The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Middle-Earth Discussions > The Books
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-08-2008, 10:11 PM   #1
Gordis
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Gordis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Minas Morgul
Posts: 431
Gordis is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Future nazgűl: good or evil Men?

This thread has branched off this discussion on the nature of the Rings we had here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vairë View Post
The nine rings for mortal men would not need to be anywhere near the potency of the three or even the seven. Men, especially kings of men, tend to be proud, ambitious, hubristic in a rediculously short life span (that is, compared to other races). Doesn't take much to put them over the edge; they can be easily tempted to avarice. Also, just a little *magic* (Galadriel might have a problem with my use of the word) would go a long way with Men. Maybe the Men's rings are not identified with an element, but with some compound or are a lower order ring connected to the greater ones only by Sauron's binding-verse. There were many other rings in the earlier Age; any one of them would have been too much for a Man to handle, don't you think?
Just wanted to put this quirky idea forward. Hope it sparks some debate!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis View Post
Vairë, I think you underestimate Men - and without good grounds.

After all, Aragorn was a Man, and a great man, (and the greater you are, the greater is the pull of the Ring), but he did resist even the lure of the One: where Boromir and Isildur before him had failed.
The future nazgul were great Men as well, but they were at a grave disadvantage: they had no idea about the nature of the Rings they were offered. They didn't know the peril as the Elves kept the matter of the Rings and Sauron's involvement in it secret.
By the way, the idea that they took the Rings because of "avarice", "greed" and "without questions" in not supported by any Tolkien's writings. It is an invention of the movies, that tend to simplify things and represent Men as weak and greedy.

Anyway, the Nine Rings were not made for Men, but for Elves (as well as the Seven and the Three). They undoubtedly count among the 20 Great Rings, in contrast to the Lesser rings made before. Great Rings were able to prolong the lives of mortals - untill they faded. That was a thing that the Lesser Rings couldn't do. All the Great Rings (save the Ruling Ring) had their proper gems, while the lesser were plain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis
The future nazgul were great Men as well, but they were at a grave disadvantage: they had no idea about the nature of the Rings they were offered. They didn't know the peril as the Elves kept the matter of the Rings and Sauron's involvement in it secret.
By the way, the idea that they took the Rings because of "avarice", "greed" and "without questions" in not supported by any Tolkien's writings. It is an invention of the movies, that tend to simplify things and represent Men as weak and greedy.
I will have to disagree, Gordis, Men knew full well that an enchantment lay on the Rings, and they used them quite readily to gain wealth and power, and through avarice and lust for dominion Sauron entrapped them:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
...but to Men he gave nine, for men proved in this matter as in others the readiest to his will.
Clearly, the implication here is that Man is more prone to evil, to avarice and to the snares of power, more so than any other race.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
Men proved easier to ensnare. Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerors and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing.
Likewise, it is evident that Men used the Rings as tools to increase their wealth and power, and that Men were quite aware of the abilities the Rings bestowed; however, it is also plain that, like any other addict, they ignored the painful side effects, and blithely went on using the Rings without concern for consequences. They may not have been aware of the end result, but they certainly would know the toll the Rings were taking.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
I will have to disagree, Gordis, Men knew full well that an enchantment lay on the Rings, and they used them quite readily to gain wealth and power, and through avarice and lust for dominion Sauron entrapped them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis
The Nine Men knew it were Elven Rings of power and thus surely enchanted.
What they didn't know was that the Rings were corrupted by Sauron and that he possessed the Ruling Ring, thus gaining access to their thoughts and their souls, while they wore the Nine.
The Elves made the Rings for themselves and were eager to use them for their own ends - to "embalm" things, to prevent fading etc. Had the Elves used them, they would have been entrapped in the same way as the Nazgul. What prevented them from using the Rings was only the knowledge of Sauron's treachery: the Elves took off their Rings and didn't use them in the Second Age because they knew it was perilous while Sauron had the One. Men didn't possess such info.

As for intentions, it is clear that at least some of the Men had been well-meaning from the start:
Quote:
‘A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becomes in the end invisible permanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings. Yes, sooner or later - later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last - sooner or later the dark power will devour him.’-The Shadow of the Past, LOTR
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
Clearly, the implication here is that Man is more prone to evil, to avarice and to the snares of power, more so than any other race.
Actually it shows that between Dwarves and Men, Men were more easily corrupted, while Dwarves proved practically immune to the Rings. Thus Men got weaker Rings and more rings than the Dwarves. Here is the whole quote:
Quote:
But Sauron gathered into his hands all the remaining Rings of Power (that is the Seven and the Nine]; and he dealt them out to the other peoples of Middle-earth, hoping thus to bring under his sway all those that desired secret power beyond the measure of their kind. Seven Rings he gave to the Dwarves; but to Men he gave nine, for Men proved in this matter as in others the readiest to his will.
As for "snares of power" etc. we know what certain Elves and Maiar are capable of...
Quote:
Likewise, it is evident that Men used the Rings as tools to increase their wealth and power, and that Men were quite aware of the abilities the Rings bestowed; however, it is also plain that, like any other addict, they ignored the painful side effects, and blithely went on using the Rings without concern for consequences. They may not have been aware of the end result, but they certainly would know the toll the Rings were taking.
Once they started using the Rings it was next to impossible to stop: that was the whole point of the snare. And Sauron, gradually working on the Men's minds through the One, succeeded to corrupt them and to change their mentality, so their good purposes didn't last long. But had Elves or Maiar been in the Men's place, it would have happened with them as well. None was incorruptible, even Dwarves (to a certain extent). Gandalf feared to take the Ring himself, as did Galadriel, just because they knew that.

Last edited by Gordis; 12-08-2008 at 11:56 PM.
Gordis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2008, 10:15 PM   #2
Gordis
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Gordis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Minas Morgul
Posts: 431
Gordis is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis
As for intentions, it is clear that at least some of the Men had been well-meaning from the start:
Quote:
A mortal, Frodo, who keeps one of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until at last every minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades: he becomes in the end invisible permanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings. Yes, sooner or later - later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last - sooner or later the dark power will devour him.’-The Shadow of the Past, LOTR
Actually it shows that between Dwarves and Men, Men were more easily corrupted, while Dwarves proved practically immune to the Rings. Thus Men got weaker Rings and more rings than the Dwarves.
Gandalf is referring to the Rings in general, and seemingly more regarding the One, and not specifically to the Nine. Gandalf does not indicate that any of those who became Nazgul had any good intentions whatsoever. In my reading, it seems plain that Sauron chose the Nine ringbearers shrewdly as Men having the exact temperment and greed to eventually become his Ulairian thralls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis
Once they started using the Rings it was next to impossible to stop: that was the whole point of the snare. And Sauron, gradually working on the Men's minds through the One, succeeded to corrupt them and to change their mentality, so their good purposes didn't last long. But had Elves or Maiar been in the Men's place, it would have happened with them as well. None was incorruptible, even Dwarves (to a certain extent). Gandalf feared to take the Ring himself, as did Galadriel, just because they knew that.

