The Nine... Servants of Sauron
seen in c. II 2250; went 'into the shadows' II 3441; reappeared in Middle-earth
c. III 1300; finally destroyed in III 3019 |
Various, including some Nśmenóreans
A word from the Black Speech apparently meaning 'ring-wraith'
Names: Ringwraiths, Ślairi
Black Riders, The Nine, Nine Servants
'Nazgūl' is both a singular and a plural term
A word from the Black Speech,
usually translated 'Ringwraith'; the name of the nine Men corrupted by the power
of Sauron's Nine Rings, and transformed into his dark and deathless servants.
of the Nazgūl|
Servant of the Dark Lord
First seen in c. II 2250; went 'into the shadows' II 3441; reappeared in Middle-earth
c. III 1300; finally destroyed in III 3019|
Originally a Man
Black Captain, Captain of Despair, Lord of the Nine Riders, Witch-king of Angmar
Mightiest of the Nazgūl, the Nine Servants of Sauron. He destroyed the North-kingdom
from his realm of Angmar during the mid-Third Age. He was slain by Éowyn and Meriadoc
Brandybuck during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
their discomfiture at the Ford of Bruinen by Elrond and Gandalf, the Nazgūl returned
to Sauron their master in the land of Mordor. There, he furnished them with horrible
winged mounts and sent them abroad once again. While mounted on these flying beasts,
they were known as the Winged Nazgūl. |
The History of the Nine
Artist is Lode Claes
to find out more about the Artist
Nine Nazgûl or Ringwraiths were the most loyal and terrible servants of
the Dark-lord. In origin they were all mortal men, great and powerful lords in
their own right, who ruled many lands throughout Middle-earth. Each was seduced
by the gift of one of the Nine rings of Sauron, which imbued its wearer with great
powers of sorcery, and an almost unlimited life span. But like all of the Dark-lord's
gifts it was tainted, for each of the Nine rings was ruled by the One, and thus
the nine wearers became slaves of the overbearing will of Sauron. Ultimately,
by the end of the Third-age the Nazgûl were terrifying undead creatures,
existing in a terrible twilight world between life and death,with no thought or
desire save that of the Dark-lord himself. Their fate was by this time completely
bound up with that of their master and that of the One ring, whose recovery and
restoration they arduously sought.
Witch-King of Angmar
origin,a prince of the Royal house of Numenor in the Second-age, the Witch-king
was seduced by the power of the nine rings and fell thrall to Sauron, as the price
paid for that terrible gift. The Witch-king became the greatest of the Nazgûl
and second only in power to the Dark-lord himself. During Sauron's final attempt
to become Lord of Middle-earth during the Third age, the Witch-king played a vital
role in his master's designs. As a plan to subvert and finally destroy the Northern
realm of Arnor, the Witch-king established himself in the north of Eriador in
the barren land of Angmar, where he gathered his power and sent out spies. His
evil machinations were largely responsible for the fragmentation of Arnor into
three successor kingdoms each of which was confronted and finally destroyed by
the power of Angmar. During the War of the Ring, the Witch-king led the Dark host
to battle at the Pelennor fields and perished there at the hands of Eowyn Dernhelm
with some help from Merry.
Chief of all the servants of Sauron, the Witch-king
was, in origin, one of the black Numenoreans who the Dark-lord seduced to his
own service by the gift of one of the Nine rings. The rings conferred great power
upon their wearers but also subjugated them forever to the will of Sauron. As
well as his great talents in sorcery the Witch-king was Sauron's ablest military
commander. He founded the Northern Kingdom of Angmar and was the architect of
both Arthedain's and Cardolan's destruction. He also successfully wrestled from
the Southern kingdom of Gondor the great citadel of Minas Ithil.
