PDA

View Full Version : Lord of the Rings Question


Cisco
08-31-2001, 01:53 PM
Ok, I have a confession to make. At the ripe old age of 20, I have just finished reading the LOTR for the first time. I have about a million questions and maybe I'll get around to starting a cafe thread if ever have the time but for right now I just want to ask one quick question that has been burning in my mind almost since I started reading the book: If Sauron made the ring in the first place...::drumroll::...Why didn't he just make another one?!!


[sup]btw I thought the LOTR was one of the best books I've ever read and I can't wait for the movie, I've seen interviews with Peter Jackson and he doesn't look like the type that will screw it up so let's keep our fingers crossed.

bibliophage
08-31-2001, 01:57 PM
I don't know that there is a single quick and easy answer to this question, and I expect this thread will lead to all sorts of discussion about the LoTR. Why don't we just move this to Cafe Society right away.

bibliophage
moderator, GQ

Qadgop the Mercotan
08-31-2001, 02:04 PM
Sauron invested the greater part of his own native strength into the ruling ring, in order for it to rule the others. He had no leftover power to put into another one. He was still mighty on his own, but not nearly as before.

QtM

Ethilrist
08-31-2001, 02:12 PM
and then only by turning the power of the One Ring to the dark side would he and his son be able to rule the ... oh. sorry. Wrong thread.

Plus, he had built all of the Other Rings with a backdoor which said, "the wearer of That One Ring can control your mind."

Cisco
08-31-2001, 02:58 PM
I thought the Elves made the other rings?

Danimal
08-31-2001, 03:13 PM
Forging the One Ring was a big, big mistake on Sauron's part. The Ring wasn't enough to help him beat Gil-Galad and Isildur, and then it wasn't necessary for him to beat Gondor later in the Third Age. He was winning, and then his own Ring undoes all his plans.

Re Cisco, the Elves made three of the rings (Nenya, Vilya, and Narya), and thus they were partly free of the power of the One. I don't think they made the Nine for the men or the Seven for the dwarves.

I don't know why Sauron didn't make another, but I'm guessing Quagdop's right and he didn't have the power to make another without actually wearing the first.

Ethilrist
08-31-2001, 03:17 PM
Sauron came to the elves in the guise of an elf (Annatar?) and taught them how, not bothering to point out a few critical weaknesses. Then he scuttled back to his fortress of solitude and forged the one ring.

I like to imagine the look of surprise on his face when he put on the One Ring and tried to command the Dwarven Kings to submit to his bidding...

"SUBMIT!"
"Bugger off, we don't take orders from you."
"Whoops! Give those back, I'll find somebody weaker-willed to wear them..."

Qadgop the Mercotan
08-31-2001, 03:50 PM
The wearers of the elven rings recognized Sauron for what he was when Sauron donned the ruling ring. Rather than submit to him, they took their rings off. These rings were not made by Sauron himself, but since they were made with his knowledge and guidence, they were subject to the rule of the One.

Cap'n Crude
08-31-2001, 04:25 PM
Qadgop wrote:The wearers of the elven rings recognized Sauron for what he was when Sauron donned the ruling ring. Rather than submit to him, they took their rings off. These rings were not made by Sauron himself, but since they were made with his knowledge and guidence, they were subject to the rule of the One.

They didn't take them off, certainly not permanently. Just in the Rings books alone, we see Elrond, Galadriel, and Gandalf wearing Vilya, Nenya, and Narya respectively. Cirdan had Narya before Gandalf did. We know that they wore and used them -- Galadriel implies that Lorien is maintained partially through the power of her ring.

Could it be that the original wearers of the Three (GilGalad, Cirdan, and Galadriel, I think) took them off and only put them back on when it was known that Sauron was no longer in possession of it?

Cap'n Crude
08-31-2001, 04:27 PM
"It," meaning the One Ring obviously. Preview is my friend. I should remember that.

sjc
08-31-2001, 09:12 PM
I think it took a long time to make a Ring of that power anyway (several hundred or even 1000 years?) And I think Sauron needed to concentrate on making the ring, so he would be vulnerable.

Also, someone like Gandalf or Saruman could probably destroy him using the ring. (To explain why this didn't happen, it should be noted that if Gandalf destroyed Sauron using the Ring then Gandalf would become evil like Sauron.)

I think the reason he didn't make another Ring is because a)much of his power was in the ring and b)even if he could make another Ring using his reduced powers, it would take a long time and c)meanwhile Gandalf or some other person could use the Ring to destroy him. Oh, and lest we forget d)if the Ring was thrown into the forge in which it was created, Sauron would be destroyed (as happened in the book).

Once Sauron knew that the Ring wasn't lost forever and that it may have fallen into the hands of his enemies, he had to search for it to prevent his destruction. In any case, if he thought he could find it then he certainly would have looked for it. Wouldn't you rather find the term paper you thought you lost when your computer crashed than re-write it from scratch?

clairobscur
08-31-2001, 09:22 PM
Originally posted by Cap'n Crude
Could it be that the original wearers of the Three (GilGalad, Cirdan, and Galadriel, I think) took them off and only put them back on when it was known that Sauron was no longer in possession of it? [/B]


No. Actually, the three elven rings *weren't* tainted, since Sauron never touched them (it's clearly stated somewhere). So, Sauron had no powers on the wearers of the elven rings.

clairobscur
08-31-2001, 09:26 PM
Thinking twice, it seems to me that the wearer of the One ring could locate the wearers of the elven rings. And also, they lose their power when the One is destroyed. Perhaps there's some contradictions in the books, actually...

clairobscur
08-31-2001, 09:30 PM
Totally out of context, but I'm wondering if Ethilrist's handle has something to do with "Runequest"?

