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Old 01-08-2002, 05:21 PM   #1
Thingol
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Ring Did Sauron take the ring with him to Numenor

Hi, this is my first post in here, and before I ask my question let me just say that you guys really know your stuff and have some very interesting topics going. Well anyway, according to the letters of Tolkien Sauron took the ring with him.

Quote:
Though reduced to a 'spirit of hatred borne on a dark wind', I do not think one need boggle at this spirit carrying off the One Ring, upon which his power of domination minds now largely depended.
(The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien #211)
However, in the Akalabeth in the Silm it says:

Quote:
...and came back to Middle Earth and to Mordor that was his home. There he took up again his great Ring in the Baradur..
From what I've read on this board you all would consider what is written in the letters as correct because it was written by Tolkien himself, but I'm curious as to whether or not Chris Tolkien or J.R.R. Tolkien made any more reference to this. I've never read the HoME series so I can not be sure (They are expensive and hard to find in libraries) Well anyway I hope you don't mind my posting, considering this is part of the Akalabeth and not actually the Silmarillion, even though its in the same book.

[ January 09, 2002: Message edited by: Thingol ]
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Old 01-14-2002, 04:54 PM   #2
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I saw this same topic discussed elsewhere, but I can't find it now. I think he must have brought it, and I think JRR kind of stuck by that, although he made a hornets nest in the process. However, here's why I think he had it:

Sauron was evil.
Sauron's minions were evil.
Evil beings don't entrust the the key to power to their evil underlings.

I just don't picture the organization of the dark lord being one of common goals and brotherhood. The only driving force was Sauron, and when he was gone, that particular organization of evil was gone, same with Melkor before him.

So, if Sauron was to entrust the ring to a weak underling, one who couldn't use its power, then he runs the risk of a greater underling taking the ring and usurping power in the dark lord's absence.

However, if Sauron entrusts the ring to a greater servant, then he runs the risk of creating a rival too great to reclaim the ring from.

And, if he just hides it, he runs the risk of those darn hobbits finding it.

I just don't see him having any option but to take it, and the case could be made that, as long as it isn't taken from him before his physical demise, he could carry it off, but if someone takes it, he has to regain it.
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Old 01-16-2002, 09:45 PM   #3
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If a low-level spirit incarnated in Ork form might become a poltergeist if disembodied by slaying, as Tolkien postulated, then there is no reason why Sauron, when disembodied, should not have been able to levitate and move the One Ring.

The Ringwraiths were also able to wear garments to give shape to their forms.

With those two example, and nothing else written by Tolkien, the story that Sauron's spirt carried the Ring back must stand, pending new publication of later thoughts on the matter from Tolkien.
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Old 08-16-2002, 02:24 AM   #4
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Ring

Why couldn't the Ring be left with The Witch King? After all, he trusts that they can find his Ring later on without having the power or will to use it to usurp Sauron. Also, I can't see Sauron taking the Ring to Numenor for fear of Ar-Pharazon using it to gain even more power over him.
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Old 08-16-2002, 03:59 AM   #5
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I'll drop in 2 more speculations on the subject:

spec #1: Ring was left in Barad-Dur, but not entrusted to some underling, yet hidden and locked somwhere, where it was impossible for any to find it

spec #2 Ring was with Sauron in Numenor, yet it was hidden and he was not using it. Coming back he "took it up" in the meaning that he wore it openly again
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Old 12-02-2002, 06:01 AM   #6
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I don't think so, he probably left it in Barad-dur. What would Ar-pharazon have done if he found the ring? I dread to think. The Numenoreans would've kicked the Elves of M-E *** .
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Old 12-04-2002, 08:12 PM   #7
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The best insight into this comes from Letter 211, which Thingol quoted. Earlier in the letter, Tolkien writes: "He naturally had the One Ring, and so very soon dominated the wills of Most of the Numenoreans." This directly states he has it, while the passage in the "Akallabeth" could be interpreted to mean that Sauron had the Ring all along, just not in Barad-dur.

