul distinguish themselves from Sauron?
For if they did, I think this might already be a proof of their self-sentience, hence - of their individuality.

So, did they?

LOTR, The Battle on Pellenor fields:

‘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 shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.’

Do I hear a Nazgul distinguishing himself from both - his ’prey’ and from the ’Master’ he reports to?
I think I do.

Do you?

What I also find interesting - mind the language the WK speaks. It’s archaic! And it’s different fom that of the other characters. It’s a language this creature is used to use, for this is the language he used to use once upon a’time - when he was just one of the race of Men.
No memories?

halfir 19/Jul/2006 at 10:20 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

In the very first post I made in this thread Sunday, July 09, 2006 at 05:26 I stated quite clearly- and have gone on stating whenever I have referred to the Witch king:

including the view that I have always held, that the Witch-king has to be disitnguished from all the other Nazgul

 and quite clearly Tolkien by the role he gives him, treats him quite separately from the other Nazgul, so the Witch-king is not an exemplar in every way for all the other Nazgul.

In any case, I suggest that you have totally misconstrued the Witch-king’s phrase:

Come not between the Nazgul and his prey

Compare what Michael Drout says about that line:

"Continuing the analysis of this sentence illuminates the Nazgûl’s character even more clearly. Dernhelm/Éowyn is commanded not to come "between the Nazgûl and his prey"; the Lord of the Nazgûl refers to himself in the third person, as a thing, but he also refers to Theoden’s body as his prey, using the possessive adjective to mark ownership. This jarring contrast of speaking simultaneously about oneself in the third person and proclaiming ownership (i.e., the Lord of the Nazgûl does not own himself, but he believes that Theoden’s body is his) illustrates the loss of selfhood but not loss of acquisitiveness that is perfectly in keeping with the Nazgûl’s character as a Ringwraith: note that Gollum frequently uses both the self-referential third person and the possessive. The character of a Ringwraith is exactly to have lost self while becoming possessed by insatiable desire, or as Éowyn notes in the draft passage from The War of the Ring (quoted above), the Witch King has been "devoured" by Sauron (365-66).

Michael Drout Tolkien’s Prose Style and its Literary and Rhetorical Effects Tolkien Studies 1.1. 2004 137-163 {my emphasis and underline}

As to evil Tolkien himself states quite explicitly:

all evil hates {HOME 10 Morgoths’ Ring Myths Transformed Text V11}

Saruman ’turned to evil’ long before he came under the influence of Sauron and the palantir cf. Treebeard ’s comment  {TT--Treebeard}

’He was chosen to be head of the White Council, they say, but that did not turn out too well. I wonder now if even then he was not turning to evil ways.

And Denethor was fighting a war against Sauron- hardly a good example of a dominated mind!X(

As to the supposed significance of the language that the Witch-king speaks  I suggest that you look at another interchange  - the one between The Mouth of Sauron and Gandalf (ROTK- The Black Gate Opens) :

Then thou art the spokesman, old greybeard? Have we not heard of thee at whiles, and of thy wanderings, ever hatching plots and mischief at a safe distance.? But this time thou hast stuck out thy nose too far, Master Gandalf; and thou shalt see what comes to him who sets his foolish webs before the feet of Sauron the Great.I have tokens that I was bidden to show to thee- to thee in especial , if thou shouldst dare to come.’{my bold emphasis}

LOTR, The Battle on Pellenor fields:

‘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 shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.’{my bold emphasis}

And the OED points out -Thou {and the Thee entry references this definition}:

’To use the pronoun ’thou’ to a person: familiarly, to an inferior in contempt or insult’.

And Tolkien in Appendix F 11 ON Translation (Para.3. Note 1) states:

’a change from  you to thou, thee, is sometimes meant to show, there being no other means of doing this, a significant change from deferential, or between men and women normal, forms to the familiar.

I would suggest that both in the instance of the Witch king and the Mouth of Sauron they are using the term in exactly the way described in the OED and in Tolkien’s note- and in these instances insultingly familiar, contemptuous.  It has absolutely nothing to do with the form of the language that the Witch-king remembers from his previous life.

Lady d`Ecthelion 20/Jul/2006 at 10:10 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
halfir, nothing I’d say may alter your opinion that the WK is more ’special’ than the rest of the Nazgul, or that the Nazgul had lost their individuality.
Nothing, however, of all the proofs you have brought in support of your opinion, has succeeded in altering my opinion(s), which happen to be diametrally opposite to yours.
Not to mention Michael Drout’s analyses on that famous statement - well, he’s understood the grammar all right, but with all my respect for the man, his deductions of how this grammar "illustrates the loss of selfhood", I see as absolutely absurd!

What shall we do then?

As to the use of the ’archaic’ pronouns, you might wish to peep into the "Linguistic discoveries"-thread. In short, the use of some ’archaic’ language, was only a device for the stylistic "colouring" of the tale, as well as for finding the way to "translate" the dialct he Master T. had developed within the invented languages. The text about the use of ’thou’, ’thee’ which you quoted above from "On Translation"-Appendix of the LOTR, refers to the Shire-dialect of the Common Seech being used by the Shire folk.

And the full comment runs like that:

" In one or two places an attempt has been made to hint at these distinctions by an inconsistent use of thou. Since this pronoun is now unusual and archaic it is employed mainly to represent the use of ceremonious language; but a change from you to thou, thee is sometimes meant to show, there being no other means of doing this, a significant change from the deferential, or between men and women normal, forms to the familiar."

One should think about the main and the occasional use of this archaic pronoun - at addressing persons in the solemn or poetical style, though an obsolete form of the 2-nd SNG PP, and not forget about its main meaning.
In any case, I do not see this comment to have anything in common with the OED entry about inferiority, contempt, or insult. For if so, then should we say that the Hobbits, too, were addressing the others showing contemt or insult towards them?


Ayway, we seem to be in front of a "dead end".
halfir 21/Jul/2006 at 01:45 AM
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Aldoriana: You will have to remain with your own reading which I am afraid I totally reject.  I think you  are quite  wrong in your dismissal of Drout, that is absolutely how I would and have always glossed, and I used Drout to try and enter a note of neutrality so that it was not just my interpretation. Clearly a waste of time!

You also avoid the issue of the Mouth of Sauron speaking exactly the same as The Witch King. And to assert that the Mouth of Sauron was addressing Gandalf  ’ceremoniously,  which you do implicityly, is unsustainable.He is clearly speaking contemptuously.

And your claim  the  referenced text and footnote in Appendix F is just about Hobbits I just do not accept.

I suggest you read the LOTR text somewhat more carefuly to disitnguish between ceremonial and ’familar/contemptuous’ use, as there are several other examples. You seem unable to distinguish between the use of the word  ’familiar’ in a positive sense as between the Hobbits and ’familiar’ as a contemptuous use as between MOS and Gandalf, and the Witch-king and Dernhelm/Eowyn. To suggest they are talking ’ceremoniously’  lacks any credibility.

As to the ’archaic’ use and  its ’poetic significance’  I do not accept is has any bearing on the instances of the WK/Eowyn, Gandlf/MOS passages. And I do read the ’Linguistic discoveries thread’ and fail to see its relevance here.

But you have your view- so by all means stick to it. I happen to think it completely misconceived. But then I think the same about your views in  the Elbereth Gilthoniel thread.X(

halfir 21/Jul/2006 at 02:24 AM
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The character of a Ringwraith is exactly to have lost self while becoming possessed by insatiable desire, or as Éowyn notes in the draft passage from The War of the Ring (quoted above), the Witch King has been "devoured" by Sauron (365-66).

For those unfamilar with the devoured’ passage Professor Dout is referring to -or those who do  not have a copy of HOME 8 The War of the Ring, {1X The Battle of the Pelennor Fields} it occurs in what CT describes as ’a remarkable writing entitled Fall of Theoden in the Battle of Osgiliath’. And, as with so many of the drafts that he worked on- Tolkien does not of course use the verbal context of that draft in the published version- although aspects of it, particularly the Witch-king’s comments to Dernhelm/Eowyn on the ’houses of lamentation are maintained.

It is, however, in my view, significant as it re-emphasizes a theme that I believe is clear from a detailed reading of the LOTR text and Tolkien’s letters- that the Nazgul were totally possessed by the will of Sauron.

’I do not fear thee, Shadow,’ she said. ’Nor him that devoured thee. Go back to him and report that his shadows and dwimor-lakes are powerless even to frighten women"{my emphasis}

{Of course if Tolkien had left the latter part in - and Merry out- he does not appear in thsi draft- then there would be no debates as to who actually ’killed’ the Witch-king!X(}

And there is an interesting ’spin’ in the published text, that one can place on the words of the Witch-king to Eowyn:

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 shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.’

Eowyn is not threatened with death, she is threatened with something far worse - a permanent spiritual wilderness in which her ’mind’ her essence - will be  left naked to the Lidless Eye - the overpowering will of Sauron.

In a strange way, and I am not suggesting that this is what Tolkien  necessarilly intended, the Witch-king is describing what has happened to him and the other nazgul - they are ’undead’ - their flesh has been ’devoured ’by  their becoming wraiths-  and their essence is totally in the control of Sauron.

Lady d`Ecthelion 21/Jul/2006 at 03:16 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
"Aldoriana: You will have to remain with your own reading which I am afraid I totally reject. I think you are quite wrong in your dismissal of Drout, that is absolutely how I would and have always glossed, and I used Drout to try and enter a note of neutrality so that it was not just my interpretation. Clearly a waste of time!"

This is the issue, Master! It’s just that we interpret and thereof understand some things in a different way. But of course, "neutral" we cannot name Draut’s comment on the WK’s menace, because this analyses backs up your opinion. To tell you the truth, in such situations, in order to understand the "stubborness" of the opponent, I’d look for proofs of his/her arguments. Because whenever I meet an opinion opposite to mine, I do not claim ’tis false; I try to understand where it comes from, compare to the "sources" of my opinion, and in this comparison I believe is where some ’truth’ may be achieved.

"You also avoid the issue of the Mouth of Sauron speaking exactly the same as The Witch King. And to assert that the Mouth of Sauron was addressing Gandalf ’ceremoniously, which you do implicityly, is unsustainable.He is clearly speaking contemptuously.

I did not avoid the example. I summed it up with the WK’s speech, for this is one and the same case of use of the archaic form.
But speaking about ’avoiding’, I’d say one or two arguments from me were left "avoided" by you - like for example the issue about characters with individuality, name, memories of their past etc. known to have been under the control of the powers of the same ol’Sauron.

"And your claim the referenced text and footnote in Appendix F is just about Hobbits I just do not accept."
Why? This was not merely "claimed" by me - it’s written black-on-white on the pages of the book.
But you have totally misread my argument, I’m afraid. The point is not in ’familiarity’ in both the meanings of the word (I do know them all right), or ’ceremoniality’, but in the archaism of speech.

What now?
Agree to disagree?


Oh, and I think that whatever our discussions may be on Nazgul’s loss or not of individuality because of the firm control of Sauron over their minds, this still cannot proof whether or not they remembered their past.
halfir 21/Jul/2006 at 04:43 AM
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known to have been under the control of the powers of the same ol’Sauron.

But they are not, as I have clearly demonstrated. The ’control’ Sauron exercised over Saruman and Denethor was totally different to the absolute control of will  over those who were now ’undead’-the Nazgul. Saruman was attempting to cheat sauron adn denethor was fighting against him- something the Nazgul could not do.

But, agree to disagree is all that’s left!X(

Lord_Vidύm 21/Jul/2006 at 05:01 AM
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Halfir, i don’t think there can be control of will through the Palantir. Noone could lose his will by looking through the Palantir Sauron. He would just come up against him, be forced in questioning, or be DECEIVED by His lies or showings. For example he showed Denethor truths, but in a way that they deceived him.

Well, halfir, Saruman was not trying to cheat Sauron. He had for a long time stayed away from him (When Pippin sees through the Paladir, Sauron comes up and asks Pippin-thinkin he was Saruman- where he had been all that time, and why didn’t he report to him). This probably, means, that Saruman had for long abondoned Sauron, and worked for his own- yet he didn’t know that by working for himself he was doing just what Sauron wanted.

Denethor on the other hand did not fight Sauron. He was pretty deceived by him as I said above. Denethor had not lost his will- he lost his mind. He did what he wanted to do- keep the enemy before the Great River as long as possible- not like the Ringwraiths, who without their Master would probably and were lost.

DeluhatholSilverleaf 21/Jul/2006 at 07:18 AM
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Lord you should read THe Two Towers carefully, The First thing that Pippin says after he looks into the palantir is:
"Its not for you Saruman!...I will send for it at once. Do you understand? Say just that!" (Chapter: The Palantir, Page 241, my bold)

Sauron tells Pippin to say this saruman, assuming that pippin is Frodo, and that Saruman is Present, It was Saurons will that Pippin, repeat what he had said, and after Pippins connection to palantir was stopped he carrired out Saurons will, so it possible that Sauron could dominate others wills over the palantir if their minds were weak enough, Aragon had enough strenght of mind to challenge sauron...so he wasnt in danger..barely..

Halfir, Aldoriana, (its me, wraith921
halfir 21/Jul/2006 at 09:48 AM
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Deluhathol: It’s you who should pay attention to the text. If you have any knowledge of the Palantiri then you would know that only the strongest of minds could use them. Of course Sauron could dominate a weak mind such as Pippin’s via the Palantir  so that proves absolutely zilch about Sauron’s control over Saruman and Denethor. And the point being made is not that Sauron could not-in the case of Saruman dominate, and in the case of Denethor delude- but that the nature of the control exercised through the Rings was of a totally different order to that of the palanitiri.

And neither you nor Aldoriana have answered the question that if Sauron is so capable of total Ring-like domination through the palantiri  why Saruman is plotting to cheat him and Denethor  waging a war against him? It just doesn’t wash for the simple reason that Sauron did not control either Saruman and most certainly not Denethor- in the same way he controlled the Nazgul.

Moreover, as has already been pointed out Sauron did not constantly use the palantir in his possession:

’It must also be considered that the stones were   only a small item in Sauron’s vast design and operations: a means of dominating and deluding two of his opponents but he would not (and could not have the Ithil-stone under perpetual observation. It was not his way to commit such instruments to the use of subordinates; nor had he any servant whose mental powers were superior to Saruman’s or even Denethor’s.{my emphasis}cf. UT-The Palantiri- an essay which Tolkien made use of when he revised LOTR in the 1960’s}.

Geirve 21/Jul/2006 at 10:57 AM
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Aldoriana, concerning the language the WK speaks, he speaks Westron. Which fully evolved in ME only after the establishment of Gondor. Thus, archaic forms or not, he (and the other Nazgul) must have learnt the language already as wraiths. And even if it was not the case, I don’t see how archaisms in the WK speech are supposed to prove his learning the language as a Man. Tolkien put archaic forms in the mouth of many of his characters, including Faramir, Mouth of Sauron (as halfir noted - and, honestly, how one can read MoS’s speech and interpret his use of ’thou’ as anything as contemptous, is beyond my understanding), Theoden or Eowyn. In no case the use of archaisms was supposed to indicate the ancient age of the speaker.

halfir, now about Khamul. Where would you like to have him named in LoTR? And who by? I do not see any ocassion for this. The only time his person matters (his activities in Hobbiton, see the note 1 in UT), we are not supposed to know what the Black Riders are, much less who they are. Later, most of the characters avoid speaking about the Nazgul, so naming an individual one would be out of question. In principle, we could have learnt about Khamul from the appendixes, but he appears in a very minor role - as one of the three Nazgul occupying Dol Guldur. The information about Khazmul in ’The Hunt’ is not contradictory to LoTR, but complementary to LoTR. By arguing ’Tolkien did not put this into LoTR, thus he rejected the idea.’, one can reject also, for example, the information from UT on Saruman and the body of Isildur, to give just one example. Tolkien put a lot of effort in ’The Hunt’ to individualize Khamul (and to some extent also the other Nazgul), and I see no grounds to reject this.

Thanks for your note on ’Angmar’, Ragnelle, it’s very interesting.
halfir 21/Jul/2006 at 06:51 PM
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Geir: The Hunt for the Ring contains a number of aspects which distinguish it from  the LOTR treatment of the Nazgul. I have commented in a previous post that in The Hunt for the Ring Tolkien is giving the story as ’seen from the other side’ and thus I can see why, from the narrative point of view  Khamul is named. The Witch-king is so firmly entrenched as ’Angmar’ or the Witch-king- and has in any case been given a much stronger portaryal in LOTR and considerably moreso in The Hunt for the Ring- to need naming.  

However, the overriding fact remains that in LOTR there is never once a mention by anyone of the personal names of the Nazgul. I see this as deliberate -on the part of Tolkien- and given the nature- or one should really say ’anti-nature’ of the Nazgul -the lack of a personal name- and all that connotes -such omission is  very significant.

cf. The draft referred to in an above  post in which Eowyn describes the WC as having been devoured by Sauron. That concept -albeit not the terminology- is one that stands -out throughout the whole of LOTR and its treatment of the Nazgul- the extirpation of individuality and the replacement by the overwhelming will of Sauron. The WC however, insofar as ’individuality’ is concerned is an identifiable entity in LOTR  in the way none of the other Nazgul are, he has more animation.  I think perhaps we need to deal with this aspect in a thread on its own (irrespective of the fact that from a narrative pointof view the WK would have needed distinguishing from the pack.). Nonetheless,even given that- he is still very much in thrall to the will of Sauron.

I still believe that Tolkien did not make any changes regarding the Nazgul in LOTR at the 1960’s revision stage because he quite correctly perceived that any indivualization would have destroyed the concept. he had so brilliantly built -up in the already published work.

That he developed various alternative ideas and concepts regarding ME and its personalities (cf. the later treatment of Galadriel) is clear- but in doing so it does not follow that he -in writing such alternatives either had or intended to reconcile them with what was already published.

I can see the legitimate use of information regarding the Nazgul-existing in UT The Hunt for the Ring as being used to expand and illuminate the story as given in LOTR if it does not clash with the LOTR text- your Saurman example also does not clash with the UT text - but a named  Nazgul would have done, and I remain convinced that this was why Tolkien made no such alteration.

 

halfir 21/Jul/2006 at 08:21 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Geir wrote: In no case the use of archaisms was supposed to indicate the ancient age of the speaker.

 

With that I totally concur. On that basis the ’thees’ and ’thous’ would have come spilling forth from the mouths of Elrond, Galadriel, Glorfindel, et.al. (I think Galadriel uses "thou’  four times in the whole of LOTR!)

 

Of course ’thee’ and ’thou’ are archaisms, but Tolkien uses them in a number of different ways.

 

Aldoriana wrote:One should think about the main and the occasional use of this archaic pronoun - at addressing persons in the solemn or poetical style, though an obsolete form of the 2-nd SNG PP, and not forget about its main meaning.

 

Well let’s look at the some of the occasions on which Tolkien uses ’thee’ and thou’   and ’ thy’  and ’thine’ and ‘ye’ and see how he uses them in each context.

 

FOTR- Three is Company

 

Gildor and his troop of elves are heard singing to Varda- Queen of Heaven- use of ’thy’. Function- Ceremonious praise, poetic.

 

FOTR-Flight to the Ford

 

Troll song- use of ’thy’.Function- humorous dialect.

 

FOTR- Farewell to Lorien

 

Translation of Galadriel singing Namarie – use of ‘thou’. Function –ceremonious, poetic

 

TT- Treebeard

 

Song of the Ents and the Entwives – use of ‘ thee’. Function- intimate, poetic

 

TT- The White Rider

  1. Galadriel’s message to Aragorn via Gandalf- use of ‘thy’ and ‘thee’. Function- ceremonious, poetic
  2. Galadriel’s message to Legolas via Gandalf –use of ‘thou’ and ‘thy’. Function- ceremonious, poetic.
  3. Galadriel’s message to Gimli vai Gandafl-use of ‘thou’, ‘thine’ .Function- intimate

 TT – The King of the Golden Hall

 

Eowyn handing wine to Theoden after his recovery –use of ‘thee’. Function- ceremonious.

