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Old 01-27-2009, 01:14 PM   #41
Gordis
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
Well, I think Sauron was a bit naive in his power, I think - he believed that Saruman would not be able to withstand him, that he is a coward (in which he was right), and will hand over the prisoners and not dare to start anything in fear of Sauron's vengeance if he did. It was possibly also that "you send forty Orcs, I send forty Orcs, they will have a nice cooperation", just Saruman proved to be more daring here and sent twice more. (Or maybe it was "Let's meet by the river, each of us will send exactly twenty Orcs." Grishnkh comes with forty: "Guess what. Sauron lied." Uglk: "Guess what. Saruman lied... more!" )
The idea of a bit naive Sauron doesn't appeal to me at all. If he appears "naive", than there must be something we are not aware of, IMO, something we have overlooked. And I like WCH's explanation a lot: that it was a forced unforeseen cooperation, not a pre-arranged one, otherwise Sauron would have seen to it to "lie more" than Saruman.

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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
As for the Nazgul, it was some sort of "taboo" - Nazgul simply are NOT crossing the river, that's an order. You have to consider that we are looking at it from our a bit postmodern point of view, but it is something similar as when let's say in some ancient culture, people were banned to wear yellow colour. Sometimes, it did not even have any logical explanation why they should not do so, but it simply was the way it was done. You simply don't do that. Point.
Indeed the nazgul have shown little initiative all through the "Hunt". For instance, Sauron sent them to search the Vales of Anduin, and so they did exactly as told, despite the fact that Khamul assured the WK that it would be pointless, and the WK believed him, but still they didn't turn back.

Yet the nazgul who got his steed killed by Legolas was flying over the West bank of Anduin, breaking the order in letter if not in spirit. And I have got a (perhaps erroneous?) impression that it was the nazgul who had ferried the orcs over the river on his Fell Beast and was supposed to ferry the survivors back:
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'If we could cross the Great River, we might,' said another voice. 'But there are not enough of us to venture down to the bridges.'
'I came across,' said the evil voice. 'A winged Nazgl awaits us northward on the east-bank.'
'Maybe, maybe! Then you'll fly off with our prisoners, and get all the pay and praise in Lugbrz, and leave us to foot it as best we can through the Horse-country.
That's probably why the Mordor reinforcement numbered but 40 orcs. The tired and irritated Fell Beast must have eaten the forty-first and no one volunteered after that.

Last edited by Gordis; 01-27-2009 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 01-27-2009, 01:46 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Gordis View Post
The idea of a bit naive Sauron doesn't appeal to me at all. If he appears "naive", than there must be something we are not aware of, IMO, something we have overlooked. And I like WCH's explanation a lot: that it was a forced unforeseen cooperation, not a pre-arranged one, otherwise Sauron would have seen to it to "lie more" than Saruman.
Yes, but we are in fact witnesses to moments when Saruman "lied more": merely the fact that the Hobbits were eventually taken to Isengard is one of these proofs. Saruman just managed to do that several times (and why not, he was really good in that). And Sauron was not maybe naive in all senses of the word, but he was known for miscalculating his enemies' intentions.

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Indeed the nazgul have shown little initiative all through the "Hunt". For instance, Sauron sent them to search the Vales of Anduin, and so they did exactly as told, despite the fact that Khamul assured the WK that it would be pointless, and the WK believed him, but still they didn't turn back.
Yep, but do not forget that they would never disobey Sauron. And if he said "search the Vales", so they did, even if they knew there is nothing to find.

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Yet the nazgul who got his steed killed by Legolas was flying over the West bank of Anduin, breaking the order in letter if not in spirit. And I have got a (perhaps erroneous?) impression that it was the nazgul who had ferried the orcs over the river on his Fell Beast and was supposed to ferry the survivors back:
I don't think he was flying over the western bank. It says that it was coming from the south (thus, unspecified riverbank) and fell down on the eastern one. Indeed, it was supposed to ferry the Orcs - or rather, the captives - but these were really special circumstances (the Ring was in play here, and how to get it fast to safety!), and the Nazgul most likely just landed on the western riverbank, unloaded its cargo and flew back - and all that at night. They would not dare to go further, or even dwell on the western side for long. (Not thinking about the fact that poor Nazgul pilot must have been pretty sick from flying over the water anyway.)
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Old 01-27-2009, 03:50 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
Yes, but we are in fact witnesses to moments when Saruman "lied more": merely the fact that the Hobbits were eventually taken to Isengard is one of these proofs. Saruman just managed to do that several times (and why not, he was really good in that). And Sauron was not maybe naive in all senses of the word, but he was known for miscalculating his enemies' intentions.
Sauron only had difficulty to predict his enemies' schemes based on fool's hope = estel, but was quite good at deciphering the logical ones.

With Saruman he was at a disagvantage: Saruman likely had some suspicions as to the ultimate goal of the Quest - destruction of the Ring, while Sauron had none. Sauron likely saw the first move of the Felowship as relocation of the Ring from Rivendell to the closely guarded Lorien: from Elrond to Galadriel. But I doubt Sauron expected the Ring to leave Lorien and go South. He was caught at unawares by the happenings upon the Anduin, IMO. But I will have to reread the RC Scheme again...

