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Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Oct 7 2012, 12:58am

Post #76 of 135 (2595 views)
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Barrow wights would be one example to consider to the contrary [In reply to] Can't Post

Though the answer as it seems to me is that we simply have no idea why Tolkien chose the name or what it meant in his mind. As ever I would very much argue it is open to interpretation.

LR


(This post was edited by Lacrimae Rerum on Oct 7 2012, 1:00am)


elostirion74
Rohan

Oct 7 2012, 1:09am

Post #77 of 135 (2355 views)
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well [In reply to] Can't Post

For me there´s a big difference between being able to/using your powers to raise people from their graves like zombies and giving people unnatural long life, so that they do not actually die, but pass into a shadow world between life and death. Tolkien writes in one of his letters that the Nazgûl do not have great physical powers, their powers reside in the unreasoning fear they inspire, like ghosts.

Zombies as they´ve been described and portrayed in films and literature seem to me far too literal to resemble Tolkien´s descriptions of the effects and nature of Sauron´s magic (or The Witch King´s magic).

Judging by your quote, it seems to me that Sauron played on the fear of death among the Numenóreans, creating a cult of rituals, sacrifices and sorcery intended to deceive the Numenóreans into thinking they actually could and even had the right to escape death and prolong their lives beyond their natural span.


Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 7 2012, 7:14am

Post #78 of 135 (2552 views)
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You probably know this. [In reply to] Can't Post

Barrow Wights just means barrow men. Prior to Tolkien, their was no connection between the word "wight" and undead. The Barrow Wights are described by Tolkien as evil spirits that entered the Barrows of old kings in order to defile them, not the reanimated bodies of the kings themselves, so their "undead" status is open to question.

The only 100% certifiable undead are the Dead Men of Dunharrow, and they are spirits, who (it is speculated in the book) have no power to physically harm the living.

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


geordie
Tol Eressea

Oct 7 2012, 9:10am

Post #79 of 135 (2367 views)
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No problem - [In reply to] Can't Post

- I think you presented the quote fairly; stating that you thought it was from Tolkien's letters, and not saying outright that it was from Tolkien himself. I admit I found it unlikely; I don't think JRR would use the phrase ' they brought down upon themselves a very world-shattering doom'.

And Voronwe was right in pointing out that it most prob'ly comes from an online forum; a quick google of the first sentence gives us this webpage -

http://forum.barrowdowns.com/archive/index.php?t-1311.html

One thing this does show is that it's easy to pluck stuff off the net; and that it's important to find out where it comes from, in order to ascertain what is Tolkien and what is not. I'm thinking of those web-pages with so-called 'Tolkien quotes' - few if any give citations, and all too often folk will repeat what they find there without question. At least that's not so in your case, and I'm grateful for that.

Smile


(This post was edited by geordie on Oct 7 2012, 9:12am)


Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Oct 7 2012, 10:41am

Post #80 of 135 (2437 views)
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I'm not sure I would agree with that. [In reply to] Can't Post

"Wight" has had supernatural meanings for more than a thousand years. Although "undead" is a later word, "wight" has also been used in the same space prior to Tolkien.

The Barrow wights were certainly "dark spirits", but the most common reading by a long chalk is that those spirits entered the remains within the barrows and animated them.

"A shadow came out of dark places far away, and the bones were stirred in the mounds. Barrow-wights walked in the hollow places with a clink of rings on cold fingers, and gold chains in the wind." Etc etc.

I'm uncertain about the requirements to be a "certified" undead but the Nazgul presumably also fit the bill as Tolkien uses the term for them (specifically the WK)

LR


Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 7 2012, 11:52am

Post #81 of 135 (2427 views)
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So [In reply to] Can't Post

Wheel-wrights, ship-wrights, and so on are supernatural? Well, I always thought the Cartwrights on Bonanza where a bit fishy!

Clearly, in order to be certified as undead, you need a death certificate. Which means the Witch King doesn't qualify, since, like an old soldier, he didn't die, he just faded away.

