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Ghshgl
10-25-2001, 06:04 AM
Just a simple (maybe stupid) question for those who know Middle-Earth better than me, and who have read Tolkien's books in english:

Is it sure that all Nazgl were male?

Ghshgl

Kin-strife
10-25-2001, 07:27 AM
I guess it isn't 100% sure, but a female Nazgul is unlikely as there's no mention of any as far as I know. It is said in the Sil that those that used the nine rings of mortal men became in their day "kings sorcerors and warriors of old". No mention of Queens. That's all I can think of. Perhaps a more advanced Tolkien scholar can think of something more conclusive.

Eldar14
10-25-2001, 06:43 PM
All the examples that I've seen seem to me all the accounts of the Nazgul refer to them using male terms (aka. Kings, men, etc.)

Gwaihir the Windlord
10-25-2001, 11:33 PM
Sexist comments aside, you know, I'm, only stating facts -- generally, men are better soldiers than women. As Sauron's most powerful servants, yes, I should say they were all male, for sure.

Inziladun
10-26-2001, 08:30 AM
Given the scarcity of female warriors in Middle Earth and the reasons mentioned above, any of the Nazgl being female does seem highly unlikely.

Eldar14
10-26-2001, 11:46 AM
"Sexist comments aside"

Reading that gave me the idea that Sauron was probably a sexist, which would be one more reason for the Nazgul not to be female.

Drw
10-27-2001, 06:52 AM
Weren't the Nazgul Kings of Men who were given the nine rings for men and enslaved by Sauron?

Kin-strife
10-27-2001, 08:57 AM
Thinking of the sexist sauron remark, does anyone know of any mention of a female orc? Since orcs reproduced they had to have existed (unless they multiplied like gremlins) but I don't recall reading of any. Were orc parties unisex and, if not, what did an orc-maiden do all day? Were they just used as breeding machines or did they provide a more notewothy role in society?

Eldar14
10-27-2001, 09:55 AM
There was a string somewhere regarding female orcs, but I can't seem to find it, not even with the search thing. I myself think that there were female orcs, even mixed in among the ranks, but since the Hobbit and LoTR were written from the Hobbits POV, and since female orcs were butt ugly, it wasn't written. Also, since orcs are twisted from elves, there would have to be female ones.

Shark
10-27-2001, 03:34 PM
Most of our knowledge and speculation regarding female orcs has been laid down here (http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000559).

Eowyn of Ithilien
10-28-2001, 01:48 AM
*can't help it* I'd just like to point out that a WOMAN...along with a "halfling" smilies/tongue.gif...slew the Nazgul King...just in case all you guys forgot smilies/wink.gif

Inziladun
10-28-2001, 03:46 AM
Point taken. owyn was certainly an exeption, however.

Eowyn of Ithilien
10-28-2001, 06:59 AM
*curtsies* why thankyou smilies/wink.gif

Kin-strife
10-28-2001, 10:50 AM
All you guys

And my I enquire how you derive sex from a name such as Kin-strife? It's not even a name.

Halbarad
10-28-2001, 05:26 PM
Wasn't kin-strife the translated name of one of the slayer Giants in Stephen Donaldson's books? That would make it a name, albeit translated from giantish (I must digress). I agree tho- how does sex get derived from that?

Aldaron
10-28-2001, 09:40 PM
I'd say that if the lady wishes to name herself Kin-Strife, she doesn't have to ask anyone's permission. Let's not get all snide and sexist.

Inziladun
10-28-2001, 11:50 PM
It appears 'all you guys' was simply used to include everyone that had been posting in this thread. I don't think she literally meant everyone in here was male.

Ghshgl
10-29-2001, 06:20 AM
Originally posted by Eldar14:
<STRONG>"Sexist comments aside"

Reading that gave me the idea that Sauron was probably a sexist, which would be one more reason for the Nazgul not to be female.</STRONG>

I see your argument:
Sexist = evil
Sauron = evil
--------------
Sauron = sexist

Hmmmm... With the same argumentation pattern you could say that Sauron was probably a racist. But how does this match to the fact that Saurons armies were the only ones in the Ring War (maybe in the whole history of Middle Earth?) where white and coloured people (and even orks) fought side by side?

Ghshgl

[ October 31, 2001: Message edited by: Ghshgl ]

Halbarad
10-29-2001, 08:26 PM
It's not as simple as A & B= racist= 1
The armies were joined by their allegiance to Sauron (based through fear- he was their God after all) so the statement that he was racist still works because he hates everyone so it doesn't make much difference. Ci?

Gwaihir the Windlord
10-29-2001, 10:39 PM
Why do you say that Sauron was a sexist? He probably wasn't, actually. I don't think Ainur would have much truck with that sort of thing, what with female Ainur being of the same powerfulness as male Ainur.

Re the orc question; there would be no reason not to have female orcs bolstering the fighting forces. Orcs are completely expendable. Having the women-folk in the orc armies, even if they aren't as strong as the male ones, would still significantly increase the strength of the army.
Unless, of course, they were just used as breeding machines. They would be pregnant, and couldn't fight.

Eowyn of Ithilien
10-30-2001, 06:58 AM
Inziladun's right smilies/smile.gif I just lapsed into slang...hmm no I don't think Sauron's a sexist either...and referring to Gashgul's equations I once saw one that ended with woman=root of all evil

Eldar14
11-01-2001, 02:03 PM
I've seen that equation too, and for those of you who haven't seen it, here it is:

"women take time and money", so
women=time x money

"time is money", so
time=money
so
women=moneyxmoney

"money is the root of all evil," so
money=(square root of)evil
so
moneyxmoney=evil
so
women=evil

"women are evil"

KayQy
11-04-2001, 01:39 PM
Was it so good you had to say it twice? smilies/wink.gif

I don't think Sauron was necessarily sexist or racist. You know, the "I'm not racist: I hate everybody!" He would look at people of whatever race or gender mainly as either tools or threats. However, I think he would be all for sexism and racism in general, as ways to spread more darkness and hate, and would most likely encourage it in any way he could.

