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View Poll Results: Which race is Gothmog?
Nazgul 14 32.56%
Man 5 11.63%
Orc 15 34.88%
Other 9 20.93%
Voters: 43. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-20-2006, 05:53 PM   #1
mormegil
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Gothmog as Pat

Ninja raised a question on this thread that I believe would make a fun poll. So what is Gothmog? It's never clearly stated or even hinted as to what race he is. So what do you believe and why? To be clear this is the Gothmog of the third age.
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:10 PM   #2
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I voted for Gothmog as Nazgul. (which I suppose would also make him Man, of sorts). I know there is no evidence to either support or decry this view of him, but I have never imagined him as anything else in thirty years of reading/re-reading. I was actually surprised that anyone ever considered him to be anything else.
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:13 PM   #3
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Dark-Eye my explanation

To explain myself for voting other, I cant see a good explanation as to how he could be a Nazgul. Yes, the Witch King being the captain could very well make a Nazgul being Lieutenant logical, but I think that Tolkien would not have made it such a mystery if it was really that simple.

And orc? I cant say that I think one orc would rise up to be the lieutenant of the Morgul-Host without being mentioned before. That is a pretty high rank.

If he was a man, I think he would have to be one of the Black Numenoreans, because I cannot think of another big race of men so high up in Sauron's mind (i.e. the Mouth of Sauron).

That's just my opinion though. For all we know, it could have been Tom Bombadil in disguise.
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The rider was robed all in black, and black was his lofty helm; yet this was no Ringwraith but a living man. The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr he was, and his name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it...

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Old 11-21-2006, 06:54 PM   #4
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I put Nazgul because it does seem most logical that the Lieutenant would be Nazgul as we know that they were present at the battle. If it were of another race I believe Tolkien would have stated.
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Old 11-21-2006, 08:19 PM   #5
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Who is Pat? or should that be what?
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Old 11-21-2006, 08:50 PM   #6
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Who is Pat? or should that be what?
Sorry, it's an old skit from Saturday Night Live. Pat was of unknown gender and the comedy was he/she was put in comical situations relating to guessing gender but nobody ever knew. I thought it rather funny.
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Old 11-21-2006, 08:53 PM   #7
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meh, after the fiasco of how Robin Duke and Tony Rosato were handled, it was all downhill from there.

oh but now what Gothmog lines come to mind . . .
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Old 11-22-2006, 01:30 PM   #8
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Hammond and Scull note in the LotR Reader's Companion, on page 566, that Gothmog is more likely the second in command to the witch-king, who is sometimes called Morgul-lord. Also, in a rejected version of the battle of the Pellenor Fields, found in HoME VIII, it is stated that all the nazgul fled after their leader was killed (but in LotR, Gothmog brings new troops out of Osgiliath). I believe that he was an orc of some sort; in Myths Transformed, the Men-orcs are said to be "large and cunning", therefore having the "qualities" necessary for leadership.
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Old 11-23-2006, 10:06 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by radagastly
I voted for Gothmog as Nazgul. (which I suppose would also make him Man, of sorts). I know there is no evidence to either support or decry this view of him, but I have never imagined him as anything else in thirty years of reading/re-reading. I was actually surprised that anyone ever considered him to be anything else.
Really? Myself, I am actually surprised that someone even thought about him being a nazgul. Just wonderful! I mean, I love this plurality of opinions. Myself, when I saw the option "nazgul" in the poll, I thought: ah, interesting, but don't think anyone will go for it. From my point, I could say who I don't think he is. As I feel it, I cannot imagine Gothmog as:
simple "snaga" - this would certainly be quite embarassing
skurut-hai - well... maybe... but since he is too high-ranked, it would be very improbable. Certainly not that guy from the movie. No, never.
black númenorean - that's too high for him. Although after some thinking about it he might be something like that, from the first sight his name does not fit with it, I imagine something more "rough" than númenoreans (even black)
nazgul - as above. And anyway, Gothmog would hardly be his true name when he was still Man - but no one says nazgul keep their names when they fade out.
easterling - sucks
southron - sucks
variag of Khand - same as above
or whatever else of these men;
So it seems Gothmog is maybe troll - lol - probably olog-hai, or some hyperbrutal barbarian of far East beyond the maps of Middle-earth. If you ask what I imagined when reading that part where he is mentioned, I imagined just the rush of battle and some unspotted one Gothmog standing between thousands of Easterlings, Variags of Khand and black men of Far Harad. He's just Gothmog: he is what we is. Which brings me to...
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Originally Posted by ninja91
For all we know, it could have been Tom Bombadil in disguise.
Talking about that, I'd consider him something like Tom Bombadil for the dark side. See: certainly powerful and mighty person (as Bombadil is in the terms of those who look at him without more deeper thoughts about who he is), not mentioned before and not mentioned after, but considerable for the course of the events.
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Old 11-23-2006, 10:32 AM   #10
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Even though I agree that it would make some sense that Gothmog was a Nazgul, but, somehow, I can't imagine him as such, just like Legate.

