The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-05-2017, 04:23 PM   #1
Mithadan
Spirit of Mist
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tol Eressea
Posts: 2,897
Mithadan has been trapped in the Barrow!
Ring Sauron's Great Miscalculation

Gandalf, at one point, refers to Sauron as a "wise fool." Wise because he is one of the Maiar and had achieved much and was steeped in lore and knowledge. A fool because he did not understand the motivations and minds of Men and Elves. Indeed, at times, Sauron may have been more foolish than wise.

We have discussed elsewhere that the making of "magical" things by Elves and the Ainur, to some extent, requires that the maker sacrifice some of his or her own individual "power" by placing it into the thing that is made. Perhaps, in some cases, the power derives, in part, from an outside source. The Silmarils had some of the essence of the light of the Two Trees in them. The Phial of Galadriel has the light of the Star of Earendil. The Three Elvish Rings may have derived some of their power from air, fire and water.

Tolkien states in Letter 131 that the chief power of all the Rings of Power was "the preservation or slowing of decay." He describes this as an "Elvish motive", namely the desire to preserve the beauty of their lands and avert the fading that they are doomed to. In the same letter, he suggests that the Elves remaining in Middle Earth wanted to create an image of Valinor in the mortal lands, and that this was an error, partly conceived by Sauron as an attack upon the Valar. The Rings of Power had other aspects resulting from Sauron's involvement. They caused invisibility (except for the Three he notes in the letter). And their tendency to slow decay made them a powerful temptation to Men, JRRT says in another letter; a way to avoid or delay death. I believe that even the lesser rings were never intended for Men or Dwarves. Sauron seized the Seven and the Nine, and possibly other lesser rings in the war upon Eregion.

So Sauron makes the One Ring and imbues it with a large part of his own native strength. JRRT says in Letter 131 that the One "contained the powers of all the others, and controlled them, so its wearer could see the thoughts of all those that used the lesser rings, could govern all that they did, and in the end could utterly enslave them." Note Tolkien's use of the word "could" rather than "would" in this quote.

Wise fool. Nice idea. Control and enslave the lords of the Elves that were "using" the Rings. Now I will quote a bit from earlier in this post. "A fool because he did not understand the motivations and minds of Men and Elves." Sauron puts on the One, the Elves perceive him, and what do they do? They take the Rings off and don't use them. Sauron apparently did not expect this.

I posit that Sauron was a fool in creating the One. It did not succeed in its purpose. The creation of the One placed a large portion of his strength in an OBJECT that could be lost or destroyed. If he had not created the One and invested time and effort into trying to fool the Elves, he could have retained all his strength in himself and would have been no worse off. And ultimately, what happens? He loses the Ring when it is cut off his finger by Isildur, and eventually it is destroyed, also destroying him. The creation of the One Ring was a colossal miscalculation.
__________________
That which once was shall be again!
Mithadan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2017, 06:47 PM   #2
Inziladun
Gruesome Spectre
 
Inziladun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Heaven's doorstep
Posts: 7,447
Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Nice thread, sir.

I agree with your position.
The inability of Evil to understand Good seems to be a common happening.

Morgoth was unable to foresee a situation when the Valar could ever again help the Eldar and Edain, thinking them as merciless as he. A special emissary to plead for their cause was not on his radar.

Sauron, I think, later could not imaging the Valar taking any sort of pity on any of the Númenóreans; indeed he'd done his best to make them abhorrent in their pride and greed.

As Galadriel noted:

Quote:
'I perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind, or all of his mind that concerns the Elves. And he gropes ever to see me and my thought. But still the door is closed!'
FOTR The Mirror of Galadriel

If we take it a step further and consider Saruman, it seems he was utterly amazed by Gandalf's offer to let him go free from Orthanc, wither he wished. The inability to perceive mercy, coupled with hate and envy of Gandalf, led to his rejection of a last chance to put aside his devotion to self.

So it seems to me Sauron's blindness was to be expected. He'd had a long time to be immersed in Morgoth's own self-absorbing delusions, and, maybe, seeing the success of Morgoth with fomenting such strife among the Elves with Fëanor and his sons, thought he might be able to accomplish something similar, not understanding that the Elves had actually learned from their mistakes.
__________________
Music alone proves the existence of God.
Inziladun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2017, 10:30 AM   #3
Kuruharan
Regal Dwarven Shade
 
Kuruharan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: A Remote Dwarven Hold
Posts: 3,583
Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Boots Two things...

...one of them relatively narrow and slightly off the main path.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithadan View Post
I believe that even the lesser rings were never intended for Men or Dwarves. Sauron seized the Seven and the Nine, and possibly other lesser rings in the war upon Eregion.
I'd never really thought about that.

When you say "never intended" I assume the implication is "the elves never intended."

