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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Can one be "willing" or "unwilling" when one no longer has a will?

squire
Valinor


Oct 14 2012, 1:35pm


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Can one be "willing" or "unwilling" when one no longer has a will? [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with you that we can hardly see the Nazgul as "oppressed slaves", since that implies they would take freedom if they could get it, in the manner of the cynical orcs. But there is a magic here that precludes the opposite conclusion as well, that they are somehow "in sympathy" with Sauron or "feel entirely on his side". Both characterizations credit the Nazgul with some kind of independent sense of being, and I think Tolkien intends us to realize that that is exactly what the Nazgul lack. They do Sauron's work neither willingly nor unwillingly, but simply because they have become metaphysical extensions of him, via the rings they bear and the One Ring that contains Sauron's essential spirit.

Tolkien is more explicit about this in his writings that followed the completion of The Lord of the Rings:
At length [Sauron] resolved that no others would serve him in this case but his mightiest servants, the Ringwraiths, who had no will but his own, being each utterly subservient to the ring that had enslaved him, which Sauron held. ("The Hunt for the Ring", Unfinished Tales)

[Had Frodo claimed the Ring in Mount Doom without interference by Gollum, the Nazgul would have been dispatched to stall him until Sauron himself could come.]
I do not think they could have attacked him with violence, nor laid hold upon him or taken him captive; they would have obeyed or feigned to obey any minor commands of his that did not interfere with their errand–laid upon them by Sauron, who still through their nine rings (which he held) had primary control of their wills. (Letter 246, September 1963)




squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Subject User Time
A so called "inconsistency" aruman Send a private message to aruman Oct 11 2012, 12:54pm
    Your conclusion is what I've always thought myself. CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Oct 11 2012, 4:28pm
        Thanks... aruman Send a private message to aruman Oct 11 2012, 6:04pm
    Inconsistency is as inconsistency does squire Send a private message to squire Oct 11 2012, 6:41pm
        Inconsistency vs. complexity CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Oct 11 2012, 8:13pm
            Exactly aruman Send a private message to aruman Oct 12 2012, 1:34am
            That's not what I would call complexity. sador Send a private message to sador Oct 12 2012, 12:41pm
                "No doubt?" Really? aruman Send a private message to aruman Oct 12 2012, 3:33pm
                    Plenty of doubt, when you think about it CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Oct 12 2012, 7:10pm
            technically, runes versus letters... Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Oct 13 2012, 10:24pm
                Thank you! aruman Send a private message to aruman Oct 14 2012, 4:51pm
        What reason would Sauron have at that point... mandel Send a private message to mandel Oct 11 2012, 11:56pm
            Maybe aruman Send a private message to aruman Oct 12 2012, 1:30am
            From Parma Eldalamberon 17, Saura (Quenya) = foul, vile... Tweezers of Thu Send a private message to Tweezers of Thu Oct 12 2012, 12:49pm
                So, it's not his real name. Elizabeth Send a private message to Elizabeth Oct 12 2012, 8:47pm
                    By Jove, er, Jupiter, I mean...Zeus! Tweezers of Thu Send a private message to Tweezers of Thu Oct 12 2012, 10:08pm
                        My take... Morthoron Send a private message to Morthoron Oct 13 2012, 1:45am
                            This... Tweezers of Thu Send a private message to Tweezers of Thu Oct 13 2012, 3:57pm
                        A Dark Lord by any other name... Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Oct 13 2012, 10:48pm
                            You might be right, i.e., . . . Tweezers of Thu Send a private message to Tweezers of Thu Oct 15 2012, 1:25pm
                    My take on it as well and what is Aragorn's "real" name anyway? telain Send a private message to telain Oct 19 2012, 1:19pm
                        S is for Sauron Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Oct 19 2012, 6:09pm
                            true, true! telain Send a private message to telain Oct 20 2012, 11:25am
                The meaning 'disgusting, foul, vile'... Elthir Send a private message to Elthir Oct 13 2012, 10:30pm
                    Thanks for the correction! Tweezers of Thu Send a private message to Tweezers of Thu Oct 13 2012, 10:46pm
        Another distinction Phibbus Send a private message to Phibbus Oct 18 2012, 3:47am
        Why do you assume the MoS was permitted to use the name? Noel Q. von Schneiffel Send a private message to Noel Q. von Schneiffel Oct 20 2012, 12:49pm
    Perhaps there is consistency Plurmo Send a private message to Plurmo Oct 12 2012, 4:27am
    I think you've hit the nail on the head. FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Oct 12 2012, 10:35am
    It could have been ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Oct 13 2012, 8:36am
        That would be me... FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Oct 14 2012, 11:58am
            Can one be "willing" or "unwilling" when one no longer has a will? squire Send a private message to squire Oct 14 2012, 1:35pm
                Good point FarFromHome Send a private message to FarFromHome Oct 14 2012, 8:21pm
                    I'm of the opinion loyalty must be a willing choice ElendilTheShort Send a private message to ElendilTheShort Oct 15 2012, 6:52am
            A couple great points here aruman Send a private message to aruman Oct 14 2012, 5:10pm
    Question aruman Send a private message to aruman Oct 14 2012, 5:19pm
        Excellent question CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Oct 18 2012, 8:13pm
            The Difficulty of having a Lord one can't name... Morthoron Send a private message to Morthoron Oct 19 2012, 3:49am
                Very nice! sador Send a private message to sador Oct 21 2012, 8:25am

 
 
 

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