He surely was no simple orc, maybe some mighty orc captain, but I doubt it. He would have had the strength and authority needed, but he still would have been no more trustworthy than any orc.

I always imagined him as some sort of Black Numenorean, or some other human of a nobler kind long under the power of Sauron. (Earnur? )

What I think we can rule out is that he was something else. I mean, come on, just look at how much joy Tolkien obviously had when he described such things, the description of the Fell Beasts, for example. If Gothmog was something else what we didn't knew then, he would have told us and he would have described him to us, gloomy and vaguely, and the lines would have been little gems of the trilogy.
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Old 11-23-2006, 11:12 AM   #11
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Gothmog was portrayed as a Nazgul in a LotR wargame which I used to play many years ago (and which I still have) and I have accordingly thought of him as such ever since.

Simple reasoning for a simple soul.
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Old 11-23-2006, 03:52 PM   #12
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I've always just assumed that Gothmog was a Nazgul -- I mean, it's pretty clear, isn't it, that the Nazgul are the worst and most powerful of Sauron's servants. It doesn't make sense that there could be an orc or even a powerful Man who somehow supercedes 8 of the 9...I mean:

Orc -- debased and broken slaves; quarrel amongst themselves; stupid. Given the sample orcs we've seen, can you imagine a creature like that ordering around a Nazgul?

Men -- better than orcs, but Nazgul are Men corrupted by and enhanced with a Ring of Power: why, if you are a Nazgul, have as your second in command a Ringless Man when you can have a Ringed Man?
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Old 11-23-2006, 04:21 PM   #13
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I think Gothmog was a pseudo-historico-literary reference to the earlier Gothmog.
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Old 11-23-2006, 06:28 PM   #14
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I really have no idea what Gothmog is. . . but I kind of pictured him Orc/man/thing and not Nazgul.

I quite simply think that Tolkien would have told us if he was.
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:04 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Rune Son of Bjarne
I really have no idea what Gothmog is. . . but I kind of pictured him Orc/man/thing and not Nazgul.

I quite simply think that Tolkien would have told us if he was.
Yeah, that's just my words. I'd subscribe under this one. And to Fordim, I don't think the nazgul - apart from the Witch-King - had in fact any "stable political function". I mean, for example in the battle of Morannon, they were not down there in command of the "2nd through 9th battalion of Mordor", but were flying somewhere above and shrieking (later on, fighting the eagles and even later on, flying to Mount Doom to stop Frodo. They were "special forces" in that way, the most trusted ones, required for specific tasks.) Some Men, Orcs and Olog-hai did the leadership part in battle in front of the Black Gate. And about that Sauron would never give such rank to an Orc - what if he did? Take Grishnakh, for example. He had been assigned a task which was more than what I'd ever entrust to an Orc, but Sauron did it! And here we have some parallel: with the company sent with Grishnakh, they were supposed to make contact with a nazgul near Anduin. And when the nazgul was not present, Grishnakh had to take all the responsibility on himself. How he ended, is another thing.
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Old 01-12-2007, 04:04 PM   #16
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I have always viewed Gothmog as an orc. Maybe this is incorrect, but it seems more likely to me than him being a Nazgul.

Throughout LOTR, we are never once given the name of a Ringwraith. In fact, only one is given a title - the Witch-king. The only named Nazgul is Khamul the Easterling, and that only in "The Hunt for the Ring" in Unfinished Tales. So it seems quite remarkable to me that we would see a Nazgul mentioned by name and yet not identified as a Nazgul, within the text of LOTR.

Meanwhile, Orcs are named several times - Ugluk, Grishnakh, Shagrat, Gorbag are the most famous; though you also have, among others, Lagduf, Muzgash, Lugdush (which actually seems to be a combo of the two, now that I think about it), Mauhur, and Snaga; the latter being a commonly used title for lesser Orcs by the Uruks. In The Hobbit, we have Azog and Bolg. There may be named Orcs in The Silmarillion, but if so, I do not recall any.

On the other hand, all these Orc-names are apparently in Black Speech, while Gothmog is an Elvish name. Which could point to him being a Man - or of course a Ringwraith.

Gothmog is described as the "lieutenant of Morgul" - as already pointed out, the Witch-king is called the "Morgul-lord", so it does make sense that Gothmog was his second-in-command.

There are only three comparable positions among Sauron's forces. First, the Mouth of Sauron, who was Lieutenant of Barad-dur. Second, Shagrat, who is I believe described as "Captain of the Tower" of Cirith Ungol. And finally, Khamul, who was the captain or lieutenant (I cannot remember which) of Dol Guldur.

A Man, an Orc, and a Ringwraith, respectively, as you will notice. So apparently there would be precedent for Gothmog to be any of these races.

The only two other possible factors I can think of that might have bearing on Gothmog's race are Grishnakh and Gorbag. Grishnakh had some position at Lugburz, I believe; and Gorbag was very likely some sort of lieutenant or sergeant for Minas Morgul. Not having the book to hand, I can't ascertain either one of those, but they sound right.

