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Old 08-30-2008, 03:20 PM   #1
Lalwendë
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Sting Scariest Thing In All Of Tolkien's Creation...Ever

So, a bit of fun....What is the scariest thing in all of Tolkien's work? Ever.

My list (cue top ten countdown music):

10. Balrogs
9. Wargs
8. The Ring
7. Shelob
6. Huorns
5. The 'Nameless Things' Gandalf says live under the earth
4. Ringwraiths
3. Sauron
2. Morgoth
1. Eru (yes, he's the boss, and can do anything)

I've probably forgotten some
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Old 08-30-2008, 03:34 PM   #2
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How about Black Númenoreans and Gothmog (both!)

edit: And Morgoth's unnamed creations (but that's probably the same "The 'Nameless Things' Gandalf says live under the earth").

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Originally Posted by Lalwendë View Post
1. Eru (yes, he's the boss, and can do anything)
Also, anyone who says that all evil redounds in his glory is definately scary for me!
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Old 08-30-2008, 03:54 PM   #3
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1. Nameless Things (no doubt. They are unspeakable, hidden, older than Sauron, and what Gandalf says about not brining news about them not to cloud the light of day, or how he says it, it's just the most horroresque thing in all LotR - you know that everybody speaks openly about Sauron, Mordor, even about the Ring, but this...)
2. Ungoliant, probably. Nobody knows where she came from and such...
(following are very vague, the order may be actually different and even then, I don't feel up to simply labeling something scary because I don't feel it that scary from the books, while in RL it would be... like giant spiders or such)
3. Minas Morgul, if that counts (but since the Ring does...). Maybe I would put that even before Ungoliant, because Ungoliant is more like horroresque and disgusting, as much as the Nameless Things are, while MM is just scary, simply the fear, as are most of the ones which follow...
4. The Silent Watchers
5. Ringwraith
6. Creatures from the Older World (the Ringwraith-mounts)
7. Sauron
8. Gollum
9. Huorns (good idea, Lal)
10. And now probably... hmm... I think Glaurung and Húrin can share the place. Morgoth, Shelob, balrog and other losers are far, far lower on the ladder, because they simply are not scary. Oh yes, maybe Tol-in-Gaurhoth and that one, who was it, Draugluin (not Carcharoth!) and that vampire with unspeakable name... Thuring... we... something... thil... however it's spelled. These are definitely above Morgoth&co.
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Old 08-30-2008, 03:57 PM   #4
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Old 08-30-2008, 03:59 PM   #5
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Thuringwethil! Fascinating creature! What form did she take? But then I'm of a Gothic temperament and find Vampires quite thrilling, if nasty and to be avoided at all costs

I had Black Numenoreans and Gollum down but there are more scary things so they got demoted...

Dragons, no matter how evil, are never scary because dragons are without exception achingly cool.
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:43 PM   #6
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Have to include the Watcher in the Water. Clearly life-threatening, and yet, nobody sees it! Except for a tentacle or two. Of course, he might be included with the "Nameless things" under the Earth. That seems to be where he came from. Are they as bad as we think? They are only described by Gandalf, who had to be persuaded to leave Valinor because he was afraid of Sauron. Yet Ungoliant nearly bested Morgoth. Surely he knew that! Are they as bad as her? or worse? The creepiest thing is not knowing . . . !

edit!--forgot to mention Carcharoth:

Quote:
But in the north of his realm his messengers met with a peril sudden and unlooked for: the onslaught of Carcharoth, the Wolf of Angband. In his madness he had run ravening from the north, and passing at length over Taur-nu-Fuin upon its eastern side he came down from the sources of Esgalduin like a destroying fire. Nothing hindered him, and the might of Melian upon the borders of the land stayed him not; for fate drove him, and the power of the Silmaril that he bore to his torment. Thus he burst into the inviolate wood of Doriath, and all fled away in fear. Alone of the messengers Mablung, chief captain of the King, escaped, and he brought the dread tidings to Thingol.
Apperently, even the Girdle of Melian didn't stop him, though it had protected Doriath from enemies for millenia.

Bare in mind, (no pun intended), I live in the American midwest, and, thanks to environmental efforts, partly inspired by Tolkien, wolves and bears have become a real threat. My mother's house, in Wisconsin, was attacked by a bear just two days ago, the siding torn from the house while she slept (tried to sleep,) and she lives in the middle of town, surrounded by a thousand other houses. As much as I love Nature, and all the wild creatures, I love my mother more. They already have a deer-hunt in town, are petitioning for a bear-hunt, and would like a wolf-hunt (the last won't happen, they're still endangered.)

