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Talk:Fell beasts

[edit] Article title

Tolkien uses the term "fell beast" on at least one other occasion, where it doesn't specifically seem to refer the flying steeds of the Nazgul:

"Under the boughs of Mirkwood there was deadly strife of Elves and Men and fell beasts." (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Breaking of the Fellowship")

Although "fell beasts" seems to be a commonly used "fanon" name, I would therefore suggest that we move this page to either Hell-hawks or Nazgûl-birds (of which perhaps the former is to prefer, since it occurs in the LotR proper). What do you think? --Morgan 18:30, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

An argument to keep "fell beasts" might be that it is used twice in the Pelennor chapter, while the other terms only occur once each.--Morgan 18:37, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
Since Fell beasts are usually known as Fell Beasts and the name is used a few times in the Pelenor-battle chapter I think we should keep it as Fell bests.. --Amroth 19:55, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Amroth. I also spoke with an admin on the IRC who was of the same opinion as you. I guess we should leave the article title as it is.--Morgan 17:23, 10 June 2011 (UTC)
The need to keep the title seems inescapable, but the article doesn't reflect that a) these flying creatures were never given a name by Tolkien - "fell beast" is simply a description like "brown horse" - and b) there was only one - hidden deep in the background notes somewhere is the information that the other Nazgûl steeds were large vultures, not relatives of the one Eowyn killed. It took me 25 years and a nudge from someone else to find that out.
The use of "fell beast" as a name came along with the movies, and useful as it is, as a name it's an "adaptation", not a Tolkien original. Likewise, re the other terms he himself used, "hell hawks" was an imprecation by someone in the battle, and although "Nazgûl-bird" was a term Tolkien used himself (Letters p 115), it doesn't apply to the one killed by Eowyn and Merry ...
I would suggest quote marks, but that might be felt to be a bit fiddly. 29 April 2019

There are more names and descriptions, more or less vague or referring both to the steed and the rider or not specifically to either of them. The most common seems to bee "winged shadow". Tik 12:47, 1 May 2019 (UTC)

  • wraiths on wings (II/4.2.) - by Gollum
  • hell-hawk (III/5.4.) - by Beregond
  • [one of the] foul thing[s] (III/5.4.) - by Beregond
  • messenger of Mordor (II/3.11.)
  • Black Wings (II/4.3.)
  • winged Nazgûl (II/3.3.) - by Grishnákh; (Appendix B)
  • [great] winged creature (I/2.9.); (II/4.3.); (III/5.6. twice)
  • winged steed (II/3.5.)
  • Winged Messenger (II/3.5.)
  • winged shadow / winged Shadow (III/5.1.); (III/5.2.); (III/5.3.); (III/5.5 thrice)
  • great beast (III/5.6. twice)
  • a vast winged shape (II/3.11.)

P.S. In Ardapedia the article is named "Geflügelte Wesen" (winged creatures), and in Kontuwiki "Sormusaaveiden siivekkäät ratsut" (winged steeds of the Ringwraiths).

[edit] Adaptations

The current text about PJ's films has:

"Also, they are much larger than is implied in the books, where they are essentially used as light observation planes."

I don't agree with this observation; Tolkien writes about the fell beast: "it grew beyond the measure of all other things that fly". An (?over-)interpretation of this quote would imply that they actually were larger than dragons!--Morgan 17:23, 10 June 2011 (UTC)