From Tolkien Gateway
Liz Danforth - Wight

Wights was a name used for undead beings,[1] especially as a short form for the Barrow-wights.[2]


wight is derived from Old English wiht, meaning "living being, creature". The related Old Saxon wiht means "thing, demon".[3] It has been suggested that J.R.R. Tolkien had this later "connection to the underworld in mind when he chose to refer to the grave-spirits of the Barrow-downs as 'wights'".[4]

Many works of fantasy fiction, role-playing games and computer and video games use the term wight as the name of spectral creatures very similar to Tolkien's Barrow-wights: Dungeons and Dragons has created a monster called "Wight", a kind of undead, and the new terminology is also exemplified in the wights of A Song of Ice and Fire series.[5]

Portrayal in adaptations

Wights in LOTRO

1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:

Wights inhabit the graves of Dúnedan nobles, taking their power from a buried lord. Gaming statistics are given for minor, lesser, and major Wights.[6]

2002-5: The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game:

Wights (not to be confused with the Barrow-wights appearing in the same game) are one of the three types of ghosts. Wights refer to cursed beings, who remain "bound to the will and goals of the one who cursed them" in their after-life. Unlike wraiths and phantoms, wights can possess the remains of other dead people.[7]

2007-: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Wights (crypt-wights) are categorized among the creatures called the Dead, "designed to be reminiscent of the wights of the great Barrow-downs in Eriador".[8]

See also

External links


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Passing of the Grey Company": "And some said: 'They are Elvish wights. Let them go where they belong, into the dark places, and never return. The times are evil enough.'"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Fog on the Barrow-downs", passim
  3. Douglas Harper, "wight" at Online Etymology Dictionary (accessed 30 December 2010); a curiosity is that the Swedish cognate vätte ("spirit of the earth, gnome") was used to translate the word "goblin" (cf. J.R.R. Tolkien, Britt G. Hallqvist (transl.), Bilbo: en hobbits äventyr)
  4. Mark Fisher, "Barrow-wights: Evil spirits out of Angmar" at Encyclopedia of Arda (accessed 30 December 2010)
  5. Cf. "Who has been beyond the wall of death to see? Only the wights, and we know what they are like. We know.", George R. R. Martin (2005), A Song of Ice and Fire book IV, A Feast for Crows
  6. S. Coleman Charlton (1993), Middle-earth Role Playing (2nd edition, softcover) (#2001), pp. 189, 251
  7. Scott Bennie, Mike Mearls, Steve Miller, Aaron Rosenberg, Chris Seeman, Owen Seyler, and George Strayton (2003), Fell Beasts and Wondrous Magic, pp. 25-26
  8. Monster: Wight at Lord of the Rings Online: Lorebook (accessed 31 December 2010)