After just rereading the first half of the Fellowship of the Ring, or
at least most of it, I found that the Nazgul were portrayed very
differently as they were in the movies. In the movies they are always
given a terrifying aura, darkness, screeching, and the like. However
for the novels, they were almost disappointing.
Here is an example -
'"Baggins has left," he answered in a whisper. "He is coming. He is not
far away. I wish to find him. If he passes will you tell me? I will
come back with gold."
"'No you won't," I said. "You'll go back where you belong, double
quick. I give you one minute before I call all my dogs"
This does not make sense. Obviously the nazgul is not going to be
afraid of all his dogs. In terms of actually gaining the Ring, it would
make much more sense for the Nazgul to just kill Farmer Maggot and then
wait for the Hobbits to arrive. It makes no sense to just leave, and
allow the hobbits to get there and be warned, and even helped by
Maggot. This is a large contrast to what the movies say, which in those
circumstances, would be just to kill Farmer Maggot, and wait in his
house for the hobbits to arrive. An after that... it would be easy
accumulation of the Ring. The Nazgul's actions seem much more like what
a Jedi would do. Add to that keeping Hobbits alive after revealing
themselves is an obvious threat to secrecy - they are bound to tell
each other eventually.
Why are they portrayed this way? A noticeable difference between
watching the scenes with the Nazgul in the movies, and reading what
they do, is the feel you get while doing so. In the films, there was
the usual suspenseful get-out-of-it-alive part, whereas in the books it
is a lot more "comfortable" and easy. Obviously the "comfortable" part
is not going to work in a film that is designed to appeal to the
mindless-action-film lovers, however it was in a way in the
Response from Primula:
I find the
more subtle sinister version of the
books much more frightening than the "smash 'em up bad-guys" that the
cinema presented. The literary wraiths were more along the lines of
Grima, to me - tragic figures because they once were something more
wholesome, frightening because they are wholly untrustworthy and
enslaved. Something that doesn't screech and pop out of bushes at you
(to be whacked away with a torch), but rather more like something that
might creep in silently at night and throttle you in your bed.