Welcome Guest 

Register

Author Topic:
atalante_star
Scholar of Imladris and Theodens Lady
Posts: 1365
Send Message
Avatar
Post The Wraith World and the Ghost World
on: January 10, 2005 10:29
While Figgy and I were discussing random LotR stuff this morning, the following question came up:

Is the Wraith World - i.e. the Ringwraiths' world , and also the world that elves seem to partially inhabit - different from the normal world of ghosts?

Does that sound like a slightly strange question? Well ... I was thinking that actually there is little description in common between the WW and the normal Arda ghost world. The people seen in the WW are sentient and alive (kind of alive) beings who also (can) manifest physically in the real world. They can do physical damage to people in the real world. Ghosts, on the other hand, can't.

I was initially wondering if the WW was something created by the effect of the Ring, but Figgy rather quickly pointed out that it couldn't just be that as the elves were also involved.

Any thoughts, comments, laughs at the ridiculousness of the theory?
LadyEowyn_Of_Rohan
CoE Volunteer
Posts: 749
Send Message
Avatar
Post RE: The Wraith World and the Ghost World
on: January 10, 2005 01:03
Umm... *scratches head* I never really thought about it. The first thing that comes to mind is the stuff on Elves fëar(spirits) and hröar (bodies). I don't remember it too clearly, but I remember that the Elves fëar had more dominance over their hröar; humans' fëar were weaker in comparison to their hröar. The Wraiths have no or almost no physical aspect - coud this be thought of as all spirit and no body? So maybe the WW has something to do with this: the wraiths, being completly fëa, are completely in the Wraith World, and the Elves, having powerful fëar, are partially in the Wraith World.

That's probably completely wrong :dizzy:, and I have no clue how the Ghost World would tie in with that, but it's the best theory I have, lol...
Nolimon
Council Member
Posts: 13
Send Message
Avatar
Post RE: The Wraith World and the Ghost World
on: January 10, 2005 04:27
I agree LadyEowyn, as Gandalf mentioned to Frodo in Rivendell that "...those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds." I think this too is partially the reason why Frodo sometimes see the likes of Galadriel, Glorfindel and Gildor "shine" with a soft light.

But what confuses me is how exactly "fading into WW" works, I mean if Frodo became a wraith will his body disappear? Or just his spirit remain in WW? Whenever he used the Ring he became physically invisible (but visible in the WW); but when he was wounded with the Morgul-knife he became visible in the WW but remained physically opaque.
LadyEowyn_Of_Rohan
CoE Volunteer
Posts: 749
Send Message
Avatar
Post RE: The Wraith World and the Ghost World
on: January 10, 2005 04:50
But what confuses me is how exactly "fading into WW" works, I mean if Frodo became a wraith will his body disappear? Or just his spirit remain in WW? Whenever he used the Ring he became physically invisible (but visible in the WW); but when he was wounded with the Morgul-knife he became visible in the WW but remained physically opaque.
I figured his body would sort of fade out of our world (or Middle-earth as everyone but the Wraiths knows it) and become more and more visible in the WW and to the Wraiths. As for the Morgul-knife, I think he did begin to fade and become a Wraith, a little:
FotR, "Many Meetings":
He was smiling, and there seemed to be little wrong with him. But to the wizard's eye there was a faint change, just a hint as it were of transparency, about him, and especially about the left hand that lay outside upon the coverlet.


Edit: I always connected the WW with the Void, but I didn't really think about any of this until now. I'm not sure where the Void idea came from. :dizzy:

[Edited on 11/1/2005 by LadyEowyn_Of_Rohan]
FornGold
Council Member
Posts: 2
Send Message
Avatar
Post RE: The Wraith World and the Ghost World
on: January 10, 2005 07:05
Are there not at least three "worlds", the Elvish rather heavenly one, the hellish Wraith one, and Middle Earth, which the first two somehow intersect? The first two have in common some element of deathlessness and of course some element of estrangement from the normal world, but the book descriptions do not seem to this reader to equate exactly the Blessed Realm and the Wraith world. Pretty clearly, Saruman and Sauron (and of course the Wraiths) end up somewhere other than the Blessed Realm. To be sure, this is somewhat confused by the presumption that the Final Battle will happen in the Blessed Realm.
pv
Council Member
Posts: 523
Send Message
Avatar
Post RE: The Wraith World and the Ghost World
on: January 10, 2005 10:35
When Frodo sees Glorfindel and the Ringwraiths differently, he doesn't seem to have entered a different world, a wraith world. He seems to look at the same world through different senses which have been sharpened by the Ring... like for instance, if we could suddenly see the world in infrared or ultraviolet light as opposed to normal light.

[Edited on 13/1/2005 by pv]
http://monstersandcritics.wordpress.com/
Tcherepin
Council Member
Posts: 103
Send Message
Avatar
Post RE: The Wraith World and the Ghost World
on: January 11, 2005 12:20
What world would the army of the traitors to Isuldur...the Men under the Mountain be from?

If they betrayed Isuldur by not fighting with him as they promised, then they'd have all been long, long dead by the time Aragorn summoned them out. So, ghosts.....

