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Old 06-17-2005, 09:27 AM   #28
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Originally Posted by davem
Except Tolkien calls them Ringwraiths, & a wraith is defined by as:

Definition 3 is the problem. Tolkien knew very well what the word wraith meant. As to their ability to impact the physical, that is a problem, but not beyond another, 'magical' explanation.

I don't see any reason to quibble with Tolkien over a definition. It's true that he did not fully flesh out the details of his Nazgul, but I don't think they fall too far outside that definition for us to take issue with him. After all, many people would equate invisibility with insubstance anyway. That said, the fact is that the Ringwraiths were not wraiths in the strictest sense of the word. They could not pass through walls and they could wear clothing. Additionally, they had to rely on physical locomotion and were hampered by those same factors and forces that affect any physical Man or Elf. Although I've never seen it discussed, it seems to me that a true spirit's method of locomotion would be instantaneous, since I can't imagine what speed restrictions could be placed upon a disembodied consciousness.

Of course, I haven't spent much time in the spiritual realm, ROLF!!!!!!!
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