Maybe it's just because they're just currently immediate for me, but wild animals at the door are pretty frightening. Little-Red-Riding-Hood and the Three-Little-Pigs better beware.
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Old 08-30-2008, 10:32 PM   #7
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Hobbits running naked on the Barrow Downs. *shudders*
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Old 08-31-2008, 12:22 AM   #8
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Hobbits running naked on the Barrow Downs. *shudders*
But why will they do that? Or is the "why" part of why they're scary?
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Old 08-31-2008, 12:45 AM   #9
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It was after Tom rescued the hobbits from the Barrow-Wight. They didn't have any clothes... because the wight had taken theirs...
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Old 08-31-2008, 02:51 AM   #10
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Hobbits running naked on the Barrow Downs. *shudders*


Now what even more scary is imagining the wight stripping them of all their clothes in the darkness of his tomb.

So...

1) Unspeakable acts in the dark
2) Bombadill singing and dancing
3) Aragorn drawing his sword in front of Éomer crying 'Elendil!'
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Old 08-31-2008, 03:07 AM   #11
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Now what even more scary is imagining the wight stripping them of all their clothes in the darkness of his tomb.
...and then dressing them up like dolls...
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Old 08-31-2008, 03:09 AM   #12
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...and then dressing them up like dolls...
Gawd, stop it! Now I'm so terrified I might have to sleep in mum and dad's bed tonight.
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Old 08-31-2008, 10:54 AM   #13
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The Barrow Wight itself was terrifying to me - the arm creeping around the corner...*shudder*

Also, the Nazgul.

I think the Nazgul are the scariest thing in all Tolkien's creation ever in my opinion. They're the only thing that kept me up at night while I was reading the book.
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Old 08-31-2008, 11:30 AM   #14
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Arachnophobia

Shelob!!

Ordinary sized non-poisonous (UK) spiders are bad enough, even when they are 100 times smaller than you. Now a Giant spider much bigger than you, with a pitch black lair and uncuttable sticky webs - er nasty!!! Not to mention the foul smells and orcs round the corner.

I suppose Ungoliant too but (thankfully) we don't get to see her close up,

brrrrrrr!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-31-2008, 12:22 PM   #15
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1. Ringwraiths, really. All that sniffing and chasing in the Shire, the lonely cry, the attacks of Crickhollow, Bree and Weathertop and the flight to the Ford... *shudders*

2. The Barrow-Downs are really scary too. The fog, the stones and the wights. Also, I find the story of the Barrow-Wights rather creepy yet very fascinating. And very sad too. I wish we knew more about it.

3. I have to agree about the nameless things and the Watcher in the Water. The mysteriousness and their ancient origin are very fascinating and scary. Also, Moria itself is a rather scary place and the Book of Mazarbul is just thrilling...

4. The Oath of Fëanor. All the bloodshed and madness it creates. Or actually, maybe I should nominate Silmarils instead. Scary things, anyway. (But again, very fascinating...)

5. The Ring itself just because of what it does to people, especially to Frodo and Boromir. (Or should I now nominate Frodo and Boromir? They are both pretty scary when the Ring gets hold of them...)

6. Númenoreans. Their pride and arrogance and cruelty scare me, as does their colonialist attitude. And what scares me most is probably the fact that they are not utterly unlike me...

7. Sauron's dungeons in Tol-in-Gaurhoth, the werewolves and Thuringwethil. They too are only vaguely mentioned and thus make me both a little scared and more than a little curious.

8. Mirkwood. Not the spiders, not the presence of Dol Guldur, not the river, not even the Elves (although Thranduil is quite scary in a way)... it's just the atmosphere. Something magical and somewhat unsettling, the dark, the eyes and the lights of the Elves.

9 .Wargs. Maybe because Tolkien describes the atmosphere of them roaming around and their howling so scarily.

