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View Poll Results: Who, in the Lord of the Rings, was the most effective liar?
Boromir 0 0%
Denethor 1 1.92%
Gollum 2 3.85%
Saruman 14 26.92%
Sauron 22 42.31%
Wormtongue 13 25.00%
Voters: 52. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-26-2007, 07:01 PM   #1
littlemanpoet
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Who, in The Lord of the Rings, was the most effective liar?

Effective liar. Not the most prone, not the most self deceived, not the most obvious; no; rather, the most effective. Cast your vote and explain your thinking, if you like.
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Old 11-26-2007, 07:55 PM   #2
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It can't be Boromir for his deception was short-lived and dubious in the first place as he regretted it and tried to heal the damage he had done. He was indeed effective to the good side in the end.

It won't be Denethor either for me as his lie was not effective enough to lead Gandalf and the defence of Minas Tirith astray.

With Gollum there is the problem of only one part of him being treacherous as Frodo's behaviour managed to bring forth the other one: Sméagol against Déagol - even if the dark one could have been said to talk through the good one at times.

Saruman's lies were also not profound enough to get my vote here as he too was revealed as what he was quite early on and he failed badly in the end and managed only through Wormtongue in relation to the Rohirrim.

That would leave Sauron and Wormtongue for me.

Sauron has his credits: swaying the smiths to forge the rings is a case in point. Fooling Saruman, the greatest of the Maiar in the ME and Denethor the steward of Gondor in a tight place are credits for him as well. There is effectiveness to the largest scale.

But Wormtongue also was effective in ther scale of his reach. He managed to fool Théoden for a long time and would have been succesful if Gandalf had not broken the spell he had wowen. Also he managed to fool Saruman himself from his real feelings and capabilities in the end.

So I would need to choose between the two until you give other arguments for me to change my mind on this.
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Last edited by Nogrod; 11-26-2007 at 08:57 PM. Reason: Changed an "of" to a "from" which indeed means the thing I meant... ;)
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:03 PM   #3
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There’s no doubt about it, Sauron the deceiver lied to the great smiths to create rings of power, so that he could give them to the great leaders of the races of Middle Earth, in hopes of controlling them all.

-He nearly controlled the Elves, but they were too clever for him.
-The Dwarves were a hardy race, and to resistant for him to take an immediate toll on them.
-The leaders of the race of men, however, fell victim to his scheme and became his greatest servants, the Nazgul.

Sauron also through his web of lies and deceit gained another dark servant: Saruman, another person who was known to be skilled with deceiving people and controlling them, as we saw with Theoden.

Now I have nothing to prove this thought, but wasn’t Sauron the one who brought about the destruction of Numenor? I’m pretty sure he corrupted the King at the time, but it has been a long time since I have read the Silmarillion.
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Groin Redbeard View Post
Now I have nothing to prove this thought, but wasn’t Sauron the one who brought about the destruction of Numenor? I’m pretty sure he corrupted the King at the time
Yes, you are right. And Sauron's a very talented liar. I'll vote for him.

So far Wormtongue is the only other one in the running.
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:40 PM   #5
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You didn't ask best you asked most effective. Given the difference in powers and whatnot I would have to say Wormtongue as his 'powers' were rather limited and finite yet his decite accomplished a great deal towards his cause. He nearly fooled an entire kingdom and lacking Gandalf he would have been successful.
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:32 AM   #6
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Saruman's other lie

I though I should point out that Saruman gets away with another lie earlier in the book one that in its own way is both more audacios and more effective than any he is able to put over on Theoden via Wormtounge. The lie is when he tells the Morgul King that he does not know where the Shire is. As pointed out in the Unfinished Tales, Saruman would have had to know where it was. The agumen made goes something like this. Like Gandalf, Saruman by this tile also used pipeweed (Merry after being woken up by Aragorn and looking for his pipe says that the pipeweed he has is "some of Saruman's best") Since its use is still more or less unkown Tolkein makes it clear that the Shire and its immediate environs is the only place in middle earth from which pipeweed can be obtained. Therefore, anyone who uses pipeweed must have business contacts within the shire, or at least within hobbit lands. This lie is in its own way more audacious than those to Theoden. After all theoden represented little threat to Saruman on his own (i.e. sans ents and hourns) whereas lying to the morgul king if the lie was found out risked incurring the wrath of both the Morgul king (who is proably more powerful that Saruman one on one already by the time of the lie) and of Sauron himself. Even if Saruman was not yet in Sauron's thrall lying to the morgul king would be a risky move at best.
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod
Saruman's lies were also not profound enough to get my vote here as he too was revealed as what he was quite early on and he failed badly in the end and managed only through Wormtongue in relation to the Rohirrim.
Quite early on? Hm... I wouldn't say so. He was discovered a few months before the end of the Third Age, and he had his way for more than 160 years, fooling Men, Elves and other Istari.
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Fooling Saruman, the greatest of the Maiar in the ME
Hm... I kinda doubt he still had that title by that time, nor that he was fooled - his eye was "trapped and held" by Sauron, he was persuaded and daunted, but I don't think he was lied to by Sauron.
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Denethor the steward of Gondor in a tight place are credits for him as well
I disagree with this too; Sauron wasn't able to make the palantir "lie", only to direct its "vision". While it may qualify as a deceit, it is not a lie, in the context of this thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Groin Redbeard
There’s no doubt about it, Sauron the deceiver lied to the great smiths to create rings of power, so that he could give them to the great leaders of the races of Middle Earth, in hopes of controlling them all.

