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Encyclopedia > Fell beast
Éowyn and the Nazgûl by Ted Nasmith

In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, "fell beast" is the author's description of the flying carrion-eating pterosaur-like creatures on which the Nazgûl rode after being unhorsed at the Ford of Bruinen. The creatures are especially prominent during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, where the Witch-king of Angmar, the Lord of the Nazgûl, rides his in battle against King Théoden of Rohan. Image File history File links NasmithWitchKing. ... Image File history File links NasmithWitchKing. ... Ted Nasmith Ted Nasmith is a Canadian artist, illustrator and architectural renderer. ... John Ronald Reuel Tolkien CBE (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English philologist, writer and university professor, best known as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. ... The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by the English academic J. R. R. Tolkien. ... An American Black Vulture feeding on squirrel carrion For other uses, see Carrion (disambiguation). ... Suborders Pterodactyloidea Rhamphorhynchoidea * Pterosaurs (, from the Greek πτερόσαυρος, pterosauros, meaning winged lizard, often referred to as pterodactyls, from the Greek πτεροδάκτυλος, pterodaktulos, meaning winged finger ) were flying reptiles of the clade Pterosauria. ... Screenshot of Creatures 3 This is an entry about an artificial life computer program series. ... Nazgûl ilustration. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional universe of Middle-earth, the river Bruinen or Loudwater is a river which appears in The Hobbit as well as The Lord of the Rings. ... Combatants Gondor, Rohan, Dúnedain of the North Mordor, Harad, Rhûn, Khand, Umbar Participants Gandalf, Éomer, Éowyn, Aragorn, Imrahil, Merry, Denethor†, Théoden† Witch-king of Angmar†, Nazgûl, Gothmog† War of the Ring 1st Fords of Isen - 2nd Fords of Isen - Isengard - Hornburg - Lothlórien - Mirkwood - Osgiliath - Pelennor... The Witch-king of Angmar, also known as the Lord of the Nazgûl and the Black Captain among other names, is a fictional character from the novel The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, set in the fantasy world of Middle-earth. ... This is a list of kings of Rohan from the fictional universe of Middle-earth by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens The Lord of the Rings, Théoden was the seventeenth King of Rohan, and last of the Second Line. ... Rohan (from Sindarin Rochand), is a fictional realm in J. R. R. Tolkiens fantasy era of Middle-earth. ...


"Fell beast" is merely a description of the creature given in the book, "fell" being applied in its archaic sense of "cruel", "evil" or "lethal". Tolkien never named the creature, so this description is often used for want of a better label.

Contents

Description and origin

As described, the fell beast's wing structure resembles a bat's (top) more than a pterodactyl's (bottom)

In book V, chapter 6 of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien describes it thus: Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... From Hankin E. H. and Watson D. S. M.(1914): On the Flight of Pterodactyls, The Aeronautical Journal, October 1914, pages 324-225 This image is in the public domain in the United States and possibly other jurisdictions. ...

"...it was a winged creature: if bird, then greater than all other birds, and it was naked, and neither quill nor feather did it bear, and its vast pinions were as webs of hide between horned fingers; and it stank. A creature of an older world maybe it was...."[1]

A few paragraphs later it is said to attack with "beak and claw".[1] It and the others that served the Nazgûl as steeds were taken by Sauron who raised them in such a way that they grew to an unnatural size.