10. Everything else that is scary, so: the Silent Watchers, the Palantíri, Huorns (and especially trees of the Old Forest and Old Man Willow himself), Ungoliant, Shelob, Glaurung, Morgoth, Sauron (mostly for the really ugly Eilinel&Gorlim thing), angry Valar, Eru (mostly because he seems not to care most of the time), the great eagles (yes, really, but they are cool too), Denethor, Minas Morgul, Cirith Ungol and Dol Guldur (if places count). And then all the scary stuff I've forgotten...
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Old 08-31-2008, 12:31 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinlómien View Post
4. The Oath of Fëanor. All the bloodshed and madness it creates.
Or just Fëanor and all he represents and where it leads to. The pride, the relentless pursuit of honour and right, the uncompromising souls... That is something that really scares me.

I mean you can come up with monsters of any sort but Fëanor and his tribe are really scary! Not the least because you can admire them at the same time. Maybe it's indeed just because of that?
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Old 08-31-2008, 12:40 PM   #17
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I mean you can come up with monsters of any sort but Fëanor and his tribe are really scary! Not the least because you can admire them at the same time. Maybe it's indeed just because of that?
Oh indeed. I love the Noldor but they are pretty scary too. Actually, now that I think of it, almost all my favourite Tolkien characters are scary in a way. (Well, obviously, Merry isn't, and Théoden and Haleth aren't too scary either, but for example Galadriel, Maedhros, Gandalf and Boromir - whom I already mentioned - are...)

PS. By the way, Nerwen, skip and Morth, you are being funny...
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Old 08-31-2008, 01:33 PM   #18
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I might have to revise my list, there's so many things that I'd left off it...

...like the inhabitants of the Paths of the Dead, especially when I read in a copy of Vinyar Tengwar about what they did to Baldor:

Quote:
"The special horror of the closed door before which the skeleton of Baldor was found was probably because the door was the entrance to an evil temple hall [of the same Men of Darkness to which the Oathbreakers presumably belonged] to which Baldor had come, probably without opposition up to that point. But the door was shut in his face, and enemies that had followed him silently came up and broke his legs and left him to die in the darkness, unable to find any way out."
That's just unspeakably horrific...

...but if I was Tolkien I'd have made sure to include it in LotR!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinlómien View Post
8. Mirkwood. Not the spiders, not the presence of Dol Guldur, not the river, not even the Elves (although Thranduil is quite scary in a way)... it's just the atmosphere. Something magical and somewhat unsettling, the dark, the eyes and the lights of the Elves.
That reminds me of another....Old Man Willow!!!!! Malevolent trees just scare me senseless for some reason....it's so primal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Folwren
Also, the Nazgul.

I think the Nazgul are the scariest thing in all Tolkien's creation ever in my opinion. They're the only thing that kept me up at night while I was reading the book.
I might bump these up my list of scariness actually, because they're pretty vile and terrifying. Loads of books seem to have similar things too - the Dementors in Harry Potter and the Spectres in His Dark Materials for example. Brrrrr.......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumil
Ordinary sized non-poisonous (UK) spiders are bad enough, even when they are 100 times smaller than you. Now a Giant spider much bigger than you, with a pitch black lair and uncuttable sticky webs - er nasty!!! Not to mention the foul smells and orcs round the corner.
There was one in our house last week, sitting above the cot. I'm not scared of spiders, in fact I think they're quite cool, but it was so big I had to go and fetch a jug to catch it in and it just fell off the wall and nonchalantly scuttled away under the bed, where it remains. I swear it was like a shaved tarantula....
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Old 08-31-2008, 01:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radagastly
Have to include the Watcher in the Water. Clearly life-threatening, and yet, nobody sees it! Except for a tentacle or two. Of course, he might be included with the "Nameless things" under the Earth. That seems to be where he came from.
I never thought about the Watcher as about one of these things (and, just as a funny thing aside, one of my friends long time ago didn't know LotR much and knew somewhat Dungeons and Dragons and concluded that Watcher in the Water = a Beholder). But maybe also partially thanks to the movie, which made him just a silly octopus, and what more, a CG octopus, I don't see the Watcher as that scary anymore.

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The creepiest thing is not knowing . . . !
Well, that's the constituing point of all fear, ultimately

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinlómien View Post
Also, Moria itself is a rather scary place and the Book of Mazarbul is just thrilling...
Ah yes, that's something I should have mentioned, too... especially these pits in Moria, and the "cannot get out" and "drums in the deep" parts are pretty scary.

