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Old 07-14-2004, 06:44 AM   #1
the phantom
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Eye Good guys of LOTR clueless?

I start with a quote from Gandalf (FOTR The Shadow of the Past)-
Quote:
He (Sauron) believed that the One had perished; that the elves had destroyed it."
Say what? We have two possibilities-
1) Gandalf knows what he's talking about
2) Gandalf doesn't know what he's talking about

If 1) is true then Sauron is stupid and confused (I'll explain why in a sec).
If 2) is true then, well, you can see why I believe the good guys didn't have a prayer.

Here's another Gandalf quote (FOTR The Council of Elrond)-
Quote:
Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it."
So let me get this straight. First, Sauron supposedly thought that the elves destroyed the Ring, and yet Sauron would never think that someone would destroy his Ring. Notice a MASSIVE discrepancy?

And then there's this (ROTK Mount Doom)-
Quote:
his (Sauron) fear rose...for he knew his deadly peril and the thread upon which his doom now hung
Wait a minute. According to the first quote Sauron thought he could get along just fine if his ring was destroyed (since he was alive and well and also thought that the elves destroyed the Ring). But the last quote shows that he was afraid the destruction of the ring would doom him. Notice another HUGE discrepancy?

If Gandalf's first statement was true then Sauron is stupid and confused. He apparently doesn't even know how his own Ring works to the point that he thinks it can be destroyed without taking him down. But then at the end he must not think that anymore because he's scared to death when he realizes that the good guys are trying to destroy the Ring. Also, he thought that the elves destroyed the Ring yet he thinks no one would try to destroy it.

This seems too silly to be possible. And think of this, if Sauron really didn't think that destroying his Ring would destroy him why were the good guys so confident it would work. It's absurd. Option 1) is not acceptable, which means option 2) is true (Gandalf doesn't know what he's talking about).

Not only that, but think of Galadriel. As Tolkien said (letter 246)-
Quote:
it appears that Galadriel conceived of herself as capable of wielding the Ring and supplanting the Dark Lord. If so, so also were the other guardians of the Three, especially Elrond. But this is another matter. It was part of the essential deceit of the Ring to fill minds with imaginations of supreme power.
From Tolkien's writings it seems obvious that Galadriel's belief was false. If you want more evidence, look at what Sauron said to Saruman (a more powerful being than Galadriel) when he believed that Saruman had captured the Ring (TTT The Palantir)-
Quote:
Tell Saruman that this dainty is not for him. I will send for it at once
When Saruman gets the Ring, Sauron treats him the way you'd treat a child threatening you with a plastic knife. It seems Saruman didn't have a chance though he thought he did (and the same goes for Galadriel).

And there's also another claim she made (FOTR The Mirror of Galadriel)-
Quote:
I perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind, or all of his mind that concerns the elves.
Really? Form Morgoth's Ring (myths transformed, VII, ii)-
Quote:
No one, not even one of the Valar, can read the mind of other 'equal beings' (All rational minds / spirits deriving direct from Eru are ‘equal’- in order and status- though not necessarily ‘coeval’ or of like original powerl): that is one cannot 'see' them or comprehend them fully and directly by simple inspection. One can deduce much of their thought, from general comparisons leading to conclusions concerning the nature and tendencies of minds and thought, and from particular knowledge of individuals, and special circumstances. But this is no more reading or inspection of another mind than is deduction concerning the contents of a closed room, or events taken place out of sight. Neither is so-called 'thought-transference' a process of mind-reading: this is but the reception, and interpretation by the receiving mind, of the impact of a thought, or thought-pattern, emanating from another mind, which is no more the mind in full or in itself than is the distant sight of a man running the man himself. Minds can exhibit or reveal themselves to other minds by the action of their own wills (though it is doubtful if, even when willing or desiring this, a mind can actually reveal itself wholly to any other mind). It is thus a temptation to minds of greater power to govern or constrain the will of other, and weaker, minds, so as to induce or force them to reveal themselves. But to force such a revelation, or to induce it by any lying or deception, even for supposedly 'good' purposes (including the 'good' of the person so persuaded or dominated), is absolutely forbidden. To do so is a crime, and the 'good' in the purposes of those who commit this crime swiftly becomes corrupted.
So once again, it seems Galadriel makes a false claim.

So if you put my entire post together, I'm saying it appears that the good guys of Lord of the Rings didn't know very much, or that much of what they thought they knew was wrong. So maybe everything else they said was wrong, too, it's just that we don't know it.

I've always thought that the good guys didn't have a chance but wow, I didn't realize they were this clueless. Thank Eru for divine intervention in Middle Earth.
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Old 07-14-2004, 07:17 AM   #2
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So let me get this straight. First, Sauron supposedly thought that the elves destroyed the Ring, and yet Sauron would never think that someone would destroy his Ring. Notice a MASSIVE discrepancy?
In the case of Gandalf, I think it may be a matter of timing. Initially, Gandalf spoke of the time before Sauron knew that his Ring still existed. Under those circumstances, it is understandable that Sauron would not fear the destruction of his Ring. He thought it had already been done.

The later quotes of Gandalf bear a context of Sauron’s discovery of the continued existence of the Ring. Under these conditions, Sauron might not have thought that anyone would wish to destroy the Ring, but that does not mean that he would not have gained a greater understanding of how things worked.

Remember that at the end of the Return of the King, Sauron is not destroyed; he is simply crippled beyond all hope of recovery.

At the time of the Last Alliance Sauron may have believed that the destruction of the Ring would be the end of him. He fled after his defeat and assumed that the Alliance had destroyed the Ring. Imagine his surprise when he discovers that he retains the strength to create a new shape and get up to his old tricks again. His natural conclusion would probably be that the Ring was not as important to his existence as he’d thought.

Millennia pass. Sauron discovers that his Ring still exists. That puts a whole new face on things. Now he understands why he was able to regrow and do all the naughty things he can do. Perhaps the end of the Ring would still be the end of him after all.

But, no worries, who in their right mind would wish to destroy the Ring?

As for Galadriel, many people have a tendency to say rather inflated things from time to time. This is particularly true if they are needing to continually impress everyone around them. Galadriel may have overstated her knowledge to a)make things easier for poor dimwitted Frodo to understand and b)impress Frodo with her nearly divine stature so that she would have one more dopey admirer to add to already impressive collection.

She might have also understood that Frodo would write a book about his adventures that would one day become quite popular. She would want to portray herself as being as wondrous and powerful as she possibly could.
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Old 07-14-2004, 12:04 PM   #3
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Eye

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it is understandable that Sauron would not fear the destruction of his Ring. He thought it had already been done.
Do you really think it's possible that Sauron didn't understand the way his own Ring worked?
Quote:
but that does not mean that he would not have gained a greater understanding of how things worked
I just find it hard to believe that Sauron could gain understanding about something he should've already known everything about (or almost everything, certainly more than anyone else).

But I'm willing to play with what I think is sort of silly. So, let's assume that Sauron didn't have a clue about the most basic aspect of his Ring (whether or not it would kill him if it was destroyed). In that case, perhaps Sauron wasn't really afraid when he sensed Frodo in Mt Doom. Perhaps the historians of Middle Earth interpreted the tremor that ran through his empire as fear, but in fact he was overjoyed and excited to finally find his Ring (and so close to home), and was so anxious to get his precious that he stopped focusing on everything else in his empire. After all, so what if his servants were afraid without his will behind them, for within minutes he'd have his Ring on and he'd be victorious.

So there's another way to piece together the quotes I gave (and once again, it would make Gandalf very wrong about Sauron).
Quote:
He fled after his defeat and assumed that the Alliance had destroyed the Ring
Quote:
But, no worries, who in their right mind would wish to destroy the Ring?
Those statements don't work as I said in my first post. It's impossible that Sauron would think someone destroyed his Ring and yet never think of the possibility that someone would destroy his Ring. That contradiction is too extreme to explain away. One of the statements that Gandalf made was not true. I would guess the first quote I gave in my first post would be the inaccurate one.
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Old 07-14-2004, 12:20 PM   #4
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Do you really think it's possible that Sauron didn't understand the way his own Ring worked?
You have a very good point. But remember that it is a quote from Gandalf and not Sauron. I do not have my books with me at the moment (not for looking at them right now though), but what I have understood from them is that Sauron thought that his Ring was lost. And he could do just fine that way.
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Old 07-14-2004, 12:41 PM   #5
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But remember that it is a quote from Gandalf and not Sauron
Oh, I remember. The fact that Gandalf said it is my entire point. Gandalf didn't know what he was talking about.
Quote:
but what I have understood from them is that Sauron thought that his Ring was lost
I agree with you, and if we're right then Gandalf was very wrong. That's why I started wondering if we can trust a single thing that Gandalf and the other good guys say about Sauron?

