The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
First appeared in III 1636; survived at least to the last years of the Third Age
Location
The Barrow-downs, to the east of the Shire
Meaning
A barrow is a grave-mound, and wight means a person or creature1

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About this entry:

  • Updated 28 August 2000
  • Updates planned: 3

Barrow-wights

Evil spirits out of Angmar

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Evil spirits sent to dwell in the Barrow-downs by the Witch-king of Angmar during his wars with the remnant of Arnor, and who remained there long after the realm of Angmar itself had vanished from the world.


Notes

1

The word wight comes from Old English wiht, a word with a very broad meaning that could signify a person, a creature or even just a thing. That word in itself didn't have any particularly evil connotations, but the related Old Saxon wiht, which literally meant 'thing', could be used to also refer to demons. It may be that Tolkien had this connection to the underworld in mind when he chose to refer to the grave-spirits of the Barrow-downs as 'wights'.

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