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Old 03-31-2007, 12:10 PM   #1
Mansun
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Question The scariest characters in the LOTR?

The scariest characters/creatures in the LOTR? Is it:-

The Balrog of Morgoth?

Sauron?

The Witch King (Nazgul)?

Gandalf?

The King of the Dead?

Saruman?

The Mouth of Sauron?

An Oliphaunt?

Tree Beard?

The Watcher in the Water?

Shelob?

The Uruk-Hai?

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Old 03-31-2007, 12:13 PM   #2
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Eru, he's a scary blighter... wouldn't want to mess with him...
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Old 03-31-2007, 12:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by hewhoarisesinmight
Eru, he's a scary blighter... wouldn't want to mess with him...
Eru is not from the LOTR strictly speaking . . . . can you think of a time in the book where he is mentioned?
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Old 03-31-2007, 12:31 PM   #4
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Good point, isn't he mentioned in the appendices somewhere... I dunno.

If you're talking about the book, I do get a very creepy feeling when ever the Nazgul are mentioned
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Old 03-31-2007, 12:46 PM   #5
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Opinion threads go on the Novices and Newcomers forum - I'm moving this one there. Please continue to read and post at the new location - thanks!
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Old 03-31-2007, 01:05 PM   #6
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My vote goes to either the Balrog of Morgoth or Sauron.
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Old 03-31-2007, 02:11 PM   #7
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I don't know why, but I got a rather odd sense of being in a dark, hidden world no man was meant to be in when reading about Aragorn and company passing through the Paths of the Dead. Tolkien did a terrific job of making time seem foreign there, and, if I recall, there was some village located there, cut off from the rest of the world, which mistook Aragorn as the King of the Dead and entered a panic. Very creepy, and it seemed like a different world altogether.

The Nazgul gained my respect as the book went on. From normal men who hissed when they spoke, they basically became Middle-Earth's personal Grim Reapers who could go anywhere incredibly quickly thanks to the fell beasts that they rode. Infact, whenever a Nazgul "entered the scene" everything seemed to become more interesting. In ROTK, the parts with the Witch-King in them just seem to glow with an aura of awesomeness.

Sauron, however, did not seem frightening at all. When Sauron fought with the Ring, two minor characters (Elendil and Gil-Galad) slew him in combat. Right off the bat, that made me think that the Ring wasn't so mighty, and since minor characters are typically less important than major characters (they are minor characters after all,) it made me think that Sauron was a pushover. Throughout the entire story, Sauron is just some dude sitting in a large tower we only see once (the tower, not Sauron.) In the end, Sauron just seemed like a weakling who hid from everybody and waited until his armies killed everything before he'd come out. He was only a figurehead and, like Big Brother, felt like he was not real and only a symbol to rally under. He was like Gollum or Grima, but without the will to take action on his own (Gollum) and without the trickery (Grima.) He corrupted Denethor, yes, but Denethor was already rather unstable, and it felt more like Denethor was insane than corrupted.
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Old 03-31-2007, 02:21 PM   #8
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hmmmmmmm.


scariest thing in LOTR?
i'd have to go with shelob.
if Sauron came up to me, i'd ask for some pointers. if it were the WK, i'd be too exited to be scared. but shelob, she cant be reasoned with.
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Old 03-31-2007, 02:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by The 1,000 Reader
When Sauron fought with the Ring, two minor characters (Elendil and Gil-Galad) slew him in combat. Right off the bat, that made me think that the Ring wasn't so mighty, and since minor characters are typically less important than major characters (they are minor characters after all,) it made me think that Sauron was a pushover.
I wouldn't call Elendil&Gil-Galad "minor characters" In the LotR book they do not appear, of course, but personally I think that at their times they must have been more famous than seven Boromirs put together. Oh, and we don't see the tower once, we see it at least three times I think, maybe more. But this doesn't matter.