Cisco
08-31-2001, 10:33 PM
Originally posted by Cap'n Crude
Just in the Rings books alone, we see Elrond, Galadriel, and Gandalf wearing Vilya, Nenya, and Narya respectively. [/B]

Wtf? I just got done reading the "Rings" books and I didn't see that. What did I miss? I remember thinking for some reason that Elrond had a ring, though I don't remember seeing anything specifically saying he did. I know Galadriel had a ring. But Gandalf? Where does it say Gandalf had a ring? And how do you know the names of the rings? I thought I read the books quite thoroughly but obviously I missed quite a bit...:(

Danimal
09-01-2001, 01:22 AM
Originally posted by Cisco
Wtf? I just got done reading the "Rings" books and I didn't see that. What did I miss? I remember thinking for some reason that Elrond had a ring, though I don't remember seeing anything specifically saying he did. I know Galadriel had a ring. But Gandalf? Where does it say Gandalf had a ring? And how do you know the names of the rings? [/B]

The Return of the King, p. 310 in the 1965 Houghton Mifflin edition (second to last page of chapter 9, "The Grey Havens").

As he turned and came towards them Frodo saw that Gandalf now wore openly upon his hand the Third Ring, Narya the Great, and the stone upon it was red as fire. Then those who were to go were glad, for they knew that Gandalf also would take ship with them.

Galadriel's ring Nenya preserved Lothlorien, and Elrond's ring Vilya preserved Rivendell, both of which faded with the destruction of the One. But I'm damned if I know what Gandalf actually used Narya for, or what, if anything, was lost when Narya lost its power.

Monster104
09-01-2001, 01:57 AM
Well, couldn't it be that Narya is what made Gandalf so powerful?

SPOOFE
09-01-2001, 05:26 AM
Clairobscur...

And also, they lose their power when the One is destroyed. Perhaps there's some contradictions in the books, actually...
Their power wasn't destroyed, but it was lessened. That's why all the Elves had to leave. Those that remained would fade away.

Danimal...

But I'm damned if I know what Gandalf actually used Narya for, or what, if anything, was lost when Narya lost its power.
Preserved the Shire.

Gaspode
09-01-2001, 05:56 AM
Originally posted by Danimal
But I'm damned if I know what Gandalf actually used Narya for, or what, if anything, was lost when Narya lost its power. [/B]

Narya was the ring of fire. WRT fire Gandalf:
Showed amazing control of fireworks and smoke rings.
Lights a fire in the middle of a blizzard in 'Fellowship',
Produces lights and scorch marks on weathertop where he fought off the Nazgul.
Ignites pine cones in 'The Hobbit'
Confronts a Balrog with a warning about his being the 'weilder of the secret fire'.
Survives several days locked in close combat with a flaming Balrog with minimal injuries.

We could reasonably attribute all these to Narya.

I also rememebr reading somewhere about the ring's ability to kindle and strengthen the fires of the heart, but i can't rememebr whether it was the Silmarillion or UT. I assume this refers to Gandalf convincing Bilbo to ditch the one ring and persuading the king of Rohan to ditch Wormtongue.

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-01-2001, 08:05 AM
Originally posted by Gaspode
Survives several days locked in close combat with a flaming Balrog with minimal injuries.

Minimal injuries? Minimal injuries?! He died!! I'd call that pretty maximal, if you ask me! He had to go back to Valinor to get a whole new body!!

DSYoungEsq
09-01-2001, 09:37 AM
1. For Cisco, we should make it clear that The Lord of the Rings (hereafter LotR) is only a small part of the literature that now exists regarding the world created by J. R. R. Tolkein. Not only do you have the Silmarillion which can be read, but also his son has published a huge number of books exploring the various unpublished works of Professor Tolkein, as well as the history of the writing of the epic, including an overly exhaustive exploration of the story development through review of the various drafts. As a result, don't be surprised by the wealth of information presented that doesn't appear to be found in the pages of LotR itself.

2. All the rings were made by the elves. The three elven rings were never touched by him. The basic story is outlined in the chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring entitled "The Council of Elrond", and is supplemented by the material in Appendix B, "The Tale of Years". A much more full accounting is found in The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age."

3. The elven rings were "hidden" when Sauron put on the One Ring. It is not explicitly stated in LotR that the rings were taken off, though the implication based on other statements about the power of whoever wields the One Ring would certainly seem to make this necessary. The Silmarillion does state that the wearers of the elven rings, perceiving the intent of Sauron, took off their rings. Three of these, the last made, and the greatest, were saved. These were Narya, Nenya and Vilya, the Three. The remaining rings were collected by Sauron (the implication here is that, when Sauron brought war to Eregion to obtain the rings, he managed to capture 16 of the rings made, but couldn't get ahold of the last three).

4. The One Ring was forged with the intent of dominating the wearers of the various Rings of Power (specifically, from the magical spell poem the Three, the Seven and the Nine). Presumably this was something Sauron was capable of doing because he knew the design features of the various rings, having been involved in teaching the ring forgers their skill (never forget that Sauron is Maia, a demi-god, much more powerful and knowledgable than the elves).

