View Full Version : the watcher in the water

08-30-2000, 08:59 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Wight
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i just read the &quot;the bridge of khazad-dum &quot; postings and this led to my question..
does anyone know anything about the watcher in the water???
where did he come from and what was it and so on..


08-30-2000, 09:05 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Hidden Spirit
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Re: the watcher in the water

We don't know, nothing was written.

What's a burrahobbit got to do with my pocket, anyways?</p>

08-30-2000, 09:55 AM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">The Unquiet Dead
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Re: the watcher in the water

You do know (don't you?) that the Watcher was just a colony of busy little beavers. You ever wonder who damned the Sirannon? Beavers. But the shadow of Moria was no simple neighborhood for simple rodents, so this colony raided the costume stores at Dr. Who and gathered as many giant monster tentacles as they could carry. This ruse proved sucessful in warding of successive incursions of dwarves, orcs, etc. Unfortunately, one day they lost their dam keys and had to relocate. Their damming efforts on the Baranduin were so sucessful that they flooded practically the whole Shire (late in the fourth age) eradicating hobbits from Middle Earth and making it the sole domain of men. That part of ME is now known as the Lake Country and modern Carlisle arose on the foundations of old King's Norbury. This is documented in HOME, v. 23, the chapter where the Prof. muses on the evolution of small furry mammals (lesser apes&gt;hobbits&gt;beavers&gt;badgers&gt;men).


The Barrow-Wight
08-30-2000, 01:56 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Wraith of Angmar
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Re: the watcher in the water

Now something has been written <img src=smile.gif ALT=":)">

The Barrow-Wight (RKittle)
<font size="2">I usually haunt http://www.barrowdowns.comThe Barrow-Downs</a> and The Barrow-Downs http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgiMiddle-Earth Discussion Board</a>.</p>

08-30-2000, 02:55 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Animated Skeleton
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Re: the watcher in the water

my ribs once again hurt from laughing thanks to the great galpsi.


09-04-2000, 09:08 PM
<font face="Verdana"><table><TR><TD><FONT SIZE="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Pile o' Bones
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Re: the watcher in the water

Galpsi has indeed a future in the book industry, but as for credibility..........
I believe that the watcher is some sort of direct creation from somebody's nightmare, probably Sauron's. Even being so evil I am sure Sauron was scared of being dragged into his bath tub when he was but a small child, therefore the nightmare about the tentacles and the water.

I especially like the description involving the bubbling of water. Very picturesque and spooky.

Charming Humble Hobbit</p>

01-28-2003, 09:24 PM
The watcher in the water was one of the creatures created by Morgoth. Morgoth created the balrogs, the dragons, orcs, and many other beasts. The watcher must have been one of these that is not mentioned a whole lot.
Read the Silmarilien

01-28-2003, 09:57 PM
There is no conclusive proof of this either. The spiders, such as Shelob and certainly Ungoliant (!) were not created by Morgoth. And they were pretty nasty. We cannot presume that simply 'good' animals were made naturally, and that all nasty ones were the creation of Sauron and Morgoth.

There's nothing really written about the Watcher at all. The fact that it's referred to as that could be inferred that it was anomalous, as otherwise a species or more specific name might have been given somewhere else. Thus we can only really say it it was a one-off creature, and even this is presumption.

Inderjit Sanghera
01-29-2003, 04:49 AM
The Balrogs weren't cretaed by Morgoth.

The watcher may have been a relic of when Melkor ruled Northern M-E and when the Valar were in Almaren, which was in the middle of M-E, or in Aman and maybe it could have escaped from the destruction of Utumno. Melkor was also said to have raised the Misty Mountains to hinder Orome, so the watcher could have been put there by Melkor.

01-29-2003, 05:25 AM
The watcher has been referred to as a Kraken by most people who have written books on Tolkien's world (e.g. David Day, author of the Tolkien Bestiary). A Kraken is some crazy-@ss prehistoric monster in squid form. If I ever saw a Giant Squid I'd be scared (and disgusted!) out of my wits, and you bet your life I'd make up a story about how he was as big as a 747.

