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Old 11-21-2012, 08:20 AM   #1
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Nazgul and their fading/death

When the nazgul got the rings, how did they get from kings to "ghost" and black riders. Did they still rule their kingdoms when they had the rings? And if they did, didnt people think they lived utterly long for being humas? And they must have looked bad, and smell aswell. So can anyone please explain what happenden to the after they got the rings? thanks alot!
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:46 AM   #2
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I don't know about smelling, but I guess the answer would be easy if you look at Bilbo or Frodo. If they had been wearing the Ring for too long, they'd eventually fade. I assume with the Nazgul, it would have been similar. Gandalf seems to hint as much when he's explaining the Ring-lore to Frodo. Those of them who were kings would remain ruling their kingdoms, people would consider them "blessed with unnaturally long life" and possibly even revere them even more for that (after all, having a powerful immortal ruler feels pretty cool for the people, at least in the "international politics": if you imagine that some of the Nazgul were kings from East or South, where you can imagine lots of wars between small kingdoms and tribes going on, having a strong immortal ruler would definitely be a boost to the nation's morale, and something rather scary for their enemies).

Eventually, however, the Nazgul would succumb to their Rings, fade, became mere shells and enslaved by Sauron's will. Then, I guess, either Sauron would call them to himself (i.e. the king simply one day picks himself up and walks away to Mordor to work on some errands for Sauron that are now more important for him than some small Easterling kingdom) or if he cared, he could make them join their realms to Mordor or whatever. In any case, Nazgul were too powerful to just waste their potential on having them sitting on a throne somewhere far away, Sauron could easily replace them with anybody else if he had the power. Or that's what I would think.

But as for the process of fading, like I said... the best illustration of how it would go is really the part Gandalf mentions to Frodo in The Shadow of the Past:
A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becomes in the end invisible permanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings. Yes, sooner or later – later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last – sooner or later the dark power will devour him.
"But it is not your own Shire," said Gildor. "Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out."
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:46 PM   #3
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I seem to recall reading (alibiet in a not so reilable source) that, under their armor, the Nazgul wore "the robes of the dead". This bring up another possilbility, that, while the Nazgul can not die in reality, they can achieve a senescent state that resembles being dead to anyone who does not know better. We know for a fact that, especially during those periods when Sauron was "dead" (not incarnate) the Nazgul often seemed to fade from sight and notice. Maybe thier power waxes and wanes as Sauron's does; when Sauron is low in strenght so are they and thier rings. At the lowest ebb it can easily imagine the Nazgul could have so little energy they could be all but comatose, able to do little or nothing save sit and await thier masters call. The Nazgul never die as long as thier rings are intact, but how "alive" they are is debatable, in the sense of bodily functions (i.e. do they still eat, or sleep, or things like that) Deprived of movement, they might easily appear "dead" to those around them, and be entombed, to wake later as Sauron rises again (the Nazgul are, for all intents and purposes, undead liches, apart from the simple fact of never actually dying) Most are said to be powerful sorcerors in and of thier own right, so breaking out of a tomb shoud cause them no trouble (if indeed they even have to, given the time periods that pass when Sauron is "dead" many could easily wake to find themselves in Tombs and Barrows so decayed and worn by age that they are functionally not there (and if they are already invisible, most people would not see them leaving anyway.
To finish two questions of my own

1. Given the extremely long time periods involved, would a Nazgul actually have to leave his kingdom per se It seems to me that, given the ridiculosly long periods Sauron can say dormant, if there is any truth in my above guess, most Nazgul could easily awake and find thier respective Kingdoms simply GONE, wiped away by time. Angmar was actually actively destroyed, but the Witch King was ALREADY a wraith by the time he founded it, so it doesn't really count.

2. Since Sauron did not give out all of the Mortal rings at once (and indeed appears to have done so over a fairly long period) where some of the Nazgul already "wraithified" at a time when some of the later ones were not (or indeed had not yet even recieved rings. In other words were the later Nazgul in the dark about the "side effects" of the rings until it was too late, or were they fully aware of what the rings would eventually do to them, and took them anyway (Gandalfs quote seems to indicate that not ALL of the Nazgul were wholly wicked individuals at the time they took the rings. That actually brings up a rather creepy thought, if the rings were tools of enslavement, rather than posession (i.e. if deep inside each Nazgul, there was still a human fea witnessing all that thier changed form did, but no longer able to do anything to change them, does that mean that when they died, there were still mannish souls that passed on to wherever Eru judges. In other words, assuming that, In a Christian mold, the souls of dead men will at some point either pass into an afterlife and or be raised post Daor Dagorath, is there a chance some of the Nazgul will be raised as well? ).
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Old 11-23-2012, 01:41 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Aeglos View Post
And if they did, didnt people think they lived utterly long for being humas? And they must have looked bad, and smell aswell.
I don't see any problem Nazgul to rule human kingdom.
Isn't Sauron did that in Numenor? And nobody seems to have problems with the fact that Sauron possessed great magic (except Izildur, his father, and their followers).

During the time when kings becomes wraits, I think in mind of the ordinary people, it was a transition from king to god.
After all, as Gandalf said, Sauron's servants are not only wraits and ghost, but also humans (Haradrims for example), and if humans could serve Sauron from Numenor to the end of the third age, why they wouldn't serve Nazguls?
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