Why did the elves make so many rings, or perhaps, how did Sauron persuade them to make so many? I assume handing out the Seven and the Nine was always his intention. Or rather, did Sauron just make use of the number of rings that he was able to get his hands on? He handed out seven to the dwarves because there were seven dwarf houses and then the Nine were the ones left over from that.

Point Two:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
The inability of Evil to understand Good seems to be a common happening.
But neither is this conception inability unique. Tolkien represents Good as being unable to comprehend Evil as well. Manwe was unable to understand Melkor and the changes that had happened in Melkor, which is why Melkor got off so lightly with the Chaining.
__________________
...finding a path that cannot be found, walking a road that cannot be seen, climbing a ladder that was never placed, or reading a paragraph that has no...
Kuruharan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2017, 04:53 PM   #4
Zigûr
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Zigûr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 727
Zigûr is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Zigûr is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Making the Ring was certainly a mistake, but I think it's a mistake completely consistent with Sauron's character:
Gandalf describes Sauron's policies thus:
Quote:
he that strikes the first blow, if he strikes it hard enough, may need to strike no more
As we know Professor Tolkien also says the following:
Quote:
it had been his virtue (and therefore also the cause of his fall, and of his relapse) that he loved order and coordination, and disliked all confusion and wasteful friction
Given Sauron's nature, I think that such a "master plan", while certainly a miscalculation, was one he was practically bound to make, especially when coupled with his inability to comprehend the motives of good and altruistic people. This characteristic I think is another byproduct of his obsession with order, as his belief in the fundamental truth and logic of his own worldview made him incapable of believing that anyone could perceive the world differently.
__________________
"Since the evening of that day we have journeyed from the shadow of Tol Brandir."
"On foot?" cried Éomer.
Zigûr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2017, 09:04 PM   #5
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,321
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Tolkien played with the idea of Sauron's single-mindedness, his monomania, leading to his grand miscalculation. Tolkien pictured Sauron as a single, lidless eye who was blind to all else but the One Ring, In many ways, Sauron was just as addicted to the Ring as Gollum or any other ringbearer, intent upon its reacquisition, much to his own folly.
__________________
Please visit my newly resurrected blog...The Dark Elf File...a slightly skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2017, 08:20 AM   #6
Inziladun
Gruesome Spectre
 
Inziladun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Heaven's doorstep
Posts: 7,447
Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuruharan View Post
Tolkien represents Good as being unable to comprehend Evil as well. Manwe was unable to understand Melkor and the changes that had happened in Melkor, which is why Melkor got off so lightly with the Chaining.
That's true. But Evil's blindness seems to be more consistent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
Tolkien played with the idea of Sauron's single-mindedness, his monomania, leading to his grand miscalculation. Tolkien pictured Sauron as a single, lidless eye who was blind to all else but the One Ring, In many ways, Sauron was just as addicted to the Ring as Gollum or any other ringbearer, intent upon its reacquisition, much to his own folly.
I think that's something else Sauron didn't count on when hatching the rings plot: that he himself would be consumed by lust for his own One Ring. Why would that be so? The power and will it contained was his own. Was it turned into an external force when imparted into the Ring, independent of his own fea?
__________________
Music alone proves the existence of God.
Inziladun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2017, 12:06 PM   #7
Boromir88
Laconic Loreman
 
Boromir88's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 7,065
Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Boromir88 is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Send a message via AIM to Boromir88 Send a message via MSN to Boromir88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuruharan View Post
There is nothing in the books that implies anything other than an exploitative relationship.
I agree, although still some differences between the two...

Morgoth became a nihilist, after realizing he could never obtain the Secret Fire and the power to create life, he got to the point of just trash and destroy everything. Even his own servants/orcs, he wanted everything destroyed.

It's stated Sauron never slipped that far into nihilism...he may have fell that far at some point, but not caring if Shelob eats a couple orcs, is quite a ways off from just throwing all your resources away to see the world burn.

It doesn't change the fact that every relationship between Sauron and any of his servants is purely exploitative. He may favor and show privilege to some like The Mouth and Witch-king, but it's still completely master-servant relationship. There's no care for their welfare, only they proved to be more useful pawns than orcs in his designs. This is a case of the kettle calling the pot black, but I think Denethor is right when he talks about Sauron's leadership:

Quote:
Denethor laughed bitterly: "Nay, not yet, Master Peregrin! He will not come save only to triumph over me when all is won. He uses others as his weapons. So do all great lords, if they are wise, if they are wise, Master Halfling. Or why should I sit here in my tower and think, and watch, and wait, spending even my sons? For I can still wield a brand."~The Siege of Gondor
Denethor isn't going to win any parenting of the year awards, but here is someone with actual parental relationships, saying he will even use his sons as pawns. Multiply that sentiment by thousands and you probably get close to how Sauron views his orcs, and any of his servants for that matter.