-He nearly controlled the Elves, but they were too clever for him.
Well, isn't the Second Age too early to be considered in this thread? And about the elves, I doubt he would have controlled them as an entire species, if three of them would have kept their rings on.
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wasn’t Sauron the one who brought about the destruction of Numenor?
Well, also, too early - I would say. [And, considering the state of Ar-Pharazon, it wasn't that much of an accomplishment. Saruman, the Jack-of-all-trades, with his Voice, is capable of achieving the same, in my opinion.]
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:46 AM   #8
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I said Saruman...I'll get to the full explanation later, when I have more time. But pretty much it's summed up in Raynor's point:

Quote:
He was discovered a few months before the end of the Third Age, and he had his way for more than 160 years, fooling Men, Elves and other Istari.
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:50 AM   #9
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Ah, I see that a name is omitted from this list. Surely the most effective liar in Lord of the Rings is the author himself, given the vigor of his imagination and the power of his conception to lead people to want to believe in Middle-earth, if not engage in actual belief itself that this is a story of our world's early ages.

And if the power of the tale itself is not evidence enough, consider his own statements. Look at his claim in the Prologue that hobbits "are an unobstrusive but very ancient people, more numerous formerly than they are today--now there's the very kind of falsehood the author engages in blatently stated--and the present tense continues in the subseqent paragraphs, leading to such statements as imply the existence of Dwarves (the race, not simply small humans) and indeed the author even makes the very claim that "Hobbits are relatives of ours". And one more example of the kind of lies our author makes which forms the very basis of the effectiveness of his fantastic art:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The author himself
Those days, the Third Age of Middle-earth, are now long past, and the shape of all lands has been changed; but the regions in which Hobbits then lived were doubtless the same as those in which they still linger: the North-West of the Old World, east of the Sea.
And then there's that self-made confession in the Foreward to the Second Edition: "I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability. . .".

It cannot be said our author affirmeth nothing when he affirms that these are tales of the early years of our world. And who of us when reading are not convinced of these words, not merely suspending our disbelief but actually persuaded of the world? Indeed, the Author even went to some effort in a long essay to elucidate the nature of his persuasive art: developing desirability. There can be no fuller confession of the nature of the effectivenses of his authorial method than this.
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:53 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mormegil View Post
Given the difference in powers and whatnot I would have to say Wormtongue as his 'powers' were rather limited and finite yet his decite accomplished a great deal towards his cause. He nearly fooled an entire kingdom and lacking Gandalf he would have been successful.
Your right about Grima almost fooled the ruler of an entire Kingdom, but he didn't succeed. It seems that Grima's only acconmplishement was to hold back Theoden from taking action against Saruman at the time. Besides, Grima was mearly a puppet for Saruman's master-plan, and Saruman was in turn a puppet for Sauron's master-plan. So you see, it all comes back to Sauron no matter on how you look at it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raynor
Well, isn't the Second Age too early to be considered in this thread?
It dosen't say anywhere that we just have to be proned to focusing on achievements done in the Third Age.

Quote:
And, considering the state of Ar-Pharazon, it wasn't that much of an accomplishment. Saruman, the Jack-of-all-trades, with his Voice, is capable of achieving the same, in my opinion.
Sauron destroyed an entire island, the homeland of the Numenoreans, the greatest fighting men of the age. Now if that's not an accomplishment I'd like to see what is.

You say that Saruman was capable of doing the same to the island of Numenor. He very well might have been able to, but he didn't. Therefore that makes Saurons acheivments all the more amazing, because no-one in the history of Middle Earth has done such an amazing feat.
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Old 11-27-2007, 09:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groin Redbeard
Besides, Grima was mearly a puppet for Saruman's master-plan, and Saruman was in turn a puppet for Sauron's master-plan. So you see, it all comes back to Sauron no matter on how you look at it.
But we are not talking about who is the most adept strategist - but who is the most effective liar... you know.. the groundwork .
Quote:
It dosen't say anywhere that we just have to be proned to focusing on achievements done in the Third Age.
I disagree... The very prologue of the LotR qualifies it as a story of the end of the Third Age. If we allow ourselves to extend its reach at will, then why not include Melkor in the vote; he would be a sure winner by all accounts.
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Sauron destroyed an entire island, the homeland of the Numenoreans, the greatest fighting men of the age. Now if that's not an accomplishment I'd like to see what is.
It was not Sauron who physically destroyed Numenor. As for its moral decay, it began even before him.
Quote:
You say that Saruman was capable of doing the same to the island of Numenor. He very well might have been able to, but he didn't. Therefore that makes Saurons acheivments all the more amazing, because no-one in the history of Middle Earth has done such an amazing feat.
Again, we are back at disregarding the boundaries of LotR and arbitrarily setting our own. Melkor accomplished far greater destructions, directly and indirectly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfirin
I though I should point out that Saruman gets away with another lie earlier in the book one that in its own way is both more audacios and more effective than any he is able to put over on Theoden via Wormtounge. The lie is when he tells the Morgul King that he does not know where the Shire is.
Great point indeed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The hunt for the ring, UT
Such was still the power of the voice of Saruman that even the Lord of the Nazgul did not question what it said, whether it was false or short of the full truth; but straightway he rode from the Gate and began to hunt for Gandalf in Rohan.
I would further like to point that Saruman's voice is not magical, which adds even more credit to him, as far as this thread is concerned (emphasis original):
Quote:
Originally Posted by Letter #210
Saruman's voice was not hypnotic but persuasive. Those who listened to him were not in danger of falling into a trance, but of agreeing with his arguments, while fully awake. It was always open to one to reject, by free will and reason, both his voice while speaking and its after-impressions. Saruman corrupted the reasoning powers.
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Old 11-27-2007, 09:43 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Alfirin View Post
whereas lying to the morgul king if the lie was found out risked incurring the wrath of both the Morgul king (who is proably more powerful that Saruman one on one already by the time of the lie) and of Sauron himself. Even if Saruman was not yet in Sauron's thrall lying to the morgul king would be a risky move at best.
Why might the Morgul king have been more powerful than Saruman? He was nothing but a Man, a wraith, even though one of Sauron's most powerful captains, whereas Saruman was one of the Istari and of much greater origin than the Morgul king. Sauron had far greater armies than Saruman though, but what could he have done to Saruman himself? And it would have been only ridiculous, had Sauron started to fight against Saruman instead of Gondor and Rohan...

