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Old 12-11-2015, 02:39 PM   #1
Mithadan
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Ring The Interactions of the Ring-Bearers

This thread is inspired by recent posts in the Bilbo's Treachery Thread (and my desire to separate some of the many issues touched upon into separate threads). Typically, I like to spend time thinking about a topic before creating a thread, but something struck me that I never considered before and I'd like to present my realization for discussion.

In the long history of the One Ring, it is only the very end of the Third Age where we have the circumstance where multiple bearers of the Ring interact. From the time of its creation through the time Isildur cut it from the hand of Sauron, the Ring was borne by Sauron (ignoring the debate about whether he took it to Numenor or left it behind in Mordor). Isildur possessed it until the Gladden Fields when he was slain. The Ring remained in the Anduin until it was found by Deagol and taken by Sméagol. Sméagol/Gollum held it until it was found by Bilbo. Through that time, Ring-bearers had never interacted.

From that moment forward, Ring-bearers interacted a number of times. Bilbo and Gollum during the Riddle Game and Bilbo's escape from Goblin Town. Frodo and Bilbo in Rivendell. Frodo and Gollum and then Frodo and Sméagol (the distinction is deliberate) from the Emyn Muil through Shelob's lair. Frodo and Sam in the Guard Tower through the journey to Sammath Naur. Then Frodo and Gollum one last time in the Cracks of Doom.

All of the above have two common denominators. The Ring and the fact that the bearers were all Hobbits. Yet all of the interactions differed in character. One could argue that the interactions between the Ring-bearers in some way drove the story to its conclusion. And of course the Ring exerted its own effect upon events.

There is one other meeting between Ring-bearers that was very different. This was the "meeting" between Sauron and Gollum.

Each of these interactions were integral to the story and the resolution of the Quest. It is easy enough to create a chain of "but fors" out of these interactions. But is there some deeper significance or are they a succession of random events? Does the character of the interactions make any difference?
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Old 12-11-2015, 03:02 PM   #2
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To me, the various interactions serve as a means of gaining understanding in the case of the Shire-hobbits- an appreciation of what the Ring did and what it meant to do to its bearers..

With Gollum, speaking with Sauron gave him a deep hatred for the latter, that came with the recognition that Sauron was his greatest rival for the Ring's 'affections', a rival he could never kill or hide from. Maybe that was a large factor in his helping Frodo later.
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Old 12-11-2015, 04:04 PM   #3
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Definitely. Even Frodo possessing it was preferable to 'Him' getting it back.

What I find perhaps most fascinating in all these interactions was that Gollum, after being tortured in the presence of Sauron himself, was definitely terrified of Him, but not cowed enough to turn into a reliable slave - on the contrary, still able to scheme to protect the Precious from Him. That's no small strength of will for an over five-hundred year old Stoor weakened by decades of Ring withdrawal.
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Old 12-11-2015, 04:14 PM   #4
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Reading the above posts, for the first time in my life I've thought of the One Ring as the Tolkien version of a femme fatale. But I need to ponder this association further before it forms into a solid thought. (But if I was the type to write fan fics... the history of ME would be rewritten now starting with the forging of the Ring... )


As for the interaction between Sauron and Gollum - I think at least on Sauron's part, he felt no rivalry from Gollum - or from "Baggins". Gollum was simply too weak, physically and mentally, to appear as a threatening rival. He was nothing, a fly to swat. Baggins, yet an unknown entity, didn't appear too sophisticated either, given Sauron's limited knowledge of hobbits and contempt towards lesser beings. He could, and did, envision Aragorn as the Ringbearer, because he sensed a rival power in Aragorn and refused to believe that a Ringbearer would refuse to use the Ring for power. And the only power that Gollum had, and would ever have, is to be able to catch more fishes. Not remotely threatening, from Sauron's perspective.

I agree with Inzil about Gollum. I think that more than ever before he just wanted to "elope" from the world with his Preciousss when he saw Sauron's dominance over him in everything, including their claims to the Ring.


I think one of the most important aspects of many of the Ringbearer interactions is the question of trust between the Ringbearers. Since I still can't wipe the femme fatale thought off my mind, the first analogy that came to me is someone meeting their significant other's ex. Knowing that this person held the Ring before you did (or, for the other person, seeing your Ring in someone else's possession), can put a wedge of Ring-jealousy in the relationship between these two people. And you can see that in Frodo's interactions with Bilbo and Sam, when one of them becomes blinded by that feeling and forget the context of their friendship and the current situation. It has always fascinated me that all three hobbits had enough strength of mind to overcome that feeling and to go back, completely and unsuspiciously, to their previous relationship after such an event. I find it a wonder that not once did a suspicion that "my friend is after the Ring" come crawling into their relationships. Perhaps that's one of the things Sauron underestimated most in the hobbits when he relied on the Ring's guile to mess up its other Bearers. He expected them to fight over the Ring to the death, not to help each other destroy it.