 

TT- The Window on the West

 

Faramir’s recounting of the vision he had of his dead brother Boromir- use of ‘thy’ and ‘thou’. Function- ceremonious and intimate

 

ROTK- The Passing of the Grey Company

 

1.       Elrond’s message to Aragorn via  Elrohir use of  ‘thou’. Function- ceremonious

2.       Arwen’s message to Aragorn via Halbarad- use of  ‘thee’. Function- intimate.

3.       Aragorn recounting Isildur’s curse – use of ‘thou’, ‘thee’ and ‘thy’  Function- ceremonious, possibly contemptuous.

4.       Eowyn to Aragorn ‘thee’ . Function - intimate

5.       Aragorn to the King of the Dead and his men- use of ‘ye’. Function- ceremonious

 

ROTK-The Battle of the Pelennor Fields

 

The WK to Eowyn –use of  thee’, ‘thy’. Function-contempt

 

ROTK –The Pyre of Denethor

 

Denethor railing against Gandalf –use of ‘thee’, ‘thy’, thou,’. Function- contempt.

 

ROTK- the Black Gate Opens

 

MOS to Aragorn and Gandalf – use of ‘the’, and ‘thou’. Function- contempt.

 

ROTK- The Steward and the King

 

Aragorn to Faramir, use of ‘thine’ and ‘thy’. Function – ceremonious.

 

ROTK Many Partings

 

Aragorn to Eowyn-use of ‘thee’. Function –intimate.

 

And one point on the supposed ‘domination’ of Denethor by Sauron via the palantiri- in ROTK The Siege of Gondor Denethor berates Gandalf for sending Frodo into Mordor and says:

 

The Enemy has found it, and now his power waxes; he sees our very thoughts, and all we do is ruinous.’{my emphasis}

 

Clearly, if the One is necessary to see Denethor’s thoughts then the palantir was not sufficient!

 

N.B. Most of the references - all of which I have double-checked- were originally taken from John Cowan’s note on The Second Person Singular in LOTR

 

http://recycledknowledge.blogspot.com/2005/07/second-person-singular-in-lord-of.html



 

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 21/Jul/2006 at 10:44 PM
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Geir, good point about the speech of the WK.
Obviously the use of archaic language cannot be a proof that he might have remembered his past.

Then the "hunt" shall have to continue.

halfir, thank you for bringing in this summary! The man has done a good job summarizing the use of the archaic form of this PP.
I guess, however, we can all agree on what I was saying above - the use of the PP was in most cases in a solemn, ceremonious style of speech, and only in few cases it was introduced in its other stylistic functions.

Now ....
As much as I see, the two major arguments:

- namelessness
- mind control


have not yet revealed clear evidences that the Nazgul did not remember their past. So, we might perhaps bring in new ones.

Last night I was thinking.... (look what you have done to me ... thinking about the Nazgul etc. at any time! )

What about the kind of the spell as an argument? Let’s try it and see where this "path" shall lead us to.

I’ll explain what I mean.
I recalled cases of characters from Tolkien’s tales being put under a spell, the cases when these people’s minds fell under the control of someone else’s power and will ... and I realized, that as the tales are told, the cases when the person who falls under a spell totally forgets absolutely everything about his/her identity, are the cases of spells cast by dragons.
Not in any other case characters are seen to act like those that fell under the spell of the eyes of a dragon (ex.: the children of Hurin). This only kind of spell is very clearly "reported" in the books to be able to erase any memories about the person’s past and identity.
It is how, for example, Nienor becomes Níniel .

Master T. described the very act of casting of such a spell.
In The Unfinished Tales, the Narn:

"Then he drew her eyes unto his, and her will swooned. And it seemed to her that the sun sickened and all became dim about her; and slowly a great darkness drew down on her and in that darkness there was emptiness; she knew nothing, and heard nothing, and remembered nothing."

And in that version of the tale, as well as in the Silmarillion, we learn about the effect:

"There Turambar found her, as he came to the Crossings of Teiglin, having heard rumour of Orcs that roamed near; and seeing in a flare of lightning the body as it seemed of a slain maiden lying upon the mound of Finduilas he was stricken to the heart. But the woodmen lifted her up, and Turambar cast his cloak about her, and they took her to a lodge nearby, and warmed her, and gave her food. And as soon as she looked upon Turambar she was comforted, for it seemed to her that she had found at last something that she had sought in her darkness; and she would not be parted from him.

But when he asked her concerning her name and her kin and her misadventure, then she became troubled as a child that perceives that something is demanded but cannot understand what it may be; and she wept. Therefore Turambar said: ’Do not be troubled. The tale shall wait. But I will give you a name, and I will call you Níniel, Tear-maiden.’ And at that name she shook her head, but said: Níniel. That was the first word she spoke after her darkness, and it remained her name among the woodmen ever after.
"

Now, with the Nazgul, it was different.
The Silmarillion:
"Men proved easier to ensnare. Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing. They had, as it seemed, unending life, yet life became unendurable to them. They could walk, if they would, unseen by all eyes in this world beneath the sun, and they could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring that they bore and under the domination of the One, which was Sauron’s. And they became for ever invisible save to him that wore the Ruling Ring, and they entered into the realm of shadows. The Nazgûl were they, the Ringwraiths, the Enemy’s most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death."

First thing one realizes is that the process of overtaking the minds of those 9 men took a very long time.
servants’ and ’slaves’ they are told to have become to Sauron, yet in no text of the books I recall them described to have lost their memory like the victims of the dragon-spell.

The fact that Tolkien had obviously made this distinction clear, makes me deduct that the spell over the minds of the 9 men did not erase their memories, but that their minds, thoughts might have be strongly ’censored’ by Sauron. Even so, they don’t seem to me to have suffered what Nienor had.
Lord_Vidύm 22/Jul/2006 at 02:15 AM
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Deluhathol  I am pretty sorry to say that, but as Halfir said, you should pay more attention. Let me help you out in that:
"I tried to escape, for I thought he would come out; but when he had covered all the ball he disappeared. Then He came. He didn’t speak loud enough for me to hear his words. He was just looking and I understood.
<So you have returned? Why didn’t you give me any report for so long?>
I did not answer. He said <Who are you?> I stilled not to answer, but I was hurting too much; He suppressed me, so I said <A Hobbit> " 
These were the words of Pippin, and they are just above the post you sent me.

Now as for Halfir. "And neither you nor Aldoriana .....- in the same way he controlled the Nazgul." Seeing my post above, you should get that there was no controlling via the Pallantir, just a great deceiving. Through the Palantir Sauron was showing them what they wanted. Saruman wanted knowledge which he got, and Denethor saw the approaching of Aragorn, and the great power of Mordor.

halfir 22/Jul/2006 at 02:35 AM
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I am afraid Lord_Vidum that you are not correct in your statement:

Seeing my post above, you should get that there was no controlling via the Pallantir, just a great deceiving.

The palantiri could not control in the way the Rings of Power could, that is quite obvious. But the use of the palantir by Sauron with regards to Saruman and Denehtor was not the same for both. 

In UT-The Palantiri Tolkien writes:

’a means of dominating and deluding two of his opponents’- referrring to Saruman and Denethor. Saruman was dominated, Denethor deluded, by Sauron’s use of the palantir.

We have already seen, with regard to Saruman that:

Saruman fell under the domination of Sauron and desired his victory, or was no longer opposed to it. Denethor reamined steadfast in his rejection of Sauron, but was made to believe  that his victory was inevitable, and so fell into despair.’ {UT-The Palantiri}

 

Ans we also have seen that :

’Sauron had, in fact, been very like Saruman, and so still understood him quickly and could guess what he would be likely to think and do, even without the aid of the palantiri or of spies..’HOME 10 Morgoth’s Ring Myths Transformed Text V11

And Gandalf makes it very clear that Saruman was dominated by Sauron through the palantiri:

’Easy it is now to guess how quickly the roving eye of Saruman was trapped and held; and how ever since he haas been pesrauded from afar, and daunted when persuasuion would not serve. ..How long, I wonder, has he been constrained to come often to his glass for inpsection and instruction...{TT-The Palantir}

Yet even so, Saruman would cheat Sauron if he could cf:

’But Isengard cannot fight Mordor, unless Saruman first obtained the Ring. That he will never now do. {TT-The White Rider}

Denethor is totally different - he has a right to use the Palantir which is not granted to either Sauron of Saruman (cf. UT -The Palantiri} and that in itself strengthens him when he uses it against being dominated by Sauron:

Sauron failed to dominate him and could only influence him by deceits.{UT-The Palantiri}

But in neither case does the use of the palantiri even begin to compare with the spiritual servitude imposed by Sauron on the Nine - a servitude brought about solely by their own greed and lust for power, for by using the Nine to empower themselves over all others they overlooked the ’bride price’ they would have to pay- the total  loss of self.

 

halfir 22/Jul/2006 at 03:10 AM
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aldoriana wrote: First thing one realizes is that the process of overtaking the minds of those 9 men took a very long time. servants’ and ’slaves’ they are told to have become to Sauron, yet in no text of the books I recall them described to have lost their memory like the victims of the dragon-spell.

The fact that Tolkien had obviously made this distinction clear, makes me deduct that the spell over the minds of the 9 men did not erase their memories, but that their minds, thoughts might have be strongly ’censored’ by Sauron. Even so, they don’t seem to me to have suffered what Nienor had.{my emphasis}

Of course Tolkien had done nothing of the sort for in none of his writings does he ever compare the spell-binding of the dragons with the control of the Nazgul through the One and the Nine. So the distinction is simply one you have decided to impose in order to bolster your asssertion that the nine had not lost their memories.

And Sauron cast no ’spell’ over those who became the Nazgul-other than honeyed words and guileful half-truths- the same way he suborned the  elven smiths of Eregion.The nine men freely accepted the gift of the Rings and then, over time, like contracting a  spiritual Alzheimer’s disease gradually withering as men and becoming  ’undead’ -wraiths, bonded to the Dark Lord and totally dominated by his will, through the malevolent evil of the Rings and the One ( cf. Letter # 131 ’But even if he did not wear it, that power existed and was  in ’rapport’ with himself: he was not diminished.’

Bearamir 24/Jul/2006 at 12:06 PM
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Ladies & Gentlemen:  Please note, at the request of the thread holder *all* posts from Rohanya (July 2, 3:19pm) to Halfir (July 24, 3:46) have been moved to a new thread.  This thread can be found in the forum under the title:  The Power of the Palantir

At his request, the current discussion will resume with the last post by Halfir (July 22, 3:10)

(Please note:  All posts were deleted WITHOUT penalty)

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 25/Jul/2006 at 09:23 PM
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Thank you very much , Bae

Now... Master halfir, even though at the moment I unfortunately do not have the time to elaborate in more details on the issue of ’spell’, I’d at least say that definitely to be under a spell is to be in a state of certain enchantment, a state when one does not have self-control over his/her own mind, a state of being delusioned to believing in non-truths presented however as truths, etc. ... All that is very much close to the state in which the minds of the Nazgul are.

I would also like to offer >> the following source << for some consideration. We should, methinks!

Under "spell (n)" what strikes is the following:
"The term ’spell’ is generally used for magical procedures which cause harm, or force people to do something against their will -- unlike charms for healing, protection, etc." ["Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore"]

Eh?

I think that the level, the strength and, of course, the "nuances" of such interventions in the mind-work of the characters in Tolkien’s books, as in fact in perhaps all fantasy/mythical tales, is different.
Yet, it still goes to one essential point - taking control over one’s own free mind and will.
And then I assume that since these different levels of control have different consequences, and if some characters are clearly "reported" to have comletely lost their memory, while others - not... then, the Nazgul, being not of the former case, might have preserved memories of their distant past.

halfir 25/Jul/2006 at 09:32 PM
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Why bother with the OED when Tolkien himself tells us very clearly what he means by the word ’spell’:

On Fairy Stories: ’spell means both a story told, and a formula of power over living men’

And a ’spell’ can be lifted. You cannot -once you have gone as far as the Nazgul had with the Nine, ever return to the status quo ante -you are permamanently changed.

So the analogy between spell and the actual function of the One and the Nine on the mind of individuals is totally different.

And the Nazgul were not  ’living men’ -they were wraiths- and the distinction is clear and it is absolute. You cannot assume that which impacts as a spell on a living man or woman is the same as that which impacts on the undead who live in the wraith world and have no visible presence in the real world.

Lady d`Ecthelion 25/Jul/2006 at 09:59 PM
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No, no...
That is - to:

"And a ’spell’ can be lifted. You cannot -once you have gone as far as the Nazgul had with the Nine, ever return to the status quo ante -you are permamanently changed."

It is enough to only remember about the issue of Gollum’s redemption - he, who was so much changed by and because of the Ring, was given the chances to be returned back to his original good self - a chance to "lift the spell" of the Ring over his mind.
We of course do not know what might have happened to a Nazgul had he had the chance. Their case is much more complicated.
But the Valar had exceptional powers, let’s not forget about that.

And the second "no" is to:

"And the Nazgul were not ’living men’ -they were wraiths-..."

But when they fell under Sauron’s control they were ’living men’, were they not!

You know, I’ve just now realized ...

There mst be a reason for Tolkien to let the Nazgul with no chance of redemption whatsoever - unlike some other personages of his fantasy world.

In fact, he shows such firm "verdict" to only few of them: Melkor, Sauron, Feanor, Saruman and the Nazgul. Only for them he had as if decided to "condemn" forever!
Ah... Let’s not get astray again!
halfir 25/Jul/2006 at 10:58 PM
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It is enough to only remember about the issue of Gollum’s redemption - he, who was so much changed by and because of the Ring, was given the chances to be returned back to his original good self - a chance to "lift the spell" of the Ring over his mind.

I’m sorry- you can’t use Gollum because Gollum is not a wraith. Gollum is alive- the Nazgul are undead! And the Valar are irrelevant because they cannot  directly interfere in ME cf. UT The Istari - nor, more importantly can they intefere with the destiny of men.

And it’s irrelevant that the Nazgul were living men when they gave themselves freely to what turned out to be the corrosive power  of the Nine - it was their malicious choice-they knew they were doing wrong:

{’evil lies,
not in God’s picture, but in crooked eyes,
not in the source, but in malicious choice
and not in sound, but in the tuneless voice.
{Mythopoeia -my emphasis}

written about Melkor but a perfect description of the Nazgul}

those that desired secret power beyond the measure of their kind. . {The Silmarillion- Of The Rings of Power and the Third Age- my emphasis } -unnatural power.

and they then became not sui generis living men’ but:

they fell under the thralldom of the ring that they bore and under the domination of the One, which was Sauron’s. And they became invisible save to him that wore the ruling ring, and they entered into the realm of shadows {ibid}.

They were totally changed.

Ragnelle 26/Jul/2006 at 12:53 AM
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Aldoriana: I agree with halfir that you can not use Gollum this way. In one of my first posts in this tread I mention Gollum - and actually use him to draw a different conclution. This is the quote I considdered:

"Even Gollum was not wholly ruined. He had proved thougher than even on of the Wise would have guessed - as a hobbit might. There was a little corner of his mind that was still his own, and light came though it, as through a chink in the dark: light out of the past. It was actually pleasant, I think, to hear a kindly voice again, bringing up memories of wind, and trees, and sun on the grass, and such forgotten things." FotR, The Shadow of the Past

As I then observed: Gollum was not wholly corrupt, and as i understad this quote, it is because he still has some corner of his mind that was his own that theis could be seen. The Nazgul are faded and beyond hope, as halfir has provided quotes to show.

As for Nienor and Turin they are not dominated in the way the Nazgul’s are. The dragon-spell confuses them, and does that in different ways. Turin by having him belive lies and half-truths, Nienor by having her loose her memory. But they still make their own choises. Glaurung does not make them do anything against their will, he manipulates them to make the wrong choises by lies and decite. Once he releses Turin form his eyes, he can not be certian that Turin will not go after Fundulas - that is why he lies about his family. That is totaly different from the controll Sauron has over the Nine.

halfir 26/Jul/2006 at 06:23 AM
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Ragnelle: I was immediately struck by the  similarity of the quote that you gave regarding Gollum having:

some corner of his mind that was his own

’It was actually pleasant, I think, to hear a kindly voice again, bringing up memories of wind, and trees, and sun on the grass, and such forgotten things." FotR, The Shadow of the Past

with Frodo’s comment to Sam  on Mount Doom, just before the One completely posesses him:

’Do you remember that bit of rabbit, Mr. Frodo?’ he said.’And our place under the warm bank in Captain Faramir’s country, the day I saw an oliphaunt.’

’No, I am afraid not, Sam, ’said Frodo.’At least , I know that such things happened, but I cannot see them. No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me. I am naked in the dark Sam, and there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I begin to see it even with my waking eys, and all else fades.’ {ROTK-Mount Doom’}

’At least , I know that such things happened, but I cannot see them. No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me. I am naked in the dark.....

Those lines seem to be a fitting commentary on the Nazgul and their "memory".

Lord_Vidύm 26/Jul/2006 at 06:30 AM
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halfir do you have the books copied in your PC?
halfir 26/Jul/2006 at 06:37 AM
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X( Lord_Vidum, I wish I did. No, but I have a huge data-base of threads in whcih I or others have used such quotes which I can access prettty quickly- but for the post I have just made I simply typed them in from the books, which is what I usually do, unless they are inordinately lengthy. And having read LOTR in is entirety over 50 + times and in part even more often, I can visualize pretty easily where the quote I want is situated.
halfir 26/Jul/2006 at 06:46 AM
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aldoriana: Remember this?

that Denethor - a noble and strong-will and strong-character man was turned to a state to be unable to think rationally, that is a very serious form of domination and control over minds.

How does that reconcile with this?

’He was too great to be subdued by the will of the Dark Power, he saw nonetheless only those things which the power permitted him to see. The knowledge which he obtained was, doubtless often of service to him; yet the vision of the great might of Mordor that was shown to him fed the despair of his heart until it overthrew his mind." {ROTK-The Pyre of DenethorX(

Lady d`Ecthelion 26/Jul/2006 at 06:55 AM
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I would’ve highlighted the remaining part of the sentence, especially the last part.
halfir 26/Jul/2006 at 06:58 AM
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X(
Ragnelle 26/Jul/2006 at 07:22 AM
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halfir. Yes, that quote fits well (and gives me goosebumbs).

It might be that Frodo at the last stages before Mount Doom will give us more insight to the prosses the nazgûl went trough than Gollum. As in the quote Azultur that brought up in his first post here:

"To attempt by device or ’magic’ to recover longevity is thus a supreme folly and wickedness of  ’mortals’. Longevity or counterfeit ’ immortality’ ( true immortality is beyond Ea ) is the chief bait of Sauron - it leads to the small to a Gollum, and the great to a Ringwraith. " The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien  # 212. My bold emphasis

And Frodo is not small, other than in height.

halfir 26/Jul/2006 at 09:14 AM
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Ragnelle: Ah yes! The continuation  draft of the Letter to Rhona Beare. What is even more potent is if one sets it in its total context:

’A divine ’punishment’ is also a ’divine’ gift if accepted, since its object is ultimate blessing, and the supreme inventiveness of the craetor will make ’punishments’ (that is changes of design) produce a good not otherwise to be attained: a ’mortal’ man has probably (an Elf would say) a higher if unrevealed destiny than a longeval one. To attempt by device or ’magic’ to recover longevity is thus a supreme folly and wickedness of  ’mortals’. Longevity or counterfeit ’ immortality’ ( true immortality is beyond Ea ) is the chief bait of Sauron - it leads the  small to a Gollum, and the great to a Ringwraith. {Letter # 212 my emphasis}

It is the rejection of a ’divine’ gift and the refusal of a higher if unrevealed destiny than a longeval one-the ultimate slap in the face of the Creator because it refuses his love, and substitutes a self-love- an amour propre -exactly the sin of Melkor.