I voted for Saruman.

I fail to see what made Boromir a liar. He never meant anything bad to happen, it wasn't his fault the Ring attracted him, and he never really lied. I would forget the incident on Amon Hen- Boromir wasn't being himself and soon recovered and regretted what he had done. And, as far as I see it, Boromir's lies didn't cause anything bad to happen, on the contrary. Frodo succeeded because he left the Fellowship then, and we don't know what would have happened, had he not done it on that very moment.
Sauron was scarier and more powerful as a servant of Melko than as the Dark Lord on the throne of Mordor. Furhermore, his power was rather in violence than in verbal things.
Gollum never really achieved anything by lying. In the end all his lies turned against him. The same goes with Denethor.

Even though he never had as great plans and motives, I think Wormtongue was in a way a better liar than Saruman- mainly because he wasn't too full of himself to see what happened around him (which happened to Saruman). What makes Saruman more effective is that he really used his power and knowledge. Wormtongue had a strong influence on Rohan's politics, true, but why was he working? Not for his own fun, surely, he never gained anything by betraying Théoden. He was Saruman's puppet, and his lies came directly from Saruman.

Saruman dared to cheat the other members of the White Council for quite a long time, and I think that was riskier than lying to the Morgul king. And would he have been revealed even that early, had he not decided to tell Gandalf about his plans?

Saruman's voice was of course an effective talent when it comes to lying. Nogrod said Saruman's lies were not profound enough, but it was his voice that made them profound and believable if they weren't that by themselves.

If there was something Saruman succeeded in, it was destroying the Shire for a while. After Saruman's death the damage done was fixed, but the whole country was under his control before Frodo & co. returned.
Everyone can decide themselves if it was a difficult thing to scare some Hobbits who didn't know anything about the cruel world, though...

Considering the Downfall of Númenor, I think Saruman would have managed to destroy Númenor with the same means Sauron did, had he been there in Sauron's stead.
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Old 11-27-2007, 09:46 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Nogrod View Post
It can't be Boromir for his deception was short-lived and dubious in the first place as he regretted it and tried to heal the damage he had done. He was indeed effective to the good side in the end.

It won't be Denethor either for me as his lie was not effective enough to lead Gandalf and the defence of Minas Tirith astray.

With Gollum there is the problem of only one part of him being treacherous as Frodo's behaviour managed to bring forth the other one: Sméagol against Déagol - even if the dark one could have been said to talk through the good one at times.

Saruman's lies were also not profound enough to get my vote here as he too was revealed as what he was quite early on and he failed badly in the end and managed only through Wormtongue in relation to the Rohirrim.

That would leave Sauron and Wormtongue for me.

Sauron has his credits: swaying the smiths to forge the rings is a case in point. Fooling Saruman, the greatest of the Maiar in the ME and Denethor the steward of Gondor in a tight place are credits for him as well. There is effectiveness to the largest scale.

But Wormtongue also was effective in ther scale of his reach. He managed to fool Théoden for a long time and would have been succesful if Gandalf had not broken the spell he had wowen. Also he managed to fool Saruman himself from his real feelings and capabilities in the end.

So I would need to choose between the two until you give other arguments for me to change my mind on this.
My reasoning mostly. I voted Wormtongue.
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Old 11-27-2007, 09:58 AM   #14
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Ah, I see that a name is omitted from this list. Surely the most effective liar in Lord of the Rings is the author himself,
Clever, and your point is well taken; however, the question is asked of those "IN" LotR whereas the author stands outside it. So it is not, technically, an omission.

As for "too early", Raynor and others, it's an open debate as to what status the Appendices have by way of "IN LotR", as the question was stated. So I'll allow the appendices as part of LotR for the purposes of this discussion.

