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Old 08-25-2002, 05:12 PM   #1
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Sting Nazgūl-related blindness?

I've been lurking around the Downs for a while now, and I'm finally popping up to ask a question that's been bugging me for months.

Why was Frodo temporarily blinded when he fell in the Emyn Muil? I've been wondering ever since I re-read that passage a few months ago and realized there was never any explanation. The obvious cause is the Nazgūl-cry that terrified them, but why would it blind Frodo and not Sam? Are there any other instances where the Ring-wraith's cry causes blindness? And barring that, is there an obvious explanation that I've just overlooked?
Old 08-26-2002, 02:24 PM   #2
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It might be an effect of the Black Breath, but I kind of doubt it. The Nazgul was high up in the sky, rather far away for that drastic an effect from the Black Breath.

It might have been from the shock of the fall, or it might have just been really, really dark and Frodo thought he was blind.
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Old 08-26-2002, 02:41 PM   #3
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I had always assumed that it was from the fall. Temporary blindness.
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Old 08-26-2002, 05:01 PM   #4
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Perhaps the shock from the fall was just the last straw on top of weariness, anxiety, lack of sleep and propper food, fear and tremendous nervous strain.
Anyway I have experienced a state like this a couple of times. Quite frighteneing. But I don't think there was a Nazgul around
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Old 08-26-2002, 05:12 PM   #5
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...Did you ever think of the time when he was struck by the morgul blade?-Gandalf himself said he would carry the unhealing wound all his life...-well maybe this has some connection to your question...sorry if i was less than helpful... [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img]
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Old 08-26-2002, 07:49 PM   #6
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what Arie said makes sencse........
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Old 08-26-2002, 08:01 PM   #7
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I agree with Arie.
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Old 08-26-2002, 09:07 PM   #8
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I think Frodo lost his sight for a short time because he was so weary. I've never fainted before, but in books when people faint, it says that things "go black" right before they fall... maybe Frodo was so worn out he was close to fainting?
"For this is what your folk would call magic, I believe; though I do not understand clearly what they mean; and they seem to use the same word of the deceits of the Enemy. But this, if you will, is the magic of Galadriel."
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Old 08-27-2002, 03:36 PM   #9
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I'd agree with everything said above, but just add one more, they had just heard a Nazgul cry, and there was thunder and lightning around, so presumably, as the clouds closed in, it would have got darker naturally. Add that to weariness, shock. panic etc, and it seems strongly possible that Frodo was on the point of blacking out.
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Old 03-07-2003, 02:15 PM   #10
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I think that the Black Breath effected Frodo's wound. Each time they come into contact, a small blindness comes over him.

I also believe that there was a factor of the fall and wearyness. Especially knowing hobbits, food is primary factor in their life.

What about elevensees?

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Old 03-08-2003, 02:32 PM   #11
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Those explanations make sense. I've always assumed it was the fall (perhaps a bonk on the head) combined with falling in a shadowed part of terrain. It gets dark quickly in the hills, especially with a storm approaching. As tired and stressed as he was, I don't think it would've have taken much to disorient and temporarily blind him, even without the Nazgul to complicate things. And given hobbits' usual eating habits and Frodo's condition at the time, he might have been experiencing a moment of low blood sugar on top of everything else. [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] I know what that feels like, to kind of black out without losing consciousness.
Old 03-08-2003, 05:28 PM   #12
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I always thought it was actually due to the lightening, ie. he looked up as the lightening flaired. But perhaps I skim read too much!
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Old 03-08-2003, 07:15 PM   #13
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As Frodo drew nearer to Mordor, the power of the ring increased. The ring manipulates existing weaknesses, feelings, desires. Frodo's greatest problem after the breaking of the company was his self-doubt and hopelessness.

Like the ring, the cry of the Nazgul also had much more power near Mordor, and cut to Frodo's sense of hopelessness. And much more power when there was something for people to fear or feel hopeless about. Remember even cheery Pippin, standing at the walls of Gondor, was effected by the Nazgul flying overhead.