Hmmm...the Rings heighten a man's abilites, virtues and vices -- what men are predisposed to, so the Ring works on; therefore, it seems plain that the Nine Ringbearers, already great and evilly disposed men of their lands (I believe it says somewhere that the WiKi was a sorceror of note prior to wearing a Ring), used the Rings to heighten their own aspirations. You seem to be forgiving the Men all their trespasses and imputing to the Ring all eventual evil; on the contrary, the Ringwraiths were chosen precisely for the evil that already was in their hearts.
TBC

Last edited by Gordis; 12-09-2008 at 12:01 AM.
Gordis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-08-2008, 11:10 PM   #3
Inziladun
Gruesome Spectre
 
Inziladun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Heaven's doorstep
Posts: 8,051
Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
I find it hard to sympathize with either the Nazgűl betrayed by the Nine, or the Dwarves who possessed the Seven.
Morthoron seems to overall have the right of this. The desire of power beyond one's innate abilities is never represented as a wholly positive virtue in Tolkien's world. He said as much in Letter # 131:

Quote:
With the aid of Sauron's lore (the Elves) made Rings of Power ('power' is an ominous and sinister word in all these tales, except as applied to the gods).
Men seem to have wanted the Nine to gain Power for its own sake, evidenced by what they used them for: to be invisible, to see things in the shadows that were hidden from others, to increase their stature among their peers. What 'good' reason could they have had for wanting the Nine, regardless of their character before they received them? Sauron appears to have basically said, "Here are some magic rings, use them as you will, discover their powers". And so they did.
I don't think Men, however, were more vulnerable to 'avarice' then the Dwarves. It is stated that inflaming their desire for wealth was the only power exercised over the Dwarves by the Seven. Their 'immunity' to the other effects of the Rings though, was only due to their fundamental makeup and not something they were able to consciously effect.
Even the Three were not completely 'good': they too enhanced the powers of the possessor, but it seems the Elves were able to use the Three because they were somewhat protected from corruption by the unnatural power they had gained by the underlying purposes of them: preservation and healing, as stated by Gordis.
The Nine and Seven had no such redeeming qualities, and could have been nothing but what they were: instruments of Sauron to aid in his dominion of ME.
I hope I didn't miss something important from the other thread. That's a lot of posts.
__________________
Music alone proves the existence of God.
Inziladun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2008, 12:03 AM   #4
Gordis
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Gordis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Minas Morgul
Posts: 431
Gordis is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron
Gandalf is referring to the Rings in general, and seemingly more regarding the One, and not specifically to the Nine. Gandalf does not indicate that any of those who became Nazgul had any good intentions whatsoever.
I have to disagree. Gandalf speaks of the great Rings in general, but what mortal but the nazgul had become "in the end invisible permanently", had become a wraith? Not a single one, only the Nine. Any information Gandalf relates could only refer to the fate of the nazgul, otherwise it would be idle speculation. Yet it is not- Gandalf speaks with full knowledge.

Actually this passage by Gandalf reads like a lament for someone he knew well; one even gets an impression that Gandalf speaks as first-hand witness. And as written, it was exactly the case. This is a very old element of the story, as can be gleaned from the drafts published in HOME 6. Originally, all the wizards were Men, not Maiar, and the Wizard-King (Witch-King in the published story) was "the most powerful of the wizards of Men", Gandalf's boss. Most likely, Gandalf referred to him in this passage, having been witness to his fall to the Ring.

Now, in the published story, Gandalf, of course, is a Maia who came to ME about three thousand years after the nazgul had become wraiths. Yet the passage remains as it was written.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron
(I believe it says somewhere that the WiKi was a sorceror of note prior to wearing a Ring),
Nay, not prior to the Ring. The quote you seemingly have in mind is Gandalf's words in LOTR:
Quote:
‘Yet now under the Lord of Barad-dűr the most fell of all his captains is already master of your outer walls,’ said Gandalf. ‘King of Angmar long ago, Sorcerer, Ringwraith, Lord of the Nazgűl, a spear of terror in the hand of Sauron, shadow of despair.’
It refers to Angmar's period, when the WK had been a wraith for about 3000 years already.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron
In my reading, it seems plain that Sauron chose the Nine ringbearers shrewdly as Men having the exact temperment and greed to eventually become his Ulairian thralls
Hmmm...the Rings heighten a man's abilites, virtues and vices -- what men are predisposed to, so the Ring works on; therefore, it seems plain that the Nine Ringbearers, already great and evilly disposed men of their lands (I believe it says somewhere that the WiKi was a sorceror of note prior to wearing a Ring), used the Rings to heighten their own aspirations. You seem to be forgiving the Men all their trespasses and imputing to the Ring all eventual evil; on the contrary, the Ringwraiths were chosen precisely for the evil that already was in their hearts.
Nay, the rings not only heighten someone's abilities. If it were only this, why would Gandalf and Galadriel fear to wield the Ring? The problem is that the Rings corrupt. The One corrupts because it contains a goodly portion of Sauron's power and will, it is part of Sauron himself. The Nine corrupt because through them the very same Sauron (who has the Ruling Ring) gets access to the very mind of the possessor of one of the Nine: corrupts and twists it. Good intentions may remain at first, but they would be carried through by evil means, then the very intentions would turn evil.
Tolkien explains in L#246:
Quote:
Gandalf as Ring-Lord would have been far worse than Sauron. He would have remained 'righteous', but self-righteous. He would have continued to rule and order things for 'good', and the benefit of his subjects according to his wisdom (which was and would have remained great).
[The draft ends here. In the margin Tolkien wrote: 'Thus while Sauron multiplied [illegible word] evil, he left "good" clearly distinguishable from it. Gandalf would have made good detestable and seem evil.']
The Rings were weapons of psychological warfare, able to corrupt virtually anyone. They were used by Sauron to make the greatest Men of their time his servants - people who would have never served him otherwise. They were not meant as rewards to faithful servants, evil by their own choice, they were too precious for that - after all, Sauron had only nine, he had to choose with care.