EDIT: xed with Pitch. Interesting point.
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Old 12-26-2015, 05:50 PM   #5
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Reading the above posts, for the first time in my life I've thought of the One Ring as the Tolkien version of a femme fatale.
hahahaha no Galadriel, not quite, as Annatar was a comely 'bad boi' -- male as was noted on the Bilbo thread. And - seriously - I'd been wondering about, the Ring/Anatar being the equivalent of a homme fatale for quite some time. E.g. Tol Sirion and 'vampires' (creatures of blood lust), etc.

@All, and following on from the new idea:

We repeatedly see Sauron's Ring/s as having most influence over males, such as Celebrimbor (who was spurned by Galadriel), then Isildur, Deagol, Sméagol (who murdered Deagol and that was male-male anger about 'possession'), Bilbo (who never married) then Frodo -- again -- who never married.

The Ring and the mythology had Eowyn downing the 'male' Angmar-ian witch king (another 'seduced' male) by Sauron, and Galadriel (female repellent of a homme fatale) who repelled The Necromancer from the former Amon Lanc in Mirkwood (we never really knew much about that once fair tower in Greenwood the Great, though I like to imagine that Oropher as a Telerin oversaw it.

So, back to refocus the above stream:

I'm lifting out an 'evil Animus' theme or perhaps an 'evil Anima' theme (and here, I'm seeing the significance of what Tolkien might have inadvertently or implicitly or unconsciously transmitted to us in his notions of 'Evil').

If we take the premise that the Ring 'swells' greed in growing wells of its bearer, or that the Ring 'appeals to greed and lust' (as Tolkien used those words, semi-regularly) and that, the evil animus/ma of the 'second personality' that emerges or 'grows' in influence over time. Why were so many of the males (Sméagol, Frodo, Bilbo--even perhaps Isildur downstream?) separated from parenthood? Is the evil anima/mus concept, therefore, something about diverting the owner away from their birthright?

So in any 'person-to-person' interaction of Ringbearers -- inevitably -- there is the 'evil animus/ma' there in the background of *each* bearer present, *not* actually bearing the ring (as a subdued or latent or 'watching' unconscious presence, perhaps), interacting with the 'current' bearer's directly-linked evil animus/ma.

This opens up the possibility that there is some kind of variation on 'distorted' empathy (an empathy inversion, for instance, that communicates -- sub vocally -- between bearers. And the inverse of empathy (Sauronic transmission of his Animus/ma now entirely evil for Sauron) is certainly 'evil' incarnate. That is, ordinarily, empathy governs interactions, but in a Sauronic 'inversion' he 'swells greedily' into others 'evil' Animus/ma through inversion-empathy 'conduits' that transmit Sauronic evil.

The idea is not really that 'out there'. After all, Tolkien had the Three communicating telepathically. There is a word for it, and I've forgotten in.

And Mort^horon will no doubt, be swiftly hahahahah kicking my rear end, shortly, about this whole post...HURRAY!!!

Merry Xmas everyone
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Old 12-27-2015, 03:14 PM   #6
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hahahaha no Galadriel, not quite, as Annatar was a comely 'bad boi'
I was getting curious how long you'd be able to go without this catchphrase.

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We repeatedly see Sauron's Ring/s as having most influence over males, such as Celebrimbor (who was spurned by Galadriel), then Isildur, Deagol, Sméagol (who murdered Deagol and that was male-male anger about 'possession'), Bilbo (who never married) then Frodo -- again -- who never married.
First thought that comes to my mind here is that the Ring most readily appeals to dreams of power and domination, which are stereotypically associated with masculinity. It could be an interesting thought experiment to ask ourselves what the Ring would have tempted women with - say, Erendis? Queen Berúthiel? Ioreth? Rosie Cotton?

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The Ring and the mythology had Eowyn downing the 'male' Angmar-ian witch king (another 'seduced' male) by Sauron, and Galadriel (female repellent of a homme fatale) who repelled The Necromancer from the former Amon Lanc in Mirkwood
I'd consider Galadriel as a borderline case in so far as she was, however briefly, tempted by the Ring and teetered on the brink of becoming a true femme fatale: "All shall love me and despair!" Any connection with her mother-name Nerwen, Man-maiden?

