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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit: And you don't know Tolkien didn't mean Black magic / Sorcerer its all open to interpretation: Edit Log

Tol Eressea

Oct 8 2012, 8:31pm

Views: 4087
And you don't know Tolkien didn't mean Black magic / Sorcerer its all open to interpretation

Almost all definitions I have read refer to Black Magic and Sorcery where not all of them refer to raising the dead or reanimating corpses, most do however only refer to communicating with the dead to find out about the future

But the Barrow wights are not reanimating the dead with the spirit of the corpse which is what some are implying necromancy is. They are evil spirits or demons inhabiting dead unanimated corpses who's spirit is gone or inhabiting someone that is living taking away their will.

Due to his inspiration from Hrómundar saga Gripssonar, during the writing of LOTR Tolkien at first foresaw a link between the Wights and the Ringwraiths, initially describing the Black Riders as horsed Wights, but the suggestion that they were the same kind of creatures was dropped in the published work. In the final work there remained a link between them: the wights were now spirits sent by the Witch King.

The Barrow-wights themselves are based on a similar creature in Germanic Mythology known in Norse as Draugar (the singular being Draugr).
They were said to be evil spirits residing in the bodies of dead heroes and kings and usually (but not universally) unharmed by conventional weapons. In such cases a hero of great strength and bravery. The defeat of a Draugr was not always permanent; they could return to plague the living if certain actions were not performed after the Draugr was vanquished. The usual means of destroying a Draugr was to cut off its head and to burn the body, for only then would the evil spirit be prevented from returning to the body.
Another, probably related, creature from Germanic and Slavic folklore was the Mahr (also called an Alp), a vampire-like creature that was said to rise from its barrow after dark to plague the sleeping and drink their blood. The primary way to vanquish them was to open their Barrow to the rays of the Sun, much like the Barrow-wight from Tolkien's mythology.
A very similar creature in Japanese mythology is the onryo, as they are undead spirits which dwell in darkness and are seemingly affected by the Sun. The onryo of Japan are deceased women, and have returned to Earth in a desire for vengeance. These spirits can also possess the living, the dead, and the undead.

(This post was edited by sinister71 on Oct 8 2012, 8:35pm)

Edit Log:
Post edited by Sinister71 (Tol Eressea) on Oct 8 2012, 8:35pm
Post edited by Sinister71 (Tol Eressea) on Oct 8 2012, 8:35pm

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