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Oct 7 2012, 12:15pm

Post #82 of 135 (2367 views)
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*Scratches head* [In reply to] Can't Post

Apologies if I implied that the supernatural meaning is the word's only meaning. Of course that is not my intention.

LR


Tim
Tol Eressea


Oct 7 2012, 1:10pm

Post #83 of 135 (2270 views)
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Not that clear-cut. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Clearly, in order to be certified as undead, you need a death certificate. Which means the Witch King doesn't qualify, since, like an old soldier, he didn't die, he just faded away.


Clearly this is open to interpretation, I can say that in no way is a wraith "alive" and thus they've crossed over into a form of "un-death" - beings who can corporally effect the living long after they've stopped taking breath. The undead are not merely zombies or vampires, folks. The Witch-King most certainly qualifies as "undead" in my mind and so do the barrow-wights.

A strong argument could be made that the Nazgul are animated bodies, feeding off of and controlled by a powerful supernatural spirit. They no longer feel emotions like a human, don't eat like a human, don't age as a human. Their existence depends on the strength and presence of a separate supernatural entity. They are merely extensions of this supernatural force and the will and personalities of who they once were are gone. Who they once were is dead.

King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?

Tim: There are some who call me... Tim?

King Arthur: You know much that is hidden oh Tim.

Tim: Quite.


Elenorflower
Gondor


Oct 7 2012, 2:59pm

Post #84 of 135 (2457 views)
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yes sorry for any confusion [In reply to] Can't Post

I will reference my sources better next time, I was just being lazy. Drat that Google and its seductive siren calls! Crazy


(This post was edited by Elenorflower on Oct 7 2012, 3:01pm)


SirDennisC
Half-elven


Oct 7 2012, 4:24pm

Post #85 of 135 (2380 views)
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Wight =/= Wright [In reply to] Can't Post

While I agree that wight has not always implied (or even meant) "undead," its usage does suggest something more than just "man" or "person." In my opinion, "wight" evokes ideas such as "dweller," "denizen,' "soul," and/or "spirit" ... those subtle states of being that purely physical descriptions seem to miss.

Its usage prior to Tolkien, to me, is along the lines of "soul" as in the phrase "she is a kind soul" rather than "she is a kind person;" the first phrase isn't speaking of an actual soul, but it is saying more about the state of being than the second phrase. As such, and in this sense, it is pretty clear why Tolkien chose the word to name whatever it was that was "living" in the Barrows.

Now as for "wright," that's an entirely different word. Though similar, according to the smattering of etymological research I've done, they are completely unrelated -- they are not derived from each other nor do they share a common source. However I admit I didn't delve deeply into the origin of either word.


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Oct 7 2012, 4:30pm)


Black Breathalizer
Rohan


Oct 7 2012, 5:02pm

Post #86 of 135 (2477 views)
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canon [In reply to] Can't Post

While this has been an interesting discussion, the point I have made remains unchanged: Tolkien has given Peter Jackson incredible latitude when it comes to how he chooses to depict 'the undead' in The Hobbit.

You may or may not prefer it and it may or may not fit your personal ideas about the appropriate depiction of the undead in Middle Earth. But you cannot argue it's 'not Tolkien' and against book canon.


Magpie
Immortal


Oct 7 2012, 5:43pm

Post #87 of 135 (2361 views)
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etymology [In reply to] Can't Post

wight:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=wight
wight (n.)
O.E. wiht "living being, creature," from P.Gmc. *wekhtiz (cf. O.S. wiht "thing, demon," Du. wicht "a little child," O.H.G. wiht "thing, creature, demon," Ger. Wicht "creature, infant," O.N. vettr "thing, creature," Swed. vätte "spirit of the earth, gnome," Goth. waihts "something"). The only apparent cognate outside Gmc. is O.C.S. vešti "a thing." Not related to the Isle of Wight, which is from L. Vectis (c.150), originally Celtic, possibly meaning "place of the division."

