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Why couldn't Elves, Dwarves and Maiar kill the Nazgul king?

Elfarmari

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I've always wondered what exactly the prophecy that the Chief of the NAzgul (I forget his name) would not be killed by the hand of man. Eowyn was definitely not a man. If man is taken to mean male, Merry was man. If man is taken to mean human, mortal, then Elves, Dwarves, and Maiar could have killed him. Anyone have an opinion on this?
 

Eonwe

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an out-of-the-blue statement by Glorfindel, in a fight between the forces of Angmar headed by the Witch-King and the forces of Rivendell and King Earnur of Gondor:

"Then the Witch-king laughed, and none that heard it ever forgot the horror of that cry. But Glorfindel rode up then on his white horse, and in the midst of his laughter the Witch-king turned to flight and passed into the shadows...

Earnur now road back [his horse had previously bolted when the Witch-king charged], but Glorfindel, ... said: "Do not pursue him! He will not return to this land. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man shall he fall."

Strange, somehow Glorfindel sees the future, both the end of Angmar and the fleeing of the Witch-king to Dol-Guldur/Mordor and the battle of Eowyn/Merry against him.
 

Hama

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The actual killing of the Nazgul was done at the hands of Eowyn, even though Merry did help out. I take the prophecy to mean male, because Glorfindel himself would have ridden after the Witchking had he meant only humans. So it had to have been a female - Eowyn.
 

Cian

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Imo, a statement in Appendix A infers that technically both Éowyn and Merry 'fulfilled' the prophecy, ie Merry "also" was not a "man" but a Halfling (footnote in The House Of Eorl), despite Hobbit status as a diminutive branch of the human race.

Though indeed I agree that the 'reduction' stroke came from Éowyn ~ she 'would' "kill" the Nazgûl-lord; and that he would not fall by the hand of 'man' can include both 'woman' and 'Hobbit' here Imo.

Generally speaking, prophetic 'fulfillment' need not be specific. A man 'not born of woman' could be one of caesarean birth for example; he's still 'born' of woman, just not the natural way.
 

Arvedui

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My opinion is that Glorfindel "saw" that the Lord of the Nazgûl were killed by two figures that were clearly not Male members of the Race of Men.

That does not mean that he could not be killed by one, just that Glorfindel 'knew' that that wouldn't happen.
 

Flammifer

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Yes, excellent point Arvedui. I agree - Glorfindel did not say it was impossible that a Man would kill Angmar, but knew that it would not be a Man that did so.

Excellent reference to Macbeth also, Cian. Near the beginning of the FotR Tolkien uses the words "foul" and "fair", derived from the quote of Macbeth (or is it Banquo ?!?) "So fair and foul a day I have not seen"

Anyway, I think Arvedui it right.
 

BlackCaptain

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Merry DIDN'T kill me. He distracted me, and it was a lucky distraction seeing as how his sword did it all. Eowyn did all the killing. But back to the topic, which was why others didn't have the guts to kill me; There was really no chance! Gandalf was in the form of a male, so he couldn't... Glorfindell couldn't kill me at the fords because he was male. Dwarves couldn't, because when's the last time you heard of a Dwarvish woman?!

Straight from the book:

Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!
notice that the 'M' in 'man' isn't capitalized, and ever time through-out his works, when Tolkien mentions the race of Men, he uses a capital 'M'. Therefore, no Male can kill me.

So only a powerful woman, such as Eowyn, Arwen, or Galadriel could really kill me. But they would stand no chance. That is unless they have a rat from some farmland stabbing you in your back. Filthy cheaters...
 

Lantarion

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There is a great thread about this very matter; I'll look for it soon if I have the required energy.. ;)
I think (or pointed out in the other thread) that this is a pun on Tolkien's part.
What I will add here is that perhaps Tolkien wanted this particular "prophecy" to use the term 'man' in an ambiguous way: Tolkien was perhaps among the first people to differentiate Humans from other humanoid races with the term "Man/Men"; maybe he used the term 'man' in Glorfindel's prophecy the way people would use it today. "No living man may hinder me" = "Nobody can hinder me". We should not take everything Tolkien says literally.. ;)

EDIT: This is a good thread about this subject.
 

