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Old 01-01-2018, 11:20 AM   #1
Victariongreyjoy
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Morgot's servants more terrifying than Sauron's?

Would you say the balrogs, firedrakes, dragons, vampires and demon spirits Morgoth had were more terrifying than Sauron's nazgul?
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Old 01-01-2018, 12:40 PM   #2
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I would say absolutely without a shadow of a doubt.
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Old 01-01-2018, 03:25 PM   #3
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I would say absolutely without a shadow of a doubt.
I see what you did there.

I would put a caveat on that by saying that maybe the Nazgűl were especially terrifying to Men.

It was established that Legolas, and Elves in general, didn't display much fear of the Ringwraiths. Glorfindel charged the Witch-king himself and ran him out of the North. Dwarves? Who knows, although they were immune from becoming Wraiths.

The Nazgűl were 'living ghosts', and their horrible, unique status in Middle-earth was reflected in the hopeless wails they sounded, as well as the feel of dread that surrounded them. That fear and hopelessness, as 'stretched' extensions of Sauron's will that were prevented from release as long as Sauron endured, could have called to other Men's fea and caused them a terror beyond that endured by other races.
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Old 01-01-2018, 03:37 PM   #4
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I am going to disagree with the letter of Master Kuruharan's reply--but perhaps in doing so, I shall be agreeing with him in spirit.

I'll start by acknowledging that there's a wide range amongst the servants of Morgoth listed--a Balrog is an incarnate Maiar whereas we know almost nothing about a vampire, but it seems reasonable to say they are not comparable in might. To compare all these disparate beings to the servants of Sauron is like comparing apples and the entire produce department.

That said, it is a worthwhile point, I think, to note that the Nazgűl really are the only creations of Sauron, whereas Morgoth produced many sorts of servants. This points to the ultimate disparity between them, and it is this disparity of potency that I think underlies Kuruharan's firm assertion that there is no context here.

My personal thought, however, is that the Nazgűl might actually have been as terrifying as the creatures of Morgoth, because unlike the creatures of Morgoth, terror is their primary power. This got touched on in a recent argument here (the resurrection of the Female Nazgűl? question), where Huinesoron argues that martial prowess is not the chief purpose of the Nazgűl, making the point we do not generally see them take the field in battle.

This argument (not necessarily the conclusion that there ARE female Nazgűl) makes sense to me, and I think it applies here: FEAR is the main overt power of the Nazgűl. Think of Sauron's use of them during the Siege of Minas Tirith: to overwhelm the city's morale by their presence.

In other words, I think that the terror of the Nazgűl might well match that of something like a Balrog, because where for the Balrog terror is a side-effect of its dread form and demonic might, terror is the primary effect of a Nazgűl. This shows the lesser stature of their creator. Morgoth doesn't focus on creating something that will wreak havoc on emotions: he creates something that will wreak havoc on matter--the terror comes from knowing and sensing that might. Sauron, being substantially weaker, DOES focus on terrorizing emotions.



(Of course, this entire post is avoiding the subject of whether Morgoth--or Sauron--can actually create anything. Suffice it to say that where I use the word "create" or imply something like it, I am using it most imprecisely.)

EDIT: Crossposted with Inziladun.

Last edited by Formendacil; 01-01-2018 at 03:38 PM. Reason: Indicate cross-posting.
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Old 01-01-2018, 06:00 PM   #5
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Vampires, Huor and Hurin vs Nazgul

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Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
I am going to disagree with the letter of Master Kuruharan's reply--but perhaps in doing so, I shall be agreeing with him in spirit.

I'll start by acknowledging that there's a wide range amongst the servants of Morgoth listed--a Balrog is an incarnate Maiar whereas we know almost nothing about a vampire, but it seems reasonable to say they are not comparable in might. To compare all these disparate beings to the servants of Sauron is like comparing apples and the entire produce department.

That said, it is a worthwhile point, I think, to note that the Nazgűl really are the only creations of Sauron, whereas Morgoth produced many sorts of servants. This points to the ultimate disparity between them, and it is this disparity of potency that I think underlies Kuruharan's firm assertion that there is no context here.