As to why he wouldn't leave it, that comes from the Passage Thingol quoted (as well as the one I included). Tolkien shows that Sauron's ability to bend minds to his will relied largely on the One Ring; consequently, he would not have been able to corrupt Ar-Pharazon and the Numenoreans as greatly, and perhaps not be able to effect the attack on Valinor, which brought him success in his cunning.
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Old 12-20-2002, 07:04 PM   #8
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I've always thought that either explanation was possible. He could have left the Ring at Barad-dur, where the Nazgul could be trusted with such security, quite effectively. He sent them to hunt down the Ring in the FoTR, because he trusted them in just this way.

Also, he could have had it in Numenor, kept it concealed (just as any ringbearer not wishing it to be seen, as with Gandalf and Narya all those years), and then brought it back, even as a fleshless spirit escaping from the downfall, just as Glamdring and Narya were not lost to Gandalf after the Battle of the Peak, although Gandalf sort of had a body, but it seems that Sauron's sprit could probably cosset the ring well enough. Heck, he had no physical form by the time of the War of the Rings, and yet he would have still worn it somehow.

What troubles me with this question: Is did he really use it to seduce the Numenoreans? ... or did he actively take it up again for the first after an apparent interlude, as implied in "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age" regardless of where it had been during that interlude.

Again, if the Numenoreans are simply manipulated by the Ring, that makes their culpability much much less, I feel; the Ring is incredibly powerful. This would also belittle the state of corruption to which the King's Men had been sinking for generations. Also, Sauron's actively using the Ring would have likely been obvious in a very imposing way, without the subtly that he is described to have employed.

I think the Books, both the Lord of the Rings Appendix I(b) and the Akallabeth point to Numenoreans who were seduced by their own greed, infidelity and Fear, which made them rather ready victims for Sauron's evil lies. Melkor did not need to directly exert raw power in twisting the minds of the Noldor, only cunning, and the same was true for Sauron and the Elves of Eregion. It would seem that little more should have been absolutely needed to take the Numenoreans to the final stage of their downfall.

Had JRRT seriously meant the Ring to be the cause of the Numenoreans' Fall, it would have also been Numenor's, and not only Isildur's, Bane, and somehow this would have been indicated in the Lord of the Rings' Appendix, or later works to revise the Akallabeth, post-LoTR. To have done so, however, would have undermined JRRT's philosophical emphasis on the corruptibility of all peoples, especially prideful and fearful Men. Also, when Sauron was actively wielding the Ring in Middle-Earth during the Second Age this would have already affected Numenor through the Black Numenoreans that were connnected with the King's Men or their earlier forerunners. Three of the Nazgul were such Numenoreans, even if most Numenoreans, including Ar-Pharazon were unaware of the Rings of Power, per se.

Nevertheless, Numenorean society became very wicked in a way that the Noldor never did, and this may reflect Sauron's personal will at work over less devine people, but such horrid, debased behavior is not at all alien to human history in Middle-Earth or in this world. And nowhere was it said that the Numenoreans were necessarily morally superior to other Men, simply more enlightened, valiant, longer-lived, etc.

As for the Letters, they are great for some insight, but they are not works that JRRT ever envisioned to see published, and they are in fact his personal replies to some individual or another. They are remarkably consistent, but they also may reveal only passing notions that he had and used to satisfy someone and not necessarily thoroughly thought-out conclusions in line with even other aspects of his then evolving legendarium.