And I've always considered the phrase "you guys" to be gender-neutral, unless there's also a "you girls" phrase running around nearby.

Eldar14
11-04-2001, 02:12 PM
whoops, didn't notice I had posted that twice. smilies/smile.gif

Eldar14
11-04-2001, 02:17 PM
About the arugment that if Sauron was sexist, why wasn't he racist.

#1: He was racist. He vehemently hated elves.

#2: The only proof that he wasn't racist is that he has multi-racial armies. Maybe the only reason he did this was to increase racism in the good armies. Fighting against another race might make them think that whole race is evel. Fighting against women probably would not have made the good soldiers sexist, so no point in having them in the ranks. And of course, there is no simple reason not to, other than him being a sexist.

Kin-strife
11-04-2001, 03:40 PM
About the whole "all you guys" comment. I thought (most likely wrongly) that owyn was sugesting that all the previous posts were gender biased on their perceptions of women in Middle-earth. Like she was pointing out that a WOMAN slew the Nazgul king "just in case all you GUYS forgot". The second stress was mine and it's there that think I went wrong in my reading of the post. I wondered how she would know my sex. Obviously Aldaron took this to mean that I was of the female persuasion but that MIGHT not be acuarate. I'll leave you guessing. smilies/wink.gif

Aragorn303
11-04-2001, 07:30 PM
Originally posted by Gwaihir the Windlord:
<STRONG>Sexist comments aside, you know, I'm, only stating facts -- generally, men are better soldiers than women. As Sauron's most powerful servants, yes, I should say they were all male, for sure.</STRONG>

there r decent women warriors take Eowyn for example. so there could have been a female nazgul

Tz-Mc
11-04-2001, 09:55 PM
The probability of female Nazgul is slim to none, being since tolkien wrote about female of other species yet not of this one. If there were female Nazgul they were probably hidden or kept away for purposes of and more likely beyond our imagination.

Mhoram
11-04-2001, 10:41 PM
Originally posted by Tz-Mc:
<STRONG>The probability of female Nazgul is slim to none, being since tolkien wrote about female of other species yet not of this one. If there were female Nazgul they were probably hidden or kept away for purposes of and more likely beyond our imagination.</STRONG>


NAZGUL(B.S.: 'those of the Ring or Rings') Nine beings, slaves of the Nine Rings and the chief servants of Sauron. Originally Men, perhaps Black Numenoreans, the Nazgul were each given one of the Nine Rings by Sauron in the Second Age....

-A Guide to Middle-Earth by Robert Foster


That is to say...the Nazgul were not a species or race, they were men become wraiths.

Ghshgl
11-05-2001, 06:40 AM
#1: He was racist. He vehemently hated elves

Allow me to play the devil's advocate once again: Before complaining about Sauron hating elves, you should, for example, remember what was the principal occupation of the Rangers: Hunting and killing orcs. Why? Because they were orcs. For a ranger, beeing an orc was a capital crime and was instantly punished with death.

Is this not racism?

Ghshgl

Finwe
11-05-2001, 10:04 AM
Actually come to think of it, Sauron was much more an equal oppurtunities employer than any1 else in ME. Anyone at all, could be in Saurons army, all you had to be was evil ( or easily swayed ). Can you imagine any circumstance where an Orc would be welcomed into to Rivendell or Gondor with open arms, even if they claimed to have seen the error of their ways.
So stop badmouthing poor old Sauron, he hasnt hurt anybody, well except for all the ones he hurt. smilies/evil.gif

Halbarad
11-05-2001, 06:26 PM
As I said before Sauron was evil and hated everyone (yes probobly even the Mouth0 so his being racist is irrelevant

Gwaihir the Windlord
11-07-2001, 10:32 PM
Suron was racist; he vehemently hated the Elves.
I'd call that 'Speciesism', rather.

As for the comment on Eowyn. I'd think that most of the soldiers of the Mark were better fighters than Eowyn, even though she was indeed 'decent'.

Eowyn of Ithilien
11-08-2001, 03:34 AM
'decent' anddddd just happened to slay the Nazgul King

Kin-strife
11-08-2001, 06:29 AM
I think that however good owyn was as a soldier was enhanced by the fact that she no longer feared death. This is what probably brought her face to face with the Nazgul King where most soldiers would rather have kept their distance. She couldn't have had nearly as much training as the other soldiers so it must have been a natural ability for her. Perhaps she would have been one of the greatest soldiers had she the training.

Gwaihir the Windlord
11-08-2001, 10:35 PM
She'd had the training, as befits an heir of Eorl the Young. Without training, do you think she could have gone into battle with the Lord of the Nazgul?

She slew the Witch-King; but as Kin-Strife says, she was aided by the fact that she no longer feared anything. Fear is what makes the Witch-king so powerful. Take that away, and you have a chance.

Eowyn of Ithilien
11-09-2001, 03:51 AM
"the greatest thing we have to fear is fear itself"

shieldmaiden
11-09-2001, 09:34 AM
Eowyn is not the only female warrior in M.E. There was Haleth, the chieftain of the Haladin (Silmarilion). As I remember, she was a wise and a brave woman who led her men into battles.

Ghshgl
11-09-2001, 11:19 AM
Originally posted by shieldmaiden:
<STRONG>There was Haleth, the chieftain of the Haladin (Silmarilion). As I remember, she was a wise and a brave woman who led her men into battles.</STRONG>

If I am not wrong, she led her women into battles! Just anothe example for female warriors in ME...

Ghshgl

[ November 09, 2001: Message edited by: Ghshgl ]

Bthberry
06-03-2005, 07:17 AM
Other than Galadriel, who had issues with power and aggression and dominance (see Celeborn), I don't think we see any other women who are tempted by the Ring.

Clearly, "Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die" is a specific statement about the male sex and not a general statement used by analogy for all of human/huwyman kind.

And just as clearly then, there could not be female nazgul. Females are beyond such power tripping. It's only the wedding ring that gets them.