(not saying they're meaning to lie, just that they're extremely misinformed, I would imagine Sauron is very good at the counter-intelligence/misdirection sort of thing and perhaps the good guys were in a worse predicament than we ever thought, I mean, being clueless about your enemy is pretty bad)
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Old 07-14-2004, 12:44 PM   #6
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I'm not sure we can attribute complex thought processes to Sauron, at least not by this late stage in his devolution. He seems to me to be focussed so much on his desires that he doesn't analyse the situation in great detail. I think he was so caught up in achieving dominance, convinced of his inevitable victory & simply not thinking of defeat. He's probably a whole lot less smart than Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel or any of his enemies. I think Galadriel can say with absolute truth that she Knows all his thought, because his thought isn't all that complex. Take Morgoth. His whole desire was to reduce everything to primal chaos, yet where would that have left him?

To my mind Sauron is very powerful, but not very bright, & probably lots of thoughts passed through his 'mind', but none of them would register sufficiently to overcome his basic desire. I think its entirely possible that he didn't know how his Ring worked, or at least had forgotten. His focus always is power, control, domination.

Look at the Nazgul, & the Mouth. They are simply not 'intelligent' creatures. They have become over the millenia focussed into 'devices', with a single purpose, like automata. Sauron simply doesn't have the capacity for complex, detached reasoning, the analytical capability that you're attributing to him . He's certainly powerful, but he's stupid, because he can only conceive desire for control. At the end, when Frodo stood at the Sammath Naur, & suspect that his reaction wasn't 'intellectual' - ie, that he realised his situation & his danger. I suspect he suddenly suffered a kind of unexpected 'spiritual' punch in the guts, & went into a blind panic, like a terrified animal.
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Old 07-14-2004, 01:07 PM   #7
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The 'discrepancies' you point out and attribute to characters in the story are obviously points that should be attributed more to the author. As presented in the original post, these assertions are misdirected. In the first thing pointed out, the quotes about the Ring's possible destruction, is that really Gandalf being stupid? I don't think so. More than likely, it's the author who was writing the book as he went. That is, when taken at face value - out of context, as they've been presented. The difference between the two statements can be explained by the passage of time. Gandalf had found out a lot between those scenes. He had been to Orthanc and seen what Sauron had done to Saruman - especially in reguards ; moreover, he now knew that Gollum had escaped (the quote comes from the Council of Elrond after Legolas had given his news of hte escape). Saruman's mention of searching for the Ring changed his perspective on Sauron's hopes of finding it. Gandalf wasn't stupid; there was simply very little to go on in the beginning. Over the course of that first volume is where the story begins fittingly - as the plans of Sauron begin to unravel and Gandalf now has enough to see the full picture.

Quote:
Really? Form Morgoth's Ring (myths transformed, VII, ii)-
One doesn't even have to read the statement that follows to see the discrepancy in your own assertions - the quote that follows was written after the writing and publishing of Lord of the Rings. Any writings from before your quote cannot be expected to totally line up with the quote itself. They may loosely, but it could be (and may very well be) that Tolkien had changed his perspective on the matter (not necessarily a 180-degree change, but still a change). Such a development in thought is bound to cause some "discrepancies" with earlier writings.
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Old 07-14-2004, 01:18 PM   #8
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Do you really think it's possible that Sauron didn't understand the way his own Ring worked?
Yes, absolutely! There had never been a ring like it before--that's what makes it the One Ring--and certainly it had never been destroyed before. Who was to say what would happen when it was cast into the fire? For all Sauron (or anyone else) knew, destroying the Ring could have ushered in a new age of...oh, let's say, Orc cotillions.
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Old 07-15-2004, 02:33 AM   #9
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First of all I agree compltely with what Tar-Ancalime said.
I also think that it is very important to look a the times addressed by the quotes.
When Gandalf says that Sauron thought the ring was destroied by the Elves, he reffers to the time after his defeat by the Last Alliance. What did Sauron knew to let him think so?
- As jet any such defeat had seen him recover soon, but know he had much more trouble to do that.
- There were two great Lords of the Elves and he could be sure that at least Elrond did know about the Ring. In addition there was this young man who had already two times crossed his plans to destroy the last White Tree, and had just now dealt him a deadly blow and afterwards cuted the Ring from his finger.
-> The natural conclusion seems clearly that they had destroyed his Ring.

But later Sauron learned that the Ring still existed, by which way we don't know but it is possible that it was by contact with the nine, since we can belife that Sauron did know if the elvischrings would lose their power with the destrction of his ring.
With that info Saurons picture changed:
- Three of his biggest enemies left after the war of the Last Alliance in conclave and on the spot to do it had not been willing to destroy the Ring.
->Thus know body could be.

It is attested that Sauron did not understand the motiv of Gollums unbreakable resistence against him. This could only mean that he never understood the ability of the ring to creat a disire to posses him completly independent from the disire for power or might that the possesion of the ring promissed. Since the desire to posses the ring was it that secured it from destrucion (atested by Isildur and by Frodo) Sauron had missinterpreted the motives of his enemys in not destroing the ring in the Second age. For Sauron they were all struggeling for power of their own. And Saruman was a prime example that he was right.

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Old 07-15-2004, 03:09 AM   #10
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Good speculation on how Sauron percieved the power of his Ring to affect others Findegil!

Sauron could never really understand that his ring held more of a pull than just the desire for power, and that it in itself was what drew the person (basically) not just the power it gives. Like you say, why should he? All he knows is that it gives huge power, and that he desires the power... it is part of him remember.

How then could he feel that anyone would possess the ring if they did not want the power associated with it? How could he possibly concieve that anyone would want to destroy it. His assumptions that whoever possessed it was just carrying it until it was given to a more powerful wielder, did not go without at least some justification. I can now sympathize with his reasoning, or more importantly lack thereof...
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Old 07-15-2004, 09:19 AM   #11
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Great post, Findegil. Makes perfect sense to me.

As I see it, Sauron was judging others by his own standards and ascribing to them his own motives. He assumed that those who came into contact with the Ring would inevitably attempt to use it to gain power, rather than destroy it. And this assumption was not entirely unjustified in light of the behaviour of Saruman (one of the "wise").

His fear on perceiving Frodo with the Ring at Sammath Naur is occasioned by the sudden realisation that, if someone could make it all the way to Mount Doom with the Ring without having attempted to use it to gain power, then they might just be capable of destroying it. The passage refers to him suddenly realising the "magnitude of his own folly". In other words, it only occurred to him at that moment that his assumption that anyone bearing the Ring would inevitably try to use it to gain power might actually be incorrect.

As matters turned out, he was right that (Bombadil excepted) no one could willingly destroy the Ring, but for the wrong reasons. As Findegil has pointed out, it disn't occur to him that the Ring could coerce someone to simply desire possession of it, without regard to enhancing their power, to such a degree that they would be incapable of destroying it. So, but for the intervention of "providence" he needn't have feared.
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Old 07-15-2004, 09:49 AM   #12
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Quite, and I think Sauce has been striking proverbial nails on their teeny-tiny heads: Sauron was quite right. Excepting the chap with brightly-coloured boots, who doesn't really fit in with the rest anyway, nobody was capable of destroying the Ring. Nobody, deliberately, ever did so.

Further to Gandalf's quote regarding Sauron's belief in the Ring's destruction: it is clear that Sauron was sore wounded by the Ring-finger-smiting incident, and when he repaired for a good long time to the dark recesses of the world, must have believed that his injury was resultant upon the Ring's destruction, not merely the severing of himself from it. As has been ably described above, the realisation that this was not the case would have distinctly changed his outlook, and confirmed his prior belief that none could willingly destroy it afresh.
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Old 07-15-2004, 01:20 PM   #13
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when he repaired for a good long time to the dark recesses of the world, must have believed that his injury was resultant upon the Ring's destruction, not merely the severing of himself from it
Quote:
As jet any such defeat had seen him recover soon, but know he had much more trouble to do that
But wasn't Sauron seperated from his Ring when he was in Numenor? I seem to remember a quote saying when he got back home he "took up his Ring again" or something like that. So it's not like Sauron didn't know what it felt like to be without his Ring. Yeah, the recovery was more difficult without the Ring, but surely he realized that the Ring was still somewhere since he was able to recover.
Quote:
For all Sauron (or anyone else) knew, destroying the Ring could have ushered in a new age of...oh, let's say, Orc cotillions.
Judging from this and other comments I guess people really do think that Sauron didn't know jack about his Ring. I just have a difficult time believing this, particularly that he had no clue what its destruction would do to him.

If he (as Gandalf said) thought it was destroyed and had not met his doom why would he know it was his doom when he sensed Frodo at the Cracks?

Why would he think someone had destroyed it and also think someone wouldn't destroy it?