Quote:
8. Mirkwood. Not the spiders, not the presence of Dol Guldur, not the river, not even the Elves (although Thranduil is quite scary in a way)... it's just the atmosphere. Something magical and somewhat unsettling, the dark, the eyes and the lights of the Elves.
Hmmm... Mirkwood, actually to me, is not scary at all. I really like it a lot, and not even the way I may like some scary things. The atmosphere is magical, but not scary for me.

Quote:
Sauron (mostly for the really ugly Eilinel&Gorlim thing
Yes, actually, I was about to write "dead Gorlim" or something like that into my list, because the beginning of the tale of Beren is just a very horroresque thing and really, really scary and as you said, ugly. Anyway Sauron is really scary especially in there, then at Tol-in-Gaurhoth, at Númenor and then in LotR when talking to Pippin in the Palantír.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lommy
4. The Oath of Fëanor. All the bloodshed and madness it creates. Or actually, maybe I should nominate Silmarils instead. Scary things, anyway. (But again, very fascinating...)
Now depends what definition of "scary" we use. Most of what I wrote meant simply "causing horror, as when watching a horror movie" (although even horror movies have their kinds... lots of them may be just disgusting, and that's not what I call "scary")... my replies were "what causes fear in you" or such. And the fear does not come to me like that...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod
Or just Fëanor and all he represents and where it leads to. The pride, the relentless pursuit of honour and right, the uncompromising souls... That is something that really scares me.

I mean you can come up with monsters of any sort but Fëanor and his tribe are really scary! Not the least because you can admire them at the same time. Maybe it's indeed just because of that?
...because, well, I understand well what you mean here, it's more or less the thing that when you say "scary", people don't usually imagine the scary things which come up from attitudes, thoughts, or even from people as themselves, but usually something alien, or at least alien people (now thinking about all kinds of scary stories from the ancient times about "behind river X, there live horrible people who eat their children and will come and eat our children too" and such. Even when you think about the description of let's say Haradrim in LotR, especially the one on the Pelennor fields... okay, that's maybe for another topic... although maybe not).
But, in any case, even in RL, I think these things don't make me afraid... they make me... well, wary, or something like angry at most, or how should I best describe this feeling. But not really afraid, no, that's not it (I am inclined to believe however, that had I let's say gone personally through the rise of Hitler or whatever, it might be different).

As for labeling "scary" all Galadriels, Gandalfs or whatever, I think that's going along the same lines as when Gandalf tells Gimil that Fangorn is dangerous as much as Gandalf or Gimli himself are dangerous. But there are just things a person usually does not feel as "scary", or at least won't tell you that f.ex. Galadriel is what he would imagine under the word "scary" in the first place. I think at least for me, it's the similar reason for why I don't consider the Ring scary, or the Silmarils or whatever. It's also why, I think, basically it's unusual for people to imagine something like Galadriel as evil (now I'm intentionally recalling on the episode with her and the Ring in the chapter Mirror of Galadriel). And hey, speaking of that, I even think Tolkien mentions something like that himself in the essay "On Fairy-stories", saying something like that in a story, a castle of an evil ogre is nasty&such, while a beautiful place is hard to imagine as "evil", and yet it may be so - I would have to look up for the particular part in there. But, well, I think I at least outlined what I wanted to.

EDIT (x-ed with Lal's post):
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
I might have to revise my list, there's so many things that I'd left off it...

...like the inhabitants of the Paths of the Dead, especially when I read in a copy of Vinyar Tengwar about what they did to Baldor:
Huh, indeed! Now how could I have forgotten them - the Paths of the Dead themselves, even just the way they are described in LotR, are pretty scary.

Hmm, going along these lines, what about the Pukel-Men? Or Ghan-buri-ghan and his folks just like that? Although this may be just one of the cases of "xenophobia" (cf. above in this post my point about children-eating people), because why should they be more scary than let's say Rohirrim - I mean, had the story been made from the perspective of Ghan-buri-ghan, surely the Gondorians and their stone cities would have been the thing described as "scary". Anyway, not that I would consider Ghan worth taking post in my top 10 ladder, but just mentioning it as it may be worth some attention.
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Old 08-31-2008, 02:08 PM   #20
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It's also why, I think, basically it's unusual for people to imagine something like Galadriel as evil (now I'm intentionally recalling on the episode with her and the Ring in the chapter Mirror of Galadriel). And hey, speaking of that, I even think Tolkien mentions something like that himself in the essay "On Fairy-stories", saying something like that in a story, a castle of an evil ogre is nasty&such, while a beautiful place is hard to imagine as "evil", and yet it may be so - I would have to look up for the particular part in there. But, well, I think I at least outlined what I wanted to.
An O/T Ramble follows: Yes, a Utopian ideal often turns out to be a Dystopia (in fact I think Thomas More's original Utopia was never meant to be something that could actually happen?), beauty often hides ugliness. Tolkien uses it himself in regard to characters - Sauron was beautiful but was at heart wicked, and vice versa, Aragorn was a scruff but was in fact a King. He never seemed to use it for places though - can you think of any beautful places that were in some way 'dystopian'. You've got me pondering there...