Anyway... I'd subscribe most of what has been said here of the Nazgul, and I think the Balrog of Moria is pretty scary as well. Not speaking of the Watcher in the Water - as always, the creepiest things are those you don't see. This however, at least in my case, does not work for Sauron. Definitely not in LotR - of course in Silmarillion, this is something else (in the tale of Beren and Lthien, not only in Tol-in-Gaurhoth but also the Gorlim part), however, Mansun introduced this thread as only for LotR, so I'll leave this now. Generally I'd say that I agree with most of the things the 1000 Reader said about Sauron - succintly, Sauron is too much "sitting in a tower doing nothing" to be able to awake some "personal" feelings in the reader. There is, however, still one moment where Sauron seems creepy to me, and it is the moment when Pippin looks to the Palantr. There Sauron looks exactly how I think he should all the time - this is the closest we get to him. He speaks (through Pippin, but...), he is scary, well, I think this is one of the most emotionally thrilling moments of the book.
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Old 03-31-2007, 02:35 PM   #10
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I'd say orcs in general. They are not so big and mighty, but there is a lot of them and I'd say that they are pretty scary. Maybe because they feel much more real that f.ex. Sauron or the Nazgul.
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Old 03-31-2007, 02:44 PM   #11
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The balrog doesn't strike me as terribly frightening. it's a powerful monster, but thats about it. and it seems pretty slow. i meen, it didn't really catch up to the Fellowship until they got to the bridge. they saw it before that, but thats about it.
there's those points, and didn't Gandalf hold onto it's leg while he was down in the REALLY deep places. you don't grap onto the leg of a frightening monster.
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Old 03-31-2007, 04:04 PM   #12
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Shelob. There's something very alien and creepy about spiders, with their eight legs and eyes and their sticky, trapping webs and their deadly poison, and Tolkien carries it off brilliantly. The thought of entering a dark, slimy, stinking tunnel filled with webs with the thought of a giant spider lurking somewhere within is quite terrifying. I remember the movie version of ROTK - at one point Frodo hears movement somewhere. He spins around, checking all possible sources of sound...completely oblivous to the giant black moster that is silently suspended just above him! Very scary.
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Old 03-31-2007, 04:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc
I wouldn't call Elendil&Gil-Galad "minor characters" In the LotR book they do not appear, of course, but personally I think that at their times they must have been more famous than seven Boromirs put together. Oh, and we don't see the tower once, we see it at least three times I think, maybe more. But this doesn't matter.
The thing is, we didn't know that, Elendil and Gil-Galad didn't do very much, and they weren't packing any powerful First Age muscles or strong magic. They were not too far from the main characters in LOTR, and the reader doesn't really know about them. That is what I mean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc
There is, however, still one moment where Sauron seems creepy to me, and it is the moment when Pippin looks to the Palantr. There Sauron looks exactly how I think he should all the time - this is the closest we get to him. He speaks (through Pippin, but...), he is scary, well, I think this is one of the most emotionally thrilling moments of the book.
He wasn't that scary to me. Pippin was probably already afraid of the palantir's power, and Sauron was just puzzled and then simply told Pippin that Saruman wasn't getting "his piece of the pie," so to speak. Besides, Pippin's a hobbit and barely knows anything about the world.
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Old 03-31-2007, 06:11 PM   #14
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I too, vote for Shelob.
I've got this thing about spiders in general (Watching Arachnaphobia just about sent me up the wall) and seeing what Peter Jackson did with Shelob was pretty toe-curling for me.
I remember the very, very first time I read LoTR and when I got to that part, thinking "A spider... Why'd it have to be a spider?*

(Blatant rip-off of Indiana Jones. -15 points)
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Old 03-31-2007, 07:16 PM   #15
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Scary? Well, put it this way: would you rather be locked in a castle with the Balrog or the Mouth of Sauron lurking around?

