by Gandalf921

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 older-animated LOTR.

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.