...anyway...

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Hmm, going along these lines, what about the Pukel-Men? Or Ghan-buri-ghan and his folks just like that? Although this may be just one of the cases of "xenophobia" (cf. above in this post my point about children-eating people), because why should they be more scary than let's say Rohirrim - I mean, had the story been made from the perspective of Ghan-buri-ghan, surely the Gondorians and their stone cities would have been the thing described as "scary". Anyway, not that I would consider Ghan worth taking post in my top 10 ladder, but just mentioning it as it may be worth some attention.
[/QUOTE]

Oh I don't find the Pukel-men or the Woses scary, just fascinating!

But the idea that Men were going into the Paths of the Dead to enact some kind of sinister rituals is really quite frightening. It's not clear if they were dead or alive when they got Baldor, but either way, that bit is probably the second most frightening episode in the whole of Tolkien's work for me.
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Old 08-31-2008, 03:11 PM   #21
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Oh I don't find the Pukel-men or the Woses scary, just fascinating!
I must agree here. I think I feel the same way about the Drúedain as Legate feels about Mirkwood.
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Old 08-31-2008, 08:34 PM   #22
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I think the Nazgul are the scariest thing in all Tolkien's creation ever in my opinion. They're the only thing that kept me up at night while I was reading the book.
Definitely have to agree. I remember being quite terrified, reading about the first Nazgul encounter late at night... I remember it described as if they crawled, which really freaked me out, perhaps because of a connection with creepy-crawly things like bugs...but I think the last time I went back to try and find such a description I couldn't find it, so I might have created the image myself.

I also agree that spiders are just horrifying. I hate, hate, hate them. Hate.

For example, this:

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Originally Posted by Lalwendë
There was one in our house last week, sitting above the cot. I'm not scared of spiders, in fact I think they're quite cool, but it was so big I had to go and fetch a jug to catch it in and it just fell off the wall and nonchalantly scuttled away under the bed, where it remains. I swear it was like a shaved tarantula....
would make me want to burn down my house (after I run screaming from it). That room would at least be quarantined for a good while, all cracks around the door taped over...even after I sent in one of my many personal spider-killers.

Also the Silent Watchers, as Lommy mentioned. How they and the effect they had on Frodo were described was extremely freaky...

Of course I say all of this noting that I have not read The Lord of the Rings in quite a while...
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Old 08-31-2008, 08:39 PM   #23
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I also agree that spiders are just horrifying. I hate, hate, hate them. Hate.
We must be much alike, Durelin. I, too, hate spiders. Today, I was clambering up a ledge by the river to jump in to the water, and I almost put my hand on a gigantic spider...it was all brownish-grey, so it blended in with the rock, and when I saw it, I jerked back my hand and screamed... it was HUGE! Probably a lot like Lal's spider.
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Old 08-31-2008, 09:09 PM   #24
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Other than envisioning naked Hobbits cavorting about the Barrow Downs, the most indelible images of horror I can recall are...

1) The Nazgul in the Prancing Pony stabbing the beds of the Hobbits.

2) The Nazgul at the Ford crying “Come back! Come back! To Mordor we will take you!” As Frodo weakly fought them alone. It is a chilling scene, and one of the most irritating omissions of the movie.

3) The bloated faces in the Dead Marshes (scared the begeezes out of me as a kid).

4) The thought of Helm Hammerhand frozen to death where he stood in the snow (the same creepy feeling as seeing Jack Nicholson frozen to death at the end of The Shining).

5) As Lalwende said, the death of Baldor in the Paths of the Dead (the sheer madness brought on by the apparitions before the actual death is what is gruesome).
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Old 09-01-2008, 04:12 AM   #25
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Apart from what has already been said...