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I'm lifting out an 'evil Animus' theme or perhaps an 'evil Anima' theme (and here, I'm seeing the significance of what Tolkien might have inadvertently or implicitly or unconsciously transmitted to us in his notions of 'Evil').
What I see so far boils down to a mixture of gender stereotypes and (maybe unconscious, or semi-conscious) male homophobia.

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Why were so many of the males (Sméagol, Frodo, Bilbo--even perhaps Isildur downstream?) separated from parenthood? Is the evil anima/mus concept, therefore, something about diverting the owner away from their birthright?
Wasn't this the Ring-maker's special domain to begin with - diverting mortals away from the Gift of Ilúvatar, their birthright from the Allfather, diverting them from both death and transcendence towards a fake (you might say spectral) immortality, aka undeath?


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So in any 'person-to-person' interaction of Ringbearers -- inevitably -- there is the 'evil animus/ma' there in the background of *each* bearer present, *not* actually bearing the ring (as a subdued or latent or 'watching' unconscious presence, perhaps), interacting with the 'current' bearer's directly-linked evil animus/ma.

This opens up the possibility that there is some kind of variation on 'distorted' empathy (an empathy inversion, for instance, that communicates -- sub vocally -- between bearers. And the inverse of empathy (Sauronic transmission of his Animus/ma now entirely evil for Sauron) is certainly 'evil' incarnate. That is, ordinarily, empathy governs interactions, but in a Sauronic 'inversion' he 'swells greedily' into others 'evil' Animus/ma through inversion-empathy 'conduits' that transmit Sauronic evil.
I can see that in Frodo dominating Gollum in the Mount Doom chapter (stern white figure, wheel of fire, you know what I mean), where the Ring - and thus its Maker - speaks through Frodo. Not so much in other scenes.

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The idea is not really that 'out there'. After all, Tolkien had the Three communicating telepathically. There is a word for it, and I've forgotten in.
The word is osanwe, "communication of thoughts" (literally something like "together-thinking", if I analyse it right), or sanwe-latya, "thought-opening". It's a natural ability among Ainur and Quendi, not tied to Rings, although I suppose the Three may have served as amplifiers.

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Merry Xmas everyone
Same to you! Look to the future, it's only just begun.
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:54 PM   #7
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Hi there Pitchwiife, very post.

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I was getting curious how long you'd be able to go without this catchphrase.
I'm both 'very surprised' and also 'not at once' that the Mirdain were very so easily beguiled by a comely fella from 'the West' with a very strange title "Lord of Gifts". It's immediately an impossible supposition because Gifts of love are unconditionally given and appeal to the heart-line, rather than the 'domination' ['Lord....of Gifts' - weird] proposition (which was very Sauronic, and with a sadistic overtone. Torture was a tool used by Sauronic purpose, for example). So, Cirdan 'smelled the stench' and aptly, and yet, the Noldor of Celebrimbor's folk missed the warning.

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<...snip...>It could be an interesting thought experiment to ask ourselves what the Ring would have tempted women with - say, Erendis? Queen Berúthiel? Ioreth? Rosie Cotton?
*chuckling as I write* Rosie Cotton's 'purposeful dominations of Shire-esque' vista, villas, meals, and adventuring Hobbits Returning.
"I Rosie Cotton--the Cotton, do now own Samwise Gamgee as Adventurer Gardener. Our Garden Empire shall....swell....throughout the Shire, and first seem green, but then I shall cut off all roses and leave thorns only on them. Thence, our liberator, dwelling at - where is that 'Evendim' place! I shall not abide it! My rose-less thorny stems I shall ....vomit....north on the Greenway and beyond, to line ALL ROADS with The Cotton's preferred ornament. All dissidents will be enslaved and forced into rose-chopping chain gangs!"
Quote:
I'd consider Galadriel as a borderline case in so far as she was, however briefly, tempted by the Ring and teetered on the brink of becoming a true femme fatale: "All shall love me and despair!" Any connection with her mother-name Nerwen, Man-maiden?
An interesting combination of terms 'love and despair'--a depressed adoring cohort of dominated people! At least that Celeborn and his 'Elwe-ish' rage-mouth of his would be quelled.

Quote:
What I see so far boils down to a mixture of gender stereotypes and (maybe unconscious, or semi-conscious) male homophobia.
This one's particularly interesting. I was steering around it in the post, but stopped short of inquiring about the professor's values of same-sex attraction, and whether or not unconscious homophobia influenced the legacy of his notions of E-vil. He never touches the subject of same-sex attraction, explicitly.