the Easterling - Nazgûl Lieutenant
to the peoples of the East and the Variags; Lieutenant to the Witch-King and Second
among the Nine; a potent Mage in his own lifetime, now bound to the cause of Mordor
He served the Dark-lord at the tower of Barad-dur during the
Second-age and with his master, perished after the battle of Gorgoroth. At the
end of the first millenium of the Third-age, Khamul re-appeared with Sauron at
the tower of Dol-Guldur,and dwelt there with him while Sauron's power grew in
secret. After the Dark-lord's return to Mordor, the Nazgûl Lieutenant Khamul
and Adunaphel returned to Dol-guldur, where they were to hold in check the power
of Lorien. When the final war broke out the Nazgûl lieutenant Khamul was
sent out to search for the Shire, and if possible to locate the One Ring. Khamul
and other of the Nazgûl tracked the Halflings through the Shire but lost
their track as the latter departed through Buckland.
are veiled in mystery save that he was of one of the races from beyond Rhun in
the furthest east of Middle-earth. Like all the ring-wraiths he was bound to Sauron
by one of the nine rings of power and his fate was thus tied to that of his master.
So when Sauron went into the shadow at the end of the Second-age, Khamul also
disappeared from Middle-earth reappearing with his master after a millennium of
After the great plague ravaged Eriador in the mid Third-age, Gondor's watch
on Mordor became less vigilant and Sauron sent Adunaphel to the black land to
prepare for her eventual return. Adunaphel dwelt secretly in Nurn until the arrival
of the Witch-king; whose coming heralded the Nazgûl's assault on the tower
of Minas Ithil. Its fall signified the end of Gondor's hold on the dark land.
After Sauron's return to Barad-dur, Adunaphel was commanded to make fast the ancient
stronghold of Dol guldur on the eves of Mirkwood, and later after the outbreak
of the War of the Ring was involved with the other Nazgûl in attempting
to recapture the One Ring.
Watcher in the Forests; sometimes leader of the evil forces of Mirkwood,
and Captain of Dol-Goldur; one of his infamous Black Arrows is thought to have
been found and used by the Man, Bard, who slew Smaug the Dragon.
the Witch-king, Akhorahil was of old, a lord of Numenor, who was corrupted and
ensnared by one of the Nine rings of Sauron. After Sauron's fall at the end of
the Second age, Akhorahil disappeared from Middle-earth. He returned after long
years and awaited his master's return in the far South of Middle-earth.
When Sauron himself reappeared he ordered Akhorahil and the other Nazgûl
to reoccupy Mordor and to secure it for the Dark-lord's return. He remained at
Minas Morgul until the War of the Ring when, with his fell companions, he sought
out for his master, the bearer of the One Ring. Unhorsed at the Ford of Bruinen,
he fled back to Mordor and was given a Fell Beast by his Master and so brought
terror to the skies of Middle-earth.
of the Haradrim; Black Captain of the Corsairs of Umbar; one of the first to fall
under the spell of the Ringlord, gained Sauron's favor by bringing Harad under
his rule through trickery and hateful tirades against the Numenor.
built up a great Fleet of Black Ships meant to bring the end of Gondor.
It was by his cunning, that the the great Mumakil of the Southlands were tamed
and trained for warfare, gilded with armor and painted in evil runes of the Black
Speech, with massive fortresses upon their backs the were marched to the West
in the Battle of Minas Tirith.
of the Morannon (the Black Gate of Mordor) ; Captain of the Teeth of Mordor, the
towers that flank that Gate ; said to use a Palantir to spy for Sauron and to
communicate with agents such as Saruman.
Hoarmnrath of Dir pronounced
a curse upon Sauron before he succumbed to the power of the Ring. Some say he
is fated to destroy the Dark Lord, others that he is doomed to his service until
the End of Arda.
To what end he may have come if the War of the Ring
had favored the dark Lord, none can now say for he perished as did the rest of
the Nine in the Fires of Mount Doom.