My personal thought, however, is that the Nazgűl might actually have been as terrifying as the creatures of Morgoth, because unlike the creatures of Morgoth, terror is their primary power. This got touched on in a recent argument here (the resurrection of the Female Nazgűl? question), where Huinesoron argues that martial prowess is not the chief purpose of the Nazgűl, making the point we do not generally see them take the field in battle.

This argument (not necessarily the conclusion that there ARE female Nazgűl) makes sense to me, and I think it applies here: FEAR is the main overt power of the Nazgűl. Think of Sauron's use of them during the Siege of Minas Tirith: to overwhelm the city's morale by their presence.

In other words, I think that the terror of the Nazgűl might well match that of something like a Balrog, because where for the Balrog terror is a side-effect of its dread form and demonic might, terror is the primary effect of a Nazgűl. This shows the lesser stature of their creator. Morgoth doesn't focus on creating something that will wreak havoc on emotions: he creates something that will wreak havoc on matter--the terror comes from knowing and sensing that might. Sauron, being substantially weaker, DOES focus on terrorizing emotions.




(Of course, this entire post is avoiding the subject of whether Morgoth--or Sauron--can actually create anything. Suffice it to say that where I use the word "create" or imply something like it, I am using it most imprecisely.)

EDIT: Crossposted with Inziladun.
Since Morgoth liked creating hideous creatures to his fold, wouldn't you think these vampires would be very scary beings, and the the sight of them could frighten most people off?
In terms of the nazgul fear factor, I think Huor and Hurin, perhaps the mightiest of men of all time wouldn't **** in their pants and flee if faced with the wraiths. If Aragorn and Earnul can fight them, so can they. They faced far worse foes during the first age.

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Old 01-02-2018, 03:46 AM   #6
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In other words, I think that the terror of the Nazgűl might well match that of something like a Balrog, because where for the Balrog terror is a side-effect of its dread form and demonic might, terror is the primary effect of a Nazgűl. This shows the lesser stature of their creator. Morgoth doesn't focus on creating something that will wreak havoc on emotions: he creates something that will wreak havoc on matter--the terror comes from knowing and sensing that might. Sauron, being substantially weaker, DOES focus on terrorizing emotions.
So what of the dragons? We know Glaurung was able to affect people's minds in many ways, including warping their thinking, freezing them in place, and completely regressing them to a feral state. Could one of the great dragons deliberately induce fear in the same fashion as the Nazgul?
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:40 PM   #7
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So what of the dragons? We know Glaurung was able to affect people's minds in many ways, including warping their thinking, freezing them in place, and completely regressing them to a feral state. Could one of the great dragons deliberately induce fear in the same fashion as the Nazgul?
My gut instinct is to say that while it might be the case that Glaurung could, that doesn't mean that dragons in general could. My instinct is to look to Smaug for an idea of what a "generic" dragon could do (Smaug is certainly powerful, but he's not the father of dragons).
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Old 01-02-2018, 08:06 PM   #8
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So what of the dragons? We know Glaurung was able to affect people's minds in many ways, including warping their thinking, freezing them in place, and completely regressing them to a feral state. Could one of the great dragons deliberately induce fear in the same fashion as the Nazgul?
Glaurung has affected people's minds when hypnotizing them individually. Could he hold more than one person in a trance simultaneously?

A Nazgul might focus his power (e.g. the case with Eowyn and Merry), but can also spread fear over an entire army.
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Old 01-03-2018, 01:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
My gut instinct is to say that while it might be the case that Glaurung could, that doesn't mean that dragons in general could. My instinct is to look to Smaug for an idea of what a "generic" dragon could do (Smaug is certainly powerful, but he's not the father of dragons).
Glaurung specifically seems have much more of Morgoth's fea imparted to him than Smaug, certainly.
That makes sense, as the descendants of Glaurung were offspring, and each generation would have diluted the original essence somewhat.