Quote:
Wasn't this the Ring-maker's special domain to begin with - diverting mortals away from the Gift of Ilúvatar, their birthright from the Allfather, diverting them from both death and transcendence towards a fake (you might say spectral) immortality, aka undeath?
Yes.

I used the language "perturbingly divisible" in another thread about the theory put down about the spectral ideas in the books, and tangentially how this relates to Bilbo growing sociopathic tendencies in the Hobbit [due to wearing his R....ring *looks at reader with cheeky smile*], and as argued almost a Ring through this unorthodox idea. The post is too turgidly written, but it's for Mortho+ron mostly, and so is for fun debate.

In it, I touch on one of my favourite pet ideas of late about Spectral haunts of cultures which Pitchwife, u n me touched on, on the URL which will have to have resumed attention upon, intermittently for the very interesting notions you draw together. The reason your thread is particularly relevant is because it gives us a chance to explore Spectral ideas (and this thread, again is another Spectral 'channel' about the general area).

Spectral concepts are very illuminating of the authors of various mythologies, I find. I should, perhaps at some point, start a thread about it and what I mean, more clearly. But the reason I used language "perturbingly divisible" is to touch on a theme about how authors' ideas about 'reality' and 'fantasy' can point to -- schisms of the self -- in the actual author. This is very relevant to a discussion about Interactions of the Ringbeaer's as Tolkien's divisible spectral haunts were subsumed by the Ring and an 'evil animus/ma' concept.

I note, in particular the absence of 'unifying' mythology, to bridge either of redemption concepts into the 'fallen' in Middle Earth, or else 'conduit/pathway' mythologies that remind us that 'monsters be in the minds of men, and monsters without homes [reunifications] do warn, arguably, about the psychology of the author.

A very controversial point, in some senses, for Tolkien was obviously a great man, yet, we don't for example see "Nazgul marrying Elves" or "Nazgul overcoming ....something....to become a Spectral ORDINATION concept, bearing an oblique trajectory away from Wraith, towards Eldar (in the 'otherworld'....Glorfinel-ian idea at the Fjord of Bruinen) where this ordination of a 'Wraith' meant 'Road Less Travelled, Yet Illuvatar, I find at the End' [a chuckle here - as I suppose after Nazgul screeching, the 'Road Less Travelled' must vary the idea that....Shelob....vomited up the Silmaril. This is Morth's fault!].

The divisible Spectral World, where 'divided roads' never 'cross paths', in pantheons of SpectREs -- that never do Needlecraft -- for example (that's for Morth) is, perhaps an old fashioned way of conceiving mythologies (a debate point to add to Mithadan's notion).

Quote:
The word is osanwe, "communication of thoughts" (literally something like "together-thinking", if I analyse it right), or sanwe-latya, "thought-opening". It's a natural ability among Ainur and Quendi, not tied to Rings, although I suppose the Three may have served as amplifiers.


Same to you! Look to the future, it's only just begun.

Cheers - such an interesting comment Tolkien made about telepathy......
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Old 12-11-2015, 04:37 PM   #8
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All of the above have two common denominators. The Ring and the fact that the bearers were all Hobbits. Yet all of the interactions differed in character. One could argue that the interactions between the Ring-bearers in some way drove the story to its conclusion. And of course the Ring exerted its own effect upon events.

There is one other meeting between Ring-bearers that was very different. This was the "meeting" between Sauron and Gollum.

Each of these interactions were integral to the story and the resolution of the Quest. It is easy enough to create a chain of "but fors" out of these interactions. But is there some deeper significance or are they a succession of random events? Does the character of the interactions make any difference?
You forgot Tom Bombadil and Frodo. Tom's parlor trick was pretty neat. The Ring seemed to affect him not at all.
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Old 12-22-2015, 12:57 PM   #9
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Galadriel55, I'd like to hear your Ring as a femme fatal analysis...

What prompted me to start this thread was an incomplete germ of an idea. Only during the end of the Third Age were there multiple Ringbearers that interacted, so my question, perhaps poorly expressed, began as whether there was any significance to this?

Having had a chance to think about this, it seems to me that there was, intentionally or not, some import to this circumstance. The interactions between the Ringbearers moved the tale to its conclusion, the destruction of the Ring.