In Emyn Muil, Frodo was feeling particularly helpless as well. They were lost.

Later, when Frodo was outside the gates of Minas Morgul, the mere presence of the Nazgul caused him to freeze in a state of total helplessness - they didn't have to make a sound. Then Sam had to keep Frodo from going to them. Their influence was even stronger.

You're correct that hunger, et al, had something to do with it. But the effect of the cry of the Nazgul was mostly emotional.

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Old 03-08-2003, 09:08 PM   #14
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Will you look at this! My first BD post has been pulled back up! How exciting. I'm not Mįme anymore, for numerous reasons(OK, mostly 'cuz I didn't like the name), but this was me, back then.

I know that somewhere I have my theory on this subject scribbled out, and for some reason it didn't make it into the original post...I'm going to go look for it right now....

All right. I've scrabbled through piles of papers and looked through TTT, and I'm now ready to provide the only piece of evidence I can find that Frodo's blindness was related to the Nazgūl cry....and that would be this:

There...was a coil of the silken-grey rope made by the folk of L rien. He cast an end to his master. The darkness seemed to lift from Frodo's eyes, or else his sight was returning. He could see the grey line as it came dangling down, and he thought it had a faint silver sheen.
Then later...

Do you know, I thought for a bit I had lost my sight? From the lightning or something else worse. I could see nothing, nothing at all, until the grey rope came down. It seemed to shimmer somehow.
From this, I'm thinking that his blindness was at least partially related to the Nazgūl, since it almost appears to be the elven rope that brought his sight back. Since they elves are the only ones that can fight off the Nazgūl,(I think that's right -- someone correct me if I'm wrong.) it seems logical that something elvish would be able to..well..counteract something like this.

Thinking it over now, I'm rather inclined to think that it was partially the Nazgūl cry and partly just exhaustion on Frodo's part. The description is very similar to blacking out -- pounding heart, dizzy, blurred and/or momentarily lost vision.

Well, anyway, that's my new opinion, after having filed the subject away for six months or so. Thanks, Burzdol, for bringing this back up -- I doubt I'd have ever fleshed out my thoughts on it if you hadn't.

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Old 03-09-2003, 01:26 AM   #15
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I was about to mention the other instances of blindness, but Marigold beat me to it [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]. I'd say that it's a combination of the Ring's increasing strength and the proximity of the Nazgul - it's crying out to them in a way, and Frodo's feeling a lot of the effects of putting it on, one of which is partial blindness to the everyday world.
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Old 03-09-2003, 09:04 AM   #16
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I agree, the blindness must partly come from exhaustion and partly from the Nazgūl “cause everytime someone can“t see proper there“s a Nazgūl around (except they“re blindfolded of course [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] ).
But the blindness or "mist" seems to got with everything that is evil, e.g. the shadow/whatever when someone puts on the ring, the fog on the Barrow-Downs, the mist after Merry/Frodo fought against the Nazgūl, the "blindness" of Frodo in the Emyn Muil or Pippin after beeing knidnapped by the Uruk-hai and Sam“s blindness after he awakens in Cirith Ungol (don“t remember exactly).
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Old 03-09-2003, 02:23 PM   #17
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i agree with a lot of the things said already. But,

...Did you ever think of the time when he was struck by the morgul blade?-Gandalf himself said he would carry the unhealing wound all his life...-well maybe this has some connection to your question
That might make the most sense if it was the same ringwraith in the Emyn Muil as it was the same that stabbed Frodo with the morgul blade. That wound seemed to cause Frodo great pain when he came back by Weathertop, and that was pretty long after he had been stabbed. So, if it was the same ringwraith, it would only make sense if just having him near Frodo caused him pain. Not only that, but as many others have said, if you consider all the other factors, especially the ring, having Frodo going temporarily blind does't seem that far-fetched.
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