I think that the Watcher was one of the strange inhabitants of the depths of the Great Sea, rather than a creation or even a servant of Morgoth. There are many malicious powers in Arda, not all of which are under the control of the evil entity (another example is the wild creatures of the Redhorn Pass). I have no idea how it would have come to be at the Westgate of Moria. Possibly at the end of the First Age either the great upheavels, or maybe even the Balrog, had something to do with its being there, and it was not until much later when Moria was deserted that it came out of the subterranean depths.

I think a more interesting question is, what were its motives? Was it coerced by some other will to trap the fellowship in Moria? Seems rather odd behaviour for a creature that, I would have thought, would just be out for a long-awaited meal. By the way, I've always loved the garbage compactor in Star Wars, A New Hope, as a (possible) homage to the Watcher. He even goes straight for the most important member of the group.

The Saucepan Man
01-29-2003, 07:37 AM
He even goes straight for the most important member of the group.

Whatever the Kraken's motive, it is clear from the manner of its attack that it is after Frodo. This might be because it is a Servant of Sauron, or it might be simply because, as an "evil" creature, it senses the evil power of the Ring.

The latter seems more likely to me, since it is unlikely that, before snacking on Frodo, the Kraken would have removed the Ring and set it on one side to be collected by his friendly neighbourhood Nazgul later. The Ring would have ended up at the bottom of the lake and quite possibly not been "found" until a good many years later, thus delaying Sauron's planned takeover of ME.

By the way, I don't think that there is any evidence that Melkor/Morgoth created Dragons is there? They do not all serve the Dark Lords (Smaug, for example, who was simply out for himself).

Inderjit Sanghera
01-29-2003, 08:00 AM
I think that there is a quote in the Silmarillion that may imply that Morgoth went along trying to create new races after he realised that Orcs just wouldn't do in a war with the Noldor.

"... for Morgoth percieved now that Orcs unaided were no match for the Noldor; and he sought in his heart for new counsel"

The Silmarillion; Of The Return Of The Noldor

And underneath that it tells of the coming of Glaurung.

In BoLT, in the Fall of Gondolin, there were some mechanical dragons,made my Morgoth at the request of Maeglin and I think that it may mention that Morgoth made 'normal' dragons, but I can't remember. Though it shouldn't be taken into the Silmarillion legendarium.

The Saucepan Man
01-29-2003, 08:31 AM
... for Morgoth percieved now that Orcs unaided were no match for the Noldor; and he sought in his heart for new counsel

This doesn't necessarily imply that he created them. It could simply mean that he sought to recruit other creatures to his cause, and that Glaurung was one of these.

01-29-2003, 10:47 AM
Ive read somewhere that the watcher was a recurring dream the Professor had in his youth.

01-30-2003, 03:51 AM
'What was the thing, or were there many of them?', [Gandalf's only answer is] 'I do not know.'
The Fellowship of the Ring II ch 4 Journey in the Dark
The Watcher in the Water is one of the most unique creatures in the books. It is discussed nowhere else. Its general description is that of a many tentacled squid like creature, but Tolkien never states this. So it is not definant that it is a 'Kraken' (large squid). It could be entirely something else.

01-30-2003, 05:00 AM
a recurring dream
One recurring dream of Tolkien (and his son, Michael) made it into LOTR. He dreamed of a huge wave covering all the lands, an Atlantis-type dream that the character of Faramir also has. I haven't seen any mention of a Watcher dream, even where this other one is spoken of.