----

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wight
Wight is a Middle English word, from Old English wiht, and used to describe a creature or living sentient being. It is akin to Old High German wiht, meaning a creature or thing.[1][2]
In its original usage the word wight described a living human being.[3] More recently, the word has been used within the fantasy genre of literature to describe undead or wraith-like creatures: corpses with a part of their decayed soul still in residence, often draining life from their victims. Notable examples of this include the undead Barrow-wights from the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and the wights of Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game.
The English word is cognate with other Germanic words such as Dutch wicht, German Wicht, Old Norse vættir, Swedish vätte, Danish vætte. Modern High German Wicht means 'small person, dwarf,' and also 'unpleasant person,' while in Low German the word means 'girl.' The Wicht, Wichtel or Wichtelchen of Germanic folklore is most commonly translated into English as an imp, a small, shy character who often does helpful domestic chores when nobody is looking (as in the Tale of the Cobbler's Shoes). These terms are not related to the English word witch. In Scandinavian folklore, too, wights are elusive creatures not unlike elves, capable of mischief as well as of help. In German and Dutch language the word Bösewicht or Booswicht points out an evildoer, "Bösewichte haben keine Lieder" means they (do not make merry) are unpleasant folk.

----

also see: http://onelook.com/?w=wight&ls=a

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
wright

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=wright
wright (n.)
O.E. wryhta, wrihta "worker" (Northumbrian wyrchta, Kentish werhta), variant of earlier wyhrta, from wyrcan "to work" (see work). Now usually in combinations (wheelwright, playwright, etc.) or as a common surname. Common West Germanic; cf. O.S. wurhito, O.Fris. wrichta, O.H.G. wurhto.

----

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wright

Etymology 1
Old English wyrhta, from West Germanic *wurhtjo (as in Proto-Germanic *wurkijanan), from Proto-Indo-European *werǵ- (“to work”) (English work). Cognate with English wrought.
[edit]Noun
wright (plural wrights)
(obsolete) A builder or creator of something.

----

also see: http://onelook.com/?w=wright&ls=a

_____________

I will admit, I found myself a little confused when I saw 'wright' being discussed alongside of 'wight' but I hadn't read every post so I thought I might have missed something.


LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery
TORn History Mathom-house ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


Sunflower
Valinor

Oct 7 2012, 6:01pm

Post #88 of 135 (2385 views)
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Happy animal stories [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh, dear. Sorry Elanor if I scared you further-that was not my intention:).
You don't have to give up on animal stories though! There are some good ones with happy endings. Have you ever seen "Born Free"? It came out in the late 60's--'69 I think--and its score won an Oscar. It's based on a true story, about a couple working in the Serengeti who decide to adopt an orphaned lion cub and what happens when they try to release it back into the wild. The ending is so beautiful that I found it hard to believe that it was a real story. And, of course, the gorgeous music....I often think that the folks at Disney refed this little gem when they were making "The Lion King"--it's a classic. Well worth a look!

And for everyone else...I'm munching the popcorn, hugely entertained by a patented TORn digression on a topic that most other folks skim through, or at least argue with half or a quarter of the literary knowledge and passion...:)


Elenorflower
Gondor


Oct 7 2012, 7:19pm

Post #89 of 135 (2426 views)
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Wind in the Willows [In reply to] Can't Post

 I still drive round the countryside going Poop Poop!!


elostirion74
Rohan

Oct 7 2012, 8:31pm

Post #90 of 135 (2189 views)
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Barrow-wights [In reply to] Can't Post

I´m glad you used the example of The Barrow-wights, since I consider examples important. A Barrow-wight is a specific kind of wights with different connotations than just wights in general, which Magpie´s etymological post shows (in which wight also was used about unpleasant creatures that are hardly more uncanny than gnomes). Both from the quote you´ve given and from what I can glean from different traditions and notable stories about barrow wights, it is associated with spirits animating the remains of a barrow, so here I agree that we have an example which seems clearly open to the kind of interpretation that we´ve discussed.

The story of LoTR in itself also says several concrete things about these wights, giving the wight the ability to perform spells and connecting their spells to objects within the barrow.

