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Old 02-13-2018, 09:06 AM   #1
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Gandalf's First Dol Guldur Visit + Sauron in the East

Hello all,

Just a couple of things came into my head tonight about which I haven't found much discussion.

1. When Gandalf first went to Dol Guldur in 2063, Sauron fled to the East, and didn't come back until 2460. In 2850, Gandalf went to Dol Guldur again. This time Sauron didn't flee, and Gandalf discerned his identity.

In "The Quest of Erebor", Gandalf mentions that the 2850 journey was made "in disguise" and in The Hobbit he says he "only just escaped."

What do you imagine happened in the 2063 journey, which prompted Sauron's flight? Was Gandalf identified or even temporarily caught? I think I always imagined (for some reason) that Sauron just had a sort of "hunch" that someone was snooping around, and decided to beat a hasty retreat out the back door before this interloper found anything too juicy, perhaps after shredding the contents of his filing cabinets. Presumably at that point he considered his plans not mature enough to risk being found out. Perhaps scouts or guards saw Gandalf coming and everyone ran away before he even arrived.

I suppose this also leads to the question of whether Gandalf was identified the second time, and whether Sauron realised that Gandalf had identified him, and if he no longer thought it mattered by that point.

2. Where did Sauron go when he was in "the East"? Do you imagine he had some sort of backup-backup hideout there for when even Dol Guldur wasn't obscure enough?

In "The Istari", Professor Tolkien notes that Mordor "was occupied by Sauron, although outside his original realms "in the East", as a deliberate threat to the West and the Nśmenóreans." [Emphasis mine.]

This seems consistent with accounts in the Second Age which say that Sauron started stirring up trouble firstly in the East after he fled from the Host of the West, before he came to Eregion. It also appears to suggest that Mordor was originally utilised as something of a forward command post from which he could press the attack against his western enemies, and only became his main headquarters later.

I wonder if, when he was in hiding during the Watchful Peace, Sauron lived somewhere which was a remnant of his earliest empire-building projects in Rhūn in the Second Age. I suppose it might also depend on how solid his control over those regions was at that part of the Third Age. If he was King and God of most of it in 2063 one imagines he wouldn't exactly have to sneak around, but the extent to which he was King and God of the regions of Middle-earth under the shadow might have fluctuated over the years depending on how busy he was elsewhere and how subtle he was trying to be.

Regardless, these were just some curiosities which occurred to me this evening and about which I didn't find much discussion online, especially the first point about Gandalf's original sojourn to the Hill of Sorcery.
"Since the evening of that day we have journeyed from the shadow of Tol Brandir."
"On foot?" cried Éomer.
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