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Old 11-13-2018, 04:48 PM   #1
R.R.J Tolkien
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Sauron vs Morgoth who did More to Counter the Free Peoples?

Sauron vs Morgoth who did More to Counter the Free Peoples?

This is not a question of who was more powerful at creation, but who did more evil to the free peoples. I will argue that Sauron was the most powerful force for darkness in all of Middle-earth. And that his power was greater than Melkor's for much of history and he accomplished more than did morgoth. At creation of course melkor was the most powerful being created by Eru as the most powerful of the valar. However as I argue elsewhere the valar are not as powerful as often believed. Further the differences from valar to maiar I believe are not as great as often thought

“And the Valar drew unto them many companions, some less, some well nigh as great as themselves, and they laboured together in the ordering of the Earth and the curbing of its tumults.”
-The Sillmarillion Ainulindale

“Melian was a maia, of the race of the valar”
-Of Thingol and melian


So maiar and valar are of the same race as elves are with men and elves like Thingol, married maiar like melian. The chief among the maiar in valinor was a Maiar Eonwe, the banner bearer and herald of Manwe, “whose might in arms is surpassed by none in arda.” Neither is the valar's “power” a power of strength- but a power in creation to accomplish Eru's design for them. In Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth Tolkien says of the valar “They had sufficient power for their functions.” Much of their power has to do with the potential for creation. Morgoth fled often from Tulkas even though he was the most powerful of the valar. As a poster stated

“Tolkien did not really think in terms of video game–style levels of power. Power to him was an intangible thing that can take many forms, and is not the same as raw strength or destructive ability. Tulkas, one of the Valar, is the strongest and the best at fighting; but he's certainly not the most powerful among them, and he readily accepts Manwë's leadership...Likewise, Morgoth at his height was the most powerful nondivine entity in Arda; but even he was defeated in a fight by Ungoliant, who could only do one thing (engulf and consume things in darkness), but could do it really, really well.To Tolkien, the power to resist, the power to stay true to your goals, the power to inspire other people to follow you, were all equally or more important than the power to win battles or use “magic” to change the world..”

Melkor poured much of his strength into the creation of arda [before his fall] reducing his power. Also he used much of his strength corrupting the matter itself of arda and pouring his malice into orcs and other creatures. Melkor was envious of Feanor because of his great crafting abilities. Ungoliant the giant spider was able to match Morgoth in battle and he had to be saved by his servants the balrogs [his power was not yet reduced by giving it to other creatures yet, see Annuls of Ammon Morgoths Ring] .

“Ungoliante....drank and swelled to a shape so vast and hideous that even Melkor was adread...morgoth could not master her and she emeshed strangling webs, and his dreadful cry echoed throughout the world.”
- Morgoths Ring AAM


He later lost the silmarill to Beren and Luthian. He was besieged by the Noldor for 400 years. When the high elf king Fingolfin challenged melkor to a 1v1 fight. Morgoth feared Fingolfin and did not want the fight but had to accept given the horn blasts of Fingolfin being so loud that all his servants would know of his fear. In the 1v1 dual the elvin king wounded melkor eight times including one on his foot that bled and caused morgoth to forever limp. Morgoth gave a cry of anguish and his nearby chieftains “fell on there faces in dismay.”It was not until “the king grew weary” [having traveled a long distance to challenge melkor] that Morgoth was than able to kill him. Following the fight Thorondor king of the eagles, marred Morgoths face and stole the body of the king from him. Morgoth limped on one foot and never fully recovered from his wounds.

[Morgoth was]“Severely wounded by fingolfin and Thoronder in 455 and lost a silmarill to Beren and Luthian in 467”
-Robert Foster Tolkien's World from A to Z: The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth


Further it is prophesied in the second prophecy of mandos, Morgoth is to be killed by a man, Turin.

"Sauron, greatest and most terrible of the servants of Morgoth, who in the Sindarin tongue was named Gorthaur".
-The Silmarillion, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin.

“He became the greatest and most trusted of the servants of the Enemy, and the most perilous.”
-The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age


Sauron


Sauron was the greatest of Morgoth's Servants so much so that melkor left Sauron in charge of the war with the noldor when he left and Angband was controlled by Sauron and was the rallying point for the servants of Melkor after his capture.

“Melkor had made also a fortress [after called Angband]...this was in the command of Sauron.”
-The Later Sillmarillion the war of the Jewels

In the Grey Annuls we read that Sauron often led the successful assaults of morgoths armies in the first age such as on Inglor, Minias-tirith, Dorthonion etc. He also found Barahir and his outlaws when Morgoth could not “Thither, Barahir and his outlaws withdrew....and Morgoth could not discover it. Therefore he commanded Sauron to find and destroy the rebels speedily.” and Sauron did.

Sauron had accumulated vast knowledge from Melkor and other valar. ButSauron had not fallen so low as Morgoth. In myths transformed Tolkien said “He was not obliged to expand so much of himself” compared to Melkor. Sauron only spent his power on the rings while melkor poured his power into corruption middle earth and its creatures. This enabled Sauron to “pick up” where melkor left off and build upon his power and efforts.


