He didn't deviate from the book...much
At least one Ring-Wraith does enter Bree in the night and is seen by Merry:
"I have seen them Frodo! I have seen them! Black riders!...Here. In
the village. I stayed indoors for an hour. Then as you did not come
back, I went out for a stroll. I had come back again and was standing
just outside the light of the ...
Jackson and Boyens felt that the medium of film (as opposed to Tolkien's fairly stodgy prose) allowed them a unique opportunity to create a scene that would heighten tension for a few minutes as well as giving audiences an ambiguous moment where they could ultimately learn that Strider/Aragorn was a good guy.
Jackson: I liked this gag where we ...
The Witch-king is described as undead...
In Return of the King, when Merry slashes at him (emphasis mine):
So passed the sword of the Barrow-downs, work of Westernesse. But glad would he have been to know its fate who wrought it slowly long ago in the North-kingdom when the Dúnedain were young, and chief among their foes was the dread realm of Angmar and ...
No, Sauron held the Nazguls' Rings.
It's mentioned in a few places:
... Sauron, who still through their nine rings (which he held) had
primary control. ...
Fellowship of the Ring, when Gandalf tells Frodo,
"the Nine [Sauron] has gathered to himself; the Seven also, or else
they are destroyed."
I don't think they can be harmed by fire, they just don't appreciate it being shoved in their faces.
As the quote itself says, they don't fear fire - they fear those who wield it. Anyone who is wielding a firebrand in their face is obviously (a) knowledgeable about Nazgul, and (b) of sufficient stature to not become a gibbering wreck in the face of the ...
After the wearers of the Nine Rings had become the Ringwraiths, Sauron -- who at that time still possessed the One Ring -- took their Rings from them. In a letter, Professor Tolkien wrote,
Sauron ... still through their nine rings (which he held) had
primary control of their wills.
from The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien; emphasis mine.
It is common in folklore for evil or "unnatural" creatures to be unable to cross running water. For example, this is a traditional attribute of vampires: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire
Tolkien himself noted that this idea was difficult to sustain for the Ringwraiths. In particular, they would have had to cross the river Greyflood (which had no bridge ...
Its actually Peter Jackson's wife, Fran Walsh, screeching, layered with the sound of a horse orgasm and if I remember right, a pig squealing. I never thought I'd type that sentence...
Seriously, he talks about it in the special features of the Fellowship of the Ring Extended edition, the name of the documentary is "Soundscapes of Middle Earth," IIRC.
Tolkien comments on this briefly in Letter 210. The whole letter is worth a read, since he scathingly (and quite hilariously) rips into a script for a proposed film version, but I'll only quote the relevant section (bold is my emphasis, italic is Tolkien's):
[The Black Riders'] peril is almost entirely due to the unreasoning fear which they inspire (like ...
In the book, it's because he'd only just arrived, on horseback, evidently having accompanied Grond (and some additional troops) to the battlefield.
Over the hills of slain a hideous shape appeared: a horseman, tall,
hooded, cloaked in black. Slowly, trampling the fallen, he rode forth,
heeding no longer any dart. He halted and held up a long pale ...
Saruman told Radagast.
’ ”I have an urgent errand,” he said. “My news is evil.” Then he looked about him, as if the hedges might have ears. “Nazgûl,” he whispered. “The Nine are abroad again. They have crossed the River secretly and are moving westward. They have taken the guise of riders in black.”
‘I knew then what I had dreaded without knowing it
There's no doubt that Eowyn's was the killing blow. There is however some debate about the exact role played by Merry - and, in particular, Merry's sword. Here's the key passage:
So passed the sword of the Barrow-downs, work of Westernesse. But glad would he have been to know its fate who wrought it slowly long ago in the North-kingdom when the Dûnedain ...
I'm reasonably sure the only person other than Frodo who Tolkien mentions being stabbed with a Morgul-blade is Boromir, a Steward of Gondor. The section of Appendix A to Lord of the Rings about the Stewards says:
In the last years of Denethor I the race of uruks, black orcs of great strength, first appeared out of Mordor, and in 2475 they swept across ...