{It is interesting to note in this context the following- excerpted from my Tom Bombadil thread:

Charles Williams: The notion that the use of physical force against another is always sinful, is based on the belief that the worst possible sin is the taking of physical life. Which I’m sure none of us believes. {my bold emphasis}

 

Humphrey Harvard: I’d like to ask Williams what he would regard as the worst possible sin? {my bold emphasis}

 

Charles Williams: The exclusion of love. {my bold emphasis}"

 

a view shared by C S Lewis, Tolkien and all other Inklings present at that meeting.

 

Thursday, June 29, 2006 at 08:23 Tom and the Nature of Power -2 –Justice Shall Be Done

 

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=193589&PagePostPosition=6}

 

And the penalty for walking that primrose path is:

No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me. ...I am  naked in the dark.....a Ringwraith

Ragnelle 26/Jul/2006 at 10:48 AM
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Much as the Witch-king threatened Eowyn with, as you commentet upon earlier.

Lady d`Ecthelion 26/Jul/2006 at 10:17 PM
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Ragnelle, this is a strong argument, that you have introduced.

I read it yesterday. I did not answer right away, though. I just let it some time to see whether it’d beat mine. It did!
I could, of course, answer with various counter-arguments, but the truth is that this only sentence, that you drew our attention to, within the present discussion, could indeed be telling the horrifying story of ’turning into a ringwraith’... and it makes my hair stand.

I truly would not wish this interesting discussion to end... but has it not?

Nah! I still have this little "worm", still gnowing me from inside.
halfir 26/Jul/2006 at 11:13 PM
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Aldoriana: I too share the ’hair standing on end’ -well- not much because I haven’t got too much!X(

But joking apart,as soon as I read Ragnelle’s lines about Gollum and Tolkien’s letter, my mind immediately flashed to those words of Frodo - and I felt- with absolute clarity that what we are witnessing in them is the process of decline into the spiritual wilderness of wraithdom. They are truly frightening.

Lady d`Ecthelion 26/Jul/2006 at 11:27 PM
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Baldness is the latest men’s top fashion in BG!

You know, I could really go cynical, and say that ... see, he [Frodo] had passed through so much, had not properly eaten and drunk for weeks, had been tremendously exhausted ... etc., etc. and that is why he could not remember "no taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star".
Right?
But that would’ve been too cynical!
Lord_Vidύm 27/Jul/2006 at 12:10 AM
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Probably remembering "no taste of food,no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon and star" is not refering to the Nazgul’s loss of memory. It is just what the long-term remaining under darkness. Being serving Sauron of some thousand years, they did never see anything of these- so much that they ceased being able to. It is like having a man of us, for 60+ years in a dark room with only food and water, and after that move him out in the sunny day-he could not live.
Ragnelle 27/Jul/2006 at 02:16 AM
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Aldoriana: Thanks.

To the cynical comment: if that was the case, why then is not Sam aflicted the same way? He has possibly eten even less in order to give more to Frodo. But he is the one trying to remind Frodo of all these things, and Frodo can no longer remeber. This is the doing of the Ring.

This partly answers your post as well, Lord_Vidúm. The quote is said by Frodo about himself, but in a state where he is very close to being overpowered by the Ring.

halfir 27/Jul/2006 at 02:36 AM
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Aldoriana: The ’kicker’ is the fact that the language is a virtual ’doppelganger’ of Gandalf’s earlier comments on Gollum. I must admit that until you started this thread I had not realised just how significant those words of Frodo are.  It’s amazing after all these years how the magic of the Master can still surprise me!
Anduin Ithil 31/Jul/2006 at 02:04 PM
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I personally do not think that the Nazgul can remember who or what they were. Perhaps when they first became Ringwraiths they could because they had just before been men. But by the time of The Lord of the Rings I do not think that they could remember who they were because they had been Ringwraiths so long they didn’t think it was important anymore because they could never turn back. In the book, when Frodo is starting to turn into a Ringwraith he vaguely remembers what happened at the Ford of Rivendell.
Ehtelë Vírië 01/Aug/2006 at 06:44 PM
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I think they could vaugly remember who they were, but that their wills had been bent so that all their lives were meant to serve Sauron, even when they weren’t Nazgul, so they didn’t hate what they had become, because they were, in their minds, meant to do Sauron’s (and thus Melkors) will. They were confused on the past, but thought they had it down, when really all’s they were were slaves. Yet they were so focused on finding the Ring that they didn’t have time to ponder it, so Sauron had to spend little energy decieving them.

halfir 01/Aug/2006 at 08:42 PM
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I would like to return to the lines of Frodo I quoted before and see if we can discern in them that which now passes for ’past imprint ’- I deliberately don’t use memory- in the Nazgul’s mind.  

’Do you remember that bit of rabbit, Mr. Frodo?’ he said.’And our place under the warm bank in Captain Faramir’s country, the day I saw an oliphaunt.’

’No, I am afraid not, Sam, ’said Frodo.’At least , I know that such things happened, but I cannot see them. No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me. I am naked in the dark Sam, and there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I begin to see it even with my waking eys, and all else fades.’ {ROTK-Mount Doom’ my emphasis and underline}

I am fascinated by the line:

 I know that such things happened, but I cannot see them.

as it clearly raises a fundamental epistemological problem : I know  they happened, but I can no longer see them, I have no memory, no image

I have not yet come -up with a satisfactory verbal formula that adequately explains this and would be grateful if wiser and more lucid minds could offer their observations.

Lady d`Ecthelion 01/Aug/2006 at 10:12 PM
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I am trying to "catch-up" with your thoughts, Master, but I am still not certain what exactly "troubles" you in this part of this Sentence (it well deserves to be capitalized!).
( I’m afraid this excludes me from those "wiser and more lucid minds" you need )

Ah! Where is Rohanya now?

Anyway, there is yet another thing here we might possibly think of:

How to destinguish "past imprint " from "memories of the past".

It may be that the first is something present but not consciously realized, therefore - not being able to be controlled, altered, or even "used" in any possible way. It may be just a part from what we’d call a ’character’. It’s simply there - accumulated throughout the years and having become an inseparable part of one’s mind - call it ’experience’, ’general view’, ’understanding’, ’habit’ even.... In any case, it seems as a "constanta" of one’s personality.
But if this is so, then we shall be actually speaking here of one certain part of one’s ’identity’.
Now, if we apply this state of Frodo to the Nazgul, but also assume that the Nazgul had lost their ’identity’, then by the "backwards" logic they should not have even such "past imprints".
So, it’d be interesting to find out whether such "past imprints" can be traced in the Nazgul’s actions... And I say "actions" because we are told nothing about their "inner world" - thoughts, doubts, fears, questions etc.... which perhaps make them so attractive characters, for being so mysterious.
halfir 04/Aug/2006 at 12:58 AM
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aldoriana:

I know that such things happened, but I cannot see them. No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me

Looking again at these lines I realize I am a complete klutz! Frodo is describing the total loss of four  senses:

Sight
I cannot see them

Hearing
no sound of wind

Touch
no feel of water

Taste
 No taste of food

The only sense not  mentioned is ’smell’:

’ as if listening. From inside the hood came a noise as if someone sniffing to catch an elusive scent’ {FOTR-Three is Company my emphasis}

’They do not see the world of light as we do {FOTR-A Knife in the Dark my emphasis}

’At all times they smell the blood of living things , desiring and hating it.{FOTR-A Knife in the Dark my emphasis}

I accept that there are points of conflict- such as the ’wailings’ of the two Nazgul in FOTR-A Short Cut to Mushrooms-  if indeed that was a way of signaling an answer -but I am convinced we are on the right track in effectively seeing one aspect of wraithdom as implying the loss of all  human senses other than that of smell.

Clearly Sauron was no follower of Aristotle!

N.B. For the purposes of these discussions we can ignore modern scientific theorizing that there are actually nine or more senses.

DeluhatholSilverleaf 04/Aug/2006 at 01:08 AM
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whoa..you guys have steamed ahead leaving me in the dark! any way, Halfir, your last post is very interesting, all the senses except for smell have been acounted for, however, if the nazgul could not hear nor see. how would they coordinate important battles? Also if the could not hear, how did they question the people about the shire and recieve their answers? I do not think that the Wraith world could pick up sounds from the material world, what say you? 
halfir 04/Aug/2006 at 01:23 AM
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Deluhathol: Leaving aside the argument that sees Sauron’s will as driving them in all instances, we can answer the sight question quite easily, the sound less so.

Sight

’They themselves do not see the world of light as we do, but our shapes cast shadows in their minds, which only the noon sun destroys. {’FOTR-A Knife in the Dark }

Sound

It could be, and I would welcome your’s and other’s thoughts on this that, as with the transmission of  mind-to-mind ’speech’ via the palantir, they communicated in a similar fashion with those to whom they ’spoke’. I accept that we are not told this, but the descriptions In LOTR of what they said are the comments either  of those who received what they said, e.g.Gaffer Gamgee, Gloin, or the Narrator e.g. The Witch-king’s interchange with Gandalf.

 And Pippin says- of his interchange with Sauron: ’He did not speak so that I could hear words. He just looked, and I understood.’ {TT - The Palantir}

 

DeluhatholSilverleaf 04/Aug/2006 at 01:39 AM
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Lord Halfir - Ahh, but arent the palantiiri suppossed to tdo just that? convey thoughts? Anyway, yuo have sorted out the problem with Sight, i should have remembered that qoute from the Fellowship, I shall raise another question, how good was the nazguls eyesight in the wraith-world? If we take a battlefield senario, there are going to be loads of shadows, wont what i’ll call "Wraith-sight" be a disadvantage? How could they tell their enemies apart from their allies? 
Lady d`Ecthelion 04/Aug/2006 at 02:05 AM
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Master, which number is this "well", Sire?

Speak / Hear - But they did speak to the Hobbits and to the Dwarves, didn’t they? Whatever their "conversations" were, these were on the base of exchange of sound. Even if the Nazgul "spoke" telepathically , he must’ve been able to hear the answers ... Ugh?
(where was that da** quote ?!!! )

Del, dear, the Palantiri? Again? Haven’t you had enough of them?
And don’t you dare dilute my thread with by-questions, or ... I shall not slay thee in thy turn. will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.!
DeluhatholSilverleaf 04/Aug/2006 at 02:19 AM
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Aldoriana  , dont worry i was just mentioning it in passing to Halfir, it wont (i hope!) play an important role in the course of this thread.

as for Hearing, so far we dont have to seem to come to a conclusion, so all ideas are welcome at this point.
with sight however, i still dont think they resorted to "Wraith Sight" only perhaps they had some other method of taking in informayion about their surroundings.

Wont smell be useless in Mordor? Smelly, sweaty orcs!  
halfir 04/Aug/2006 at 02:27 AM
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Aldoriana:  Whatever their "conversations" were, these were on the base of exchange of sound.

Why does telepathic transfer imply sound?

’He did not speak so that I could hear words. He just looked, and I understood

Lady d`Ecthelion 04/Aug/2006 at 02:33 AM
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I mean sound of the words on behalf of those who answered. The Nazgul must’ve been able to hear them.
Besides, the quote you prvoide refers to Sauron and how he would communicate ...

Del,
DeluhatholSilverleaf 04/Aug/2006 at 02:49 AM
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True, the qoute you provided us Halfir, gives us an insight into the methods of Saurons communication, sauron is not a wraith, however he has not yet assumed a physical body, since he is capable of doing this, he does not need to communicate telepathically.
The wraiths are, simply, nothing, yet, they speak.

A
lso Frodos feelings qouted above may only occur in the transition stage, perhaps once he became a full-wraith, he would have possibly aquired  better equiped senses, an enhanced sense of smell perhaps? 
halfir 04/Aug/2006 at 05:00 AM
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Besides, the quote you prvoide refers to Sauron and how he would communicate

’Sauron, who still through their nine rings (which he held) had primary control of their wills’

But I am not asserting anything at this point, I am seeking to understand what the state of wraithdom meant, and quite clearly from the despairing words  of Frodo one aspect of wraithdom was the loss of the majority human senses, as part of the process of becoming a wraith.  And those words seem to me to be the best description we have in any of Tolkien’s writings of what the nature of being a Ringwraith meant.

DeluhatholSilverleaf 04/Aug/2006 at 06:46 AM
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Why explore the Masters work alone for the meaning of Wraithdom?

One meaning for the word Wraith, (that  somewhat supports Halfirs arrguments, is : "INsubstantial" as i have mentioned way above!.

Also this qoute:

                    "The kings that fought for Helen
                    Are gone like wraiths away,
                    And all their wars are done now
                    And all their lusts, for aye;"
    
                    J. U Nicholson - Song

In my opinion, your free to form your own, The qoute says that wraiths are like memories of former deeds, that have long been forgotten. However Tolkeins Wraiths are different, they are still amoung us, and as Aldoriana and I have argued, fully aware of it and themselves.
halfir 04/Aug/2006 at 06:53 PM
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Deluhathol: The basis of any understanding of Tolkien’s works is what he wrote. While other approaches to warithdom by different authors may throw some light on his approach, ultimately we have to discern the Master’s meaning from the Master’s words.

 And with out being unkind I am afraid your statement thath

 However Tolkeins Wraiths are different, they are still amoung us, and as Aldoriana and I have argued, fully aware of it and themselves.

is totally untrue. Neither of you have proved at all that Tolkien’s wraiths are fully aware of it and themselves.  Apart from anything else, we have no knowledge of any individual wraith in any depth other than the Witch-king - so it is quite impossible to say  fully aware of it and themselves as a) that implies individuality, which would mean a different understanding for each wraith, b) we are given no information about any of them other than ,as I say the WC whom I believe is a ’special case’ and c) the wraiths do not have any  textual indivduality that one can point to other than the WC.

Lady d`Ecthelion 04/Aug/2006 at 09:37 PM
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Yes indeed, we can only surmise and deduct, for we are not given much text about the Nazgul.

But maybe Master halfir shall admit that the ’senses-issue’ cannot be a "water-holding" one. The observation itself, is one to admire, of course - analysing from this p.o.v. Frodo’s statement, and projecting it to the Nazgul. Yet, as much as many memories seem to have been lost to Frodo, hence to the Nazgul, Frodo himself in his present days ( ’present’ from the p.o.v. of the time when he said that sentence ) still felt, heard, saw etc. In other words, he had not lost his senses. Therefore, keeping the parallel with the Nazgul, we may well accept that the Nazgul, too, had kept their senses.
However, what was "lost" indeed, seems to be the memory of what was once upon a time "sensed" through perception. It could be the same with Nazgul.

I am also very interested to learn some opinions on my post from August 1-st (above), which so has been left unattended.
DeluhatholSilverleaf 04/Aug/2006 at 11:31 PM
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Well well looks like i made a mess of that post...
Ecthelion Anor 05/Aug/2006 at 08:02 AM
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I don’t think that the Ringwraiths or Nazgul remember who or what they were because they have been Ringwraiths for so long and maybe those Rings along with the power to corrupt gave no memory to its wearer. I guess it is possible for them to remember but I don’t think so.
DeluhatholSilverleaf 05/Aug/2006 at 12:14 PM
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*Wanders in and gives Lord Halfir a "Hefty Kick"*
Maiarian Man 05/Aug/2006 at 02:36 PM
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"[Sam] wondered what the time was.  Somewhere between one day and the next, he supposed; but even ofthe days he had quite lost count.  He was in a land of darkness  where the days of the wolrd seemed forgotten, and where all who entered were forgotten too" (RotK "The Black Gate Opens").

In a certain sense, Mordor is a lot like Rivendell and Lothlorien, where time does not quite seem to work normally.  It is opposed to Rivendell, where time doesn’t seem to pass but it is kept as a seat of lore--able to go back and study the past while not slipping into the future.  Mordor is a place where the shadows lie, we know that from the start.  And as Sam observes, this means that it is a place where events and people are forgotten.  There is no room for memories in Mordor, beyond the orcs memory of the old times with no big bosses.  I don’t think we are meant to be given the opportunity to think of the occupants of Mordor as living with memories of former times. 

Lady d`Ecthelion 05/Aug/2006 at 09:01 PM
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An interesting approach, MM!

It’d be also interesting to learn your opinion on the issue discussed here - Do you, or do you not think that the Nazgul remembered their past - the time before becoming ringwraiths?
Rohanya 06/Aug/2006 at 06:35 AM
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Aldoriana, I have tried to follow this over the past dozen posts, given lack of time, and if you want my opinion, which you seem to do, I could argue this way.

We know the Ringwraiths are evil par excellence.

Why then ought we to even imagine close parallels with humans, with hobbits, etc in terms of internality, of normal consciousness/unconsciousness???

Surely we mix up matters tremendously, there!

Memory is for the good guys/gals.

Absence of such is for the bad guys.

If not, how then are we really to make this two, totally separated, real in our own minds and imagined experiences?

They just had, as Ringwraiths, well, worse thoughts and volitions, occasionally, if not all the time??? Or, the even badder Guy, Sauron, just controlled them totally and while somehow maintaining and allowing something of their own initial and earlier goodness, if only an iota, as for example via memory?

That does not work for me.

I assume that memory is the hallmark of at least something intrinsically good. Just as Gollum came so close to the freshness of memories recalled. And he did, though only a bit.

However, no grand post on my side of things. For what it is worth, the above. Cheers!

Maiarian Man 06/Aug/2006 at 08:12 AM
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Aldoriana - I thought my opinion was implied.  We aren’t supposed to think of the Ringwraiths as remembering the time before they became ringwraiths.  They just aren’t presented in that manner, even if there might be room for the possibility that they can remember.
Lady d`Ecthelion 06/Aug/2006 at 09:41 PM
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Rohanya: "I assume that memory is the hallmark of at least something intrinsically good."

Which surprises me immensely, for this is the first time I ever meet such an opinion. Why would memory be a "privilege" = a "hallmark " only for the "good guys"?

MM, yet we have to admit that the Nazgul did not stay all the time in Mordor, where, as you said: "time does not quite seem to work normally" and where "events and people are forgotten" , with " no room for memories".
I have never before thought of the similarity of Mordor, Lothlorien and Rivendell - from this particular point of view - and that is why I find it a very interesting one!
Yet, whatever the effect of Mordor was onto its inhabitants - the Nazgul incl., still they did not stay there always and all the time. Therefore, just as the effect of Lothlorien ceases outside its woods, one would expect the same to happen with the effect of Mordor.

There is something, which I think we are losing from our attention - the tragedy of the Ringwraiths.
Tragical tales there are in Tolkien’s Legendarium, indeed, and not one or two. Some, however, are as we know, told in more details, others - more briefly, and yet third ones - only "hinted" at. I think that the tragical tale of the 9 men who became Ringwraiths is of the latter type.
halfir 06/Aug/2006 at 11:19 PM
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and yet third ones - only "hinted" at. I think that the tragical tale of the 9 men who became Ringwraiths is of the latter type.


aldoriana: I fail to see how one can have any empathy with the tragedy of the Ringwraiths, which you rightly observe is not characterized in any detail whatsoever. When we are first introduced to them (not in publication terms but historical ones) in The Silmarillion we are immediately told that they cleave to the dark side as it were: All those that desired secret power beyond the measure of their kind {The Silmarillion- Of The Rings of Power and the Third Age- my emphasis } -unnatural power.A point I made in an earlier post.

It seems to me that ab initio Tolkien is not predisposed to show the wraiths in any redeeming light- a point you have mentioned yourself before- and given that, and the total lack of characterization- other than the Witch king, I find it difficult to see how one can be expected to respond to them as ’tragic  figures’ when the text, in my view, does not depict them as such.

