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Old 04-03-2007, 02:30 PM   #1
Sauron the White
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Why did Sauron need the One Ring?

Question: much is made of the fact that if Sauron obtains the One Ring during the Lord of the Rings timeperiod, then all is lost and the world of Middle-earth comes under his shadow and rule. Here is what I do not quite get - Sauron had the One Ring. It was his in the Second Age and cut off of his finger by Isildur right there on his own doorstep in Mordor. So he had the ring, he had his armies, he had power. And it availed him not. The armies of the Last Alliance marched upon him, laid siege to his tower of Barad-dur and defeated him despite his possession of this powerful ring. So why then at the end of the Third Age does everyone with any knowledge seem to feel that the Ring will spell the end for the Free Peoples of Middle-earth when it had not had that effect previously?

There is talk of the power of Sauron having grown during the time - but how could Sauron without the ring have grown in more power compared to the time when he actually had the ring? That seems a huge contradiction.

Why did Sauron need the Ring at the end of the Third Age when he had it earlier and it failed to help him?

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Old 04-03-2007, 02:40 PM   #2
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Pipe

It is my understanding that Sauron needed the ring b/c he poured a great deal of himself into the making of it. So his existence depends on it.

His power can grow without it but he is still largely dependent on the ring. That is why he wants it and why the fellowship must destroy it. Savy?
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Old 04-03-2007, 03:03 PM   #3
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Not only that, but there's all the talk about how the blood of mankind has weakened and that they are just a shadow of their Numenor... Numenorian... Numer... ahem, former selves.
If that's the case, Sauron probably felt he had a victory in the bag.
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Old 04-03-2007, 03:14 PM   #4
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Yes, I do understand that. But it would seem that the Free Peoples may have had the attitude "we beat you once with the damn ring, we can surely beat you without it". But none of that comes through. Its all "we are dead meat if Sauron gets his ring back". They already beat him once when he had the ring. That is the part that seems contradictory to me.

Its akin to Florida having to play Ohio State yet again for the NCAA basketball title and this time Ohio does not even have its best player. They beat them once already when they had more firepower. Why would they not think they would simply repeat that task?
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Old 04-03-2007, 03:34 PM   #5
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I think it mainly depended on that if Sauron got the Ring again, he could undo all what has been done with the other Rings - even with the Elven ones. This would mean, no "Last Alliance of Men and Elves" could be formed, only "Last Alliance of Men, and Lórien and Rivendell fall without enough opposition".
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Old 04-03-2007, 06:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sauron the White
Yes, I do understand that. But it would seem that the Free Peoples may have had the attitude "we beat you once with the damn ring, we can surely beat you without it". But none of that comes through. Its all "we are dead meat if Sauron gets his ring back". They already beat him once when he had the ring. That is the part that seems contradictory to me.

Its akin to Florida having to play Ohio State yet again for the NCAA basketball title and this time Ohio does not even have its best player. They beat them once already when they had more firepower. Why would they not think they would simply repeat that task?
OK, granted that Sauron didn't have the Ring, but at the same time, the Free Peoples didn't have any of their heavy hitters like the last time either.
Perhaps they felt that as long as Sauron didn't get his mits on the Ring, they had a good chance of beating him (but if Frodo hadn't gotten to Mt. Doom when he did, they probably wouldn't have), but they had to look at the worst case scenario where Sauron WOULD get the Ring and if that happens, they probably figured, "Oh... we are SO hosed!"

Just my take on it. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 04-03-2007, 06:51 PM   #7
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Thats a good point that the Free Peoples had lost much of their fire power also -- no big Elvish army to count on with Gil-galad leading the way. And I guess Elrond explains why nobody else like the Dwarves can be counted on. Good points all.

So I do understand a bit more now. But I do feel that this overpowering feeling of "if Sauron gets the ring we are toast" is also a bit overdone.

But still my favorite book. Thanks to all for contributing.
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:02 PM   #8
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I have to admit, there's not a whole lot of optimism by any of the involved parties, but then, from their perspective, it must have been like,
"What??? SAURON'S back in town??? Just when thing's were starting to go good, he shows up like yesterday's bad tamale! Well... there goes the neighborhood! Anybody know if Cirdan's looking for a new cabin boy? I work cheap."

Not a pretty picture.
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:12 PM   #9
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To be honest, I do have to agree. When Sauron had the Ring he didn't seem to have any extra abilities and his hosts didn't seem any better. In a way, the One Ring was a failure in my eyes; the elves could just take their rings off, the dwarves only focused on themselves (and they might have become stronger,) and the Nazgul didn't need the One Ring to be controlled after they were made. All Sauron had was a band of gold on his finger. The Last Alliance was composed of the survivors of Numenor (few and lacking a good deal of their standard supplies) and and kingdom of elves that was much, much weaker than the kingdoms in the First Age. Without any divine backing or even a prophecy, they marched in, destroyed Mordor, and killed Sauron.