This most closely resembles a very large hairless pterosaur-like animal, although its wing structure resembles that of a bat. Tolkien once wrote that he "did not intend the steed of the Witch-king to be what is now called a 'pterodactyl'", while acknowledging that it was "obviously ... pterodactylic and owes much" to the "new ... mythology of the 'Prehistoric'", and might even be "a last survivor of older geological eras."[2] The differences in the beast's anatomy from pterodactyls or any other species of pterosaur makes it doubtful he intended the fell beast to belong to any group of real creatures. Suborders Pterodactyloidea Rhamphorhynchoidea * Pterosaurs (, from the Greek πτερόσαυρος, pterosauros, meaning winged lizard, often referred to as pterodactyls, from the Greek πτεροδάκτυλος, pterodaktulos, meaning winged finger ) were flying reptiles of the clade Pterosauria. ... “Chiroptera” redirects here. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Some have called the fell beasts dragons.[3] However, dragons are already well established in Tolkien's writings (see Smaug, Glaurung and Ancalagon). It is likely that, had Tolkien intended fell beasts to be considered dragons, he would have just called them dragons. J. R. R. Tolkiens universe of Middle-earth features dragons closely based on those of European legend. ... Smaug in his lair: an illustration for the fantasy The Hobbit Smaug is a fictional character in The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Known as The Deceiver,The Golden, and the Worm of Greed, Glaurung was the first and greatest of the land-bound fire-breathing Dragon, in J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional Middle-earth legendarium. ... Ancalagon can also refer to a fossil priapulid worm. ...


Despite each of these theories, any claims as to the nature, anatomy, and physiology of fell beasts is based on speculation. It is possible to approximate what these beasts might have looked like, but real-world analogies are ultimately insufficient to describe them.


Appearances in the book

In The Fellowship of the Ring, at the River Anduin, Legolas shoots one down in the night as it approaches them. The Fellowship of the Ring is the first of three volumes of the epic novel The Lord of the Rings by the English author J. R. R. Tolkien. ... Location of Anduin in Middle Earth In J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional Middle-earth, Anduin is the Sindarin name for the Great River of Wilderland, the longest river in the Third Age (the original Sindarin name means Long River). ... Legolas is an important character in J. R. R. Tolkiens legendarium, featured in The Lord of the Rings. ...


In The Two Towers Gollum sees the Witch-king and his mount while guiding Frodo and Sam, and refers to the Ringwraiths as "Wraiths on wings". The Two Towers is the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkiens The Lord of the Rings. ...


In The Return of the King the Witch-king shot a black dart at Snowmane, the steed of king Théoden, while riding upon a fell beast. The horse crushed Théoden as it fell. Dernhelm (who soon revealed herself as Éowyn) defended the dying Théoden by standing between the Witch-king and the King of Rohan. She killed the fell beast, then challenged and defeated the Witch-king with the help of Meriadoc Brandybuck. The Return of the King is the third and final volume of J. R. R. Tolkiens The Lord of the Rings, following The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. ... The Witch-king of Angmar, also known as the Lord of the Nazgûl and the Black Captain among other names, is a fictional character from the novel The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, set in the fantasy world of Middle-earth. ... Horses are an important element in the fantasy world of Middle-earth created by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens The Lord of the Rings, Théoden was the seventeenth King of Rohan, and last of the Second Line. ... Éowyn (T.A. 2995–F.A. ?), a shieldmaiden of Rohan, is a character in J. R. R. Tolkiens fantasy universe of Middle-earth who appears in his most famous work, The Lord of the Rings. ... Meriadoc Brandybuck, usually referred to as Merry, is a fictional character from J.R.R. Tolkiens Middle-earth, featured throughout his most famous work, The Lord of the Rings. ...


All of the remaining Nazgûl were mounted on fell beasts at the Battle of the Morannon, and were suddenly dispatched to Orodruin by Sauron in response to the imminent destruction of the One Ring. The beasts are presumably destroyed along with their riders in the resulting eruption of Mount Doom. Combatants Gondor, Rohan, Eagles Mordor, Harad, Rhûn Commanders Gandalf, Imrahil, Éomer, Aragorn, Gwaihir Sauron†, Mouth of Sauron*, Khamûl† Strength Less than 6,000 Men of Gondor and Rohan, one Wizard, one Hobbit, one Elf, two Half-elves, one Dwarf, and an unknown number of Eagles Eight Nazgûl... In J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional universe of Middle-earth, Mount Doom, or Orodruin, is a volcano in Mordor where the One Ring was forged in the Crack of Doom, a fiery chasm within the mountain. ... The One Ring, also known as the Ruling Ring, The Doom of Man, the Great Ring of Power, The Ring, or Isildurs Bane, is an artifact from J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional Middle-earth universe. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional universe of Middle-earth, Mount Doom, or Orodruin, is a volcano in Mordor where the One Ring was forged in the Crack of Doom, a fiery chasm within the mountain. ...