YayGollum

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Looks like you people figured things out. oh well. The guild of Outcasts talked about this in some debate recently. It was craziness. I say that the boring Glorfindel person just said that because he was scared. Tolkien is only capitalizing race names every now and then. Not just humans. oh well. Let me see here. It is achingly possible that the boring Glorfindel elf didn't actually know anything. Are we really supposed to believe every little thing that every little elf ever says? Prophecies can turn out to be wrong. *runs away*
 

BlackCaptain

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Well he sure sounded confident of himself... And if the Glorfindell and I both say that men can't hurt me, it must be true
 

YayGollum

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Oh, please. The situation ---> Glorfindel runs into the WitchKing. He isn't able to kill the guy, so since he thinks he's the greatest thing since sliced bread, he achingly seriously says that for some insane reason that he never specified, only ladies can kill the guy. The WitchKing heard this and said ---> "Oo! Yay me! Sounds cool! Ladies were definitely afraid of me in high school!" :rolleyes:
 

Grond

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Just a thought. The Witch King of Angmar couldn't be killed by anyone because he was already dead. His soul was held on Middle-earth by the power of the Ring. Only the destruction of the Ring could release him or (and I don't know how or why) the killing stroke of a woman. (Wait... thinking of my ex-wife, I do know. :))
 

Grond

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Yay... they have no bodies and are described as living spirits enslaved to their Rings and the Ruling Ring.

By definition, wraith refers to an undead being. I haven't looked but I am sure I remember the good professor making it clear that the Ringwraiths were disembodied spirits whose bodies had long ago been consumed by the ravages of time and of their Rings.

Maybe someone else will get me a quote. I haven't the time right now. :)
 

BlackCaptain

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I think he meant he was already an undead body or whatever... I disagree... The Witch-King was very much alive. His previous Adan body was long dead.... But the Witch King wasnt.
 

Tar-Elenion

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"But suddenly he too stumbled forward with a cry of bitter pain, and his stroke went wide, driving into the ground. Merry's sword had stabbed him from behind, shearing through the black mantle, and passing up beneath the hauberk had pierced the sinew behind his mighty knee."


"So passed the sword of the Barrow-downs, work of Westernesse. But glad would he have been to know its fate who wrought it slowly long ago in the North-kingdom when the Dúnedain were young, and chief among their foes was the dread realm of Angmar and its sorcerer king. No other blade, not though mightier hands had wielded it, would have dealt that foe a wound so bitter, cleaving the undead flesh, breaking the spell that knit his unseen sinews to his will."

Quoted from LotR: RotK.
 

Grond

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Originally posted by BlackCaptain
I think he meant he was already an undead body or whatever... I disagree... The Witch-King was very much alive. His previous Adan body was long dead.... But the Witch King wasnt.
I guess we're speaking merely of semantics. I agree that the physical manifestation of the Wraith Lord was real. I am just asserting that he was already long dead. He could not be killed again, merely his spirit could be vanquished back to whence it came.

But I stand by my statement that the Witchking of Angmar was an undead spirit, as were all the Ringwraiths.
from The Fellowship of the Ring, The Shadow of the Past
...Long ago they fell under the dominion of the One, and they became Ringwraiths, shadows under his great Shadow, his most terrible servants.
Thank you Tar-Elenion. I just had looked up that quote and was preparing to post it when you beat me to the punch. Many thanks again.
 

YayGollum

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I haven't seen a quote yet that said they were dead. Undead is different. Way too creepy for me. It looks like we know that the bodies were still around. That's good enough for me. They were just invisible and messed up brainless types. Doesn't mean they're dead.
 

Ingwë

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Why couldn't Elves, Dwarves and Maiar kill the Nazgul lord?

The Nazgûl are Men who possess the Nine Rings. But the became shadows under the great shadow. They're spirits, they don't have a body, they're just spirits. The Elves have more powers but thet didn't kill the Nazgûl. The Dwarves as far as i know have never tried. But the people of Arnor fought against the Witch-king. But Angmar was destroyed and the Witch-king fled. And in the thread The Nazgûl: mortal or immortal we discussed the mortality of the Nazgûl.

They disappeared after the destruction of the One Ring so they're dead.
 

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