View Full Version : Perhaps the Very Last Word in Obscure Tolkien Trivia

01-05-2003, 01:34 PM
I couldn't help but note that this forum boasts more than its share of erudite Tolkien scholars. I was therefore wondering if anyone might be able to shed light on an enigmatic passing reference made in "Fellowship of the Rings." I refer, of course, to the matter of Saruman's Ring.

Some may recall that Saruman is described in the book as having forsworn his white garments for a kind of multicolored, Carol Channing-type garment (a detail mercifully ignored in the film version). Gandalf justifiably mocks Saruman for this sartorial blunder. However, it is also mentioned that Saruman has gone ahead and made his own ring, and seems pretty pleased with himself at the fact. "Saruman Ring-Maker, Saruman of Many Colors!" is how I believe the line goes.

Now the first time I read the book, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for him to let rip with the mystery ring at the worst possible time. It's presented as a big deal, an ominous sign of Saruman's debasement and aspiration toward full Sauron-hood...and yet it is never mentioned again! Did the Good Professor ever address this issue in his drafts and letters? Is Saruman's ring still on his bony finger, in a shallow grave outside Hobbiton? And are there other, even more niggling details of the Trilogy that have not yet been explored?

Qadgop the Mercotan
01-05-2003, 01:57 PM
Well, it is known that Saruman was enamoured of and eventually ensnared by the Ring of Power, and in trying to understand it fully it seems he tried his own hands at ring-making.

I suspect he would have not gotten far beyond the experimental stages, probably using the ring as a power foucs. But even if he did manage to invest a ring with some of his power, I doubt it would have been much, and probably was drained of that power when Saruman's staff was broken and he was cast from the order.

I don't recall any further writings about Saruman's ring in JRRT's other notes, but it could have easily slipped my mind.
Here's a link to someone else who speculated on the same topic.

Qadgop the Mercotan
01-05-2003, 02:00 PM
Also try This Link (http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&safe=off&q=%22saruman+ringmaker%22&sa=N&tab=wg) for further speculation

Qadgop the Mercotan
01-05-2003, 02:05 PM
As for this question being the last word in Tolkien trivia, you underestimate our JRRT fanaticism!

1)Who was the last and youngest of the Vala to enter Arda? Clue: Sure can sing! (HINT: It ain't Tulkas!)

2)Which bloodthirsty twin Vala were sympathetic to Melko and meaner than Tulkas?

3)What happened to Trotter during his captivity?

01-05-2003, 02:06 PM
Here is a wonderful link that explains alot. This (http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/tolkien/58090) article was written by Michael Martinez author of Visualizing Middle Earth. Quite comprehensive...verging on Qadgop the Mercotan's Lord of the Rings acumen.

01-05-2003, 02:12 PM
The first link is very interesting... Almost the exact same questions I posed, in the same order! It's reassuring to know that other people have worried about this matter from time to time. I always assumed that there was a subplot intended for Saruman's ring that was trimmed due to space considerations, or something. If so, I thought some hint of it might be among Professor Tolkien's papers.
My computer doesn't seem to like the second link though.

01-05-2003, 02:22 PM
Umm... umm... the singing Vala was...

I remember that Eol was the Dark Elf! Doesn't that count for anything?

I have forgotten my own advice: when confronted with seeming inconsistencies in the Books, look wise and say: "Ah, now that can be accounted for by the secret labors of Alatar and Pallando."

Qadgop the Mercotan
01-05-2003, 02:24 PM
Hm. Works ok for me. Well, just go to Google, and search for "saruman ringmaker" under the groups tab.

biref, that's quite an article. Very scholarly and interesting and well-researched. I'm not sure I buy all the assertions but it is fascinating to cogitate over.

Qadgop the Mercotan
01-05-2003, 02:26 PM
sorry, birefringence, I meant. I didn't mean to imply you were a 3 on the Kinsey scale and employed by a professional sports league.

01-05-2003, 02:51 PM
3)What happened to Trotter during his captivity?

His feet got cut off, right?

Qadgop the Mercotan
01-05-2003, 07:47 PM
Yup. No more feet.

01-06-2003, 12:26 AM
The History of the Lord of the Rings is a four-volume set which basically consists of earlier drafts of the LOTR story by JRRT with annotations by his son Christopher. In the second part, The Treason of Isengard we read that the second version of "The Council of Elrond" contained these words spoken by Gandalf but Saruman has long studied the works of the Enemy to defeat him, and the lore of rings was his especial knowledge. The last of the 19 he had....Christopher's annotation of this passage reads, in part, I cannot make out the two concluding words, though the first might be 'gathered'. But whatever the words are, the meaning is clearly that Saruman had acquired the last of the Rings - and wore it on his finger, as appears subsequently in this text (cf. FR p. 271).The corresponding passage in The Fellowship of the Ring is on p. 288 of my paperback edition But Saruman has long studied the arts of the Enemy himself, and thus we have often been able to forestall him. It was by the devices of Saruman that we drove him from Dol Guldur. It might be that he had found some weapons that would drive back the Nine.