Effectiveness must take into account who gets misled and who doesn't. Wormtongue misleads the Rohirrim but not Gandalf. Saruman misleads Radagast & many of the Rohirrim but not Eomer and not Gandalf. And so on.
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:08 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by littlemanpoet
Saruman misleads Radagast & many of the Rohirrim but not Eomer and not Gandalf.
I disagree; Gandalf was misled all the way up to the day he was imprisoned.
Quote:
As for "too early", Raynor and others, it's an open debate as to what status the Appendices have by way of "IN LotR", as the question was stated. So I'll allow the appendices as part of LotR for the purposes of this discussion.
Then, as said previously, we must include Melkor in the poll. He too is mentioned in the appendices, and, passingly, in the story itself. In fact, it may be said that all the other baddies owe a great deal to him, in terms of the effectiveness of their lying:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Of the Voyage of Earendil and the War of Wrath, Silmarillion
Yet the lies that Melkor, the mighty and accursed, Morgoth Bauglir, the Power of Terror and of Hate, sowed in the hearts of Elves and Men are a seed that does not die and cannot be destroyed; and ever and anon it sprouts anew, and will bear dark fruit even unto the latest days.
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Old 11-27-2007, 01:03 PM   #16
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Ah, I see that a name is omitted from this list. Surely the most effective liar in Lord of the Rings is the author himself.
Strange, Bethberry, but when I first read the question, this was also the first thought that leapt to my mind.

Quote:
Clever, and your point is well taken; however, the question is asked of those "IN" LotR whereas the author stands outside it. So it is not, technically, an omission.
Littlemanpoet,

On one level, what you are saying is obviously correct. But there is another way to view things. By the rules set up by JRRT, the writer(s) of the Redbook implicitly lie within the story. Moreover, you have several overall narrators of the Legendarium, who were introduced earlier at different points. These historical/mythical narrators technically fall within Middle-earth. In effect, there is a widening circle of narrators, who have one or more feet inside the tale. At what point, do these concentric rings stop? At what point does history become myth (and vice versa)? Does that circle extend far enough to take in Tolkien and, in effect, make him the biggest and most effective liar of all?

On the other hand, if you look at some of the language of certain Letters, Tolkien did feel that he was writing something that already existed as truth on some level. He was not lying or inventing. He was telling the truth about something that he was fortunate enough to be able to get a glimse of. That may be why his story rings so true to those of us who aren't so fortunate to possess that ability to "see" things on that level.

This wasn't what the original question you raised. But on some level, it's fascinating to ask how the author stands in relation to truth and not truth. Either he is an enormously effective liar or the conveyor of some fundamental truths that the rest of us can't see as well as he did.

On a practical basis, however, my vote goes to Sauron.
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Old 11-27-2007, 01:19 PM   #17
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This wasn't what the original question you raised. But on some level, it's fascinating to ask how the author stands in relation to truth and not truth. Either he is an enormously effective liar or the conveyor of some fundamental truths that the rest of us can't see as well as he did.
Well, there is no better time to post this conversation between Tolkien and Lewis:
Quote:
Originally Posted by "He has been inside his language, Part Four, JRR Tolkien: A Biograph, by Humphrey Carpenter
- But, said Lewis, myths are lies, even though lies breathed through silver.

- No, said Tolkien, they are not.

And, indicating the great trees of Magdalen Grove as their branches bent in the wind, he struck out a different line of argument.

- You call a tree a tree, he said, and you think nothing more of the word. But it was not a ‘tree’ until someone gave it that name. You call a star a star, and say it is just a ball of matter moving on a mathematical course. But that is merely how you see it. By so naming things and describing them you are only inventing your own terms about them. And just as speech is invention about objects and ideas, so myth is invention about truth.

We have come from God (continued Tolkien), and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming a ‘sub-creator’ and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic ‘progress’ leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.
I find this view of myths/myths making as one of Tolkien's most profound ideas... and one of the main reasons I like his work so much
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:36 PM   #18
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Well, from the way this thread has been set up by lmp (and I guess it was intentional ) is that there is no "correct" answer. All of them really are good choices. In fact, I think the list should be expanded...what about Gandalf and/or Aragorn who were great deceivers themselves! Making Sauron believe they were going to use the Ring to overthrow him, but instead sneak in 2 little hobbits to destroy it. Talk about deception!

Anyway as far as my vote for Saruman. To add onto some of the points...sure you can question parts of Tolkien's letters. But the specific part, from Letter 210, Raynor uses I think fits perfectly in line with LOTR.

Quote:
Saruman's voice was not hypnotic but persuasive. Those who listened to him were not in danger of falling into a trance, but of agreeing with his arguments, while fully awake. It was always open to one to reject, by free will and reason, both his voice while speaking and its after-impressions. Saruman corrupted the reasoning powers.
If we look at Saruman being able to completely fool Radagast and have Gandalf 'blinded' up until Saruman imprisons him; that is quite impressive. Sure, it's mentioned Gandalf was having some wariness as far as what Saruman was up to, but it's clear Gandalf still trusted Saruman up until his imprisonment:
Quote:
"At first I feared, as Saruman no doubt intended, that Radagast had also fallen. Yet I had caught no hint of anything wrong in his voice or in his eye at our meeting. If I had, I should never have gone to Isengard, or I should have gone more warily. So Saruman guessed, and he had concealed his mind and deceived his messenger."~The Council of Elrond
Saruman is such an effective liar he completely deceives Radagast, which leads Gandalf to Isengard completely unaware that Saruman is a traitor. As Gandalf says himself, when first hearing Saruman wanted to have a little chat:
Quote:
"And that message brought me hope. For Saruman the White is the greatest of my order."~ibid
And the thing is, it's not only two co-workers Saruman tricks, it's virtually everyone, as everyone was surprised by Saruman's betrayal...

