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Old 05-27-2012, 01:33 AM   #1
Glorthelion
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A few questions about Gandalf not fighting Sauron

Gandalf was sent to Middle Earth in the Third age with Glorfindel and the other wizards to aid the free peoples of Middle Earth in their struggle against Sauron. Wouldn't it be considered aid if Gandalf faced off against Sauron personally?
I know the Valar forbade him from fighting Sauron personally, but for what reason?
And, WHAT if Gandalf disobeyed the command of the Valar and fought Sauron personally?

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Old 05-27-2012, 03:35 AM   #2
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My feeling is, and it is confirmed to an extent by what happened with Saruman, that the Valar had realised that the more inherently powerful a person was the more vulnerable they are to be corrupted by the possibilites of that power. They might start off with the best of intentions -then maybe do morally questionable things to provide a good outcome and end up no better than the Dark Lord.

Think of how frightened Gandalf was to have even indirect contact with the Ring and how tempted (but self aware) Galadriel was. Saruman started out like Gandalf but more powerful, he ended up setting himself up as a tyrannical power, an imitation Sauron. I think that they realised that they needed to incite or inspire the people of Middle Earth to overcome Sauron rather than to send a being of like status who would perhaps end up a replacement. That was Gandalf's role and he succeeded not only with the Hobbits but with Faramir and rousing Theoden.
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Old 05-27-2012, 03:46 AM   #3
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Hi Glorthelion,

the problem ist that a direct attack on Barad-dur and on Sauron, no matter who lead it would probably be destined to fail.
Tolkien explores this question in letter #246:

Quote:
Of the others only Gandalf might be expected to master him – being an emissary of the Powers and a creature of the same order, an immortal spirit taking a visible physical form.
Quote:
Confrontation of Sauron alone, unaided, self to self was not contemplated. One can imagine the scene in which Gandalf, say, was placed in such a position. It would be a delicate balance. On one side the true allegiance of the Ring to Sauron; on the other superior strength because Sauron was not actually in possession, and perhaps also because he was weakened by long corruption and expenditure of will in dominating inferiors. If Gandalf proved the victor, the result would have been for Sauron the same as the destruction of the Ring; for him it would have been destroyed, taken from him for ever. But the Ring and all its works would have endured. It would have been the master in the end.
Gandalf as Ring-Lord would have been far worse than Sauron. He would have remained 'righteous', but self-righteous. He would have continued to rule and order things for 'good', and the benefit of his subjects according to his wisdom (which was and would have remained great).
So a direct duel without possession of the Ring would be impossible to win, and a duel wielding the Ring would still not yield a positive result, as Gandalf "would have been far worse than Sauron".
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:15 AM   #4
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And even if by whatever unexistent chance such assault would have succeeded, Sauron would just return again, since he lives as long as the Ring remains intact. Sure, he lived even after the destruction of the Ring because he is a Maia, but he was bereft of nearly all his power and had no means to build it back up. If the Ring is not destroyed, though, it would be a repetition of the Last Alliance - he'd eventually come back, and the battle would be useless other than for delaying the final outcome.
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:40 PM   #5
Knight_of_Dol Amroth
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Im still intrigued by the thought of what would happen to gandalf if he directly disobeyed his orders other than the breaking of his staff and the expultion from the order.
(like the breaking of his kneecaps by the mafia)
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Knight_of_Dol Amroth View Post
Im still intrigued by the thought of what would happen to gandalf if he directly disobeyed his orders other than the breaking of his staff and the expultion from the order.
(like the breaking of his kneecaps by the mafia)
Gandalf would likely have faced the same fate as Saruman: eking out a mean existence following his casting out of the Order, and facing an eventual judgement from those who sent him.

And by the way, welcome to the Downs!
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:58 AM   #7
Sarumian
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Being agree with what has been said, I would rise three questions about the outcome:

1. Who is going to win;
2. What awaits the Ring;
3. What impact the battle can make on Middle Earth and its people.

Regarding a possible one-to-one encounter, Tolkien says in the letter quoted above,
Quote:
it's a delicate balance
We have two embodied Mayar, very powerful but both seriously handicaped. Sauron's body was lost and regained several times, he wastes a lot of his power on keeping his armies together and half of his self is detached with the Ring. Still, as I can remember Silmarillion, he used to be the most powerful of all Mayar. The same book says that some Mayar were close to Vallar in their powers. Remember Gandalf's own words at Council of Elrond that Sauron is able to torture hills; shaping landscapes was Vallar's primary activity. On the other hand, Gandalf is the Spirit of Wisdom, he is close to Manve, he also has an experience of fight, including his battle with the Balrog; moreover, as Gandalf the White he is seriously enhanced, and wears the Ring of Fire. I tend to believe, that of the four elements, air and water would surve to Gandalf (influence of Vallars and the Three) while earth is going to be subjugated to Sauron. Fight for Control over fire is going to be the main issue of the battle. The most probable outcome, as it seems to me now, will be the same as in case of the Balrog: both die in the battle.

Another issue is that no-one expect Sauron to be ownest. Should Gandalf come to Mordor and require satisfaction, Sauron would've act like Witch King dealt with the last king of Gondor. Another option is the battle of Moranon Gates when both armies were present, and, possibly, completely destroyed by the fury of two Maiar.

So if Sauron wins, the result is evedent. Otherwise there can be several options, connected to two other questions. Contradicting to himself, Tolkien says in the quoted letter that

Quote:
If Gandalf proved the victor, the result would have been for Sauron the same as the destruction of the Ring; for him it would have been destroyed, taken from him for ever. But the Ring and all its works would have endured. It would have been the master in the end.
Probably, a Maya can kill Sauron without undoing the Ring but then it would be very difficult to undo it. In abscence of the threat people of Middle Earth are unlikely to see the reason why the Ring should be undone. Even elves can resist the idea as the Three can endure there magic only with the One around. So should Gandalf survive the battle or not, the Ring is likely to win and a new Dark Lord would emerge (singular or collective).

Finally, such a combat can have devastating impact on Middle Earth.

Last edited by Sarumian; 06-04-2012 at 08:09 AM.
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