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Iarhen 03-11-2003 11:09 AM

[White Council] When the White Council attacked Dol Guldur...
How did it happen? Did Gandalf and Saruman used their maia-powers to take the Necromancer out of Dol Guldur? Were they aided by Galadriel, Elrond and the armies of Lorien?

Does anyone know how it happened?

[ June 24, 2003: Message edited by: The Barrow-Wight ]

Eomer of the Rohirrim 03-12-2003 11:39 AM

Elrond and Galadriel certainly had a part in it because they were members of the White Council.

As for how, I really don't know. The concept of the power of the Maia is tricky to grasp.

Bauglir 03-12-2003 12:07 PM

I think Sauron just left the region after he knew that their presence was near...

lathspell 03-12-2003 03:23 PM

The idea was that the White Council would drive out the Necromancer, who was then identified as Sauron. This happened in the same year Bilbo found the Ring.
They (Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond, Saruman and Radagast) attacked Dol Guldur with the five of them, using the powers which they had. But, as they attacked, it became plain that Sauron was aware of their plans, and had made his preperations to 'flee' to Dol Guldur. He was not ready to fight yet. His Nazgul had prepared Barad-dur for his arrival.

Iarhen 03-12-2003 07:05 PM

Wasnt a fight fought? I supposed there was one, because of Gandalf's words. He says that the White Council was deceived. He says that the 5 of them drove the Necromancer out of his fortress in Mirkwood. Just by the White Council's presence? I dont think so. The Council would not have been deceived if the Necromancer just fleed from the attack.

Why? Because they would know that Sauron had another place to be instead of his Dol Guldur fortress. If you are holding a fortress, and if you care for it and you have plans to be in it, then you wont leave it just because 3 wizards and 2 elves approach.

Then, if Sauron just fleed, they would think he had a spare plan... Something they figured out after it...

Voralphion 03-12-2003 08:00 PM

3 wizards and 2 elves??
I thought the only wizards on the white council were Sauraman and Gandalf, and there were 3 elves, (Galadriel, Elrond and Celeborn?).

Adanadhel 03-12-2003 08:18 PM

We will never know who sat on the white council. I have always thought it must also have included other prominent elves... Celeborn, Cirdan, Gorfindel, Thranduil?

I always envisioned the white council mounting not only a magical attack but a physical one with the combined forces fo Lorien, Thranduil and Rivendel elves.

Certainly Thranduil mut have at least been consulted... (btw, we're attacking your neighbor, watch out for fleeing Sauron/Maia....)

The Saucepan Man 03-12-2003 08:35 PM

Well, you would have expected them to have consulted Thranduil, wouldn't you?

But I'm not so sure that they did. Didn't the attack on Dol Guldur take place during the time that Gandalf was away from Bilbo, Thorin and company, ie between their sojourn at Beorn's place and the Battle of Five Armies. Now during this time, Thranduil's folk seem to have been occupied with holding moveable feasts in the woods, capturing and interrogating Dwarves and then marching on Erebor/Dale to share in the booty under the Mountain.

So, it seems they might have been left out of that little sortie on Dol Guldur.

Meoshi 03-12-2003 09:02 PM

Perhaps there were other wizards as well. Even though only 5 maiar were sent from Valinor, their 'order' could have expanded to include lesser peoples.

Man-of-the-Wold 03-12-2003 09:06 PM

Although party to the discussions of the Wise, Thranduil would not have been a member of the White Council. He was wise and powerful, but not in that way. He certainly was not in touch with Gandalf or aware of his activities, until he showed up in Dale before the battle.

I generally think that Radagast was a member, if not a key one, and besides the known members (Galadriel, Elrond, Gandalf & Saruman), it is arguable that the Council also included: Cirdan (or designee), Celeborn, Glorfindel and Erastor, making for nine members

How many of these persons were actually present at the Dol Guldor "confrontation" is difficult to say. The impression from the end of The Hobbit is that though he may have been active in the assault, Elrond hadn't actually gone anywhere so far away or seen Gandalf since Thorin & Co. had departed.

Although not primarily a military operation, the White Council's "assault" on Dol Guldor may have involved the marshalling of forces out of Rivendell and in Lothlorien. But probably nothing else.

lathspell 03-13-2003 06:15 AM


He[Gandalf] says that the White Council was deceived. He says that the 5 of them drove the Necromancer out of his fortress in Mirkwood. Just by the White Council's presence? I dont think so. The Council would not have been deceived if the Necromancer just fleed from the attack.
This quote from Iarhen gives answer to most questions asked here.