Regardless, there's not enough room to make a certain conclusion either way. So I guess I'll stick to his being an Orc.
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Old 01-12-2007, 04:20 PM   #17
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I voted orc...I always imagined him a smart, ruthless, upper echelon orc creature...
his name sounds orcish to me. I know most orcs were supposed to be crude oafish creatures....but surely there had to be some exceptions....variety.
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Old 01-12-2007, 04:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Saucepan Man
Gothmog was portrayed as a Nazgul in a LotR wargame which I used to play many years ago (and which I still have) and I have accordingly thought of him as such ever since.

Simple reasoning for a simple soul.
Really! Someone better tell them they made a mistake!
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Old 01-12-2007, 05:19 PM   #19
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I highly doubt Gothmog was an Orc. At a stretch I can agree with Raynor about Gothmog the Man-Orc. I don't see Sauron placing an Orc in such a high position as second in command to the Witch-King. He doesn't seem the type to trust the Orcs with high tasks. They were capable of fighting, hard to control at times, Sauron operated through fear as far as controlling them. Placing an Orc second-in-command of his army isn't something I see Sauron doing. A Man-Orc I can see as a stretch, as Raynor points out they did have the leadership qualities that Orcs didn't have.

And we do know for sure that Sauron trusted Men more. As it is Men whom he gives the 9 Rings out to and it is a Man that is his Lieutenant of Barad-dur. So, why not it be a Man who is Lieutenant of his armies?

Also, to note Gothmog is in command of a group of Men. Would Men really want to be led by an Orc, and would Sauron put an Orc to lead his men? I doubt it.

As far as a Nazgul, there's nothing to say for or against it. Personally, I agree with Ninja...afterall this is a person that gets one line in the entire story. Tolkien left his Nazgul nameless, as if you don't have a name that shows you don't have an identity. You are under the complete control of another power. To give his Nazgul names is to give them an identity, therefor they remain nameless. The Witch-King is a title, and Khamul is only mentioned in a draft of Unfinished Tales, no where else so I don't think we can apply that to LOTR.
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Old 01-13-2007, 06:58 AM   #20
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I'd say Gothmog is a Maiar, he is lord of balrogs and captain of Angband, no orc or man can do that, balrogs (maiar) are greater than man or orcs...

And a nazgul is af course redicoules, the nazgul are 'ring wraiths'. How can Gothmog be a nazgul if the rings of power were not even made to get him into that state...

Now I can't see anything but a balrog himself to be lord of balrogs.... I mean I don't think even nazgul's are powerfull enough for that
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Old 01-13-2007, 07:03 AM   #21
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Oooohh... I think I wasn't very accurate in this, since I thought of the Gothmog of the first age not the third

Sorry.........
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Old 01-13-2007, 09:38 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Boromir88
I don't see Sauron placing an Orc in such a high position as second in command to the Witch-King. He doesn't seem the type to trust the Orcs with high tasks.
Only one thing, Boro. I also don't agree with Gothmog being an Orc (as I pointed out before) - but actually, Sauron gave the Orcs important tasks. I don't think that Sauron would give such a complicated and strategic-mind-needing thing like command of an entire army to the hands of an Orc, but I mean that Sauron entrusted for example Grishnakh with search for the Ringbearer (this is one thing which always puzzled me the most!).

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Also, to note Gothmog is in command of a group of Men. Would Men really want to be led by an Orc, and would Sauron put an Orc to lead his men? I doubt it.
That's a good point. I'd stand for it. And one more thing - the name Gothmog, I think, was taken by someone who had some knowledge of its meaning - of its prior possessor. I doubt it was a given name. Rather - and this I find quite likely - some relentless Man leader who rose to high rank because of his ferociousness and brutality and non-questioning Sauron's orders, acquired this "nickname", or maybe he heard in the "high society" (like on a banquet in Barad-Dur where just the high officers were normally allowed) the story of Gothmog (which was narrated by the Mouth of Sauron like a funny history of old and Gothmog would normally never have heard of it) and he said himself "yeah, that's cool, from now on I'll call myself Gothmog".
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Old 02-14-2007, 02:36 PM   #23
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Pipe