01-30-2003, 04:28 PM
In The Fellowship of the Ring Tolkien never says much more about the Watcher than some tentacles that came out of the water and grabbed Frodo. The Watcher certainly couldn't have been in the pool too long because Gandalf's statements lead you to believe that the pool is pretty new. The Watcher may have dammed the stream up, but I think it is more likely that natural causes did it. Actually, I'm not sure. I think the pool is mentioned in the book that was near Balin's tomb. Anyhow, Tolkien kmplies that the Watcher came out from the depths of Moria for some unknown reason. I don't think any of the Dark Powers creatded it. I think it was out on its own. It seems to have been disturbed by the Fellowship, then sensed the Ring? Or maybe it sensed them and wanted a snack? But why grab Frodo (A small hobbit that was getting lean)? Gandalf says that he didn't state the reason why it had grabbed Frodo first, and he never does. I am a relatively new ME fan (I've only been reading the books for 3 years (49 times)), so I could be on a very wrong track.

the guy who be short
01-30-2003, 04:43 PM
backtracking a bit... well a lot really...
balrogs were in fact created by morgoth
these were maia who went over to the dark side. gandalf was also a maia, thus he was equal in power with the balrog, which is why they both died.
the spiders were not created by him either, ungoliant is said to have existed when the very earth was made.
as for dragons, im not sure, but ithink they were natural too, but originally lived high in the north. please correct me if i am wrong

01-30-2003, 05:14 PM
But why grab Frodo (A small hobbit that was getting lean)?
Could it be that the Watcher just grabbed the last of the group? In "A journey in the dark" it's said that "the others swung round" hearing Frodo's yell, so he was definitely lagging behind.

Another question is bugging me: What for did the Watcher slam the door? Was it intentional or the groping tentacles just pulled at whatever they seized? Any ideas?

The Saucepan Man
01-30-2003, 06:22 PM
You raise some interesting points,akhtene.

In my earlier post, I had assumed that the Watcher made a bee-line for Frodo intentionally, but having re-read the passage, I see that there is no suggestion that this was necessarily the case. Maybe it did just go for the nearest tasty morsel, which would support the view that it was not a Servant of Sauron, but simply a fell beast that (by whatever means) found it's way to the lake before the Gates of Moria.

But, reading on, the description of the Watcher closing the Gates does suggest that it did so deliberately, with the intention of trapping them in:

Many coiled arms seized the doors on either side, and with a horrible strength, swung them round. With a shattering echo, they slammed, and all light was lost.

This, I think, was what led me originally to assume that it did deliberately go for Frodo, since it suggests some sense of purpose. If it was looking for a meal, why would it shut them in? Perhaps it was a Servnat of Sauron, after all.

01-31-2003, 10:01 AM
Sauron's only servents were men, orcs, trolls, and the ilk. I doubt that even at his peak in the second age Sauron could have controlled the watcher.

01-31-2003, 10:56 AM
(RE: Gandalf) He did not speak aloud his thought that whatever it was that dwelt in the lake, it had seized on Frodo first among the Company.
Book II
Chapter 4 - A Journey In The Dark

I'll take Gandalf's word that the watcher made a bee-line for Frodo which leads me to believe that, in one way or another, it was working for Sauron.

01-31-2003, 11:15 AM
All evil things are drawn to the Ring, not just the servants of Sauron.

The Saucepan Man
01-31-2003, 11:17 AM
Ah, thank you Aratlithiel. smilies/smile.gif I think it's fairly safe to assume that Gandalf knew what he was talking (or thinking) about. smilies/wink.gif I knew that there was some reason for me thinking that the Watcher made a grab for Frodo deliberately.

Which leads me back to my original thoughts. Either the Watcher was working for Sauron or it was drawn to the evil power of the Ring. And, if the latter, why shut them in Moria?

Purple Monkey
01-31-2003, 04:31 PM

A Kraken is some crazy-@ss prehistoric monster in squid form.

::shudders:: Urgh. Is there a proper name for a phobia of octopi? I definitely have it, in any case...

Purple Monkey
01-31-2003, 04:39 PM
About the Watcher...yes, the Watcher is definitely one of the most vivid monsters in the Books. But perhaps it had no murderous motive, perhaps it was just awoken by the Hobbits and tried to get them as soon as possible out of it's resting place so it could get some more sleep? smilies/smile.gif And it shut them into the Mines so it wouldn't be bothered again? How far-fetched am I?

