Battle of Dagorlad - Where were the Nazgūl?

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Darth Angelus 27/Dec/2006 at 03:02 AM
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I have always wondered this. In LotR, the Nazgūl are Sauron’s chief servants, and the Witch-King was sent forth whenever Sauron could use some shattering of the courage of his enemies. However, in the Battle of Dagorlad, at the end of the Second Age, there is no mention of their presence (in any source I am aware of, at least). Why is that? We know the Nazgūl came to be before that. Wouldn’t they have been useful in that battle, too? So why aren’t they mentioned? Were they simply too weak to make any significant contribution to Sauron’s side (maybe they just could not stand up to Gil-Galad and Elendil and their mighty weapons Aiglos and Narsil)?

Any thoughts?

Morgil 27/Dec/2006 at 03:28 AM
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I’ll be interested to see the responses on this. I only have time for a quick reference in Robert Foster’s "The Complete Guide to Middle-earth" right now, and he mentions that they first appeared as the Nazgul about Second Age 2250. Perhaps there is information in HoME that someone more knowledgeable can reference. As to their participation in the Battle of Dagorlad, they would have undoubtedly been valuable tools. However, it would have been very likely that there would have been a number of Elves and Numenoreans that could have offered them combat. The skill of the Dunedain wained in Middle-earth, but the Men of Arnor (or at least its subdivided kingdoms) could still forge weapons in the TA that could harm the Nazgul, ie. Merry’s sword from the Barrow Downs. So it’s a virtual certainty that the craftsmen of Numenore could have produced weapons of enough virtue to do likelise.  
simpsonim 27/Dec/2006 at 06:20 AM
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Great question Darth Angelus

*eagerly awaits the more knowledgable ones*

Tśrin 27/Dec/2006 at 08:30 AM
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Appendix B offers this:

"3441  Sauron overthrown by Elendil and Gil-galad, who perish.  Isildur takes the One Ring.  Sauron passes away and the Ringwraiths go into the shadows.  The Second Age Ends."

The Silmarillion says:

"The servants of Sauron were routed and dispersed, yet they were not wholly destroyed;"

The Appendix B quote leads me to think (personally) that the Ringwraiths were at the Seige of Barad-dur  (I’m assuming you mean that battle, rather than the Battle of Dagorlad), but neither of these confirms that to any reasonable degree.  I looked through the Tale of Years of the Second Age in HoMe XII, but I didn’t see any elaboration save a slightly (and unrevealing) altered form of the Appendix B quote.

Wilibald Bumble 27/Dec/2006 at 08:32 AM
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I think the Ringwraiths were there but not mentioned, maybe they weren’t there in the Battle of Dagorlad but were there in the Siege of Barad-dur

I’ll get back to you when I get more evidence

First Age 27/Dec/2006 at 01:44 PM
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Well ask the question why wouldn’t they be there? It would take something very significant to hold back the Nazgul, and surely there would be an explaination of this in recorded history. But also think about this. The Nazgul would be on foot (or possibly horseback) and not on the winged beasts that they are in War of the RIng. Therefore their presence would not be so obvious, at least visibly, of course the fear that their presence brings would probably be obvious.
Oin 27/Dec/2006 at 06:39 PM
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The Nazgul were definately at the Siege of Barad-dur. I can’t say the same for the Battle of Dagorlad, but it only makes sense that they were there. I believe it is in a one of the Notes from UT: The Disaster of the Gladden Fields, but the Nazgul were the ones who led the remnants of Sauron’s forces into the East after Sauron broke the Siege of Barad-dur. Sauron went west towards Barad-dur, the Nazgul went to the East with whatever forces they could gather to them.

 

Qtpie 27/Dec/2006 at 09:04 PM
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Is this the quote you are referring to in the Unfinished Tales Oin?

’It is unlikely that any new’s of Sauron’s fall had reached them, for he had been straitly besieged in Mordor and all his forces had been destroyed. If any few had escaped, they had fled far to the East with the RIngwraiths’ Unfinished Tales: The Disaster of The Gladden Fields