Lady d`Ecthelion 07/Aug/2006 at 07:07 AM
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I had started to think about their ’tragedy’ even before I "digested" again and again that sole sentence, we have been refrerring to in the last several posts.
"tragical" I’d call not so much the process of becoming ringwraiths, but rather the process of them realizing that they had turned into these. In one way or another, this must have been a long and tragical one - realizing on one hand that they had achived to a great extent what they’d wished for and what they’d been promissed to achieve, but on the other hand, realizing that the greatest "gift’ of immortality they shall never achieve and shall never be given; nor any real freedom either - for they must have realized at one certain point that they had actually become bound to Sauron to an extent where they had lost their own free will. For ’great warriors and sorcerers’ this must have been a real’tragedy’, i think.
And then ... if we assume that the Nazgul did not remember their past, was it not because they actually did not wish to?
Just a sequence of thoughts, based mainly on deductions from other tales within Tolkien mytho-epic cycle.
Maiarian Man 07/Aug/2006 at 03:29 PM
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Aldoriana - My argument was not meant to be of the form "If a and b, therefore c."  So i’m not really bothered by the fact that you’ve shown that, say, b doesn’t hold--given that the Nazgul did not spend all of their time in Mordor.  They are products of Mordor.  It’s not as if they are allowed to have a different life outside of Mordor than within.  (Importantly note that the Orcs are able to have a different life, but the Nazgul are utter slaves of Sauron--utter slave of a metaphorical Mordor).  That being said, I’m not exactly putting fort my statement as a rigorous argument at all.  Just a thought.

And of course it’s hard to think of the Nazgul’s pure becoming a Ringwraith as a tragedy.  There has to be a human perspective for something to be a tragedy.  If no one realizes what is becoming of the Nazgul, there is no tragedy to be seen it.   But I have a feeling that if the Nazgul can’t remember, then their ability to step back and view the tragic in their lives disappeared before they were even fully enslaved--if they ever had it.  Their mothers, however, probably saw the tragedy the entire time (though they of course died before the wraithing was complete). 

If they really did lose their Free Will, then it would seem that they would not be afforded the chance to sit back and reflect upon the tragedy of their loss.

Lady d`Ecthelion 07/Aug/2006 at 09:36 PM
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MM, first off, I have this firm understanding and opinion, that the Nazgul are not ’slaves’ to Sauron; ’servants’ they are, indeed, but not ’slaves’. Of course, this is a topic different from the present one, and there exist at least a couple of threads in AL containing heated discussions on it.

Now ... As I tried to explain above, the ’tragedy’ in the lives of those 9 men - that had occurred, and at one certain time was realized by them - is in fact also within their ’past’.
Meaning, that if the Nazgul don’t keep memories of the times before falling under the "spell" of the rings, and/or also of the time when they realized what their decisions and actions had lead them into, this just maybe because they simply did not wish to remember, and not because they were not allowed to, or were fully brain-washed. Just a self-protecting "mechanism".
Besides, ’remembering’ IMO does not necessarily need a "chance to sit back and reflect upon the tragedy of their loss". A place, say, a Nazgul passes by, a place once he might’ve ruled but now knowing perfectly well he cannot do it by his own free will, might very well trigger a ’memory’, and the ’tragedy’ of the situation is inevitable. No explicit moment of ’reflection’ is necessary.
And last, the ’tragedy’ can actually be realized by the reader much more clearly than by the Nazgul themselves.
Deducting agian - holding in mind the example of the fate of Feanor.

Finally , when you are saying:
"But I have a feeling that if the Nazgul can’t remember, then their ability to step back and view the tragic in their lives disappeared before they were even fully enslaved--if they ever had it. "
(my underlining)

I’d say that I very much doubt that during the time while falling under the rule of the rings, those 9 men ever actually stopped to think what was going on. At that time precisely they were at their strongest, enjoying the power they had been promissed to have, and had been given.
Only after the rings were taken from them they realized the "price" of their glory. And that moment was their final defeat, methinks, and their deepest tragedy - to be dragged from the heights of being ’masters’ to the pits of being ’servants’ ... a good reason for not wishing to remember.
halfir 07/Aug/2006 at 10:13 PM
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Only after the rings were taken from them they realized the "price" of their glory

I certainly wouldn’t accept this interpretation. By the time Sauron repossessed the Nine Rings the Nazgul were completely in his thrall and would have no memory of any former glory. Indeed, I believe that their loss of memory, for I am toatlly convinced this is the case, started  as soon as they had taken possession of the Rings. They were totally dominated by Carpe Diem, Carpe Mundum, and by the time they had finished selling out to Sauron it was too late to remember the snows of yesterday!

círdan ar-fenil 08/Aug/2006 at 12:23 AM
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I think They do not know who they wer beceause the rings treuterd them you see gollem he didn’t knwo his name untill frodo said his name to him so i think they don’t know what they were BUT as we take a look to the witch king of angmar he has a bit og magicall powers so he can conclud on that that he was some sort of wizard before he bvame one of the nazgul
Lady d`Ecthelion 08/Aug/2006 at 04:59 AM
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Master, in a way and to an extent - strange as it may sound - we share one and the same opinion on the issue of "remembering" during the fury of the Carpe Diem, Carpe Mundum-days of the 9 ring-bearers.
As I said above:
"’d say that I very much doubt that during the time while falling under the rule of the rings, those 9 men ever actually stopped to think what was going on. At that time precisely they were at their strongest, enjoying the power they had been promissed to have, and had been given."
And your statement I find to reveal the same idea:
"They were totally dominated by Carpe Diem, Carpe Mundum, and by the time they had finished selling out to Sauron it was too late to remember the snows of yesterday!"

The thing our opinions differ in, is that IMO in those days/years they were still ’ring-bearers’, and to ’remember’ what was before taking the rings of power, for sure did not bother them at all. However, this does not mean they had forgotten who they were and where they had come from, and how they had become so powerful. I very much doubt that at that time they felt the true power behind all that glory - the power that later showed its very "ugly" face to let them know who "commanded the parade". And this I think to have been at the time Sauron collected their ’precious’ rings.
From this moment on, I believe their wraithing process started - only then, not before.
kellinor 08/Aug/2006 at 08:09 AM
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I beleve they remembered a little souron couduv taken away stuff like happyness and love and put in anger and hate but they probrebly remember being kings. and living in castles but no picnicks in the park or things like that
Geirve 08/Aug/2006 at 03:59 PM
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I wonder when Sauron took the Nine from the Nazgul, and why. Is this possible that it happened as late as the III Age? After all, when Sauron kept the One, he had total control over the bearers of the Nine, and he did not need other means of control. Assuming he did not took the Nine from them from sheer malicy (always a possibility with Sauron, of course), the real need arose only after Sauron lost the One.

On the other subject, I don’t think the psychological consequences (whatever they were) of the "wraithing" of the Nazgul took place immediatelly after their receiving the rings, as Halfir seems to believe. I think it is pretty clear that they were able to pursue their own ambitions for a while. But I do not hold with Aldoriana hypothesis that "wraithing" happened only after Sauron took the Nine from them. Before he could do this, he had to be sure of having complete control over the Nazgul - otherwise taking the Nine back could have the effect of freeing, at least partly, their bearers from his influence (vide the case of Gollum after Bilbo took the ring from him), and this was something he certainly did not wish. I believe in graduality ("wraithing process" is a good expression, Aldoriana, it must have been a process).

Halfir, have I understood you correctly that you maintain the Nazgul could not hear? But they were able to hold conversation (Hamfast Gamgee, Farmer Maggot, the doorkeeper at Bree, not to mention Eowyn), and I think it is impossible they received any mental communication from their interlocutors. They had to be able to hear - although most probably their reception was vastly different from a human one.
halfir 08/Aug/2006 at 06:44 PM
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Geir: Halfir, have I understood you correctly that you maintain the Nazgul could not hear?

No, I do not hold that opinion. I was simply ’flying a kite’ to see if we could establish some relationship with the tragic lines of Frodo  which to me epitomize what wraithdom could mean, and the Nazgul. For the purposes of clarification I set out the context in which iIexplored the ’possible’ lack of the Nazgul being unable to hear. I do not actually belive that to be the case.

Quote:

’Do you remember that bit of rabbit, Mr. Frodo?’ he said.’And our place under the warm bank in Captain Faramir’s country, the day I saw an oliphaunt.’

’No, I am afraid not, Sam, ’said Frodo.’At least , I know that such things happened, but I cannot see them. No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me. I am naked in the dark Sam, and there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I begin to see it even with my waking eys, and all else fades.’ {ROTK-Mount Doom’ my emphasis and underline}

I am fascinated by the line:

 I know that such things happened, but I cannot see them.

as it clearly raises a fundamental epistemological problem : I know  they happened, but I can no longer see them, I have no memory, no image

I have not yet come -up with a satisfactory verbal formula that adequately explains this and would be grateful if wiser and more lucid minds could offer their observations.

Frodo is describing the total loss of four  senses:

Sight
I cannot see them

Hearing
no sound of wind

Touch
no feel of water

Taste
 No taste of food

The only sense not  mentioned is ’smell’:

’ as if listening. From inside the hood came a noise as if someone sniffing to catch an elusive scent’ {FOTR-Three is Company my emphasis}

’They do not see the world of light as we do {FOTR-A Knife in the Dark my emphasis}

’At all times they smell the blood of living things , desiring and hating it.{FOTR-A Knife in the Dark my emphasis}

End Quote

I accept that there are points of conflict- such as the ’wailings’ of the two Nazgul in FOTR-A Short Cut to Mushrooms-  if indeed that was a way of signaling an answer, and their  ’conversations’ with various parties as exemplified in LOTR ( although we never are given any example of the Nazgul conversing among themselves) and UT The Hunt For the Ring , which obviously  imply hearing, but I am convinced we are on the right track in effectively seeing one aspect of wraithdom as implying the loss of  human senses other than that of smell. Yet anothe aspect of their progressive loss of all those things that could identify their human nature.

 

Maiarian Man 08/Aug/2006 at 07:46 PM
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Frodo clearly can still hear, as he answers Sam’s question, which is a vocal question (to be brutally obvious).

I don’t think Frodo has lost his actual senses, but just the ability of those senses to relate to the world of hobbit-life he once knew.  Frodo is hardly saying that he cannot hear, taste, feel, or see.  Frodo is being rather poetic in his description of what is lost for him, or at least poetic for a hobbit. 

I think that you are right in identifying the wraithing process with the loss of senses, but not in a literal sense.  Wraiths have lost the ability to sense all but the bare structure of the world.

Hence, their voices are terrible wails.

What they see of the mortal world is only shadows.   Details--and light--are gone.  Light actually blinds them.  What they can see better is the so-called "wraith-world."  They can see Frodo when he puts on the Ring, because Frodo has left the real world of men--the world of hobbits.

They can hear the Gaffer, but it seems likely that they can hardly appreciate music.  Indeed, what we know of their hearing is this.  First, we can draw implications from their wailing voices the target of their hearing.  Second, we know that the name Elbereth is perilous to them.  The name Elbereth, which ought to be beautiful to men (moreso Elves)--not Frodo’s excitement at hearing the name being sung at the outset of his journey.

Halfir gives the quote about the Ringwraiths constant smell of the blood of living things--which they hate.  They don’t smell flowers fruit.  But blood. Not even much of a smell to it.

For taste we are going to have to go to an intermediary source: Gollum.  We’ve seen the vivid imagery of his diet, both in the Hobbit and in LotR.  Not too appetizing.  A good hobbit, even from the river-folk, shouldn’t be enjoying raw rabbit, and would probably appreciate Sam’s cooking skills.  Note not only the fact that Gollum is disgusted by the cooked rabbit, but also the extent to which Sam tries to highlight the meal he is cooking as a little reprieve from the world they’ve gotten themselves into.

And feel--I’m going to have to go out on a limb here.  First, their is Gollum’s pure sliminess--not a pleasent texture.    And the coldness of the morgul blade ("poisoned ice").  But this is quite interesting!!  Frodo’s loss of feel is the "feel of water."  Need i say more where I’m  going about the Ringwraiths?  They fear water, can’t cross it without a bridge.   What Frodo is losing touch with as regards his feel is the purest of substances.  One wonders if at some point he would not only lose the feel of water, but begin to find the feel of water painful (as, for instance, the Ringwraiths seem to find light painful).

Lady d`Ecthelion 08/Aug/2006 at 08:59 PM
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I definitely think that the Nazgul were not interested in the material=physical self of their actual or/and possible victims - the living, breathing, "normal" creatures.
Remember that famous statement of the WK:

"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 shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.’"

Which of two threats, do you think, is more horrible? I think the accent falls upon the one, picturing what shall happen to the "shrivelled mind".

Therefore, I cannot rely too much on theories addressing their "smelling" - of blood in particular. For blood - hot, flowing, the "life juice" of the material body, does not have any smell while enclosed within the body. So, they cannot "smell" it, anyway. They can probably sense the scent and the heat of the living body - as any predator would, but I cannot recall them be "blood-thirsty" in the literal meaning of the phrase. We would not make some "vampires" out of them now, would we?
So the whole "blood smelling" issue can be dropped I think.

Or ... not?
Because, what if I take it, and make use of it from another p.o.v.?
What if I say:
Aha! They themselves do not have normal flesh-bodies, hence blood did not flow in them. But if they could sense blood in the living creatures, then they must remember what ’blood’ is, and what it means for a living creature, etc.
Hence, they do remember what it is to be a living man >> hence they must have memories of their past!

MM, Re: the issue of how much the Nazgul were affected by the name of the Vala-Queen, you might wish to have a look >>   HERE, <<. The discussion is still not finished, but just in a stand-by position, and a new opinion "pro/con" shall be most welcome!

As to the issue of "wraithing".

One thing I am sure we all can admit - the "wraithing" was indeed a process - it could not happen over night. But on the other hand, if we are to speak about it, we should perhaps try to define the very word and notion of "wraithing".
I have suggested the idea that the "wraithing" of the 9 men started when their rings of power were taken from them. Why? Because I think that until that moment these men had not actually realized that their powers were not coming from the rings per se, but it was for Sauron’s (and Elvish, of course) special (Men would call it "magical" ) powers within those rings that helped mortal men achieve the "dreams of their lives". It makes me think that when Sauron got their rings back, only then they started to realize all this. Until that moment, I think the 9 ring-bearers credited all their success to the rings. When these were taken from them, it was plainly and brutally shown to them who had actually controlled their lives for the past years, who ensured them all the glory and success etc. But one more thing is IMO the most important consequence - the 9 men, the 9 great warriors, kings, sorcerers’ lost all their "greatness". For how "great" can a servant be?! And Sauron did make sure they understood that they were just his servants - servants to him, his will, his aims...
And I believe, this is the turning point - the time when they started turning from ’ring-bearers’ into ’ring-wraiths’.
"Wraithing" I believe is a word used to describe not so much the loss of the physical form of existence, but it is focused upon the loss of the soul.
halfir 08/Aug/2006 at 09:10 PM
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 mm: Frodo is hardly saying that he cannot hear, taste, feel, or see. 

But Tolkien, im my view is using the ’poetic truth’ to express the wrathing reality. I should perhaps have expressed myself more clearly. I am not saying that Frodo has arrived at that position, I am saying that his description, to me, is the closest thing we have to what being a wraith is like - a total de-sensitizing of that which gives us our humanity, and allows us to walk under the sun in the real world.

Geirve 09/Aug/2006 at 02:22 PM
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Aldoriana, first, I don’t understand how "their powers were not coming from the rings per se". Rings had power by themselves, they were not transmittors of Sauron’s power. (That some of their powers were of Sauron’s making, it’s another story).

Second, I do not agree with your take-on on the psychology of the future Nazgul. Or, rather, I partly agree: people representing one side of a spectrum might have reacted in this way. IMO, the Nazgul might have been:

a) Boromir-like people or Denethor-like people, who desired power for some not necessarily evil purpose (for example, military power for defense of their country against enemy). [IMO, Boromir would have been an easy prey for Sauron - in Annatar’s guise, of course - to turn into a Nazgul.] They would have wanted power also for their own aggrandisement (like both Boromir and Denethor did), but they were not actually evil, and did not accept the ring with ill will. With them, Sauron had to act through deception - and they would have reacted more or less in a manner you described.

b) Mouth of Sauron-like people, who entered into service of Sauron with, more or less, open eyes (as I said before, I picture the Witchking in this way). You wrote: "For how "great" can a servant be?!" Look at the Mouth of Sauron! It is pretty clear that he, in spite of his servitude to Sauron (or, rather, partly because of this), sees himself as a great man (and we are talking about self-image here). After all, Sauron was worshipped as a god - and there is nothing demeaning to be a servant (powerful and favoured servant, too) of a god, is it? I don’t think such people would have gone through any crisis, even after realization of the side-effects of the rings, and they probably not even felt cheated.

Attitudes falling somewhere in between those two are also possible.
halfir 09/Aug/2006 at 07:02 PM
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Geir wrote:

a).Boromir-like people or Denethor-like people, who desired power for some not necessarily evil purpose

And so one by one, sooner or later , according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills  in the beginning {The Silmarillion- Of the Rings of Power my emphasis and underline}}

B).  Mouth of Sauron-like people, who entered into service of Sauron with, more or less, open eyes

those that desired secret power beyond the measure of their kind  {ibid- my emphasis and underline}

I think that these two quotes adeqautely demonstrate and support the point that Geir makes, which seems to me a very logical way to approach the diverse personalities who must have made -up those who ultimately became Nazgul.

 

halfir 09/Aug/2006 at 07:33 PM
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’For it is said indeed that being embodied the Istari need to learn much anew by slow experience, and though they knew from whence they came the memory of the blessed Realm was to them a vision from afar off, for which (so long as they remained true to their mission) they yearned exceedingly. {UT The Istari my emphasis}

This quote put me in mind that perhaps the dissolution or ’wraithing’ process had the same effect on memory for the Nazgul as becoming incarnate did for the Istari.That the transformation process affected the memory- as it took them into an insubstantial and illusory world:

’too often the beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron’ {The Silmarilion- Of The Rings of Power}

Lady d`Ecthelion 09/Aug/2006 at 09:58 PM
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And what, I pray, does the personality of the 9 prove?
Does the ability to remember and have memories depend in any way on it?
Strange thought!
halfir 09/Aug/2006 at 11:31 PM
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aldoriana: I don’t understand the point you seek to make regarding the personalities of the Nazgul. Are you suggesting that they are all clones- exactly the same.? What is strange about commenting that they are likely to have had varying personalities? The point  is that they approached acquisition of the Rings for different reasons- and those reasons are likely to be  explained by their psychological make-up which is contained in their personality. Hence my comment- which was a further elaboration of the points made in the two Silmarillion quotes I used. We are attempting to gain some understanding of the make -up of the Nazgul about whom we know virtually zilch.

And I make no connection whatsoever with regard to personality and memory- my point quite clearly is to what drove them to make the choice that they made.

Lady d`Ecthelion 10/Aug/2006 at 04:57 AM
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But Master, I am not of an opposite opinion about the variety of their personalities!
I thought this point was introduced to throw some light onto the main topic.
DeluhatholSilverleaf 10/Aug/2006 at 10:44 AM
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Lord Halfir i certainly dont want to kick you again...
DeluhatholSilverleaf 12/Aug/2006 at 03:59 AM
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I decided to read the FotR since i was feeling out of the loop in this thread, my connection was done too so that helped! Anyway while reading the chapter: Many Meetings, i came across the following, here, frodo is asking Gandalf what would have happened if the attack at Weather Top succeeded:
                        
"You would have become a wraith under the dominion of the Dark Lord; and he would have tormented you for trying to keep his Ring, if any greater torment were possible than being robbed of it and seeing it on his hand." (FotR, Chapter: Many Meeting, (my bold) )

The last line, which is in bold, suggests, at leasts to me and no doubt Aldorianawill share my thoughts, oming a Wraith, which subsiquently means that the Ringwraiths would have too, maybe he did this to both, Frodo and the Wraiths, simply because he was cruel as i mentioned at the beggining of this debate.

