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Topic: Ringwraiths A.K.A great Kings of Men

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Orc Warrior - Rank 2
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Date: Mar 27, 2007
Ringwraiths A.K.A great Kings of Men

I understand that the ringwraiths were once kings of men, but it never really explained were they ruled or came from. Khamul was an Easterlig Lord, and the Witch King founded Angmar, but is there anything ever said about the others. Also why exactly was the Witch King more powerful than his fellow mates. Was it just because he got the first ring, or did he rule a bigger kingdom? I know he practised Sorcery, but that was after he got the ring.

-- Edited by Angmar at 19:40, 2007-03-27

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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As far as I know I do not think all the Ringwraiths were Kings of Men in their day (that is just something that is said in the film).

Here is a quote:

"Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old."

So as we see only  a few were 'kings' when they were men.

But then there is this quote:

'...among those whom he ensnared with the Nine Rings three were great lords of Númenórean race'

S
o by 'Kings' it apprears Tolkien means 'Lords of Numenor', not the Kings of Numenor but the Lords that ruled under the Kings at the time.

Also the reason why the Witchking seems so Powerful is becuase During the end of the Third Age Sauron had given the Witchking very enhanced powers (much like Morgoth gave to Sauron). He was unlikely to be anymore powerful than the other Nazgul in the beginning.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Tolkien reveals very little on their identity.
Except the origins of Khamul (which once again I underline only appear in the UT), we are told that three of them were lords from Numenor, while the others were great kings of Men, perhaps also from other regions.
And, indeed, it was through the Ring that he gained these powers and used them in the beginning to further his own ambitions. Afterwards however, he clearly no longer needed the Ring to use "magic", as it was Sauron that held the Nine at that time.

Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing. They had, as it seemed, unending life, yet life became unendurable to them. They could walk, if they would, unseen by all eyes in this world beneath the sun, and they could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thralldom of the ring that they bore and of the domination of the One which was Sauron's. And they became forever invisible save to him that wore the Ruling Ring, and they entered into the realm of shadows. The Nazgul were they, the Ringwraiths, the Enemy's most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death.

The Silmarillion:
"Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age," p. 289
The Witch-king is said to be the most powerful of the Nazgul, and also the one most ready to feel the presence of the Ring. It could also be that in life he had been more powerful physically as well, as it is stated he was the tallest of the Nine.

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Ok so only three of them were Numenorean and they were lords under the King. And BTW, did Sauron give the rings to men before Akallabeth and the fall of Numenor?

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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It indicates in the Silmarillion that the Nazgul were indeed around long before the downfall of Numenor. Thats why Sauron could not trust 'even the great of his servants' to withstand the might of the onslaught of Ar-pharazon against Mordor. I expect someone else could provide better quotes than me.

-- Edited by Bilbo Baggins at 21:46, 2007-03-27

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The Three, fairest of all, the Elf-lords hid from him, and his hand never touched them or sullied them. Seven the Dwarf-kings possessed, but three he has recovered, and the others the dragons have consumed. Nine he gave to Mortal Men, proud and great, and so ensnared them. Long ago they fell under the dominion of the One, and they became Ringwraiths, shadows under his great Shadow, his most terrible servants. Long ago. It is many a year since the Nine walked abroad.'LotR

Now this doesn't answer to that latter question but it gives their race clear. Nine were mortal men in beginning.

'Celebrimbor, desperate, himself withstood Sauron on the steps of the great door of the Mrdain; but he was grappled and taken captive, and the House was ransacked. There Sauron took the Nine Rings and other lesser works of the Mrdain; but the Seven and the Three he could not find. Then Celebrimbor was put to torment, and Sauron learned from him where the Seven were bestowed. This Celebrimbor revealed, because neither the Seven nor the Nine did he value as he valued the Three; the Seven and the Nine were made with Sauron's aid, whereas the Three were made by Celebrimbor alone, with a different power and purpose.' UT (aprox 1967 II Age)

So this happens way before Downfall so yes i think it's very possible that sauron had given those rings already before when he was taken to Numenor as a prison. And it's said in Sil and UT (not though with exat words) that Sauron did that when being still in M-E (corrupted the Nine)
2251 (II age) Tar-Atanamir takes the Sceptre. Rebellion and division of the Numenoreans begins. About this time the Nazgl or Ringwraiths, slaves of the Nine Rings, first appear.


-- Edited by Lord Tulkas at 10:23, 2007-03-28

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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2251 - that must be before Sauron is taken captive isn't it? I am no good with dates.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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SA 3261 - Sauron is taken prisoner by Ar-Pharazon

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Thorin Oakenshield - Rank 6
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So the second age was a pretty long one then.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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longest of them all probably
Tolkien said in a note that he believes we are now in the beginning of the Seventh Age, as the ages have became less long. So that would definitely make the Second Age the longest.

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Out of the Ages of the Sun and Moon. No doubt an Age of the Tree's of Valinor was far longer however.

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Utúlie'n  aurë!  Aiya  Eldalië  ar  Atanatári,  utúlie'n  aurë! 
Auta  i  lómë! 
Aurë entuluva!

Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Of course. Probably as a time period, the period before the creation of the Ainur would be the longest, however one must ask himself if time itself really existed then and if such a timespan can really be measured...because what is time for an entity like Illuvatar? But from all the other ages, the Age of the Trees is indeed longest.

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