Oin 27/Dec/2006 at 09:15 PM
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Tragolloion: Yes, that’s it.  Thanks for finding that - I don’t have UT with me on holiday. While the quote doesn’t actually come out and directly say that they were present, the mentioning of the fact that he had been the hostage of a tight siege and the very few forces that had escaped the siege went with the Ringwraiths, that pretty much implies they were there. And since they were the most powerful of Sauron’s servants, I would think it unlikely if they weren’t at the Battle of Dagorlad.
Qtpie 27/Dec/2006 at 09:30 PM
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No problem Oin. I concur with Oin that the Nazgul were most likely present at the Battle of Dagorlad. The Nazgul were ’the Enemy’s most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death.’ Sauron would have a huge advantage if the Nazgul were present, and I’m sure that Sauron would have exploited this advantage that he held in his hands.
MasterofPuppets 28/Dec/2006 at 02:15 AM
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And since he had the ring with him during the battle, the Nazgul would be even stronger than they are during the third age. I remember a quote in which Gandalf says that although they are powerful now, they are just shadows of what they would be if Sauron had the ring with him. To keep them from the battle of Dagorlad would have been silly. But during the siege of Barad-Dur, which lasted a couple of years, why didnt they return to Barad-Dur to help out Sauron?
Qtpie 28/Dec/2006 at 05:42 PM
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Indeed here is the quote that MasterofPuppets is referring to from the FoTR: A Journey in the Dark.

’The Ringwraiths are deadly enemies, but they are only shadows yet of the power and terror they would possess if the Ruling Ring was on their master’s hand again.’

Even when Sauron didn’t have the Ruliing Ring, the Nazgul were still a formidable and extremely dangerous enemy. Gives you an idea what the Nazgul were like, if Sauron possessed the One. MasterofPuppets if you read the posts above, various people have actually posted that the Nazgul were believed to be present at the Siege of Barad-dur.
Darth Angelus 29/Dec/2006 at 06:14 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Tįragolloion on Thursday, December 28, 2006
Indeed here is the quote that MasterofPuppets is referring to from the FoTR: A Journey in the Dark.

’The Ringwraiths are deadly enemies, but they are only shadows yet of the power and terror they would possess if the Ruling Ring was on their master’s hand again.’

Even when Sauron didn’t have the Ruliing Ring, the Nazgul were still a formidable and extremely dangerous enemy. Gives you an idea what the Nazgul were like, if Sauron possessed the One. MasterofPuppets if you read the posts above, various people have actually posted that the Nazgul were believed to be present at the Siege of Barad-dur.
I doubt they would be incredibly powerful in any case. Yeah, surely they could sway a battle or two in Middle-Earth, and they would be too strong for most individuals among the free peoples (they already were). Still, Tolkien’s works contain Eru and the Valar, and the Nazgūl would never come close to them, even if Sauron had the One Ring. Arguably, Sauron with the One Ring would be close to a lesser Vala, but the Nazgūl would still be far from the most incredible beings in Tolkien’s works in the power department, even if Sauron had the One Ring.
MasterofPuppets 29/Dec/2006 at 02:28 PM
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But the Vala and most of the Maia(excluding the Istari) didn’t want to interfere with Middle Earth anymore. They left Middle Earth to its own devices. So the nazgul aren’t as strong as a Vala, it doesn’t matter because the Vala weren’t going to give Middle Earth aid. The nazgul would be among the strongest in Middle Earth.
goldenhair 29/Dec/2006 at 03:49 PM
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Nicely found,
But where was the most powerful elf left in ME? Galadriel? Shouldn’t she have been there as well?

Sorry for injecting this question, but I don’t think the answer will merit it’s own thread.
Qtpie 29/Dec/2006 at 09:03 PM
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Thank you MasterofPuppets .
Darth Angelus 30/Dec/2006 at 05:02 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by MasterofPuppets on Friday, December 29, 2006
But the Vala and most of the Maia(excluding the Istari) didn’t want to interfere with Middle Earth anymore. They left Middle Earth to its own devices. So the nazgul aren’t as strong as a Vala, it doesn’t matter because the Vala weren’t going to give Middle Earth aid. The nazgul would be among the strongest in Middle Earth.
Indeed. And the Nazgūl would dominate fights, no doubt. I just meant in the sense that after I know of beings like Eru and the Valar, the ghost of a human king pretty much fails to impress me.
Still, the Nazgūl are no doubt scary to the foes they actually do face.
MasterofPuppets 01/Jan/2007 at 02:17 AM
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But remember that few among the inhabitants of Middle Earth (excluding the elves and Edain of course) knew anything about the Valar or Eru or anything that happened before the start of the third age. Even some of the inhabitants of Gondor had forgotten things that shouldnt have been forgotten(Like Isildurs bane and the fact that it survived).If you lived in Middle Earth your chief concern would be the present. So IF you lived in Middle Earth you would be impressed by anything out of the ordinary. And something as out of the ordinary as a wraith of a dead king would impress you a lot. But of course we dont live in ME so I can see where youre coming from. Next to the godlike being that are the Vala, a ghost kind of pales in comparison.