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The Ringwraiths From The Lord Of The Rings Explained

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Tolkien's Ringwraiths are among the most iconic villains in The Lord of the Rings. But although the Nazgûl's black cloaks and breathless voices will strike fear into any fantasy fan, not everybody knows their whole story. This is the whole story behind the Ringwraiths from The Lord of the Rings.

There's a good chance you've heard these creatures called a number of different names — and true enough, they've got more titles than you could shake a Morgul blade at. Sauron's most dreadful servants go by several different names throughout The Lord of the Rings, including, among others, the Nazgûl, the Ringwraiths, the Black Riders, the Nine, the Fell Riders, the Úlairi, and the Nine Servants. One orc in The Return of the King even refers to them as "filthy Shriekers."

But while the group as a whole are called many things, the names of the individual Ringwraiths themselves have always been shrouded in mystery. The leader of the Nine is commonly referred to by his titles; the Lord of Morgul, Lord of the Nazgûl, and the Witch-king are most common, but even he isn't named. The only Nazgûl to ever be directly named in Tolkien's writings is Khamûl. In the index of Unfinished Tales, Tolkien succinctly describes Khamûl as "second to the Chief," "Shadow of the East," and "the Black Easterling," giving a tiny sliver of personality to at least one of his Ringwraiths.

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To name a shadow | 0:14
Lords of Men | 1:07
Curse of Nargul | 2:06
Weapons of war | 2:57
Fear and despair | 3:57
Early days | 5:06
The Third Age | 6:27
Angmar | 7:13
On the hunt | 8:14
The War of the Ring | 9:09

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