5. Sauron gave the Seven to the dwarves, but as is stated in both LotR and The Silmarillion, dwarves cannot be easily mastered. But they did end up with an "over-mastering greed of gold", which of course caused enough strife that perhaps Sauron couldn't be too upset with the result. Still, as we know from LotR, Sauron did attempt to re-collect the various dwarven rings, which is why Thrain ended up in the dungeons of Dol Guldur, in the hands of the Necromancer (Sauron in disguise).

6. The Nine, of course, were parcelled out to men, who became "kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old." Yet, though they obtained long life and power, they were trapped in an unendurable, unending life. "And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom fo the ring that they bore and under the domination of the One, which was Sauron's." (Silmarillion).

7. As has already been stated, the One Ring, needing much power to work, was invested with a great part of Sauron's native power. The implication is that he would not be able to re-forge the Ring; indeed, without the Ring, his powers were only a shadow of his former ability, and without the Ring he was unable to assume a fair shape, as had been his power in the past.

8. Gandalf clearly used the powers of Narya. But it is not correct to suggest that Gandalf's power came from the ring, because Gandalf is, after all, a Maia himself, as was Saruman and the other istari. "Olorin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten," (The Two Towers, "The Window on the West") Gandalf tells Faramir. Indeed, Saruman proves quite powerful himself, and he wields no Ring of Power. Rather, say that Gandalf was able to focus his power through Nenya, allowing him control over aspects of fire. Presumably, Gandalf had more ability to use Nenya than any elf would have, which is undoubtedly why Cirdan surrendered the ring to Gandalf.

9. The unmaking of the One Ring spelled the end of the power of the Three. As Elrond says in "The Council of Elrond", "But maybe when the One has gone, the Three will fail, and many fair things will fade and be forgotten. That is my belief." And so also Galadriel in "The Mirror of Galadriel", "For if you fail, then we are laid bare to the Enemy. But if you succeed, then our power is diminished, and Lothlorien will fade, and the tides of Time will sweep it away. We must depart into the West, or dwindle to a rustic folk of dell and cave, slowly to forget and be forgotten." Thus, the wise understood that the Three could not survive the unmaking of the One, that they were encompassed within its spell. And, thus, for the elves, the end of the One spells the end of the attempt to remake Middle Earth into a lesser echo of Valinor.

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-01-2001, 10:12 AM
DSYoungESQ, I hate to quibble with your masterly summary, but being the kind of guy I am, I will anyway!

without the Ring he was unable to assume a fair shape, as had been his power in the past.

Actually Sauron lost his ability to take fair form after his body perished in the wreck of Numenor. He returned to Middle-Earth at that time, and wielded the ring.

QtM

Cisco
09-01-2001, 10:26 PM
Ok, I have 2 more dumb questions that I somehow forgot the answers to along the way.

Who reforged the sword that was broken? (I think it was Elrond but I want to be sure.)

and

Where did Pippin get his sword? (Merry got his from Tom Bombadil, right? Or was it the other way around?)

I'm not even two days out of reading the LOTR and I already need to read it again...that'll teach me to read such a great book on the edge of sleep.

Cap'n Crude
09-01-2001, 11:14 PM
Bombadil gave Mery and Pippin their swords (daggers) after rescuing them from the Barrow Downs -- the blades were taken from one of the barrows.

Re: Narsil, reforged as Anduril:The Fellowship of the Ring, book 2, chapter 4: the Ring Goes South:The Sword of Elendil was forged anew by elvish smiths, and on its blade was traced a device of seven stars set between the crescent moon and the rayed sun, and about them were written many runes; for Aragorn son of Arathorn was going to war upon the marches of Mordor. Very bright was that sword when it was made whole again; the light of the sun shone redly in it, and the light of the moon shone cold, and its edge was hard and keen. And Aragorn gave it a new name and called it Anduril, Flame of the West.

So it was reforged by elves, presumably under the direction of Elrond and Gandalf.

Cyn
09-02-2001, 12:23 AM
May you re-read LotR for the rest of your happy life!

Chronos
09-02-2001, 01:10 AM
Quoth Gaspode:
Confronts a Balrog with a warning about his being the 'weilder of the secret fire'.That, at least, was not attributable to anything as puny and insignificant as a ring of power. If you read the Ainulindalë and the Valaquenta at the beginning of the Silmarillion, you'll see that the Secret Flame is much more significant. It's what separates what is from what is not, and is a direct manifestation of the power of God. Note that one of Gandalf's names is Olorin? That name shows up in the Silmarillion, too, where we learn that he's a Maia, which means that he's about two steps below God, and took part in the Creation of the World. To be fair, the Balrog is (or rather was) also in this same category.

Backing up your argument, though, it's mentioned in The Hobbit that he had made an especial study of fire and lights (in the cavern of the Great Goblin), and there's indications in LotR that he's the only entity in the world who has a special mastery of fire: When he lights the fire on Caradhas, he remarks that he has written for any to read that "Gandalf was here", not just that "a wizard was here".

Oh, and Cisco? Frodo and Sam also got barrow-blades, but Frodo's was broken by the Nazgul at the fords. He didn't get Sting until he met Bilbo at Rivendell. Sam's barrow-sword was on Frodo when he got captured in Cirith Ungol, and was one of the tokens brought by the Mouth of Sauron.