“It was this Morgoth element in matter indeed witch was a prerequisite for such “magic” and other evils as Sauron practiced with it and upon it.”
-Myths Transformed


Also in myths transformed we read “Sauron was also wiser than melkor.” and “It was Sauron also, who secretly repaired Angband. And there the dark places underground were already manned with hosts of orcs.” and again “It was Sauron who, during the ages of melkor's captivity in Aman, brought into being the black armies that were available to his master when he returned.” Sauron not melkor had the idea of breeding orcs for infantry, melkor did so to make fun of men/elves out of hate. Further “Sauron achieved even greater control over his orcs than Morgoth had done.” It was also Sauron who worked to create trolls from a dumb useless beast.

“In their beginning... the eldar days, these were creatures of dull and lampish nature and had no more language than beasts. But Sauron had made use of them, teaching them, what they could learn, and increasing their wits and wildness.”
-J.R.R Tolkien Myths Transformed

Sauron was “more capable of calculation than melkor he was able to achieve things, first conceived by Melkor, which his master did not or could not complete in the furious haste of his malice.”
-Myths Transformed


Sauron invented the black speech and had more success than Morgoth in middle earth. Sauron was able to avoid capture by the valar and continued the work of his master into the fourth age. He has his way with the Eldar, sacking Eregion of the Noldor, holding at bay Elrond, and advancing toward the Grey Havens.For long peridos of time

“Sauron was become now a sorcerer of dreadful power, master of shadows and of phantoms, foul in wisdom, cruel in strength, misshaping what he touched, twisting what he ruled, Lord of werewolves, his dominion was torment.”
-The Sillmarillion

“Sauron became almost supreme in middle-earth.... he ruled a growing empire from the great dark tower of barad-dur in Mordor.... wielding the one ring.””
-Letters 131


The strength of his terror and mastery over men had grown exceedingly great.”
-Akallabeth The Sillmarillion


Later he single handle took out the mightiest nation of men that ever lived, the Númenóreans. He than was abel to turn them against the valar and forced Eru to remake the world. In letters 130 Tolkien said of the attack on valinor “The Numen-oreans directed by Sauron could have wrought ruin in Valinor itself.” Sauron slayed the last high king of the Noldor Gilgalad, as well as Elendil. Nowhere did morgoth have this kind of success. He had to flee valinor after sneaking in while Eru had to change the world to stop Sauron. Further during the second age Sauron owned massive amounts of middle earth.

“Sauron was greater, effectively, in the Second Age, than Morgoth at the end of the First.”
-Morgoth's Ring, Myths Transformed


He became more powerful in the third age with the creation of the one ring.

“while he wore it his power was enhanced”
J.R.R Tolkien letters 130


He deceived the 9 who turned into the The nazgul, it is said in of the rings of power and the third age were “the mightiest of Saurons servants” and of course the strongest of them all the witch king himself and their use of fell beats in the third age. He recived some of the dwarves rings as well. He Corrupted Suaroman, created Grond to break down the walls of minas tirith and reunited the orcs to make war on the free peoples while reestablishing Mordor as the great power in middle earth.
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Old 11-14-2018, 03:10 AM   #2
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Oh, absolutely Sauron. You seal that question with this quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgoth's Ring: Myths Transformed
Sauron was greater, effectively, in the Second Age, than Morgoth at the end of the First.
The last lines of the Valaquenta are also highly instructive:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silm: Valaquenta
In all the deeds of Melkor the Morgoth upon Arda, in his vast works and in the deceits of his cunning, Sauron had a part, and was only less evil than his master in that for long he served another and not himself. But in after years he rose like a shadow of Morgoth and a ghost of his malice, and walked behind him on the same ruinous path down into the Void.
In other words, Sauron was considered 'less evil' because while he was the one performing atrocities, it was (at least theoretically) at Morgoth's instruction. He was Just Following Orders, you see!

One thing you don't mention is that Morgoth's domain was absurdly small. I have a composite map tucked away which matches the Blue Mountains and the islands off Eriador to the Beleriand map; the distance from Thangorodrim to the mouths of Sirion is about the distance from Minas Tirith to Edoras. Even at its greatest extent, Morgoth's 'empire' was only the size of Gondor. Compare that to Sauron, who at one point ruled over literally everything in mainland Middle-earth that wasn't named Lindon, and you see how absurd it is to even compare the two.

Following the principle of 'miles are miles', we can see that Beleriand was about 400 miles square - its land area would be about the same as the British Isles, and Morgoth didn't even take the whole thing over. By contrast, Sauron effectively ruled the entirety of Eurasia and Africa, with the exception of a slice the size of Portugal.