Bilbo finds the Ring and shows sympathy and mercy towards Gollum. Bilbo keeps the Ring safe until it is voluntarily turned over to its next Bearer, Frodo. Gollum finds his way into Mordor and is captured. Sauron sets Gollum free (I've wondered if he in fact sent Gollum to Cirith Ungol and Shelob with an unexpected result that Shelob sets Gollum free) and Gollum succeeds in intercepting the path of the Fellowship and, ultimately, joins up with Frodo and Sam. Without Sméagol/Gollum, it is unlikely that Frodo and Sam could have secretly entered Mordor. Sam bears the Ring for a time, glimpsing its effect upon Frodo, and freely gives it back. Then whenever Sam mentions "bearing the burden" Frodo is able to carry himself further along the path to the Cracks of Doom. And, of course, we have the final interactions between Gollum and Frodo leading up to the struggle that sends the Ring into the fire.

Without the interactions between the Ringbearers, the tale would have a very different course. I wonder if Tolkien consciously considered this or if the interactions between the Ringbearers was simply a side-plot?

Regarding Bombadil, I do not think he qualified as a Ringbearer. The Ring has no effect upon Tom. It does not render him invisible or inspire lust or greed in him. Rather than bearing the Ring, more accurately, he merely touches it.
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Old 12-23-2015, 03:01 PM   #10
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I find it a wonder that not once did a suspicion that "my friend is after the Ring" come crawling into their relationships. Perhaps that's one of the things Sauron underestimated most in the hobbits when he relied on the Ring's guile to mess up its other Bearers. He expected them to fight over the Ring to the death, not to help each other destroy it.
I think the conscious choices (acts of will) that the various actors had made are why there was no suspicion in the relationships. Bilbo had consciously chosen to give the Ring to Frodo. Even though there was a struggle, Bilbo held to the conviction that the Ring was Frodo's.

Sam only took the Ring out of desperation. He only briefly entertained the notion of keeping it for himself. After that, it was not a question for him that it was still Frodo's ring.

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I've wondered if he in fact sent Gollum to Cirith Ungol and Shelob with an unexpected result that Shelob sets Gollum free
Interesting theory. I am curious if there is any textual support for that? I thought the text was fairly clear that Sauron released Gollum on purpose.
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Old 12-23-2015, 04:16 PM   #11
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My comment was pure speculation in the nature of connect the dots.

Gollum was drawn to Mordor. "And sooner or later as he lurked and pried on the borders he would be caught and taken - for examination... When he was found he had already been there long, and was on his way back. On some errand of mischief." The implication appears to be that he was released, but this is not expressly stated. All we know is that while he was at or in Mordor, he met Shelob.

"Already, years before, Gollum had beheld her, Sméagol who pried into all dark holes, and in past days he had bowed and worshipped her..." Gollum was in Mordor years before only when he was caught and brought to Sauron. So he encountered Shelob either on his way in or on his way out.

"And as for Sauron; he knew where she lurked... And sometimes as a man may cast a dainty to his cat (his cat he calls her, but she owns him not) Sauron would send her prisoners that he had no better uses for..." So Sauron was known to do this and might have done so with Gollum.

By the way, does anyone know why Tolkien seems to have disliked cats? Consider the early tale of Tevildo, lord of cats, who later became Sauron.
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Old 12-28-2015, 11:42 AM   #12
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My comment was pure speculation in the nature of connect the dots.

Gollum was drawn to Mordor. "And sooner or later as he lurked and pried on the borders he would be caught and taken - for examination... When he was found he had already been there long, and was on his way back. On some errand of mischief." The implication appears to be that he was released, but this is not expressly stated. All we know is that while he was at or in Mordor, he met Shelob.

"Already, years before, Gollum had beheld her, Sméagol who pried into all dark holes, and in past days he had bowed and worshipped her..." Gollum was in Mordor years before only when he was caught and brought to Sauron. So he encountered Shelob either on his way in or on his way out.

"And as for Sauron; he knew where she lurked... And sometimes as a man may cast a dainty to his cat (his cat he calls her, but she owns him not) Sauron would send her prisoners that he had no better uses for..." So Sauron was known to do this and might have done so with Gollum.

By the way, does anyone know why Tolkien seems to have disliked cats? Consider the early tale of Tevildo, lord of cats, who later became Sauron.
I can't deny that you construct a convincing case.
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Old 05-06-2016, 04:46 AM   #13
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Location: ˙˙˙ssɐןƃ ƃuıʞooן ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ
Posts: 6,484
Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Nerwen is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithadan
"And as for Sauron; he knew where she lurked... And sometimes as a man may cast a dainty to his cat (his cat he calls her, but she owns him not) Sauron would send her prisoners that he had no better uses for..." So Sauron was known to do this and might have done so with Gollum.

By the way, does anyone know why Tolkien seems to have disliked cats? Consider the early tale of Tevildo, lord of cats, who later became Sauron.
No doubt he was scratched by one. He probably tripped over it after being bitten by that tarantula.
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