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The dark side of magic: Nazgul

CuriousG
Valinor


Dec 24 2012, 7:56pm


Views: 257
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The dark side of magic: Nazgul [In reply to] Can't Post

Welcome, Nolofinwe. I think Mim may be right that we need to define magic, if possible, to further explore noWizardme's OP. So I'll throw Nazgul magic into the mix, which I think is conventional magic and not technological.

1. The Witch-King vs. Frodo at the Ford of Bruinen in two magic acts: breaks Frodo's sword and renders Frodo mute. Then comes Elrond's magic of the river flood, which has touches of magic from Gandalf, purely for artistic effect. (Now really, why did Gandalf do that, other than out of vanity?)

2. The siege of Minas Tirith. The great gate withstood Grond until the W-King uttered a spell (three times) that made it burst. No gunpowder like Saruman used at Helm's Deep.

3. The W-King's threat to Eowyn that he wouldn't kill her but would leave her mind open to torment in Barad-dur. Maybe he meant that literally, but since he calls it her "naked mind" (I think; books not handy), I have always taken that to mean that she would be robbed of her body and left as a mind/spirit subject to endless torment. It gives me the chills to think of that threat, since it implies she can't die and will be in immortal hell.

4. I'm not sure about the Nazgul at Crickhollow. Fatty Bolger thinks he sees the gate open by itself, but maybe he just couldn't see them. But it seems more magical when they knock the door in just by pounding on it, unless they possibly have unusual strength.

Nazgul magic is violent magic, but I think Gandalf's magic in fighting the Balrog and the Wargs is violent too, as is Elrond flooding his local river. (Do you suppose Galadriel used the same trick when Dol Guldur attacked?) And Felagund fighting Sauron with songs of power seems like more than an artistic spat. It's also significant that Sauron sings back, hence he's as musical as an Elf and uses the same magic that they do.

So to circle back to Galadriel saying she's perplexed that hobbits use the same word for good and bad magic doesn't always hold up. I don't think flooding rivers in anger is "putting our love in all that we make." But it would make sense if there are different types of good magic. There's passive magic, such as Elven cloaks and watery mirrors, where you put your love into your creations and that has a life of its own, and the more active kind when you shut a door with a word of Command in a contest of wills or ring a kingdom of Doriath with--what, walls of deceit? I thought that was what the Enemy did?

The more I think about it, the more I think Mim is onto something with "Tolkien enjoys challenging the accepted use of words." Maybe he didn't really redefine magic, except in the passive sense I described, which I think is unique to him. Maybe he just wanted us to think about it.

Subject User Time
'The problem of magic' in Tolkien noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Dec 18 2012, 11:53am
    A thought about games noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Dec 18 2012, 1:33pm
    Galadriel and semantics CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Dec 20 2012, 7:37pm
        Magic vs Blessed Cyberia Send a private message to Cyberia Dec 21 2012, 12:22am
            Elvish magic (a helpful/distracting thought from "On Fairy Stories" noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Dec 21 2012, 4:12pm
    Palantiri vs Skype CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Dec 20 2012, 10:14pm
        Or the palantir as YouTube? noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Dec 21 2012, 6:59pm
    Gandalf's magic: a wizard's must CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Dec 21 2012, 2:51am
        Compare & Contrast: Terry Pratchett's witches noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Dec 27 2012, 12:55pm
            Magic and knowledge to Medieval witch hunters CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Dec 28 2012, 2:06am
    A problem of terminology Mim Send a private message to Mim Dec 23 2012, 6:41pm
        Magic & Grace of Valar/Aman/Undying Lands Nolofinwe Send a private message to Nolofinwe Dec 24 2012, 3:38pm
            You can add to that sador Send a private message to sador Dec 24 2012, 4:33pm
            The dark side of magic: Nazgul CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Dec 24 2012, 7:56pm
                passive elven magic Cyberia Send a private message to Cyberia Dec 24 2012, 10:10pm
                Light vs. Dark.. Nolofinwe Send a private message to Nolofinwe Dec 25 2012, 4:56am
                    Perception of Lorien (and Imladris for that matter) Nolofinwe Send a private message to Nolofinwe Dec 25 2012, 4:09pm
                        Good comparisons CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Dec 25 2012, 4:24pm
                            Yes Nolofinwe Send a private message to Nolofinwe Dec 25 2012, 4:31pm
                Evidence of anger? Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Dec 26 2012, 2:37pm
                    Read Gandalf's explanation to Frodo CuriousG Send a private message to CuriousG Dec 28 2012, 1:55am
                        Well, to be fair... Otaku-sempai Send a private message to Otaku-sempai Dec 28 2012, 9:26pm
        Please do! noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Dec 27 2012, 12:45pm
        Hobbit magic (to add to the pot!) noWizardme Send a private message to noWizardme Dec 27 2012, 6:21pm
    Elves/Rivendell Nolofinwe Send a private message to Nolofinwe Dec 31 2012, 3:05pm

 
 
 

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