When choosing a Ringwraith Sauron had to consider two things:
1.The importance of the country the nazgul represented, which would get an immortal leader and would most likely be also enthralled to Sauron for all eternity.
2.The value of the man himself. Here he could go for an outstanding man even if he wasn't bringing his country along with him - an able sorcerer or an outstanding warrior, who merited to be given one of the nine Rings and become an immortal servant of the Dark Lord.

Evil or good intentions of the future nazgul are immaterial in all this - whoever they were at the start they would turn evil anyway. And the best servants would be Men of integrity, originally noble and good. Like Isildur. Or Aragorn. Or Boromir.

By the way, Morthoron, I have read your "Tales of a Dark Continent". Great story, great settings - I loved it.
But you know, your Cui-Baili had all the makings of a nazgul, if Sauron only managed to thrust a Ring on him. He was a great man, ruler of a great country, he had enough problems to wish for some additional power. Strange that Sauron let pass such a golden opportunity. Khamul, by contrast, as you depict him, was not much of a prize - why waste a ring on such a scoundrel? Such like are ten a penny in every generation.
Gordis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2008, 12:09 AM   #5
Gordis
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Gordis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Minas Morgul
Posts: 431
Gordis is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfirin View Post
on the selection of Nazgul to be:
Wasn't there something about Sauron giving power's without rings to two Black Numernoreans who went on to become great cheiftans amoung the Haradrim? I seem to recall, whne reading this passage that it sounded like Sauron would have liked to number them amoung his Nazgul but had run out of rings by then.
You seem to refer to Herumor and Fuinur mentioned in the "Rings of Power and the Third Age". I also think that by the time of the Downfall, Sauron had no Rings left.
Otherwise, one would have been handy for Ar-Pharazon.

Last edited by Gordis; 12-09-2008 at 01:02 AM.
Gordis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2008, 12:41 AM   #6
Gordis
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Gordis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Minas Morgul
Posts: 431
Gordis is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Morthoron replied:

Here is what Morthoron replied to the previous post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis
Actually this passage by Gandalf reads like a lament for someone he knew well; one even gets an impression that Gandalf speaks as first-hand witness. And as written, it was exactly the case. This is a very old element of the story, as can be gleaned from the drafts published in HOME 6. Originally, all the wizards were Men, not Maiar, and the Wizard-King (Witch-King in the published story) was "the most powerful of the wizards of Men", Gandalf's boss. Most likely, Gandalf referred to him in this passage, having been witness to his fall to the Ring.
Interesting concept, but I still disagree with you. Here is a footnote from Letter#156:
Quote:
There were evil Numenoreans: Sauronians, but they do not come into this story, except remotely; as the wicked Kings who had become Nazgul or Ringwraiths.
And another regarding the amplification of personal attributes in Letter#131:
Quote:
The chief power (of all the rings alike) was the prevention or slowing of decay...the preservation of what is desired or loved, or its semblance -- this is more or less and Elvish motive. But also they enhanced the natural power of a possessor -- this approaching 'magic', a motive easily corruptible into evil, a lust for domination [my emphasis].

These quotes, taken in conjunction with previous quotes I offered from 'Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age' lead me to the conclusion that Sauron chose those Men who were more apt to be led into temptation (i.e., those displaying the attributes of greed and a lust for power). These would not be Men of the mold of a Faramir or Aragorn, noble and good and not prone to corruption, rather Men already exhibiting evil tendencies: vicious warriors, sorcerors (the word 'sorcery' nearly always connotes evil in Tolkienic jargon), and avaricious kings (the Sauronic Numenoreans referred to above).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis
Nay, the rings not only heighten someone's abilities. If it were only this, why would Gandalf and Galadriel fear to wield the Ring? The problem is that the Rings corrupt. The One corrupts because it contains a goodly portion of Sauron's power and will, it is part of Sauron himself. The Nine corrupt because through them the very same Sauron (who has the Ruling Ring) gets access to the very mind of the possessor of one of the Nine: corrupts and twists it. Good intentions may remain at first, but they would be carried through by evil means, then the very intentions would turn evil.
Ockham's razor. The easiest path is the one of least resistance. We know that at least three of the Nazgul were Numenoreans (whom Tolkien identified as 'wicked kings' and Sauronic), and Khamul was an Easterling, and they seem to have been ever under the subjugation of Sauron. Even you agree in least in part the means by which Sauron chose the Ringbearers:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis
When choosing a Ringwraith Sauron had to consider two things:
1.The importance of the country the nazgul represented, which would get an immortal leader and would most likely be also enthralled to Sauron for all eternity.
2.The value of the man himself. Here he could go for an outstanding man even if he wasn't bringing his country along with him - an able sorcerer or an outstanding warrior, who merited to be given one of the nine Rings and become an immortal servant of the Dark Lord.
An able 'sorceror' (like the Black Numenorean Mouth of Sauron) would be evil, as sorcery, or more particularly Necromancy, was always considered evil in Middle-earth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis
Evil or good intentions of the future nazgul are immaterial in all this - whoever they were at the start they would turn evil anyway. And the best servants would be Men of integrity, originally noble and good. Like Isildur. Or Aragorn. Or Boromir.
Aragorn, like Faramir, rejected the Ring. Isildur and Boromir could not. This denotes characteristic virtues for the former, and fatal flaws in the latter that could be twisted to Sauron's will. But I see your point -- it's just that it seems more likely that a truly good and noble character would not associate with Sauron in the first place, and a wise man would always question gifts from a dark source.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis
By the way, Morthoron, I have read your "Tales of a Dark Continent". Great story, great settings - I loved it.
But you know, your Cui-Baili had all the makings of a nazgul, if Sauron only managed to thrust a Ring on him. He was a great man, ruler of a great country, he had enough problems to wish for some additional power. Strange that Sauron let pass such a golden opportunity. Khamul, by contrast, as you depict him, was not much of a prize - why waste a ring on such a scoundrel? Such like are ten a penny in every generation.
Thanks for the kind words. That story was a pleasure to write. I don't know where you read it at (its posted on at least two sites), but there is a companion piece 'The Quest of the Three Kindreds' floating about as well.