So far, the only way my fellow downers have been able to answer these questions involves making Sauron somewhat (or extremely) ignorant about his own creation, his ultimate weapon, his precious. The Ring wasn't some other guy he imprisoned inside of a wedding band; the Ring was a part of him. The Ring's 'body' and 'spirit' were created by Sauron.

Making him clueless about the Ring seems to me even more improbable than making the good guys clueless about Sauron. Doesn't the latter seem more plausible to anyone, or am I alone?

Maybe everyone hates to see the good guys brought down a peg?
Quote:
One doesn't even have to read the statement that follows to see the discrepancy in your own assertions - the quote that follows was written after the writing and publishing of Lord of the Rings. Any writings from before your quote cannot be expected to totally line up with the quote itself. They may loosely, but it could be (and may very well be) that Tolkien had changed his perspective on the matter (not necessarily a 180-degree change, but still a change). Such a development in thought is bound to cause some "discrepancies" with earlier writings.
Well dang, Legolas, I guess we shouldn't ever bring up The Sil, HoME, LOTR, The Hobbit, or any other Tolkien book when we're talking about another book, since he didn't write them all at the same exact time.

But don't worry, I get your point.
Quote:
The 'discrepancies' you point out and attribute to characters in the story are obviously points that should be attributed more to the author. More than likely, it's the author who was writing the book as he went.
That seems like too easy of a way to get out of this. I mean, it's true when you disagree with something or dislike a notion you can always say "Well, this isn't real, there was an author involved and they made a mistake", but I'm trying hard to keep this within the framework of Middle-Earth.

And within the framework, my theory seems possible (more possible to me than Sauron not understanding his own Ring).
Quote:
The difference between the two statements can be explained by the passage of time. Gandalf had found out a lot between those scenes. Gandalf wasn't stupid; there was simply very little to go on in the beginning. Over the course of that first volume is where the story begins fittingly - as the plans of Sauron begin to unravel and Gandalf now has enough to see the full picture.
That's very true, Legolas, but it doesn't take away from what I'm saying. You see, Gandalf's first and second statements were both communicated as fact. At the beginning when he didn't see the full picture (as you said) he presented his knowledge as fact. He didn't say "I believe" or "I think" or "It's likely". There was no difference in the presentation of the two statements.

So how do we know the second was indeed the "full picture", since Gandalf has set a precedent for stating things that were not proven.

Do we know if anyone ever had the full picture, even at the end?
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To my mind Sauron is very powerful, but not very bright
Oh please. You're calling Sauron "not very bright"? I don't have my books with me, but I know I've read that he was studious, brilliant, and powerful. And Gandalf at the Council of Elrond calls Sauron "very wise". (then again, maybe Gandalf is mistaken again )
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At the end, when Frodo stood at the Sammath Naur, & suspect that his reaction wasn't 'intellectual' - ie, that he realised his situation & his danger
That seems to go against what the book says-
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for he knew his deadly peril and the thread upon which his doom now hung
Well, I figured this theory would seem too anti-good guy to fly with most, but I'm surprised that there hasn't been anyone at all on the Downs that is willing to play along a bit and maybe has some thoughts or quotes that would go with it.

If not, oh well. It's not like I've never had an unpopular opinion.
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Old 07-15-2004, 02:37 PM   #14
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He didn't say "I believe" or "I think" or "It's likely". There was no difference in the presentation of the two statements.
Does he need to? It's always understood that there's an "as far as I know" implied with such a statement that's obviously his best guess for what's going on in the Dark Lord's mind. If you had asked Gandalf during the Shadow of the Past timeframe if Saruman was in hot pursuit of the Ring and 'joining' Sauron, I'm sure he would've dismissed the notion. Afterwards, at the Council of Elrond, his feelings would've been very different - he found out very much between these two instances, in terms of both Saruman's ill turn and Sauron's plans. About grasp of the 'full picture,' we don't know for certain until it's over (or almost over) - this is just a statement I make in retrospect, though it did seem to be case after a few chapters.
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Old 07-15-2004, 06:44 PM   #15
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Oh please. You're calling Sauron "not very bright"?
I certainly would not describe Sauron as thick. But there was a very significant defect in his intellect, and that was his inability to understand humility and sacrifice. For him, the desire for power was so great that he could not imagine that anyone, faced with the means of obtaining it in great measure, would not feel the same desire. Only at the end does he realise his folly. And that word, which is used in the passage from which your original quote comes, is a most appropriate one. For all his intelligence, he nevertheless showed great folly in severely underestimating the capacity of his opponents (particularly Gandalf and the Hobbits) to show great humility in the face of the opportunity to obtain great power.

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Well, I figured this theory would seem too anti-good guy to fly with most, but I'm surprised that there hasn't been anyone at all on the Downs that is willing to play along a bit and maybe has some thoughts or quotes that would go with it.
Sorry, I would love to if I could. But by no means were the good guys clueless. All they could do was act on the information that they had at any given time, which was necessarily incomplete.

And neither was Sauron clueless. As has been said, despite imbuing the Ring with part of his own will, he had no way of knowing exactly what would happen if it were to be destroyed. Indeed, the Ring almost certainly didn't know itself (although obviously it was keen to prevent this situation occurring). Again, he could only act on the information available to him at any given time, although, in Sauron's case, his actions were constrained by his blind-spot when it came to assessing the motives and qualities of his opponents.
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Old 07-15-2004, 11:38 PM   #16
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I must say this is a very interesting thread. I can see both sides, but I would have to agree with Saucepan Man.

When Frodo was in the cracks of Mount Doom, Sauron realized his peril at that precise moment. This is ME fact if you hold Tolkien as all-knowing; though, as Legolas pointed out, Tolkien is susceptible to our mortal failings in writing.

Sauron did not realize it before because he was blinded by his inability to recognize the possibility of enough humility in others to attempt to destroy the Ring. He knew his danger at that point, perhaps - IMHO - the same way we know someone is watching us behind our backs; in other words, a hunch, or something like it.

Going back to the First Alliance of Elves and Men, when Isildur cut the finger wearing the Ring off Sauron, Sauron was greatly crippled. He would have assumed that, being in the right place and with the knowledge (perhaps not on Isildur's part, but certainly on the part of the other leaders) that the Ring was extremely dangerous, they would have destroyed the Ring. It was, after all, the wisest thing to do.

However - and I know I'm repeating someone else who posted on this thread here - Sauron found that he was not completely recovered. Still under the impression that the Ring had been destroyed, he would have assumed that it had not been as important as he'd thought, being the only conclusion he could come to, as the concept of the Ring not being destroyed had not yet occured to him.

When Sauron eventually discovered that the Ring had not in fact been destroyed, he would have then formed the conclusion that if Isildur and co. had not destroyed the ring when they had the best chance possible, no one had the will to destroy it. In other words, if some of the best men/elves had not contained the will to destroy it when they knew that would be the wisest course, then surely lesser men would not have that same will. Conclusion: no one would/could destroy the Ring.

My sister is begging me to get off the computer and severely breaking my concentration, so I shall sign off at this point.

Cheers,

~ Elentari II

P.S. I said I'd edit this post, but I've decided against it. So this post will stay as it is...
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Old 07-16-2004, 06:00 AM   #17
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Also, one could easily write this 'cluelessness' away as being a slight discrepancy in the text, which of course is meant to have been written after the incidents as a tale (the Red Book) - embellished perhaps, worded for dramatic effect perhaps? However, this would bring up a really pointless argument about not being able to rely on the facts anywhere then, as it was relayed and written by the hobbits and scribes of Gondor...

If anyone were to even think about using this argument, they truly must be insane! (Um... but Osse... QUIET YOU!)

<Oh no... not another canonocity discussion.>


Sauron was a very powerful, guilly individual, certainly not thick , nor for that matter were any of the character in opposition to him...I agree there are portions of contradictory or unreliable text, however, if one were truly podantic, one could find such loopholes throughout any author's works.


If one were in a nasty mood, one could take these loops and twist them to form a noose around itself, ruining the piece for everyone, or on the other hand, one could take what is written in justified light, and explain it using other instances and your general good sense!
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Old 07-16-2004, 09:26 AM   #18
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But by no means were the good guys clueless. All they could do was act on the information that they had at any given time, which was necessarily incomplete.
Well, Gandalf knew that Bilbo had a ring that made him invisible and he didn't bother to find out more about it.
I doesn't get any more clueless than that! Why did he have to wait all that time for?

Also when Isildur took Sauron's ring, Elrond and Co. just said, well ok, and that was it.