In adaptations

1978 cartoon

In Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings, one of the Nazgûl (possibly the Witch-king, for he carries a mace), is shown riding a fell beast. However, Bakshi's film only covers events up to the Battle of the Hornburg, so that is the last we see of the fell beasts and their riders. Ralph Bakshi (October 29, 1938) is an American director of animated and occasionally live-action films. ... Year 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1978 Gregorian calendar). ... J.R.R. Tolkiens The Lord of the Rings is the title of an animated film produced and directed by Ralph Bakshi, and released to theaters in 1978. ... Combatants Isengard Rohan Commanders Saruman Théoden, Aragorn, Gandalf, Éomer Strength 10,000 Uruk-hai and common Orcs of Isengard, 2,000-5,000 Dunlendings, an unknown number of orc-human hybrids about 2,000 Rohirrim; reinforced by 1,000 more Rohirrim in the morning, and thousands of Huorns Casualties...


1980 TV special

In the Rankin-Bass 1980 animated version of The Return of the King, the Nazgûl ride winged horses, although the Nazgûl Lord does ride a bird like creature when he confronts Éowyn. Rankin-Bass (aka Videocraft International) is an American production company, known for its seasonal television specials. ... Year 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar). ... DVD cover The Return of the King is an animated adaptation of the novel by J. R. R. Tolkien which was released by Rankin/Bass as a TV special in 1980. ...


Live-action movies

In Peter Jackson's film trilogy based on The Lord of the Rings, the fell beasts are depicted as being pterosaur-like creatures, and all nine Nazgûl are visible onscreen riding them. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (852x480, 178 KB) This image is a screenshot from a copyrighted film, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by the studio which produced the film, and possibly also by any actors appearing in the screenshot. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (852x480, 178 KB) This image is a screenshot from a copyrighted film, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by the studio which produced the film, and possibly also by any actors appearing in the screenshot. ... Peter Jackson CNZM (born October 31, 1961) is a New Zealand filmmaker best known as the director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which he, along with Fran Walsh, his long time partner, and Philippa Boyens, adapted from the novels by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Peter Jackson CNZM (born October 31, 1961) is a New Zealand filmmaker best known as the director of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which he, along with Fran Walsh, his long time partner, and Philippa Boyens, adapted from the novels by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... The Lord of the Rings film trilogy comprises three live action fantasy epic films; The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). ...


Their features in the movies are in most cases similar to that of actual species of pterosaur with three major differences: The bone structure of their wings, which are much more bat-like than pterosaur-like; their size, as no known pterosaur was as large as the fell beasts in the movies;.[citation needed] and their facial anatomy, as they lack the elongated jaw of pterosaurs. These differences are likely attributable simply to the fact that it had to serve as a believable mount for the Nazgûl and the production team wanted the fell beasts to appear physically capable of flying if they actually existed.[citation needed] This necessitated having the wingspan of a Jumbo Jet, or approximately 65 meters. The decision to use a bat-like wing structure was based on the fact that the pterosaurs wing support (an extremely long fourth finger) would be far too weak to support the weight of a wing that large, as the largest known pterosaurs believed to be capable of flight have been found with wingspans of up to only 18 meters. In any case, the ability of such a large creature to fly stretches the limits of credulity. This reservation also applies to Tolkien's eagles.[citation needed] Suborders Pterodactyloidea Rhamphorhynchoidea * Pterosaurs (, from the Greek πτερόσαυρος, pterosauros, meaning winged lizard, often referred to as pterodactyls, from the Greek πτεροδάκτυλος, pterodaktulos, meaning winged finger ) were flying reptiles of the clade Pterosauria. ... The Boeing 747, commonly nicknamed the Jumbo Jet, is a long-haul, widebody commercial airliner manufactured by Boeing. ... The metre (American English:meter) is a measure of length. ... In J. R. R. Tolkiens fictional universe of Middle-earth, the eagles were immense flying birds that were sentient, and could speak. ...