As far as the Ring going to Khamul, he was, of course, a chieftain of the great confederation of tribes eventually to be known as the Balchoth (and save for some bad luck, and miscalculation of his enemies strength and cunning, could have been emperor of all lands east of the Orocarni Mountains). If you remember, the Ring was offered to Cui-Baili's father, Cui-Ealain, who rejected the embassy of Mordor (wisely on his part, but it was to cause his death). Had Sauron offered the Ring to a later generation, he might have caught Cui-Baili at a weak moment at the end of his life, but domination or avarice was not necessarily motivational factors for Cui-Baili, so it really wouldn't have worked.
Gordis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2008, 02:40 AM   #7
Gordis
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Gordis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Minas Morgul
Posts: 431
Gordis is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inziladun
I find it hard to sympathize with either the Nazgűl betrayed by the Nine, or the Dwarves who possessed the Seven.
Morthoron seems to overall have the right of this. The desire of power beyond one's innate abilities is never represented as a wholly positive virtue in Tolkien's world. He said as much in Letter # 131:
Actually we must distinguish what we are talking about: 1. our ability to sympathize with Tolkien characters, 2. Tolkien’s own assessment of them in the Letters etc. or 3. (I don’t even know how to put it) maybe what we perceive as objective view…

1. Our ability to sympathize with characters varies greatly. You find it hard to feel sympathy for the Nine Men and the Dwarves who got the Seven, while I am able to sympathize with almost anyone: certainly the nazgul, Boromir, Denethor, Saruman, Isildur, Ar-Pharazon, and even sometimes (though it is harder) with Gollum, Grima, Lotho, the Mouth, Sauron, Morgoth and Feanor.

2. Tolkien assessment of good and evil should certainly be taken into consideration, even it it differs from our own views. Yes, for Tolkien “power” is an ominous word, and those who desire “power beyond the measure of their kind” are condemned. Also he strongly condemns hubris and impatience. He is all for humility and patience. Yet, even with these standards, I feel he is a bit partial to his characters: there are his favorite ones who get a lot forgiven. Take his good Aragorn. His goal in life? To become King of the reunited Kingdom. Isn’t it desire for power? Now as to “beyond the measure of his kind” – sorry, but he brought an army of Dead to Pelargir, to fight the living. When the Witch-King had done something similar (sent the Wights to the Barrows of Cardolan), he was universally blamed. And so on.

3. An objective view perhaps is unattainable, but we may try…

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inziladun
Men seem to have wanted the Nine to gain Power for its own sake, evidenced by what they used them for: to be invisible, to see things in the shadows that were hidden from others, to increase their stature among their peers. What 'good' reason could they have had for wanting the Nine, regardless of their character before they received them?
There is a great selection of possible decent reasons: to fight Sauron’s magick (same reasons as Gandalf and Galadriel have in LOTR), to become Kings and/or to marry beloved women (same reason as with Aragorn), to defend their countries (same as Baromir and Denethor), to promote progress, order and technology (same as Sauron and Saruman). Even to try and prolong Men’s lives is a worthy reason –aren’t we all striving to do this even now? Yes, in Tolkien’s world it is frowned upon, as it is against the Design of Eru, but then the Elves who forged the Rings and the ones who used the Three in the Third Age to prevent fading or for other things are at least as guilty – in fact much more, because they knew full well what exactly they were doing and whose know-how they were using.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inziladun
Sauron appears to have basically said, "Here are some magic rings, use them as you will, discover their powers". And so they did.
It may have been like that with Easterling and Southron nazgul. They had hardly heard about the designs of Eru, about the Valar etc. while in the Second Age Sauron of Mordor was regarded as a worthy ally, benefactor, if not as God. Why question his gifts?

Yet with Numenorean nazgul it had to be far harder: Sauron was the Enemy, and what is more, recently conquered enemy. Pride, if nothing else, wouldn’t allow them to listen to him readily or turn to his side willingly. I don’t believe Sauron had approached them straight-on, most likely he had come in disguise to thrust the rings upon his chosen victims. He could pose as an Elf, refugee of Eregion: “Please keep this Elven ring, Lord, it is the last of the Nine…Sauron hunts me, but he mustn’t get it,” or he could invent another scheme. Sauron was very clever and very sly. The fact that the Elves chose to keep all the matter of the Rings secret from their allies the Numenoreans did help Sauron’s designs a lot. A timely warning from the Elves could have alerted the future nazgul, but then again, the Elves had no idea about Sauron’s new plan to give rings to other races. They didn’t know Men were in danger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inziladun
I don't think Men, however, were more vulnerable to 'avarice' then the Dwarves. It is stated that inflaming their desire for wealth was the only power exercised over the Dwarves by the Seven. Their 'immunity' to the other effects of the Rings though, was only due to their fundamental makeup and not something they were able to consciously effect.
Yes, I agree. Rings work on one’s fundamental desires: power and long life for Men, slowing Time and preservation for Elves, riches for Dwarves, wondrous gardens for hobbit gardeners, fish for Gollums. The Dwarves were fundamentally different from Elves and Men – it seems they had no access to the Spirit World whatsoever. Maybe that’s why it was rumored among Elves that Dwarves had no souls…


Quote:
Originally Posted by Inziladun
Even the Three were not completely 'good': they too enhanced the powers of the possessor, but it seems the Elves were able to use the Three because they were somewhat protected from corruption by the unnatural power they had gained by the underlying purposes of them: preservation and healing, as stated by Gordis.
Elves were able to use the Three only AFTER Sauron lost his Ring. In the Second age they were afraid (and rightly) to wear their Rings even for a minute. But they were afraid only because they knew about the existence of the One and that Sauron had it. The Nine Men didn’t know about it, so they got caught. According to Sauron’s original plan, Elves would have been in the nazgul’s place.

I have to go, I will reply to Morthoron later…
Gordis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2008, 08:51 AM   #8
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,472
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
My, for never having posted on this thread, I certainly have many posts here. Gordis, I name thee Lord of the Cut and Paste. Instead of Rings, you'll be handing out scissors.

Now, back to what I was saying, or at least trying to imply. Sauron, in a mephistophelian manner, beguiles and plays upon inherent character flaws of each of the races (Elves, Dwarves and Men).

The Elves eventually prove to be incorruptible, but were, nevertheless, naive at best, or at worst overambitious and greedy, and welcomed Annatar; that is, Celebrimbor and Smiths of Eregion did. Wiser and more calculating Elves such as Gil-Galad and Galadriel seemed to have asked the simple question: 'Annatar, just who in the Angband are you?' This is one of those annoying little points that is rarely discussed on these and other fora. Did some of the Elves so lack common sense that they accepted Annatar without reservation? I mean, really, many of the Elves in the 2nd Age had lived in Aman previously, and were intimate with both the Valar and Maiar. Isn't it odd that no Eregion Elf asked, 'Ummm...dude, like, I never saw you boogie-boarding Taniquetil, and, like, I didn't catch you at any frat-parties at Ezellohar. What, were you like hangin' with Irmo in Lorien in, like, a dream state or sumptin?'