The more I've thought about the topic, the more I agree Sauron's creation of the Ring was his biggest mistake...or well maybe not the creation of the Ring itself, but his actions/decisions after losing it were. But then as Zigur argues, the creation of the One itself is what leads Sauron to the inevitable miscalculation.

Just brainstorming here...but the Ring was useless in it's aim to control the Elves, for the Elves perceived his designs and just took their rings off. It's a bittersweet victory to Galadriel, who realizes the destruction of the One will mean her small piece of "Valinor in Middle-earth" will fade, and that's the sacrifice Sauron probably never believed the Elves would be able to make.

The Ring was quite ineffective at controlling the Dwarves, because it's said Sauron was never able to fully understand the desires of Dwarves either, and therefor his attempts to control them through the Rings of Power was never complete, like it became with the 9 rings for Men.

He did achieve complete domination over the wills of the Nazgul. However, after the loss of the One, his lust to get it back, would gain him no increased advantage over the Nine. He possessed their Rings, and had complete control over their wills through his possession of the Nine. He didn't need the One to control them. And despite this fact, despite the fact that even losing in the Last Alliance, the cost of that war was far greater to Good than it was to Sauron. Sauron was defeated and lost the One, but the strength of the Noldor and Numenoreans was beaten down to a point they simply couldn't recover. By the War of the Ring, Men and Elves could no longer achieve victory against Sauron through strength of arms.

Maybe Sauron knew this, but his belief they have found the Ring and had the strength to use it against him, caused him to make some big mistakes. He was spending time and resources to reacquire an object that he no longer needed to achieve his purpose. And ironically, reacquire an object that wasn't that useful anyway, at least useful for what it was designed to do. It didn't help control the Elves, didn't help to control the Dwarves, and Men he already controlled because he held the Nine.
__________________
I used to be for flip-flopping. Now I'm against it.

Fenris Penguin
Boromir88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2017, 01:22 PM   #8
Kuruharan
Regal Dwarven Shade
 
Kuruharan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: A Remote Dwarven Hold
Posts: 3,583
Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Boots

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88 View Post
And ironically, reacquire an object that wasn't that useful anyway, at least useful for what it was designed to do. It didn't help control the Elves, didn't help to control the Dwarves, and Men he already controlled because he held the Nine.
The Ring didn't serve any purpose in the story except as a big red button to terminate Sauron's effective existence.

Regarding Sauron's possession of the Ring, it really was irrelevant to his victory. He would have won without it, at least according to the belief of the Wise.

As you allude to, and has been implied before in the thread, one has to wonder exactly what effect Sauron regaining the Ring would have. He was apparently going to win anyway.

Which leads me to another tangent, and with a tip of the hat to a long ago member of the Downs...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88 View Post
the strength of the Noldor and Numenoreans was beaten down to a point they simply couldn't recover.
As Lush might have said, "Why couldn't the Free Peoples ever get around to reproducing adequately?" They were always in a constant state of dwindling. I understand that it is at least partially thematic with Tolkien, but it is one of the aspects of Middle-earth that I have the hardest time suspending my disbelief. Vast usable swaths of Middle-earth just sat as desolate wilderness for very little reason. Even the larger numbers of the evil folks seem small compared to the great emptiness of the land.
__________________
...finding a path that cannot be found, walking a road that cannot be seen, climbing a ladder that was never placed, or reading a paragraph that has no...

Last edited by Kuruharan; 06-07-2017 at 07:28 AM.
Kuruharan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2017, 06:40 AM   #9
Inziladun
Gruesome Spectre
 
Inziladun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Heaven's doorstep
Posts: 7,447
Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuruharan View Post
The Ring didn't serve any purpose in the story except as a big red button to terminate Sauron's effective existence.
Well, it was only the centerpiece of the tale, and what bound LOTR to The Hobbit as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuruharan View Post
Regarding Sauron's possession of the Ring, it really was irrelevant to his victory. He would have won without it, at least according to the belief of the Wise.
As Gandalf noted in The Last Debate, Sauron's victory would have been 'complete' with his possession of the One, meaning he would have had the power to utterly crush the West, instead of just beating it down. As long the One continued to exist apart from Sauron, his own power was fragmented; he was 'incomplete'. Not an ideal existence. That's also, of course, another reason his 'rings' plot was ill-advised.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuruharan View Post
As Lush might have said, "Why couldn't the Free Peoples ever get around to reproducing adequately?" They were always in a constant state of dwindling. I under stand that it is at least partially thematic with Tolkien, but it is one of the aspects of Middle-earth that I have the hardest time suspending my disbelief. Vast usable swaths of Middle-earth just sat as desolate wilderness for very little reason. Even the larger numbers of the evil folks seem small compared to the great emptiness of the land.
That's probably a topic for another thread, but concerning Arnor and Gondor at least, I think their slow procreation was attributable largely to their desire to keep their Númenórean blood as pure as possible, and not 'pollute' it with the blood of lesser Men.