He looks like an Orc to me.
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Old 02-15-2007, 01:49 PM   #24
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Quote:
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He looks like an Orc to me.
But that is only the movie's depiction of Gothmog. There is alot of evidence (some of it stated above) that he was not an orc.
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Old 02-16-2007, 09:33 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc
black númenorean - that's too high for him. Although after some thinking about it he might be something like that, from the first sight his name does not fit with it, I imagine something more "rough" than númenoreans (even black)
Too 'rough' a name? Morgoth entrusted the chief of his highest demons to be named 'Gothmog', and you think it is too rough a name?!
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Old 02-17-2007, 02:55 AM   #26
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I am not a native English speaker, but I was under the assumption that "rough" means, well, something like a rock, you know. I don't see why Gothmog the Balrog, hard, cruel etc., wouldn't be called like that. But what I intended to say by it... how to say it the best... well, for example: I wouldn't name an Elf "Rughagrog", as well as I wouldn't name an Orc "Lin-Lothiellin". The same way I wouldn't name a black Númenorean Gothmog. This is only my opinion however.
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Old 02-17-2007, 01:50 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc
I am not a native English speaker, but I was under the assumption that "rough" means, well, something like a rock, you know. I don't see why Gothmog the Balrog, hard, cruel etc., wouldn't be called like that. But what I intended to say by it... how to say it the best... well, for example: I wouldn't name an Elf "Rughagrog", as well as I wouldn't name an Orc "Lin-Lothiellin". The same way I wouldn't name a black Númenorean Gothmog. This is only my opinion however.
Hmm. Yes, I suppose that makes sense. Although the Mouth of Sauron is a Black Numenorean and 'Sauron' means 'abhorrent'.
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:17 PM   #28
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I think Gothmog was a nazgul.

Let us look at the name itself.

IMHO "Gothmog" is hardly a name a loving mom and dad would give their newborn child.

Suppose Gothmog II was a mortal Man. Even if the parents were late Third Age Black Numenoreans - Morgoth worshippers, the name is too lofty for even a very noble Black Numenorean child. Gothmog the First had been almost equal (and maybe equal?) to Sauron. Who knows if the two Maiar, Morgoth's lieutenants, were on good terms back in the First age? The parents wouldn't risk the Dark Lord's displeasure naming their child after such a high being.

Suppose Gothmog II was a nazgul. The parents would be mid-Second Age Men, at the time when very few, or none of the Numenoreans worshipped Morgoth. The ME "barbarian" natives often did, it seems, but I am not sure that the "barbarians" would have enough knowledge of old lore to know about Gothmog I.

So, most likely, it was NOT a name received at birth. IMHO Gothmog II earned his name as a reward by his long service to the Dark Lord. And that more likely makes him a nazgul, than one of the mortal servants. Too grand a name, probably given by Sauron himself.

As for the nazgul names, we know but one - Khamul, the Shadow of the East.
But I have a suspicion, that Khamul actually translates as "Eastern Shadow" "Kha-" like in "Khand" meaning "East" . If I am right, than it must be the name that Khamul got while he was already a nazgul, not his birth-name.

Very probably all of the nazgul in the course of their very long lives got many names, much like Olorin-Mithrandir-Gandalf-Incanus, or Aragorn-Strider-Thorongil-Elessar.

So, I think, the name itself gives us few clues, only shows the wielder's high status, which we know already.

Gothmog was no orc surely, he held too high a position, second in command in the Mordorian army. Orcs sometimes commanded orcs (like Shagrat of Cirith Ungol) but hardly any orc ever commanded Men. And from the quote above, we see that Gothmog has become the head of the Mordor army with authority over Easterlings, Variags and Southrons - some of them allies, with their own kings present.
Alternatively, he could have been a mortal Man, but I doubt that in the city of the Ringwraiths a motral Man could hold a higher position than 6 of the resident nazgul. Also I doubt that Easterling and Southron allies would have been happy to bow to a mortal underling.

An additional argument might be this:

Quote:
In an immediately rejected version of the passage in which the new hosts streaming out of Osgiliath are described, it was said of the Black Captain: 'He was gone, and the Nazgul in fear had fled to Mordor bearing ill tidings'; but this was lost in the rewriting of the passage where appears Gothmog lieutenant of Morgul - HOME 8
If Gothmog were meant to be a nazgul, then the rejection of the sentence about all the remaining Nazgul fleeing seems explained. Also if Tolkien put Gothmog in while editing the sentence about the nazgul, it explains why he failed to mention that Gothmog was one of them: at the moment it seemed obvious to Tolkien.
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:33 PM   #29
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So, most likely, it was NOT a name received at birth. IMHO Gothmog II earned his name as a reward by his long service to the Dark Lord. And that more likely makes him a nazgul, than one of the mortal servants. Too grand a name, probably given by Sauron himself.
If you look up I believe I proposed another option, and that's that he gave the name to himself. For a barbarian leader, that wouldn't be unimaginable; and also, look at the parallel with Mouth of Sauron.

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Originally Posted by Gordis
But I have a suspicion, that Khamul actually translates as "Eastern Shadow" "Kha-" like in "Khand" meaning "East" .
Huh? May I ask where did you take the assumption that Khand means East? As far as I know from all Elven languages, "east" is Rómen or Rhun, respectively, but Khand, no way.