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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc
Yep, but do not forget that they would never disobey Sauron. And if he said "search the Vales", so they did, even if they knew there is nothing to find.
And surprisingly enough they got a wigging from Sauron for being obedient. Or was it for being slow?

BTW, Legate, I am quite curious how do you envision those "Messengers from Barad-Dur" conveying threats from Sauron to the nazgul? (a rather unsafe thing to do). Were they Orcs? Men? Birds? Or perhaps the Mouth himself had to go?

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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc
I don't think he was flying over the western bank. It says that it was coming from the south (thus, unspecified riverbank) and fell down on the eastern one.
But it swerved almost above the fellowship.
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Suddenly the great bow of Lrien sang. Shrill went the arrow from the elven-string. Frodo looked up. Almost above him the winged shape swerved.
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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc
Indeed, it was supposed to ferry the Orcs - or rather, the captives - but these were really special circumstances (the Ring was in play here, and how to get it fast to safety!), and the Nazgul most likely just landed on the western riverbank, unloaded its cargo and flew back - and all that at night. They would not dare to go further, or even dwell on the western side for long. (Not thinking about the fact that poor Nazgul pilot must have been pretty sick from flying over the water anyway.)
Forty times there and back again across the Great River. Hmm... Poor hydrophobic nazgul!

Last edited by Gordis; 01-27-2009 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 01-27-2009, 05:04 PM   #44
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I think that's probably right. Sauron feared Galadriel perhaps more than any other foe, after all. More to the point, Sauron's original war strategy called for a much more substantial assault on Lorien; only after Aragorn revealed himself in the Palantir did Sauron redirect forces to the southern front* instead, being now convinced that the Ring was bound for Minas Tirith.

* The Chronology isn't specific about which forces, but it would seem likely that it would be the army that issued from the Morannon and in the event crossed at Cair Andros into Anorien. Had that army been joined to that of Dol Guldur, would Lorien have held? Who knows? In the event, the Ch. tells us, the army from DG was repulsed and retreated southward over Limlight, to be destroyed by the Ents in the Wold.
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:39 PM   #45
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only after Aragorn revealed himself in the Palantir did Sauron redirect forces to the southern front*
Did Sauron indeed relocate troops from Dol Guldur to Mordor? Is it in RC?
Why would he need it, I wonder - wasn't Mordor practically packed with orcs even after the Pelennor?
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Old 01-27-2009, 10:28 PM   #46
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No, not diverted from DG to Mordor; rather, the army from Udun and the Morannon, originally slated to march north and join with that of DG, was rerouted westward into northern Gondor. This was motivated (I speculate) by S's conviction that the Ring was in Gondor; but also by the military necessity of dealing with the Rohirrim, whom Saruman was supposed to have neutralized.

I don't know if this bit is in the excerpts from the Chronology ("Scheme") published in the RC, but it's in the complete document.

As to 'plenty of Orcs left'- well, Tolkien wasn't a general or a general-staff officer, but he spent enough time at war to be aware of a basic fact of armies: on the advance they can't be any bigger than their logistics train allows.

(One can just imagine the cursing and blows in Mordor's quartermaster corps that resulted when Lugburz moved up the whole timetable to 10 March!)
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:51 AM   #47
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No, not diverted from DG to Mordor; rather, the army from Udun and the Morannon, originally slated to march north and join with that of DG, was rerouted westward into northern Gondor. This was motivated (I speculate) by S's conviction that the Ring was in Gondor; but also by the military necessity of dealing with the Rohirrim, whom Saruman was supposed to have neutralized.
Makes a lot of sense.
As for dealing with the Rohirrim: a see a slight problem.
I somehow don't see Orc infantry as being effective against trained cavalry. I doubt the Orcs could maintain rigid formation which is criucial for repulsing cavalry. So, this army from Morannon sent against the Rohirrim most likely was composed of Haradrim and Easterliing cavalry. (In fact, that's what Theoden had dealt with). But if it were the same contingent that was supposed to march against Lorien, of what use would the cavalry be in the Wood?

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I don't know if this bit is in the excerpts from the Chronology ("Scheme") published in the RC, but it's in the complete document.
You were able to read the unpublished Chronology? Cool!

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(One can just imagine the cursing and blows in Mordor's quartermaster corps that resulted when Lugburz moved up the whole timetable to 10 March!)
If Lugburz also changed the direction of the main blow from Lorien to Minas Tirith, that would lead to some cursing indeed.
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Old 01-28-2009, 09:08 AM   #48
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As for dealing with the Rohirrim: a see a slight problem.
I somehow don't see Orc infantry as being effective against trained cavalry. I doubt the Orcs could maintain rigid formation which is criucial for repulsing cavalry.
Actually, they did exactly the right thing- this was the army which blocked the Road to cut the City off from reinforcement/relief, and which according to Theoden's scouts had dug trenches across it and planted sharpened stakes- which the Rohirrim themselves acknowledged would break a cavalry charge. Fortunately for the good guys, they didn't know about the Stonewain Valley.
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