:p ;) :D

The Saucepan Man
06-03-2005, 09:24 AM
Clearly, "Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die" is a specific statement about the male sex and not a general statement used by analogy for all of human/huwyman kind.No. It's just that "Nine for Mortal Persons doomed to die" would not have scanned correctly and would have lost that slight alliterative feel ... :p ;)

Bthberry
06-03-2005, 12:52 PM
No. It's just that "Nine for Mortal Persons doomed to die" would not have scanned correctly and would have lost that slight alliterative feel ... ;)


Tut tut, my good SpM. Poetic license would never be countenanced by as good a philologist as our Professor. His words always mean exactly what he intends them to mean. And clearly he never intended any woman to succumb to the Ring other than our G-lady or he would have showed us. No reading in of your own ideas now! :eek: :D

davem
06-03-2005, 01:08 PM
Whenever the reference to a race or culture is capitalised (Men, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Numenoreans, etc) it refers to all the members of that race. In the history of the Ring very few individuals come into contact with it, & they are all male. For women not to be tempted by the Ring would basically mean they are 'unfallen' & so immune to temptation. As no race within Me is unfallen, both males & females must be subject to the lure of the Ring if they come into contact with it. It could be argued perhaps that women would be less likely to sucumb due to psychological differences, but that begs a much larger question...

Or maybe women would be more likely to succumb - the Entwives seem more desirous of control over the natural environment than the Ents, for example. Maybe the males realised this & went out of their way to make sure it never came near women.... :p

Formendacil
06-03-2005, 03:21 PM
Does it actually say that all the Ringwraiths (hmm.. Wringraiths?) were male? I mean, we know that they were all of the race of Man, and the logical conclusion is, from all the information we have, that they were all men, but does it actually, conclusively say that?

This appears to have been the original question the thread, and in reading it, I can see no evidence presented that it was ever definitively said that they were all male (although the implication would seem obvious, and Tolkien would likely have a fit if anyone thought otherwise...).

Still, warrior could be male or female, and Christina, daughter of Gustav Adolphus (I think that was the one) was the "King" of Sweden, so....

If this lack of definitive statement is the case, then one could spend a great deal of time having fun pretending that Nazguls #6 and #7 were female...

Eomer of the Rohirrim
06-04-2005, 06:05 AM
Bb, nine for mortal men, doomed to die.....

.....but the Balrog spread its wings, and we all know that Balrogs don't have wings, thus your point is surely lost. :p So the Nazgul might have included some ladies.

Did anyone else find that earlier "Sauron=racist/sexist" discussion quite hilarious?

Bthberry
06-05-2005, 06:33 PM
Did anyone else find that earlier "Sauron=racist/sexist" discussion quite hilarious?

Aye, Eomer. This was a thread just begging to be revisited. :D


Or maybe women would be more likely to succumb - the Entwives seem more desirous of control over the natural environment than the Ents, for example. Maybe the males realised this & went out of their way to make sure it never came near women.... :p

You know, I have always felt this was a bit of bad press, or even Translator's Conceit. I mean, after all, we never actually see an entwife, so we never observe her/ their actual behaviour or attitude towards the natural environment. All we get is the opinion of the ents. Talk about one side of the story! ;)

Eledhewin Ilanora
06-05-2005, 07:03 PM
Talking bout nazgul..if only sauron was not so sexist and send his nazguls to shire to track baggins..all he had to do is find one twisted female halfling to tempt the hobbit and he may possess the ring with no hassle. Sending some scary males to terrorise the hobbit sure brought them all the way to mt doom.

Morale of the story: Sexism dont pay...hik

Bthberry
06-06-2005, 01:39 AM
If this lack of definitive statement is the case, then one could spend a great deal of time having fun pretending that Nazguls #6 and #7 were female...

What might you be referring to here? Succubi? ;)

Eomer of the Rohirrim
06-06-2005, 08:30 AM
But Frodo probably would not have been tempted by a female Ringwraith...

O dear, this is heading towards Mirth.

Anguirel
06-06-2005, 08:36 AM
That idea recalls the prologue of "Bored of the Rings", with the temptation by the fair elf-maiden...

Eomer of the Rohirrim
06-06-2005, 08:45 AM
Really? I've never read that. Anyway.....they stole my bit. :D

I know there are plenty of parodies involving women in the Fellowship, but it might be just as funny to put women among the Nazgul.

Lalwend
06-06-2005, 02:49 PM
Would anyone want to get that close to a Nazgul that they could look under its cloak to check its gender? It's a bit more scary a prospect than looking up a Scotsman's kilt. :eek:

Yes, there could have been female Nazgul, as they are without bodies so how would we know whether they are male or female? But doesn't it say in the text that some were Kings, which must mean they are/were men - if it is a story which has been passed down correctly that is. In The Silmarillion it says they had been "kings, sorcerors and warriors of old". Again this is odd, because it must mean that wizards also existed in ME in the second age, if they had been sorcerors - or is it again that the story has changed in the passing on?

As to whether Sauron was being sexist, I don't think he would have cared who he was tempting as long as they were powerful leaders of Men - he probably worked very quickly before he could have been prevented from carrying out his act. If the Nazgul were monarchs then it would have been more likely that they were male as it seems the practice of primogeniture existed in ME with few Queens being crowned, unless all monarchs' first born were conveniently male?

Mansun
06-06-2005, 03:53 PM
She'd had the training, as befits an heir of Eorl the Young. Without training, do you think she could have gone into battle with the Lord of the Nazgul?

She slew the Witch-King; but as Kin-Strife says, she was aided by the fact that she no longer feared anything. Fear is what makes the Witch-king so powerful. Take that away, and you have a chance.


The above statement is trying to talk up Eowyn as though she was a match for the mighty WK. What a laugh! The WK was arguably the third most powerful opponent in ME, protected by a spell of invincibility that could only be broken by special spells, such as those used in the making of the enchanted blade used by Merry to wound him and break the spell. All Eowyn did was to finish the job of, same as what even a child could have done. The real credit was for Merry for his bravery, who had probably no idea of the power his sword had.