The warnings were there. Other Elves eschewed Annatar's advances. Was it naivety then, or was it (and this seems more likely) a character flaw in Celebrimbor? It would seem the curse of Mandos was visited on the clan of Feanor down to its last generation. Blind ambition, loving too well the work of one's hands, vanity, conceit -- these are the hallmark of the Feanorians, and Sauron found in these traits the method by which he could control the Noldor of Eregion.

Of the Nine and the Seven, I believe you can lump them together into the 'Sinful Sixteen', as they really did not have separate traits; rather, Sauron merely divided them up according to his designs, playing on the character flaws inherent in the Dwarves (avarice) and Men (lust for power as well as greed):

Quote:
But Sauron gathered into his hands all the remaining Rings of Power (that is the Seven and the Nine]; and he dealt them out to the other peoples of Middle-earth, hoping thus to bring under his sway all those that desired secret power beyond the measure of their kind. Seven Rings he gave to the Dwarves; but to Men he gave nine, for Men proved in this matter as in others the readiest to his will [my emphasis].
The Dwarves proved impossible to dominate, but the Rings awoke their lust for gold (and the seven hordes of the old Dwarf Lords was each founded on a Ring). Of Men, however, Sauron seems to have chosen more selectively:

Quote:
There were evil Numenoreans: Sauronians, but they do not come into this story, except remotely; as the wicked Kings who had become Nazgul or Ringwraiths.
Quote:
...But also they enhanced the natural power of a possessor -- this approaching 'magic', a motive easily corruptible into evil, a lust for domination [my emphasis].
Quote:
Men proved easier to ensnare. Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerors and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing.
'Wicked Kings', 'sorcerors', 'warriors' -- you will notice Tolkien never uses a definor such as 'wise loremasters', benevolent lords', 'noble knights' -- he preyed upon those who already exhibited traits necessary to ensnare them: they were the 'wicked Kings', the Black Numenoreans who already worshipped Sauron in the Dark Ages of the Second Age; they were 'sorcerors' (like the Mouth of Sauron, another Black Numenorean in the next Age), who sought arcane power through the necromantic arts (again, Tolkien never uses the words 'sorceror' or 'sorcery' in a positive or good light); and 'warriors', which by any sense of the word does not indicate an interest in statecraft, charity or compassion, rather, bloodlust, vainglory and conquering. There had to be a flaw for Sauron to work on. Each candidate was already exhibiting some trait that the Ring could swell to enormous proportions. If someone does not seek power, does not lust for gold or is not ambitious in the negative sense, it doesn't make much sense that Sauron would be handing them a Ring.
__________________
And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision.

Last edited by Morthoron; 12-09-2008 at 09:10 AM.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2008, 09:27 AM   #9
Bęthberry
Cryptic Aura
 
Bęthberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,072
Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
Stepping in here without having read all the precursor posts and threads . . . (a danger, I know! )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
If someone does not seek power, does not lust for gold or is not ambitious in the negative sense, it doesn't make much sense that Sauron would be handing them a Ring.
Hmmm. But imagine the gloating, vainglory, lust, and delicious bequiling and exquisite expertise that could motivate Sauron to tempt Virtue. Talk about power. Talk about a dangerous liaison.

After all, eventually even Frodo succumbed to the One Ring.
__________________
I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.
Bęthberry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2008, 06:45 PM   #10
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,472
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
Hmmm. But imagine the gloating, vainglory, lust, and delicious bequiling and exquisite expertise that could motivate Sauron to tempt Virtue. Talk about power. Talk about a dangerous liaison.
Yes, I suppose that would be enjoyable for him; however, considering his failure to corrupt the elves, I would assume he was not in a playful mood. And the Rings could always be used against him (which was always a grave concern of his). Also, one must consider Middle-earth at the time was at the absolute nadir of mannish virtue. It was the Dark Ages, really, and even the Numenoreans who came across the sea were now prone to ill-will. Sauron needed lieutenants to brutally force his agenda, not trophies to gloat over. Uncertainty always plagued Sauron.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
After all, eventually even Frodo succumbed to the One Ring.
And he refused it at first or tried to give it away afterwards on several occasions. The danger for Sauron is a highly-principled man of virtue returning the ring to the Elves, where it would be lost to the Dark Lord. As Tolkien said, Sauron only he had nine to dole out, he had to do it judiciously.
__________________
And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2008, 07:59 AM   #11
Gordis
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Gordis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Minas Morgul
Posts: 431
Gordis is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Morthoron:
Let us look again at the quotes (the emphasis mine):
Quote:
Men proved easier to ensnare. Those who used the Nine Rings became mighty in their day, kings, sorcerors and warriors of old. They obtained glory and great wealth, yet it turned to their undoing.-Of the Rings of Power
Note: the Men became mighty, became Kings (or mightier Kings than they used to be) and became sorcerers (or mightier sorcerers than they were before) after they started using the Rings. They were already ring-wielders, their minds exposed to Sauron's corruption.

What happened next? They had a very long life that seemed unending:
Quote:
They had, as it seemed, unending life, yet life became unendurable to them. They could walk, if they would, unseen by all eyes in this world beneath the sun, and they could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of Sauron. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring that they bore and under the domination of the One, which was Sauron's.-ibid
Note here to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning - at the beginning some were good-willed then (!) -, but during their long lives they progressively became evil because of the Rings. So how would they be remembered in history? Not by their early years of liberty, but by their evil deeds and their corruption during their prolonged lives as wicked Kings of the quote, soon to be Ringwraiths:
Quote:
There were evil Numenoreans: Sauronians, but they do not come into this story, except remotely; as the wicked Kings who had become Nazgul or Ringwraiths. Letter#156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron
'Wicked Kings', 'sorcerors', 'warriors' -- you will notice Tolkien never uses a definor such as 'wise loremasters', benevolent lords', 'noble knights' -- he preyed upon those who already exhibited traits necessary to ensnare them: they were the 'wicked Kings', the Black Numenoreans who already worshipped Sauron in the Dark Ages of the Second Age;
Nay, nay. Before SA 2251, the year when the Ringwraiths first appear (TY), there were no Black Numenoreans as yet, even the division into the King's men (precursors of Black Numenoreans) and the Faithful had not yet occured. The three Numenoreans with the Rings had became the very first Black Numenoreans (defined as Morgoth worshippers loyal to Sauron) in history. Their conversion was not natural, it was induced by their Rings. The others Black Numenoreans appeared en masse only about a thousand years later, with the coming of Sauron to the Island. No wonder the memory of the ancient Black Kings among the Faithful was evil.