The film version of the beasts differ from Tolkien's description in that they do not have beaks.


In the audio commentary, it is rather definitively stated that the design of the fell beasts was based largely on illustrations by the popular Middle-earth artist John Howe. On a DVD (or laserdisc), an audio commentary is a bonus track consisting of a lecture or comments by one or more speakers, who talk about the movie as it progresses. ... John Howe 2003 John Howe (born August 21, 1957 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) is a book illustrator, living in Neuchatel, Switzerland. ...


Although the mistake is never made in the films, the actors on the commentary tracks sometimes refer to the fell beast as a Nazgûl; this is incorrect. The fell beast is the creature that the nine Nazgûl ride, and the mistake probably arose because fell beasts are always seen with a Nazgûl atop them, and because ambiguous references are made to them that could apply either to the Ringwraith or the Fell Beast. Billy Boyd does refer to them correctly. A major selling point of DVD video is that its storage capacity allows for a wide variety of extra features in addition to the feature film itself. ... Billy Boyd (born 28 August 1968 in Glasgow) is a Scottish actor most widely known for playing Peregrin Took (Pippin), in the film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) and Barrett Bonden in Peter Weirs film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003). ...


Similar creatures in other imaginative works

Some of the random encounters found in various early Final Fantasy games bear a striking resemblance to the fell beasts. This is likely due to the fact that Yoshitaka Amano, the character designer of the first six games, is a fan of Tolkien. The design was used for the Roc-class Fiends in Final Fantasy X & Final Fantasy X-2. This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Yoshitaka Amano (天野 喜孝 Amano Yoshitaka, originally 天野 嘉孝 (pronounced the same), born July 28, 1952) is a Japanese artist, best known for his illustrations for Vampire Hunter D and for his character designs for the video game series Final Fantasy. ...


Other creatures of fantasy fiction, such as the featherless birds (which are mentioned in the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia, the Last Battle) and the lethrblaka from the Inheritance Trilogy are also similar to the fell beast. Razac are superhuman beings in Christopher Paolinis Inheritance trilogy. ... The Inheritance Trilogy is a series of high fantasy books written by American author Christopher Paolini that has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide [1] [2]. As of 2007, two of these three books have been published: Eragon (2003) and Eldest (2005). ...


The Magic: the Gathering trading card game has a "specter" creature type, most of which are designed to resemble a Nazgûl riding a fell beast (example: Blazing Specter). Magic: The Gathering (colloq. ...


References

  1. ^ a b J. R. R. Tolkien (1987). The Return of the King. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-08256-0. 
  2. ^ Carpenter, Humphrey and Tolkien, Christopher (eds.) (1981). The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, #211. ISBN 0-395-31555-7. 
  3. ^ http://mactips.blogs.com/photos/lotr/nazgul2546.html

  Results from FactBites:
 
Fell beast - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (735 words)
Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, the term fell beast is used to describe the gigantic flying pterosaur-like creatures on which the Nazgûl rode on after being unhorsed at the Ford of Bruinen.
In Peter Jackson's trilogy of movies based on The Lord of the Rings, the fell beasts are depicted as being pterosaur-like creatures, and their features are in most cases similar to that of actual species of pterosaur with two major differences.
The fell beast is the creature that the nine Nazgûl ride, and the mistake probably arose because fell beasts are always seen with a Nazgûl atop them.
Other Creatures of Middle-earth (6240 words)
Frodo sensed that it was one of the Nazgul.
Gandalf explained that the Fell Beast could not have flown 200 leagues from Mordor in reponse to Pippin's action, and said that the Nazgul had probably been sent earlier to determine what Saruman was doing.
At the Battle of the Pelennor Fields on March 15, the Witch-king of Angmar descended onto the field on a Fell Beast.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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