And with Sauron believing that his ring was destroyed, if I recall correclty, in LOTR I have never read that Sauron said that (I don't think that I have seen Sauron having a dialogue in there). All that we have is the thoughts from the good guys about Sauron.
I believe that the good guys won from sheer luck. They didn't have a brilliant strategy planned. They knew that Sauron could not be defeated with armies and they could not use the ring against him. The good guys strategy was to have Frodo go and destroy the Ring, but he was unable to throw it into his little fire in Bag End.
What if Gollum instead of falling into the fire had run out and was taken over by a Nazgûl?
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Old 07-16-2004, 09:40 AM   #19
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Well, Gandalf knew that Bilbo had a ring that made him invisible and he didn't bother to find out more about it. I doesn't get any more clueless than that! Why did he have to wait all that time for?
As I recall, he had his suspicions from the outset. But, as he says, many Elven Rings were made, some more powerful than others. What were the chances of this being the One Ring? And he had to be sure before taking any precipitous action. Which is why he spent most of the intervening years trying to make sure. In the meantime, he couldn't risk taking it into his own keeping or trying to dispose of it. At least while it was with Bilbo, he knew where it was.


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Also when Isildur took Sauron's ring, Elrond and Co. just said, well ok, and that was it.
What do you expect them to have done? Thrown Isildur into the fire? (There is a thread on that somewhere.)


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I believe that the good guys won from sheer luck. They didn't have a brilliant strategy planned.
But as you imply yourself, their strategy was the only one that had any hope of succeeding. Not much hope, as Gandalf admits, but then he did put his trust in providence.
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Old 07-16-2004, 01:33 PM   #20
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As I recall, he had his suspicions from the outset. But, as he says, many Elven Rings were made, some more powerful than others. What were the chances of this being the One Ring? And he had to be sure before taking any precipitous action. Which is why he spent most of the intervening years trying to make sure. In the meantime, he couldn't risk taking it into his own keeping or trying to dispose of it. At least while it was with Bilbo, he knew where it was.
Many elven rings were made. Well, he could disregard the 3 elven rings from Galadriel, Elrond and the one he had. Also, he could disregard those from the Ringwraiths. So that leaves us with those from the dwarves (7) and the One Ring. From those 7 dwarven rings, he knew that one of those was recovered or destroyed by Sauron when Gandalf paid a visit to the Necromancer. So that leaves us Six (6) rings.
Bilbo had the Ring in the shire in 2942 TA. It is in 3001 TA where Gandalf suspects that it might be the One Ring. There is a lapse of 59 years.
The chances of Bilbo's Ring being the One Ring is: 1/7. So your point is that he spent those 59 years in trying to find out more about Bilbo's Ring? I'm sorry but that is just plain incompetence.

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What do you expect them to have done? Thrown Isildur into the fire? (There is a thread on that somewhere.)
When Isildur was killed, how many search parties were involved in looking into his remains or those of the battle? How come that Saruman was able to find so many things in there?
To me their actions was like: Hey Isildur took the Ring, oh well.
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Old 07-16-2004, 01:59 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Maédhros
Many elven rings were made. Well, he could disregard the 3 elven rings from Galadriel, Elrond and the one he had. Also, he could disregard those from the Ringwraiths. So that leaves us with those from the dwarves (7) and the One Ring. From those 7 dwarven rings, he knew that one of those was recovered or destroyed by Sauron when Gandalf paid a visit to the Necromancer. So that leaves us Six (6) rings.
Bilbo had the Ring in the shire in 2942 TA. It is in 3001 TA where Gandalf suspects that it might be the One Ring. There is a lapse of 59 years.
The chances of Bilbo's Ring being the One Ring is: 1/7. So your point is that he spent those 59 years in trying to find out more about Bilbo's Ring? I'm sorry but that is just plain incompetence.


When Isildur was killed, how many search parties were involved in looking into his remains or those of the battle? How come that Saruman was able to find so many things in there?
To me their actions was like: Hey Isildur took the Ring, oh well.
The Silm indeed states "Now the Elves made many rings". Twenty rings (1+3+7+9) doesn't sound 'many rings' to me. I always figured there were more rings than these. Bilbo's ring could have been one of these lesser rings, making it much harder for Gandalf to find out which ring Bilbo's indeed was.

As to Isildur, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields in the Unfinished Tales says: "No trace of his body was ever found by Elves or Men." suggesting that they did indeed search for him. It also says that "his mail, helm, shield and great sword (but nothing else) had been found", further suggesting he was searched for.
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Old 07-17-2004, 08:25 AM   #22
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The Silm indeed states "Now the Elves made many rings". Twenty rings (1+3+7+9) doesn't sound 'many rings' to me. I always figured there were more rings than these. Bilbo's ring could have been one of these lesser rings, making it much harder for Gandalf to find out which ring Bilbo's indeed was.
He could have done exactly the same thing that he did later on. Go to Minas Tirith and look for clues about the Ring that Isildur wore. Simple.
He didn't have to wait for 59 years to do it.
Twenty rings sounds "many" to me.

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As to Isildur, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields in the Unfinished Tales says: "No trace of his body was ever found by Elves or Men." suggesting that they did indeed search for him. It also says that "his mail, helm, shield and great sword (but nothing else) had been found", further suggesting he was searched for.
It seems to me that you need to keep on reading the other paragraphs of The Disaster of the Gladden Fields
Quote:
Long afterwards, as the Third Age of the Elvish World waned and the War of the Ring approached, it was revealed to the Council of Elrond that the Ring had been found, sunk near the edge of the Gladden Fields and close to the western bank; though no trace of Isildur's body was ever discovered. They ere also then aware that Saruman had been secretly searching in the same region; but though he had not found the Ring (which had long before been carried off), they did not yet know what else he might have discovered.
But King Elessar, when he was crowned in Gondor, began the re-ordering of his realm, and one of his first tasks was the restoration of Orthanc, where he proposed to set up again the palantir recovered from Saruman. Then all the secrets of the tower were searched. Many things of worth were found, jewels and heirlooms of Eorl, filched from Edoras by the agency of Wormtongue during King Théoden's decline, and other such things, more ancient and beautiful, from mounds and tombs far and wide. Saruman in his degradation had become not a dragon but a jackdaw. At last behind a hidden door that they could not have found or opened had not Elessar had the aid of Gimli the Dwarf a steel closet was revealed. Maybe it had been intended to receive the Ring; but it was almost bare. In a casket on a high shelf two things were laid. One was a small case of gold, attached to a fine chain; it was empty, and bore no letter or token, but beyond all doubt it had once borne the Ring about Isildur's neck. Next to it lay a treasure without price, long mourned as lost for ever: the Elendilmir itself, the white star of Elvish crystal upon a fillet of mithril that had descended from Silmarien to Elendil, and had been taken by him as the token of royalty in the North Kingdom. Every king and the chieftains that followed them in Arnor had borne the Elendilmir down even to Elessar himself; but though it was a jewel of great beauty, made by Elven-smiths in Imladris for Valandil Isildur's son, it had not the ancientry nor potency of the one that had been lost when Isildur fled into the dark and came back no more.
Elessar took it up with reverence, and when he returned to the North and took up again the full kingship of Arnor Arwen bound it upon his brow, and men were silent in amaze to see its splendour. But Elessar did not again imperil it, and wore it only on high days in the North Kingdom. Otherwise, when in kingly raiment he bore the Elendilmir which had descended to him. "And this also is thing of reverence," he said, "and above my worth; forty heads have worn it before."
When men considered this secret hoard more closely, they were dismayed. For it seemed to them that these things, and certainly the Elendilmir, could not have been found, unless they had been upon Isildur's body when he sank; but if that had been in deep water of strong flow they would in time have been swept far away. Therefore Isildur must have fallen not into the deep stream but into shallow water, no more than shoulder-high, Why then, though an Age had passed, were there no traces of his bones? Had Saruman found them, and scorned them – burned them with dishonour in one of his furnaces? If that were so, it was a shameful deed; but not his worst.
Isildur was slained in year 2 of TA. It is in 2463 when Déagol the Stoor finds the One Ring, and is murdered by Sméagol.
Then we find out that Saruman begins to search the Gladden Fields at 2851 TA.

If what you say is true, then both the Elves and Men who searched for the remains of Isildur must be very incompetent or clueless.
Look, Déagol found the Ring in 2463 TA, meaning that 2461 years had passed from the death of Isildur, and Saruman found items belonging to Isildur in 2851 TA. There had passed 388 years since Déagol had found the ring.
Are you telling me that in 2849 years, the good guys could not have found those things that Saruman did? Please.
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Old 07-17-2004, 10:26 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Maédhros
He could have done exactly the same thing that he did later on. Go to Minas Tirith and look for clues about the Ring that Isildur wore. Simple.
He didn't have to wait for 59 years to do it.
Twenty rings sounds "many" to me.
I do think 20 rings do not count as many, but that's not very important here. I assume Gandalf had more things to do than hunt for info on the ring Bilbo possessed. It probably was not the top priority on his list at first. Also, he probably didn't know where to exactly find the information he needed. Maybe he first went to Rivendell, then to Lórien and finally to Minas Tirith. We neither do know how large the archives were he had to search through. I assume they were after some 3000 years rather huge, and probably not as nicely inventoried as modern archives. Remember also that he didn't get easily access to Minas Tirith's archives of Denethor. All these things would have cost consideral time

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It seems to me that you need to keep on reading the other paragraphs of The Disaster of the Gladden Fields

Isildur was slained in year 2 of TA. It is in 2463 when Déagol the Stoor finds the One Ring, and is murdered by Sméagol.
Then we find out that Saruman begins to search the Gladden Fields at 2851 TA.