I can´t say anything about requirements to be undead, as I haven´t got any clear idea about what the term means. As to the nature of and the powers of the Nazûl, they are explained by Gandalf and Aragorn in LoTR and elaborated on by Tolkien in his letters, and it´s made clear that they are controlled by Sauron and are extensions of his malice (unlike more independent evil creatures).


Fardragon
Rohan

Oct 7 2012, 8:54pm

Post #91 of 135 (2499 views)
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William Horwood wrote a sequal [In reply to] Can't Post

In which Mr Badger dies...

A Far Dragon is the best kind...


Elenorflower
Gondor


Oct 7 2012, 10:34pm

Post #92 of 135 (2339 views)
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WOT! [In reply to] Can't Post

Laugh say its not true!


Phibbus
Rohan


Oct 8 2012, 2:31am

Post #93 of 135 (2520 views)
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Booooorn Freeeee! [In reply to] Can't Post

As free as the wind blows...

You just shorted my nostalgia circuit recalling that—and all those animal movies/shows from that period. Just in the lion category, you had Born Free (later a TV series), Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion (and then the series, Daktari,) and the animated Kimba the White Lion (which, I think, was even more a direct model for The Lion King.)

Then, of course, there was Flipper... and Gentle Ben... and... I'm showing my age.

Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.


Elenorflower
Gondor


Oct 8 2012, 2:49pm

Post #94 of 135 (2376 views)
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Black Beauty, [In reply to] Can't Post

Skippy the Kangaroo, Julia and the White Horses, and Lassie. Wink Rhubarb and Custard and The Wombles of Wimbledon Common. and not forgetting the Banana Splits.


(This post was edited by Elenorflower on Oct 8 2012, 2:51pm)


Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Oct 8 2012, 3:26pm

Post #95 of 135 (2172 views)
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well since Tolkien was a linguist... [In reply to] Can't Post

I would assume he found these instead of bringing back the dead to life...

Necromancy is derived from the Greek νεκρομαντία, nekromantía, and is associated with black magic

However, since the Renaissance, necromancy has come to be associated more broadly with black magic and demon-summoning in general, sometimes losing its earlier, more specialized meaning. By popular etymology, nekromantia became nigromancy "black arts"


Dictionary definition:
1. a method of divination through alleged communication with the dead; black art. (notice it says communicating, not raising or creating Zombies)
2. magic in general, especially that practiced by a witch or sorcerer; sorcery; witchcraft; conjuration.


Taken directly from an online occult magazine
http://www.rendingtheveil.com/necromancy-dark-art/
"Amongst all the various names for magical practices, the word necromancy is probably the most foreboding and sinister. No doubt that such a practice was diabolical and associated with the blackest forms of magic. Popular folklore and belief defines necromancy as divination performed through the conjuration and manipulation of the spirits of the dead. The most outrageous form was the exhumation and reanimation of a corpse, which many often think of today when defining this term."

while it does claim reanimating a corpse it also calls it outrageous probably meaning most extreme and what people think of today, not ancient which is what Tolkien researched

"The origins of necromancy occurred in the far distant past, long before the time of antiquity. It was a system of divination that was ultimately derived from the pious observances paid to the dead at their tombs. It isn’t hard to imagine a person going to the grave site of some great kinsman and in addition to giving offerings and oblations, to ask for assistance with some family crisis. So the practice of necromancy probably stemmed from a natural desire to seek help from one’s departed ancestors. Thoughts about the value of advice or prophecy given by the dead varied considerably in antiquity. Some believed that the dead had resources beyond the ken of the living; others (like Homer) believed that the dead knew no more about things than when alive. Necromancy may have been derived innocently enough from funeral observations, but it’s also likely that it had a separate shamanic origin."

And since Tolkien did his research in ancient languages, not modern ones. Almost every source I found referring to ancient necromancy said Black magic, not all said anything about raising the dead other than communicating to find out the future.... I would assume he is referring to the older definitions of the word not what modern times has come to accept as what the word involves...