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Originally Posted by Gordis
Alternatively, he could have been a mortal Man, but I doubt that in the city of the Ringwraiths a motral Man could hold a higher position than 6 of the resident nazgul. Also I doubt that Easterling and Southron allies would have been happy to bow to a mortal underling.
And what about Mouth of Sauron? He was high in rank, and I believe if Gothmog was a Man, he would be probably something like MoS. And it's not unimaginable to see Easterlings and so bowing to him... and another thing; the Nazgul did not often lead the armies to war. Except for WK, who was leader also in another fields, there is no remark about the others leading armies. And we know the Nazgul were flying above Pelennor (and maybe were somewhere else as well at that time), but the second in rank after WK could have been some non-Nazgul Gothmog without any problems.
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:10 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
If you look up I believe I proposed another option, and that's that he gave the name to himself. For a barbarian leader, that wouldn't be unimaginable; and also, look at the parallel with Mouth of Sauron.
A barbarian Man as second in command to the WK? I can't buy it at all, sorry, no more than an orc. The Mouth was a Black Numenorean, probably a pure-blood one. And his name if far less presumptuous than Gothmog, evoking someone without identity, totally subservient to Sauron. "Gothmog" was a name of Sauron's equal.

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And what about Mouth of Sauron? He was high in rank, and I believe if Gothmog was a Man, he would be probably something like MoS. And it's not unimaginable to see Easterlings and so bowing to him
MOS was high in rank, but surely below the WK and the other nazgul. He was not sent to the Pelennor to serve as WK's second. We have no evidence that he was a warrior. I doubt he was in command at the Black Gate. Sauron saw him as expendable messenger and sent him to the Parley.
By the way, I think Minas Morgul fortress did have someone like MOS - a mortal, probably a Black numenorean, who looked after the fortress when the nazgul were away, who made sure the supplies arrived, orcs didn't sleep on duty and cleared the latrines regularly. But it doesn't make him Second in command to Morgul Lord at Pelennor. Do you really see other nazgul under the command of a mortal? I don't.

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Huh? May I ask where did you take the assumption that Khand means East? As far as I know from all Elven languages, "east" is Rómen or Rhun, respectively, but Khand, no way.
I never said it was Sindarin or Quenia. But when "Khamul" is mentioned, "The Easterling" or the "Black Easterling" comes as an explanation, likely translation.

Quote:
.. and another thing; the Nazgul did not often lead the armies to war. Except for WK, who was leader also in another fields, there is no remark about the others leading armies.
No remark means little. The WK built the kingdom of Angmar close to the lands of the Dunedain - so his actions were well documented. But we do not know what any of the eight other nazgul did between the Fall of Barad Dur and around TA 1800. We know that after the Fall of Sauron they flew East with the remaining orcs (UT). Who knows what kingdoms they built and what battles they fought there?

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Old 01-29-2008, 02:29 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Gordis View Post
MOS was high in rank, but surely below the WK and the other nazgul. He was not sent to the Pelennor to serve as WK's second. We have no evidence that he was a warrior. I doubt he was in command at the Black Gate. Sauron saw him as expendable messenger and sent him to the Parley.
Expandable messenger? Oh my, you are underrating him. No, he wasn't a warrior from what we know, but we are talking about rank, and that was high. A Prime Minister does not normally go into war personally, but his rank is high nonetheless. And a one of the Ministers in a state ruled by Sauron could be named Gothmog, why not? Even if he weren't a Nazgul.

Quote:
By the way, I think Minas Morgul fortress did have someone like MOS - a mortal, probably a Black numenorean, who looked after the fortress when the nazgul were away, who made sure the supplies arrived, orcs didn't sleep on duty and cleared the latrines regularly. But it doesn't make him Second in command to Morgul Lord at Pelennor.
Do you really believe MoS cleared latrines in Barad-Dur?!!

And yes, I believe there was such a person - the Lieutenant of Minas Morgul. And who was that? Gothmog, of course. No problem with this one.

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Do you really see other nazgul under the command of a mortal? I don't.
I never spoke about Nazgul. I spoke about the armies. I always believed the Nazgul to be flying around on Sauron's direct orders, ordered to scare people and oversee the battle and eventually report on what's happening. I never counted the Nazgul above Pelennor to be under command of the general, and if they were, then the WK and later they'd leave (among other things to inform Sauron that the First Nazgul is dead, as we read in RotK. Also, WK couldn't have commanded them anyway for example when he was at the Gate).

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I never said it was Sindarin or Quenia. But when "Khamul" is mentioned, "The Easterling" or the "Black Easterling" comes as an explanation, likely translation.
Oh, I thought that you take the "ul" part as in the word "úlairi", wraiths. Never mind.
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Old 01-30-2008, 05:42 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
Expandable messenger? Oh my, you are underrating him. No, he wasn't a warrior from what we know, but we are talking about rank, and that was high. A Prime Minister does not normally go into war personally, but his rank is high nonetheless.
And I think you are overrating him. Sure he cut an impressive figure on his monstrous horse at the parley - but was he really THAT great? He was high in Sauron's favor - yes, he showed cunning, cruelty and servility. His job was to relate the Dark Lord's orders to underlings, and to supervise the other servants in the Barad-Dur fortress. Likely he lent his hand in torturing the prisoners - more like a hobby. But it doesn't make him anything like a Prime minister of Mordor. Had he any authority outside Barad Dur? - We are not told that. Was he entitled to give advice to Sauron? I doubt it. He was a sorcerer, as much as a mortal can learn, yes, but, for instance, when the Fell Beast project was being developed, MOS was not in it - only Sauron and the WK (RC).

