View Single Post
Old 12-08-2017, 08:38 AM   #24
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
Huinesoron's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: The Fair City of Nargothrond
Posts: 572
Huinesoron is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
I think you and G55 are looking at this through the lens of your own knowledge. Though the Mouth does mention the possibility that Frodo's "errand was one that you did not wish to fail", that's only in passing. I see no hint that he had any idea it was of *crucial* importance. It's Frodo *himself* whom he seems to think is the real prize.

In other words, in his ignorance he chooses *the wrong thing* to bluff over.
You may have a point about this. If he believes the hobbits (however many of them there are!) are there as spies, well, so what? The Nazgul are aware now, so there's no chance of them getting back out the way they came - and anyway, Aragorn's army is there. What can a spy or two in the heart of Mordor do to prevent their immanent destruction?

Well... quite a lot, as it turned out.

Zigūr - so we could have as many as five messages from the Tower to Lugbśrz, arriving spectacularly out-of-sequence. Let's see if I can reconstruct the timeline:

Late in the day (I think? Sam says he thinks Frodo's been captive for a day or so, and they escape on the night of the 14th/15th), Frodo is taken captive. Shagrat had orders to send a message as soon as the prisoner's belongings had been checked; assuming he did so, it probably left that evening or the next morning. Message 1 - prisoner taken, list of belongings. Checking the timeline, it takes Frodo and Sam about four days to cover the distance; I would guess an orc could manage it in three, or two at a push.

Fighting breaks out in the Tower over Frodo's belongings. Given Gorbag's comments earlier - 'If there's any game, me and my lads must be in it.' - and Shagrat's comments about him, it seems likely he's the one who started it.

Late in the day (or rather the night), Sam breaks past the Watchers, setting off the alarm in the Tower. This may telepathically inform Sauron and/or the Nazgūl - the latter would explain something a bit later. Message 2 - security breach.

Message 2 is received immediately. Sauron knows something is going on (but not what).

Sam battles his way through the Tower and finds Frodo. Shagrat flees the Tower and heads to Lugbśrz, carrying Frodo's belongings with him. Message 3 - fighting in the Tower, Frodo's belongings, Sam's appearance.

Frodo and Sam leave the Tower, shattering the Watchers and potentially alerting Sauron or Morgul. Message 4 - catastrophic security breack. A moment later, a Winged Messenger comes screeching down out of the sky. What was it doing there? How about responding to the break-in alarm the previous night? It could have been circling overhead, waiting to see what would happen. This would partially confirm Message 2 as happening, which would confirm Message 4.

Message 4 is received immediately. Sauron knows the Tower has been fully breached, and may know that Elvish art was involved (depending on the detail levels).

Whatever the case, the Nazgūl would certainly inform Sauron as soon as possible, which means very soon (one way or another). Message 5 - fall of the Tower, guard almost entirely dead.

Message 5 is received that morning. Sauron knows the Tower has fallen, but he still doesn't know why!

Message 1 probably arrives at Lugbśrz on this day (if it was ever sent); Sauron probably kills the messenger, because who wants to hear 'we've caught a prisoner' after already knowing that everyone's dead? The mention of hobbits probably intrigues him - particularly if he knows exactly how the Witch-King died (which he might). Think of all the high-level deaths the hobbits have been involved in! Since around the fall of Dol Guldur, they and the people with them have killed a Dragon, a Balrog, and the Lord of the Nazgūl, and have been part of the downfall of Saruman. And it was one of their ilk that had His Ring for all those centuries...

Message 5 is probably received early on this day. What does Shagrat say, as he runs breathless into the Dark Tower? If Message 1 never happened (it's possible Gorbag killed the messenger - we know from Snaga that Gorbag’s swine got to the gate first, and none of ours got out), then he probably leads with 'we caught a prisoner', but he's not going to be able to hide the fact that the Tower has fallen. If he even tries - so much the worse for him. Sauron already has at least one message about the fall, and up to three.

So what did Sauron find out from him? We know that the first story Shagrat gave was 'shining elf-warrior', and that this was believed long enough to be passed on to the police (as it were). Could this have been the point where Sauron summoned him directly? If Sauron spoke to him first, then we have to assume he lied to the Dark Lord, which (as Kuruharan says) seems a little far-fetched.

Now that he is in the presence of Sauron, Shagrat reveals everything - the presence of two hobbits (I will admit that the possibility of his words being vague enough to imply only one is... remote), and the fighting between the guards. The message goes out to look for hobbits, Shagrat is executed for his execrable command skills...

... and then Sauron has about eight days to stew before Aragorn, the presumed Ringbearer, shows up at his gate.

This is where the 'rebel Uruk-hai' story comes in, and it actually comes pretty quick: it looks like Frodo and Sam overheard the Soldier and Tracker discussing it on the 18th. Whether it sprang from my Saruman theory (which doesn't depend on inaccurate reporting), or from generalised concerns about rebellion at Minas Morgul (whence Gorbag), it clearly came to Sauron's mind very quickly.

I dunno, I quite like the image of the Dark Lord working himself up into an absolute paranoid panic for a full week as Aragorn approaches and he waits for the other shoe to drop...

Huinesoron is offline   Reply With Quote