Otherwise, Eowyn would have probably slayed herself in her terror of the WK, before he landed the second blow to finish her. The only people that the WK could not have used his fear on to full effect would have been great lords and masters of sorcery on the same or higher level than the WK, i.e. Glorfindel, Gandalf etc. They would have nothing to fear of the WK, or no more than at least than he had of confronting them.

Anguirel
06-07-2005, 01:30 AM
Sauron is sending his sexist minions to interfere with the cut and thrust of debate!

Seriously, old chap, I see your point, and you make it forcibly, but the fact remains that Eowyn killed him. Let's say one was fighting an enchanted rhinoceros that no one can hurt. Someone sticks a needle in it and *wham*! Behold! It's vulnerable. But still the small matter remains of killing an angry rhinoceros. It is this deed that Eowyn should be credited with.

As for the bit about her slaying herself with fear, about only Glorfindel, Gandalf et al being able to stand up to the King-the fearless Dernhelm of the books doesn't support your view-

"Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, Lord of Carrion!"

Even after her wound, she is ailing because the pulp is being beaten out of her-not in the slightest because she is frightened. She is berserk, as Theoden was, as her brother is later.

And what's more, there is no essential link between power and fear. Earnur, a far less powerful figure than the Witch King, never shirked to challenge him. Nor are the powerful necessarily the brave-Gandalf revealed some unease about facing the Lord of the Nazgul in conversation with Denethor. There is simply no correlation. Just because Eowyn is young, mortal, and, most damningly, female, does not mean she by definition lacks courage. Indeed, courage born out of desperation is her strongest weapon.

davem
06-07-2005, 06:32 AM
Seriously, old chap, I see your point, and you make it forcibly, but the fact remains that Eowyn killed him. Let's say one was fighting an enchanted rhinoceros that no one can hurt. Someone sticks a needle in it and *wham*! Behold! It's vulnerable. But still the small matter remains of killing an angry rhinoceros. It is this deed that Eowyn should be credited with.


But Merry's strike made it possible for Eowyn to dispatch the WK - it wasn't simply that Merry showed the WK was vulnerable - he wasn't vulnerable until Merry stabbed him. If Eowyn had stabbed him first nothing woulld have happened. Only the Barrow blade (wound about with spells for the bane of Mordor) could have made him vulnerable to Eowyn's blow. So, they both killed him. It was equivalent to Merry cutting off his bullet proof vest so that Eowyn sould shoot him. I don't see why she should get all the glory ;)

Eomer of the Rohirrim
06-07-2005, 07:41 AM
You know when you misread something that someone else posts? Like when I thought Anguirel was talking about Sauron's sexiest minions? :rolleyes:

But I seem to have lost my way: why are we talking about Eowyn? :confused:

Anguirel
06-07-2005, 09:50 AM
Goodness knows. Anyway, ah, female Nazgul. Um...in canon, probably unlikely. However, remember that Numenorean kings did allow their daughters to succeed them if they had no sons (eg Tar-Palantir succeeded by Tar-Miriel) so, especially among the Black Numenorean Nazgul, such a contingency is not entirely impossible...

Mansun
06-07-2005, 03:06 PM
But Merry's strike made it possible for Eowyn to dispatch the WK - it wasn't simply that Merry showed the WK was vulnerable - he wasn't vulnerable until Merry stabbed him. If Eowyn had stabbed him first nothing woulld have happened. Only the Barrow blade (wound about with spells for the bane of Mordor) could have made him vulnerable to Eowyn's blow. So, they both killed him. It was equivalent to Merry cutting off his bullet proof vest so that Eowyn sould shoot him. I don't see why she should get all the glory ;)

I suppose Eowyn deserved credit for being prepared to be killed in the futile attempt to defend the dying Theoden. The WK was for a moment distracted so that Merry could land a blow. I would have preferred a confrontation between the WK and Gandalf all the same, a real contest. Being killed by a Hobbit and a Women makes a mockery of the WK as Sauron's greatest servant in a way.

davem
06-07-2005, 03:13 PM
I suppose Eowyn deserved credit for being prepared to be killed in the futile attempt to defend the dying Theoden. The WK was for a moment distracted so that Merry could land a blow. I would have preferred a confrontation between the WK and Gandalf all the same, a real contest. Being killed by a Hobbit and a Women makes a mockery of the WK as Sauron's greatest servant in a way.

I suspect that was Tolkien's point.

Eomer of the Rohirrim
06-07-2005, 03:15 PM
Even the smallest person...

Lalwend
06-08-2005, 11:23 AM
I'm thinking aloud here...

I was wondering about how many of the Nazgul could have originated from Numenor. It is said that three were Numenorean Lords, which makes a lot of sense. Men were gifted with Death by Eru, and many Numenoreans disliked this, so to tempt them with a ring offering eternal life would be more likely to result in their accepting the gift. If some of the Ringwraiths were "sorcerors", could they have also been Numenorean in origin? These could have been drawn from the ranks of those who were engaged in establishing and running temples in Numenor, which was seen as wrong. "Sorceror" certainly seems to be a pejorative term in Middle Earth, something much lower than a wizard, so it hints at figures who wished to have greater powers; such people would be likely to be tempted by one of the Rings too?

Anguirel
06-08-2005, 11:36 AM
Not to mention Black Numenoreans, who openly worshipped Sauron, like the Mouth of Sauron and Herumor. I wonder if they would be included among the Numenorean Lords, though.

Dinlainiel
06-08-2005, 11:48 AM
Well, in the books it said that the nine KINGS became bearers of the ring. that means that they were all guys. right? but tehn again, waht if there had been a queen? and she had a ring of power. that would mean she would be a nazgul right? i have no idea, but now i'm not going to stop thinking about it. :p

Thinlmien
06-20-2005, 05:45 AM
Most of the people discussing here have agreed that women weren't as good warriors as men (except our dear owyn, who, btw, in my opinion didn't have proper warrior-training. She just had the "defensive-warrior"-training). Women can't be called as "kings" (except the swedish Christina-case, but oh, swedish people are strange in other ways too ;), so probably that doesn't count) since they're women. But what about a woman sorceror? Surely there could be one. (And don't say she would be called "a sorceress", because if there's both men and women they're usually called by the male title only.)