I know it fits with modern audiences but if it were the "done in the spirit of Tolkien" it would i am sure would use the oldest definition of the word instead of something more modern. On a personal note I think the idea of Zombies and undead other than spirits is tasteless and tacky in comparison to what Tolkien wrote. Think what you want but I prefer to think when Tolkien created the light or good wizards Gandalf, Radagast, Saruman...etc. he also created Black wizards or sorcerers to counter their goodness with evil not necessarily raising the dead. I think that was probably the furthest thing from Tolkien's mind.


(This post was edited by sinister71 on Oct 8 2012, 3:28pm)


Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Oct 8 2012, 6:42pm

Post #96 of 135 (2174 views)
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I'm afraid that if you trouble to look beyond internet rubbish like this [In reply to] Can't Post

You will find that raising the dead has been associated with necromancy since before Christ, so not awfully modern. Lucan has a particularly graphic description which may be more illuminating than online occult magazines.

As for the rest, I'm afraid it is mostly not true. "Nigromancy" simply means "Necromancy" (OED) and simply represents a shift in form not meaning.

You argue that the broader meaning of "black magic" is later, but then state that you feel sure that Tolkien intended the more ancient meaning, having already claimed that Tolkien simply meant "black magic".

"They obviously didn't research Tolkien's meaning of the Necromancer which in that day and age was referring to Black Magic/Sorcery Not bringing things back from the dead."

Alas this makes no sense.

As ever when someone puts "in that day and age" it seems to suggest that the author isn't very clear on when that might be. Here there seem to be three possibilities:

At the etymological roots of the word in the 3rd century, by which time records of raising of the dead as part of such processes were already old.

Or within the pseudo-historical traditions of ME in which the raising of the dead featured strongly. You may find it tacky but creatures such as the draugr from Norse sagas were surely familiar to Tolkien and reflected in his own walking dead (the barrow wights).

Or at the time Tolkien was writing where the English usage of the word had included ideas of raising the dead for hundreds of years (e.g. Swift in 1709 - "The General, who was forced to kill his enemies twice over, whom a Necromancer had raised to life")

So I'm afraid the notions that you know what Tolkien intended is, of course, utterly unsupported. You can opine freely, but opinion it is, and the notion that anyone who disagrees hasn't done their research, is patently false.

LR


(This post was edited by Lacrimae Rerum on Oct 8 2012, 6:43pm)


Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Oct 8 2012, 7:08pm

Post #97 of 135 (2116 views)
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we can agree to disagree [In reply to] Can't Post

since it is quite obvious you like the raising the dead and having zombies running around middle earth. I feel its tasteless and NOT what Tolkien meant. Raising spirits is one thing but reanimating the dead is something altogether different. which I still feel is not what Tolkien meant.