1 Grond. I always get shivers down my spine when I read how it advaces towards Minas Tirith. I remember I first read The Siege of Gondor at night and then I had to sleep with my light on

2. The trees of the Old Forest attacking the Hedge. Actually make that the trees of the Old Forest in general.

3. The "dark things" that "creep from sunless woods" and "houseless hills" Aragorn talks of at the council of Elrond. I know they're probably only orcs or trolls, but the way he speaks about them scares me.

4. The man found in the Paths of the Dead lying beside a closed door, with his fingerbones still clawing at the cracks. That's really a terrifying image.

That's about all I can think of for now that has not been said before...
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:00 PM   #26
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4. The man found in the Paths of the Dead lying beside a closed door, with his fingerbones still clawing at the cracks. That's really a terrifying image.

That's about all I can think of for now that has not been said before...
Yeah, that's poor Baldor. It's one of the nastiest things I've ever read (I don't know why it resonates so much, but it does). Breaking a man's legs and then leaving him there. He must have died trying to claw his way out. Maybe it's a bit like being buried alive? Ugh.
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:39 PM   #27
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Ok, I'll give a list:

18.Shelob (and Ungoliant)- Huge, dangerous spiders, ok? One managed to suck the light out of a Vala's greatest work. You get the picture...
7.Tol-in-Gaurhoth + Vampires-Horrible- trapping spirits and putting them in animals.
6.Silent Watchers- The reason is in the name, and also in the effect they have on others
5.Sauron- Not in LOTR, but everywhere else he is quite terrifying.
4.Baldor's death and the rest of the paths of the dead- I happen to find that sort of thing scary. I almost put this much higher.
3.Barrow-Downs (and wights).- When I first read the book, I really liked Tom Bombadil, but didn't really want to reread this chapter. All that darkness, and cold stone, and cold metal. Even the fungus is probably afraid to go there (or has died too. And the wight (I mean white!*) clothes.
2.Nazgul- All that following and distant shadows really scared me. After the attack they are slightly less scary, but still higher than the stuff behind them.
1. The things like Ungoliant and Tom Bombadil that aren't named. Put Nameless Things in that category too. I don't know if they are the same- Could be anything.


*You know I actually did write wight instead of white.
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Old 09-01-2008, 01:41 PM   #28
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I must be weird or something, but I think that Lothlorien is scary, but amazing at the same time. Just the timelessness of it and how time does not move forward. It would drive me bonkers, I'd probably commit suicide if I had to live there. Plus Galadriel, at her mirror. That was just freaky.

The Nazgul just don't do the whole scary thing for me, it might be because I saw the movies first and Peter Jackson just doesn't make them scary enough.

Sauron just isn't scary, a giant eyeball? Come on... there are scarier things.

Ungoliant is just freaky, giant spider=more creepy than regular spider, regular sized spiders=nasty...

The Barrow-Downs, as much as I've come to love it here, is just horrible. I have to agree that having the Barrow-wight taking the hobbits' clothes off is pretty perverted... and having them run around naked afterwards... that's just weird. (this of course being more perverted in the teenage mind)

Plus Caradhras is pretty scary, it's a mountain that has feelings and makes avalanches and snow storms and the like to kill whoever is on it, now that's pretty scary right there.

Plus the Paths of the Dead is pretty creepy... A bunch of dead guys that are trying to kill you... Death itself doesn't scare me, because if I'm lucky and haven't been too sinful, I will go to heaven, but having a bunch of dead dudes chase me because I have gone into their lair, just doesn't do it for me.

I probably can think of more scary things later, but I'm done with this post for now.
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:34 PM   #29
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Indeed I must agree that probably the scariest things are those nameless ones in the darkness. Other than that...

Nazgûl in the Shire. I don't think they are scary when they are many and in a dark evil place and flying and leading armies and stuff - but they definitely freak me out in the Shire, in contrast to the peacefulness and seeming safety of the surroundings, and when the hobbits don't yet know what they are. "There were words in that cry..." *shudders*

Places like the Barrow Downs or Moria or Shelob's lair, where there is the atmosphere of a brooding evil somewhere but it's not yet known precisely what or where it is. They cease to be scary when the concrete evil or the "monster" of the place appears and becomes known.

Proud, ambitious, brilliant minds that fall into madness. It's a theme that repeats itself quite a lot in Tolkien's work, and also a theme I find really really scary.