Cisco
09-02-2001, 01:48 AM
Rather impressive display of Middle-Earth knowledge Chronos. I'm afraid it just leaves me with more questions though.



Originally posted by Chronos
Note that one of Gandalf's names is Olorin? That name shows up in the Silmarillion, too, where we learn that he's a Maia, which means that he's about two steps below God, and took part in the Creation of the World. To be fair, the Balrog is (or rather was) also in this same category.
[/B]

Ok, so what was the Balrog doing in Moria in the first place? Why did it attack the fellowship?(I don't think it was on the side of Sauron or the Orcs, was it?). I remember Tolkien himself saying that a Balrog was completely silent, does this mean they don't talk either? Surely such a powerful creature doesn't just waste it's nigh-eternal life hiding in caves and pouncing on unsuspecting travellers for no apparent reason, does it? And lastly, should I just go ahead and read the Silmarallion? I've had an old hardback copy sitting on my bookshelf for years untold but I never could make any sense out of it in the past (not that I tried overly hard...). Would it make alot more sense now that I've read the "'Rings"? Ok, sorry to ramble, it's late. Thanks for all the input.

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-02-2001, 08:32 AM
Cisco, the Balrog was still hiding. He was still pretty shook up over the break of Thangorodrim, and the memory of the Wrath of The Host of The West kept his sorry butt deep down under the mountains. He didn't even come up to bother the dwarves of Moria, until they delved too deep, and came too close to him.

Remember, the Balrogs all served Morgoth, not Sauron, and didn't automatically have to transfer their allegience to Sauron when ol' Morgy got shut behind the Wall of Night. Besides, Sauron was another Maiar, just like them.

I'm sure the Balrog could talk, too. They did speak, in Tolkien's earliest writings about the fall of Gondolin, as presented in HOMES. I guess he just didn't have much to say.

I'd say you'd better read The Silmarillion. Then things will make more sense, and your life will be more complete. Then you can also read Unfinished Tales, and follow it up with the entire 12 volume History Of Middle Earth Series. I envy you!

QtM

Gaspode
09-02-2001, 08:03 PM
Originally posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
Minimal injuries? Minimal injuries?! He died!! I'd call that pretty maximal, if you ask me! He had to go back to Valinor to get a whole new body!! [/B]
It's been a few years since I read the book, but didn't he survive the actual fall and assocaited combat and was killed later while pursuing and fighting the Balrog after its flame had been extinguished?

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-02-2001, 08:35 PM
Originally posted by Gaspode
Originally posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
Minimal injuries? Minimal injuries?! He died!! I'd call that pretty maximal, if you ask me! He had to go back to Valinor to get a whole new body!!
It's been a few years since I read the book, but didn't he survive the actual fall and assocaited combat and was killed later while pursuing and fighting the Balrog after its flame had been extinguished? [/B]

The balrog's fire was extinguished when they both landed in the icy lake at the bottom of the chasm. The battle resumed, with the balrog trying to strangle Gandalf. They climbed the endless stair (which was destroyed in the process), and came out on top of Mt. Caradhras, where the Balrog once again burst into flames. But Gandalf cast him down, killing him, and then died himself. His spirit returned to the undying lands, and he was given a new body, Gandalf the White, and returned by methods unknown to the peak of Mt. Caradhras, where Gwaihir, the Lord of Eagles found him. Gwaihir had been sent to look for him by Galadriel, who, having dwelt herself in the blessed realm in the days of her youth, suspected it would take more than a Balrog to take Gandalf out of the picture for good.

Gandalf implied the whole battle was a lot more involved than that, but didn't wish to speak of the horror. He merely told enough to satisfy Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas.

Gosh, I did all that from memory. But I'm not a fan, you understand. I'm a student of Tolkien's writings. A student! Got it?

Weird_AL_Einstein
09-02-2001, 08:54 PM
Originally posted by Danimal
Forging the One Ring was a big, big mistake on Sauron's part. The Ring wasn't enough to help him beat Gil-Galad and Isildur, and then it wasn't necessary for him to beat Gondor later in the Third Age.

I don't know about that. Without the ring he wouldn't have had the Ringwraiths, and they were (iirc) a major part of the campaign against Gondor.

Cisco
09-03-2001, 01:47 AM
Originally posted by Weird_AL_Einstein
I don't know about that. Without the ring he wouldn't have had the Ringwraiths, and they were (iirc) a major part of the campaign against Gondor. [/B]


Not saying you're wrong, but that seems to be an arguable point. IIRC, in nearly every task they set out to do, they failed. I think the only thing they ever really accomplished was scaring the bejesus out of people.

ryoushi
09-03-2001, 04:21 AM
Where did all the dragons go? Gandalf makes a mention (to Frodo, I think, after he throws the ring in the fire) that dragon-fire was the only other way to destroy it, yet the dragons seemed to be conspicuously absent... Was Smaug the last dragon?

Cisco
09-03-2001, 05:57 AM
Originally posted by ryoushi
Where did all the dragons go? Gandalf makes a mention (to Frodo, I think, after he throws the ring in the fire) that dragon-fire was the only other way to destroy it, yet the dragons seemed to be conspicuously absent... Was Smaug the last dragon?


I think he said not even the fire of the most powerful dragon could destroy it. But I too was dissapointed by the lack of wurms.