Purple "Us evil beings need their beauty sleep too, y'know" Monkey smilies/wink.gif

Nevolosse Maehayanda
01-31-2003, 06:38 PM
About the Kraken, in Tamora Pierce's books, she mentions the kraken being a term as going to war. This is often used in mythology, and Tolkien could've used the Kraken as a foreshadowing for the upcoming war.


01-31-2003, 10:36 PM
Either the Watcher was working for Sauron or it was drawn to the evil power of the Ring. And, if the latter, why shut them in Moria?

Well, if it was working for Sauron (which I tend to believe), I would say it locked them in after it had failed to accomplish its mission in hopes that the various other creepy-crawlies in Moria succeeded where it had failed.

But, if it was simply evil being drawn to the ring (say it with me now) "Hmmm..." Maybe it's just something as simple as the creature was just a dumb animal and got pi**ed that it wouldn't be able to enjoy the tasty morsel it had caught fair and square.

On a side note, I wouldn't entirely discount the theory that it was an agent of Sauron - even if it thought it worked only for itself. After all, Shelob thought the same, right? And if the watcher HAD caught and eaten Frodo (ugh! I feel faint!) Sauron would then know where the Ring resided. I'm sure it would be a simple matter of capturing/killing the watcher & going on a little internal expedition - blah!...never mind, we won't get into that. I don't think this feat would be beyond his abilities.

02-01-2003, 04:23 AM
Once again, as so often in real life, a discoloured monkey has shown us 'higher' primates the way.

I think the Purple One makes a very interesting point about the motives of the Watcher. Perhaps its later actions (after the seizing of Frodo or the Ring was foiled) were motivated by self-defence, or a desire to get back to sleep. If Sauron could control one of these foul beasts, why didn't he try to find a female one, and have loads and loads of them all through the waterways of Middle-Earth? Probably cause that's ridiculously far-fetched, but you never know maybe he could have.

I think that it was the Ring that drew it towards Frodo. We can hardly have expected it to have read the Wanted Poster in the Barad-Dr Post Office, after all. And I believe that a good motive for its sealing the fellowship in Moria was to get them out of its hair. I don't believe it was controlled by anybody, much like Shelob or Ungoliant.

Inderjit Sanghera
02-01-2003, 11:48 AM
I'm surer that Balin once mentioned the watcher in his records, something about the watcher taking Oin. ahh, here it is.

"The watcher in the water took Oin."-bridge of Khazad-dum, FoTR. So maybe the Watcher did take anything that came his (or her smilies/eek.gif way). Couldn't it have been one of the 'nameless things' that had surfaced?

The Saucepan Man
02-01-2003, 12:28 PM
Wa-heyyyy! I'm veering from one theory to another here with alarming regularity.

My original gripe with the Servant of Sauron theory was that the Ring would be fairly difficult to find once eaten (along with our dear little Ringbearer friend). Not the most efficient way to recover the Ring when you have the likes of a Balrog lurking in Moria to do your dirty work.

My problem with the independent but nasty beast theory was its deliberate closing of the gates. But, Purple Monkey's theory does make sense. Perhaps it was drawn to the Ring, hence its attack on Frodo, but then it got hacked off (literally), finding that it had more than it had bargained for on its tentacles. So it shut the doors on them.

This leaves us with Gandalf's unspoken thought about it going for Frodo before the others. Maybe he was thinking: "Well, that's the power of the Ring for you". But it does seem more likely that he was noting to himself the extensive influence of the Enemy, suggesting that he considered it to be in Sauron's service.

Either theory works. Is there anything else that we have to go on?

02-01-2003, 12:42 PM
Most interesting. I like the idea (which I've always held) that the Watcher was merely an independant, lonely creature that was perhaps forced to take Frodo by the ring, but otherwise did not care about it. Sort of like a dumb, hungry troll named Tom that I once read about... Besides, everything needs food, right? Isn't that motive enough?

Wandering and Singing,

02-01-2003, 12:43 PM
(another example is the wild creatures of the Redhorn Pass)

Doug, what are these beasts and where do they appear in the books? Am i being very stupid here or am i in need of the HoME series?