DeluhatholSilverleaf 12/Aug/2006 at 04:01 AM
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* my apologies
the last paragragh should say:
 
The last line, which is in bold, suggests, at leasts to me and no doubt Aldoriana will share my thoughts, That Frodo retained his memory after becoming a Wraith, which subsiquently means that the Ringwraiths would have too, maybe he (Sauron) did this to both, Frodo and the Wraiths, simply because he was cruel as i mentioned at the beggining of this debate.

Again my apologies...
Lady d`Ecthelion 12/Aug/2006 at 08:50 PM
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Del, I could’ve possiblt agree with you, but I am afraid I do not get your idea here.

>>you’ll let me know when you receive that book, will you? <<
Seventh Age 13/Aug/2006 at 07:57 AM
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i think the nazguls dont remember anything. they are like fighting machine for sauron who just want the ring and bring it back to sauron
DeluhatholSilverleaf 14/Aug/2006 at 06:43 AM
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Aldoriana well, what im trying to say is that, in my opinion, the qoute i have posted above, suggests that Frodo would have retained his memory if he would have been captured at Weather-Top (Amon Sul) Because Gandalf says that Sauron would have tormented him, and, that seeing the ring on Saurons hand would torment Frodo...for this senario i think that Frodo would have to have a memory of how it was like to poses the ring....is it clear now?

Yup i’ll let you know when it arrives...the terrorist bombings are slowing everything down  
Rohanya 14/Aug/2006 at 06:47 PM
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Aldoriana, for what it is worth, and having read the discussions prior, you seem to hold out for memory and for tragedy. I think the ringwraiths were beyond the state of the tragic, as MM seems to suggest. So you really have to account for that true evil,evil in a way that makes your own essentially humanistic issue of memory (there or not?) tangible.

Again, we are dealing with literature and in these books, yes, the ringwraiths are evil par excellence. Explain then both tragedy and memory, if so.
Lady d`Ecthelion 14/Aug/2006 at 08:56 PM
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Obviously, people understand differently issues about "tragedy", and while I do not think that either in RL or/and in fiction ’evil’ automatically excludes ’tragedy’, I know there are many people who think the opposite. It is an interesting issue in itself, yet strongly psychological.

However, if we are to return back to the main topic here, and within the boundaries of fiction, I think that in Tolkien’s tales ’evil’ does not exclude memory, hence the Nazgul must’ve had memories of their past.

Brother wraith, (although, I should’ve been calling you "traitor", for having abandoned the shadowy worlds and gone to bask like a wretched moth in the halfirien light ), I see what you mean.
Now I do agree!
Rohanya 14/Aug/2006 at 09:00 PM
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Aldoriana, you take the easy route out. `If we are to return back to the main topic here, and within the boundaries of fiction....` Then explain, even in terms of fiction, their absolute evil, concretely. Surely that must have some psychological parallel, no?

Yes, you are taking the easy route out, I deem.
Lady d`Ecthelion 14/Aug/2006 at 09:29 PM
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No, dear friend!
I am trying with all my strengths to stay on the route!
That is why I am unable to agree with a presumption that "if ’evil’ - no memory".

And off the record, I do not think there’s such a thing as ’absolute’ evil, nor such as ’absolute’ good!
Rohanya 14/Aug/2006 at 09:35 PM
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Okay, your forgettable presumption then. As for absolute evil, oh yes, can be found very nicely indeed in literature...or where else would you hope for, so close?
Lady d`Ecthelion 16/Aug/2006 at 10:13 PM
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Well, folks, so....

Did they or didn’t they ... remember, that is, their past?
What do your guts tell you?


DeluhatholSilverleaf 17/Aug/2006 at 02:41 AM
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Aldoriana As i have continously tried to prove....*hides from the glare of the halfirian lite*...i believe the Nazgul DID remember there past....yup...gut feelings!!!
Lady d`Ecthelion 18/Aug/2006 at 08:40 PM
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Indeed, you have! And so have I.
Yet, there have been strong arguments ’against’ our opinion, and it seems to me that the discussion has sort of come to a ’dead-end’.
halfir 18/Aug/2006 at 09:39 PM
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Lord Halfir i certainly dont want to kick you again

Then deluhathol let me give you -pro tem  a hefty kick in the pants for your ’gut feelings.’ I don’t have time at the moment but I shall return to eviscerate those feelings.X(

 

DeluhatholSilverleaf 18/Aug/2006 at 09:42 PM
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Ragnelle 20/Aug/2006 at 03:49 PM
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Hmm. My guts says they don’t. So, whose guts are right?

Deluhathol: I am afraid I no not agree with your interpetation of the quote from FotR, Many Meetings that you have provided. I see no logical conection between Frodo being tormented by the loss of the Ring and seeing it on Sauron’s hand and the question about memory for the Ringwraiths. He need not remeber his past - who he was before becoming a wraith - to want the Ring. The effect of the Ring seems at times almost like a physical adiction, which do not require any memory of the self to work. I imagine that in a situation where Frodo had become a wraith and Saurin regained the Ring, Frodo would not think of his former life but of the fact that he no longer has the Ring. The Ring, and the loss of the Ring, would occupy his thoughts, almost like a physical need and exlude all other thoghts.

Lady d`Ecthelion 20/Aug/2006 at 10:07 PM
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Ah, Ragnelle, I’m so glad you’re back with us!

Now... a thought ... Let’s see where it can bring us to.

The "wraithing" process is obviously not a priority of a ring of power, be it the Master Ring or any other of the "magical" rings once produced in Eregion.
The tales also speak (in Gandalf’s explanation to Frodo about what might’ve happened were Frodo stabed by a Nazgul blade) of other objects capable of producing the same effect - in this case - the blades of the Nazgul.

The rings however, all seem to demonstrate a similar objective and effect - extending existence in time - thus breaking the natural course of things. But, it seems that it’s not necessarily because of wearing a ring of power, that one turns into a wraith.

Anyway ... a long shot, though... if the rings of power, in particular, had this common effect - extending existence in time - and if we examine and compare the state of the mind of the various ring-bearers of the various rings of power, then what our research shall show, is that these rings of power are never said to produce the effect of "memory loss". In fact, both - Bilbo and before him, Gollum, though already had been on the road to becoming wraiths still remembered very well their past. Bilbo even wrote a book about his adventures in the past!

Therefore, says me , to wear a ring of power, even the Master Ring, does not necessarily lead to losing memory of the past.
Hence - the Nazgul, too, must’ve not lost their memory.
halfir 20/Aug/2006 at 11:24 PM
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But, it seems that it’s not necessarily because of wearing a ring of power, that one turns into a wraith.

’A mortal , Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does  not grow  or obtain more life, he merely continues , until evry last minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becmes in the end invisible permmanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the drak power that rules the Rings,. Yes, sooner  or later- later , if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good puspose will last - sooner or late  the dark power will devour him’.{FOTR-The Shadow of the Past}

As far as I can see for any human- which includes Hobbits I would suggest- thus Bilbo and Gollum- the main effect of all the Great Rings of Power is that if any human often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades.

The Great Rings were never initially created for humans, they were designed for elven use- so their ab initio rationale is irrelevant, what is relevant is the effect they actually have on humans who use them- and that relates directly to the function of becoming invisible- dependent  on frequency of usage - which is of course a Sauronian input to all the Great Rings of Power, other than the Three.

And Bilbo and Gollum I would suggest did not often uses the Ring to make {themselves} invisible in the way the Nazgul lords- prior to that condition- clearly did.

As for other methods of producing the effect of wraithing how many actual examples, other than the Weathertop attempt- are given in the text - zilch!

And how can you possibly assert the Rings of Power are never shown to produce the effect of memory loss when this very thread seeks to determine whether or not the process of wraithing carried with it a concomitant loss of memory?

Ragnelle 21/Aug/2006 at 06:51 AM
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Aldoriana: Thank you for the welcome. I have been on vacation and then I feelt the need to read up on the tread before answering.

Now looking at Bilbo and Gollum may give us some insight on the more long-term effectsof the Ring, but I am not sure if the outcome is hte same as you propose.

To take Golum first. In one of my first posts I provided this quote regarding him:

"Even Gollum was not wholly ruined. He had proved thougher than even on of the Wise would have guessed - as a hobbit might. There was a little corner of his mind that was still his own, and light came though it, as through a chink in the dark: light out of the past. It was actually pleasant, I think, to hear a kindly voice again, bringing up memories of wind, and trees, and sun on the grass, and such forgotten things." FotR, The Shadow of the Past

And adding the continuation of Gandalf’s speech we read:

"But that, of course, would only make the evil part of him angrier in the end - unless it could be conquered. Unless it could be cured." Gandalf sighted. "Alas! there is little hope for him. Yet not no hope. No, though he possesed the Ring so long, almost as far back as he can remember. For it was long since he had worn it much: in the black darkness it was seldom needed. Certainly he had never ’faded’." Ibid

So Gollum has not faded, which the Ringwraiths certainly has. And it does seem like the evil part of Gollum did not want to remeber. As I said when I gave the first quote: It looks like Gandalf is seeing hope for Gollum in the fact that he still remeber his past, that a little corner of his mind is still his own. Had Gollum faded, he would not have this corner of his mind that was his own. But as the riddlegame shows, these meomories are burried deep and takes effort to dig up.

"An eye in a blue face
Saw an eye in a green face.
’That eye is like to this eye’
Said the first eye,
’But in low place,
Not in high place.’

"Ss, ss, ss," said Gollum. He had been underground a long, long time, and was forgetting this sort of thing. But just as Bilbo was begining to hope that the wrech would not be able to answer, Gollum brought up memories of ages and ages and ages before, when he lived with his grandmother in a hole in a bank by a river. "Sss, sss, my preciouss," he said. "Sun on the daisies it means, it does."

But these ordinary aboveground everyday sort of riddles were tiring for him. Also they reminded him of days when he had been less lonly and snraky and nasty, and that put him out of temper. What is more they made him hungry," The Hobbit, Riddles in the Dark

Now there are many reasons for Golum to want to forget that do not nessererarly apply to the Nazgûl, or the men that became the Nazgûl, such as his lonlyness and generally nasty living-conditions, but I would not say that remebered his past "very well". Still, as he is not yet a wraith - he had not even started to fade - I would expect him to remeber.

Now Biblo is less effected by the Ring than Gollum is, and is even able to give it up, though he is not  unmarked. He can not see the Ring without being affected by it, but he has not faded and Gandalf says that he did not worry for Bilbo once he had given up the Ring. Hardly one that is in any emidiate danger of becomming a wraith.

And Biblo actually seems to loose his memory at the end, though that is just as likely old age catching up on him. Or denial. He forgets that Frodo went off to destroy the Ring.

Of all the Rignbeares, it is only Frodo that is said to begin fading, so I think he is the one that will tel us most about the prosses, even if Gollum and Biblo had the Ring for a longer period of time. As Gandalf says in the quote given by halfir: sooner or later the Ring will devour the bearer, but it can be later. I think the prosses was faster for Frodo. Not because Gollum’s purpose was better, but because Frodo had to go though much more. And possible the Ring’s influence became stronger as Sauron grew - and as it came closer to Mordor.

So, I see the memories of Bilbo and Gollum as something they retained bacause they had not yet become wraiths, not even begun to fade. And in Gollum’s case even a proff that he was not compleatly devoured, that there still was hope for him. The Ringwraiths are faded and beyond hope, devoured by their Rings.

Bearamir 21/Aug/2006 at 11:55 AM
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Ladies & Gentlemen:  A *fascinatig* discussion...my complements (and a small tribute for your efforts)

Unfortunately, however, I do need to point out that the chatter herein does detract from some of your excellent arguments, so may I please remind everyone to keep the extraneous comments down a bit.  I appreciate it, thanks!
Kirinki54 21/Aug/2006 at 01:54 PM
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The question whether having a personality is dependent upon having memories is an interesting issue. As is the reverse: is having memories dependent upon having a personality?

 

It seems pretty clear – even taking into account that the Nazgûl of later days ‘lived’ in the shadow realm – that they each did have a personality. All evil hates – sure. But evil is no entity per se; it is channelled through beings of some sort (as that quote also relates to). Also the Nazgûl were clearly (even in their perverted undead state) still entities. They are – as pointed out above - clearly described as the most powerful servants of Sauron. But they were not part of him though he totally dominated and commanded them; to use a metaphor they were not his remaining nine fingers. Neither were they programmed automatons.

 

The Nazgûl were capable of running complex operations and demanding tasks on their own, individually or in changing constellations). The latter seems to imply that they had efficient means to differentiate among each other; whether they did this by using vocal ‘names’ or other acoustic representation seems to me to be beside the point, being that they had identification. (Though their wailing calls for internal communication indicate exchange also by vocal language.) They had clearly different ranks (likely based on their ability for efficiency and on their powers), which also calls for identification.

 

They had idiosyncrasies that marked them as different personalities. They could feel and display emotions, though naturally only in the negative range. Firstly, the Nazgûl could not only evoke but themselves experience fear, a point which I think have been slightly overlooked in the above – why would a being devoid of personality feel that? One would think total control would suffice as motivation. They could likely feel other emotions, like superiority and arrogant smugness, and evil expectation. Or what do you make of a quote like: Let the little people blow! Sauron would deal with them later. Is it not a sign of personality?

 

Given the above, I would say the Nazgûl undoubtedly still were persons; persons with the ability of acting as Sauron´s mightiest servants. Could they achieve success in their missions without a memory? I would think that impossible. So, the question still remains: how far did this memory reach? It seems clear to me that in order to act with necessary knowledge and judgement in dealing with friend (so called) or foe, they had to retain and be able to draw or rather vast memories.

 

It has been maintained that Sauron would think his interests best served by restricting the memories of the Nazgûl (I think the term bowdlerized was mentioned). I personally see no point in this. Would it add to the immense control already applied by Sauron and the One? The disadvantages (like detracting ability for better understanding and thus more efficient action) would likely be greater than the merits.

 

A stronger point is the effect of ‘living’ in the Wraith world for millennia. Clearly the Nazgûl were no longer Men in any meaningful sense of the word. But did this mean the automatic eradication of memories of the time before they got enthralled and consumed by the power of the Rings?

 

The examples given regarding the Hobbits, while being indicative, does not to me prove this point. I still see no textual evidence that the Nazgûl did not also retain ‘little corners’ where their experiences of the past were still lingering. Stowed far, far down and unused, yes, and probably largely devoid of meaning should they crop up – which I assume they seldom (if ever) did. That does not prove they were not there.

 

And now I get to remember this quote: But this time thou hast stuck out thy nose too far, Master Gandalf; and thou shalt see what comes to him who sets his foolish webs before the feet of Sauron the Great. Let the onslaught begin!

halfir 21/Aug/2006 at 03:29 PM
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I still see no textual evidence that the Nazgûl did not also retain ‘little corners’ where their experiences of the past were still lingering.

Kirinki 54: Thoughtful as ever, but not at all conclusive!X( The absence of the textual evidence you refer to is neither proof of memory or loss of memory. I could as lief say there is not one quote- because there isn’t- that demonstrates that the Nazgul in any way have  remembrance of what they once were- living men- walking under the sun- because there isn’t. And I am much taken with that terrifying quote of Frodo’s -which you see as inadmissable- as being the nearest thing we have to an understanding of what warithdom means:

No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me.

Wraithdom is a process of dehumanization -they are undead- corruption- the very opposite of life- even their breath is corrupt cf. The Black Breath. In such a context I do not see them as retaining memories of their former lives, which in no way prevents them from functioning in a military sense. Moreover -as you yourself observe they had long lived in the wraith world, thus beholding:

’only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron’. {The Silmarillion-Of The Rings of Power and the Third Age’

And, although Aldoriana -quite incorrectly in my view- does not accept Michael Drout’s comment on the Witch-king’s interchange with Eowyn/Dernhelm- I think it very clearly demonstrates  that depersonalization (and I would thus argue loss of humane memory ) very well:

Continuing the analysis of this sentence illuminates the Nazgûl’s character even more clearly. Dernhelm/Éowyn is commanded not to come "between the Nazgûl and his prey"; the Lord of the Nazgûl refers to himself in the third person, as a thing, but he also refers to Theoden’s body as his prey, using the possessive adjective to mark ownership. This jarring contrast of speaking simultaneously about oneself in the third person and proclaiming ownership (i.e., the Lord of the Nazgûl does not own himself, but he believes that Theoden’s body is his) illustrates the loss of selfhood but not loss of acquisitiveness that is perfectly in keeping with the Nazgûl’s character as a Ringwraith: note that Gollum frequently uses both the self-referential third person and the possessive. The character of a Ringwraith is exactly to have lost self while becoming possessed by insatiable desire, or as Éowyn notes in the draft passage from The War of the Ring (quoted above), the Witch King has been "devoured" by Sauron (365-66).*

Michael Drout -Tolkien’s Prose Style and its Literary and Rhetorical Effects Tolkien Studies 1.1. 2004 137-163 {my emphasis and underline}

*"I do not fear thee, Shadow," she said.’Nor him that devoured thee. Go back to him and report that his shadows and dwimor-lakes are powerless even to frighten women.’{My emphasis}

Lord_Vidύm 21/Aug/2006 at 04:35 PM
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Supposing they remembered of their past, would they trully like the way they ended up now? I mean, they had no face, they had no bodies, they were all empty, no thoughts. Remembering of their past could most probably lead them into misbelieving Sauron- and the only reason to follow him would be the fact that He held them in his hands (through the One Ring).

I don’t think so. The Nazguls were no more the Men they were. They are not PERSONS, they are the completely corruption of the Ring. It was not the influence of the Nine Rings that turned them into wraiths, but the influence of the One Ring. The same Influence Gollum had.

Gollum had forgotten a lot of his past. His sould was turned dark. But he still had some of himself alive, deep into his mind. Smeagol was never overtaken of Gollum. Smeagol kept his promise even to Frodo. He would not be the one to kill Master, She(shelob) would. He would just have the pleasure to kill the fat and rude hobbit-Sam. The fact that Smeagol kept his promise, shows me that he was still honorable-a part of his old himself, not the one converted by the Ring. However Smeagol’s part in Gollum was VERY RESTRICTED and FADED.

However Smeagol was under the Ring’s corruption for arround 500 years. And during that period, the Ring was sleeping. What does it mean? That the Ring did not influence him long enough. The Nazguls however had been under the Ring’s influence for 2000+ years. That means four times more than Smeagol. They would not bear one part of themselves in their minds.

Kirinki54 22/Aug/2006 at 02:05 AM
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Halfir: Kirinki 54: Thoughtful as ever, but not at all conclusive!  

Agreed! Just reasoning…

The absence of the textual evidence you refer to is neither proof of memory or loss of memory. I could as lief say there is not one quote- because there isn’t- that demonstrates that the Nazgul in any way have  remembrance of what they once were- living men- walking under the sun- because there isn’t.

Also agreed. I think Aldoriana is right in asking us what we believe, because there is no conclusive evidence, merely circumstantial indications.

And I am much taken with that terrifying quote of Frodo’s -which you see as inadmissible- as being the nearest thing we have to an understanding of what wraithdom means:

No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me.

We should all well be taken by that ghastly quote showing the enormous pressure on Frodo exerted by the One, which by the way happened in totally different circumstances: different agent, different Ring (= different powers operating), different process, different everything except the Wraith-world as a background variable.

Wraithdom is a process of dehumanization -they are undead- corruption- the very opposite of life- even their breath is corrupt cf. The Black Breath. In such a context I do not see them as retaining memories of their former lives, which in no way prevents them from functioning in a military sense. Moreover -as you yourself observe they had long lived in the wraith world, thus beholding:

’only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron’. {The Silmarillion-Of The Rings of Power and the Third Age’

We might not see them as Men, and - as I wrote – while actually not being Men per se in any meaningful sense, they still retain personalities. See my post above.