If what you say is true, then both the Elves and Men who searched for the remains of Isildur must be very incompetent or clueless.
Look, Déagol found the Ring in 2463 TA, meaning that 2461 years had passed from the death of Isildur, and Saruman found items belonging to Isildur in 2851 TA. There had passed 388 years since Déagol had found the ring.
Are you telling me that in 2849 years, the good guys could not have found those things that Saruman did? Please.
I did read the rest of The Disaster of the Gladden Fields, of course!
Like you, I do not know why 'the good guys' didn't find more than they did. They did find the stuff Isildur threw away. Probably they didn't search that much after the first search. Why? Maybe because they figured Isildur's body had be washed to the sea? Your guess is as good as mine!
Another thing to consider is, that the Elves and Woodmen fighting the Orc party who had attacked Isidur's group probably left quite quickly after destroying and pursuing what was left of the Orc party.
Gondor and Arnor, moreover, were, just 2 years after the War of the Last Alliance and after Isildur's death in great turmoil, I assume, and the people were more interested in destroying what was left of Sauron's armies and in rebuilding their society than in searching for the remains of Isildur, which they thought had washed to the sea.
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Old 07-17-2004, 11:37 AM   #24
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I do think 20 rings do not count as many, but that's not very important here. I assume Gandalf had more things to do than hunt for info on the ring Bilbo possessed. It probably was not the top priority on his list at first. Also, he probably didn't know where to exactly find the information he needed. Maybe he first went to Rivendell, then to Lórien and finally to Minas Tirith. We neither do know how large the archives were he had to search through. I assume they were after some 3000 years rather huge, and probably not as nicely inventoried as modern archives. Remember also that he didn't get easily access to Minas Tirith's archives of Denethor. All these things would have cost consideral time
Look at this:
From LOTR:
Quote:
‘When did I first begin to guess?’ he mused, searching back in memory. ‘Let me see - it was in the year that the White Council drove the dark power from Mirkwood, just before the Battle of Five Armies, that Bilbo found his ring. A shadow fell on my heart then, though I did not know yet what I feared. I wondered often how Gollum came by a Great Ring, as plainly it was - that at least was clear from the first. Then I heard Bilbo’s strange story of how he had “won” it, and I could not believe it. When I at last got the truth out of him, I saw at once that he had been trying to put his claim to the ring beyond doubt. Much like Gollum with his “birthday present”. The lies were too much alike for my comfort. Clearly the ring had an unwholesome power that set to work on its keeper at once.
That was in the year 2941 TA.
From the Council of Elrond
Quote:
'Some here will remember that many years ago I myself dared to pass the doors of the Necromancer in Dol Guldur, and secretly explored his ways, and found thus that our fears were true: he was none other than Sauron, our Enemy of old, at length taking shape and power again. Some, too, will remember also that Saruman dissuaded us from open deeds against him, and for long we watched him only. Yet at last, as his shadow grew, Saruman yielded, and the Council put forth its strength and drove the evil out of Mirkwood and that was in the very year of the finding of this Ring: a strange chance, if chance it was.
`But we were too late, as Elrond foresaw. Sauron also had watched us, and had long prepared against our stroke, governing Mordor from afar through Minas Morgul, where his Nine servants dwelt, until all was ready. Then he gave way before us, but only feigned to flee, and soon after came to the Dark Tower and openly declared himself. Then for the last time the Council met; for now we learned that he was seeking ever more eagerly for the One. We feared then that he had some news of it that we knew nothing of. But Saruman said nay, and repeated what he had said to us before: that the One would never again be found in Middle-earth.
` "At the worst," said he, "our Enemy knows that we have it not and that it still is lost. But what was lost may yet be found, he thinks. Fear not! His hope will cheat him. Have I not earnestly studied this matter? Into Anduin the Great it fell; and long ago, while Sauron slept, it was rolled down the River to the Sea. There let it lie until the End."'
Gandalf fell silent, gazing eastward from the porch to the far peaks of the Misty Mountains, at whose great roots the peril of the world had so long lain hidden. He sighed.
`There I was at fault,' he said. `I was lulled by the words of Saruman the Wise; but I should have sought for the truth sooner, and our peril would now be less.'
`We were all at fault,' said Elrond, `and but for your vigilance the Darkness, maybe, would already be upon us. But say on!'

`From the first my heart misgave me, against all reason that I knew,' said Gandalf, `and I desired to know how this thing came to Gollum, and how long he had possessed it. So I set a watch for him, guessing that he would ere long come forth from his darkness to seek for his treasure. He came, but he escaped and was not found. And then alas! I let the matter rest, watching and waiting only, as we have too often done.
Quote:
` "The Nine, the Seven, and the Three," he said, "had each their proper gem. Not so the One. It was round and unadorned, as it were one of the lesser rings; but its maker set marks upon it that the skilled, maybe, could still see and read."
`What those marks were he had not said. Who now would know? The maker. And Saruman? But great though his lore may be, it must have a source. What hand save Sauron's ever held this thing, ere it was lost? The hand of Isildur alone.
`With that thought, I forsook the chase, and passed swiftly to Gondor. In former days the members of my order had been well received there, but Saruman most of all. Often he had been for long the guest of the Lords of the City. Less welcome did the Lord Denethor show me then than of old, and grudgingly he permitted me to search among his hoarded scrolls and books.
' "If indeed you look only, as you say, for records of ancient days, and the beginnings of the City, read on! " he said. "For to me what was is less dark than what is to come, and that is my care. But unless you have more skill even than Saruman, who has studied here long, you will find naught that is not well known to me, who am master of the lore of this City."
This is sad. Gandalf had a hunch in 2941 TA that there was something odd with Bilbo's ring. But he had to wait until 3001 TA to seriously think that it could be Sauron's ring. There had passed 60 years. It is in 3017 TA that Gandalf goes to Minas Tirith to read the scroll of Isildur.
If Gandalf had been more vigilant, he could have just travelled to Minas Tirith circa 2942 to find out about the One Ring, so as to discard that it was not Sauron's ring, instead of waiting 75 years to do that. And a minor plus point is that probably Gandalf would have been better received by Denethor at an earlier time.
Quote:
Another thing to consider is, that the Elves and Woodmen fighting the Orc party who had attacked Isidur's group probably left quite quickly after destroying and pursuing what was left of the Orc party.
Gondor and Arnor, moreover, were, just 2 years after the War of the Last Alliance and after Isildur's death in great turmoil, I assume, and the people were more interested in destroying what was left of Sauron's armies and in rebuilding their society than in searching for the remains of Isildur, which they thought had washed to the sea.
That is an horrible excuse. I wonder how many people could have been saved, if the Ring had been destroyed before Sauron had been able to regain his strength.
Why didn't Elrond do a decent search then, if he himself had warned Isildur to destroy the Ring? His realm was not in great turmoil. What is his excuse then?
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Old 07-17-2004, 12:43 PM   #25
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Quoting the same passage as Maédhros used:

Quote:
"At the worst," said he, "our Enemy knows that we have it not and that it still is lost. But what was lost may yet be found, he thinks. Fear not! His hope will cheat him. Have I not earnestly studied this matter? Into Anduin the Great it fell; and long ago, while Sauron slept, it was rolled down the River to the Sea. There let it lie until the End."'
Gandalf fell silent, gazing eastward from the porch to the far peaks of the Misty Mountains, at whose great roots the peril of the world had so long lain hidden. He sighed.
`There I was at fault,' he said. `I was lulled by the words of Saruman the Wise; but I should have sought for the truth sooner, and our peril would now be less.'
Saruman was, after all, Gandalf's superior, and had studied the rings a lot. Gandalf had at that time no reason to mistrust Saruman.