There is another quote in the letters:
Quote:
To attempt by device or 'magic' to recover longevity is a supreme folly and wickedness of 'mortals'. Longevity or counterfeit 'immortality' (true immortality is beyond Ea) is the chief bait of Sauron – it leads the small to a Gollum, and the great to a Ringwraith.-L#212
Here the chief bait is singled out - immortality - the bait especially attractive for Numenoreans, obsessed by Death and Immortality. Also note that the future nazgul are called "Great" men - not some evil scoundrels willingly serving Sauron.
Here it is again:
Quote:
Yet Sauron was ever guileful, and it is said that among those whom he ensnared with the Nine Rings three were great lords of Númenórean race.-Akallabeth
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron
Sauron chose those Men who were more apt to be led into temptation (i.e., those displaying the attributes of greed and a lust for power). These would not be Men of the mold of a Faramir or Aragorn, noble and good and not prone to corruption, rather Men already exhibiting evil tendencies: vicious warriors, sorcerors (the word 'sorcery' nearly always connotes evil in Tolkienic jargon), and avaricious kings (the Sauronic Numenoreans referred to above)
The future nazgul had to have some character flaws, but they were not necessarily evi - even the "sorcerers". Among Easterlings and Southrons magicians were likely much respected. The Numenoreans (especially those with Elven blood) had some inherent supernatural abilities: glimpses into the future, healing powers, ability for Osanwe etc. Some may have been more gifted than the others and interested in exploring and perfectioning their skills. After all, even after the Downfall the Dunedain of Arnor were able to forge magic blades. Wasn't it sorcery? Recall: at the Moria gates Gandalf tried a lot of opening spells in mannish tongues. I think Tolkien only condemns necromancy (pardoning however his favorites like Aragorn ), as to the rest, the good or evil intent is of major importance.

Now to Aragorn and Faramir. Aragorn desired power and victory: I bet he was tempted by the Ring no less than Boromir. But his case was special - he was Elrond's foster-son and Gandalf's pupil. He must have been warned again and again not to touch the Ring: taught on Isildur's example.

Faramir was of another ilk - a bit Bombadil-ish, so to say. He had zero hubris just by nature. In Elros's line such guys (loremasters by calling, not rulers or warriors) happen occasionally: Vardamir Nolimon, Aldarion's father Tar-Meneldur, maybe also Tar-Minastir. These guys would be tempted by the rings of power far less, no doubt, than their more warlike, adventurous, proud and power-hungry relatives (Tar-Aldarion, Tar-Ciryatan and Tar-Atanamir, Isildur etc.). I wouldn't call the latter evil and even flawed: it is just another temperament. And yes, because of it they make greater Kings and better nazgul. I doubt Sauron would even try to slip a Ring to a quiet loremaster: what for? To have one ring less and the boring wraith of the quiet loremaster studying manuscripts in the next room in Barad-Dur for all eternity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron
Did some of the Elves so lack common sense that they accepted Annatar without reservation?
The Mirdain were ancient Calaquendi Noldorin Elves. By mid-Second Age they became as much obsessed with fading as the Numenoreans later became obsessed with Death. They desired to prevent fading so very much, that they were ready to welcome anyone who promised to solve the problem. The situation Annatar-Celebrimbor exactly mirrors the situation Pharazon-Zigur. Ar-Pharazon knew beyond doubt that Zigur was Sauron, Celebrimbor may have suspected it, but deliberately didn't want to know.
As for Galadriel… Sauron had tortured and killed her brother Finrod, fed him to the wolves. Yet for a thousand years she wore the Ring made by Sauron's design, with his know-how. The desire to tweak nature for her own ends was too strong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron
Thanks for the kind words. That story was a pleasure to write. I don't know where you read it at (its posted on at least two sites), but there is a companion piece 'The Quest of the Three Kindreds' floating about as well.

As far as the Ring going to Khamul, he was, of course, a chieftain of the great confederation of tribes eventually to be known as the Balchoth (and save for some bad luck, and miscalculation of his enemies strength and cunning, could have been emperor of all lands east of the Orocarni Mountains). If you remember, the Ring was offered to Cui-Baili's father, Cui-Ealain, who rejected the embassy of Mordor (wisely on his part, but it was to cause his death). Had Sauron offered the Ring to a later generation, he might have caught Cui-Baili at a weak moment at the end of his life, but domination or avarice was not necessarily motivational factors for Cui-Baili, so it really wouldn't have worked.
I've read it on fanfiction.net. If you have it somewhere else, please post the link, as ff.net is a horrible site. As for Cui-Bali, I think the prolongation of his life (wasn't he childless with no heirs?)and worry for his country would be wonderful baits. Especially if Sauron sent the Ring apparently from someone else (Elves?), Cui-Bali wouldn't even be suspicious.

Last edited by Gordis; 12-10-2008 at 08:23 AM.
Gordis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2008, 01:34 PM   #12
Firefoot
Illusionary Holbytla
 
Firefoot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 7,646
Firefoot has been trapped in the Barrow!
It seems to me that there is an underemphasis in this thread on Sauron's ability to deceive people. The future-Nazgul could very well have been just, decent Men, deceived by Sauron into believing good of the Rings. Sauron at this point emphasized his reputation as a gift giver; the rings could no doubt have been presented as kingly gifts, able to extend the abilities, wisdom, etc. of the bearer. Not unlike the fruit in the garden of Eden, right?

If you accept the premise that no one in Middle-earth was perfect (and I think everyone would), this implies that everyone has some kind of fault that Sauron could have appealed to and that the Rings could have worked on. In fact, the Rings probably could have turned even virtues into faults! Take a king who desired to rule justly and well, who may have had a group of insurgents on his hands... presented in the right way, a ring might seem a desirable tool indeed! It would be taken with a desire to work good, but the man would become trapped and twisted - that desire to rule well might turn into sheer desire for power thus leading to tyranny. (cf. the reasoning of Gandalf and Galadriel in refusing the One Ring from Frodo).

I doubt that there are many Men who, understanding the full powers and implications of the Nine, would have taken a Ring. So Sauron didn't tell them everything. He told them exactly what he thought they wanted or needed to hear... luring, threatening, lying, whatever. Note the word "ensnare" in the original quote. He trapped them, tricked them, though at the time they all perhaps thought themselves fully willing.