Also, Sauron didn't hesitate to send MOS to the parley, protected only by ambassador's diplomatic immunity. Could Sauron be 100 % sure that the Lords of Gondor wouldn't chop off MOS's head, like Aragorn did in the infamous PJ's scene? Sauron was treacherous and judged others by his standards - MOS himself was much afraid. That's why I call him expendable.

And let us consider his dream - to become the new Lord of Isengard. Was this position better than Sauron's right-hand man, his Prime Minister? Hardly, but then again MOS never was Sauron's right-hand man.

Quote:
And a one of the Ministers in a state ruled by Sauron could be named Gothmog, why not?
Gothmog was clearly a military commander, not a minister.

Quote:
Do you really believe MoS cleared latrines in Barad-Dur?!!
Nay, but he made sure that everything ran smoothly, was in order, including the latrines. If there were a problem of this genre, do you think the orcs would report to Sauron? Nay, they had MOS for it at the top of a long chain of command.

Quote:
And yes, I believe there was such a person - the Lieutenant of Minas Morgul. And who was that? Gothmog, of course. No problem with this one.
I am sure that Gothmog was the Lieutenant of Morgul (Lord)=the WK - not Minas Morgul fortress. And "Lieutenant" here is not a definite army rank (like nowadays) but has the same meaning as second-in-command.

Quote:
I never spoke about Nazgul. I spoke about the armies. I always believed the Nazgul to be flying around on Sauron's direct orders, ordered to scare people and oversee the battle and eventually report on what's happening. I never counted the Nazgul above Pelennor to be under command of the general, and if they were, then the WK and later they'd leave (among other things to inform Sauron that the First Nazgul is dead, as we read in RotK. Also, WK couldn't have commanded them anyway for example when he was at the Gate).
I believe the nazgul were under the WK's direct orders, not Sauron's. Every army needs a clear chain of command from top to bottom - it is never good when someone other interferes (even Sauron). Even when the WK was on the ground he could have communicated with the others - by cries:
Quote:
(The Nazgûl found one another easily, since they were quickly aware of a companion presence, and could hear the cries over great distances. They could see one another also from far away, even by day when to them a Nazgûl was the one clearly visible thing in a mist.)Marquette MSS 4/2/36 RC p. 164
Also at the Ford the WK managed to give Frodo an order (to stop) using Osanwe, so I have no doubt that he could do the same with his own fellows.

If Gothmog was the next-in-rank after the WK among the present nazgul, then the rest would obey him. Of course, all of them would be much demoralized by the WK's fall anyway - after all, he was their captain for 4500+ years...
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Old 01-30-2008, 06:28 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Gordis View Post
And I think you are overrating him. Sure he cut an impressive figure on his monstrous horse at the parley - but was he really THAT great?
I'm sure he was (see below).

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Was he entitled to give advice to Sauron? I doubt it.
Not sure, but at least:
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Black Gate Opens
and knew much of the mind of Sauron
Which implies something like that. Not that Sauron is one who takes advice from anyone, but this one had probably the closest to it.

Let me catch you on your own words:
Quote:
And "Lieutenant" here is not a definite army rank (like nowadays) but has the same meaning as second-in-command.
Second in command, indeed! Now see this (about Mouth of Sauron):
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Black Gate Opens
The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr he was
Read what's written there about MoS - there was even debate here back then whether he couldn't have been of higher rank than WK himself (nonsense in my opinion, however not that overstretched).

Quote:
Also, Sauron didn't hesitate to send MOS to the parley, protected only by ambassador's diplomatic immunity. Could Sauron be 100 % sure that the Lords of Gondor wouldn't chop off MOS's head, like Aragorn did in the infamous PJ's scene? Sauron was treacherous and judged others by his standards - MOS himself was much afraid. That's why I call him expendable.
There's ambiguity in this. For Sauron, everyone was expandable, for ultimately, he did not care for anyone but himself. However, as long as he had some servants who were good for him, he cared about them more than about the others - and MoS clearly belongs in this cathegory. And the scene with diplomatic immunity (MoS's words that he can't be attacked) shows quite the opposite than you suggest to me: he counted upon the diplomatic immunity, do not say "only by", because the codex of honour and all these things were valued in Middle-Earth (cf. Gandalf's response). It was not a sort of custom that can be broken wilfully, no, indeed, only the "low master of treachery" would do that.

Quote:
And let us consider his dream - to become the new Lord of Isengard. Was this position better than Sauron's right-hand man, his Prime Minister?
Not sure. But he would be like the lord of his own realm, indeed, all the West would be his, and far from Sauron himself, he will be almost free to do whatever he wants (or at least, he naively thought so). Prefect of a large but distant province.

Quote:
Nay, but he made sure that everything ran smoothly, was in order, including the latrines. If there were a problem of this genre, do you think the orcs would report to Sauron? Nay, they had MOS for it at the top of a long chain of command.
No, they told that to the fifth deputy to the eighth advisor to Mouth of Sauron. That's why the chain of command is there.