Quote:
"The Nine, the Seven, and the Three," he said, "had each their proper gem. Not so the One. It was round and unadorned, as it were one of the lesser rings; but its maker set marks upon it that the skilled, maybe, could still see and read."
He could immidiately dismiss the thought of it being one of the Nine, Seven or Three. And what would the chances be of a hobbit picking up the long lost One Ring? The chances of him finding a "lesser" ring would probably be bigger.
I think Gandalf did what he could. After TA 3001 when he picked up his suspicions, he went around hunting Gollum for a while as well. And he might also have gone to other places to search, mainly Rivendell, like someone said.
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Old 07-17-2004, 12:45 PM   #26
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Bilbo's ring seemed very harmless. He stole it from a disgusting creature in a cave under the mountains (which the creature was using to hunt fish). It can turn him invisible... None of this points anywhere near the great Ring Sauron used to enslave the Nazgul. I don't find the situation of "Oh - Bilbo found a ring. Better make sure it's not Sauron's One Ring!" plausible (even ignoring the fact that the Ring was thought to be lost forever, washed into the sea). Gandalf does say magic rings are "rare and curious," but while rare, there were undoubtedly many more aside from the Rings of Power (and though there were 20, at the least 12 were accounted for). It took the Ring preserving his youth to throw up a flag.
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Old 07-17-2004, 02:24 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Maédhros
This is sad. Gandalf had a hunch in 2941 TA that there was something odd with Bilbo's ring. But he had to wait until 3001 TA to seriously think that it could be Sauron's ring. There had passed 60 years. It is in 3017 TA that Gandalf goes to Minas Tirith to read the scroll of Isildur.
If Gandalf had been more vigilant, he could have just travelled to Minas Tirith circa 2942 to find out about the One Ring, so as to discard that it was not Sauron's ring, instead of waiting 75 years to do that. And a minor plus point is that probably Gandalf would have been better received by Denethor at an earlier time.
This has, IMO, sufficiently answered by NightKnight and Legolas.

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That is an horrible excuse. I wonder how many people could have been saved, if the Ring had been destroyed before Sauron had been able to regain his strength.
Why didn't Elrond do a decent search then, if he himself had warned Isildur to destroy the Ring? His realm was not in great turmoil. What is his excuse then?
Horrible excuse? Don't throw that at me! I'm just trying to find an explanation for this situation. The Elves present (after Isildur already had died) at the Gladden Fields were Thranduil's Wood Elves, not Elves from Rivendell. So, before the Disaster had reached Elrond's ears, several weeks would have past. Maybe he sent out a small party to seek for Isildur's remains, for all we know. Maybe not. As opposed to you, I do belief also Elrond's realm would have been in great turmoil. He and his army had away from home and hearth for the duration of the War of the Lat Alliance, which lasted a total of twelve years! After returning in Rivendell there would have been many pressing matters to attend to.
When all was 'normal' again in Rivendell, Arnor, and Gondor time had passed and people probably thought it no longer usefull to hunt for remains of Isildur, guessing he had been brought to sea by the River Anduin.
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Old 07-17-2004, 07:42 PM   #28
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There is something else to consider as well.

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If Gandalf had been more vigilant, he could have just travelled to Minas Tirith circa 2942 to find out about the One Ring, so as to discard that it was not Sauron's ring, instead of waiting 75 years to do that. And a minor plus point is that probably Gandalf would have been better received by Denethor at an earlier time.
Gandalf went to Minas Tirith as soon as he had the idea that the answers he sought might be there.

Now I suppose he will be chided for not thinking of this sooner.

Regarding the search made for Isildur’s body…

I think there is evidence (already noted above) that Elves and Men tried to search for Isildur’s body. However, just because they did not find it is not proof of incompetence. Consider, they were operating in hostile territory. It is true that the local orcs had lost a good deal, but they were probably still capable of pouncing upon small parties of searchers. Later, when Saruman was searching, he probably had an understanding with the local orcs, if indeed they were not working with him. Elves and Men had no particular reason to guard the area, so Saruman was able to search the area most carefully and with security. Just because Saruman found the body does not mean that it was easy to find. It might have been that it took him a very long time to uncover it. We don’t know when the body was found. Saruman began searching in 2851. The next we hear of it is in 2939 when Sauron starts searching the area. That gives Saruman considerable time to drag an unlimited number of bodies from the river.
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Old 07-17-2004, 09:44 PM   #29
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He could immidiately dismiss the thought of it being one of the Nine, Seven or Three. And what would the chances be of a hobbit picking up the long lost One Ring? The chances of him finding a "lesser" ring would probably be bigger.
I think Gandalf did what he could. After TA 3001 when he picked up his suspicions, he went around hunting Gollum for a while as well. And he might also have gone to other places to search, mainly Rivendell, like someone said.
The sad thing is that his suspicions came in 2941 and he acted on them in 3001. He did what he could, he just waited for 60 years.

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Saruman was, after all, Gandalf's superior, and had studied the rings a lot. Gandalf had at that time no reason to mistrust Saruman.
This is interesting.
From LOTR
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That was the first real warning I had that all was not well. I told Bilbo often that such rings were better left unused; but he resented it, and soon got angry. There was little else that I could do. I could not take it from him without doing greater harm; and I had no right to do so anyway. I could only watch and wait. I might perhaps have consulted Saruman the White, but something always held me back.’
‘Who is he?’ asked Frodo. I have never heard of him before.’
‘Maybe not,’ answered Gandalf. ‘Hobbits are, or were, no concern of his. Yet he is great among the Wise. He is the chief of my order and the head of the Council. His knowledge is deep, but his pride has grown with it, and he takes ill any meddling. The lore of the Elven-rings, great and small, is his province. He has long studied it, seeking the lost secrets of their making; but when the Rings were debated in the Council, all that he would reveal to us of his ring-lore told against my fears. So my doubt slept - but uneasily. Still I watched and I waited.
Gandalf suspected Saruman for a long time, otherwise he would have consulted with him. So the supposed no-reason not to trust him is void. Look at that point in time in which Gandalf had strong doubts about Bilbo's ring, but as yet did nothing. And the sad thing is that Gandalf had the information at that time that Bilbo's ring was indeed Sauron's Ring.
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The memory of words at the Council came back to me: words of Saruman, half-heeded at the time. I heard them now clearly in my heart.
` "The Nine, the Seven, and the Three," he said, "had each their proper gem. Not so the One. It was round and unadorned, as it were one of the lesser rings; but its maker set marks upon it that the skilled, maybe, could still see and read."
When did this Council occur? In 2953 TA, just 11 years after Bilbo had returned to the Shire with his ring. OOPS.

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Bilbo's ring seemed very harmless. He stole it from a disgusting creature in a cave under the mountains (which the creature was using to hunt fish). It can turn him invisible... None of this points anywhere near the great Ring Sauron used to enslave the Nazgul. I don't find the situation of "Oh - Bilbo found a ring. Better make sure it's not Sauron's One Ring!" plausible (even ignoring the fact that the Ring was thought to be lost forever, washed into the sea). Gandalf does say magic rings are "rare and curious," but while rare, there were undoubtedly many more aside from the Rings of Power (and though there were 20, at the least 12 were accounted for). It took the Ring preserving his youth to throw up a flag.
No, in the last meeting of the White Council in 2953 TA, Gandalf knew that the One Ring had no gems, but was made to seem one of the lesser Rings. It was with this information that Gandalf went riding fast to Minas Tirith. But he seems that he just forgot about it.

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This has, IMO, sufficiently answered by NightKnight and Legolas.
Not really.

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Horrible excuse? Don't throw that at me! I'm just trying to find an explanation for this situation. The Elves present (after Isildur already had died) at the Gladden Fields were Thranduil's Wood Elves, not Elves from Rivendell. So, before the Disaster had reached Elrond's ears, several weeks would have past. Maybe he sent out a small party to seek for Isildur's remains, for all we know. Maybe not. As opposed to you, I do belief also Elrond's realm would have been in great turmoil. He and his army had away from home and hearth for the duration of the War of the Lat Alliance, which lasted a total of twelve years! After returning in Rivendell there would have been many pressing matters to attend to.
When all was 'normal' again in Rivendell, Arnor, and Gondor time had passed and people probably thought it no longer usefull to hunt for remains of Isildur, guessing he had been brought to sea by the River Anduin.
Let put it this way: Isildur died in the year 2 TA. In 2643 Déagol the Stoor finds the One Ring, and is murdered by Sméagol. Look at the obscene amount of time that passed between those two events. Elrond weds Celebrían in 109 TA.
It was because of the lack of interest coupled with the incompetence of the searchers that they didn't find anything. It was Elrond himself that talked to Isildur about destroying the Ring.

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Gandalf went to Minas Tirith as soon as he had the idea that the answers he sought might be there.