Tolkien did not name the creature but based on different chapters of the books they were called by different names.
The Fell beasts, hell-hawks, and Nazgûl-birds, were names used to describe the flying creatures on which the Nazgûl rode after being unhorsed at the Ford of Bruinen.
When asked about the ...
Glorfindel was able to outpace them because of his mount being better than theirs. Their speed was limited by the fact that they were using real horses. Later when they get the dragon-like mounts, they are much faster.
Gandalf is an extremely powerful Maia, so I don't think this is a fair comparison (he did defeat the Balrog after all).
They don't have '...
Book 1, ch.4:
"A long-drawn wail came down the wind, like the cry of some evil and lonely creature. It rose and fell, and ended on a high piercing note. Even as they sat and stood, as if suddenly frozen, it was answered by another cry, fainter and further off, but no less chilling to the blood."
Book 1, ch.12:
"...and from the Riders came a ...
As I answered in this question:
A quote from Aragorn, The Fellowship of the Ring, A Knife in the Dark:
For the black horses can see, and the Riders can use men and other
creatures as spies, as we found at Bree. They themselves do not see
the world of light as we do, but our shapes cast shadows in their
minds, which only the noon sun destroys, and ...
Gandalf has this to say in the beginning of Book 2 of the Fellowship of the Ring, when he sits by the convalescent Frodo in Rivendell:
If they had succeeded, you would have become like they are, only weaker and under their command. You would have became a wraith under the dominion of the Dark Lord; and he would have tormented you for trying to keep his ...
Men proved easier to ensnare. Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing. ... The Nazgûl were they, the Ringwraiths, the Enemy's most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death.
From the ...
We must not forget that the idea of "power" in the Tolkienverse is not generally a physical one. In that, Tokien's beings have "powers" of fear, love, despair, hope and influence.
As such, when comparing the beings' "power" levels, it is incorrect to think of it as fire "hurting" a Nazgul, but rather that fire does away with their advantage of stealth and ...
Frodo does indeed challenge Sauron for control of the Ring, at Mount Doom:
'I have come,' he said. 'But I do not choose now to do what I came to do. I will not do this
deed. The Ring is mine!'
The "not yet" is, I believe, a harbinger of this. The Ring's influence on Frodo is obvious and growing as they first get closer to Mordor and then after they ...
If you're ok with taking the movies' word for it, Gandalf clearly states that it was the Witch-king
Gandalf: Sauron has yet to reveal his deadliest servant. The one who would lead Mordor's armies in war. The one they say no living man can kill: the Witch-King of Angmar. You've met him before. He stabbed Frodo on Weathertop.
It's reasonable to assume that Eowyn's was the fatal blow - after all, the death cry and passing away immediately follows her blow. There's a fairly strong cause and effect there.
However we do know the Barrow-blade has special anti-Ringwraith properties as mentioned in the Return of the King:
No other blade, not though mightier hands had wielded it, ...
It was the Witch-King (Probably)
Two of the figures halted. The third was taller than the others: his
hair was long and gleaming and on his helm was a crown. In one hand
he held a long sword, and in the other a knife; both the knife and the
hand that held it glowed with a pale light. He sprang forward and
bore down on Frodo.
At that moment ...
In The Unfinished Tales, Christopher Tolkien wrote a passage concerning their fear of water.
All except the Witch-king were apt to stray when alone by daylight;
and all, again save the Witch-king, feared water and were unwilling,
except in dire need, to enter it or to cross streams unless dryshod by
At the Ford of Bruinen only the ...
Ulmo = "He Who Pours" (a.k.a Lord of Waters) controls even underground waters in Arda. Ulmo, second most powerful of the Valar, totally opposed Melkor's (and thus Sauron's) program of dominating the Creation. +
The Ring Wraiths are as anti-creation as you can get. To cross into (as opposed to over) Ulmo's domain would unmake the Nine (cf. the crossing of ...