Welcome to September 10, 3018 of the Third Age. Today we’ll catch up with the Nazgûl. It’s been awhile. Certainly they’ve been busy and have such tales to tell.
Catching Up with the Nine
To find out about the wanderings of the Nine Riders we have to consult Unfinished Tales. Tolkien wrote quite a bit about this, much of it contradictory, but since the only easily-available stuff is in the “Hunt for the Ring” chapter, that’s what we’re going with. Mostly.
When last we left them (way the hell back in July), they were gathered in the Field of Celebrant. They had just learned that Gollum had managed to escape both the Orcs and Elves. The Riders also figured out that the Hobbits didn’t live in Anduin Vale. Basically, they were back to square one.
The Witch-king still wanted to search towards the north. Remember, they still hadn’t crossed the Misty Mountains. So all through the summer they traveled north.
The Lórien Problem
Looking at a map, the land of Lórien is directly north of the Field of Celebrant. Lórien and Dol Guldur are practically neighbors. Obviously the Shire wasn’t in Mirkwood to the northeast, and there was no Shire anything north through Anduin’s Vale, so why the Witch-king wanted to poke around farther north rather than west isn’t really clear.
And while going west would solve the Lórien problem, the Witch-king figured that Galadriel and Lórien were likely involved with the Shire. Perhaps it was even part of her queendom.
“But the power of the White Ring he would not defy, nor enter yet into Lórien.”
So that’s the issue – Nenya, Galadriel’s Ring [note: insert “nenya business” joke somewhere around here]. The Nazgûl were not (yet?) powerful enough to take on Galadriel.
Naturally, the next-best thing to finding out where the Shire was located was finding out where the Shire wasn’t located – and apparently that meant another trip north.
“Passing therefore between Lórien and the Mountains the Nine rode ever on into the North; and terror went before them and lingered behind them; but they did not find what they sought nor learn any news that availed them.”
And on this-ish day, they returned with no clue as to anything.
Aaaaand We’re Back
Okay, finally we’re at the present. September 3018. Maybe around the 10th.
All we really know date-wise was that “September had come” and Sauron was pissed. There were messages from the Dark Lord waiting for the Nine upon their return. That’s not good.
It’s like getting back from an extended vacation only to find that your voicemail is full with angry messages from your boss. Playtime is over, Mr. Witch-king.
Remember when Sauron learned about Boromir, his dream and all that other stuff? Well, none of it thrilled him and he wasn’t one to control his anger. Poor W.K. apparently received the brunt of it.
Tomorrow we’ll be back to conclude this exciting Nazgûl story. Thrilling!