Undead in middle earth ?

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Undead in middle earth ?

Wed Sep 30, 2015 3:12 am

This one seems to be up for a bit of debate.

1 we know that the witch king sent evil spirits to inhabit the barrow downs, these "barrow wights" seemed to be animated corpses ( one gets a hand chopped off in the book ), and so they would sorta fall under undead rather than being simply spirits themselves.

2 The dead marshes, this one is a bit harder to define, as frodo sees them in the water, but the corpse candles are more lights then anything correct ? so are they literally ghosts in the traditional sense or something else ?

3 The necromancer, this one is never truly touched on I don't think by tolkien, sauron is naturally named the "necromancer" and we naturally think of dark sorcery dealing with the dead.

4 Since it was the witch king who sent the evil spirits to the barrow downs, we must assume that the witch king was practicing dark sorcery and he himself able to "animate the dead", or at the least have the power to command evil spirits to inhabit corpses.

5 While we know a fair bit about the nazgul, it's not really known if they are undead in the sense of the above, or if its simply the ring that has turned them partly undead, we know they faded and that it is fear that they mainly embody ( although they can clearly use weapons and kill still ), but they seem to be a class of their own due to the ring.

6 The dead of dunharrow are clearly undead, but seem to be something else also vs perhaps the above, we know they drove off the corsairs, but they were different than the barrow wights and we are unsure if their weapons would have killed, their touch or anything like that, since unlike the movies they moved on after helping with defeating the port, it's unclear if they were as powerful as they were depicted in the movies.

This causes some questions over the subject of undead in middle earth itself, we also know vampires existed too although that is something else as to their description and qualities vs what we understand of them from this world.

Thoughts ?

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Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:46 pm

Re: Undead in middle earth ?

Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:41 am

So different categories

-undead,like zombies
-evil spirits

Sauron is a maia. Is a maia a spirit, evil or not?
Balrogs are also lesser maias, if I remember correctly.
Were the vampyrs of the First age also spirits or monsters like dragons that Morgoth created?

In away it feels not necessary to try to put Tolkiens world into categories of general fantasy. Middle Earth has its own logic. But on the other hand I agree that there is a difference between the Dead Marshes Specters, the Barrow wights and the Army of dead. And specifying these differences helps to develop rules and profiles for the Game.

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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 8:51 pm

Re: Undead in middle earth ?

Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:46 pm

It would appear that the source of the undead bring about a different kind of non-mortal. Case and point the spirits summoned by Aragorn were bound to Middle-Earth until their oath was fulfilled, whereas the Nazgul passed into a pseudo deathlike state due to being in possession of a ring of power for far too long.

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