The 'wisest' of the Elves:
Quote:
There was a silence. At last Elrond spoke again. "This is grievous news concerning Saruman." he said; "for we trusted him and he is deep in all our counsels..."~ibid
Men of Gondor and Rohan:
Quote:
In this way Saruman began to behave as a lord of Men; for at first he held Isengard as a lieutenant to the Steward and warden of the tower. But Frealaf was as glad as Beren to have this so, and to know that Isengard was in the hands of a strong friend. A friend he long seemed, and maybe in the beginning he was one in truth. Though afterwards there was little doubt in men's minds that Saruman went to Isengard in hope to find the Stone still there, and with the purpose of building up a power of his own. Certainly after the last White Council (2953) his designs towards Rohan, though he hid them, were evil.~Appendix A: The House of Eorl
From this we see Saruman is able to fool mostly all the "good" people up until Gandalf tells the Council of his imprisonment. It wasn't until afterwards when everyone realized Saruman had been deceiving them all and hiding his true intent. Afterall he had Rohan's trust, and Denethor had been counseling his father to listen to Saruman. But, can't put it any better than Gandalf's words to the Council of Elrond:
Quote:
"Gandalf the grey caught like a fly in a spider's treacherous web! Yet even the most subtle spiders may leave a weak thread."
Saruman revealed his "true" mind to Gandalf, in hopes of persuading him, this backfired and Saruman's intentions became known. But, up until that point, boy what a 'treacherous web' Saruman did weave. Can you imagine how long he could have kept up his web of deceits had Gandalf not escaped?

Getting back to Letter 210 and Saruman 'corrupting the reasoning abilities', I wanted to point out this interesting part from The Voice of Saruman. First, let me add at this time Saruman's power was in a decline:
Quote:
"But I fear your voice has lost its charm."~Theoden
I can go on and pull out all these various quotes where it shows Saruman holding the Men of Rohan under his 'sway' but the one section which I think truly highlights Tolkien's point in Letter 210 is here:
Quote:
So great was the power that Saruman exerted in this last effort that none that stood within hearing were unmoved. But now the spell was wholly different. They heard the gentle remonstrance of a kindly king with an erring but much-loved minister. But they were shut out, listening at a door overhearing athe elusive discourse of their elders, and wondering how it would afferct their lot. Of loftier mould these two were made: reverend and wise. It was inevitable that they should make alliance. Gandalf would ascend into the tower, to discuss deep things beyond their comprehension in the high chambers of Orthanc. The door would be closed, and they would be left outside, dismissed to await allotted work or punishment. Even in the mind of Theoden the thought took shape, like a shadow of doubt: 'He will betray use; he will go - we shall be lost.'~The Voice of Saruman
Saruman's power is waning, yet his last effort was so effective he was able to weave a seed of doubt into everyone who could hear him. Theoden just got done telling Saruman to buzz off and he even had a thought that Gandalf would ally with Saruman!

I like morm's point about Grima, and considered him, since he is a Man. But, what made me ultimately chose Saruman was the fact that Grima was Saruman's pawn.
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Old 11-27-2007, 09:27 PM   #19
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I must say I really approved of Bêthberry's point on Tolkien being the master deceiver in the first place - as well as Boro's points about Gandalf being a master as well.

But if we need to choose between the choices given to us by lmp I'd still say that the real choice is between Sauron and Wormtongue - even if I do appreciate now more some of the arguments made in favour of Saruman.

But in the end this sure is a question of a larger scale interpretation which is always open to doubt.

But let me just ask you "the defenders of Saruman" how on earth do you come to an outcome where Saruman is the most effective liar if he himself is completely fooled by Sauron?

Saruman thinks he has a chance to world domination and Sauron feeds his dreams to make him an auxiliary in his own war against the free races promising him might - and letting him believe he can be the master of his own destiny. Surely Saruman would have been disposable as soon as the time would have been ripe for it. But it was advantageous for Sauron to let Saruman to believe he was an independent player on the map who could have his own moves. So he was lured to be a pawn of Sauron. Now that I would call effective lying.

Yes Saruman was a maia but so was Sauron - and Gandalf. But who of them was the most powerful? It would be hard to see that even Gandalf in his post-death might would have dared to confront Sauron. He did fool Sauron with his plan of the two hobbits entering Mordor to destroy the ring but unfortunately Gandalf was not among the choices we had.

And btw. it's not very fruitful to discuss whether Saruman could have destroyed a whole island of the greatest civilisation on the the Middle-Earth like Sauron did by lying as he didn't do it. The question of the most effective liar handles things that happened, not what someone could have done...

Also I think Raynor is right in asking whether things before the LotR are to be taken into account as lmp's original question concerned the LotR.

I myself took account of things not in the LotR and thence admit having spoken of wrong things.

But still I'd say it's Sauron (I voted him indeed) or then Wormtongue if we think of the handicap he had in power...
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Old 11-27-2007, 10:18 PM   #20
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But let me just ask you "the defenders of Saruman" how on earth do you come to an outcome where Saruman is the most effective liar if he himself is completely fooled by Sauron?~Nogrod
How can Sauron be the 'most effective liar' if he is completely fooled by Gandalf et all? The 'effective' deceivers get deceived themselves.