Huinesoron
12-11-2017, 05:42 AM
I wondered in the Frodo in the Tower of Cirith Ungol (http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=19162) thread whether we knew the Ringwraiths were definitely male, and lo and behold, there's a thread for that... I love this place. :D

Most of the people discussing here have agreed that women weren't as good warriors as men (except our dear owyn, who, btw, in my opinion didn't have proper warrior-training. She just had the "defensive-warrior"-training). Women can't be called as "kings" (except the swedish Christina-case, but oh, swedish people are strange in other ways too ;), so probably that doesn't count) since they're women. But what about a woman sorceror? Surely there could be one. (And don't say she would be called "a sorceress", because if there's both men and women they're usually called by the male title only.)

"Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky..."

So far as I'm aware, Galadriel is the only holder of Nenya since its creation. It's clear that people in Middle-earth were prone to misusing the word 'king'.

And why this focus on their skill as warriors? Remember that the Nazgl were Sauron's messengers and spies, not a fighting force. This is blindingly obvious from their inability to, eg, beat a single Ranger with a torch and four short people.

I see that the term is being pulled from the Of the Rings of Power... quote, but I also see that said quote is being misquoted.

Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old.

Emphasis mine. It is entirely possible that kingship, sorcery, and warriordom were obtained by way of the Nine (as were 'glory and great wealth', same source). I don't think we really know the powers of the Rings (beyond long life, invisibility, and inevitable corruption), but 'inhuman strength' seems pretty likely, as well as sorcery - the Witch-king of Angmar is well named, after all.

So, were there any female Nazgl? Two answers from me:

-Tolkien never intended there to be any. This is almost certain. When he wrote women (who weren't just featureless wives), they tended to be very prominent and highlighted; he would have mentioned a female Ringwraith if she existed. He was also writing in a pseudo-medieval setting, where (as has been said) women weren't exactly prone to fame and fortune.

-There doesn't seem to be any firm argument against them, from an in-world perspective. There were three Nmenorean lords (who were probably, but not certainly, male), and Khaml the Shadow of the East is probably male as well; after that, the gates are wide open. Whoever they were, they would have been high-placed or rulers in their own lands, just as the four we know about were; they would have gained further power and wealth as time passed; and by about five hundred years after receiving their Rings, they would have left everything behind and joined Sauron openly as his undying Ringwraiths (Eregion fell in 1697, the Nazgl appeared in 2251).

So if there were female Ringwraiths, is there any hint as to who they might be? Well... maybe! You're going to like this one... :D

Tar-Telperin (http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Tar-Telperi%C3%ABn) was the second Ruling Queen of Nmenor. She lived for 411 years, 11 longer than her father, 12 longer than her nephew who succeeded her. Per the wiki, she failed to intervene to save Eregion when Sauron attacked it, and was the first ruler of Nmenor to cling to the scepter until death, rather than relinquishing it early. She died (or 'died') 34 years after Sauron started handing out Rings.

If a messenger from Sauron had come to Tar-Telperin, offering her more power and unending life in exchange for her neutrality in his wars, would she have accepted? From her description, she was someone who wanted all the power she could get (she refused to marry, which may well have been because her husband would try to wield the power of the scepter in her stead); I think she would absolutely have taken the promise of a Ring in exchange for not doing something she didn't want to anyway. And when it arrived, she would have put it on...

It's not a perfect theory (among other things, it doesn't explain why she did give up the scepter in the end - a better offer from Sauron, perhaps? - or why she allowed her nephew to attack Sauron in 1700), and it's certainly not Tolkien's idea, but it doesn't hold any massive inconsistencies. Whether she would be counted as a Nmenorean Lord (alongside King Galadriel) is left as an exercise to the reader...

hS

William Cloud Hicklin
12-12-2017, 09:35 PM
Let's not engage in the attempted retconning of a mid-20th century book by a very conservative old Edwardian. Tolkien's writing was androcentric, unless there was an especially good reason to make a character a female. To his mind, male was the default gender, and there's no sense trying to make him think like a 21st-century person, because he wasn't. Slashfic notwithstanding, he didn't include any gay characters either.

It's not likely at all that Tolkien was privately thinking "I'll make two of the Nazgul women but not say anything about it."

Huinesoron
12-13-2017, 03:40 AM
Let's not engage in the attempted retconning of a mid-20th century book by a very conservative old Edwardian...

But why not? That's the fun part! :D

More seriously: there are two ways of looking at Middle-earth. One is 'what did Tolkien write/intend?', and under that view, absolutely: there were no female Nazgl, no sex out of wedlock, no pillage by the Armies of Good, no lesbian dwarves (those ones who just never wanted to marry were simply... good friends), no weird Hobbit cults which worshipped legendary Elvish figures as gods, no colonies of Orcs cut off for thousands of years on Tol Fuin and Himling building their own pocket civilisation. These aren't things Tolkien thought of, and in fact are things he would directly have opposed.

The other way of looking at it is as a world in its own right: a world that is under the authority of the One, but which is just as messy, incoherent, and contradictory as our own. That's a world which has room for all of the above, because its people are not (except when stated or inferred) bound by Tolkien's morality and prejudices.

To claim that there were no gay people in the entire history of Middle-earth because Tolkien wouldn't approve is to deny the rich fabric of human(/elven/dwarven) nature. And to claim that there could not be any female Ringwraiths because Tolkien defaulted to male characters is to deprive ourselves not only of interesting storytelling possibilities and new ways of thinking about things - but also of some fun theorising time. ^_^ And who wants that?

William Cloud Hicklin
12-13-2017, 07:51 AM
To which I would simply respond: it's Tolkien's universe, not ours. One which includes neither Shai-hulud from Dune, Nazgul tombs, dying Arwens nor isolated Orc societies on Tol Fuin.

