The Return of the King

The Return of the King

by

J. R. R. Tolkien

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Lord of the Nazgûl Character Analysis

The Lord of the Nazgûl is the chief Black Rider and Sauron’s right-hand man. He leads the attack on Minas Tirith, where his challenge to Gandalf is interrupted by the arrival of the Rohirrim. Believing himself immortal due to his inability to be maimed by Men, the Lord of the Nazgûl is defeated and killed by Merry and Éowyn, a hobbit and a woman respectively. His arrogance, similar to Sauron’s, leads to his demise, and with his death the shadow fades from the sky, suggesting that his survival was vital to the protection of Mordor’s darkness-loving troops.

Lord of the Nazgûl Quotes in The Return of the King

The The Return of the King quotes below are all either spoken by Lord of the Nazgûl or refer to Lord of the Nazgûl. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
).
Book 5, Chapter 6 Quotes

“Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!”

Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. “But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn am I, Éomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.”

Related Characters: Lord of the Nazgûl (speaker), Éowyn/Dernhelm (speaker), Meriadoc Brandybuck (Merry), Théoden
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:
Book 5, Chapter 8 Quotes

“Alas! For she was pitted against a foe beyond the strength of her mind or body. And those who will take a weapon to such an enemy must be sterner than steel, if the very shock shall not destroy them. It was an evil doom that set her in this path. For she is a fair maiden, fairest lady of a house of queens. And yet I know not how I should speak of her. When I first looked on her and perceived her unhappiness, it seemed to me that I saw a white flower standing straight and proud, shapely as a lily, and yet knew that it was hard, as if wrought by elf-wrights out of steel. Or was it, maybe, a frost that had turned its sap to ice, and so it stood, bitter-sweet, still fair to see, but stricken, soon to fall and die?”

Related Characters: Aragorn/Strider (speaker), Éowyn/Dernhelm, Lord of the Nazgûl
Related Symbols: The Shadow
Page Number: 145
Explanation and Analysis:

“Do not be afraid,” said Aragorn. “I came in time, and I have called him back. He is weary now, and grieved, and he has taken a hurt like the Lady Éowyn, daring to smite that deadly thing. But these evils can be amended, so strong and gay a spirit is in him. His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom.”

Related Symbols: The Shadow
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lord of the Nazgûl Character Timeline in The Return of the King

The timeline below shows where the character Lord of the Nazgûl appears in The Return of the King. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 5, Chapter 4
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...men will hold together long enough to return safely. Gandalf also tells Denethor that the Lord of the Nazgûl —the chief Black Rider—has come to lead the battle for the enemy. Denethor asks whether... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
...and, with the help of a huge flame-filled battering ram, burst through the gate. The Lord of the Nazgûl has entered Minas Tirith, and now Gandalf faces him. Where the Black Rider’s head should... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 6
Power, Wisdom, and Mercy Theme Icon
War, Greed, and Nature Theme Icon
The Lord of the Nazgûl is disturbed by the breaking of the shadow and rides out from the city immediately.... (full context)
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
...by their spooked horses, Dernhelm and Merry are alive nearby. When Dernhelm speaks to the Lord of the Nazgûl , ordering him to leave the dead, his voice sounds familiar to Merry. The Rider... (full context)
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Merry feels the urge to help Éowyn and crawls towards the Lord of the Nazgûl . The Nazgûl strikes Éowyn and shatters her shield, but Merry stabs him behind the... (full context)
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...forces. Merry is left behind. He sees that the sword he used to stab the Lord of the Nazgûl is smoking and soon consumed by fire. His sword-arm has gone numb. The king’s men... (full context)
Book 5, Chapter 7
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
Expectation vs. Ability Theme Icon
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
When the Black Rider withdraws from the city to join the battle on the field, Pippin cries for Gandalf... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 1
Hope vs. Despair Theme Icon
...in fact built in defense by men of Gondor but was then taken by the Lord of the Nazgûl and held by Mordor. Sam sees how hopeless his task is; he cannot possibly enter... (full context)
Book 6, Chapter 2
Loyalty, Love, and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Power, Wisdom, and Mercy Theme Icon
...to the fact that battle abroad is going badly. The tracker has heard that the Lord of the Nazgûl has been defeated, and in fact he hopes that’s true. (full context)