And, although Aldoriana -quite incorrectly in my view- does not accept Michael Drout’s comment on the Witch-king’s interchange with Eowyn/Dernhelm- I think it very clearly demonstrates  that depersonalization (and I would thus argue loss of humane memory ) very well:

Continuing the analysis of this sentence illuminates the Nazgûl’s character even more clearly. Dernhelm/Éowyn is commanded not to come "between the Nazgûl and his prey"; the Lord of the Nazgûl refers to himself in the third person, as a thing, but he also refers to Theoden’s body as his prey, using the possessive adjective to mark ownership. This jarring contrast of speaking simultaneously about oneself in the third person and proclaiming ownership (i.e., the Lord of the Nazgûl does not own himself, but he believes that Theoden’s body is his) illustrates the loss of selfhood but not loss of acquisitiveness that is perfectly in keeping with the Nazgûl’s character as a Ringwraith: note that Gollum frequently uses both the self-referential third person and the possessive. The character of a Ringwraith is exactly to have lost self while becoming possessed by insatiable desire, or as Éowyn notes in the draft passage from The War of the Ring (quoted above), the Witch King has been "devoured" by Sauron (365-66).*

Michael Drout -Tolkien’s Prose Style and its Literary and Rhetorical Effects Tolkien Studies 1.1. 2004 137-163 {my emphasis and underline}

’It is not clear to me that the will of Théoden son of Thengel even though he be lord of the Mark, should prevail over the will of Aragorn son of Arathorn, Elendil’s heir of Gondor.’

Is Aragorn also suffering from loss of selfhood while being at the same time possessed by exerting his will and ownership? The ploy per se of speaking in the third person might be a literary phenomenon, as well as a culturally linguistic.

This does not mean that we need to simply discard Drout´s line of reasoning, merely that there might be other components to the complex.

‘Old fool!’ he said. ‘Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? {My emphasis}

There is to me little doubt that this short sentence – in light of other passages - conveys a wealth of information about the W-K; his person and his personality, his feelings, his role and how he viewed himself, furthermore likely how Sauron viewed him (because otherwise he would not have spoken like that). This is the words of a person.

*"I do not fear thee, Shadow," she said.’Nor him that devoured thee. Go back to him and report that his shadows and dwimor-lakes are powerless even to frighten women.’{My emphasis}

Not sure that this discarded draft proves anything, except providing interesting background for what was actually published - and if LotR is not canon, then nothing is!

halfir 22/Aug/2006 at 05:00 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Kirinki 54: I have stated -from the very first post in this thread t-hat the WK is a totally different character to any of the other Nazgul. Indeed, he is effectively the only one that demonstrates personality per se.

Your points in rebuttal are  well made and well taken - except that I hold to a converse belief- and all the contras you give can be countered in exactly the same way as you have countered my  propositions- so we do indeed- end up with belief.

As to the Frodo quote being simply an exemplar of the power of the One nearing the place of its birthing and having no relationship to wraithing per se and the Nazgul- I do not accept that proposition at all- so we will have to agree to disagree. And the fact that a verbal formula similar to that used by the Witch -king is used differently elsewhere is not - as you very fairly point out- necessarilly a negative of the Drout point I pray in aid.

I do not believe that the Nazgul have detailed specific memory of their pre-wraith lives - I think they must lose much of that in the wraithing  process. That does not mean they lose all sense of command ability or control- but that is much more a Pavlovian reaction than a purposive sense of personal memory. And they are - as Tolkien himslef states very categorically, as wraiths were under the control of Sauron (Letter # 144 - the term ’primary ’ in that Letter is only used because Tolkien is describing a situation in which Sauron held the Nine Rings and Frodo the One- in effect  -outside of that specific context, the Nazgul in LOTR - were totally under Sauron’s control, as indeed their ’namelessness’ attests).

The WK is the joker in the pack- and becomes moreso in the Marquette papers on The Hunt for the Ring that Hammond & Scull make some reference to in LOTR Companion, but of course are  not published in UT.

You observed on my ’devoured’ quote:

*"I do not fear thee, Shadow," she said.’Nor him that devoured thee. Go back to him and report that his shadows and dwimor-lakes are powerless even to frighten women.’{My emphasis}

Not sure that this discarded draft proves anything, except providing interesting background for what was actually published - and if LotR is not canon, then nothing is!

As to this dismissal of the ’devoured’ concept I am afraid I do not accept the logic that argues that because a verbal formula is changed the  underlying concept itself is automatically lost. Indeed, the very process by which Sauron entraps the wills of the nine men is  perfectly fitted to the term ’devoured’ in the context of  LOTR, moreover it is used in terms in LOTR  to describe that process , but by Gandalf, not Eowyn:

’A mortal , Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does  not grow  or obtain more life, he merely continues , until every last minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becmes in the end invisible permmanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the drak power that rules the Rings,. Yes, sooner  or later- later , if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good puspose will last - sooner or late  the dark power will devour* him’.{FOTR-The Shadow of the Past} - my emphasis and underline}

As you so rightly said: and if LotR is not canon, then nothing is!X(

*OED- Devour: 3. To consume destructively; to waste, destroy, swallow up. ME.

 

Kirinki54 22/Aug/2006 at 10:16 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Halfir wrote: Kirinki 54: I have stated -from the very first post in this thread -that the WK is a totally different character to any of the other Nazgul. Indeed, he is effectively the only one that demonstrates personality per se.

The WK is the joker in the pack- and becomes moreso in the Marquette papers on The Hunt for the Ring that Hammond & Scull make some reference to in LOTR Companion, but of course are  not published in UT.

As to the dismissal of the ’devoured’ concept I am afraid I do not accept the logic that argues that because a verbal formula is changed the  underlying concept itself is automatically lost. Indeed, the very process by which Sauron entraps the wills of the nine men is  perfectly fitted to the term ’devoured’ in the context of  LOTR, indeed it is used in terms in LOTR  to describe that process:

’A mortal , Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does  not grow  or obtain more life, he merely continues , until every last minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becomes in the end invisible permanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings,. Yes, sooner  or later- later , if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last - sooner or late  the dark power will devour* him’.{FOTR-The Shadow of the Past} - my emphasis and underline}

As you so rightly said: and if LotR is not canon, then nothing is!

*OED- Devour: 3. To consume destructively; to waste, destroy, swallow up. ME.

I am sure you have stated that the WK is different; I am probably just rehashing a lot of points and discussions already done. After all this thread has 194 posts already – not counting this one! (BTW sorry for reshuffling the passages in your last post here.)

The WK is indeed exceptional, and that fact might instil caution in all of us generalizing about the ‘wraithing’-process. A ‘joker’ means an exception, a wild card not adhering to the alleged rules. The mere fact that exceptions exist, suggest that there are no absolutes, merely a difference in degrees. It suggests other exceptions from what seemed certain.

Halfir, you admit that the WK had a personality and clearly you are right. But there is in fact nothing that explicitly states that the other Nazgûl are different in essence. But the WK is the leader, the most powerful, and the most ‘visible’ of the invisible lot in terms of the narrative. What goes on beyond that tale is not evident to us, but we need not necessarily assume that it is different in essence. As said, one exception implies more exceptions.

Why is the WK different? He was subject to the same process. The Nazgûl were indeed ’devoured’, and I have no problem with that (only with bringing in quotes from the writing process that did not make it to publication and thus have a slightly different setting). Did Sauron eat just the rest in whole and spared half of the WK, so that he still had a personality?

I am only half joking, because I think the key lies in our interpretation of ‘devour’. Look at your quote above. What are the named forces to possibly resist that ‘devouring’ (though none suffices)? Strength is one. The WK clearly had that even as a leader for the Nazgûl, and it might be the reason why he remains with the strongest personality. His strength was not devoured. But the other criteria is ‘well-meaning, good purpose’. In other words a moral or ethical dimension: this is what the ‘wraithing’-process devours - what remains is evil. Evil personalities, evil words, evil deeds.

I think this is important to keep in mind, though I naturally accept that the ‘wraithing’-process imbued all those other consequences that characterized the full-blown Nazgûl (not needing to be repeated again). Neither the first nor the latter implies to me an automatic eradication of memories, but in case the Nazgûl still retained them, they would certainly view them with different standards.

As to the Frodo quote being simply an exemplar of the power of the One nearing the place of its birthing and having no relationship to wraithing per se and the Nazgul- I do not accept that proposition at all- so we will have to agree to disagree.

Well, that is not exactly what I meant. I did – or thought I did - acknowledge the ‘wraithing’-process working on Frodo, but we need to keep in mind the specifics of his situation. Being under constant terror by the One during the Quest to destroy it, venturing into ‘Hell’, must have been an unprecedented situation. Apart from what the Ring itself caused – a monumental pressure - we do not know the psychological mechanisms working in the mind of Frodo. While toiling on in that Northern spirit of stubborn despair, he might have given up on all those things of beauty and hope because his mind excluded them; he had no expectations for himself. There were likely many powers at play, not only the Ring.

And the fact that a verbal formula similar to that used by the Witch -king is used differently elsewhere is not - as you very fairly point out- necessarily a negative of the Drout point I pray in aid.

I should probably read Drout in full before making such a comparison – and as said I did not discard his theory - but from the quote given I see no greater contradiction. People sometimes spoke in third person as a custom, and Tolkien sometimes used that as a depiction of their thinking. Regarding Aragorn, also a clear case the stylistic of ‘high mimesis’ (see Shippey “The Road to Middle-earth).

I do not believe that the Nazgul have detailed specific memory of their pre-wraith lives - I think they must lose much of that in the wraithing process. That does not mean they lose all sense of command ability or control- but that is much more a Pavlovian reaction than a purposive sense of personal memory. And they are - as Tolkien himslef states very categorically, as wraiths were under the control of Sauron (Letter # 144 - the term ’primary ’ in that Letter is only used because Tolkien is describing a situation in which Sauron held the Nine Rings and Frodo the One- in effect  -outside of that specific context, the Nazgul in LOTR - were totally under Sauron’s control, as indeed their ’namelessness’ attests).

I think that you are right in the Nazgûl having “little detailed specific memory of their pre-wraith lives”, but to me that is mainly a question of not using it. I see no need for it to be totally eradicated, neither by the ‘wraiting’-process itself nor by Sauron´s intervention. I believe it might be something like what Rohanya hinted at by writing (as I think he did in a post above) that memory is dependant of goodness. All traces of their goodness devoured, the Nazgûl had little use for memories of their human past.

halfir 22/Aug/2006 at 03:52 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Kirinki 54: The mere fact that exceptions exist, suggest that there are no absolutes, merely a difference in degrees.

No, I am afraid that it does not! That is only the position that you have taken on the matter. It could be equally logically argued that the WK is the exception, and it is particularlt noticeable that only he is given anything like a personality- as if the others were totally lacking in this sphere- deliberately.

 I think that you are right in the Nazgûl having “little detailed specific memory of their pre-wraith lives”, but to me that is mainly a question of not using it

And I think it is because they do not have it left to use!

 What you, and all others who adhere to the memory  thesis fail to explain is that the one  major factor about memory and personality- which go together -is name. The Nazgul are Nameless. {The Khamul red-herring is irrelevant as it does not align with LOTR and in any case is not mentiioned in it}.

Lady d`Ecthelion 22/Aug/2006 at 09:49 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Gentlemen, a very interesting read you have provided, and a lot of "food for the mind".
Unfortunately, for the moment I cannot enter with more detailed opinions, but I’d like to only mention two things.

Master, you are saying :
Quote:
The Great Rings were never initially created for humans, they were designed for elven use- so their ab initio rationale is irrelevant, what is relevant is the effect they actually have on humans who use them- and that relates directly to the function of becoming invisible- dependent on frequency of usage - which is of course a Sauronian input to all the Great Rings of Power, other than the Three.

Am I to understand that you believe that the main effect of the Great Rings upon individuals of the race of Men was invisibility?
For, Tolkien refers to this effect as follows:

"the Ring’s subsidiary power of conferring invisibility" (Letter # 246 - From a letter to Mrs Eileen Elgar (drafts) September 1963)

Please, pay attention to two major IMO facts in this short excerpt:

1/ the Ring’s - singular!, which coincides with my personal understanding that this effect only The Master Ring could produce upon mortals.
2/ Tolkien unambiguously calls thie effect of ’invisibility’ subsidiary .

The second thing I’d like to mention in my short post here is re: "names".
As we discussed this issue earlier, there must be a reason for the Nazgul to be left nameless, true. Yet, IMO, in order to decide whether or not they are personalities, I’d ask myself and all the participants here - are the Nazgul characters in the tale?
Because, I am reasoning, if they are characters of the tale, even nameless, they do have personality.

In order to answer this question, I’ll give you a few chosen succinct definitions of what a literary character is and what types of characters there may be in a literary piece.

•     Character and Psychology

The characters are the people that are in the story.

•     A character is a person presented in a dramatic or narrative work, and characterization is the process by which a writer makes that character seem real to the reader.
•     A hero or heroine, often called the protagonist, is the central character who engages the reader’s interest and empathy.
•     The antagonist is the character, force, or collection of forces that stands directly opposed to the protagonist and gives rise to the conflict of the story.
•     A static character does not change throughout the work, and the reader’s knowledge of that character does not grow, whereas
•     a dynamic character undergoes some kind of change because of the action in the plot.
•     A flat character embodies one or two qualities, ideas, or traits that can be readily described in a brief summary. They are not psychologically complex characters and therefore are readily accessible to readers. Some flat characters are recognized as stock characters; they embody stereotypes such as the "dumb blonde" or the "mean stepfather." They become types rather than individuals.
•     Round characters are more complex than flat or stock characters, and often display the inconsistencies and internal conflicts found in most real people. They are more fully developed, and therefore are harder to summarize.
•     Authors have two major methods of presenting characters: showing and telling. Showing allows the author to present a character talking and acting, and lets the reader infer what kind of person the character is.
•     In telling, the author intervenes to describe and sometimes evaluate the character for the reader.
•     Characters can be convincing whether they are presented by showing or by telling, as long as their actions are motivated. Motivated action by the characters occurs when the reader or audience is offered reasons for how the characters behave, what they say, and the decisions they make.
•     Plausible action is action by a character in a story that seems reasonable, given the motivations presented" (Meyer). "In some works characters possess a psychological complexity resembling our own. Hamlet, for instance, is one of literature’s most psychologically complex characters"
•     (Jacobus 69). "Characterization is the method used by a writer to develop a character. The method includes (1) showing the character’s appearance, (2) displaying the character’s actions, (3) revealing the character’s thoughts, (4) letting the character speak, and (5) getting the reactions of others" (Nellen Literary Terms).


(Source:

Elements of Literature

What I am suggesting - let’s see whether the Nazgul fit into the above description of a literary character.
For if they do (as I think they do) then I don’t think anybody caould then have any doubts left on them being true personalities.

Sorry for not being able at the moment to address all the wonderful thoughts and arguments of Lady Ragnelle and of all the others.
But I’ll read
halfir 22/Aug/2006 at 09:58 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Aldoriana: While I will answer the points you make later- seriatim- let me cut to the chase and make my position quite clear: If you have no name you have no memory. Period!
Lady d`Ecthelion 22/Aug/2006 at 10:11 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
But this is a very strange logic, Master!
halfir 22/Aug/2006 at 10:16 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
There’s absolutely nothing strange about it at all. What is strange is anybody suggesting  -given Tolkien’s very pronounced positions on names in both the Letters and the LOTR text ( Tom Bombadil, Treebeard) that if  you are nameless you can have prior memory- for not to know ones name is the negation of  being- Sauron had truly ’devoured’ the Nazgul’s prior being.
Kirinki54 23/Aug/2006 at 01:59 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Halfir wrote: Kirinki 54: The mere fact that exceptions exist, suggest that there are no absolutes, merely a difference in degrees.

No, I am afraid that it does not! That is only the position that you have taken on the matter. It could be equally logically argued that the WK is the exception, and it is particularly noticeable that only he is given anything like a personality- as if the others were totally lacking in this sphere- deliberately.

Agreed, when speaking in general; other positions are indeed possible. But my position was largely determined by the way the debate has been conducted so far, where many posters have maintained that the ‘wraithing’-process is a very homogenous phenomenon. It will, according to this stance, inevitably lead to certain specified results without exception, no matter whom nor under what circumstances. (One example of this: to use Frodo for generalizations; another: to disregard the differences among the Nazgûl.) The appearance of a joker topples this set-up.

 What you, and all others who adhere to the memory  thesis fail to explain is that the one  major factor about memory and personality- which go together -is name. The Nazgul are Nameless.

The Nazgûl may seem nameless to us, because none are used in the narrative. (But as I have explained in a prior post, they could not have functioned without any sort of identification, and any sort of identification is akin to a name anyway.) Did Tolkien state that they had no names?

I think you are part right: the absence of mentioned names is an indication of the great reduction in their freedom to act outside the control of Sauron. Thus it also marks the reduction (though not total loss) of their personalities. Instead of your (in my opinion) far to imperative

If you have no name you have no memory. Period!

I would like to say, If you have no name the weakness of your personality is high-lighted.

I agree totally that Tolkien in general put great emphasis on names. But there could be many explanations for not naming the Nazgûl. One – did someone mention this in the above? – is the literary aspect. Any names Tolkien would burden the Nazgûl with, would inevitably only detract from the horror that mystery alone could bring to the narrative. They could be Tom, Dick and Harry which would make them ordinary; they could tote frightening names and titles like “the King of Poisonous Snake Magic Attila the Death Eater” but that would rather make them silly. Mystery is better.

Another aspect is internal: suppose the Nazgûl had chosen not to utter their names unnecessarily (or been forbid by Sauron who had a thing about it himself) to prevent from any witchcraft or spells performed by their enemies? I refer to the sort of thinking Treebeard is advocating when he cautions Merry and Pippin to reveal their true names.

{The Khamul red-herring is irrelevant as it does not align with LOTR and in any case is not mentioned in it}.

That is a bold statement. I think people too often tend to disregard the UT texts to an unnecessary degree. Some were quite elaborated, and though not perfected (like existing in several drafts) they were made in close connection to works of canon. Of course, I refer specifically to “The Hunt of the Ring” which (according to Christopher Tolkien) was produced even before the publication of volume III of LotR, “Return of the King”.

The naming of a Nazgûl there (Khamûl) is hardly ‘irrelevant’. It shows that Tolkien did, in a time period close to the actual creation of LotR, contemplate and create names for the Nazgûl. “The Hunt of the Ring” might have been an effort for clarification, revision, ordering and tying loose ends together (as Shippey meant), but it was J.R.R. who did it himself.

We could thus ponder if there could not have existed several reasons – perhaps some of my speculations above? - for Tolkien first not mentioning names of the Nazgûl in LotR per se, but soon after using actual names (well, one) in a closely related appendix. It ought to instil caution in making adamant generalizations, even though LotR is canon and UT is not.

So there.

halfir 23/Aug/2006 at 03:05 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

 Did Tolkien state that they had no names?

Yes- by not givng the Nazgul names. That seems to me pretty good prima facie evidence that they were nameless!

 and any sort of identification is akin to a name any

I am surprised that you can make such a statement with regard to Tolkien’s writings.

’But Goldberry and Tom are referring to the mystery of names.’ He writes in Letter # 153

 Names are paramount - they are the essence of being. The proposition that you put forward here  here is quite incredible. X is akin  to Treebeard, or Sauron, or Morgoth- unbelievable.

As for the arguments you advance for why the Nazgul might not be named- other than the fact that they are in thrall to Sauron’s will and thus have no need of names for they have nothing outside that which he permits- I find them weak in the extreme.

The Nazgul are not named because in the process of wraithnng they had lost their names. But I have advanced all these arguments in earlier posts in this thread and do not intend to rehash them again here.

The naming of a Nazgûl there (Khamûl) is hardly ‘irrelevant’. It shows that Tolkien did, in a time period close to the actual creation of LotR, contemplate and create names for the Nazgûl.

It is totally irrelevant, because you- like so many who try to pray it in aid, confuse date of publication, with date of creation as far as LOTR is concerned.