02-02-2003, 02:49 AM
I think that all of us must eventually tread the bewildering paths of the HOME series. What you should first do though, is put less stock in what the movies say. The "fell voices" that Legolas hears in the Redhorn Pass are not Saruman, but independent creatures (which I struggle to make a description of, since one is not provided).

If I remember rightly, Gandalf even says something about the fact that not all evil creatures serve the Enemy. This also lends credence (Clearwater Revival) to the theory of the Independent Watcher. Very true, Iarwain that it may have been in need of food. A hungry Watcher would have been a great help to the orcs who destroyed Balin and Company, since they entered from the east side, driving the dwarves before them.

Arrh, Squiddy... arrhh...

Inderjit Sanghera
02-02-2003, 12:21 PM
And on the 'nameless things', doesn't Gandalf say that they were older then Sauron? How on earth is that possible? Sauron had been in Arda from the beggining and he wasn't one of the evil spirits that came to Melkor's aid for his return to Arda after he was driven out by Tulkas, since Sauron was in Almaren.

02-02-2003, 12:35 PM
I always thought that the nameless voices were the wind, mixed with Cahadras speaking. Cahadras didn't like things that went on two feet. Isn't that right? Thats why they called him the Cruel. Yes? No?


Inderjit Sanghera
02-02-2003, 12:40 PM
Wasn't Caradhras raised by Melkor and so it hated any of the good creatures of Arda?

[ February 02, 2003: Message edited by: Inderjit Sanghera ]

02-03-2003, 07:35 PM
Firstly how were the Balrogs not made by Morgoth if in Lothlorien Legolas mentions " a Balrog of Morgoth", secondly I don't get 1 thing: first Gandalf mentions that there are things more ancient than Sauron and not made by him in the deeps of the world and I thougth that might be refering to the watcher but then it is mentioned that the Watcher grabbed Frodo of all the company so I thought he might be a spy of Sauron. ( Talk about rundown sentences). How does this work?

Inderjit Sanghera
02-04-2003, 03:02 AM
Balrogs were spirits, Maia, like Eonwe or Olorin (Gandalf) who took their own forms. They originated from the thought of Illuvutar and are wholly independent spirits. "A Balrog of Morogth" Simply menas he was a servant of Morgoth.

02-04-2003, 09:34 AM
Balrogs were originally spirits of fire like Arien (who guides the sun) that were persuaded by Melkor (not Morgoth...) As for things older than Sauron; this is an interesting problem that Tolkien creates. Tom Bombadil professes to be in Arda before Melkor, the first of the Ainur to enter, arrives; but the exact date of Sauron's entry is unknown. I reconcile the problem with the theory that outside Ea (the void) there is no time, so that Sauron's 'age' can only be reckoned from the time he ENTERED into Ea; and that the creatures older than him simply entered before Sauron did, or were created with Ea by Illuvatar to keep us on our toes. smilies/biggrin.gif

Inderjit Sanghera
02-04-2003, 09:56 AM
I think Tom Bombadil's reference to his coming before the Dark Lord, was a description of Melkor's return to Arda after he was driven out my Tulkas. There were no Evil creatures around then (except those secretly under the rule of Morgoth, like Sauron), during the Spring of Arda,and so his quote about knowing the Earth under the stars, before fear, could be equated to the Spring of Arda,before Melkor came, as I don't think the Earth was fully wrought when he was driven out.

02-04-2003, 02:42 PM
Doesn't he also call himself "the first?"

Inderjit Sanghera
02-05-2003, 03:03 AM
I believe he does. Man Tom is complicating.

02-05-2003, 04:20 AM
Just think if they had tried to put him in the movie,ick that would of been awful.Would of been very hard to find anyone that could play him,with all his singing and dancing about. smilies/smile.gif

Inderjit Sanghera
02-05-2003, 05:37 AM
Speaking on Tom's appearance, what does he look like in the FoTR computer game? Couldn't he have been C.G.I in the movie?