Quote:
I am sure that Gothmog was the Lieutenant of Morgul (Lord)=the WK - not Minas Morgul fortress.
That's more or less the same, in my opinion.

Quote:
I believe the nazgul were under the WK's direct orders, not Sauron's. Every army needs a clear chain of command from top to bottom - it is never good when someone other interferes (even Sauron).
Yes, but the root of my idea is that the Nazgul were not there as part of the army. They had nothing to do with the attack on Minas Tirith. They were there as "outside force", to mess around and eventually carry messages and scare Faramirs.
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:32 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
"He knew much of the mind of Sauron"
Not that Sauron is one who takes advice from anyone, but this one had probably the closest to it.
He spoke for the Lord - therefore, not to err in rendering Sauron's words, he had to understand his intentions - get some additional explanations. But a spokeseman for Sauron is not the same as his Prime Minister, and far less than his second-in-command.
and see here :
Quote:
if there was any in the world in whom [Sauron] trusted it was the Lord of Angmar - RC p.262
.

"The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr he was"
Indeed, but not the "Lieutenant of Sauron", not his Second in command. The Morgul lord was Sauron's second in command, his most trusted servant, not MOS.

Quote:
there was even debate here back then whether he couldn't have been of higher rank than WK himself (nonsense in my opinion, however not that overstretched).
Nonsence, indeed, AND quite overstretched IMO.

As I said, the leutenant was not a clear-cut rank. The lieutenant of Minas Morgul Tower is not the same as the Lieutenant of the Morgul Lord - who happens also be the overall head of the army of Mordor and allied forces.

In Minas Morgul, there could have been a man -XXX - the lieutenant of the Tower of Morgul - similar to MOS with similar functions, also, likely, not a warrior but an administrator. But his functions wouldn't entail replacing the Commander of Mordor army when he was slain, anymore than MOS would replace Sauron in case something happened to him. The WK would.

Sauron put the Morgul Lord in command of the Army. Would XXX, his lieutenant of the Minas Morgul tower automatically become second in command of the army? - no way. The Second in command would be appointed separately - and he would be a warrior of high rank, almost certainly another nazgul. Not Khamul, as this one was most probably in the North, but Gothmog.


Quote:
It was not a sort of custom that can be broken wilfully, no, indeed, only the "low master of treachery" would do that.
And Sauron was one himself and judged the others by his own standards - for instance, he couldn't understand how the other side would reject the Power of the Ring. That's why he lost, ultimately.

Quote:
Yes, but the root of my idea is that the Nazgul were not there as part of the army. They had nothing to do with the attack on Minas Tirith. They were there as "outside force", to mess around and eventually carry messages and scare Faramirs.
I wouldn't say they had nothing to do with the attack on MT. They were shrieking overhead for several days, but given their mobility, it wouldn't prevent them from being in command of parts of the army. Some were, I think, while the others carried orders and circled over the city. Maybe they took turns to let the Beasts rest. The WK was alone at the Gate and when he came for Theoden, but most likely it was because the others were quite busy elsewhere or maybe the WK sent them away to get all the glory.
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:01 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Gordis View Post
"The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr he was"
Indeed, but not the "Lieutenant of Sauron", not his Second in command. The Morgul lord was Sauron's second in command, his most trusted servant, not MOS.
Yes, but the main point is that he was there, surely Sauron did not trust MoS (though with no doubt he trusted him more than most of the other servants), he did not trust anyone entirely, indeed, as you quoted, if anyone, then WK who was totally subdued by the Ring (so if you can call it "trust"). But anyway, you cannot deny now that MoS was somewhere around the highest ranks, if not second, then third in command. We are talking different levels of command here (and here I think you misunderstood me in the first place) - MoS was not a general, not a soldier, his rank was not military, but "civil", a "politician", indeed, a minister - while WK was a general.

Quote:
And Sauron was one himself and judged the others by his own standards - for instance, he couldn't understand how the other side would reject the Power of the Ring.
Yes, but he was not entirely stupid and he knew about the laws and customs in M-E. He did not hold them himself, but knew his enemies hold them. Of course there was this possibility that some of the Lords of the West go amok and decapitate MoS, but I doubt Sauron would even have thought of that. And if it even happened, well, collateral damage - but that's not lowering the value of MoS in his eyes; Sauron would probably go mad, in his wrath order to kill all the Westerners, and later, yes, he would appoint a new Lieutenant of Barad-Dur (who will be only happy to achieve higher rank). For illustration, have you ever seen Star Wars? I imagine it like Darth Vader and all these lieutenants of him - or even more, like Darth Sidious losing his apprentices, but with no problems replacing them with new ones when the old one dies. Yet don't tell me they were not important and valued to him when he still had them.
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Old 01-31-2008, 01:27 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
But anyway, you cannot deny now that MoS was somewhere around the highest ranks, if not second, then third in command. We are talking different levels of command here (and here I think you misunderstood me in the first place) - MoS was not a general, not a soldier, his rank was not military, but "civil", a "politician", indeed, a minister - while WK was a general.
I don't deny that MOS had a high rank - probably he was the highest ranking MORTAL man in Mordor. I still think he had to bow even to the least of the Nine, though. The immortal Nazgul were entirely on another level, and while any mortal was replaceable, the nazgul were not.
I agree that MOS was no soldier, and that was why I brought him into this discussion about Gothmog in the first place.