Gandalf speaks about the 5 of them driving him out of Dol Guldur and he speaks about the White Council as in the way that the White Council are those five people. Radagast, Saruman, Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond.
The same line explains that they were with the 5 of them, so no armies were brought there.

Iarhen - I think it can be explained otherwise. You say The White Council could not have been deceived if Sauron fleed from Barad-dur. But Sauron didn't just flee, it was more like a tactical drawback to Barad-dur which was his stronger fortress. He knew their plans, that they were going to urge an attack on Dol Guldur, trying to capture/slay (I do not know) Sauron. Sauron wasn't ready for battle yet, he was biding his time, searching the areas were the Ring was lost. Knowing their plans, he just decided to go back to his old fortress, leaving the Dol Guldur in the hands of his servants and slaves to defend.
So, in a way, the White Council was deceived for their plans of overthrowing Sauron failed, they only delayed Sauron's plans.


Why? Because they would know that Sauron had another place to be instead of his Dol Guldur fortress. If you are holding a fortress, and if you care for it and you have plans to be in it, then you wont leave it just because 3 wizards and 2 elves approach.
I don't think this is correct at all. The White Council and many other Elves, Dwarves and Men knew about Barad-dur and Mordor already. You forget that a battle was fought their an age ago when the Last Alliance was made.
Maybe Sauron was already planning to go to Barad-dur, he just accelerated his plans to get rid of the White Council for a while and to conceive his plans without being bothered by such thing.
'Just because three wizards and two Elves approach'? You seem to think the White Council is a circus act. They are five people holding an extreme power, and three Elven Rings.

greetings once more,

drigel 03-13-2003 11:18 AM

I agree Lathspell. Im sure it took a while to rebuilt Barad Dur. Dol Guldur was (at the time Sauron took it) an abandoned, existing structure was it not? I see Dol Guldur a "weigh station" that Sauron inhabited, biding time until the completion of Barad Dur. The move there was already in the works, just hastened by the White Council.

I could see a compliment of mixed Lorien/Mirkwood/Eregion elves attending the event as well. There must have been some tactical defensive units occupying Dol Guldur with Sauron.

Iarhen 03-13-2003 11:36 AM

Were there still elves inEregion? I thought it was deserted after the attack of Sauron, after the hiding of the 3 elven rings...

Dondagnirion 03-13-2003 12:05 PM

3 wizards and 2 elves??
I thought the only wizards on the white council were Sauraman and Gandalf, and there were 3 elves, (Galadriel, Elrond and Celeborn?).

To answer that question here is a list of all of those on the white council:

Those are the only people that are ever mentioned to have been on the white council. You are also all forgetting that not everyone was as involved with the council as Gandalf was. Cirdan was himself very far away and needed to take care of the havens in either case, so he was rarely there and, hence, not remembered by most people as on the Council. Galadriel and Celeborn can of course not be discounted from being on the council because that is where they knew Gandalf from, as is shown in FOTR in Lorien. The three wizards also, were obviously all on the Council. If any of you have any questions or corrections I would love to hear them. Btw, this also explains why Elrond and the other elves were not shown as being directly involved in the assault upon Dol Guldur. In fact, there is never a clear distinction made wether Sauron had already retreated already before the council even got there, which is also possible.

"There is no spoon."

Valarungol 03-13-2003 12:24 PM


'Just because three wizards and two Elves approach'? You seem to think the White Council is a circus act. They are five people holding an extreme power, and three Elven Rings.
Actually, none of them are people. They are all immortals, one of whom had the wherwithal to take on a Balrog in single combat.

It's always been my belief that Sauron feared Olórin more than anything in ME. Surely he would have known what and whom Gandalf really was. And almost as assuredly, he would have known that Olórin was the wisest of the Maiar and so rightly to be respected.

[ March 13, 2003: Message edited by: Valarungol ]

lathspell 03-13-2003 01:53 PM

Dondagnirion: where is it stated that Cirdan and Celeborn were members of the White Council?

Valarungol: you're right, my mistake. Will try to remember that next time for English is not my native tongue.

Adanadhel 03-13-2003 02:27 PM

Anyone who states for certain that they know who the members of the white council were, are going to have to start to give page references and/or direct quotes to back it up.

As far as I know, some members of TWC are overtly listed. This does not preclude the possiblity that others wer members. (e.g. Bob abd Tom are members of my soccer team. Just because I list them does not mean we go out and play 3 v 11)

Finally, I think that this is one of the places that the Hobbit and LOTR are not consistent with one another. The hobbit being a kids book about fairy-like elves, and the LOTR being much more adult, complex and dark.

drigel 03-14-2003 08:51 AM

Sorry Eregion elves meaning ones who were under Elrond's leadership.