And, finally, the white wolves that come over the Brandywine. Brrrr...
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:27 AM   #30
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Tolkien

Ungoliant. She even had Morgoth tweakin'.
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Old 09-05-2008, 12:49 AM   #31
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Yeah, the paths of the Dead and Baldor's fate, how could I forget that? *shudders*

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legate
Anyway Sauron is really scary especially in there, then at Tol-in-Gaurhoth, at Númenor and then in LotR when talking to Pippin in the Palantír.
Yes, now this is actually quite interesting. Sauron seems to be rather scary every time we are given a glimpse of how he is, or when we can see him acting and talking. But when he is just the Dark Lord and we are told of his evil plans and thoughts, or his armies, or how he would torture his prisoners in Barad-dûr, it's really not very scary. I think it must be the distance... or either, the scary thing is maybe Sauron's personality, not his powers? I don't know... I just started thinking about this.

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Originally Posted by Legate
Now depends what definition of "scary" we use.
Well, obviously. And now that I think of it, these Fëanors and Númenorians do scare me in a way (the same way modern humans sometimes scare me too - it's the ignorance, pride, selfishness and capacity to cause destruction), but maybe scary wouldn't really be the best word. At least it's difficult to compare their scariness with the scariness of Ringwraiths, for example.

And now that I started thinking along these lines, I realised it's very easy to start exaggerating when you start making lists like these. Most of the things I listed don't really scare me. Maybe they are kind of scary, but they don't creep me out or anything. I think that Tolkien's books mostly aren't scary. It's more like some weird sort of fascination...

I think Woses and Huorns and Ents aren't really scary (at least not Woses), they just fascinate me. (If I was a trespassing Orc, I would be terribly afraid, though. ) And by the way, I don't really get this arachnophobia... spiders are cute. (Well, maybe if you take Ungoliant or Shelob, they might be a little scary, but just in general... )

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2. The trees of the Old Forest attacking the Hedge. Actually make that the trees of the Old Forest in general.
Yes, that's it. But maybe it's actually more discomforting than scary, if you know what I mean...
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Old 09-05-2008, 04:21 AM   #32
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I think Woses and Huorns and Ents aren't really scary (at least not Woses), they just fascinate me. (If I was a trespassing Orc, I would be terribly afraid, though. ) And by the way, I don't really get this arachnophobia... spiders are cute.(Well, maybe if you take Ungoliant or Shelob, they might be a little scary, but just in general... .
What's so scary about Huorns is how primal they are. These are wild trees, not intelligent trees, like Ents, who could conceivably be reasoned with before they tore you apart. And a tree is a mighty thing, beyond human strength to fight off. Plus they walk. So you can't just say no to walks in the wildwood to avoid them... Same thing with Old Man Willow....

By the way, the shaved tarantula emerged again last night and I caught it but it escaped because I was fool enough not to realise even a monster spider could escape via the 'lip' on an upturned jug However, I think the cat may have been hunting it this morning so it might have been eaten by now....
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Old 09-05-2008, 04:24 AM   #33
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Feanor and his sons were some of Tolkien's scariest creations. They were truly terrifying in fulfilling that terrible oath.

Can you just imagine them during the Kinslaying at Alqualondë or during the sack of Menegroth as they slew their brother and sister elves?
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Old 09-05-2008, 04:28 AM   #34
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The Kinslaying is pretty well one of the nastiest things in Tolkien's work. See the Icelandic sagas for more nastiness like that!

I think it was the sheer arrogance of Feanor and his allies that makes them so unpleasant, and it sheds a lot of light on why Elves like Eol were not terribly fond of the incomers!
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Old 09-05-2008, 06:13 AM   #35
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And now that I started thinking along these lines, I realised it's very easy to start exaggerating when you start making lists like these. Most of the things I listed don't really scare me. Maybe they are kind of scary, but they don't creep me out or anything.
Actually, I do find things like the Nazgûl ... and trees that move by themselves... and nameless things gnawing the world... etc, etc, scary in just that make-your-flesh-creep way. I think suggested horrors tend to do that for me.
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Old 09-05-2008, 06:32 AM   #36
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(This is scary. I just started replying to this post, then left for a few minutes [to get a candle on which I could "bake" some marshmallows], and when I came back, my reply was gone and there was just the quoted post... and not even trying to hit "back" in the editor window helped... so I had to write it all anew. Fortunately it wasn't too long, I just wonder what happened.)