SPOOFE
09-03-2001, 06:15 AM
Where did all the dragons go?
According to the Tolkien Bestiary, regarding the plight of dragons following the fall of Smaug the Golden...

It was rumoured that Dragons continued for many centuries to inhabit the Northern Waste beyond the Greay Mountains, but no tale that has come to Men out of Middle-earth speaks again of these evil, yet magnificent beings.
I should mention that Dragons were supposedly more powerful than even Balrogs, even though Balrogs were Maiar and the Dragons were simply creations of Morgoth.

ryoushi
09-03-2001, 06:34 AM
Originally posted by Cisco
I think he said not even the fire of the most powerful dragon could destroy it. But I too was dissapointed by the lack of wurms.

I just checked - you're right:

It has been said that dragon-fire could melt and consume the Rings of Power, but there is not now any dragon left of earth in which the old fire is hot enough; nor was there any dragon, not even Ancalagon the Black, who could have harmed the One Ring...

And I was just about to feed it to my pet salamander (it's the closest thing to a dragon I could find):(. Guess I have to go to Mordor then...

Danimal
09-03-2001, 10:54 AM
Originally posted by Cisco
Originally posted by ryoushi
Where did all the dragons go? Gandalf makes a mention (to Frodo, I think, after he throws the ring in the fire) that dragon-fire was the only other way to destroy it, yet the dragons seemed to be conspicuously absent... Was Smaug the last dragon?


I think he said not even the fire of the most powerful dragon could destroy it. But I too was dissapointed by the lack of wurms.

That's right, Cisco. One of the Elven Rings of Power, or one of the Nine or Seven could have been destroyed by dragon fire, but by the Third Age there were no dragons left in whom the old flame was hot enough. But the One could not have been destroyed even by the greatest old dragons, Ancalagon or Glaurung. That's what Gandalf said, anyway.

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-03-2001, 10:57 AM
That's what Gandalf said, anyway

Gandalf said it, I believe it, that settles it.

QtM
A fundamentalist Iluvatarian Universalist

August West
09-03-2001, 11:02 AM
Tolkien Bestiary? 12 volume HOMES series? Why was I not informed of these earlier? Man, I'm already reading 3 books at once and now I find I need to go get more!

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-03-2001, 12:04 PM
Originally posted by August West
Tolkien Bestiary? 12 volume HOMES series? Why was I not informed of these earlier? Man, I'm already reading 3 books at once and now I find I need to go get more!

A true Tolkien fiend must read HOMES! Then you can meet; Trotter, the hobbit ranger; Bingo, Bilbo's son and heir; and read about the land of Ond! You'll also be able to read a chapter that JRRT cut out of The Return of the King at the very last minute.

Several books in the HOMES series (I forget which ones) have Tolkien's earliest LOTR manuscript exerpts. It truly changed a lot as he was writing it.

If you're not all that interested in the events of The Silmarillion, just select the volumes of HOMES which deal with the War of the Ring. Otherwise, read them all, and learn about Finarphir, the Gnomes, and listen to conversations with the young Earendil.

Katisha
09-03-2001, 12:46 PM
Oh, and if you buy now (well, if you buy any time, really), you'll also recieve the opening chapters of Tolkien's abandoned sequel to LotR!

BTW, the HOME volumes that have the LotR drafts are The Return of the Shadow, The War of the Ring, The Treason of Isengard, and Sauron Defeated. In fact, I don't actually own them, but I've been lusting after these books for some time...

August West
09-03-2001, 01:17 PM
Originally posted by Qadgop the Mercotan


A true Tolkien fiend must read HOMES! Then you can meet; Trotter, the hobbit ranger; Bingo, Bilbo's son and heir; and read about the land of Ond! You'll also be able to read a chapter that JRRT cut out of The Return of the King at the very last minute.

Several books in the HOMES series (I forget which ones) have Tolkien's earliest LOTR manuscript exerpts. It truly changed a lot as he was writing it.

If you're not all that interested in the events of The Silmarillion, just select the volumes of HOMES which deal with the War of the Ring. Otherwise, read them all, and learn about Finarphir, the Gnomes, and listen to conversations with the young Earendil.

Tears of joy are filling my eyes. Qadgop, please call my wife and explain to her that the charges on the debit card are your fault.

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-03-2001, 02:20 PM
August West go now to a large bookstore in your area. Barnes and Noble, Borders, in our area, both carry paperback boxed sets of the volumes described by katisha. They are yours for the purchasing. Better libraries should have copies, too. And for free!

DSYoungEsq
09-03-2001, 08:47 PM
Also, see if you can find The Tolkein Reader, a cute collection of stories and poems by the Professor, some of which have to do with Middle Earth.

And this will introduce you to non-Middle Earth Tolkein writings, which will force you to read Smith of Wooten Major, and Farmer Giles of Ham, the latter of which is an excellent little story.

Which will make you want to read the excellent Biography of Tolkein by Humphrey Carter (IIRC), wherein you learn all sorts of interesting things about the Professor.

And when you do all this, and read all there is to read, then think about all us poor dopes who, in the mid-70's only had The Hobbit and LotR to figure out Middle-Earth with. I remember desperately waiting for The Silmarillion to make it into print...

Oh, wait, I'm not addicted, either. Really. And the medication is helping me feel much better now...

PS QtM, my apologies, you are correct and you'll notice it's the one thing I didn't run down a citation for... erp!