With the destruction of Arnor, the Great Plague, and the elves getting "depressed" and leaving, the reason that Sauron would have won in the Third Age is that only he had the "morale" or want to summon a large army up. Everybody else was either giving up or suffering from previous problems.

After reading the book, the Ring seemed more dangerous in the hands of Sauron's enemies than in Sauron's own. Everybody was at risk of becoming obsessed over it and killing each other for the Ring.
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:44 PM   #10
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What the Ring did for Sauron all we know is that Tolkien said it 'enhanced' his power:
Quote:
While he wore it, his power on earth was actually enhanced. But even if he did not wear it, that power existed and was in 'rapport' with himself: he was not 'diminished.'~Letter to Milton Waldman
Another thing to note about this is that the Ring's power was in 'rapport' or bound to Sauron. Therefor without the Ring Sauron could still rebuild his body if it was destroyed (as he did several times). When he lost the Ring after being overthrown by Gil-galad and Elendil, even without it Sauron was able to reconstruct a new body. The only ways to kill Sauron completely (to the point where he would remain a spirit and not able to reshape) would be to

1) Someone masters the Ring and essentially takes the place of Sauron becoming the new 'Lord of the Rings.' This wouldn't be the best idea as you would simply be replacing Sauron with another one...as Gandalf points out to Frodo and why he can't take the Ring:
Quote:
'No!' cried Gandlaf, springing to his feet. 'With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.' His eyes flashed and his face was lit as by a fire within. 'Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself...'~A Shadow of the Past
2) To destroy the Ring and undo everything that is tied to the Ring. When the Ring is destroyed, everything that is bound to it instantaneously dies/crumbles. Sauron is killed, The Ringwraiths perish, and the foundations of Barad-dur crumble.

Now why would Sauron want the Ring back? There are probably several answers but the one that comes to mind first is to prevent #1 from happening. Sauron had no fear the Ring was going to be destroyed (why would he? Tolkien tells us in Letter 246 it was beyond the strength of any will to destroy it). However, Sauron's greatest fear was someone finding the Ring and using it's power against him and using the Ring's power to defeat him:
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Unless some other seized it and became possessed of it. If that happened, the new possessor could (if sufficiently strong and heroic by nature) challenge Sauron, become master of all that he had learned or done since the making of the One Ring, and so overthrow him and usurp his place. This was the essential weakness he had introduced into his situation in his effort (largely unsuccessful) to enslave the Elves, and in his desire to establish control over the minds and wills of his servants.~Letter to Milton Waldman
Sauron's greatest concern was someone would have the power to use the Ring against him and overthrow him...therefor of course he would want the Ring back in his possession as soon as possible.
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:56 PM   #11
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Ooh! Good answer. That gives me some thoughts to mull around.

No matter how many times I read LOTR and the Sil, I still feel like I don't know anything
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:55 PM   #12
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Actually when Sauron still in possesion of the One Ring, he was beaten 3 times.

1. By the aid of Tar-Minastir to Gil-Galad during the War of the Elves and Sauron (1693-1701 S.A.)

2. By the host of Ar-Pharazon of numenor at the end of the second age, though i'm not quite sure wether we can call it a victory.

3. The Last Alliance (as mentioned many times here already)
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Old 04-04-2007, 06:03 AM   #13
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I do like the answer and reasoning from Boromir88 - Sauron wanted it so nobody else would get it and replace him. That resonates with me. Arathul points out that the ring also did not help Sauron in other situations in which he was bested as well. And I would count his humbling before the might of Ar-Pharazon as a defeat since Sauron was simply cowed and intimidated by the might of the Numenoreans and gave up quickly. It certainly did not help him in that case.

Does anyone here seem to subscribe to the idea that IF Sauron did get the ring from Frodo then he could have somehow increased his might to take over Middle-earth under his rule as many seemed to fear? The two scenes in the films seemed to subscribe to this 1) Sams vision of the future with Hobbiton under Orc domination and the hobbits enslaved, and 2) Merrys comments about "there won't be a Shire Pippin....". I think this idea may have been pushed more in the films than in the book. Or is it just as dominant in the book also?
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Old 04-07-2007, 06:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Does anyone here seem to subscribe to the idea that IF Sauron did get the ring from Frodo then he could have somehow increased his might to take over Middle-earth under his rule as many seemed to fear?~Sauron the White
I would say so. I think if Sauron got the Ring it would have only hastened his victory. By this time of the Third Age the people of Middle-earth didn't have enough strength left to beat Sauron militarily. As other posters have pointed out in the prior ages. Most of the Elves had left or were leaving by this time, and the dwarves were a dwindling race. The strongest opposition to Sauron was Gondor and they too were down from their 'glory days.' Gondor reached the height of it's power during King Hyarmendacil's reign and had been declining ever since.