In summary, it is best concluded that Sauron most likely had possession of the Ring in Numenor, and was able to rescue it with his spirit from the deluge. It also should then have contributed to his cunning and the power of his Will with Ar-Pharazon and others, and to the evil influence spreading among the Numenorean people. Nevertheless, he did not overtly wield it, in fooling and seducing the Numenoreans, and the Numenoreans were not really corrupted by the Ring in any direct way. Rather, it was through their own failings, coupled with Sauron's subtle mind, that they fell into the trap that caused their downfall.
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Old 05-26-2003, 05:06 PM   #9
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That would make sense. The One Ring's main power lies in finding the faults or weaknesses of the people around its Bearer, and exploiting those weaknesses. Look at Boromir. The Ring "knew" that he wanted to keep Gondor "stable," and ensure that his father and eventually him remained the Ruling Steward, so it exploited that weakness.
I can definitely see the Ring doing the exact same thing to Ar-Pharazon. Perhaps he was a lot like Boromir. Lofty, noble, wise, but he had a fatal weakness. He resented the power of the Elves, much as Boromir resented having to hold Gondor in trust for a king who might or might not come.
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Old 07-09-2003, 08:52 PM   #10
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No he did not take the ring to mordor, because at the time it wasnt even created yet. I think.
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Old 11-29-2003, 09:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
He could have left the Ring at Barad-dur, where the Nazgul could be trusted with such security, quite effectively. He sent them to hunt down the Ring in the FoTR, because he trusted them in just this way
He could control them. "Trust" had nothing to do with it.

Quote:
What troubles me with this question: Is did he really use it to seduce the Numenoreans?
Indirectly: since much of his (spiritual?) strength was invested in the ring (in order to be able to control the other rings), without it being to hand he would have had a much harder time bending the strong-willed Numenorians to his ends.
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Old 11-29-2003, 11:35 PM   #12
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Sauron's using the Ring to control the Numenoreans does not really take away their culpability. As the story stands in the Akallabeth, the Numenoreans had fallen quite far, and then brought Sauron to Numenor. Sauron (Ring or no Ring) is still the architect of their ultimate fall, even though this work does not make the Dunedain any less guilty.

I would agree though that Sauron, with the use of the Ring, only acted upon the Numenoreans weaknesses, and did not simply seduce them to his control, and manipulate their later actions like pawns (though, they were his pawns in the end, in a way).

[ 12:37 AM November 30, 2003: Message edited by: Westerly Wizard ]
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Old 12-05-2003, 12:30 AM   #13
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In response, I would think we need to consider the exact but multiple application of words. Granted, in regards to a hair-splitting point above, Sauron did not "trust" the Nazgûl as honorable comrades, and to say he controlled them is operatively correct, but the bottom-line is that he could "rely" on them.

As for seduction and culpability among the Númenóreans, to seduce has a wide array of implications, and though Sauron precipitated things, as much as anything, he certainly did seduce in one way or another, in that by intent, machinations and actions he caused people to do as he wished and not necessarily in their best interests.

For me, however, to give credit to Sauron's cunning as opposed to Ring greatly increases the folly and guilt of the Númenóreans'. They are not supposed to be ultimately better and more pure than other men, and Sauron and Morgoth had somewhat comparably tricked even the Eldar before, as well as corrupted some at times.

I would thus hold in the absence of convincing evidence to the contrary that the Ring was left behind, or that if brought along, it was not overtly and decisively a factor in Sauron's influence in Númenor.

True, the fidelity and wisdom of the majority of Númenóreans had been in decline for centuries, but Sauron's presence was crucial and decisive in its effect on Ar-Pharazôn and Númenórean society. He turned a troubling and sometimes violent trend into an all-out collapse into cruelty, blasphemy, wickedness and insanity.

Obviously, the Ring could have played some part, but still the Moral of that story is the Fall, fear of death, and the overwhelming temptation of having had such long lives and close proximity to Valinor.

Also, it is noted above that the Ring works by finding character weaknesses, and this is true in terms of Boromir, Isildur, Smeagol and even Frodo, in terms of his ultimate sense of bitterness at having been unfairly burdened with the Ring.

But in the hands of Sauron (or potentially Gandalf or Galadriel) its power to raise armies and bend minds need not be at all subtle. To ascribe Sauron's effect on the Númenóreans to the Ring is to say that they became puppets on the strings that he pulled. The power of the Númenóreans was that their army could dismay even his forces, but had he risked and succeeded at really using the Ring against them (without their noticing) in time, he might have corrupted the Númenóreans, even if they were as steadfast and true as they had been centuries earlier.