Now I suppose he will be chided for not thinking of this sooner.
No. Lets examine the elements one more time:

1. Gandalf felt uneasy about Bilbo's ring.
2. In the last meeting of the White Council, Gandalf had the knowledge that Bilbo's ring description was similar that of Sauron.
Gandalf had all of the information that he needed to find out if Bilbo's was that of Sauron just 11 years after Bilbo returned to the Shire. If you don't think that there is a problem with Gandalf waiting an extra 64 years, then that is ok with me, but I think that it is just plain wrong.
The logical line of reasoning to me would be:
1. Bilbo is my friend.
2. I have a bad feeling about Bilbo's magic ring.
3. Bilbo's ring description and that of Sauron are similar.
4. Go and do some research about it yourself, for the sake of friendship!

Quote:
think there is evidence (already noted above) that Elves and Men tried to search for Isildur’s body. However, just because they did not find it is not proof of incompetence. Consider, they were operating in hostile territory. It is true that the local orcs had lost a good deal, but they were probably still capable of pouncing upon small parties of searchers. Later, when Saruman was searching, he probably had an understanding with the local orcs, if indeed they were not working with him. Elves and Men had no particular reason to guard the area, so Saruman was able to search the area most carefully and with security. Just because Saruman found the body does not mean that it was easy to find. It might have been that it took him a very long time to uncover it. We don’t know when the body was found. Saruman began searching in 2851. The next we hear of it is in 2939 when Sauron starts searching the area. That gives Saruman considerable time to drag an unlimited number of bodies from the river.
I guess that that is as good an excuse as any that I will hear. If the wise could not mount an effective search for the most important artifact of the Age in more than 2000 years, they have to be incompetent.
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Old 07-17-2004, 10:59 PM   #30
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In the last meeting of the White Council, Gandalf had the knowledge that Bilbo's ring description was similar that of Sauron. Gandalf had all of the information that he needed to find out if Bilbo's was that of Sauron just 11 years after Bilbo returned to the Shire.
Incorrect. “Similar” is not “same.” Note the quote comparing it to the appearance of “lesser rings.” (As a side note, there had to be other lesser rings besides the dwarf, elf, and human rings. Each of those was described as having a particular gemstone. The point of comparison was that the One Ring had no gem. If it was compared to other rings lacking gemstones, there must have been other lesser rings of the same make to compare it to.)

Anyway, Gandalf was uncertain how to determine if the Ring was The One rather than one of the lesser rings. That is why he was trying to find Gollum for all those years. He hoped to find a clue. He did not know that fire would bring out the letters that would reveal the Ring until he read that in Minas Tirith. (And I don’t want to hear anything about Gandalf tossing the Ring into a fire beforehand just to see what would happen. I’m sure your first step in determining the properties of a unique item is to try to destroy it.) Just because the idea of trying to find some writing of Isildur in Minas Tirith did not occur to Gandalf until the hunt for Gollum appeared certain to prove fruitless does not make him incompetent. Not even wizards can think of everything all the time.

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If the wise could not mount an effective search for the most important artifact of the Age in more than 2000 years, they have to be incompetent.
This statement is presenting a false either/or situation (particularly since you did not bother to answer the gist of my suggestion). This is not so simple a matter as to be an either/or. If the Wise are to be judged by such a standard then the standard must be applied to their Enemy as well. The obvious correlation is since Sauron failed to conquer the world in several millennia of trying, he has to be incompetent. He is also incompetent because it took him so long to figure out what had happened to the Ring.

If everyone in the tale is incompetent then competence ceases to have any meaning because nobody possesses it. It tends to render this whole discussion rather pointless.
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Old 07-19-2004, 08:33 AM   #31
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Incorrect. “Similar” is not “same.” Note the quote comparing it to the appearance of “lesser rings.” (As a side note, there had to be other lesser rings besides the dwarf, elf, and human rings. Each of those was described as having a particular gemstone. The point of comparison was that the One Ring had no gem. If it was compared to other rings lacking gemstones, there must have been other lesser rings of the same make to compare it to.)
Please provide evidence as to wether these supposed other lesser rings where. And while similar is not the same, it definitely warranted an investigation at that time.
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Anyway, Gandalf was uncertain how to determine if the Ring was The One rather than one of the lesser rings. That is why he was trying to find Gollum for all those years. He hoped to find a clue. He did not know that fire would bring out the letters that would reveal the Ring until he read that in Minas Tirith. (And I don’t want to hear anything about Gandalf tossing the Ring into a fire beforehand just to see what would happen. I’m sure your first step in determining the properties of a unique item is to try to destroy it.) Just because the idea of trying to find some writing of Isildur in Minas Tirith did not occur to Gandalf until the hunt for Gollum appeared certain to prove fruitless does not make him incompetent. Not even wizards can think of everything all the time.
I cannot be clearer. In that particular instance he was incompetent. There is no way around it. At the time of the last White Council he must have done something about Bilbo's ring. He knew that Bibo's ring and Sauron's ring had similar looks, and he had a bad feeling about it. The logical and competent thing is to do something about it, not let the nagging feeling haunt you for years and years. I asked you, would it have killed Gandalf to take a month out of those 69 years to find out more about it?
No. There is an interest statement by Gandalf in which he says that he was deceived by the words of Saruman. I don't think that he was lulled but rather he wanted to convince himself that Bilbo's ring could not in any way be that of Sauron, even though he had a bad feeling about it and they had similar descriptions. IMO Gandalf deceived himself by saying, well if Saruman who studied the lore of the Rings think that it is lost then it must be so.
A note about fires, you don't mean the same fire in Bilbo's fireplace that could not even melt gold?

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This statement is presenting a false either/or situation (particularly since you did not bother to answer the gist of my suggestion). This is not so simple a matter as to be an either/or. If the Wise are to be judged by such a standard then the standard must be applied to their Enemy as well. The obvious correlation is since Sauron failed to conquer the world in several millennia of trying, he has to be incompetent. He is also incompetent because it took him so long to figure out what had happened to the Ring.
Not true at all. The good guys only won by sheer luck. The destruction of the ring was the only way in which they could win.
If they could have destroyed the Ring much sooner than when it actually happened, a great deal of wars and battles and suffering could have been avoided. The destruction of Sauron in the year 2 of the TA would have been a greater victory for ME than his actual defeat 3000 plus years later. This is what people fail to see.
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Old 07-19-2004, 12:25 PM   #32
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He knew that Bibo's ring and Sauron's ring had similar looks,
And he probably also knew that many other rings in the world were plain, golden rings. Why should it be just the One Ring, that had been missing for so long and was thought to be flushed out into the Sea?
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Old 07-19-2004, 01:15 PM   #33
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Please provide evidence as to wether these supposed other lesser rings where.
What? Could you restate that in a less garbled fashion?

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In that particular instance he was incompetent.
He was mistaken. It is not the same thing as incompetence. A mistake is simply an error. Incompetence categorizes the subject as being wholly unfitted for the required task. You have made a convincing argument that the Wise (and Gandalf in particular) made a mistake (a mistake he owned up to). You have yet to make anything approaching a convincing argument that Gandalf (or anybody else) making a mistake means that they are incompetent.

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IMO Gandalf deceived himself by saying, well if Saruman who studied the lore of the Rings think that it is lost then it must be so.
Perhaps. However, defering to another’s judgement is not proof of incompetence. Nobody had reason to suspect that Saruman was a traitor at this point. Interestingly enough, at the time of the last meeting of the White Council (according to the Tale of Years) Saruman had not even then made his final descent into evil. There was no reason to suppose that Saruman was not telling the truth as far as he knew it.

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A note about fires, you don't mean the same fire in Bilbo's fireplace that could not even melt gold?
You are being deliberately obtuse. Gandalf did not know that the letters (or whatever) would be there to be seen. He investigated that possibility as soon as he considered a means of doing so.

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The good guys only won by sheer luck. The destruction of the ring was the only way in which they could win.
Yet again you have missed the point of what I was trying to say.

How does their victory by luck prove they were incompetent? I could name many instances where highly competent individuals succeeded by luck (or at least what is called luck). That is just a part of life.

Quote:
If they could have destroyed the Ring much sooner than when it actually happened, a great deal of wars and battles and suffering could have been avoided. The destruction of Sauron in the year 2 of the TA would have been a greater victory for ME than his actual defeat 3000 plus years later.
While this may be true, this does not have much to do with what we are talking about. That should be discussed under a thread titled “Why didn’t the Elves Push Isildur into Mount Doom when they had the Chance?” While I personally think that they should have dumped Isildur into the volcano and been done with it; that they did not is not proof of incompetence. The usual defense is more of a moral argument.
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Old 07-19-2004, 01:44 PM   #34
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Well, I figured this theory would seem too anti-good guy to fly with most, but I'm surprised that there hasn't been anyone at all on the Downs that is willing to play along a bit and maybe has some thoughts or quotes that would go with it.
Quotes? OK.