LOTR was finished per se in 1948. The Hunt For the Ring was written in 1954-55. To claim it was written close to the final version of LOTR is totally untrue. Date of authorship and date of publication are totaly different., and the unnamed Nazgul stretch back over 15 years.

Moreover , in the 1966 text, designed to accommodate the very serious copyright problems which Tolkien had to face with the Ace Books saga - material changes had to be made to LOTR for it to accord with American copyright law. Tolkien used information from the Palantiri essy in what was to become UT as part of this  material alteration. He used nothing from the Hunt for the Ring, which was readily available to him as an Appendix alteration had he deemed it worthwhile.

So I have absolutely no problems in making an absolute generalization about Khamul, because he appears long after LOTR was completed and was never put into print during Tolkien’s lifetime. And even leaving aside the Ace Books problem and the material alterations scenario, from late 1958 until 1962 Unwin’s were begging Tolkien to give them something LOTR related. The Hunt for the Ring  -in terms of the stories that finally appeared under the UT  title was available - yet Tolkien did not even let Rayner Unwin know it existed. Instead he produced the 1962 Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and Bombadil Goes Boating!

As CT observes in the Introduction to UT:

’..he himself, peculairly critical and exacting of his own work, would not have dreamt  of allowing even the more completed narratives  in this book to appear without much further refinement......When the author has ceased to publish his works himself , after subjecting them to his own detailed criticism and comparison, the further knowledge of Middle-earth to be found in his unpublished writings will often conflcit with what is already ’known’; and new elements set into the existing edifice will in such cases contribute less to the history of the invented world itself than to the history of its invention.’

It’s a great pity more of us do not follow the pattern of the Master in this respect!

Kirinki54 23/Aug/2006 at 04:33 AM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Halfir wrote:

Did Tolkien state that they had no names?

Yes- by not givng the Nazgul names. That seems to me pretty good prima facie evidence that they were nameless!

That is one possibility, but I prefer to believe that Tolkien might have had other reasons for not naming them (some possible reasons given in prior post). Absence is not proof of non-existence, and I think what is prima facie or not in this case is open to interpretation.

 and any sort of identification is akin to a name any

I am surprised that you can make such a statement with regard to Tolkien’s writings.

’But Goldberry and Tom are referring to the mystery of names.’ He writes in Letter # 153

Names are paramount - they are the essence of being. The proposition that you put forward here  here is quite incredible. X is akin  to Treebeard, or Sauron, or Morgoth- unbelievable.

Yes, I admit I knew already when posting that sentence was easy to attack. It was too sweeping a generalization, given the context of Tolkien; I should have elaborated. But who spoke of “X”? I would not envision any such simplifications, because both the Nazgûl and Sauron were also part of the naming logic permeating Middle-earth. They were aware in extremis of the mystery of names. If there was a “re-naming” (in terms of new identification) of the Nazgûl (which I can accept as a hypothesis, but by no means a necessity), they would likely adopt names that were meaningful, representative and fitting. No matter by what language or mode of communication.

As for the arguments you advance for why the Nazgul might not be named- other than the fact that they are in thrall to Sauron’s will and thus have no need of names for they have nothing outside that which he permits- I find them weak in the extreme.

If they are weak in the extreme, it would be easy for you to explain which and why. Do you refer to the ‘literary aspect’ or to the ‘internal reason’? Or something else?

But that middle clause (emphasis by me) is a conclusion I never wrote. My whole point is that they did need names (or corresponding identification).

The Nazgul are not named because in the process of wraithing they had lost their names. But I have advanced all these arguments in earlier posts in this thread and do not intend to rehash them again here.

No need, I have noted your opinion on this matter, which I respect but do not share; I still hold it as a possibility though.

The naming of a Nazgûl there (Khamûl) is hardly ‘irrelevant’. It shows that Tolkien did, in a time period close to the actual creation of LotR, contemplate and create names for the Nazgûl.

It is totally irrelevant, because you- like so many who try to pray it in aid, confuse date of publication, with date of creation as far as LOTR is concerned.

LOTR was finished per se in 1948. The Hunt For the Ring was written in 1954-55. To claim it was written close to the final version of LOTR is totally untrue. Date of authorship and date of publication are totaly different., and the unnamed Nazgul stretch back over 15 years.

I was aware of these facts, but I looked at the issue from a perspective of almost 60 years of authorship of the Middle-earth corpus. To me a few years are close. But we speak of different issues here. As you rightly say, LotR per se was finished a few years before the Appendices were compiled. But Tolkien was still working on those right up to publication of volume III.

The Nazgûl had a long history, right, and it was only by the end of his writings on them that he choose yo put any names on paper. Exactly what his thought was on the matter prior to that we do not know; only that he gave no names in the narrative.

Moreover , in the 1966 text, designed to accommodate the very serious copyright problems which Tolkien had to face with the Ace Books saga - material changes had to be made to LOTR for it to accord with American copyright law. Tolkien used information from the Palantiri essy in what was to become UT as part of this  material alteration. He used nothing from the Hunt for the Ring, which was readily available to him as an Appendix alteration had he deemed it worthwhile.

That is true, but what does it signify? I never said I thought it important to him to change what was earlier presentment to the audience on this point; merely that he himself had contemplated the matter to the point of creating one name, used several times in “The Hunt for the Ring”. If the essay had been incorporated into Appendices, it is my guess Khamûl had been retained.

So I have absolutely no problems in making an absolute generalization about Khamul, because he appears long after LOTR was completed and was never put into print during Tolkien’s lifetime. And even leaving aside the Ace Books problem and the material alterations scenario, from late 1958 until 1962 Unwin’s were begging Tolkien to give them something LOTR related. The Hunt for the Ring  -in terms of the stories that finally appeared under the UT  title was available - yet Tolkien did not even let Rayner Unwin know it existed. Instead he produced the 1962 Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and Bombadil Goes Boating!

As we both know, Tolkien published these relative trifles on Tom Bombadil, while battling a struggle he knew he could not win with the goal he desired so much: the completion and publication of a unified and coherent Silmarillion. It is my guess that he had little interest in ‘caving in’ by giving a watered-down Appendix sequel to the public, and as CT has witnessed (and UT tells very vividly in the texts), he was simply not even able to decide what versions should be published. There were always these endless changes. This fact by itself indicates (at least to me) that his mind was not set for example on the Nazgûl naming issue; it was still a possibility they retained their names.

As CT observes in the Introduction to UT:

’..he himself, peculairly critical and exacting of his own work, would not have dreamt  of allowing even the more completed narratives  in this book to appear without much further refinement......When the author has ceased to publish his works himself , after subjecting them to his own detailed criticism and comparison, the further knowledge of Middle-earth to be found in his unpublished writings will often conflcit with what is already ’known’; and new elements set into the existing edifice will in such cases contribute less to the history of the invented world itself than to the history of its invention.’

It’s a great pity more of us do not follow the pattern of the Master in this respect!

Meaning: at least you don´t, ignoramus!  

Those warning introductory words by CT are essential for the understanding of the book. As you can see from above, I am well aware of the state regarding Tolkien´s writing of these texts. I would be very careful on claiming that my interpretation is the only possible, and in fact I do not as you have seen.

Using UT one must take as great care as when using quotes from HoME. But the small difference lies in the fact that HoME 6-9 contains the discarded earlier versions of LotR, while UT contains some essays conceived later to give a better understanding. It is important that they were never published, but in light of the circumstances in Tolkien´s waning years, we cannot be sure that he did not regret it. I think he did.

Arshes 25/Aug/2006 at 10:26 AM
Vagrant of Minas Tirith Points: 33 Posts: 10 Joined: 25/Aug/2006

I think they were to corrupted to remeber.  If Sauron let them remember they would stop helping him kill people. 

Arshes

halfir 26/Aug/2006 at 05:24 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Addendum Note on ’Thee ’ and ’Thou’- In reference to my post of

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 20:21 P2. of this thread

 

In HOME 12 The Peoples of ME -The Appendix on Languages relating to the ROTK Appendix on Languages- App F CT writes:

 

’On a loose page  associated with my father’s later work on this Appendix my father wrote very rapidly:

 

’Where thou, the, thy appears it iis used mainly to mark  a use of the familiar form where that was not usual. For instance its use by Denethor in his last madness, and by the Messenger of Sauron, was in both cases intended to be contemptuous. But elsewhere it is  occasionally used to indicate a deliberate  change to a form of affection or endearment.’

 

It is quite clear that the Witch-king’s use of it in his interchange with Eowyn/Dernhel, is not a  form of affection or endearment.!X(

 

 

halfir 26/Aug/2006 at 07:19 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Kirinki 54: Clearly we read and interpret what Tolkien wrote very differently.

I see no reason at all to change any of my views as a response  to the counter-points you raise in your last post, and I suspect you didn’t expect me to.

To me any reading of Tolkien’s writings that refer to or about the ’mystery of names’  produce two incontestable  points:

‘Name  and form being essence and substance of the individual manifestation determine its nature.

 

‘The personal name was much more than a means of identification. It was an essential part of the person.

Those two statements are, in fact drawn from Indian and Egyptian philosophy respectively, and they also represent what I would call the wider mythic significance of name that exists in both the overaching exernal mythology in which Tolkien’s own ’myth’ was set, and, on a more particular  level, the world of fantasy fiction and fairy story- name = essence, the world of say Le Guin and Rumplestiltskin.

You wrote:

Absence is not proof of non-existence, and I think what is prima facie or not in this case is open to interpretation

Given the significance of names, as specifically mentioned by Tom and Treebeard, and Tolkien, (cf’ Letter # 153) I think this a very lame argument. Sauron is not stated to wear a wig- are we to suggest that the fact that this is not mentioned is an argument in favor of his wearing one!X(

The Nazgûl had a long history, right, and it was only by the end of his writings on them that he choose yo put any names on paper

He mentioned one name- and never published it or spoke of it in any Letter we have in Carpenter.

 There were always these endless changes. This fact by itself indicates (at least to me) that his mind was not set for example on the Nazgûl naming issue; it was still a possibility they retained their names.

He had never named the Nazgul- other than in The Hunt for the Ring when he names one, so what names were there to retain? And given the fact that to claim American copyright he had to make material alterations, using a named Nazgul, when he had never named one before, would have been such a material alteration- which of course, he did not do.

But I see little point in contiuing this debate as you have made your position clear and so have I, and I certainly have no intention of resiling one jot nor tittle from the views I have set forth, and Iimagine the same holds good for you. So I suggest that in this particular area we call an end to debate and focus on other issues that might relate to enlightening us as to whether the Nazgul had memory of their previous lives or not.

Lady d`Ecthelion 26/Aug/2006 at 09:56 PM
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Before all and everything else, I’d like to say that I very much hope we all understand well, that this discussion is not intended to impose or to change anybody’s views on Tolkien’s tales.
The written word is laid black on white on the pages of the published books, and if my ’vision’ of what it describes differs from that of any other person, that would only be because every individual has his/her own views, hence - understandings. I may assume that the ringwraiths did remember their past, others might not ... However, the purpose of this thread here should be for us to come together and share our opinions on the topic offered and what’s behind them, but not to try to necessarily and at all cost ’change’ the opinions of others. Right?

This said, I’d like to mention that naming, in general, both, in RL and in fiction - and more often in fiction in particular - is a favourite "mode" of expressing personality. Therefore, names there are various and if the "job" is taken seriously, a name given would always tend to "say" more and to "say" the essential about the person who gets it. One does not have to go too deep into etymology of names to find out that each name actually means something and is not just a compilation of sounds.

The important thing to me, that I never forget about, is that in fiction in particular ’naming’ a character can be done either by using one or two word-like names, with the etymology of these purposely chosen words hidden and expected to be found by the reader (if he wishes to do so), or, as it happens very often, by producing a word-combination directly describing the character’s most essential feature(s), thus no etymology is to be sought, for it is laid open, and this name is then one expressing clearly the main features of the character’s personality.

Therefore, if the WK, for example, had not an explicitly given one/two - word(s)-composed ’name’, this still does not make him a character without ’personality’. Because he, just as is the case with the ’second-in-command’ and the other Nazgul, were called many names of the second type - names that directly speak of and describe their personalities.
Moreover, if you would care to pay attention to my previous post, where I cited the main features of a ’literary character’, anyone I think, would agree, that there is no such thing as a literary character that has no ’personality’.
I personally have no doubts whatsoever about the personality of the Nazgul; I don’t believe anyone might actually have any. Hadn’t they had ’personality’, we would’ve not perceived them as ’servants of Evil’ - the very act of "classifying" them as such, already speaks of their personality.

So, to a large extent I believe that Master T. found no reason to give the Nazgul ’particular’ names of the ’1-st type’, when he had already named them with names of the ’2-nd type’.

halfir 27/Aug/2006 at 12:07 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Aldoriana:  am afraid I find the propositon contained in your last paragraph totally untenable. They were not named quite clearly becaue they had become subsumed in the will of Sauorn- they were in thrall to his will. And the obvious designation of such thralldom was to have lost their names- they no longer had  discrete individuality.

As to the claim that the Nazgul- other than the Witch-king demonstrate anything like the specific individuality that goes with personality, perhaps you would be kind enough to direct us to those actions, and quotes which demonstrate the  strength of each Nazgul’s individual personality.

As for the Literary notes in your earlier post I am afraid I found them as irrelevant as the  reading list I was given by a professor from some boon-docks university in America in  my Frodo thread who told me that unless I read his/her English 101 booklist  I could not properly talk about Frodo as a hero. I pointed out  that I preferred to read the text, which is exactly the same response  I would make to the erudite compilers of your  list.

Lord_Vidύm 27/Aug/2006 at 12:39 AM
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The only individuality I see on the Nazguls is that they had names (Although we are only aware of two of them- I don’t see a reason for why the others wouldn’t bear a name). The Witchking and Khamul were these Nazguls, and that they were known with their names (especially the WK) separates him from the others. BRrr I feel confused, but I think you understood what I meant

In addition there was clearly a classification among the Nazguls, with the leading part dedicated to WK, another evidence of individuality.

However when it comes to Sauron, the Nazguls cease to have that individuallity, and become a mass

Kirinki54 28/Aug/2006 at 01:46 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2897 Posts: 1354 Joined: 17/Nov/2005

Halfir, you are a bit wrong in assuming that I would not change my views in light of your argumentation. In fact, I am finding increasingly more sympathy for your general line of reasoning (though I still hesitate on some of the major steps in arriving to your conclusions, but we need not repeat that).

That said, I agree that we need not use the debate for convincing the other. I respect your views, and I would like to thank you for a stimulating exchange. I have not posted much lately, and I was beginning to feel a bit rusty: what could be more useful than a good sparring match? And, sparring with the Master, I am grateful I have emerged mostly unscathed…

 

Aldoriana, I have caught up with your latest posts and I agree that quoted analysis of literary structure might be a useful tool, especially for a person like me who have not studied literature in any scientific sense. Such a basic approach might appear grossly simplified to subtler minds, but lacking of such faculty myself, I found that it brought something to the debate. And I think it could expand the perspective also for others.

 

However, I would like to touch upon something else. In “J.R.R. Tolkien. Author of the Century”, Tom Shippey suggests Saruman as a prime example of a person undergoing a gradual process of ‘wraithification’. In the absence of the influence of an actual Ring, I find the premise a bit strained but we can bear with Shippey; the mind of Saruman is undeniably going all the more twisted. And Sauron is indeed reeling him in…

What I found interesting in light of the name debate, is that Saruman in the later stages of his madness assumed a new alias; to his minions plaguing the Shire he was Sharkey. Leaving the etymologic issues aside, we can ponder over the significance of this. Is one aspect of it that Saruman is loosing his former identity, that his (admittedly) brilliant mind is dissolving into something far less cunning and far more overtly cruel? Granted, he needed a cover, but would not another ‘Annatar’ (or similar) seem more his former style? Just an idea...

halfir 28/Aug/2006 at 04:59 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

While searching for something else- in response to Kirinki 54’s fascinating last post about Saruman (which I have not yet found) I came across this erudite post of Osric’s, which I felt germane to the discussion that is going on here:

Power in the Name

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive4/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=182424&PagePosition=1

 

I think it’s important to make a distinction between story-internal and story-external considerations.  There is no doubt that Tolkien was familiar with and wanted to invoke the concept of the power of names in his work, (whilst also shying away from anything approaching the encouragement of pagan attitudes or magical practices).  So analysis of names as a story-internal device -- a real phenomenon within Middle-earth -- is well worthwhile.


However, it’s worth being aware of the distinction between that and the story-external logic.  Middle-earth started out as an excuse for something to talk about in Tolkien’s Elven languages, which he hardly expected anyone else to follow anything like as intensely as he did himself.  He therefore took something like ’nominative determinism’ to a severe extreme in naming the tall guy "Halbarad" (tall tower), the old woman "Iorwen" (old woman), or the deceiver "Gríma" (mask-guy); I believe these names were effectively his own little private jokes.

And I believe Tolkien then looked back on his works and saw that the way all the names proved to be true reflections of the people who bore them had to be addressed with story-internal rationale as well. 


The example of "Arvedui" (last king) has already been cited.  According to this ’new’ thinking, a name that was essentially a play on words on a list of kings suddenly had to be explained, and forth stepped Malbeth the Seer who foresaw that Arvedui would be the last and gave him this name accordingly.


Beyond specific examples like that, Tolkien goes into more detail explaining the general applicability of names in the Laws and Customs of the Quendi and Eldar in HoME X: Morgoth’s Ring.  Here the Elves are described as being given multiple names and the nissi, the elven-women are attributed with a measure of foresight and/or insight in the giving of the names that are their responsibility, such that these tended to be true names, or to come true.


But whilst the Elves acknowledged that such names involved an element of private or even potentially dangerous knowledge of the individual, and therefore didn’t necessarily use them in introductions to strangers, Tolkien expresses in a footnote that the Elves (usually the knowledgeable folk whose ’opinions’ expressed Tolkien’s truth about the nature of things in Middle-earth) did not give any magical attribution to the ’power’ of a name.*


Beliefs in the magical power of names mostly stem from the use of the names of saints/demons in conjuration, all of which derived from Christian beliefs that had their origins in Hebrew ones which ultimately, according to some, they picked up from the Ancient Egyptians’ practice of "Heka magic".  (Anyone who’s read A Wizard of Earthsea will recall what good dramatic effect such an idea can be put to.)

Tolkien was clearly opposed to the idea that knowing a ’true name’ like that of the elf "Beleg" would mean that you could force him to your will by arcane power,** but knowing that it means "mighty one" does start to give you some information about him that you might turn to your advantage.  The more names and titles you know for a person, the more you know about them, and the more you can daunt them with that knowledge.


The same principle actually goes beyond names to titles as well, hence Gandalf’s challenge of the balrog by as many different attributions as he could: demonstrating that he was not some foolish hero making a defiant stand, but a wizard who knew exactly what he was doing...


And the converse applies too.  The more names for yourself you are prepared to give in your introduction, the more you demonstrate your self-belief and the more you show yourself unafraid of what a potential foe might do to you, even given such knowledge.


We even see the same thing in Bilbo’s riddle-game with Smaug, an episode which illustrates the sort of principle I’m suggesting here: Bilbo ’cleverly’ calls himself Mr Lucky Number and Smaug easily infers that he has 13 companions.

We know the Ents to have a concept of names that include practically the Ent’s whole life history, whic it would indeed be very hasty to tell to a stranger.  Although Treebeard’s quote sounds very much like support for the idea of magical power in names, I believe Tolkien conceived of Treebeard’s attitude being a matter of concern about simple knowledge than about anything magic.

The same is probably true of the Dwarves with the secrecy in which they hold their private Dwarven names in the secret Dwarven tongue, as described in Appendix F (and expanded on in HoME XII: Peoples of M-e?)  But that’s not to say that the Dwarves themselves mightn’t place more mystical significance in it than that.