Katisha
09-03-2001, 10:59 PM
Of course we mustn't forget that after you read the Biography, you'll want to check out the Letters of Tolkien, which happily are now back in print (I bought my copy a year ago), so you can see what Tolkien himself said about his works, and miscellaneous other things. It's a must-read for the Tolkien addict.

And if you want to read literary criticism of the whole thing, I recommend Tom Shippey's J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century, which looks at LotR (and the other works, but primarily LotR) as a specifically modern novel as well as examining it in terms of the Northern European mythology that inspired Tolkien. It's a fascinating read.

(And thanks for the tip, Qadgop -- I shall go book shopping post-haste!)

August West
09-04-2001, 08:16 AM
Originally posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
August West go now to a large bookstore in your area. Barnes and Noble, Borders, in our area, both carry paperback boxed sets of the volumes described by katisha

I've got the day off tomorrow, I'm going then. I've read most of the other Tolkien stuff recommended here, but no one mentioned The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter. Has anyone else read this book? I thought it was really good.

Oh, Qadgop? Our areas are the same, IIRC. Aren't you also in the vicinity of Milwaukee?

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-04-2001, 09:04 AM
I am in Milwaukee even as I type.

Ethilrist
09-04-2001, 09:43 AM
My favorite bit about the dragons of Middle Earth was when Earendil the Brave slew Ancalagon the Black, greatest of the cold drakes. The force of the impact when Ancalagon fell drove the continent of Beleriand beneath the sea.

Now that's a Dragon!

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-04-2001, 10:11 AM
Originally posted by Ethilrist
My favorite bit about the dragons of Middle Earth was when Earendil the Brave slew Ancalagon the Black, greatest of the cold drakes. The force of the impact when Ancalagon fell drove the continent of Beleriand beneath the sea.
Now that's a Dragon!

I belive if you read closely that you will find that Ancalagon's fall broke the towers of Thangorodrim. It was the War of Wrath itself that broke up most of Beleriand.

Danimal
09-04-2001, 12:01 PM
Originally posted by Ethilrist
My favorite bit about the dragons of Middle Earth was when Earendil the Brave slew Ancalagon the Black, greatest of the cold drakes. The force of the impact when Ancalagon fell drove the continent of Beleriand beneath the sea.

Now that's a Dragon!

Was Ancalagon a cold drake? My Encyclopedia of Middle-Earth says that cold drakes probably couldn't breathe fire, and Gandalf thought Ancalagon could breathe fire.

China Guy
09-04-2001, 12:30 PM
It's been a real long time, but when Gandalf had his run in with the Lord of the Nazgul, he shot thunderbolts at the Nazgul and drove them off. Didn't that come from Gandalf's ring?

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-04-2001, 12:55 PM
China Guy
The book never said it came from the ring, and I would doubt very much that it did.

Tolkien clearly stated that the elven rings were different from the others; the elves sought to understand, to heal, to preserve, and to inspire. They did not seek to dominate. I doubt any of th elven rings could be used as offensive weapons. And being a Maiar imbued with the Flame Imperishable by Iluvatar before the making of Arda, I'm sure Gandalf had the inherent ability to wield it, especially after his rebirth as Gandalf the White.

Cisco
09-05-2001, 03:58 AM
Originally posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
his rebirth as Gandalf the White. [/B]


I've been wondering...did Gandalf becoming "the White" have anything to do with Sauruman losing his power? And what's up with that whole The White/The Grey/The Brown...etc thing? Is there a story behind that?

Fiver
09-05-2001, 09:16 AM
There's certainly a story behind it (although I don't know it). Names and appellations were never arbitrary in Tolkien. In fact he always started with a name (for a place or a character) that was already pregnant with meaning, and use as the basis for all the details.

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-05-2001, 12:00 PM
Remember what Gandalf the White himself said to Gimli, when Gimli apologized for mistaking him for Saruman: "Indeed, one could say I am Saruman, or Saruman as he should have been".

Laughing Lagomorph
09-05-2001, 09:24 PM
Originally posted by Cisco


I've been wondering...did Gandalf becoming "the White" have anything to do with Sauruman losing his power? And what's up with that whole The White/The Grey/The Brown...etc thing? Is there a story behind that? [/B]

I've always just assumed that there was a ranking system within the Istari. I think Gandalf says as much at the Council of Elrond, sorry but don't have my LOTR in front of me. Saruman is the White, and is the highest ranking and most powerful of the order. Gandalf is the Grey and is second in rank and power. Radagast...well, forget about Radagast.

As for the first part of your question, the more I think about it, the more difficult it seems. Gandalf is reincarnated as the White, but Saruman apparently doesn't lose his rank and powers until Gandalf confronts him at Isengard, several days/weeks later. During that time, were there two "Whites"? Or had Saruman already lost his powers, but didn't notice it? Saruman apparently is pretty much wrapped up in his bad self at this time, so he might not have realized he was no longer a Wizard. It has also occured to me, and this is pure speculation but it is fun, that when the Valar sent Gandalf back they really had to replace two Wizards: Gandalf, who had died, and Saruman, who had switched sides. One can imagine that they might have given Gandalf the White even more power than Saruman had ever had, both because he would need it in the upcoming War, and also as a reward for the sacrifice he had already made.

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-05-2001, 09:48 PM
Remember, by the time Gandalf was "White", Saruman had already renounced the White to become "Saruman of Many Colors", and talked about how white could be broken. Gandalf commented that he who breaks a thing to learn more about it leaves the path of wisdom.

