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Legolas in FOTR


Nov 19 2012, 6:51am

Post #1 of 9 (1880 views)
Legolas in FOTR Can't Post

So when Legolas makes his epic shot in the dark during The Fellowship of The Ring is that a Naguls Fell Beast that he shot down or what? I've heard that it was but was never sure.


Nov 19 2012, 7:40am

Post #2 of 9 (906 views)
Gandalf says so [In reply to] Can't Post

'...And he does not know of the quarrel between his servants and the Orcs of Mordor; nor does he know of the Winged Messenger.'
'The Winged Messenger!' cried Legolas. 'I shot at him with the bow of Galadriel above Sarn Gebir, and I felled him from the sky. He filled us all with fear. What new terror is this?'
'One that you cannot slay with arrows,' said Gandalf. 'You only slew his steed. It was a good deed; but the Rider was soon horsed again. For he was a Nazgűl, one of the Nine, who ride now upon winged steeds. Soon their terror will overshadow the last armies of our friends, cutting off the sun. But they have not yet been allowed to cross the River, and Saruman does not know of this new shape in which the Ringwraiths have been clad...'

- The White Rider

"As all things come to an end, even this story..."

Here we read of Bilbo, who is “quiet and drowsy”, that “every now and again he would open one eye” and listen to Gandalf’s tale. Is Tolkien deliberately echoing this passage in LOTR when he writes, “At that Bilbo opened an eye, almost as if he had heard … ‘You see, I am getting so sleepy’, he said.”?
- N.E. Brigand

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Nov 19 2012, 12:52pm

Post #3 of 9 (848 views)
How does Gandalf know this stuff? [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf's remark makes me wonder how many "winged steeds" Sauron had, so that the Nazgul could be "soon horsed again". Nine Nazgul - thus nine flying creatures at a minimum. Soon horsed again, when the Nazgul was on a reconnaissance far from Mordor - thus nine more, so that each wraith could have a replacement nearby at need? Or is Gandalf saying soon in a more relative sense, like "in just a few weeks from now"?

18 Flying Beasts? Or more? or less? Then the question arises of the reliability and quantity of the fell meats supply, especially on long-distance flights or forward operations.

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!"
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Nov 19 2012, 2:57pm

Post #4 of 9 (811 views)
TTT [In reply to] Can't Post

Was this from The Two Towers?


Nov 19 2012, 2:59pm

Post #5 of 9 (803 views)
Yes. Book III, ch. 5. // [In reply to] Can't Post


"As all things come to an end, even this story..."

Here we read of Bilbo, who is “quiet and drowsy”, that “every now and again he would open one eye” and listen to Gandalf’s tale. Is Tolkien deliberately echoing this passage in LOTR when he writes, “At that Bilbo opened an eye, almost as if he had heard … ‘You see, I am getting so sleepy’, he said.”?
- N.E. Brigand

The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for The Return Journey!

Grey Havens

Nov 19 2012, 7:01pm

Post #6 of 9 (821 views)
slaying with arrows [In reply to] Can't Post

As noted in the thread already, Gandalf says: 'One that you cannot slay with arrows' and it's interesting that Tolkien should have Gandalf say this, after the reader has experienced the earlier enounter with fire and water -- the Nine are said to fear fire if I recall correctly, and certainly were 'undone' in some way, for a while at least, after the flood, a physical force.

Does Gandalf mean the arrow (or a fall from a great height) cannot 'slay' the Wraith in the sense that the wraith can just pluck it out, smile, and continue as if nothing, or little enough, had happened?

Or is Gandalf here restating something like what he had noted earlier after the incident at the ford of Bruinen? That the Nine, although they can be 'defeated' by crashing water, cannot be 'ultimately' slain by water, or arrows, or a high fall (although granting that the beast could have died but not necessarily instantly, and maybe after the wraith flew it to the ground).


Nov 19 2012, 10:08pm

Post #7 of 9 (807 views)
So they are semi-physical? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Gandalf was making the distinction between the beast (killable) and the Nazgul riding it (not killable). Calling it a "Winged Messenger" might be a bit confusing since Nazgul don't have wings (unlike balrogs), and it was just riding a winged beast.

As for killing or maiming Nazgul, my own guess is that an arrow wouldn't even stick to a Nazgul, so there would be no need to pluck it out, other than sticking to its clothing as a nuisance. When Frodo stabbed at the Nazgul on Weathertop, he only succeeded in ripping its clothing, and Aragorn says that if Frodo had connected with the wraith's "body," then his sword would be gone, since all blades perish that strike those deathless creatures. (Except the Barrow-blades, of course, but no one seemed to know that.) Which makes me think an arrow would perish also.

You raise a thorny point, since the Nazgul were somehow robbed of their corporeal bodies by the Bruinen flood. Was it just the water, or Elrond and Gandalf's power in the water that made them mostly harmless ghosts until Sauron put them back together again? What happens if they fall off of the top of Barad-dur--do they lose their bodies, or get up and dust themselves off? The rules aren't clear how you can rob them of their physical form without killing them.

Grey Havens

Nov 20 2012, 7:00pm

Post #8 of 9 (760 views)
physical but invisible maybe [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the Nine were physical but invisible, and so I'm going to guess that Gandalf is essentially repeating his statement from earlier on (after the Nine were lost in the flood), meaning that even if Legolas had killed the Rider, he [the rider] could still come back at some later point because the One still existed, which meant Sauron still existed in enough potency.

I realize this might arguably 'take something away' from Eowyn's killing of the Lord of the Nazgul (that he could have returned had Sauron not been overthrown), but in a sense the wraiths were defeated at the ford, just not ultimately.

Merry stabs the Nazgul-lord in his unseen sinews... so he would appear to have sinews, and we know physical things can harm the wraiths. Thus (I think) arrows can harm them too, just not 'kill' them in the same sense as one can kill their steeds.

As for the blades perishing if they make contact, I'm not sure, but this could be with respect to the Witch-king and not the other eight -- actually at the moment I can't remember if this is made clear, but if I recall correctly, Aragorn, at least, is referring to the Lord of the Nazgul when he speaks to Frodo.

I realize they are called 'wraiths' but they were invisible (normally), and instilled unreasoning fear in things. I think that's plenty to have earned the term, even if they were yet unlike the Dead who followed Aragorn.


Nov 27 2012, 1:48pm

Post #9 of 9 (1494 views)
Uglúk gets in on this too [In reply to] Can't Post

This is also alluded to when Uglúk does a bit of gloating in front of Grishnákh, during one of their many arguments over where to deliver Merry and Pippin. He says something along the lines of "What's happened to your precious Nazgűl? Has he had another mount shot under him?"

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