The Mouth of Sauron definitely takes the cake here for me. Plus, he is just so mysterious and unknown...
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Old 03-31-2007, 07:29 PM   #16
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I hate spiders, but I loved Shelob. The hobbits, in the books, are so fantastically heroic at that part that I can't help but love it.

The scarriest was definitely the Nine Nazguls. They made me stop reading the book. They terrified me. I would lie awake at night, after my sister had fallen asleep beside me, and just tremble, thinking that any moment, they'd come crawling through the window, or from under the bed. Oh, no, I didn't have monsters under my bed - I had Nazguls.

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Old 03-31-2007, 10:11 PM   #17
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I always found Galadriel scary.....not evil of course ....but surely scary. She had great power, if you entered her territory you could die, she was secretive, she could read your mind and tell your future....she never seemed to explain anything very well....so, she scared me.

Sauron was scary becuase he seemed to REALLY enjoy all aspects of being evil, 100%!
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Old 03-31-2007, 10:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liriodendron
I always found Galadriel scary.....not evil of course ....but surely scary. She had great power, if you entered her territory you could die, she was secretive, she could read your mind and tell your future....she never seemed to explain anything very well....so, she scared me.

An interesting point of veiw. but alas, what was not "scary" but most definateley creepy about Galadriel, was that her spell of seduction made even Gimli, a proud dwarf of Erebor, want her hair. that struck me as disturbing.
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:04 AM   #19
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her spell of seduction made even Gimli, a proud dwarf of Erebor, want her hair
The Elves are the fairest of the Children of Eru, and beauty does have a 'natural' magic about it, or charisma in some cases; in that sense, you could be right. However, if you imply she used spells to seduce, you ought to provide some evidence.
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Old 04-01-2007, 05:58 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ninja91
Scary? Well, put it this way: would you rather be locked in a castle with the Balrog or the Mouth of Sauron lurking around?

The Mouth of Sauron definitely takes the cake here for me. Plus, he is just so mysterious and unknown...
Oh, I would like to be there with the Mouth, rather. Though he might be a mad, fanatic sadistic sorcerer, he is still a human (at least a little bit). You might call his name through empty corridors and try to negotiate, and you can expect his reactions (though they can be negative, or just a mocking laughter from somewhere, but still it is something you can expect, however terrifying it might be). The balrog then is something definitely... alien. You don't know what it thinks about, it even does not have to speak at all, it might look like a beast in flames or it can douse a be just a shadow lurking in the darkness... (Not to mention you don't even know if it has wings!) I wouldn't want to be locked in a castle or catacombs with something like that, I can quite understand the Dwarves in Moria. (Has anyone seen the movie Alien 3? This is how it could look like.)

Ha, seems I unintentionally answered the question. The Balrog it is for me.

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and didn't Gandalf hold onto it's leg while he was down in the REALLY deep places. you don't grap onto the leg of a frightening monster.
Well, this only speaks that there were REALLY much more frightening monsters down there ("nameless things"). And after all, when you get so far to fight something, it is not so scary then. The point is, Gandalf could fight it. I, being in his place, well... uh.
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Old 04-01-2007, 05:58 AM   #21
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If we don't just include LOTR, I would have to say Sauron. He's so insanely frightening in the Akkalabeth that I did what Folwren did and stayed up very late indeed...
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:03 PM   #22
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Saruman was always pretty scary. Just bent on destruction and nothing else. Sauron seemed as though he at least had an agenda but Saruman didn't seem to know what he really wanted.
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:24 PM   #23
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The LOTR makes a strong case that the Balrog filled it's enemies & even acquaintances with the most terror. Whether it made the same impact on the Reader is another matter, but the fact that the whole ranks of orcs & even the large cave trolls were in awe of it's presence & dared not interfere with it's encounter with the Company was enough for me to suggest that it was in reality more scary to the eye than probably anything else, save Sauron.
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Old 04-01-2007, 04:54 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Halsar
An interesting point of veiw. but alas, what was not "scary" but most definateley creepy about Galadriel, was that her spell of seduction made even Gimli, a proud dwarf of Erebor, want her hair. that struck me as disturbing.
Frodo was quite willing to give her his precious ring too.....
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Old 04-01-2007, 07:51 PM   #25
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Old 04-02-2007, 03:32 AM   #26
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I don't know why, but I got a rather odd sense of being in a dark, hidden world no man was meant to be in when reading about Aragorn and company passing through the Paths of the Dead.
I feel the same.
I first read LoTR in the early 1960s and, more than forty years later, I can still vividly recall sharing Gimli's fear on the paths of the dead. That chapter cost me some sleepless nights.
It wasn't the ghosts themselves that were scary, but the situation. When the army of Dead were revealed and explained, the fear was gone.

