Exciting times are ahead for fans of The Lord Of The Rings, as The Rings Of Power is well within their sights. Delving into the roots of rising kingdoms, the series is set to give even more detail than audiences already have. In the epic world of The Lord of the Rings created by J.R.R. Tolkein few beings intimidate and demand overwhelming fear as the Nazgul. Known by many names such as The Nine, Black Riders, and The Ring Wraiths, these demented creatures were men at one point in time, since then corrupted by the Nine Rings of Power, given to them by the Dark Lord Sauron. They are bound to the One Ring and corrupted into phantom husks, forced to do the bidding of Sauron and remain loyal to him.
While the movies portray the Nazgul as one of the most powerful creatures in the series, there are many things about these dreaded creatures that the movies failed to reveal. However, Tolkien, through his original book, and subsequent legendarium of mythopoeic writings such as The Silmarillion, The Book of Lost Tales, and posthumously released Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle Earth has revealed many details about the Nazgul that were missing or sparsely alluded to in the movies.
10 The Nazgul Halted The Line Of Kings Of Gondor
As referenced in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King, by Gandalf the white tree of Gondor does not bear any flowers because the line of kings had been broken and it had fallen to the hand of Stewards, who take care of the once regal city. However, it is never mentioned how this line was broken.
In fact, it was the work of the Nazgul, specifically the Witch-King of Angmar, and the most powerful of the Ringwraiths, who had challenged Prince Earnur, the last king of Gondor to a challenge post the destruction of Angmar. Earnur had ventured deep into Minas Morgul after accepting the challenge, never to be seen again, thereby successfully breaking the line of Elendil, till Aragorn’s appearance during the War of the Ring.
9 The Nazgul’s Powers Varied Depending On The Time Of Day
The movies rarely mention how the Nazgul’s powers are exponentially increased during the dark of the night, while they become stunted to a degree in sunlight.
The Nazgul are unable to even see during the day, relying on their fell-beasts and mounts to navigate for them, while during the shadow of the night, their sense of sight and smell is greatly enhanced, with the presence of other beings casting a shadow in their mind, allowing the Nazgul to locate them without any trouble.
8 Gandalf Battled The Nazgul At Weathertop
Similar to the Nazgul, the movies have also left out many facts about Gandalf; one such fact concerning both the Mithrandir and the Nine. While The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring shows Aragorn besting the Nazgul at Weathertop, it was actually Gandalf who achieved the feat in the books.
Gandalf (who provided some of the wisest quotes in The Lord Of The Rings,), searched for Frodo and the hobbits and happened to find the Nazguls at Weathertop, whom he battled for an entire night before thwarting them away with the arrival of dawn. While the battle is only seen from a distance by Aragorn and the hobbits and relayed later by Gandalf at the Council of Elrond, the intensity of the skirmish can be surmised through the visage of singed grass and stones that Aragorn and the rest witnessed upon reaching Weathertop.
7 The Nazgul’s Use Of Sorcery
Just like many facts about the Elves, one of the most powerful races in The Lord Of The Rings, have been ignored in the movies, many facts concerning the Nazgul have also been completely neglected. One such fact is that not all the Nazgul members were kings of men; some were even sorcerers and great warriors of yore, who have been corrupted by the Nine Rings of Power and lost their humanity through a slow decaying process.
However, the movies failed to showcase their mastery over dark-magic significantly, except the one occasion where the Witch-King manages to break Gandalf The White’s staff, which too can be debated upon sporadically.
6 Why Merry’s Weapon Was Able To Harm The Witch-King Of Angmar
Although there are many powerful swords in The Lord of The Rings, very little has been spoken about the Daggers of Westerneese, which were handed down to the four hobbits by Tom Bombadil, after the latter saves them from a Barrow-wight. Both Bombadil and the incident with the Wight have been excluded in the movies, with no mention of the Westerneese daggers made even once.
However, Merry’s sword plays an important part during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, being enchanted by an Arthedainean weaponsmith with the ability to wound the Witch King one of the most powerful beings in The Lord Of The Ringsand leader of the Nazgul, thereby allowing Eowyn the chance to strike him dead. Regardless, it is an important detail that hasn’t been provided much stock in the movies.
5 The Nazgul’s Use Of The Black Breath
The Black Breath is another weapon that the Nazgul have in their arsenal, capable of making their victims dwindle into a fearful frenzy through the mere presence of the Nazgul. While the lucky victims would only suffer from devastating nightmares and unconsciousness, the ones gravely affected by the Black Breath would tend to lose all hope and cheer until finally succumbing to a deep sleep that would lead to hypothermia and death.
Just like the darkest Nazgul lore was left out of the films, this power of the Nazgul is rarely shown in the movies, or even referred to as being the Black Breath, most prominent victims of which were Faramir, Merry, and Eowyn, during the course of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
4 The Reason Why The Nazgul’s Shrieks Demand Such Fear
Amongst the many unexplained questions about Middle-Earth is one that deals with the fear that the voices of the Nazgul demand. While the movies show that all creatures cower in fear every time a Nazgul comes shrieking, no reason regarding as to why it happens is ever provided.
However, the reason behind this is that being agents of darkness, the Ringwraiths grow in power as the One Ring comes closer to its true master Sauron. They become so powerful that even their voices and shrieks are capable of sapping all hope from the hearts of the free-folk of Middle-Earth, stopping them in their tracks and making them fear the Nazgul for dear life.
3 The Witch-King Of Angmar’s Second In Command
While the Witch King is the leader of the Nazgul, little details have been given in Peter Jackson’s movies regarding his second in command. In fact, he is the only other Nazgul apart from the Witch King, who had a name, as well as a backstory.
Known as Khamul, the Easterling, he presided over Rhun, a kingdom in the east, until being corrupted by one of Sauron’s Nine Rings of Power, given to “Mortal men doomed to die.” He also served as lieutenant of Dol Guldur on behalf of Sauron.
2 How Minas Morghul, The Dead City, Was Established
It is true that Minas Morgul has been shown in the movies as Frodo ventures to the pass of Cirith Ungol, however, no reference regarding its history has been provided, apart from a passing remark by Frodo who said that he thought “these lands” to have been a part of the Kingdom of Gondor.
He was right of course, as Minas Morgul was once Minas Ithil, the easternmost fortress of Gondor, protecting the capital city Osgiliath from invaders of Mordor. However, with the weakening forces of Gondor, Minas Ithil was overrun by the Witch-King and the rest of the Nazgul and transformed into the Dead City, renamed Minas Morgul.
1 The Prophecy
With a LOTR Amazon series on the horizon, many things that have happened in the books might find televised representation. One such thing that was explained in the works of Tolkein and not the movies is the reason behind the Witch-King’s inability to be killed by any man.
During the Battle of Fornost, as the Witch King saw Angmar slipping from his grips, the Nazgul leader attempted to flee. However, Prince Earnur wanted to pursue and destroy him for good. It was Glorfindel who stopped him and prophesized, “Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall”, fulfilled by Merry (Hobbit) and Eowyn (Woman) in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.