Galin
12-13-2017, 08:23 AM
My Tolkien Universe doesn't even include Tol Fuin (or Himling).

So all yer orcs there... are drownded :p

But don't get me wrong, I'm still a fun person.

Nerwen
12-13-2017, 08:27 AM
Well, this just becomes another iteration of the canonicity debate, doesn't it?:rolleyes:

Really I see nothing wrong with theories, however outlandish, as long as you don't start insisting they be accepted as the "real" version- which people have been known to do, of course. But that's not the impression I'm getting in this case.

Inziladun
12-13-2017, 08:00 PM
I don't know if anyone brought this up already, but there is a quote from the Unfinished Tales section The Hunt For the Ring which states:

At length [Sauron] resolved that no others would serve him in this case but his mightiest servants, the Ringwraiths, who had no will but his own, each being utterly subservient to the ring that had enslaved him.

Definitive? Not really, but I do think that if one of the Nazgl had been female, that would have been a notable enough occurrence to have stated someplace.

Anyway, Sauron himself would likely have been frightened of a Nazgl-ess. Women are quite enigmatic and worrisome enough without being invisible! :D

Nerwen
12-14-2017, 02:37 AM
I don't know if anyone brought this up already, but there is a quote from the Unfinished Tales section The Hunt For the Ring which states:
At length [Sauron] resolved that no others would serve him in this case but his mightiest servants, the Ringwraiths, who had no will but his own, each being utterly subservient to the ring that had enslaved him.
Ah, but as the Ringwraiths are being spoken of collectively here, "him" could have its secondary meaning of "a person etc of unspecified sex"- technically there's no way to tell in that context.

Definitive? Not really, but I do think that if one of the Nazgl had been female, that would have been a notable enough occurrence to have stated someplace.

Anyway, Sauron himself would likely have been frightened of a Nazgl-ess. Women are quite enigmatic and worrisome enough without being invisible! :D
Invisible? What makes you think Nazgl-esses are invisible? How would fan-fic authors be able to write paragraphs describing their exquisitely Gothic loveliness if they were invisible? I ask you.:Merisu:

By the way, do half-Nazgl count?

Huinesoron
12-14-2017, 03:21 AM
To which I would simply respond: it's Tolkien's universe, not ours. One which includes neither Shai-hulud from Dune, Nazgul tombs, dying Arwens nor isolated Orc societies on Tol Fuin.

Does it include toilets? I don't recall Tolkien mentioning them, so I assume people in Middle-earth don't possess bowels? And I guess all grain is imported from Gondor or the Shire (since nowhere else has farms mentioned), and the orcs of Moria have no need of food (their food source isn't mentioned, so must not exist)... and if we want to take this to its logical extreme, there are no women in the Elvenking's Halls, since none are ever mentioned as being there!

Tongue obviously firmly in cheek for the above (and please don't take offence - my forceful tone isn't reflected by a forcefulness of spirit), but the point is that any reading of Tolkien has to include gap-filling. To take it to truly ludicrous extremes: did Barliman Butterbur serve drinks to anyone except on the days Gandalf or the hobbits visited him? Obviously so - but it's not specifically described, so to assume he's actually doing his job is an inference. An ironclad logical one, but an inference all the same.

That said... no, Tolkien didn't put female Ringwraiths into Middle-earth.

(Or toilets.)

Anyway, Sauron himself would likely have been frightened of a Nazgl-ess. Women are quite enigmatic and worrisome enough without being invisible! :D

This is actually a much more valid argument than you'd think. Remember that Sauron has had contact with a female sorcerer - name of Luthien. She killed his entire army of werewolves, took him prisoner, tore down his tower, and sent him home in disgrace. Sure, she had help, but if Sauron saw her success as a function of her sex, he might well think twice before even potentially creating a second Tinuviel.

(On the other hand... to have one on his side...)

Galadriel55
12-14-2017, 08:18 AM
Does it include toilets? I don't recall Tolkien mentioning them, so I assume people in Middle-earth don't possess bowels? And I guess all grain is imported from Gondor or the Shire (since nowhere else has farms mentioned), and the orcs of Moria have no need of food (their food source isn't mentioned, so must not exist)... and if we want to take this to its logical extreme, there are no women in the Elvenking's Halls, since none are ever mentioned as being there!

Tongue obviously firmly in cheek for the above (and please don't take offence - my forceful tone isn't reflected by a forcefulness of spirit), but the point is that any reading of Tolkien has to include gap-filling. To take it to truly ludicrous extremes: did Barliman Butterbur serve drinks to anyone except on the days Gandalf or the hobbits visited him? Obviously so - but it's not specifically described, so to assume he's actually doing his job is an inference. An ironclad logical one, but an inference all the same.

That said... no, Tolkien didn't put female Ringwraiths into Middle-earth.

(Or toilets.)

It's one thing to fill in gaps. It's connecting the dots by following a pattern. One day we see Frodo and Sam on the Anduin, amd another they are far from it, and we fill in the gap and do not assume they teleported. But we don't assume they got there with the help of a fairy who wore polkadotted clothes and shouted in Greek.

If all you say is that it's up to us to fill in the gaps, then gaps can be filled with whatever we want. That's how you get Jackson movies. ;) I would augment your argument with that the fillers must also fit the pattern of the overall picture. Do toilets make sense given all that we know? Do colourful Greek fairies on the Eastern bank of the Great River?

And as far as patterns go, you'd need to trace one that would support a female Nazgul to pull it off. Female warriors with power, who could be corrupted by Sauron. Sauron himself - would he pick this woman and why. So far most patterns I see point in the other direction.

William Cloud Hicklin
12-14-2017, 08:19 AM
Does it include toilets? I don't recall Tolkien mentioning them, so I assume people in Middle-earth don't possess bowels? And I guess all grain is imported from Gondor or the Shire (since nowhere else has farms mentioned), and the orcs of Moria have no need of food (their food source isn't mentioned, so must not exist)... and if we want to take this to its logical extreme, there are no women in the Elvenking's Halls, since none are ever mentioned as being there!