Iarhen 03-14-2003 09:34 AM

Oh, OK, thanks for the info.

Man-of-the-Wold 03-17-2003 12:07 AM

Could someone please give me the book and location of the reference to "five" being in on the Dol Guldor assault, regardless of whether that implies that said five were mutual exclusive with the composition of the White Council. I can't find it in UTs or LoTR.

The five in question could have been Gandalf, Saruman, Galadriel, Celeborn and either Radagast or Glorfindel, who likely would have been more helpful than Radagast for such things. That still does not mean that Elrond and Cirdan were not members of The White Council, who helped put forth power against Dol Guldor, without actually going there.

One thing is clear, though, the Necromancer gave some sort of resistance before retreating. The Wise were deceived for a decade as he lay low before declaring himself in Mordor.

The Wise really felt, they had forced him into retreat, if not permanently, as had been the case when Gandalf/Wise initiated the 400-year-long Watchful Peace, which might have been easier as Sauron likely fled to avoid having his true identity revealed.

So, the WC attack on Dol Guldor must not have gone over too astonishingly easy, or it would have been a ruse not a feint, and more immediately troubling.

But he gave way probably soon enough to avoid having Dol Guldor directly divested, which might have complicated later moves to to rearm it.

Iarhen 03-17-2003 08:56 AM

That's a good piece of info.

So, the White Council attacked Dol Guldur without being there physically?

My guess is that whether they attacked from their different locations: Caras Galadhon, Orthanc, Imladris, and Gandalf close... or they all were together in Lothlorien and from there launched the attack...

And I suppose that it was a magical and mental attack... The known members of the WC had that kind of powers: Gandalf, Saruman, Elrond, Galadriel...

lathspell 03-17-2003 12:20 PM

Alright, I haven't searched yet for a quote that says there were 5.
Yet, in the new theorie are questions raised as well? Where do we find statements that the Wise weren't at Dol Guldur but at other places.


P.S.: why should Glorfindel be more suitable for being at Dol Guldur, we don't know as much of Radagast then off Glorfindel. Glorfindel is known as the Nazgul-chaser and Radagast as the bird-tamer. We haven't heard anymore about Radagast, yet I don't seem to find any quote that says Radagast was to weak or that Glorfindel was more powerful.

Eomer of the Rohirrim 03-17-2003 03:29 PM

Are you sure Radagast was in there?

Voralphion 03-17-2003 05:44 PM

I always assumed that Radagast wouldn't have been a member of the white council because its primary function was to fight Sauron and protect the free people of ME. Radagast had become enamored of living things and gave up his mission if fighting Sauron, so I thought he wouldn't have been bothered to go to the effort of being a member of the white council and driving Sauron out of Dol Guldor.

Thalionyulma 03-18-2003 03:42 AM

I don't wish to sound like an echo but... Are you sure Radagast was there? Was he really part of the Council to begin with?

As I recall the Necromancer was driven out of Dol Guldur. But by specifically by whom (in the Council) and how... that I've got to look up some more.

I had always evisioned an army of sorts rallied by Galadriel & Celeborn (since they were closest to the location) to have been able to do the job. Of course Gandalf would have been there too. But Thranduil was too far to be there physically... perhaps a band of his army or so? Maybe even sending his son, Legolas as well?

But why did Sauron send three Nazguls to stay there after he was driven out? Was this to keep the Elvenking's forces in check?

lathspell 03-18-2003 09:32 AM

I'm rather sure that Radagast was a member of the White Council in the beginning and stayed in it until the end. Yes, he became (or maybe he always was) enamoured of beasts and birds, but there are many ways to fight against Sauron. I think that most of the information about Dol Guldur and the ways of Sauron's servants came from Radagast and his animal-friends.

I believe Sauron send back some of his Nazgul to keep charge over the forced he left there. To leave Dol Guldur is one thing, he couldn't take the risk of being overrun by the White Council. To leave it behind uncontrolled and therefore in chaos is quiet another, so I think he send back Nazgul to order the troops there.

Oh, and I certainly don't think Legolas was at the challenge of Dol Guldur, or something would have been said about in LotR. I don't think Tolkien would leave out such an important thing.


Man-of-the-Wold 03-19-2003 10:59 AM

Well, first I'm still waiting for citation about "five" at Dol Guldor. I've not gotten through all of HoME or Letters, yet, so that might be a solid clue.

As far as direct presence goes, I was only suggesting that 'some' White Council members might have participated from afar. Projecting support lets say.