But anyway, I disagree that Sauron was the one who fooled Saruman...Saruman wore some boots that were too big and deceived himself. Sauron just used it to his advantage.
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Old 11-28-2007, 03:52 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod
Saruman thinks he has a chance to world domination and Sauron feeds his dreams to make him an auxiliary in his own war against the free races promising him might - and letting him believe he can be the master of his own destiny.
I don't think that Sauron fed his dreams through lies. In fact, as UT tells us, he was furious to find out about Saruman lying and misleading his servants, but he had to bid his time. I don't know that Sauron promised Saruman any might; but even if he did, it didn't matter because Saruman still didn't believe him - which is what concerns this thread: the Jack-of-all-trades still planned and tried to usurp and replace Sauron and he still mislead his servants. Thus, Sauron's lies were ineffectual, since what he accomplished through them, if he did use them, was to have a snake in his own house, wrongfully trusted for some while.
Quote:
So he was lured to be a pawn of Sauron.
I don't think there was any luring of Saruman by Sauron to use the palantir - which is what trapped him. Later, Sauron used persuasion (which does not necessarily imply lying, we have no evidence of that, and even if it were, as pointed previously, it didn't work, quite the contrary) and daunting - not lying.
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:12 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlemanpoet View Post
Clever, and your point is well taken; however, the question is asked of those "IN" LotR whereas the author stands outside it. So it is not, technically, an omission.
As Child pointed out, there are narrators who are part of the story--I believe we even had a thread on the Conceit of the Narrator. Yet at the same time, there are many threads here which attempt to discover who Tolkien is by virtue of his writing--and not just the more autobiographical writings such as Leaf by Niggle and Smith of Wootton Major. There are many Downers no less than other readers (those poor unfortunates who have not found this piece of Middle-earth in the Seventh Age) who insist that we can know many things about an author from his work. There's an entire sub-category of literary analysis based upon psychoanalytic theory, for instance, as well as less theoretical interpretations which believe that the nature or character of the person is unfolded by his or her writing. So for those readers, Tolkien truly is in the text. He does, after all, have by far the greatest effect on the action, having decided either consciously or unconsciously what the story would be, where it would go, who would be the characters. Who other than the author has such an impact upon the action of the story?

But both Child's and Raynor's posts bring another interesting dimension to this question by pointing out that Tolkien, at some point in his life, decided or realized that what he was writing was true history, the very essence of real myth and he spent the remaining years of his life niggling his Legendarium to reflect more clearly aspects of his faith. Does this mean Tolkien saw himself as a Prophet, revealing God's truth? Did Tolkien believe that his writing personally helped him recover from the Fall--that is, did he believe that his writing granted him a State of Grace?
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:02 AM   #23
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Interpret it as you like, but for the purposes of this thread the only 6 choices are those provided. Sorry.

I'm rather impressed, however, with Gandalf as an effective liar. Creating poll threads is a rather dangerous business since someone else will pretty certainly think of something I didn't. So it goes.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:14 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by littlemanpoet View Post
Interpret it as you like, but for the purposes of this thread the only 6 choices are those provided. Sorry.

I'm rather impressed, however, with Gandalf as an effective liar. Creating poll threads is a rather dangerous business since someone else will pretty certainly think of something I didn't. So it goes.
Well, as mentioned, the issue is not just about those included, but the extent of time that is acceptable..
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Old 11-28-2007, 07:07 PM   #25
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Well, as mentioned, the issue is not just about those included, but the extent of time that is acceptable..
Well, I made a referee call but you disagreed.

This thread has gone south as far as I'm concerned, in directions I never intended. But it's not mine, it belongs to everybody who posts.

The most effective rule, if anybody really wants one (which I doubt), is to leave your discussions strictly to the contents of the 6 "books", not including the appendices. And not including clever stuff about the Redbook of Westmarch or Tolkien as one of the characters up for grabs.

But it seems like people are having just as much fun questioning or flouting the parameters, so if that's what you really want to do with this thread, have at it. There. My sour grapes have been squeezed out, and I'm done complaining. Have at it.

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Old 11-29-2007, 12:04 AM   #26
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But it seems like people are having just as much fun questioning or flouting the parameters, so if that's what you really want to do with this thread, have at it.~lmp
Aye, there's no sense in stomping out creativity. Even if it is a poll thread why set up restrictions and limit the possibilities? I didn't know the Down's decided to beef up their security and start screening what thoughtful input was allowed and what wasn't. "Sorry Miss, you are not allowed to bring Morgoth into this discussion. As you see he is not one of the acceptable choices."

I was told a story about a theater class. They decided to do the play Romeo and Juliet. However, there was only one boy who was not assigned a part, as they ran out of roles. So, the teacher asked him what he wanted to do, he could help behind the scenes, he could be a 'townsperson,' what did he want? The boy said he wanted to be a pig that shadowed Juliet and mirrored her emotions. The teacher laughed it off and said, "there are no pigs in Romeo and Juliet." The boy replied "Well, there is in this one."

By restricting the info that is allowed to be mentioned you discourage creative thinking, and creativity can offer fascinating insights that you never considered before.

With that said, this is a new idea, and a thread that has sparked some great discussion. So, how about we get back to that, eh?
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Old 11-29-2007, 03:52 AM   #27
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So, how about we get back to that, eh?
Carry on.

By the way, I'm voting Sauron. See, it occurred to me that not once did Gandalf actually speak any words directly to Sauron, so Gandalf cannot be said to have lied to him. He did, however, strategize in such a way that he knew, knowing evil for what it is, that Sauron would deceive himself. So Sauron sufficiently lied to himself to lose the war. Thus, with this added reason to others so far posted, Sauron was the most effective liar.
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:10 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Boromir88 View Post
If we look at Saruman being able to completely fool Radagast and have Gandalf 'blinded' up until Saruman imprisons him; that is quite impressive. Sure, it's mentioned Gandalf was having some wariness as far as what Saruman was up to, but its clear Gandalf still trusted Saruman up until his imprisonment.
And why is this a great accomplishment? Gandalf had no reason to believe that Saruman had joined forces with Sauron, so he obviously believed Saruman wanted to talk with him, which Saruman did.