 

Then there’s the example in LOTR where Gollum uses the term Sam has called him: "Sneak", and Frodo warns him that it is unwise to ’take names to oneself’, because no good ever comes of it, or something like that.  I think this is mostly a matter of psychology working along the same lines as ’self-fulfilling prophecy’, but again that’s not to say that the inhabitants of Middle-earth themselves might not fervently believe it.

We also shouldn’t overlook the simple psychology of self-esteem in the matter of proudly giving one’s full name or names in introduction in an encounter.

 Osric

 *  and **N.B. I have some difficulty with Osric’s blanket use of this footnote as it does not jell with comments made by -for example- Treebeard- (I do not feel comfortable with Osric’s explanation of this} or indeed some of the theories I have advanced in my threads on naming - but that is another argument for another day!X( And, of course, the footnote and indeed the section ’Of Naming’ to which it refrs, was written after the completion of LOTR.

 

 

 

 

Lady d`Ecthelion 28/Aug/2006 at 09:40 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
I think that this wonderful review on ’names and naming’ (thanks for bringing it in here!) only backs up my opinion on ’names’ in fiction, and especially in fairy-tales, myths, and epics, which opinion I explained in an earlier post (about the two "types" of names).

This review also backs up, IMO, my understanding of how much a name can reveal from the personality of the one named by it.

The point is, however, that the name as a device, means and a "tool" describing a personality, is still not the personality itself. So, to say that one without a name has no personality / individuality is something which I cannot "swallow". There are many other factors and features that make a character an individual with personality.

Anyway, the main question here still remains whether the Nazgul, already being ’Nazgul’, remembered their past from before being turned into such creatures.

On one hand, as I expressed this earlier, and also based on the lately going on discussion on ’names’ I’d say that them being called many names (though not anything like "Sam, Tom, Pete..."), this means to me that the memory of their past is alive, for it is based on all the past years that they received those names.

However, I’d bring "on the stage" something new - the Army of the Dead.
I don’t think they were named, yet remember they did. There are many similarities between these wraiths and the ringwraiths. So many, that I could "step" on the case of the first, in order to draw some conclusions about the latter.
(Unfortunately, I can’t find a thread I once opened, which was dedicated explicitly to these similarities - the Search machine doesn’t like me, and never helps ). mThe point is that if the wraithing process hadn’t erased the memory of the Dead, I could very well assume the same to be true about the Nazgul.

As for the example of Saruman, I agree, it’s an interesting one. In fact, if I let my mind loose... Why?!... Sauron, too, was suffering from ’wraithing’.

It, however, made me think - don’t you think that ’wraithing’ was used by Tolkien as a literary device to show the noxious effect that ’vices’ (pride, greed, lust for power and unlimited authority...) have upon all and every one, be he a commoner, a king, an immortal, or even a creature of a much higher order (divine)?
halfir 28/Aug/2006 at 10:33 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
 aldoriana:Can you give us one single quote from any of the Nazgul- the Witch-king included- that demonstrates they have any rememberance of their former lives? And the Nazgul who visited the dwarves is giving a message from Sauron- so his ’memory’ of the Rings of Power is proof only of Sauron’s message!
Lady d`Ecthelion 28/Aug/2006 at 10:51 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
halfir, can you give us one single quote from any of the Nazgul- the Witch-king included- that demonstrates they did nothave any rememberance of their former lives?
halfir 28/Aug/2006 at 11:08 PM
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I don’t need to -as they never make any reference at all to their previous lives- which of course they can’t as they neither have memory of their names- which they and no one else mention, or of any significant aspect of those prior lives!X(
Lady d`Ecthelion 29/Aug/2006 at 12:35 AM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Quote: Originally posted by halfir on Monday, August 28, 2006
I don’t need to -as they never make any reference at all to their previous lives- which of course they can’t as they neither have memory of their names - which they and no one else mention, or of any significant aspect of those prior lives!

Forgive my highlighting that particular part of your statement, but don’t you find the two parts of this statement contradicting each other?
If they had no memory of their names, how could they ("and no one else" ) mention these names?
In fact, I do not recall them mentioning their own names, but the most part it is that other people name them with all those particular names.
halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 01:04 AM
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There should have been a comma after they, which they ,and no one else mention. And they are not named at at all as individuals  which is the denominator of personality , by anyone - even the WC is no exception to this although Tolkien does indeed treat him in a different fashion to the other Nazgul.
Lord_Vidύm 29/Aug/2006 at 10:24 AM
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What about the name of Khamul? The Witchking doesn’t sound like a name, but it is more likely a characterism (the king who is a witch, or the king of witch/sorcery- in my language however it is the First, don’t know what you english have to say). But Khamul was rather a name, and I can’t find any translation of his name (that seems to be of BlackSpeech).

However his name was given once he served Mordor (had turnt into a wraith), he still got some individuality.

And the Orcs at the battle of Pelenor fields were not afraid of the Nazguls, but they were afraid of the Witchking. Why should that be? Had he an individual position at Sauron’s servants? How so, since he was just one of the other wraiths? And why should the WK among all the other 8, be the only one to be king? He was the King of Angmar and then Lord of Minas Morgul.He was individual!

Ragnelle 29/Aug/2006 at 02:37 PM
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Aldoriana: The Dead are ghosts, shadows of long dead men unable to find rest. The ringwraiths are udead - men that should have died but have not. These two things are very different and there is no wraithing prosses needed for the Dead to become ghosts.

Lord_Vidúm: earlier in this tread halfir has explained his reasons for dissmissing Khamul, which I find convincing enough for myself at least.

I do not recall any other nazgûl fighting at the battle of the Pellenor fields, so unless my recolection is wrong, there were no other nazgûls for the orcs to fear. They do appear above the City, but not on the ground with the army. It seems that with the exeption of the Witch-king they are used to wear down the courrage of the defenders, not for fighting. And judging by Gorbag’s comments, the orcs were not particulary happy with being close to the nazgûls in general:

"No, I don’t know," said Gorbag’s voice. "The messages go though quicker than anything could fly, as a rule. But I don’t enquire how it’s done. Safest not to. Grr! Those Nazgûl give me the creeps. And they skin the body off you as soon as look at you, and leave you all cold in the dark on the other side. But He likes ’em; they’re His favourites nowadays, so it’s no use grumbling. I tell you, it’s no game serving down in the city." TT, The Choices of Master Samwise

halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 02:48 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Lord Vidum: I fear that you have not been paying close enough attention to earlier posts when you ask What about the name of Khamul?

As Ragnelle observes earlier in this tread halfir has explained his reasons for dissmissing Khamul, which I find convincing enough for myself at least

Khamul is not mentioned in LOTR nor in any published work of Tolkien in his lifetime, nor in the Letters- and as mentioned before CT observes of UT and new elements set into the existing edifice will in such cases contribute less to the history of the invented world itself than to the history of its invention.’{UT-Introduction}.

halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 05:43 PM
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A recent study on memory carried out by the University of Queensland has determined that :

’memory is dependent on good health and good mental health’  {cf. Reuters quoting Ms. Pachana -School of Psychology-University of Queensland- Bangkok Post 29 8 2006}

If that is the case then the Nazgul- being undead- can hardly be said to be in good health and being in thrall to the will of Sauron are hardly likely to be in good mental health’  either!X(

Bearamir 29/Aug/2006 at 06:36 PM
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Halfir:  Very good point.
Lady d`Ecthelion 29/Aug/2006 at 08:38 PM
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Dear Ragnelle, I’m afraid this time I cannot agree.
I shall do my best to find the thread I was referring to, and I hope it’ll better show to you the many striking similarities between the Oathbreakers and the Ringwraiths.
halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 08:47 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

show to you the many striking similarities between the Oathbreakers and the Ringwraiths.

I think waiting for hell to freeze over will be easier! If the similarities are so striking why can’t you remember them? Suffering the same problem as the Nazgul- no memory!X(

Lady d`Ecthelion 29/Aug/2006 at 10:37 PM
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... very funny!
halfir 29/Aug/2006 at 10:50 PM
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X(

Kirinki 54: You wrote: What I found interesting in light of the name debate, is that Saruman in the later stages of his madness assumed a new alias; to his minions plaguing the Shire he was Sharkey. Leaving the etymologic issues aside, we can ponder over the significance of this. Is one aspect of it that Saruman is loosing his former identity, that his (admittedly) brilliant mind is dissolving into something far less cunning and far more overtly cruel? Granted, he needed a cover, but would not another ‘Annatar’ (or similar) seem more his former style? Just an idea...

That reminded me of a very perceptive explanation of TomB’s question to Frodo ;"Who are you, alone, yourself and nameless? which has bearing, I think , on the road you are traveling with your own comment, as well as Adloriana’s quaint belief in ’seconndary names’- which are- of course- nothing of the sort! 

MG wrote:

I will hazard a guess as to a possible meaning behind TomB’s word to Frodo. "Who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?" he asks Frodo. I read this as an affirmation that the name by which an individual is called is reflective and indicative of that individual’s personal nature. That there is no way to answer "Who are you?" with anything other than a name...and therefore the name you supply in response is a summation of everything that makes you ’you.’ Why else are name changes, multiple names, and translations of names so important in Tolkien’s works?

Why change Melkor to Morgoth, unless the name change also signified a change in the individual? Why is Gandalf deliberately called ’Gandalf the White’ and ’the White Rider’ after he is sent back, unless we are supposed to attach significance to the change from Grey to White? And yet, despite all this, TomB challenges Frodo’s question of "Who are you?" by bringing up the idea of being nameless. Without such a label, such a clear identifier, how can you answer the question? Perhaps one might be tempted to answer "Who is Gandalf" by answering "An Istar." Or answering "Who is Melkor" by repsonding "A fallen Vala." Yet these repsonses do not answer the question "Who" but rather the question "What".

And so Tom B’s challenge to Frodo remains: "Who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?" {my emphasis}

The Naming of Sauron

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=130347&PagePosition=1

 

You can see my QED  regarding the Nazgul coming a mile away - so I won’t spell it out!X(

 

 

halfir 30/Aug/2006 at 04:35 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Lovers’ Lament For the Nazgul

I can’t see you anymore when I try to kiss your lips.
And I don’t quite know what’s happened to your fingertips.
You’re trying hard not to show it, (baby).
But baby, baby I know it...

You’ve lost that memory,
Whoa, that memory,
You’ve lost that memory,
Now it’s gone...gone... gone….. to Sauron...wooooooh.

Now there’s no welcome look in your eyes
when I reach for you.
And The Black Breath is really off putting too.
It makes me just feel like crying, (baby).
’Cause baby, something in you is dying.

You’ve lost that memory,
Whoa, that memory,
You’ve lost that memory,
Now it’s gone...gone.. gone .to Sauron...wooooooh.

Baby, baby, I get down on my knees for you.

If you would only remember me like you used to do, yeah.

We had a love...a love...a love you don’t find everyday.

So don’t...don’t...don’t...don’t let those  memories slip away.

Baby (baby), baby (baby),
I beg of you please...please,
I need your love (I need your love),
I need your love (I need your love),
So bring it on back (So bring it on back),
Bring it on back (so bring it on back).

 

Bring back that memory,
Whoa, that memory
Bring back that memory,
’Cause it’s gone...gone...gone,
…to Sauron, noooo...

Bring back that memory,
Whoa, that memory
Bring back that memory,
’Cause it’s gone...gone...gone,
…to Sauron, noooo...X(

 

Sung to the tune of ’You’ve lost that loving feeling’ - with  apologies to the Righteous Brothers

 

goldenhair 24/Nov/2006 at 02:16 PM
Scholar of Isengard Points: 1480 Posts: 1194 Joined: 10/Dec/2002
I have crossed from The Power of the Palantir to did the Nazgul remember. Please forgive me if I ask questions that have already been answered.

It appears the original question reflects whether or not the Nazgul remember the time before they were turned into wraith’s. Well, what exactly would be the point in waithizing anyone if they did not remember.

How cool is that "wraitizing", if it ever becomes a word, remember I said it first.
My point is, whats the point of giving a gift of a ring to a great and powerful lord if he is going to forget the things that made him powerful. If Saurons could simply retrain any man to be evil, greedy, selfish, power hungry etc., why waste the time with the powerful (they would take longer). maybe they don’t remember what it is like to suck eggs as gollum once taught his grandmother, but their intrinsic desires and hungers would remain (else their conversion to wraiths useless). The things that made them great would be lost. The same could be said of the elf lords. If there is no retention of any memory, what is the point.

I can’t cut and paste from multiple pages back so I will refer to Halfir’s earlier comment of Frodo without;

Frodo’s comments that he knows that they happened but cannot taste, see, hear or feel. He knows (ie remembers) but has lost the cooresponding images. He reminds me more of someone who is going slowly mad (like Denethor) because the only images he is able to see is the ring of fire.

Someone said:

And the Nazgul who visited the dwarves is giving a message from Sauron- so his ’memory’ of the Rings of Power is proof only of Sauron’s message!

NOt so, the WK clearly remembers the quote from Glorfindel regarding his doom! Of course maybe he didn’t remember but had it tattoed on his arm "no living man can hinder thee"
Lady d`Ecthelion 24/Nov/2006 at 09:11 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
Quote: Originally posted by goldenhair on Friday, November 24, 2006

It appears the original question reflects whether or not the Nazgul remember the time before they were turned into wraith’s.

Before and during the process of "wraitizing" (nice word! )

What I have been trying to explain in my posts here is something similar to what you’re posting, namely: How would’ve Sauron’s / the Ring’s powers had effect upon the 9 men, if they had lost the memory of what they used to be, and what they had become?!
Right?

And here it is how, the only logical conclusion comes - YES! They did remember!
halfir 25/Nov/2006 at 12:30 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

I beg to differ, and nothing you or anyone else has said in this thread prove that they did. They are in thrall to Sauron, they have no names, and in LOTR they have lost self-image - with some exception in that respect for the Witch-king alone- altough that too could be debated.

Bring back that memory,
Whoa, that memory
Bring back that memory,
’Cause it’s gone...gone...gone,
…to Sauron, noooo...
X(

<Nessa Edit:  ROFL>

goldenhair 25/Nov/2006 at 08:59 AM
Scholar of Isengard Points: 1480 Posts: 1194 Joined: 10/Dec/2002
Halfir,
I think you are correct in saying no one has proved (or perhaps even can prove) that the nazgul have memory. But the concept that they have no memory at all (prior to their wraithizing) is full of potential holes. Maybe I am parsing the concept of memory too much?

interesting comment on Gollum from the Hunt for the Ring;
"Ultimately indomitable he was, except by death, as Sauron guessed, both from his halfling nature, and from a cause which Sauron did not fully comprehend, being himself consumed by lust for the Ring."

While the ringwraiths
"At length he resolved that no others would serve him in this case but his mightiest servants, the Ringwraiths, who had no will but his own, being utterly subservient to the ring that had enslaved him, which Sauron held."

I concede the naming of Khamul if you like, but it is still evident that Sauron was able to split the nine and have them do different tasks (supported in the tale of years). It is also pretty clear that Sauron was very specific in their orders as they rode forth.

"But Sauron did not underesteem the powers and vigilence of the Wise, and the Nazgul were commanded to act as secretly as they could"

While Sauron has to be very specific in how they act, he is by no means treating them as puppets. They have to act with intelligence, craft, discretion and cunning. They might not remember the name or face of their mother, but they remember the tools of their "greatness" (terrible, yes but great) They are required to use judgement...

For one example; if they were like dogs on a scent (not only thralldom but a complete lack of individuality) they would not have been able to use cunning and spies in Bree, they would have attacked themselves and they would not have stopped at slashing the Bolsters. Nor would they have been capable of retreating to await more help...even in the form of the Witch King.

If they followed only thier nose, I do not think even the craft of Aragorn could have hidden the ring from them as they left the road after Bree. But they were not following a scent blindly. They were using rational thought, planning and scheming. Seems you told me this yourself at every turn during the futile "Who slashed the bolsters debate" One can argue that they waited for the WK here, but one cannot argue the same about the mysterious retreat at Weathertop.

Flight to the Ford
Aragorn;
"I cannot think why they have gone and do not attack again. But there is no feeling of their presence anywhere at hand."

"They will come again another night, if we cannot excape. They are only waiting, because they think that their purpose is almost accomplished, and that the ring cannot fly much further."

"they think"

Myths Transformed from Morgoth’s Ring sets another barrier. While I concede that the thralldom with which Sauron hold the Nazgul is likely much greater than that Morgoth held over larger multitudes of Orcs, the vascilating perception of how such thralldom works would be relevant in any situation where Sauron is incapable of pulling the strings.

Irrelevant to our discussion (because of the thralldom) here would be;
"See Melkor’. It will there be seen that the wills of Orcs and Balrogs etc. are part of Melkor’s power ’dispersed’. Their spirit is one of hate. But hate is non0cooperative (except under direct fear). Hence the rebellions, mutinies, etc. when Morgoth seems far off." Text VIII

Relevant to our discussion (regardless of Thralldom) would be;
"They were capable of acting on their own, doing evil deeds unbidden for their own sport; or if Morgoth and his agents were far away, they might neglect his commands."

I would reject the last comment as relevant to the nazgul(again because of his thralldom), but the rest certianly applies not only during the hunt for the ring, but for the time of history between the Fall of Sauron SA 3441 to his reemergence in Dol Guldor TA 2060

As usual, my thoughts have come out jumbled and jumpy but I guess to summarize, I concede to the utter thralldom of the Nazgul to Sauron. I also concede that the Nazgul would be incapable of disobeying Sauron at any point. But in the absence of Saurons power, they do not "run hither and thither mindless". So they must have their own will when Saurons will is not imposed on them. We have the tale of years to support at least the WK having a will in the absence of Sauron’s.


Halfir,
I think it was your post many months ago that suggest divine punishment is also divine reward. Awesome reflection! Leads me to think of Earandil.
Lady d`Ecthelion 25/Nov/2006 at 10:29 PM
Doorwarden of Minas Tirith Points: 5312 Posts: 4083 Joined: 14/May/2003
goldenhair

And backing you up on this:

1/ DeluhatholSilverleaf, post on Thursday, July 13, 2006:
Quote:
Also, the wraiths, who are soldiers of Sauron, they fight..the WK actually lead saurons army, this suggests he, if we can call the WK he for the purpose of this discussion, was a good strategist, so we may assume that he was experianced in the art of warfare. These experiances are stored for later use, which means the WK could remember them, and chose a strategy to fit the current senario which meant he could propably remember other things too, such as his past..


2/ Kirinki54, post on the same day:
Quote:
Nevertheless we know from the tale that they often had to deal with the real world and not a faded Wraith one. It involved interaction and communication with living creatures – individuals - of several societies, cultures and/or races. This implies to take my reasoning further, a rather complex ability to cope with that to them was an “outside” world, and this in turn implies that they must have retained (perverted) social skills and a rather vast memory. Likely their long lives before turning Wraiths constituted a training period that was not forgotten, and it is my opinion (at least for now not backed by any quotes) that it was even a prerequisite in their present tasks to be able to draw on those experiences.

* * *

As for you, skald , when you’re saying that: "...nothing you or anyone else has said in this thread prove that they did.", you might also consider the fact that your "name"-theory very much looks like "pooring water in a sieve" for you neither have so far been able to prove this theory of yours.
For as I see things, the presence/lack of memory in the Nazgul (internal matter) is not related to the author giving / not giving them names (external matter).
spazzman 26/Nov/2006 at 07:44 AM
Scavenger of Mordor Points: 576 Posts: 331 Joined: 31/Mar/2003
As we saw from gollum and bilbo’s experience we can see that the rings of power did not necessarily erase memory, however we also saw that as the Ringbearer (Frodo) got closer to mount doom, where the ring was at it’s strongest,  certain parts of his memory disappeared.  As the one ring was undoubtably the most powerful of the rings of power, I would assume that this effect would also take place over anyone wearing a ring of power in mordor ( at least, while sauron had the ring).  And since the nazgul were controlled by sauron, I would assume that they could not remember, at least not while anywhere near his influence.