The Wraith-world: What's in it and can a living non-Maia live as a non-wraith in it?

Discussion in '"The Lord of the Rings"' started by BalrogRingDestroyer, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. BalrogRingDestroyer

    BalrogRingDestroyer Member

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    I have heard about the Wraith world but only know that the Nazgul were in it and that Frodo and whomever else could used the Ring could pop into it, making themselves partially into it. Supposedly the transportation to the Wraith World happened with the lesser rings too.


    However, were just Nazgul in it or were there other things? Another thing I wondered is that the long term effects of wearing a Great Ring would be that you would be stuck in the wraith world as a Wraith yourself, but I do wonder, is it possible, if only be someone with some kind of magical power like Galadriel, to use a Great Ring, or perhaps even the One Ring itself, to fully enter the Wraith World without dying or becoming a Wriath?
     
  2. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Currently in hiding

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    That is one complicated question!

    One approach to it could be that,rather than thinking of it as a separate "world", consider it as a part of "this" world, normally invisible to mortals, in which spiritual beings, both demonic and angelic, have their existence.

    This is not to say that some, at least, of these beings can't exist in both "worlds" simultaneously -- the Nazgul being an obvious example. They are, in some sense, a special case, as they are mortals affected by the Rings (and the Ring). As a result, they have "faded", as Gandalf says, and their perception of "this" world has become limited. We see this through Frodo's eyes in the encounter at Weathertop.

    To your question, if you think of it in the way I suggest, you can see a case in the episode at the Ford of Rivendell:

    "I thought that I saw a white figure that shone and did not grow dim like the others. Was that Glorfindel then"?

    "Yes, you saw him for a moment as he is on the other side. . ." So Gandalf, who just before this, tells Frodo

    ". . .for those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds, and against both the Seen and the Unseen they have great power".

    So yes, in that sense, beings other than Maiar can "exist" in the wraith world -- it is our own -- at least in the subcreation. Some Elves do, though apparently only those who have seen the light of the Two Trees; I assume (possibly wrongly) this is not the case for the Sindar.

    That exchange, by the way, helps explain Gandalf's words to Elrond:

    "Even if you chose for us an elf-lord, such as Glorfindel, he could not storm the Dark Tower, nor open the road to the Fire by the power that is in him".

    That is somewhat elliptical; the meaning is clearer in the drafts,where it is made plain that to Sauron, say, a being like Glorfindel would appear as a shining beacon -- hardly an asset on a mission relying on stealth!

    I would guess Tolkien adapted this,as so.much else, from Catholic doctrine, but others will have to speak to that.
     
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  3. BalrogRingDestroyer

    BalrogRingDestroyer Member

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    I thought Glorfindel was an elf, not a Mair. Why is he shiny like a demi-god? Also, if that were the case of those who dwelt in the Blessed Realm existing in both, does that mean that the Numenorean guys who crossed the border into it against the rules were in both worlds at once? What about Sam, Frodo, Bilbo, and Gimli who also crossed into it?
     
  4. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Currently in hiding

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    First, let's be sure we don't conflate the Blessed Realm with the Wraith World! The first is an actual location; the second is, as I said, a "world" only in the sense that it's a part of "this" world (however you want to take that),of which mortals are normally unaware.

    Those of the Eldar who once lived in the first can "see"-- and "exist", if you like, in the second. Notice Glorfindel's words to Aragorn, as he examines the Nazgul dagger-hilt:

    'There are evil things written on this hilt' he said; 'though maybe your eyes cannot see them'.

    Perhaps it would be helpful to think of the Valinorean Elves as having a full,or at least a fuller, awareness of the world, than normal beings, due to their time in Aman. This had an effect on their essence also, somehow, so that to others with this awareness, whether good or evil, they would appear to "shine".

    Even mortals without this level of awareness could get a glimpse of the effect; note the "shimmer" cast by the Elf company met by Frodo and crew.

    There has been much speculation on whether he, and the other good characters you mention, ever got to Valinor itself, or lived out their days on Tol Eressea; Tolkien, AFAIK, was unclear about that. Whether they were given the "full awareness" I'm talking about, or to what extent, I've no idea.

    As far as the rebels go, I'd say no. In fact, when they stepped onto the forbidden land, they "experienced" it as deserted. I use quotation marks because it's possible that the Elves were actually there, but they were unable, or unpermitted, to see them: a "physical" blindness, to match, and reflect, their moral blindness.
     

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