Dawndeath was born in the Second-age in the far south of Middle-earth, where he
ruled his tropical kingdom despite the growing threat of Numenorean power. After
being ousted from his throne he fled to Mumakan and sought refuge with the agents
of the Dark-lord who resided there. Here he was offered one of the nine rings
of Sauron, and all its accompanying power. He accepted and although, with its
power, he re-eastablished himself over both Mumakan and his previous realms Indur
was now thrall the the will of the Dark-lord. He accompanied Sauron to Mordor
at the end of the Second-age and fought for him at the war of the Last alliance.
Here Sauron was overthrown and his nine servants vanished also from the face of
the earth. When the Dark-lord began to reemerge during the Third-age, the Nine
reappeared also, as terrible beings of shadow and invisibility, and bound even
more completely to the will of their lord. Indur the wraith ruled Mumakan once
more and held the land in fief to his master. During the war of the Ring, he led
the Mumakil assault on the Gondorian citadel of Minas Tirith.
of Barad-Dur ; chief defender of Mordor ; champion of Sauron. Said to have some
Elvish blood and possibly to be related to the half-Elven Elrond, Lord of Rivendell,
whom he hates and blames for Sauron's last "death".
the Unclean is even more disturbing than most of the fearsome Nazgûl
Lord of the Marshes; guardian of the secret ways into Mordor; corrupter of
the River Folk (Stoor Hobbits), who became like Gollum and now serves Mordor in
the Dead Marshes. He was known as a "Swamp Dwellers" or "Mewlips".
is believed that by his foul craft that the Dead buried on the Dagorlad after
the Battle of the last Alliance, were somehow made into shadow wraiths that haunted
the Dead Mashes which had over many years crept in upon the northern reaches of
a Variag from Khand, Uvatha was, like all his people, a great horseman. He fought
in civil war in his native Khand and eventually united all the tribes under his
own rule. He accepted the gift of the ring of power shortly after achieving this.
The Variags were useful allies to the Dark-lord protecting his eastern and southeastern
borders and were later to prove a valuable addition to the armies of Mordor, their
fearsome and bloodthirsty reputation alone striking terror into the hearts of
many of their enemies. When Sauron fell at the end of the Second-age Uvatha also
passed into the shadow, but reappeared along with the Dark-lord after a thousand
years or so. He reestablished his rule of Khand and expanded his kingdom into
northern Harad. Rider from the East; messenger and spy across the Plains of the
Rohirrim, whose heads he is said to collect and leave hanging from the branches
of Fangorn; responsible for preparing the way when the Nazgûl leave Mordor.
He took part in the Nazgûl attack on Minas Ithil, and reoccupied the
tower of Sorcery when Sauron had moved to Mordor. He was sent by Sauron to seek
the One ring and along with others of the Nine caught up with the Hobbits at the
ford of the Bruinen. He perished later, after the battle of the Morannon, when
the One ring slipped into the Crack of Doom on Orodruin.
Artist is Inger Edelfeldt|
to find out more about the Artist
origin all the nine Nazgûl were once great and powerful Lords, ruling many
lands in Middle-earth. Each had accepted a ring of power from Sauron: a ring which
imbued its wearers with sorcerers abilities and great longevity. Each had used
their rings to enhance and expand their kingdoms to even greater limits. But the
power of the rings was bought at a terrible price. For the same ring that imbued
its wearer with power and life also increasingly subjected his will to that of
the Dark-lord, until after many years the Nine were but cyphers in which the Dark-lord
could act out his own wishes. When Sauron perished at the end of the Second-age,
the nine, so closely bound up to him, perished also. When the Dark-lord reemerged
from the shadow in the Third-age, the nine reappeared also. What lingering mortal
qualities they may have still possessed before the destruction were now entirely
gone, and they now appeared as the terrible shadow beings, famous in the Third-age
as the Ringwraiths.
the origin for the names of the Nine Nazgûl listed above do not come from
the Tolkien Canon, but from what we call the 'Extended Lore of Middle-earth'.
The Encyclopedia of Arda has some interesting notes on this topic