Quote:
"And this is the dreadful chance, Frodo. He believed that the One had perished; that the Elves had destroyed it, as should have been done. But he knows now that it has not perished, that it has been found. So he is seeking it, seeking it, and all his thought is bent on it. It is his great hope and our great fear."
"Why, why wasn't it destroyed?" cried Frodo. "And how did the Enemy ever come to lose it, if he was so strong, and it was so precious to him?".....
"It was taken from him", said Gandalf. "The strength of the elves to resist him was greater long ago; and not all men were estranged from them. The men of Westernesse came to their aid."
bold emphasis mine; italics Tolkien's

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Then all listened while Elrond in his clear voice spoke of Sauron and the Rings of Power, and their forging in the Second Age of the world long ago. A part of his tale was known to some there, but the full tale to none, and many eyes were turned to Elrond in fear and wonder as he told of the Elven-smiths of Eregion and their friendship for knowledge, by which Sauron ensnared him.
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At this the stranger, Boromir, broke in. "So that is what became of the Ring!" he cried. "If ever such a tale was told in the South, it has long been forgotten. I have heard of the Great Ring of him that we do not name; but we believed that it perished from the world in the ruin of his first realm."
I had a point to make with this, but unfortunately no time to make it. So, I'll be Bach.
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Old 07-20-2004, 07:23 AM   #35
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Incompetence categorizes the subject as being wholly unfitted for the required task
Well, Kuru, I hate to say it but I think that Gandalf was "unfitted for the required task" (that task being the defeat of Sauron).

I also believe that Gandalf was meant for the job.

Confusing? Well, let me use another example to explain.

Frodo was meant to be the Ring bearer, but he certainly wasn't fit for the job. When it came down to it he could not destroy the Ring. He failed though he was the perfect one for the task.

Gandalf as the leader of the resistance to Sauron also failed. Remember, Gandalf died when he fought the Balrog. At that point it was over for the good guys. Just imagine the rest of the book without the things that Gandalf did. But Eru sent him back (with extra power) and so ammended his failure.

Similarly, when Frodo failed Eru stepped in and made everything turn out okay.
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The good guys only won by sheer luck. The destruction of the ring was the only way in which they could win.
And I would add that the destruction of the Ring was not possible, making the good guys losers no matter what.

Thank Eru for Eru.
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Old 07-20-2004, 08:49 AM   #36
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I think that Gandalf was "unfitted for the required task" (that task being the defeat of Sauron).
According to Letter #156, Tolkien didn't think Gandalf was't fir for the job, but that the task had become too grave for the Istari to cope with, within the rules set for them:
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Gandalf alone fully passes the tests, on a moral plane anyway (he makes mistakes of judgement). For in his condition it was for him a sacrifice to perish on the Bridge in defence of his companions, less perhaps than for a mortal Man or Hobbit, since he had a far greater inner power than they; but also more, since it was a humbling and abnegation of himself in conformity to 'the Rules': for all he could know at that moment he was the only person who could direct the resistance to Sauron successfully, and all his mission was vain. He was handing over to the Authority that ordained the Rules, and giving up personal hope of success.
That I should say is what the Authority wished, as a set-off to Saruman. The 'wizards', as such, had failed; or if you like: the crisis had become too grave and needed an enhancement of power. So Gandalf sacrificed himself, was accepted, and enhanced, and returned. 'Yes, that was the name. I was Gandalf.'
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And I would add that the destruction of the Ring was not possible, making the good guys losers no matter what.
I agree with you, that it was not in the power of the 'good guys' to destroy the Ring, but not that that fact makes them "losers", not in the sense which is mostly attached to that word. They would loose for all the knew, but were not losers.
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Old 07-20-2004, 04:18 PM   #37
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I think the Wise would have been incompetent if they had not picked out the best means of disposing of their little problem.

They decided that the best solution was to destroy the Ring (thinking out of the box). They endeavored to get that job done. They did a darn good job of keeping Sauron completely bamboozeled about their true intentions.

That does not sound terribly incompetent to me.
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Old 07-20-2004, 05:47 PM   #38
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That does not sound terribly incompetent to me.
I don't think I ever said they were "incompetent".

I'm talking more along the lines of incapable, though when I looked up incompetent in the thesaurus a couple of the synonyms seemed applicable. The synonyms listed under ineffectual seem to work well (eg unsuccessful and inadequate) so perhaps that is a better word to use.
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making the good guys losers no matter what
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but not that that fact makes them "losers", not in the sense which is mostly attached to that word.
If other people choose to attach a "sense" to the word losers then they can if they want, but I'm not. I meant losers exactly how it is said in the context of my argument, which was that the good guys were on the losing side of a conflict.
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Old 07-20-2004, 08:08 PM   #39
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Silmaril *Stop press* Eru incompetent

Ah, what a wonderful thing is hindsight!

As I said earlier on in this thread, Gandalf did the best that he could in light of his circumstances and the information available to him at the time. But he was only human (or, rather, subject to human frailties). So, while he undoubtedly had great wisdom, he was not above making mistakes. He may well have been guilty of an error of judgment in not taking more concerted action to identify the nature of the Ring earlier, but I would not equate this with incomptence or inadequacy. Perhaps he would have done things differently with the benefit of hindsight, but he chose the course of action which seemed the best to him at the time.

And perhaps it was a good thing that he did. What would have happened had he discovered the true identity of the Ring much earlier? Would Bilbo have undertaken the Quest to destory it. Who would he have taken with him? Would he have succeeded to the extent that Frodo did? Possibly, given that Sauron was not as strong. But what of Saruman? Quite possibly he would have been present at the council to decide the fate of the Ring. If he had offered to take custody of it, or at least accompany the Ringbearer on the Quest, would any have opposed him at that time? Even were Gandalf also present on the Quest, would he (as Gandalf the Grey) have been able to protect the Ringbearer from Saruman? Probably not, given that Saruman was able to overpower him in Orthanc.

So perhaps things worked out for the best after all.

In any event, if failure to take an early course of action that would have prevented much suffering equates to incompetence, then Eru was the most incompetent of all. He was able to intervene to oppose Sauron, for example by "arranging" for Bilbo to find the Ring and, of course, by giving Gollum a little "nudge" at Sammath Naur. So why didn't he just intervene by having Sauron drop the Ring in the fire just after he had forged it? Talk about incompetence!
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Old 07-21-2004, 11:04 AM   #40
Maédhros
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What? Could you restate that in a less garbled fashion?
Ok, there is this theory that I have seen in this thread that it seems that they could be more rings than the 20 that I know of. (9 for the humans, 3 elves, 7 dwarves and 1 of Sauron).
I do not seem to recall that there were other rings besides those (at least magic rings made by the Elves in Eregion). Do you or anyone else has any proof to the contrary, that there could be other lesser rings which didn't have gems in them that could have the similar description as Sauron's ring?
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As I said earlier on in this thread, Gandalf did the best that he could in light of his circumstances and the information available to him at the time. But he was only human (or, rather, subject to human frailties). So, while he undoubtedly had great wisdom, he was not above making mistakes. He may well have been guilty of an error of judgment in not taking more concerted action to identify the nature of the Ring earlier, but I would not equate this with incomptence or inadequacy. Perhaps he would have done things differently with the benefit of hindsight, but he chose the course of action which seemed the best to him at the time.
hindsight: Perception of the significance and nature of events after they have occurred.

Lets see if hindsight was needed:
1. Gandalf felt uneasy about Bilbo's ring.
2. Gandalf knew that both rings had similar descriptions 11 years after Bilbo returned to the Shire in the White council discussion.
3. Gandalf while in that council mistrusted Saruman as to not tell him about Bilbo's ring but was satisfied about his conclusions that the ring could not be found.
4. In a world where gut feelings are as important of more important than common sense then was Gandalf not following his feeling odd?
5. If they were only 20 rings, what was the probability that Bilbo's ring was Sauron's? P=1/20, now knowing about the ones of the Ring wraiths and the 3 Elven ones, we have P=1/8, yet in his visit to Dol Guldur, he could at least discount one of those 7 dwarven rings. P=1/7.
With all those facts, do you really think that one needed hindsight at that point? Wow. With that information, it did not warrant an inmediate research about his ring?

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In any event, if failure to take an early course of action that would have prevented much suffering equates to incompetence, then Eru was the most incompetent of all. He was able to intervene to oppose Sauron, for example by "arranging" for Bilbo to find the Ring and, of course, by giving Gollum a little "nudge" at Sammath Naur. So why didn't he just intervene by having Sauron drop the Ring in the fire just after he had forged it? Talk about incompetence!
The difference is that while Eru can see the events from an outside perspective (being God) he probably knows that the things that will happen there will be readressed at a later time eg. Arda remade.
While the Istari had an insiders perspective in ME that they were the enemies of Sauron and I believe that if they could accomplish their mission 50 years earlier, it would have saved some suffering in the world.
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