Monday, April 21, 2008

Those evil flying devils

I like to pretend that I know what is going on in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but here's one thing that really throws me. If I am thinking correctly, the Nazgul are the dragon like things that the Ringwraiths fly around on. But the characters in the books seem to use the ringwraith and nazgul names interchangeably. What, then, inflicts the paralyzing fear in the men during the battle at Gondor? They all cry "Nazgul" when it flies over, which would lead me to think that they are referring to the mount, but I didn't think they projected fear like the Ringwraiths did. I can see why the soldiers would be terrified of both, but one would think that the more terrifying one would overshadow the other. So, if anyone has any ideas why these two figures seem to be one in the same, it would be interesting to hear your opinions.


Steve Atteberry said...

The Nazgul are the ringwraiths, the name comes from the black speech. The flying devils are never really given a name in the books, I think. When the Nazgul are riding these flying mounts they are called the Winged Nazgul, which is probably what caused the confusion.

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Tim said...

I think also that the men of Gondor fear the both of these evil things. They fear the Nazgul or Ringwraiths because of who they are and what they can do. On the other hand I think that they fear the winged mounts because they are freakin' winged mounts. I also think that the fact that the Nazgul ride the winged mounts is the reason that they are somewhat protected from attacks. Winged creatures would seem vulnerable to bow/arrow attackers, but I think the Nazgul screams sort of protect the winged creatures.

Jamie Cox said...

I think it's Gollum who calls them "Wraiths on Wings" and who wouldn't be scared of that? First off, huge flying things that want to kill you are scary, and adding to that the fear of the Ringwraiths is just overwhelming.

soune said...

I think it's interesting how dragons or dragon-like creatures are always depicted as evil like in Beowulf as well. I wonder how that came about.

Steve Atteberry said...

I just rented this video The Power of Myth with Joseph Campbell. In it he says that European dragons represent greed and lust. That's why they're always guarding treasure and sometimes virgins, even though they don't really have any use for such things.

These dragons, like Smaug from The Hobbit, represent weaknesses in ourselves. That's why heroes often have to slay dragons, or overcome these weaknesses.

Also, think about the giant eagles that seem to show up at the last second and take the good guys where they need to be. These winged beasts could just be the evil side's version of giant eagles.