...the point is that any reading of Tolkien has to include gap-filling. To take it to truly ludicrous extremes: did Barliman Butterbur serve drinks to anyone except on the days Gandalf or the hobbits visited him? Obviously so - but it's not specifically described, so to assume he's actually doing his job is an inference. An ironclad logical one, but an inference all the same.



The difference lies in the fact that toilets, agriculture and taverns that open every day are ordinary things in the ordinary world, part of the nonsubcreated substrate upon which Tolkien built his subcreation. The reader may take them as read. At the next remove, Tolkien engaged in what Shippey called calquing: adding elements of a known primary-world culture, such as the Anglo-Saxons, which invite the reader to fill in the Rohirric blank with his own knowledge or impression of the Old English.

But this can't be extended to things like Nazgul which came completely out of his head. In fact, I think the balance is very slightly tilted the other way in that the primary calque for Middle-earth is of course medieval Europe, a culture not noted for its gender equality.

Rhun charioteer
12-14-2017, 11:27 AM
While the Nazgul were all most certainly men. I don't see why hypothetically Sauron would have not given a ring to say a powerful easterling queen or sorceress under his control. No doubt in the east and south in middle earth there were such queens under his sway.

Morthoron
12-14-2017, 06:09 PM
While the Nazgul were all most certainly men. I don't see why hypothetically Sauron would have not given a ring to say a powerful easterling queen or sorceress under his control. No doubt in the east and south in middle earth there were such queens under his sway.

It would all depend. It couldn't be a plain ring. It would have to be a ring that could be accessorized, otherwise Sauron would be jilted. :Merisu:

Nerwen
12-15-2017, 01:20 AM
The difference lies in the fact that toilets, agriculture and taverns that open every day are ordinary things in the ordinary world, part of the nonsubcreated substrate upon which Tolkien built his subcreation. The reader may take them as read. At the next remove, Tolkien engaged in what Shippey called calquing: adding elements of a known primary-world culture, such as the Anglo-Saxons, which invite the reader to fill in the Rohirric blank with his own knowledge or impression of the Old English.

But this can't be extended to things like Nazgul which came completely out of his head. In fact, I think the balance is very slightly tilted the other way in that the primary calque for Middle-earth is of course medieval Europe, a culture not noted for its gender equality.
And yet Huinesoron's "theory" (or wild speculation) concerns one of the perfectly canonical Ruling Queens of Nmenor. You can't really argue that an author *wouldn't* include something if, you know, he did. I don't think Tolkien would have been violating the internal logic of his subcreation in any way by deciding to make Tar-Telperin a Nazgl- I just also can't see him totally forgetting to mention this interesting development if he had.

Mind you, I'm pretty sure my Lalaith = Gothmog II (http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showpost.php?p=628970&postcount=69) theory is watertight. Clearly that one did slip the Professor's mind.;)

Huinesoron
12-17-2017, 04:23 PM
And yet Huinesoron's "theory" (or wild speculation) concerns one of the perfectly canonical Ruling Queens of Nmenor. You can't really argue that an author *wouldn't* include something if, you know, he did. I don't think Tolkien would have been violating the internal logic of his subcreation in any way by deciding to make Tar-Telperin a Nazgl- I just also can't see him totally forgetting to mention this interesting development if he had.

'ey! Less of the 'wild'. All of my theories are firmly grounded in facts. They just... twist them in very odd directions. (Eesh, and you haven't even seen the one about Tom Bombadil's palantir yet...)

Okay, so let's do this. Is there any possible evidence for female Nazgul?

-Let's start with the purpose of the Nazgul. They aren't sent out to fight - note how only the Witch-King takes the field at the Pelennor, and... I can't actually think of another Nazgul joining a pitched battle, ever? We know they can fight - they 'became... warriors' or however that went - but that's not their primary purpose.

What is? Well, we know that Sauron used the Seven to attempt to control at least one of the Houses of the Dwarves, and logic suggests he gave one to each ruling line. So the Nine were probably also initially used to control key rulers; heck, we don't even know for sure that Sauron knew about the eventual wraithing at the time!

The Nazgul were also rulers in Sauron's absence, running Morgul and Guldur even when he wasn't 'dead'. Part of the way they did this was to instill their underlings with terror. (Which is a great way to break them of any lingering kindness... it doesn't matter how nice they try to be, their servants will always feat them!)

Finally, they were his messengers, spies, and to an extent Special Ops. This last part is key; it would make sense for Sauron to select from diverse backgrounds, to get their knowledge and skills. A woman - who could not only get information out of other women more easily, but would likely be smaller and thus able to physically fit into more places - would be an excellent choice. (I don't recall the Nazgul actually being immaterial and able to walk through walls... certainly Bilbo couldn't while wearing the One!)

-The first reference to the concept of Ringwraiths occurs in HoME 6, 'The Return of the Shadow', where Gildor tells Bingo that the Black Riders are 'Servants of the Lord of the Ring - [people?] who have passed through the Ring'. Note the sadly-unclear word 'people' - not 'men'. Deliberate use of a gender-neutral term?

-In the same chapter (III), both Gildor and Gandalf tell Bingo that the Rings were made by Sauron, and 'he dealt them out lavishly, so that they might be spread abroad to ensnare folk'. Again the gender-neutral language - but also the idea that (at this stage) Tolkien didn't envisage Sauron specifically choosing his Ringwraiths. They were whoever found the Ring, much like Gollum. Do women ever wear rings? I think that's a yes.

-On the topic of women being smaller... the very first reference to a Black Rider describes them as 'looked like... a small [>short] man...'. Small, or short.

-Jumping now to Unfinished Tales, we of course have the generic-masculine 'ring that had enslaved him'. But after that, the Nazgul are called 'creatures'. The Witch-King has 'six companions', while Khamul (confirmed male here) has 'one other'. When Grima encounters the Ringwraiths, he addresses only one - 'Lord', he says, not 'Lords'. Once again, this is a lot of gender-neutral language.