What I've wondered is this: Glauring, when he applies his power, can compel even the strong-willed, like Túrin and Nienor, to obey his commands. Yet Morgoth was unable to force the location of Gondolin out of Húrin. Maybe he should have let Glaurung have a go? But imagine the shame if Glaurung pwned Morgoth that way.
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:06 PM   #10
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Maybe he should have let Glaurung have a go? But imagine the shame if Glaurung pwned Morgoth that way.
Morgoth would be dragon the depths of despair.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:47 PM   #11
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What I've wondered is this: Glauring, when he applies his power, can compel even the strong-willed, like Túrin and Nienor, to obey his commands. Yet Morgoth was unable to force the location of Gondolin out of Húrin. Maybe he should have let Glaurung have a go?
Not exactly. Glaurung could paralyze Turin, and cozen him, but there's no indication that he could force him actively to do or say anything. Instead Glaurung relied on deceit (and a diabolical knowledge of his victim's psyche). Nienor he simply mind-wiped. Both are very different from forcing them to answer questions. Similarly Morgoth could poison Hurin's mind to the point that he did the Dark Lord's will unwittingly, but he certainly wasn't controlling him.
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Old 01-05-2018, 03:43 AM   #12
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Not exactly. Glaurung could paralyze Turin, and cozen him, but there's no indication that he could force him actively to do or say anything.
I nearly posted something along these lines, but then I went and read the Nienor scene in Children of Hurin:

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Strong was the will and heart of Nienor, and she strove against Glaurung; but he put forth his power against her. 'What seek you here?' he said.

And constrained to answer she said: 'I do but seek one Turin that dwelt here a while. But he is dead, maybe.'

'I know not,' said Glaurung. 'He was left here to defend the women and weaklings; but when I came he deserted them and fled. A boaster but a craven, it seems. Why seek you such a one?'

'You lie,' said Nienor. 'The children of Hurin at least are not craven. We fear you not.'

Then Glaurung laughed, for so was Hurin's daughter revealed to his malice.
So it seems that Glaurung at least can compel an answer, though the second exchange suggests that he can't compel a full answer. He tricked Nienor into saying who she was - but prior to that, he forced her to talk to him.

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Old 01-09-2018, 11:22 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
I see what you did there.

I would put a caveat on that by saying that maybe the Nazgűl were especially terrifying to Men.

It was established that Legolas, and Elves in general, didn't display much fear of the Ringwraiths. Glorfindel charged the Witch-king himself and ran him out of the North. Dwarves? Who knows, although they were immune from becoming Wraiths.

The Nazgűl were 'living ghosts', and their horrible, unique status in Middle-earth was reflected in the hopeless wails they sounded, as well as the feel of dread that surrounded them. That fear and hopelessness, as 'stretched' extensions of Sauron's will that were prevented from release as long as Sauron endured, could have called to other Men's fea and caused them a terror beyond that endured by other races.
Wait where does it say dwarves were immune from becoming wraiths? I mean it makes sense given the whole dwarven feä but do you have a source on that?

Also on the original question I would say absolutely-Morgoth had every pawn and servant Sauron had and more except for the Nazgul really.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:35 AM   #14
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Wait where does it say dwarves were immune from becoming wraiths? I mean it makes sense given the whole dwarven feä but do you have a source on that?
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The Dwarves indeed proved tough and had to tame; they ill endure the domination of others, and the thoughts of their hearts are hard to fathom, nor can they be turned to shadows.
The Silmarillion Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age

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But [the Dwarves] were made from their beginning of a kind to resist most steadfastly any domination. Though they could be slain or broken, they could not be reduced to shadows enslaved to another will; and for the same reason their lives were not affected by any Ring; to live either longer or shorter because of it.
RoTK Appendix A III: Durin's Folk

Perhaps Aulë might have had a bit of prescience when fashioning his children?
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:55 PM   #15
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Okay had forgotten that line. Seems Aule made the dwarves extraordinarily sturdy and strong willed.
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