Ringwraiths or Nazgûl
> Ringwraiths or Nazgûl
The ringwraiths were also known as Nazgûl (in
the Black Speech), Úlairi, the Black Riders, Fell Riders, and the Nine
Riders. In the Lord of
the Rings books, they were usually referred to as ringwraiths
before they attained fell beasts, and as Nazgûl afterwards.
the nine mortal men of the poem of the rings, doomed to die or at least
become wraiths as they fell under the power of the rings from
They were all swallowed by their own greed for the greater power
them by Sauron if they wore the rings. They did have the power they
desired, for a while, but then their mortal forms faded until they
became ghostlike creatures called "wraiths".
Among those that Sauron snared as Ringwraiths were
three great lords of the Númenórean race, chosen for his
hatred of those folk. (Sil, Akallabeth)
The Nine depended on their steeds for sight,
themselves using a form of scent, their sight being on the ghost's
plane. Thus they saw those influenced by the Valar, such as
elves, as brilliantly
white. Special weapons having Valinorian influence also appeared
as if lit. The ringwraiths themselves appeared as deepest shadow
with glowing eyes, to those who could see. In the mortal plane, only
clothing showed, so they wrapped completely in hooded robes to pass
Their horses were especially brave, of the breed
from Rohan, to stand their terror. Also they underwent special training
for the task. These helped the Riders pass as human or at least
human-form creatures. The horses were lost at the Ford.
Flying beasts, unnamed horrors from outside the
earth, replaced the horses, necessary for the stepped up work and
distance the Nine next had to travel. No longer needing
anonymity, the Nine used them for speed and terror, rarely needing to
use their considerable physical prowess in physical battle.
During the First Age, a Noldo prince (elven race)
could defeat a Nazgûl and even fought Balrogs. During the time of
the Lord of the Rings,
the elven race had declined and such dangers
rare for the Riders.
The Witch-king headed the Ringwraiths until his
death. Then his second, Khamûl took over until all the ringwraiths were
destroyed in the wreck of Sauron.
Khamûl is named in the books.
Fuinor and Herumor are possibly two other
ringwraiths named in the Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power
and the Third Age". They were "black Númenóreans", some of many
who had been turned to Sauron while he sojourned among them after his
"capture". These two, among others, escaped the sinking of
sailing to Middle-earth, where they rose to become Lords of the
Haradrim. It is never said that they became ringwraiths, but they fit
Other names and origins for the Ringwraiths are
given by Iron Crown Enterprises in their card game, as allowed by the
Tolkien estate for game purposes, but not as canon. These names are
included for role-playing and so that
the reader of this encyclopedia will know the source of the name when
he sees it. This list is ordered by rank: The Witch-king is called
Murezor. Khamûl remains the same. Dwar from Waw. Indur from Kornande.
Akhoril from Númenor. Hoarmurath from Dir. Adunaphel the Quiet
from Númenor. Ren the Unclean from Eastern Endor. Uvathar the
References: Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion,
Iron Crown Enterprisestop
Sil: Ring-wraiths, ringwraiths