I'm not saying that the future-Nazgul were necessarily good men... but they weren't necessarily evil either. They could easily have been either, and probably there was a mix of both. Was Boromir evil? By no means! Yet I could easily see him as the sort of person that Sauron might have sought out with one of the Nine had he lived a couple thousand years earlier.

And for those of you who enjoy the fan fiction-y side of things, I can't resist a plug... this is possibly my favorite RPG of all the ones I've written in, about the fall of Khamul: Shadow of the West.
Firefoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2008, 03:03 PM   #13
Gordis
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Gordis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Minas Morgul
Posts: 431
Gordis is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Thumbs up

Firefoot, I agree wholly with everything you have said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefoot View Post
And for those of you who enjoy the fan fiction-y side of things, I can't resist a plug... this is possibly my favorite RPG of all the ones I've written in, about the fall of Khamul: Shadow of the West.
I have read all of it. I is a great story, only the end seems a bit rushed and inferior to the beginning of the story. Khamul in particular is quite wonderful and very believable.

Also this interpretation of Khamul seems more in accordance with the portrait of the nazgul in LOTR. Khamul in LOTR seems to be a very patient being: both the Gaffer and Maggot had been quite rude to him, yet he let them live. Had he been a bloodthirsty monster in life, at least Maggot's head could have been chopped off without any repercussions...

Last edited by Gordis; 12-10-2008 at 07:55 PM.
Gordis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2008, 05:00 PM   #14
Firefoot
Illusionary Holbytla
 
Firefoot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 7,646
Firefoot has been trapped in the Barrow!
We ran out of writers at the end...
Firefoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-10-2008, 09:27 PM   #15
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,472
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefoot View Post
It seems to me that there is an underemphasis in this thread on Sauron's ability to deceive people. The future-Nazgul could very well have been just, decent Men, deceived by Sauron into believing good of the Rings. Sauron at this point emphasized his reputation as a gift giver; the rings could no doubt have been presented as kingly gifts, able to extend the abilities, wisdom, etc. of the bearer. Not unlike the fruit in the garden of Eden, right?
It is not an underemphasis of Sauron's ability, it is rather accepting that often a great lie and much effort is totally unnecessary (Ockham's Razor used in a practical sense), particularly in rough, unschooled barbarian warriors and rulers in the Dark Ages (because, for all intents and purposes, that is what we are dealing with). I am merely saying that Sauron most likely didn't have to go too far out of his way to 'ensnare' those he thought worthy of bearing the Rings ('worthy' in a pejorative sense). Tolkien uses the term 'Rings of Power' purposely, and as Tolkien stated, "'power' is an ominous and sinister word in all these tales". He also uses the term "lust for domination".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefoot View Post
Take a king who desired to rule justly and well, who may have had a group of insurgents on his hands... presented in the right way, a ring might seem a desirable tool indeed! It would be taken with a desire to work good, but the man would become trapped and twisted - that desire to rule well might turn into sheer desire for power thus leading to tyranny.
Yes, in theory you are perhaps correct, but in fact there is no evidence that that was the case (what we have is Gandalf offering conjecture on what might happen or could have happened -- there is nothing concrete). I realize this is an exercise in conjecture, but of those Nazgul who are idenitfied by region (the three Numenoreans and one Easterling), it is evident that, particularly with the Numenoreans, they were already Sauronian before accepting the Rings ('wicked Kings' and 'sorcerors' as Tolkien refers to them). It seems equally certain that the Easterling was not some benevolent king striving to ward off insurgency; rather, as with all Easterlings under Sauron's sway (the Balchoth, Variags and Wainriders, for instance) they are powerful barbarian warriors, and quite successful in their incursions against the West. And given Sauron's rudimentary battle strategems (he was never a good tactician in war), which were to bludgeon, to overwhelm, to slaughter, it would seem his chief lieutenants generaled in the manner of barbarian warlords.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefoot View Post
I'm not saying that the future-Nazgul were necessarily good men... but they weren't necessarily evil either. They could easily have been either, and probably there was a mix of both. Was Boromir evil? By no means! Yet I could easily see him as the sort of person that Sauron might have sought out with one of the Nine had he lived a couple thousand years earlier.
Boromir was confronted with the One Ring, and not a lesser Ring. Would he have succumbed to the lure of one of the Nine? I don't know, but then again he was not thirsting for domination or power either. His brother refused the One Ring, and I don't see Faramir accepting one of the Nine either. Give some men credit for having the strength of will to deny the gift (or find it unnecessary), just as you are so certain that none could withstand it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis View Post
Khamul in LOTR seems to be a very patient being: both the Gaffer and Maggot had been quite rude to him, yet he let them live. Had he been a bloodthirsty monster in life, at least Maggot's head could have been chopped off without any repercussions...
The Nazgul's primary weapon is fear. When confronted by someone who is fearless, like Maggot (and the altercation occurred during the day, when the Nazgul are at their weakest), they don't appear to be much good at fighting. How else would one explain Aragorn driving off several at once on Weathertop when the Ring was in their grasp (and in the dead of night)? There is also the consideration that a murder in the Shire would raise the local folk in anger (there were several Hobbit farmhands in Maggot's household), which would be counterproductive in the Nazgul's search.