Rohan, though it seemed to have a sizable population, seems to have also been afflicted with some racist tendencies: looking down on their Dunlending neighbors and looking warily at those without the coveted golden hair.

Orcs, and Men from Rhûn and Harad might not have been so self-constrained.
__________________
Music alone proves the existence of God.
Inziladun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2017, 07:32 AM   #10
Kuruharan
Regal Dwarven Shade
 
Kuruharan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: A Remote Dwarven Hold
Posts: 3,583
Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Boots

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
As Gandalf noted in The Last Debate, Sauron's victory would have been 'complete' with his possession of the One, meaning he would have had the power to utterly crush the West, instead of just beating it down.
Yes, but what does that mean? He was going to triumph militarily anyway. This would have presumably included a massacre and enslavement of all hostile populations. What could they have done against him anyway. How could it have been more complete?

Quote:
That's probably a topic for another thread, but concerning Arnor and Gondor at least, I think their slow procreation was attributable largely to their desire to keep their Númenórean blood as pure as possible, and not 'pollute' it with the blood of lesser Men.

Rohan, though it seemed to have a sizable population, seems to have also been afflicted with some racist tendencies: looking down on their Dunlending neighbors and looking warily at those without the coveted golden hair.

Orcs, and Men from Rhûn and Harad might not have been so self-constrained.
I had forgotten but I think the Kingdom of Dale repopulated quickly, so there is one instance.
__________________
...finding a path that cannot be found, walking a road that cannot be seen, climbing a ladder that was never placed, or reading a paragraph that has no...
Kuruharan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2017, 08:33 AM   #11
Zigûr
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Zigûr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 727
Zigûr is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Zigûr is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuruharan View Post
Yes, but what does that mean? He was going to triumph militarily anyway. This would have presumably included a massacre and enslavement of all hostile populations. What could they have done against him anyway. How could it have been more complete?
I suspect that without the One there was a much higher possibility of resistance being maintained despite his victory, even as desperate and isolated pockets. With the One in his possession he would, presumably, be able to eradicate all opposition, however slight, and maintain this state of affairs for a much longer period of time.

For instance I imagine that his already vast empire, were the West added to it, would have been extremely unwieldy to control without the One allowing him to dominate the wills of his subjects. This may have particularly been a problem in the West as many of the older realms knew of him and his evil, which might have made their subjugation much more difficult than the wide lands to the East and South which had been blinded by the Shadow since the Elder Days.

Lacking the One would have also made it much more difficult for him to attack Rivendell and Lórien, perhaps impossible without coming himself, which would have possibly been a risk he was reluctant to take.

Overall I think it's a question of the pervasiveness and stability of his control with and without the One in his possession.
__________________
"Since the evening of that day we have journeyed from the shadow of Tol Brandir."
"On foot?" cried Éomer.
Zigûr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2017, 02:24 PM   #12
Feanor of Helcaraxe
Newly Deceased
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 1
Feanor of Helcaraxe has just left Hobbiton.
I don't think it was, Sauron gained his most powerful servants (the Nazgul) with the use of The One Ring, this helped in the crippling of Arnor. You also fail to take into account that The One Ring greatly enhanced Saurons power which was very important given how Sauron's enemies were much more powerful at the time. His fortification of Mordor after his return to Mordor after the war of the last alliance was made easier given that the foundations of Barad dur still existed thanks to the ring.
Feanor of Helcaraxe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-2017, 02:51 PM   #13
Inziladun
Gruesome Spectre
 
Inziladun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Heaven's doorstep
Posts: 7,447
Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feanor of Helcaraxe View Post
I don't think it was, Sauron gained his most powerful servants (the Nazgul) with the use of The One Ring, this helped in the crippling of Arnor. You also fail to take into account that The One Ring greatly enhanced Saurons power which was very important given how Sauron's enemies were much more powerful at the time. His fortification of Mordor after his return to Mordor after the war of the last alliance was made easier given that the foundations of Barad dur still existed thanks to the ring.
Hello, friend. Welcome to the Downs!

You're quite correct in your assessment of the Ring's positive effects for Sauron.
However, the initial premise here was that Sauron was foolish because of his motive for making the One Ring. Its purpose was to help him control the Elves. The subsequent benefits to him were not, as far as can be seen, in his thoughts when he fashioned it.
So,even though the Ring obviously did aid him later, it can still be said he was indeed a 'wise fool' whose plan failed from the start, and eventually led to his downfall.
__________________
Music alone proves the existence of God.
Inziladun is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:29 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.