In The Hobbit, I was as scared as Bilbo when he went down the tunnel to meet Smaug for the first time. In all the underground sequences, the walk in the dark towards the unknown was scarier than whatever waited at the end of the tunnel. As soon as there was a tangible enemy to fight or outwit, my emotion turned from fear to exitement.

To me as a youngster, Shelob was the most scary creature in LoTR (I used to have a phobia of spiders), but the walk in the dark before the encounter with her was worse.
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Old 04-06-2007, 10:21 AM   #27
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Oliphaunts are pretty scary considering their size. What if one decided to land it's foot on the Witch King & crush him?
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Old 04-06-2007, 12:04 PM   #28
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I'd say the Barrow-Wights... Not much explaining to be done, the whole discription fo them unto me just seemed scary.

As all of you af course now they are based upon the Old Norse mythological creature's called "Draugar". (Singular = Draugr). Origenally the Nazgul were barrow-wights as well, which would mean that the Nazgul are based upon Draugar as well, although there's not much to be seen back about that.
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Old 04-06-2007, 12:37 PM   #29
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The Nazgul or the Barrow-Wights
Actually, the Balrog (Durin's Bane) Is pretty scary because he's so mysterious; after the Dwarves in Moria were all killed no-one knew what had happened to them, so when The Fellowship were travelling through Moria you didn't know what to expect...
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Old 04-06-2007, 01:23 PM   #30
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Oliphaunts are pretty scary considering their size. What if one decided to land it's foot on the Witch King & crush him?
He'd live. Granted getting stepped on would totally suck, but he'd live.

On the subject of oliphaunts, I never saw them as scary. They were first portrayed as rather innocent creatures in Samwise's song, and I only saw them as elephants.
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Old 04-06-2007, 03:09 PM   #31
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He'd live. Granted getting stepped on would totally suck, but he'd live.

On the subject of oliphaunts, I never saw them as scary. They were first portrayed as rather innocent creatures in Samwise's song, and I only saw them as elephants.
I believe Gandalf said spells can be broken by great strength, so I could not say for definite that he'd still live. It depends on what you think 10 tonnes could do to even a spell-protected creature.

Oliphaunts in rage are as deadly as anything, so they can inspire great panic in the ranks of soldiers, regardless of which side. A close look at them shows a burning desire to cause damage - these are no sweet animals like elephants you see in the zoo!

I have found the subject of graveyards, ghosts & the undead the most chilling & fearful topic of all. The Dead Mountain is more or less an ancient graveyard, with the King of the Dead the ghost-like guardian. Quite terrifying stuff if you put it in context with the 3 Hunters going it alone into the unknown. Seems like a fitting home for the Nazgul too.

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Old 04-06-2007, 03:16 PM   #32
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Well, Elephants can be great in earthly wars as well. The Persians and several Asian nations have what we call war-elephants. Alexander the Great is supposed to have coped with these elephants.

