Frodo’s Fiery Defense: Would the Nazgul Retreat if the Breakfast Fire Raged on Weathertop?

In J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy, “The Lord of the Rings,” one of the most memorable scenes is the encounter between the hobbits and the Nazgul on Weathertop. The question has been raised: if Frodo and his companions had left their breakfast fire burning, would the Nazgul have been too afraid of the fire to attack? This article will delve into the nature of the Nazgul, their fear of fire, and the potential impact of a raging fire on their actions.

The Nature of the Nazgul

The Nazgul, also known as Ringwraiths, are spectral beings who were once men. They were corrupted by the power of the Rings of Power given to them by Sauron. Over time, they became wraith-like creatures, invisible in the mortal world but visible in the wraith-world. They are Sauron’s most feared servants, relentless in their pursuit of the One Ring.

The Nazgul’s Fear of Fire

It is well established in Tolkien’s lore that the Nazgul have a fear of fire. This is demonstrated in several instances in the books, such as when Aragorn uses fire to drive them away from Weathertop and when Gandalf uses fire to hold them off at the Ford of Bruinen. However, it’s important to note that their fear of fire is not paralyzing. They are able to overcome it when necessary, especially when driven by their desire to retrieve the One Ring.

Would a Raging Fire Deter the Nazgul?

Given the Nazgul’s fear of fire, it’s reasonable to speculate that a large, raging fire might deter them from attacking. However, there are several factors to consider. First, the size and intensity of the fire would likely play a role. A small breakfast fire, even if left to grow, might not be enough to deter the Nazgul. Second, the Nazgul’s determination to retrieve the One Ring would likely outweigh their fear of fire. In the scene on Weathertop, they were willing to face Aragorn’s flaming brands because they believed they could capture the Ring.


In conclusion, while a raging fire on Weathertop might have given the Nazgul pause, it’s unlikely that it would have been enough to deter them from attacking. Their fear of fire, while real, is not so great as to override their desire to retrieve the One Ring. Therefore, it’s likely that even if Frodo and his companions had left their breakfast fire burning, the outcome on Weathertop would have been the same.