Quote:
It was not Sauron who physically destroyed Numenor. As for its moral decay, it began even before him.
That's right, but he was a key figure that played a significant role in the island's downfall.


What I've been trying to point out was that even though Grima and Saruman are both effective liars, but both failed to gain anything by it.

-Gandalf didn't join Saruman when he was given the choice, and escaped even when Saruman imprisoned him.

-Saruman and Grima had temporary hold over Théoden, but even that proved to be of little consequence.

-Even though Saruman lied to the Witch King it's still debatable whether the Nazgul knew he was lying or not. They just didn't stay around to argue with him.

Sauron's achievements are far greater then that of Saruman's or Grima's. I'll just stick with the facts and not his debatable achievements.

-Sauron effectively lied to the Elven smiths to create the great rings.

-Sauron fooled all the leaders of Middle Earth to take the rings. These people are supposed to be the leaders of each race!

-Even though he didn't ensnare all the leaders, as he had wished, Sauron still gained the service of the nine great kings of men, to become his greatest servants.

-Sauron also fooled Aragorn into believing that Arwen was dead.
Why do you think he is called Sauron the deceiver?

This is only my opinion
What about the Mouth of Sauron? It is my belief that Sauron could speak through this person, and it is plain to see that the Mouth of Sauron fooled all but Aragorn at the Black Gate.
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Old 11-29-2007, 10:55 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groin Redbeard
And why is this a great accomplishment? Gandalf had no reason to believe that Saruman had joined forces with Sauron, so he obviously believed Saruman wanted to talk with him, which Saruman did.
Gandalf did not expect Saruman to imprison him; furthermore, Boro's post most likely refers to Gandalf believing Saruman and his lies for over 160 years - together with the rest of the White Council.
Quote:
What I've been trying to point out was that even though Grima and Saruman are both effective liars, but both failed to gain anything by it.
Saruman managed to have the White Council do his bidding; he even managed to play Sauron for a while, after Sauron thought he had him in his hand.
Quote:
-Gandalf didn't join Saruman when he was given the choice, and escaped even when Saruman imprisoned him.
Nor did Saruman expect Gandalf to do that.
Quote:
-Saruman and Grima had temporary hold over Théoden, but even that proved to be of little consequence.
I wouldn't downplay his works so easily; were it not for Gandalf the White, Rohan would have been most likely lost.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Letter #156
Of course [Gandalf] remains similar in personality and idiosyncrasy, but both his wisdom and power are much greater. When he speaks he commands attention; the old Gandalf could not have dealt so with Theoden, nor with Saruman.
Quote:
-Even though Saruman lied to the Witch King it's still debatable whether the Nazgul knew he was lying or not.
Then again, what matters in this thread is who is the most effective liar. The Witch-king episode is a perfect example of that.
Quote:
Sauron's achievements are far greater then that of Saruman's or Grima's. I'll just stick with the facts and not his debatable achievements.
As said previously, Saruman didn't buy Sauron's lies - quite the contrary. On the other hand, Sauron and his servants were mislead by Saruman. Another example of who was the most effective liar.
Quote:
-Sauron effectively lied to the Elven smiths to create the great rings.
Given their propensity towards Magic/Machine, a hobbit might have corrupted them . They wanted to believe, they were one of the easiest preys.
Quote:
-Sauron fooled all the leaders of Middle Earth to take the rings. These people are supposed to be the leaders of each race!
I don't think there is conclusive evidence that he deceived them in person - thus he might have a split merit at best in this situation.
Quote:
-Sauron also fooled Aragorn into believing that Arwen was dead.
What do you mean?
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Old 11-29-2007, 12:22 PM   #30
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Raynor, you and I are going back and forth at each other not getting anywhere. We make good arguments and all the other person can do is come along and say: "that's not true, here's what really happened." Our minds are closed to each others logic, and I think it's time we agree to disagree with each other.
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Old 11-29-2007, 09:24 PM   #31
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I say Sauron because his lies were so effective it took the intervention of Iluvatar and a changing of the world.

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Old 11-30-2007, 11:43 AM   #32
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I say Sauron because his lies were so effective it took the intervention of Iluvatar and a changing of the world.~Meriadoc
But by the 3rd Age (and well back into the 2nd) Sauron wasn't fooling anyone anymore. He had been 'figured out." He wasn't able to keep his "Necromancer" identity for long and the only people he managed to get on his side were the ones he bribed or intimidated. He tried to trick the dwarves into helping him, they wouldn't. The Elves, Gondorians, and Rohirrim weren't deceived by him anymore.

Sauron had lost his ability to put on a 'fair hue,' after the sinking of Numenor, so he no longer was deceiving anyone. He ruled (and 'grew' in power) with fear and bribery, not through deception.

Saruman relied solely on his cunning and his 'skillful voice' that corrupted your reasoning abilities. As Raynor pointed out Saruman had not only been fooling the White Council, and all of his allies, but for a time he was also fooling Sauron. I think we can see that in Gandalf's comment, which reminds me of the saying "you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar."

