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Old 12-15-2008, 05:18 PM   #3
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Hi Alfirin,

good points indeed!

It is unclear how many fell beasts Sauron owned, 10 at least and perhaps a few more 'spares' but I don't think it likely that he had hundreds of them stabled out the back of Barad-Dur (the Dark Tower's pigeon loft perhaps), though of course this is just my opinion!

They do appear to be the perfect command and scouting platforms for the Witchking's army, and the great value of fast aerial communication is nothing to be sniffed at either. As you say they provide the 'god-like-overview' that would be invaluable for the management of the siege of Minas Tirith, though possibly the Nazguls' vision could be obscured by the 'foul brown reek' or the smoke from the firepits, but its difficult to say with Nazgul.

I don't think its ever been convincingly established how many of the nine were at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. In a thread long ago there was much discussion and I worked it out as far as I could (in recompense for silly joking -fool of a Took), see here

Nazgul Spotting

Obviously 'number one' was there but Gothmog is at least a possibility, and perhaps (if he was a Nazgul) he employed his winged beast to assess the situation and throw in the reserves. I think the Winged beasts were too valuable for use in 'airborne assault' of Minas Tirith, as we know they are vulnerable to bows and arrows, and Gondor had various catapults etc (although they'd have to be very lucky to hit a maneuverable flying beast) - Gondorian ack-ack if you like. The Witchking used his steed to attack only a very high value target, ie Theoden, and could have swung the Battle had it not been for Eowyn and Merry.

Also I'm not so sure that the other Nazgul were so invulnerable, they were forced back by Aragorn with flaming brands etc and, unlike WK, they weren't prophesied to die 'not by the hands of man'. So it could have been risky both for the wraiths and their mounts.

Just seen Lal's post too, quite right! I have a feeling that the winged beasts were in some part inspired by the Stukas that JRRT must have seen in newsreels wreaking havoc on allied forces and civilians (naturally emphasized for propaganda purposes) during the blitzkrieg .
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