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Yes, now this is actually quite interesting. Sauron seems to be rather scary every time we are given a glimpse of how he is, or when we can see him acting and talking. But when he is just the Dark Lord and we are told of his evil plans and thoughts, or his armies, or how he would torture his prisoners in Barad-dûr, it's really not very scary. I think it must be the distance... or either, the scary thing is maybe Sauron's personality, not his powers? I don't know... I just started thinking about this.
Yes, well... I think actually, while usually it's like that the "faceless evil" is scary, in Sauron's case this is not so. It's when we SEE him, or know what he's like, that he has the most impact on us, it seems. I think that's when we realise how evil, malicious, sly, whatever else he is. Today, I just read a bit from the Lay of Leithian in HoME, just the one when Felagund, Beren & co. are captured by the Necromancer, the early draft of Sauron at Tol-in-Gaurhoth. I think this is exactly the Sauron I know - just evil, and in a way, he is even fascinating to me, in the similar way that for example Saruman is. Although, it's a little different, Saruman is not evil the way Sauron is - if I were to describe that in one word, then Saruman is treacherous, while Sauron is evil.

Quote:
And now that I started thinking along these lines, I realised it's very easy to start exaggerating when you start making lists like these. Most of the things I listed don't really scare me. Maybe they are kind of scary, but they don't creep me out or anything. I think that Tolkien's books mostly aren't scary. It's more like some weird sort of fascination...
That's what I had in mind when I was writing the first post of mine here, that after the "Nameless things", the rest actually aren't the way that they would scare me (and that episode with Baldor). But when there was this question "which are the scariest", and one was supposed to make a list, then yes, it would be the one I made. And still there applies what I said earlier - that these are "scary", while for example the Balrog is not. Also, the list I composed is (partially) based on what I "remember" as scary, i.e. what I considered scary when I read the books for the first time (and was about eight or so).
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Old 09-05-2008, 08:00 AM   #37
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Reading over the Sinking of Numenor thread and then coming to this thread puts ideas in my head.

Tolkien loves the sea--witness Ulmo and the elves--but does he have any terrifying sea creatures? Any leviathans or barracudas in Middle-earth? Now that would truly be terrifying: a token monster whose nature we don't really know. A faceless evil of the deeps.

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Old 09-05-2008, 10:00 AM   #38
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Reading over the Sinking of Numenor thread and then coming to this thread puts ideas in my head.

Tolkien loves the sea--witness Ulmo and the elves--but does he have any terrifying sea creatures? Any leviathans or barracudas in Middle-earth? Now that would truly be terrifying: a token monster whose nature we don't really know. A faceless evil of the deeps.

Actually, I believe he has some - although unspecified - monsters of the deep seas. Because however positive his views of the water are, there is one rather - well, yes, why not to use the word - scary moment in the description of what Tuor sees when Ulmo lets him "see" for a moment something from his own realm (among other things):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unfinished Tales
The Great Sea he saw through its unquiet regions teeming with strange forms, even to its lightless depths, in which amid the everlasting darkness there echoed voices terrible to mortal ears.
There is no explicite mention of sea monsters, but the implications are pretty strong, I would say. And yes, maybe I should have noted this one among the "top ten" of mine, however I am not really scared of it, the passage has very close to it - maybe had it not been about water... (And I would also like to mention at this place that this sentence, especially its first part - the second is "classical Tolkienesque" - and the sentence which follows right behind this one, sound rather Lovecraftian. It's one of the weirdest things in all of Tolkien, to me.)
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Old 09-05-2008, 12:48 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
Oh yes, maybe Tol-in-Gaurhoth and that one, who was it, Draugluin (not Carcharoth!) and that vampire with unspeakable name... Thuring... we... something... thil... however it's spelled.
My character in The Treachery of Men RPG, by the way, which you all should read...
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Old 09-05-2008, 12:55 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Bêthberry View Post
Reading over the Sinking of Numenor thread and then coming to this thread puts ideas in my head.

Tolkien loves the sea--witness Ulmo and the elves--but does he have any terrifying sea creatures?
Yes,

Read the part in the Fellowship when the Council discussed the idea of throwing the ring into the ocean.

p. 280
(Glorfindel) "Yet oft in lies truth is hidden: in the Sea it would be safe."
"Not safe for ever", said Gandalf, "There are many things in the deep waters; and seas and lands may change."
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