Quote:
"So Saruman will come to the last pinch of the vice that he has put his hand in. He has no captive to send. He has no Stone to see with, and cannot answer the summons. Sauron will only believe that he is withholding the captive and refusing to use the Stone. It will not help Saruman to tell the truth to the messenger."~The Palantiri
Saruman was able to keep up a charade (I'm not good with years but I trust Raynor is correct when saying 160 years) for a long time. He was lying to the White Council, his allies, Sauron's servants, and even Sauron...and not just lying but able to keep it a secret for a long time. When he gets caught, he comes to the 'last pinch of the vice that he has put his hand in.'

But, I would like to add, and I mentioned this earlier. Even after Saruman is figured out, and his voice began to 'lose its charm' he still has significant 'skill.' As he holds the Men of Rohan in a 'dream-like' state for a while, and he causes a seed of doubt to arise in Theoden's mind (after Theoden just told Saruman he was full of crap).

To me that takes some skill, when everyone knows you're a tricky, in it for yourself, liar and you are still able to weave in doubt, you are still able to corrupt? Once Sauron lost his ability to assume a fair form, he was figured out and wasn't fooling anyone. He had to go to intimidation and bribery. Saruman still kept up his game of lying (lying quite 'effectively' I might add) even after everyone knew he was a traitor.
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Old 11-30-2007, 02:09 PM   #33
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I wouldn't want my words to be taken just for granted , regarding the 160+ years:
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Originally Posted by Tale of Years, RotK
2851, Third Age

The White Council meets. Gandalf urges an attack on Dol Guldur. Saruman overrules him. [It afterwards became clear that Saruman had then begun to desire to possess the One Ring himself, and he hoped that it might reveal itself, seeking its master, if Sauron were let be for a time.] Saruman begins to search near the Gladden Fields.
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July, 4, 3018

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Originally Posted by Boromir88
Saruman still kept up his game of lying (lying quite 'effectively' I might add) even after everyone knew he was a traitor.
He also managed to successfully hide his intentions in his meeting with Gandalf, Galadriel, the hobbits et al, on August 28 - only to take over the Shire a month later. He still got the "skillz" .
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:21 PM   #34
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Some very interesting posts.

Echoing some of the posts above, Sauron does seem a likely candidate in the 2nd Age, given that he deceived the men of Numenor so successfully, even if the fall of Numenor cannot be attributed to him alone. And perhaps more importantly, he did deceive the Elves of Eregion (with the exception of Galadriel). In the 3rd Age, I don't see much evidence that he deceived anybody.

Saruman was able to deceive the entire White Council, with the exception of Gandalf and Galadriel to some extent (it is stated that Galadriel preferred Gandalf as the choice for the head of the Council and that Gandalf did not share all he knew himself about the Ring that Bilbo had found, implying some level of mistrust). But even in the case of Galadriel, the suspicion was not strong enough that she was willing to derail Saruman's appointment. This is in contrast to Sauron, who was never capable of deceiving either Galadriel or Gil-galad, even in the 2nd Age. One might argue that Saruman initially was not evil, but the falsity of his intentions was clear from the time when he started to search the Gladden Fields secretly, as far back as 2851 as Raynor points out above. Add to that the deceit of the men of Rohan and you have a pretty good record.
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:35 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Groin Redbeard View Post

-Sauron also fooled Aragorn into believing that Arwen was dead.

What about the Mouth of Sauron? It is my belief that Sauron could speak through this person, and it is plain to see that the Mouth of Sauron fooled all but Aragorn at the Black Gate.
I think both of these are only in the movie...
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:43 PM   #36
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For me, its definitely between Sauron and Saruman. Plenty of great evidence for both has been given. But, even after his defeat and the fall of Sauron, Saruman didn't miss a beat and went straight to the Shire, were he continued to advance his own agenda through deceit and manipulation. So my vote goes to Saruman as the most effective liar.
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:28 AM   #37
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Why is Boromir even in this poll? Why is Denethor? Come on, they are not bad guys. Their situations are completely different, with the Ring and all. I could *maybe* see you making a case of Denethor, but definitely not Boromir. That's why nobody has voted for him. Because he does not belong there as a choice, in my opinion.

Anyway, I voted for Gollum. His lie did help save Middle earth, after all...
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Old 12-03-2007, 09:14 AM   #38
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Why is Boromir even in this poll? Why is Denethor? Come on, they are not bad guys.~MatthewM
I think it follows along the lines of what Nogrod said...
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It can't be Boromir for his deception was short-lived and dubious in the first place as he regretted it and tried to heal the damage he had done. He was indeed effective to the good side in the end.
And you don't have to be a 'bad guy' to be a good liar. I tossed out the idea that Gandalf/Aragorn were just as effective liars as anyone on that list because they deceived Sauron into believing they were going to use the Ring to overthrow him. But instead, they snuck two hobbits into Mordor.

And I believe Bethberry said Tolkien was the master liar.
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Old 12-04-2007, 05:32 AM   #39
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For me, it came down to a tie between Sauron and Wormtongue. I ended up choosing Wormtongue. For an embittered little mortal dude, he sure did accomplish a lot.
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Old 12-04-2007, 08:26 AM   #40
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I vote Saron because he made all the Numenoreans evil and take part in human sacrifice. He also makes the go to Aman and die, as well as making them worship Melko (Morgoth). Not to mention the things he did in the LOTR. Oh, and he created the dwarven rings, as well as the ones for men, and they both at first accepted them.
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