...who did plenty of damage to the Orcs at the battle at the gates of Minas Tirith. I'm not sure quite how this fits in to your theory, but there you go.
LadyEowyn_Of_Rohan
CoE Volunteer
Posts: 749
Send Message
Avatar
Post RE: The Wraith World and the Ghost World
on: January 11, 2005 02:45
I thought a ghost was a person who died and a Wraith was a person who got a Ring or something and turned all Wraith-y. My mom suggested that if you meet one, don't bother differentiating and just run.
PotbellyHairyfoot
Grandpa Moderator
Posts: 2928
Send Message
Avatar
Post RE: The Wraith World and the Ghost World
on: January 11, 2005 03:03
It occurs to me that ghosts and wraiths are unrelated creatures.

Ghosts seem to be the appearance -on this side- of creatures that have died , and there seem to be two types.
1 There are those that have died with deeds to fulfill or under a curse . These ghosts seem to still contain the 'souls' of those that have died. They can also interact with this world. These ghosts were found on The Paths of The Dead.
2 There also seem to be soulless ghosts, that can be seen but seem not to be inhabited by their original 'souls'. These ghosts seem to be the result of something fouling their burial grounds. These ghosts can be found in the Dead Marshes
--------
Wraiths, on the other hand , are the living remnants of the original flesh and blood of those that have had the visible manifestations of their bodies , on 'this side', gradually disappear due to some evil, like a fouled ring of power or a cursed blade.
Wraiths, unlike ghosts, can no longer be seen , on 'this side', but they can be heard and be felt by other senses than vision.
To me it also seems that ghosts only manifest themselves, on this side, while wraiths manifest , on 'this side' and 'the other side' and can interact equally well in both sides.

[Edited on 12/1/2005 by PotbellyHairyfoot]
El-Tazrín
Council Member
Posts: 363
Send Message
Avatar
Post RE: The Wraith World and the Ghost World
on: August 16, 2009 07:54
I thought there was just te phsical world and the shadow/spiritual/other world. I can't remeber what they say in the film exactly (I know it's not that reliable but it's better than nothing) "He's fading into he shadow realm, becoming a wraith like them." a least it was something like that.
cirdaneth
Books Admin & Books Forum Moderator
Posts: 2069
Send Message
Avatar
Post RE: The Wraith World and the Ghost World
on: February 21, 2010 01:59
I’m mostly with PB here. The Ghost-world and the Wraith-world are very different. They relate to the world of Men and neither of them bear any relation to the world of fading or sailing elves.

A ghost traditionally is of a person whose physical body has long decomposed, but whose spirit cannot, or will not, move on ‘beyond the circles of the world’. They can make themselves visible to those they would aid or terrify, or like those who inhabit the Paths of the Dead, to fulfil an oath that will free them. They have no physical substance and, as Gimli so rightly supposes, their chief weapon is fear.

The faces in the Dead Marshes seem to be the reverse of this. The acid environment of peat-bogs preserves corpses in minute detail, down to clothing and jewellery and the weapons that killed them. ‘elves and men and orcses’ says Gollum. Their spirits are long gone but the exposed faces, the mists and the self-igniting marsh-gases play upon human imagination. Bear in mind also that on the Somme, Tolkien will have seen unclaimed corpses floating in flooded shell-holes.

Wraiths, on the other hand, are invisible but tangible and, as PB says, are enslaved to evil and denied death. Professor Tom Shippey says something interesting in the movie appendices. The word ‘wraith’ is related to words like wreath and wring and wrought, all of which involve twisting and bending.

The Nazgul were originally issued with the Nine Rings of Men which empowered them to become Kings and preserved their lives long after their allotted span. When Sauron later took the rings back from them they became wraiths, invisible, shaped only by their apparel and unable to die; thus ‘wraithed’ turned and twisted back at the doors of death.

As for the barrow-wights, they seem never to have been mortal, but are spirits (minor Maiar) that entered the world with Morgoth in the very beginning. They were inherited by Sauron and put to use by him, especially under the Witch King of Angmar, otherwise Lord of the Nazgul. The barrows on the downs are the burials of Numenorean nobles of the Kingdom of Arnor. The kingdom fragmented and was overrun by Angmar. But when Angmar fell the wights took up residence in the barrows where they were able to reanimate the embalmed corpses. Quite what the barrow-wight intended to do with the hobbits is unclear, but one can hazard a guess.
Ilandir
Council Member
Posts: 475
Send Message
Avatar
Post RE: The Wraith World and the Ghost World
on: February 21, 2010 02:11
Also, Tom Shippey's essay "Orcs, Wraiths and Wights: Tolkien's Images of Evil" does touch on this matter ...
cirdaneth
Books Admin & Books Forum Moderator
Posts: 2069
Send Message
Avatar
Post RE: The Wraith World and the Ghost World
on: February 21, 2010 09:56
Which book is that in, Ilandir? As Books Admin I really shold be reading everything I can. (or everything I can afford!)

Have just bought Sigurd and Gudrun, and The Ring of Words. The latter is about Tolkien's time on the Oxford English Dictionary.
Ilandir
Council Member
Posts: 475
Send Message
Avatar
Post RE: The Wraith World and the Ghost World
on: February 21, 2010 11:56
It's in 'Roots and Branches: Selected Papers on Tolkien' by Tom Shippey. It's a brilliant book and especially "Orcs, Wraiths and Wights: Tolkien's Images of Evil" is my favourite essay by far.

Cirdaneth: Thanks Ilandir. I have added it to my Tolkien reading list.

[Edited on 22/2/2010 by cirdaneth]
Members Online
Print Friendly, PDF & Email