01-06-2003, 01:29 AM
Originally posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
1)Who was the last and youngest of the Vala to enter Arda? Clue: Sure can sing! (HINT: It ain't Tulkas!) Well, "Greatest in strength and deeds of prowess is Tulkas, who is surnamed Astaldo, the valiant. He came last into Arda, to aid the Vala in the first battles with Melkor." (Sil, p 26, from the Valaquenta) makes me think you are wrong. Vana, the younger sister of Yavana sings, and is "ever young" according to the same source. 2)Which bloodthirsty twin Vala were sympathetic to Melko and meaner than Tulkas? The Feanturi, Irmo, and Namo, often called Lorien, and Mandos are called "brethren" but are hardly sympathetic to Melko. Össe was drawn into Melkor's rebellion, but repented, however he is of the Miar, not the Valar. He sings, too, I think. 3)What happened to Trotter during his captivity? Who?


Qadgop the Mercotan
01-06-2003, 09:42 AM
Gotta read outside the box, Tris. In Book of Lost Tales I, we meet Omar-Amillo, youngest Valar, last to enter Arda, and mighty singer.

There we also meet Makar and Measse, warrior brother and sister, bloodthirsty, cruel, and with sympathy for Melko, altho they did not in the end rebel.

Trotter was the ranger the hobbits originally met in Bree, in "Return of the Shadow" He was a hobbit ranger, who had wooden feet, because his feet had been cut off in Mordor. In reality he was Bilbo Baggins.

All this is backfill trivia, very obscure, and just an indication of how diseased my mind is.

01-06-2003, 10:00 AM
Rough drafts. Pah! :)

Oh, and on another point, entirely, I have reconsidered my acquiescence to your authority on the matter of the number of generations between Elros and Aragorn. The phrase "thirty nine generations" does not apply, since that is the number of generations between Elendil, and Aragorn.

So, I counted. I get forty-eight named individuals between Elros, and Aragorn, but there is still a problem. Silmarien is the ancestor of the line of Elendil, but her entire descent is not listed, because her brother became king. Her son, Valandil is mentioned, and Amandil, the heir of that house at the time of the last king of Numenor is listed, but the line of kings has twenty generations during that same period. Approximating a reasonable number of generations for the family of Elendil, the number approaches sixty generations as a bare minimum, with sixty-eight as a good working estimate.

I am going to the library to get something else to read now.


Qadgop the Mercotan
01-06-2003, 10:35 AM
Um, Tris? I don't believe I ever argued that there were precisely 39 generations difference between Elros and Aragorn. I was always frustrated with the gap between Valandil and Amandil. I admit I could have used it as a throwaway "guess" about how far apart they are, but I don't recall that either.

So if you can show me were I asserted that to be the case, I will personally smack myself with my leather-bound copy of "The Red Book of Westmarch".

01-06-2003, 11:20 AM
Hmmmm. Maybe it wasn't you. Sorry.

I'm off to the library now, when I get back I will be arguing about the origin of such common phrases as "spike his guns" and "view from the top."


01-06-2003, 12:23 PM
Originally posted by Qadgop the Mercotan

1)Who was the last and youngest of the Vala to enter Arda? Clue: Sure can sing! (HINT: It ain't Tulkas!)

so, your source for this is one un-JRRT published book, which is contradicted by another un-JRRT published book? Hardly seems a canonical answer to me!

I write trivia games for online chatrooms (science games, but I may do an Eä one sooner or later.)

Whenever my answer is in the least contradictory, the players pounce on it.

Therefore, to avoid this, I tend to write technically correct question that seem to be written in some language other than English. But at least no one nitpicks.

Perhaps your trivia question would have been better worded as "What Vala famed for singing prowess can be considered the last Vala to enter Arda?" (IMO, having these additional qualifiers as a "clue" or "hint" doesnt make the actual question any correcter)

Qadgop the Mercotan
01-06-2003, 12:56 PM
ludovic, the JRRT trivia is so contra-dictory and author refuted, and re-refuted that it makes little sense to hold it forth as a genuine trivia contest, but rather to help one tolkien uber-geek recognize another.

01-06-2003, 05:48 PM
Ludovic, the works in question were written by JRRT, being various levels of draft of the stories that later became The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings -- except for clearly set-off scholarly notes by Christopher L. Tolkien, JRRT's son and the custodian of JRRT's literary estate -- who does have a significant role to play in the development of "canonical Tolkien," being the cartographer of the maps (except the one of Numenor, which is JRRT's own draftsmanship) and "researcher" (who helped keep details straight in the writing of LOTR, so that the moon seen two weeks after a new-moon crescent is full, for example, and the journey on foot from Bree to Rivendell takes the same length of time no matter who makes it, for another).

Qadgop the Mercotan
01-06-2003, 09:53 PM
What Poly said. All inane JRRT trivia put forth by me came from the pen (or pencil) of JRRT his own self. Middle-earth fan fiction? <shudder>

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.