It really is no contest.

hS
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Old 11-14-2018, 03:35 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
One thing you don't mention is that Morgoth's domain was absurdly small. I have a composite map tucked away which matches the Blue Mountains and the islands off Eriador to the Beleriand map; the distance from Thangorodrim to the mouths of Sirion is about the distance from Minas Tirith to Edoras. Even at its greatest extent, Morgoth's 'empire' was only the size of Gondor. Compare that to Sauron, who at one point ruled over literally everything in mainland Middle-earth that wasn't named Lindon, and you see how absurd it is to even compare the two.
I agree that Sauron's empire was bigger, but isn't it fair to say that Morgoth did rule over the lands of Men in the East for all intents and purposes? He was simply unable to leverage them into a military force with which to crush the Noldor – unlike Sauron at the end of the Third Age against the Free Peoples of course, which is another point in Sauron's favour.

I think it's also worth bearing in mind that much of Sauron's power derived from exploiting corruption already engendered by Melkor (albeit not by "Morgoth").
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Old 11-14-2018, 04:20 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Zigûr View Post
I agree that Sauron's empire was bigger, but isn't it fair to say that Morgoth did rule over the lands of Men in the East for all intents and purposes? He was simply unable to leverage them into a military force with which to crush the Noldor – unlike Sauron at the end of the Third Age against the Free Peoples of course, which is another point in Sauron's favour.
Hmm. How true is this? The story of the Fall of Man is pretty well known, despite the Silm's protestations:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silm
But it was said afterwards among the Eldar that when Men awoke in Hildórien at the rising of the Sun the spies of Morgoth were watchful, and tidings were soon brought to him; and this seemed to him so great a matter that secretly under shadow he himself departed from Angband, and went forth into Middle-earth, leaving to Sauron the command of the War. Of his dealings with Men the Eldar indeed knew nothing, at that time, and learnt but little afterwards; but that a darkness lay upon the hearts of Men (as the shadow of the Kinslaying and the Doom of Mandos lay upon the Noldor) they perceived clearly even in the people of the Elf-friends whom they first knew. To corrupt or destroy whatsoever arose new and fair was ever the chief desire of Morgoth; and doubtless he had this purpose also in his errand: by fear and lies to make Men the foes of the Eldar, and bring them up out of the east against Beleriand. But this design was slow to ripen, and was never wholly achieved; for Men (it is said) were at first very few in number, whereas Morgoth grew afraid of the growing power and union of the Eldar and came back to Angband, leaving behind at that time but few servants, and those of less might and cunning.
The Athrabeth puts this story into narrative, which makes it clear that Morgoth's control over Men was never one of command, but rather of corruption. He put evil into the hearts of Men, and turned them from Iluvatar - but he never really did more than that, in the beginning.

A chapter later, the Silm discusses the Swarthy Men, and again is very clear on what and when Morgoth did:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silm
To Men Morgoth feigned pity, if any would hearken to his messages, saying that their woes came only of their servitude to the rebel Noldor, but at the hands of the rightful Lord of Middle-earth they would get honour and a just reward of valour, if they would leave rebellion. But few men of the Three Houses of the Edain would give ear to him, not even were they brought to the torment of Angband. Therefore Morgoth pursued them with hatred; and he sent his messengers over the mountains.

It is told that at this time the Swarthy Men came first into Beleriand. Some were already secretly under the dominion of Morgoth, and came at his call; but not all, for the rumour of Beleriand, of its lands and waters, of its wars and riches, went now far and wide, and the wandering feet of Men were ever set westward in those days.
It was only after the Sudden Flame that Morgoth started sending messengers east to try and actively control Men, and even then his success was marginal: two houses of the Swarthy Men showed up, and one of those 'cheated the hope of Morgoth'.

Quote:
I think it's also worth bearing in mind that much of Sauron's power derived from exploiting corruption already engendered by Melkor (albeit not by "Morgoth").
This is a decent point. Obviously everything goes back to the Marring, and to the early wars before the Elves awoke; and Sauron's pet orcs were made by Melkor, not by Sauron. But on the flip side, the fact that I didn't invent the pencil doesn't mean that the person who did gets credit for my exam scores! Melkor set the stage, but fumbled the execution; Sauron used his master's props and made excellent use of them.

hS
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Old 11-14-2018, 07:22 PM   #5
R.R.J Tolkien
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
Oh, absolutely Sauron. You seal that question with this quote:



The last lines of the Valaquenta are also highly instructive:



In other words, Sauron was considered 'less evil' because while he was the one performing atrocities, it was (at least theoretically) at Morgoth's instruction. He was Just Following Orders, you see!

One thing you don't mention is that Morgoth's domain was absurdly small. I have a composite map tucked away which matches the Blue Mountains and the islands off Eriador to the Beleriand map; the distance from Thangorodrim to the mouths of Sirion is about the distance from Minas Tirith to Edoras. Even at its greatest extent, Morgoth's 'empire' was only the size of Gondor. Compare that to Sauron, who at one point ruled over literally everything in mainland Middle-earth that wasn't named Lindon, and you see how absurd it is to even compare the two.

Following the principle of 'miles are miles', we can see that Beleriand was about 400 miles square - its land area would be about the same as the British Isles, and Morgoth didn't even take the whole thing over. By contrast, Sauron effectively ruled the entirety of Eurasia and Africa, with the exception of a slice the size of Portugal.

It really is no contest.

hS

Love it, great points. Thanks.
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