In Morgoth’s Ring – The Later Quenta Silmarillion (11) Of Re-Birth and Other Dooms of Those that Go To Mandos CT – acting as his father’s editor – finally let’s us in on the secret that has been teasing us since The Hobbit was first published.
Morgoth’s Ring was published in 1993 – The Hobbit in 1937 (revised edition 1966). So, 56 years on the ‘Necromancer’ and his secrets were finally revealed. Yet, given the restricted circulation of HOME 10 it is highly probable that millions of Tolkien fans do not yet know quite what Tolkien meant by ‘the Necromancer’ other than its more general sorcerous application.
In Morgoth’s Ring the story finally unfolds!
1. To understand the unfolding we have firstly to become familiar with two terms: fea (pl. fear) and hroa (pl.hroar) or hron / hrondo (pl. hroni)
2. fea (pl. fear) soul, indwelling spirit , of an incarnate being
3. hroa (pl.hroar) or hron / hrondo (pl. hroni) body (of an incarnate being)
4. We also need to understand that the fea (spirit) is unable to be coerced or forced. Thus it cannot be made to go to Mandos even if it has been properly summoned. The summons may be refused.
5. Those fear (spirits) that refuse the summons and remain in ME wander homeless in the world- they have no personal hroa (body) or hroar (bodies) to inhabit. Many haunt trees, or springs, or hidden places that they once knew.
6. Not all of those who refuse the summons are kindly – many are stained by the Shadow. Indeed, the refusal of the summons is in itself a sign of taint.
7. The Valar who rule Arda have thus forbidden the living to commune with the Unbodied, though the latter may desire it, particularly the more evil sort.
8. Some of the Unbodied are filled with envy, bitterness, and grievance and some of these were enslaved by Sauron, and even though he is gone, they still do his work.
9. They do not speak truth or wisdom and for the living to call on them is perilous.
10. Attempting to master them and binding them to one’s will is wicked . They are the practices of Morgoth, and the necromancers who do this are followers of Sauron.
11. The evil Unbodied will possess the hroa (body) of a living person if possible. So communing with them is doubly perilous as it could involve the loss of one’s hroa (body)
12. The evil Unbodied, if given friendship by the living may seek to eject the fea (spirit) of the living person and occupy their hroa (body). The resultant battle can either cause grave injury to the living person’s body, or result in its actual possession by the Unbodied, and the dispossession of the living person’s fea or spirit.
13. The Unbodied may try and plead for shelter, and if allowed to enter the hroa (body) of a living person will seek to enslave and use both the fea ( spirit) and hroa (body) of the living person for its own purposes, ultimately probably expelling the original fea (spirit)
14. Sauron is said to have done these things, and to have taught his followers how to achieve them- hence his name ‘Necromancer’.

in the Lay of Leithian in the passage which describes Beren’s and Finrod’s approach to Tol Sirion, and description of Sauron’s(Thu’s) occupation of it. There, besides commanding a host of spirits, he is also attributed the power of injecting spirits into the bodies of monsters(wolves)



More useless internet nonsense taken from someone who did research from Tolkien's writings, but still I see no mention of actually raising and reanimating dead corpses.. I merely see possession of the living be they human or animal by a dead spirit...



(This post was edited by sinister71 on Oct 8 2012, 7:17pm)


Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Oct 8 2012, 7:30pm

Post #98 of 135 (2316 views)
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Again you fail to understand. [In reply to] Can't Post

It has nothing to do with what I like or not. Your position is that you know what Tolkien intended (and that those who disagree are wrong). Mine is that you do not. What you feel is of course up to you.

Not that it matters to the above, but the barrow wight would be an example of a dead body being animated by a dark spirit (following in the Norse tradition that I mentioned). Though you are under no obligation to like barrow wights of course.

LR


Tim
Tol Eressea


Oct 8 2012, 7:51pm

Post #99 of 135 (2154 views)
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Looking at the evidence, I fail to see what the problem is [In reply to] Can't Post

It's saying here in your example that spirits are inhabiting bodies. From the evidence, the original person is dead. From the evidence (take the Nazgul for example) the body changes into something that is not human and more related to death and decay.

How is this in any practical sense different from a zombie?

Most zombie movies I've seen don't really go into the HOW but the results are the same. The original person is gone. The body changes into something more related to death and decay. Supernatural animation is involved.

Do we see any examples of a whole person, completely natural and life-like in appearance, who has been possessed by Sauron or another spirit? Not that I'm aware of. The barrow-wights, the Nazgul, are not critters that will pass for living beings as they stroll through town.

Middle Earth is a dark place. A good chunk of its inhabitants are Elves who have been horribly mutated by Sauron's old boss Melkor (Morgoth). Mountains are hostile sometimes. Trees try to eat you. Men are cursed so they cannot be released even in death. Werewolves and vampires exist (Sauron takes on the form of both).

To each their own, but I don't find zombie-anything a stretch.

King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?

Tim: There are some who call me... Tim?

King Arthur: You know much that is hidden oh Tim.

Tim: Quite.


Sinister71
Tol Eressea


Oct 8 2012, 8:31pm

Post #100 of 135 (2183 views)
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And you don't know Tolkien didn't mean Black magic / Sorcerer its all open to interpretation [In reply to] Can't Post

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)

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