Ring Wraiths
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Nazgul/Ring Wraiths

The Nazgul have two version - their basic Ring Wraith blacks and their look when Frodo wear's the ring.  This has become to be know as the "twilight" version.  We've broken out all the explanations on this page based on the same division.

Ring Wraiths

Casa Loma - Hobbit bedrooms at Bree  
Just the hood, heavily lightened  
Just the shadowy shape in the distance.  (window of Whitcoulls) Edge of the hood
Center detail tattered hem
Detailing on the witch king armor at Casa Loma Lighten version
Pictures thanks to Lyric,  Steve, Sytske, and ToRN's Wellington gallery
Witch kings cloak    



TTT Flying Ring Wraith

Costume Breakdown:

Ngila said that structurally these costumes are very complex underneath, and we know they contain over 50 metres of fabric, but hey, a basic Elf dress is going to take you 6 metres (a little over 6 yards..), so if you think about the types of fabric and the layered construction, it's not as much as it sounds& many fancy wedding gowns have 20 or so metres. 29 were made.  Some are hero version, some were made for the stunt doubles.  These weighed quite a bit.  They are actually layers of different silks since that's what she found moved best.

There is a bit hump/ring apparatus on their back and shoulders.  It changes their shape so that they are less human.  The head disappears into the shoulder.  The shoulders disappear into the body. The only time we see what this looks like is in the car commercial when the salesman slides his hood down.  It looks almost like a horse collar, but it is molded to his body.

Description:   (thanks to Naomi)

  • They wear a base layer of black pants, and a 'homespun' black top, this appears tucked into the pants. Faces are covered by those full head black mesh masks like puppeteers wear. They wear knee length armoured boots and elbow length armoured gloves.
  • The robe opens at the front, and the underlayer fastens by crossing over and is tied at the sides of the neck. Ties appear to be black leather. (One tie underneath, one on the outside- like a negligee.)
  •  Incorporated into the overrobe is a framework that supports the hood. It probably has a harness - like body armour - that sits over the shoulders (If you can get a set of football shoulder pads these work well..). Attached to the harness is a framework -probably stiff wire, that loops up over, and sticks out to the front of the face, hiding it. Probably two or three hoops wired together... (think Sydney Opera House - that shell shape)
  • Now, we know that the overrobes are very full in the back, enough so that they drape over the rump of the horse. We can assume that they are composed of several layers of fabric, in varying weights, the innermost lining being a fine weave cotton sheeting type in black, and graduating through an assortment of gauzy, billowy fabrics, in tattered shreds, attached to the underrobe so they peek out whenever the Wraith moves. These lighter layers are not jet black, but more shades of grey, silvery even. The outermost is a rough nubbly textured weave in a very dark brownish black.
  • The layers are not joined at the hem but swing freely, and are probably gathered and flared along a yoke across the shoulders, to give the greatest width at the base. They do not fall smoothly to the floor, but appear to be caught up here and there with stitches, to bunch them and drape them unevenly. When the wraiths are standing, the robes fall in such a manner that the underlayers are visible at the front opening of the robe. When they sit astride their horses, the layers are tucked away beneath the overrobe.
  • The sleeves are long and drape deeply, at least two feet wide. It looks as though the under layer is arms length, but the overlayer is longer, and is rumpled and gathered onto the lining, tacked in place, so it always looks bunched up. The sleeves are set-in, fitted into the armholes of the overrobe and are gathered somewhat. The edges of the sleeves are heavily embroidered or quilted, leaving artfully applied 'frayed' edges.
  • Over the main robe is another layer, like a sleeveless surcoat or loose waistcoat arrangement. This doesn't extend all the way to the floor but seems to form a kind of cloak or shawl that drapes around the shoulders and down the back.
  • The hood itself is constructed on the framework, and appears to be padded and stiffened with buckram, as it does not move in any way. It consists of an extremely large triangle of fabric, a slightly lighter weave than the nubbly, homespun look of the main robe. After being draped over the headpiece, which is lined, the outer fabric is tucked up and stitched in place at the back of the neck, forming a loose 'bag' at the back of the head. The remainder of the fabric hangs down at the back in a triangular shape, and the sides are brought forward over the shoulders and hang almost to the floor. The edges, especially at the front, are finished in the same 'frayed' look with loose threads and loops protruding from the seams.
  • In many scenes the hems of all layers are ragged and mud-splattered.


  • Ngila, from Chud's junket report:
    • "I retrospective designed it which- - so in fact, thereís a drawing somewhere of the king, a king in an original, fully regal costume. And then I just redrew it, breaking it down more and more and more so that in fact the ring wraiths become- - there are vestiges of that original design as part of that costume. Totally subliminal.
    • "costumes are built from the inside out. Thatís a huge amount of detail and thereís a big reality to every single part of the costume. ... And it goes from quite light layers to really quite heavy woven- - not tight, because the textures and those sort of quite loosely woven, quite think threaded silks. "



  • Description, based on the 6" toys

    • Summary of toys: There are two Ring Wraiths out so far. One is cloth (horseman) and the Witch king is all plastic.

    • The hood with the front trailing pieces looks like it is formed from a long triangle of fabric... the back point sewing into the collar. Hood padded and weird into the wide shape that hides the face.

    • The outer layer appears to be a cloak with short (elbowish) wide, sleeves. Both dolls have a piece in the back that hangs from the neck to almost mid-shoulder... kind of a detached yoke. The coat.. on the dolls... is split front and sides and is shaped kind of circular in the fabric one. Then there's at least another layer under that that has more fabric and the long trailing sleeves.

    • Remember, a book picture also shows the bottom layer with a large (1/2 to foot) zig-zag of attached fabrics. Interestingly, while this drapes really great over the horses, it doesn't seem to drag too far on the ground... unless those are two different version... which is possible. Maybe in a later movie we'll see.

      Under the robes is the pointing foot and knee joint armor suit

Info: from Rob, Judy, Cat

Wana see something that's almost a yummy as the real thing??? Check out Scot's Ring Wrath and Armor page for his wonderfully detail recreation.

Witch King ready for Battle

Twilight Wraiths



The 9 Kings (still human)

Twilight Armor

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This page was last updated 04/22/08