After taking a break from writing this past week and finishing up the Newbie Blogger Initiative event for the month of May I have been itching to get this new post out so I hope you enjoy.
We’re taking a look at Sauron’s dark servants The Nazgûl or also known as the Ring-Wraiths, Black Riders, or The Nine which is my favorite name for these menacing enemy’s of Middle-Earth. They were the dreaded ring-bound servants of Sauron who served him through the second and third ages.
Once nine great Kings of Men, they were all given Rings of Power. The Nine took them without question and subsequently, after the forging of the One Ring, became slaves of Sauron and later his lieutenants. Centuries later the effect of the rings left the kings spectral, invisible to all but Sauron and whoever wore the One Ring.
Only two of the Nine were ever named: You have the Witch-King of Angmar which I will be doing a series on later this month, and you also had Khamul, the Lieutenant of Sauron.
The Nazgul in the Second Age
During the Second Age of Middle-earth the Elven-smiths of Eregion forged the Rings of Power, nine of which were given to great and powerful kings of Men. For many years the nine kings used these rings, which gained them great wealth, prestige and power. However, the effect of the rings made their bodily forms fade over time until they had become wraiths entirely, and served only the second Dark Lord Sauron.
The nine, were first seen around 2251 of the Second Age, and soon became established as Sauron’s primary servants, though they were temporarily dispersed after Sauron’s downfall in 3434 at the hands of Isildur in the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.
Because the One Ring was not destroyed, the Nazgûl re-emerged around 1300 of the Third Age. It was around this time that the Witch-king of Angmar started war against the kingdom of Arnor. The first target was the realm of Rhudaur. After conquering Rhudaur and replacing the Dúnedain king with one of the native Hillmen, possibly descended from the kin of Ulfang, in the year TA 1356 the Witch-king moved against Arthedain, resulting in the death of King Argeleb I.
Arthedain hadn’t been defeated just yet, it still managed to hold a line of defense along the Weather Hills. The attack came on Cardolan around TA 1409 and during this time, the forces of the Witch-king burned and destroyed the watchtower of Amon Sûl. With the fall of Cardolan, Arthedain’s capital Fornost followed, and with that the last kingdom of Arnor was destroyed. A year later, a prince of Gondor named Eärnur arrived with the intention of aiding Arthedain.
Discovering that he was too late, he and his army marched against the forces of the Witch-king, utterly destroying them at the Battle of Fornost. The Witch-king escaped and retreated to Mordor, as Angmar had served its purpose. At some point, the Witch-king sent Barrow-wights to the Barrow-downs to prevent Cardolan from being resurrected. Upon his return to Mordor, the Witch-king gathered the other eight Nazgûl. Around the year TA 2000 the Nazgul attacked and after a two year long battle finally took Minas Ithil. They renamed it Minas Morgul, and also acquired a Palantir for the Dark Lord.
It was from Minas Morgul that the Nine directed the rebuilding of Sauron’s armies and the preparation of Mordor for their master’s return. In 2942 Sauron returned to Mordor, and declaring himself returned by TA 2951. He sent two or three of the Nazgûl to garrison his fortress Dol Guldur in Mirkwood. They were led by Khamul, the second most powerful of the Nazgul behind the Witch-King.
Be prepared as next week we will continue our story and finish out what happens to the Nazgul in the Third Age and discover the critical role they play in Sauron’s great plan to overtake Middle-Earth.