Triskadecamus
09-05-2001, 10:07 PM
Gandalf is sent to aid the free people of Middle earth. He is specifically forbidden to contest with Sauron directly. Cirdan the Shipwright, one of the most powerful of elves in all of history recognizes his greatness and surrenders to him the Elven ring, to sustain him in his trials. Galadriel tries to have Gandalf made head of the White Council, but is unsuccessful, and Saruman is appointed instead.

Sauruman is a student of magic, particularly the magic of Sauron. He falls prey to the desire for power, and mastery inherent in the One Ring. Galadriel is tempted as well, to seize this power, but refuses to even touch the ring. Gandalf does touch it, in Fellowship of the Ring, for a moment. He does not desire power or dominion over others. He does not overcome death, he is sent back to finish his task. Olorin was of the same race as Sauron, and Melian, and the guise of Gandalf was only an aspect of his being.

When Gandalf confronts Sauruman he is there to offer him a chance to renounce his power. Sauruman refuses. Gandalf simply says, "Your staff is broken." The staff breaks. Sauruman turns away, but Gandalf orders him to return and that order is obeyed even against Sauruman's extreme effort to resist. Gandalf is already the White Wizard, and is offering Sauruman a chance to be simply a Good Wizard. So, it seems that Sauruman is the lesser in power, at least now. Perhaps that was true before, but Gandalf does not seek the center of authority.

Several other moments occur when Gandalf simply says "This will happen." and it does. He tells the Lord of the Nazgul to leave the gates of Minas Tirith, and to the doom that awaits him. The cock crows, foretelling the coming of dawn. The Nazgul leaves and is immediately destroyed. He tells Grima to get down in the dirt, and Grima does. He tells the Lord of Rohan that he is a messenger of hope, and a beam of sunlight shines down out of the clouds on him. Gandalf is not unable to do combat type magic, he is unwilling. He is also pretty much immune to it, by the end of the story.

I think that Sauruman lost his power because of his choices of how to use that power. Since it was power given to him, he was not able to use it to do evil without reducing himself. Eventually, he is so weak that even a small party of Hobbits is more than a match for him.

Tris
--------------------
"What has it got in its pocketeses?" ~ Gollum ~

Joe_Cool
09-06-2001, 12:23 AM
Originally posted by Triskadecamus
I think that Sauruman lost his power because of his choices of how to use that power. Since it was power given to him, he was not able to use it to do evil without reducing himself. Eventually, he is so weak that even a small party of Hobbits is more than a match for him.

I agree partially, but was the power really 'given' to him? He was, after all, Maia. So at least some portion of the power he had was intrinsic to him, even though some of it was learned.

My big question is this: How exactly did it come about that Saruman was the head of the council of the wise? The Silmarillion says (in The Valaquenta), "The wisest of the Maiar was Olorin." So if he was the wisest, how did Saruman take power? Does the Silmarillion cover that in more detail? I'm only up to "Of the coming of the Elves and the captivity of Melkor" so far.

Lemur866
09-06-2001, 12:39 AM
Remember that the Valar sent 5 Maiar to Middle Earth...Saruman, Gandalf, Radagast, and two un-named others, both colored blue. They two mystery maia supposedly went to the far east, and their deeds are unrecorded. Perhaps they averted a disaster as great as Sauron somewhere out there.

But I want to talk about Radagast the Brown. We all know how Saruman/Curunir was corrupted by his love of knowledge and his pride. But what was Radagast's failing? He seems to be only concered with the animals and such. You'd think they would have picked a more steadfast Maiar. Did Radagast simply lose heart? Did he give in to despair? Or did he grow to love the simple pleasures of Middle Earth too much to care about larger issues?

Oh, one more question. Tom Bombadil is definately a Maiar of some sort. But was Goldberry an elf? Tom calls her "the river's daughter", but does that mean that she wasn't an elf? I always had the impression that she was, but re-reading the passage reveals that it is not really stated. Any opinions?

Fiver
09-06-2001, 08:33 AM
Why does Radagast have to have had a failing? Does he even appear in Lord of the Rings? He was mentioned only once in The Hobbit, when Gandalf used him as a reference when he introduced himself to Beorn.

I know he was mentioned also in LotR, but I don't think we ever met him. Were we told that he went dark like Saruman did?

Ethilrist
09-06-2001, 08:46 AM
I was under the impression that Goldberry was some sort of water spirit, or sprite.

And totally hot, too, but maybe that's just me.

Joe_Cool
09-06-2001, 09:13 AM
Originally posted by Fiver
Why does Radagast have to have had a failing? Does he even appear in Lord of the Rings? He was mentioned only once in The Hobbit, when Gandalf used him as a reference when he introduced himself to Beorn.

I know he was mentioned also in LotR, but I don't think we ever met him. Were we told that he went dark like Saruman did?

We sort of met him, in a flashback with Gandalf. He brought news that Saruman wanted to talk to him about the ring and stuff, just before Gandalf was imprisoned in Orthanc.

I never had the impression that he had a failing, in fact, Gandalf says that he was honest and could not be corrupted by Saruman's whisperings, which (from what I gathered) is why Saruman could use him to capture Gandalf-that any message coming from Radagast could be trusted.