And Gordis, the words 'sorceror' and 'sorcery' are always used by Tolkien in a negative sense, meaning 'black arts' and most often 'necromancy'. I have not seen one instance in Tolkien's writing where 'sorceror' has a positive meaning.
__________________
And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2008, 01:37 AM   #16
Gordis
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Gordis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Minas Morgul
Posts: 431
Gordis is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
It is not an underemphasis of Sauron's ability, it is rather accepting that often a great lie and much effort is totally unnecessary (Ockham's Razor used in a practical sense), particularly in rough, unschooled barbarian warriors and rulers in the Dark Ages (because, for all intents and purposes, that is what we are dealing with).
But "three were great lords of Númenórean race"- Akallabeth, not some barbarians. In the same text the Numenoreans are described:
Quote:
They grew wise and glorious, and in all things more like to the Firstborn than any other of the kindreds of Men; and they were tall, taller than the tallest of the sons of Middle-earth; and the light of their eyes was like the bright stars.
Sauron had to use some vile tricks to ensnare such Men.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron
Yes, in theory you are perhaps correct, but in fact there is no evidence that that was the case (what we have is Gandalf offering conjecture on what might happen or could have happened -- there is nothing concrete). I realize this is an exercise in conjecture, but of those Nazgul who are idenitfied by region (the three Numenoreans and one Easterling), it is evident that, particularly with the Numenoreans, they were already Sauronian before accepting the Rings ('wicked Kings' and 'sorcerors' as Tolkien refers to them).
I have already addressed it in my previous post and found another quote supporting Gandalf's words:
Quote:
And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring- Of the Rings of Power
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron
The Nazgul's primary weapon is fear. When confronted by someone who is fearless, like Maggot (and the altercation occurred during the day, when the Nazgul are at their weakest), they don't appear to be much good at fighting. How else would one explain Aragorn driving off several at once on Weathertop when the Ring was in their grasp (and in the dead of night)? There is also the consideration that a murder in the Shire would raise the local folk in anger (there were several Hobbit farmhands in Maggot's household), which would be counterproductive in the Nazgul's search.
It is not that Maggot was particularly fearless. Obviously the nazgul could tone down their fear to some extent, when dealing with the living: seeking for information, delivering messages, giving orders. It won't do it a Southron general receiving orders from the Morgul Lord on a battlefield would faint from fright or run away headlong, would it? The messenger to Erebor didn't send the Dwarves flying, the Gaffer spoke with the nazgul feeling no worse than nervous, as did Butterbeer, as did Maggot.
When he wished so, the Morgul Lord could send a whole army flying in terror, and the other nazgul could unman Gondorians just by shrieking overhead.

And don't try to persuade me that Khamul didn't have enough fighting skills to kill an anarmed hobbit farmer. He simply chose not to (for the reasons you stated), which proves he could control his temper.

The guard of Rangers at the Sarn Ford had been exterminated by the nazgul.
As for Aragorn at Weathertop, he was most surprised himself when the nazgul withdrew: " I cannot think why they have gone and do not attack again," he said. He didn't know that Frodo happened to have the only type of blade perilous for the Witch-King and nearly killed him. (RC, the Hunt for the Ring).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron
And Gordis, the words 'sorceror' and 'sorcery' are always used by Tolkien in a negative sense, meaning 'black arts' and most often 'necromancy'. I have not seen one instance in Tolkien's writing where 'sorceror' has a positive meaning.
Right. It is like THE ENEMY always has "spies" while OUR country has "intelligence officers"

Last edited by Gordis; 12-11-2008 at 01:41 AM.
Gordis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2008, 07:22 AM   #17
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,472
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis View Post
But "three were great lords of Númenórean race"- Akallabeth, not some barbarians. In the same text the Numenoreans are described
Sorry I was not clear. I was referring to the 'warriors' of the Nazgul that Tolkien referred to (along with kings and sorcerors). In any case, the three Numenorean Nazgul were undoubtedly kings of barbarian races, such as the Haradrim or Umbarians.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis View Post
And don't try to persuade me that Khamul didn't have enough fighting skills to kill an anarmed hobbit farmer. He simply chose not to (for the reasons you stated), which proves he could control his temper.
As I said, Maggot was not alone. There were many farmhands about (check out the kitchen table scene a page or so later). Raising the alarm (as Fredegar did in Crickhollow) would prove counterproductive in their search.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis View Post
The guard of Rangers at the Sarn Ford had been exterminated by the nazgul.
As for Aragorn at Weathertop, he was most surprised himself when the nazgul withdrew: " I cannot think why they have gone and do not attack again," he said. He didn't know that Frodo happened to have the only type of blade perilous for the Witch-King and nearly killed him. (RC, the Hunt for the Ring).
The rangers at Sarn Ford were 'dispersed', weren't they (I am not near a book)? In any case, dead rangers, 'outsiders', would not raise alarm among Hobbits. It would seem the Nazgul were cowardly, whatever the excuse. On Weathertop it was dark, it was a lonely place, their primary prey was wounded -- all the elements where nazgul were supposedly at their best. A major blunder on the part of the Nazgul that can be only equated to cowardice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis View Post
Right. It is like THE ENEMY always has "spies" while OUR country has "intelligence officers"
*Shrugs* Tolkien was certainly a 'homer' rooting for one side (the poor orcs never get a eucatastrophe!); nevertheless, the word 'sorceror' remains a pejorative.

And with that, I think I'll bow out of this conversation, having reached the point where the phrase 'agree to disagree' becomes apparent.
__________________
And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2008, 03:49 AM   #18
Gordis
Shade of Carn Dűm
 
Gordis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Minas Morgul
Posts: 431
Gordis is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
The rangers at Sarn Ford were 'dispersed', weren't they (I am not near a book)?
Many rangers were slain. Here are the quotes:
Quote:
Drawing together again [the nazgul] came to Sarn Ford and the southernmost borders of the Shire. They found them guarded for the Rangers barred their way. But this was a task beyond the power of the Dúnedain; and maybe it would still have proved a even if their captain, Aragorn, had been with them. But he was away to the north, upon the East Road near Bree; and the hearts even of the Dúnedain misgave them. Some fled northward, hoping to bear news to Aragorn, but they were pursued and slain or driven away into the wild. Some still dared to bar the ford, and held it while day lasted, but at night the Lord of Morgul swept them away, and the Black Riders passed into the Shire - UT "Hunt for the Ring."
Quote:
after the Black Riders had overcome the Rangers guarding Sarn Ford, four of the Riders pursue Rangers along Greenway, and having slain them or driven them off Eastwards, make a camp at Andrath. -RC p.145
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
It would seem the Nazgul were cowardly, whatever the excuse. On Weathertop it was dark, it was a lonely place, their primary prey was wounded -- all the elements where nazgul were supposedly at their best. A major blunder on the part of the Nazgul that can be only equated to cowardice.
The nazgul certainly valued their lives more than the One Ring, it is clear from RC. Only fear of Sauron's wrath drove them on to some bold action, and that only when they became desperate. I guess they had good reasons, though: it is much more unpleasant to become a powerless ghost subject to Sauron for all eternity than to go to Mandos as normal Men or Elves do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
And with that, I think I'll bow out of this conversation, having reached the point where the phrase 'agree to disagree' becomes apparent.
*Bows back*. Thank you, we have had a fine discussion.
Gordis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2008, 05:53 PM   #19
Morthoron
Curmudgeonly Wordwraith
 
Morthoron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Ensconced in curmudgeonly pursuits
Posts: 2,472
Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordis View Post
*Bows back*. Thank you, we have had a fine discussion.
*The Dark Elf bows in return*

Oh, the pleasure was all mine. Definitely a worthwhile and informative dialogue.
__________________
And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision.
Morthoron is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:16 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.