Evil or not

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MasterofPuppets 01/Jan/2007 at 04:43 AM
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Could the witch king of Angmar and the other nazgul be punished by mandos for there acts as Feanor was. I remember a post in which someone said that Feanor was punished for his evil deeds by not being allowed a physical body or something like that. But the question i want answered is were the nazgul essentially evil or just greedy men who are like Saurons puppets.Were they evil to begin with or just foolish and greedy??
Anoredhel 01/Jan/2007 at 05:09 AM
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I do not think they were evil to begin with, Tolkein has stated that he does not. Nor portray any of the characters as absolute evil. it is the draw of the ring that is responsible for the corruption of the Nazgul and the time it takes for them to be totally consumed by it depends very much upon their intentions in the first place some would be faster to be consumed some slower. Whilst it is likley that at least some of the Nazgul were less then pure in their intentions it seems, as pointed to in Letter #131 "and Sauron seized many Rings of Power. These he gave, for their ultimate corruption and enslavement, to those who would accept them (out of ambition or greed). Hence the ’ancient-rhyme’ that appears as the leit-motif of The Lord of the Rings"

The words Corruption and Enslavement, implies that they were bought down to their level that they suffered a fall even if they were impure to begin with the Ring corrupted them and thus they in themselves are not "Evil" to begin with. The rings were accepted it seems out of ambition or greed, for some I assume the ambition was to do good and they were mislead to others the ambition and greed was for power over others, whilst a less pure pursuit they were also mislead.


WyteWolf 01/Jan/2007 at 02:53 PM
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I agree that the Nazgul did not start out evil just greedy and foolish.they were kings of men who wanted more and more power that is what was there downfall in my opinion.as for punishment of them, that is not something that was discussed anywhere to my knowledge.
Brandywine74 01/Jan/2007 at 04:33 PM
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Surely Sauron would have known which of the potential Nazgul would be most conducive to his will? Wouldn’t he have given them to the most corruptible leaders he could find? This would mean that the Nazgul to be were at least open to being corrupted and therefore had some sort of evil within them. I believe most, if not all, people have some ’evil’ within them so all Sauron had to do was identlfy the most gullible.
WyteWolf 01/Jan/2007 at 05:40 PM
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I wont disagree with You however as I like to say "Power corrupts absolute power corrupts absolutely". the Nazgul started as Men so yes they had the ’spark’ that is the beginning of evil even if they werent evil. then they were Kings which meant they had more then the normal amount of power and when someone tastes Power the then want more and more...even if they werent evil asmen they were easily corrupted by their hunger for more and more power.the rings were what Sauron used to corrupt them fully and turn them evil...the Nazgul were just as likely to want more and more time on M.E. with the longer they lived,they first were afraid of the power the rings held over them then they were afraid to give them up for fear of death.and the reason they held no interest in having the ruling ring themselves is they probably believed they couldnt use it even though it constantly called to them.
Alcarináro 01/Jan/2007 at 05:49 PM
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WyteWolf, please do not refer to the Nazgul as having been ’kings of men’. That is nothing more than a fabrication of the films, and a testament to the lack of lore that is in them.

Back on topic, Mandos doesn’t have anything to do with what happens to the souls of Men. Men pass through his halls and leave the World.
Magradhaid 01/Jan/2007 at 06:18 PM
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>then they were Kings which meant they had more then the normal amount of power
The Nazgûl had become "kings, sorcerors, and warriors of old" after using the Rings, and "it is said [...] three were great lords of Númenórean race." [Silm] This corresponds with Letter #156, which says "There were evil Númenóreans: Sauronians, but they do not come into this story, except remotely; as the wicked Kings who had become Nazgûl or Ringwraiths." So we can only say for sure that at least three had been kings, but not all of them were. We certainly know the Witch-king was one of the three Black Númenórean kings, for he is called "King, Ringwraith, Lord of the Nazgûl" in RotK, though this could refer to Angmar. Also, in one draft of ideas, one of the Ringwraiths was known to have been an Easterling.

As for getting back on topic, no one knows what happens to Men after death, but Gandalf said when addressing the Witch-king,
"Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!" Is this supposed to mean they (along with Sauron) will be slain (i.e. separate fëa from hröa) and sent into the Void where Melkor is, or is this supposed to represent their reduction to powerlessness? Certainly Tolkien refers to the Witch-king having been "reduced to impotence" after Merry and Éowyn slay him!
WyteWolf 01/Jan/2007 at 06:19 PM
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I stand corrected there was only one "king of Men" and that was the Witch King of Angmar. And I agree that it was the lack of knowledge in the movies that spawned the belief that the 9 rings were for Human kings...the only rings mentioned for Kings at all were the 3 rings for elven kings, the 7 were for Dwarf-lords
Aslar Haechil 01/Jan/2007 at 06:23 PM
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Actually, at least 3 of them were kings of men, but we know very little about who the others might have been. In the Akallabêth it is stated ’...among those whom he ensnared with the Nine Rings three were great lords of Númenórean race.’  It would be safe to assume that the other six were important figures as well. It wouldn’t have made much since for Sauron to give rings of power to peasants.

Alcarináro 01/Jan/2007 at 06:48 PM
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I find your reasoning unconvincing, Tyrhael.

You claim that Letter 156 proves that the three Numenoren Nazgul were kings. They were not. They were Kings, as in ’Kings of Men’, as in a term that Tolkien uses to describe Numenoreans in general, and which he uses alongside the term ’Numenorean’ when he introduces them as a concept in that very same letter.
You also claim that since we know that there were at least three kings, and that the Lord of the Nazgul was a king, that he was one of the Numenorean Ringwraiths. While I do not dispute that he was one of those three (for reasons such as height), I fail to see any basis for your logic. It would be like saying that one day you saw three cats, then the next day you saw one cat, so the one cat from the second day must be one of the three from the first. Illogical.
As to the Lord of the Nazgul being a King, not only may it refer to Angmar, we have no reason to think it applies to anything but Angmar.
Magradhaid 01/Jan/2007 at 06:57 PM
Imp of Umbar Points: 7957 Posts: 8204 Joined: 13/Sep/2008

... And I can try to explain by saying I had previously been unaware (or more likely, had forgotten) of the term "Kings of Men" applied to Númenóreans; I took it literally. I was skimming the letter (I used the index) for mention of Ringwraiths, and didn’t take the time to read anything not specifically about them. Argh, context! Though I knew my reasoning about the Witch-king being king of more than Angmar was spurious, which is why I included "though this could refer to ..." i.e. only Angmar. I had taken the letter to mean that the three Black Númenóreans had been lords or kings among the Haradrim.

KingODuckingham 01/Jan/2007 at 08:29 PM
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To answer the last question in the post, it all depends on how you are defining evil. If by evil you mean without good at all, this has already been shown to be false. If by evil you mean bad, then I would say yes they were evil. The very fact that they could be corrupted shows this. A "good person" would never have let themselves under the dominion of Sauron in the first place.
MasterofPuppets 01/Jan/2007 at 09:23 PM
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The dwarves accepted the rings of power from Sauron and I wouldnt call them bad. It was ultimately a bad decision but they had no reason to believe it would be because they trusted Sauron at that time as did the elves as well. He was still fair to look upon. Not that im being shallow or anything