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Old 12-26-2015, 07:43 PM   #13
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Thanks for everyone's thoughts so far. When I get a chance I'll dig up some more interesting bits and pieces.

While I have the opportunity, however, I should comment on this:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
The line verbatim reads "Shagrat brings the Mithril Coat and other spoils to Barad-dūr, but is slain by Sauron."
Thanks William Cloud Hicklin. One shudders to think what this slaying involved, especially if Sauron at the end of the Third Age was possessed again of the burning skin he had at the end of the Second. He was also "of more than human stature, but not gigantic." I can picture this terrible figure, perhaps nine or ten feet tall and burning with heat, smashing Shagrat aside with a single monstrous backhanded blow.

It's worth wondering whether this is a more modern or medieval conceit, in which attracting the ire of a tyrant was almost certainly a death sentence. While Orcs may have been in Sauron's presence - they clearly were when he led his own armies during the Second Age - I struggle to imagine him permitting an Orc to converse with him except in very specific circumstances.

Sauron as a kind of illegitimate aristocrat is interesting, because like many modern tyrants he was no king but acted and was treated like one - yet at the same time he was a very "great person" in his own way; but among his own people, while somewhat high of stature, he was not of the highest rank (even among the Maiar alone, it would seem).

EDIT: A couple of other thoughts occur: population decline might be compared to a medieval situation, that caused by the devastating Mongol invasions of Central Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe in the 13th Century, which perhaps (given their predilection for mounted soldiery) have some points of comparison with the Easterlings and their repeated invasions of western Middle-earth. Of course in Professor Tolkien's fiction, there is an immortal manipulator behind the scenes, which greatly extends things. The apparent population decline of Gondor, however, might also to some extent be a prediction of a modern scenario in which a relatively high quality of life (which Gondor appears to have had) can have extremely variable effects on birthrate and population growth - note that as many modern Western societies rely on immigration to support population growth and age, it was the mingling of the Men of Gondor with Middle Men that to an extent enabled their survival into the end of the Third Age (despite ugly racially-motivated resistance to this, as seen in the Kin-Strife, obviously an incisive narrative expression on Professor Tolkien's part with immense relevance to his context and beyond).
"Since the evening of that day we have journeyed from the shadow of Tol Brandir."
"On foot?" cried Éomer.

Last edited by Zigūr; 12-26-2015 at 11:51 PM. Reason: More thoughts.
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