Tolkien was uncharacteristically closed-mouthed about the Nazgul. What were their names? One is Khamul. What were their stations? Three were Lords of Numenor. How did they get their rings? Uh... from Sauron. And... that's all we know about their past.

That's deliberate. The Nazgul are deliberatelt faceless, mass-produced spies in the same way that Orcs are mass-produced soldiers. Just as Orcs lack the individual heroism that Tolkien loved from the old sagas, the Nazgul lacked the individual skill and bravery of their real-world counterparts. Tolkien can't tell us who they used to be, because that ruins the message.

But, the Orcs are rough-speaking chaps of the kind Tolkien might well have met in the trenches of the Somme; though 'industrialised', they are also inspired by his own experiences with line soldiers.

Did Tolkien know any spies? Not that I'm aware of. But would he have heard of them in the news? Certainly - and the likes of Mata Hari prove that 'female spy' was definitely a concept at the time. (Heck - the Nazgul aside, is there a named spy in Middle-earth besides Queen Beruthiel of the sneaky cats?) I don't feel that it's at all impossible that Tolkien would agree that one of the Nine could be just such a woman.

Y'know, like a certain power-hungry Ruling Queen of Numenor... :D

Inziladun
12-17-2017, 04:52 PM
In the same chapter (III), both Gildor and Gandalf tell Bingo that the Rings were made by Sauron, and 'he dealt them out lavishly, so that they might be spread abroad to ensnare folk'.

In ROTK though, Gandalf tells Frodo at Bag End only that Sauron gave the Nine to Men, and Gildor does not mention the Rings at all.

The Nazgul are deliberatelt faceless, mass-produced spies in the same way that Orcs are mass-produced soldiers.

Again though, isn't the later idea that it was the Noldor of Eregion, not Sauron, who actually fashioned the Rings of Power (excluding the One, of course)?
In the Unfinished Tales text The History of Galadriel and Celeborn it's clear Sauron took the Nine and the Seven from Celebrimbor. How then could the Nazgl have been planned by Sauron if he did not himself make their rings? Granted, the Nine and the Seven were a product of his instruction, but I don't think that points toward the end result of mortal possessors of the Nine becoming undead wraiths to be something Sauron intended.

I don't feel that it's at all impossible that Tolkien would agree that one of the Nine could be just such a woman.

Y'know, like a certain power-hungry Ruling Queen of Numenor... :D

Well, you'd think the Nmenreans would have noticed if one of their rulers failed to die though. Unless the government just covered it up and called it 'fake news'. ;)

Huinesoron
12-18-2017, 02:27 AM
Yeah, sorry, Inziladun, I was lacking a bit in clarity there... the point I was driving at was that Tolkien (not Sauron) originally set things up so that female Ringwraiths were just as likely as male ones, and that it seems unlike him to completely drop such an idea.

Again, the later 'mass-produced' stuff was about Tolkien's intent. It's trivially true that Sauron could, physically, have made a female Nazgul; the question is whether Tolkien would have considered it.

And I have new evidence! (What can I say? Dawn brings fresh light.) How do you feel about this?

The Cats of Queen Beruthiel are a metaphor for the Nazgul.

To get it in straight away - a metaphor by Tolkien, not by Beruthiel or the Gondorians. But...

Beruthiel's cats are nine black and one (the leader) white. We think of Sauron as black or red, but he himself preferred to go in fair guise, and would doubtless use white as a colour if he could. The Black Riders, of course, are black.

Weak, obviously... except that these cats are spies, just like the Nazgul, reporting back to their white Lord. Except that these are cats, in a Legendarium where the only other famous cat was Tevildo... who was later replaced by Sauron. Except that everyone feared the Cats, just like they did the Nazgul. Except that Beruthiel's name was written out of history (she is remembered by an obvious epithet, 'Angry Queen'), while Sauron purportedly refuses to let his be spoken (the Mouth aside). Except Beruthiel directly caused the end of the first line of the Kings of Gondor, while the Nazgul eventually ended the last...

My point? In this short piece that has so many points of connection to the Nazgul, the lead character... is a woman.

(Next time: the unusual place of Tar-Telperien, prospective Nazgul, in the narrative of Numenor. Maybe.)

William Cloud Hicklin
12-22-2017, 09:19 AM
-The first reference to the concept of Ringwraiths occurs in HoME 6, 'The Return of the Shadow', where Gildor tells Bingo that the Black Riders are 'Servants of the Lord of the Ring - [people?] who have passed through the Ring'. Note the sadly-unclear word 'people' - not 'men'. Deliberate use of a gender-neutral term?

No, a race-neutral term. At that very early stage (before even The Shadow of the Past, or alternatively the earliest draft of what would become that chapter) Tolkien envisioned the "people who have passed through the Ring" as including Men, Elves and Dwarves. He specifically mentioned how horrifyingly powerful "elf-wraiths" were.

William Cloud Hicklin
12-22-2017, 09:26 AM
Tar-Telperien died in SA 1731. She was notable for two things: being the second ruling Queen, and being the first monarch to cling to the Sceptre into her dotage (although she did finally relinquish it shortly before her death).

Now, besides the whole "death" part scotching the Nazgul theory, even if we were to go all Alex Jones and suggest she faked it somehow, there's also the fact that she very visibly aged-- not something a keeper of a Great Ring would or could do.

Huinesoron
12-22-2017, 01:21 PM
...there's also the fact that she very visibly aged-- not something a keeper of a Great Ring would or could do.

Where's that from? I've been researching the queens of Numenor of late (for entirely unrelated reasons), but haven't been able to find much more for Tar-Telperien than 'long lived, died in the same year she handed over the sceptre'. Is there a source for 'very visibly aged'? (It's actually a bit late for my other thing, but it's always worth finding out more...!)

Obviously the Tar-Nazgul theory assumes that she either faked her death, or was actually ousted in a palace coup that was hushed up. Since the only source texts I know of are of Numenorean origin (or rather, were written by Tolkien as in-universe documents of Numenorean origin...), they would be expected not to mention such a shameful event.

hS