It's clear, though, that Gandalf went, and one reason he was in a hurry was to make sure that Saruman was not in complete control, as suggested in UTs/Quest for Erebor. So, Saruman the White was there.

Proximity and the ability to have conventional forces at the ready would make one assume direct involvement by Galadriel and Celeborn.

The proximity of Rhosgobel and the emphasis on wizards in the closing pages of The Hobbit would further suggest that Radagast the Brown came too, but others here raise familiar and legitimate arguments for questioning whether Radagast was ever even a (serious) member of the White Council.

I mention Glorfindel for it seems quite conceivable that he would travel to such a confrontation, and be a very potent player, but who knows? Also, he could have participated, yet never been a White Councillor per se.

Indisputably, Elrond was on The White Council, yet there are reasons to believe that he didn't go in person to the Dol Guldor attack. This may be something that is incorrectly implied in The Hobbit, but I can't think of anything anywhere else that says that he was there or would even needed to have been there. Vilya may have been quite suitable for more distant projections of influence, and that otherwise he had little else to offer by being on the scene. That was not the nature of his power, perhaps.

Remember, something can be done "by" the White Council, without the Council itself or all of its members actually taking part. The attack was carried out under the auspices and with the power of the Council. The direct agents might be more or less limited to the Istari, plus Lothlorien.

Indeed, the Istari were not supposed to match power with power. Dol Guldor may have been a special case, in that they only intended to send Sauron running.

As for Cirdan, even if not directly stated, it is inconceiable that he were not a member of the White Council, whether he made all meetings himself is doubtful, especially as Galdor represented him so effectively at the Council of Elrond. Also, he was in all likelihood not physically present at the Dol Guldor attack.

Thalionyulma 03-20-2003 04:36 AM

In the Sil, only five were mentioned - Elrond Galadriel, Cirdan, Saruman and Gandalf. It was there where it mentioned that Galadriel had preferred Gandalf to head the Council, but Gandalf declined. Saruman begrudged that.

I haven't finished reading the other books... or I've missed some parts. In UT, I don't recall reading the members of TWC, except it was mentioned.

Man-of-the-Wold 03-22-2003 04:33 PM

Ah, yes, there is much that I had forgotten there, but more specifically, it is in "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age", which I'd like to see consolidated with LoTR appendices, UTs and what else into as full a tale of "Middle-Earth" in the Second & Third Age as possible (aside from T&BA/LoTR).

ORPTA was specifically written by JRRT for publication with "Quenta Silmarillion" and I believe it was essentially finished during his lifetime, and thus may be considered to be true Canon, as opposed to the "Quenta Silmarillion" as diputably edited by CRT for The Silmarillion for which I'm working now with the 2nd Edition, as opposed to my treasured 1st American Printing.

On page 300-2, which I'll assume here to be canon, it gives a good telling of the White Council, but I see no mention of "five" having specifically undertaken the assault on Dol Guldor, and I doubt that there is such a reference.

This telling does confirm, as I thought, that Cirdan was a Charter Member of the White Council, along with Elrond and Galadriel. Actually, ORPTA refers to the White Council as primarily an Eldarin enterprise. (In fact, some of its members had been part of the Second Age's first such council)

Besides the three already noted, other Elven Lords were definitely counted amoung it members, who would undoubtedly include at least Celeborn, Glorfindel and Erestor. (I would not, however, list Thranduil, Gildor, Elrohir, Elladen, Arwen, or Haldir among even potential White Councillors, even if the first two were at times privy to the counsels of the Wise)

Saruman and Gandalf are then described as joining the council too, although certainly as key members, seeing as they were the two candidates for the Chair.

Radagast's absence in that text is certainly significant, as his name appears in close context just above. I take this to imply, with little uncertainty, that Gandalf and Saruman were the only Istari, who were also real members of the White Council.

As for the assault, Radagast might still have been called on, geography being what it was, even if he was no more than a nominal part of the White Council.

The primary players from the White Council, who were present at the scene, were Gandalf, Saruman, Galadriel, Celeborn (with Galadhrim forces), and possibly Glorfindel leading a contingency from Rivendell and potentially even from Lindon. I believe that Elrond was not directly involved in person.

I think it interesting that in the LoTR we get strong lead up about both Celeborn and Erestor being reputedly so wise. Yet, much of what they say in LoTR would lead one to at least wonder about these reputations.

One thinks that JRRT had a point here:
1. The the issues involved were tough ones that defied conventional wisdome.
2. Even might elf-lord were not immune to arrogance, pride and some blindnest therefrom.

Any other Thought?

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