Lemur866
09-06-2001, 09:17 AM
Well, Radagast certainly didn't turn to the dark side. But he wasn't much help in the War of the Ring, was he? I suppose he kept his animals and such safe. "If I doan' save tha' wee tur'les...who will?!?!? Ach! Save me from tha' wee tur'les!!!"

But I don't think that's what the Valar had in mind when they sent the Istari to Middle Earth.

Payne N. Diaz
09-06-2001, 11:08 AM
Maybe Radagast's job was to protect the wee turtles and such--Gandalf saved the higher creatures. I don't imagine that anything in Middle Earth would have survived intact if Sauron had won.

Bartman
09-06-2001, 11:15 AM
Some random thoughts and notes on Istari (wizards)

Radagast failed in his mission. If we look at The Letters of JRR Tolkien in #156 Tolkien discusses the Istari.
…they should do what they were primarily sent for: train, advise, instruct, arouse the hearts and minds of those threatened by Sauron to a resistance with their own strengths… Gandalf alone fully passes the tests, on a moral plane anyway…
This is exactly what Radagast does not do. He instead disappears and becomes enamoured with the wild things. Here he is an angelic being with a high charge and he forgets that and instead communes with nature. Sounds like a significant failure to me.



As far as Galdalf’s ‘reincarnation’ as the White goes this is what Tolkien had to say (also from letter #156
The ‘wizards’, as such, had failed; or if you like: the crisis had become too grave and needed an enhancement of power. So Gandalf sacrificed himself, was accepted, and enhanced, and returned…Of course he remains similar in personality and idiosyncracy, but both his wisdom and power are much greater…the old Gandalf could not have dealt so with Theoden, nor with Saruman. He is still under the obligation of concealing his power and teaching rather than forcing or dominating wills, but where the physical powers of the Enemy are too great for the good will of the opposers to be effective he can act in an emergency as an ‘angel’…He was sent by a mere prudent plan of the angelic Valar…; but Authority had taken up this plan and enlarged it, at the moment of its failure… Sent back by whom, and whence? Not by the ‘gods’ whose business is only with this embodied world and its time; for he passed ‘out of thought and time’.
So Galdalf's change from Grey to White was much more than a change in office. On his return he was fundamentally different from the other Istari. In a way he was Eru's (God's) personal power ranger. Upgraded and sent back to resolve the issue once and for all.



Here is pretty much everything we know about the two blue wizards.
An older essay can be found in History of Middle Earth XII - Peoples of Middle Earth
The 'other two' came much earlier, at the same time probably as Glorfindel, when matters became very dangerous in the Second Age. Glorfindel was sent to aid Elrond and was (though not yet said) pre-eminent in the war in Eriador. But the other two istari were sent for different purpose. Morinehtar and Rómestámo. Darkness-slayer and East-helper. Their task was to circumvent Sauron: to bring help to the few tribes of Men that had rebelled from Melkor-worship, to stir up rebellion ... and after his first fall to search out his hiding (in which they failed) and to cause [? dissension and disarray] among the dark East ... They must have had very great influence on the history of the Second Age and Third Age in weakening and disarraying the forces of East ... who would both in the Second Age and Third Age otherwise have ... outnumbered the West.
This is an older essay however and seems to have been superceded by the following from Unfinished Tales
…for they [the Blue Wizards] into the East with Curunir, but they never returned, and whether they remained in the East, pursuing there the purposes for which they were sent; or perished; or as some hold were ensnared by Sauron and became his servants, is not now known.*

* In a letter written in 1958 my father said that he knew nothing clearly about 'the other two', since they were not concerned in the history of the North-west pf Middle-earth. 'I think.' he wrote, 'they went as emissaries to distant regions, East and South, far out of Numenorean range: missionaries to enemy-occupied lands, as it were. What success they had I do not know; but I fear that they failed, as Saruman did, though doubtless in different ways; and I suspect they were founders or beginners of secret cults and 'magic' traditions that outlasted the fall of Sauron.

... the two other 'Blue Wizards', unnamed, who passed with Saruman into the East, but unlike him never returned into the Westlands;
Later Tolkien names the blue wizards as Allatar, and Pallando. AFAIK no direct translation for these names are given. However Allatar is likely formed from Alata (glittering or radiant) and Pallando is identified by Christopher Tolkien as containing Palan (afar). So it seems likely that Alatar=Morinehtar and thus Pallando=Romestamo.

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-07-2001, 12:35 PM
Bartman, I am impressed! I've got to re-read "letters", it's been at least 15 years since I last did so, and I've obviously forgotten a lot. Have you read all the HOMES, too?

QtM

Chronos
09-07-2001, 03:06 PM
Since nobody's mentioned it yet, there's more information on the founding of the White Council in Unfinished Tales, which I would highly recommend.

Nobody's quite sure what, exactly, Bombadil is. The best guess is that he's just in a category by himself (Who is Bobadil? He is.). Goldberry is what would have been called a "fey" in the earlier versions of Tolkien's works, but she's one of the last to show up in the five main books (one might argue that Ungoliant and Shelob are also of this category). Fey are as old as the World, but are part of it, being manifestations of nature.

Fiver
09-07-2001, 03:46 PM
Apropos of nothing, I've just received a handsome new hardcover boxed set of the trilogy. I'm determined to read The Fellowship of the Ring before the movie comes out December 19, which with this volume means I must read 4 pages a day between now and then.

I know that sounds like a light load, but with all my distractions that's actually ambitious.