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In Lord of the Rings movie by Peter Jackson Nazgûls are depicted as phantoms in black cloaks with swords often riding on horses:

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What did Peter Jackson take as a base (prototype) to build the character images for his movies' Nazgûls?

I'm not sure how Nazgûls were depicted in J.Tolkien's novel and whether there are original illustrations avaiabale somewhere.


Some similarities have the character images of Dementors from Harry Potter film series:

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Similar character image has also the Death on the Pale Horse (one of the four horsemens) from the Bible's

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:

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And of course classical image of Death (Grim Reaper) that is popular today: enter image description here


Question: Where do character images (appearance) of Nazguls from LOTR originate from? Did Peter Jackson take it from original Tolkien's illustrations (if they exist) or he constructed it based on some prototype?

  • I thought he based it on Alan Lee's images... – Paulie_D Jan 11 '18 at 7:10
  • Isn't the inspiration for almost everything in LOTR explained in the extensive bonus features available with the DVDs or Blu-rays? You have watched those, right -- considering you're expressing an interest in this? – BCdotWEB Jan 11 '18 at 9:30
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    The design seems fairly obvious. Tolkien describes them as invisible, but made visible by their hooded black cloaks. How else would you design them except for being invisible beings cloaked in menacing black hooded cloaks? – Snow Jan 11 '18 at 9:41
  • @BCdotWEB Not everyone has (legal) access to the extended editions. – JAB Jan 11 '18 at 19:34
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The looks for the Nazguls in the movies are mainly based on john Howe and Alan Lee. For example : Howe - Black riders
Howe - Flight to the ford
Howe - Eowyn and the Nazgul
Lee - The witch King of angmar

Of course, this does not really answer your question, but only push your question one step further :
What did Lee/howe take as a base (prototype) to build the character images for their Nazgûls?

  • Since my question receive donwvotes I no longer want to receive any answers here. Thanks for answer. – Erba Aitbayev Jan 11 '18 at 16:12
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    You’re getting upvotes too, @Chichi. – James McLeod Jan 11 '18 at 20:42
  • ISTR Bakshi claimed the design for the Nazgul was taken from his film. What inspired HIM, however... – Rob Crawford Nov 26 '18 at 16:01

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