And to how they might be scary, well, several Latin texts state that Phyrrus (A Greek having war with the Romans) had brought an Elephant with him to Itali to scare the Roman Commander. And according to the text I had to translate about it at school, they were pretty damn scary in the eyes of the Romans....
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:16 PM   #33
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I can't really say that I was terribly scared by any of the characters in the books.. if I had to choose.. I would probably say the Nazgul.. they were more creepy than scary.
I didn't find Shelob scary.. mainly because I kind of like spiders... well I don't mind them.. but they don't scare me... even giant ones.
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Old 04-10-2007, 02:46 AM   #34
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One of the scariest parts for me was when Frodo woke up in the barrow and saw his friends lying next to him, as if dead, dressed in strange garments. It's not so much the big monsters that do it for me on the page; this scene was just really creepy.
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Old 04-10-2007, 06:00 AM   #35
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There is many scary charachters in the book so it is hard to point out the scariest one, also because you learn more things about some of them as the book progress.

Personally I found the Nazgul very scary when we only knew them as black ridders that constantly showed up behind Frodo and Sam. . .they really creeped me out.

Another charachter I found scary was Old man willow. . . you could do nothing against him, if you tried to hurt him he would crush your friends and if you did not then he probably would anyway.
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:05 AM   #36
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Another charachter I found scary was Old man willow. . . you could do nothing against him, if you tried to hurt him he would crush your friends and if you did not then he probably would anyway.
That sure is one candidate.
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:17 AM   #37
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I'd say Sauron and Gandalf.
As Gandalf says in "The White Rider" chapter I believe, he is dangerous in his own way, and nothing in ME is as dangerous as he is, unless you would stand before Sauron himself.
He isn't scary because he chooses not to be, but he could potentially be.
So from those ho do choose to be scary, I'd nominate the Nazgul.
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Old 04-10-2007, 11:18 AM   #38
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I agree with Rune about the Nazgul. Although they were scary and real enemies, they were an actual threat only until Bruinen. They were much scarier with living horses than with beasts, living or undead. Horses are living creatures, with a will of their own, and one should be able to predict their behaviour at least a little bit. Thus, it makes me wonder how corrupted those poor animals must have been to carry the Black Riders. I even feel a little pity for them though I am no animal lover. The same cannot be said about the fell beasts. They are just beasts born to serve Sauron, unlike the horses we know. This makes them a little less scary creatures than horses, and it affects also to the Nazgul. They can be ever present without actually being seen. They don't have to be close to keep watch. And in my opinion, the closer they are, the scarier they are.

The most terrible moments I've ever had with Tolkien were the ones with the Balrog. Maybe it's understandable, since I was 11 when I read the Lotr for the first time, and it was the only time I was truly afraid of the Balrog. The movies hadn't come out yet, so I created a very own conception of the Balrog, and I must confess that my balrog has always been much scarier than the one shown us in the movies.

Sauron was scarier in The Silmarillion. In those days he was nothing but a servant, he took risks and fought himself. Now that he's the one commanding armies from his tower, he doesn't seem so strong anymore. Really, I can't imagine he'd win an Elven lord in a song contest anymore. Not without the help of a bunch of Orcs.

Was this thread about the number of nightmares, the scariest characters would be the Nazgul. I've happened to have several nightmares about the Ringwraiths living in our cellar and attacking me when I have nothing better than a flick knife to defend myself with. By now, I have managed to kill already three of them. Still six (or five) to go, but I beat owyn.

However, one thing I love in Tolkien's books is that there are no creatures that cannot be slain; nothing that is evil is invincible. They cannot conquer for ever.
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Old 04-10-2007, 12:43 PM   #39
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Gothmog has potential

is he a man? is he an orc? you don't know and that lack of knowledge can get you in the end

when i first read it i thought he was a demon, like the balrog, that serves sauron.
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Old 04-10-2007, 02:00 PM   #40
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Elmo has just left Hobbiton.
Whoever gave me a bad blank rep for saying Eru was scary... deary me
I only lost five points so it was obviously a newbie but anyway...{shakes head}

He destroyed a whole civilisation!
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