Look at the parallels:
Sauron, lord of Barad Dur and Mordor, has MOS, the Lieutenant of Barad Dur Tower - a mortal Man, civilian administrator.
Sauron's Lieutenant = Second in command, who would replace him (if he accidentally falls and breaks his neck) is the Witch-King.

The Morgul Lord, lord of Minas Morgul, probably has XXX, the Lieutenant of Minas Morgul Tower - a mortal Man, civilian administrator.
The Witch-King's Lieutenant (The Lieutenant of Morgul) who would replace him (if he accidentally falls to a woman and a halfling with a Barrow-blade)) is Gothmog.

So, you see, Gothmog, Lieutenant of Morgul (Lord), is analogous to the Witch-King, Lieutenant of Sauron, not MOS, the Lieutenant of BD Tower.

Who would replace the WK when he is killed? - another nazgul, of course.

Also look at it this way: in every allied army, composed of troops of several countries and of different races, there is always a question of leadership. For instance, who would command a reserve composed of the Haradrim, the Variags of Khand, and Orcs of Gorgoroth? The King of Harad? Or the General of Khand? Or an orc? Difficult to choose, especially if Variags and Haradrim and orcs hated each other. A Black Numenorean would be not much better, as Black or not, he would be so much alike to the hated Dunedain of Gondor.
Solution? - Appoint a Nazgul - one of the Dark God's Nine Angels - and everyone is honored and elated.

Last edited by Gordis; 01-31-2008 at 01:31 AM.
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Old 01-31-2008, 06:15 AM   #37
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I don't deny that MOS had a high rank - probably he was the highest ranking MORTAL man in Mordor. I still think he had to bow even to the least of the Nine, though. The immortal Nazgul were entirely on another level, and while any mortal was replaceable, the nazgul were not.
Indeed and I never contradicted that. This is obvious. But the fact that MoS, or a non-Nazgul Gothmog would have to bow in front of even the least of the Nine does not have anything to do with the fact that a non-Nazgul Gothmog could be second in rank after the WK. If Sauron appointed him for that, then he simply is and the eight remaining Nazgul have different appointment, meanwhile.

Concerning the parallels you draw, with good will I find them unstable. You cannot compare Sauron and WK and put WK to one place in Barad-Dur and to one place in Minas Morgul, no, I think this is not a good way to illustrate this.

But anyway, if there was a person who was similar to MoS, only he was not mere administrator but also a soldier and an officer, then I believe the Orcs, Easterlings, Southrons and all others could obey him with no problems. This is the point about having the authority from Sauron himself - for example if a Man came there, but said "I am the Mouth of Sauron", well, that surely means something for all the allies. Of course, this is also about personal "charisma" (in WK's case, rather fear), but if someone - and no matter who he was in real - named Gothmog (for the intellectuals knowledgeable about history at least a little bit, the name itself gives the feeling of authority) had also at least some personal charisma, well, then, at the moment the Easterling, Southron etc. generals are told (before the battle by Sauron or by WK himself, probably) "this is your superior, obey him or die", no problem.
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Old 01-31-2008, 01:17 PM   #38
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You realize, Legate, that making Gothmog a mortal appointed the WK's second by Sauron, you are inventing a very powerful charismatic new character - maybe higher ranking than the MOS. Yet Tolkien told us nothing about him. He told us much about MOS, but nothing about Gothmog.
Why?
Because he was a nazgul.
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:02 PM   #39
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You realize, Legate, that making Gothmog a mortal appointed the WK's second by Sauron, you are inventing a very powerful charismatic new character - maybe higher ranking than the MOS.
Higher ranking? No way! He was only some silly second captain in command for one attack. If he was a Man, had he not been from Mordor, he would have lower rank than this "Black Serpent" from Harad, for example - he was a King and Gothmog was second captain. If he was a Man, who knows how long he has been in the service. MoS was there for a very long time (for a Man, resp. Black Númenorean).

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Yet Tolkien told us nothing about him. He told us much about MOS, but nothing about Gothmog.
Why?
Because he was a nazgul.
No, because he was something else
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Old 01-31-2008, 04:39 PM   #40
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Higher ranking? No way! He was only some silly second captain in command for one attack. If he was a Man, had he not been from Mordor, he would have lower rank than this "Black Serpent" from Harad, for example - he was a King and Gothmog was second captain. If he was a Man, who knows how long he has been in the service. MoS was there for a very long time (for a Man, resp. Black Númenorean).
You have to be not just "somebody" to be specially appointed second in command to the Witch King!
As for MOS, we know exactly how long he served Sauron - 68 years to be precise.
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