Nay, the impression from the Akallabêth is that Sauron picked up on the undercurrents in Númenórean society and in the King's mind, and that through clever lies, manipulation and plotting he brought about a Second Fall of Men, like the Serpent in the Garden.

The evidence to the contrary are the statements in Letters #211, where it does indeed say:
Quote:
He naturally had the One Ring, and so very soon dominated the minds and wills of the Númenóreans.
But I think this may be one of the extremely few times when JRRT was not too careful in writing of these his letters. To this end, I submit, that the entire letter has a slightly cursory and dimissive tone, as if he wants to simply provide any answer, and this letter, as indicated in the notes, has two or three "slips" or errors in other ways.

Finally, it is worth noting that the Akallabêth had largely been completed by forerunners to that story before completion of the Lord of the Rings, and that the brief treatment in App. A I(i) was his reluctant concession to his vision of the full Legendarium, as described in HoME V, IX and XII.

So, really it seems that the Akallabêth was conceived without the History of the Rings of Power, and to blame the One Ring for the Númenóreans contradicts the entire rationale behind the Akallabêth, that JRRT ultimately chose to maintain, despite and probably in his time after Letter #211, even in the Context of the Ring's existence in mind and possible possession by Sauron when in Westernesse.
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Old 12-11-2003, 03:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
But in the hands of Sauron (or potentially Gandalf or Galadriel) its power to raise armies and bend minds need not be at all subtle. To ascribe Sauron's effect on the Númenóreans to the Ring is to say that they became puppets on the strings that he pulled.
But that's not the issue. The question is whether Sauron without the Ring would have been strong enough to do it. This isn't a positive case of using the Ring to dominate but avoiding the negative effect on Sauron of not bringing it with him. Without it he may well have found it too difficult to disguise his real motives from even those already disatisfied with their lives.

Overtly using the Ring in a realm so much nearer, physically and spiritually, to the Valor might well have seemed too dangerous to Sauron at least until near the end when he took to defying the lightning.

There's just no reason to think that he did not take the Ring, just as there's no reason to assume that he specifically used it directly on the Numenoreans as a weapon of some sort.

Quote:
to blame the One Ring for the Númenóreans contradicts the entire rationale behind the Akallabêth,
Which has no direct bearing on whether it was there or not.

Cheap analogy time: The Ring was part of Sauron, not a truly separate thing. If the question was "did Sauron take his left arm with him?" then the answer is an obvious "yes" without implying that he punched anyone while he was there. Why would he not take it, any more than he would not take his arm? No one on Numenor was going to take it off him, that's for sure!
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Old 12-14-2003, 01:13 AM   #15
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Fair enough, good post pandora.

I would conclude and concur, that it is probably best to assume that Sauron had The Ring as part of his person (so-to-speak) while he was in Númenor.

(Right arm indeed!, it is a separate object, even if a bearer with power may keep it inherently hidden)

Likewise, there is no clear reason to assume that it played a direct or decisive role in the Númenóreans' fall.

Rather, their own folly, fear, greed and pride, manipulated by Sauron's lies and cunning, caused their downfall. That's the story, and JRRT stuck to it.

It might be said that for that, as well as the deception of Celebrimbor, Sauron did not need the Ring, and I'd argue that he would have been prudent to keep the Ring under wraps (so-to-speak), if not really needing it, for two reasons:

1. The proximity to Valinor, as pandora shrewdly notes.

2. That while the Ring on its own might work subtly on minds, when actively wielded by Sauron it may not be so subtle of an instrument.

Finally, it just occurred to me that Númenor was supposed to be separate and different from Middle-Earth, and that perhaps outside of Middle-Earth, the Ring would not necessarily function too well, bound up as it were with Middle-Earth and the evil that Morgoth and Sauron had seeded there.

<font size=1 color=339966>[ 2:22 AM December 14, 2003: Message edited by: Man-of-the-Wold ]
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