The only hope for the people of Middle-earth was the destruction of the Ring. You can find in The Last Debate several times where Aragorn and others say there is no hope to defeat Sauron through strength of arms. Their only hope was for Frodo (or somehow) to destroy the Ring. Had the Ring not been destroyed, Aragorn (and his 7,000 men with him) at the Black Gate would have been defeated. Which leaves Gondor in a tough spot. Sauron had sent an Easterling force to the Dwarves of Erebor and had already beaten them back into Erebor. He had been assaulting Mirkwood and Lorien. Rivendell was a household and a refuge it had no army, so by this time there was no military strength to defeat Sauron. They may be able to hold him off and gain a few victories but in the long run Sauron would have simply overpowered them.

As Elrond and Galadriel both morbidly point out this idea of 'fighting the long defeat.'
Quote:
‘I have seen three ages in the West of the world, and many defeats, and many fruitless victories’~The Council of Elrond
Quote:
'Through the ages of the world we have fought the long defeat’~The Mirror of Galadriel
Now you could argue that Sauron actually could be killed again as he was defeated in the 2nd Age by Gil-galad and Elendil. However, I don't think that's likely. Sauron only came out after his army had been defeated, that's when he challenged Elendil and Gil-galad; and in the War of the Ring Sauron showed no interest in leaving Barad-dur...as I think Denethor correctly points out to Pippin:
Quote:
'He will not come save only to triumph over me when all is won.'~The Siege of Gondor
So, I would say that had the Ring not even been destroyed Sauron would have eventually defeated everyone who opposed him...and had he gotten back the Ring this would have hastened his victory.
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Old 04-08-2007, 01:18 AM   #15
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Question: much is made of the fact that if Sauron obtains the One Ring during the Lord of the Rings timeperiod, then all is lost and the world of Middle-earth comes under his shadow and rule. Here is what I do not quite get - Sauron had the One Ring. It was his in the Second Age and cut off of his finger by Isildur right there on his own doorstep in Mordor. So he had the ring, he had his armies, he had power. And it availed him not. The armies of the Last Alliance marched upon him, laid siege to his tower of Barad-dur and defeated him despite his possession of this powerful ring. So why then at the end of the Third Age does everyone with any knowledge seem to feel that the Ring will spell the end for the Free Peoples of Middle-earth when it had not had that effect previously?

There is talk of the power of Sauron having grown during the time - but how could Sauron without the ring have grown in more power compared to the time when he actually had the ring? That seems a huge contradiction.

Why did Sauron need the Ring at the end of the Third Age when he had it earlier and it failed to help him?

I believe that the ring symbolizes materialism in the sense of power. The power of the Valar was a material power derived from Eru himself, direct power to alter even the material form of Arda, (Middle Earth), because although, as when this power was used by the Valar during the shaping of the world, the Valar acted spontaneously and independently of Eru, still while they were moving with power to fashion the shape and design of the world, they knew that everything that they did was already complete and entirely within the will and mind of Eru, 'The One'.
Sauron was of the Maiar, like second-class angels of lesser power, if you will, and the power of the maiar was not that of the Valar, who were like first class angels, who could command the very stone of the earth to rend, or the sea to rise and drown whole lands, but the power of the Maiar was not with the stone, or the lightning, or the water, or fire, elemental, so to speak, but was with the idea, the word, the feeling, the meaning, the truth, the image.
Before the ring was made Saurons power as a Maiar was like that power you feel in the presence of old man who is wealthy and powerful, and who has commanded respect by demonstrating superior ability his entire life. That vague feeling of mingled respect, envy, and fear when you are in the presence of someone like that, where you find that you have humbled yourself without willing to do so. That was the power he had. He could use that power and his words to inspire men, to move them to fear or doubt, to influence the path of their thoughts to conclusions that he himself had planned for them, and yet they would foolishly believe that they had arrived at a decision based on their own insight. He could daunt and inspire fear in the hearts of lesser men, or sow doubt and suspiscion in the minds of the wise. But he could not force. He could not by sheer power alone completely overide the will of any save his most miserable servants, orcs and trolls and such. For example: If he were to destroy an army and king garrisoned behind stone wall and iron gate; he could by clever parley and crooked counsel, if heeded by the gate messenger and the king, convince the king to open the gate and thus save his people from eventual starvation, but he could not by command cause the material elements that made the castle door to rend asunder, or at least his power over the things of the Earth was limited.
By the forging of the ring, by some secret art of long study he developed a way of taking a large part of his inherent power and by placing it in the form of a ring, to change his power into a far more direct and present and tangible form. I am probabily wrong at many points but I think I have it in a general way.
Sauron also taught this secret to the Elves, because if he could get them to place their power in material form by direction of his arts, that act of doing so, by the Elves, would place them in subjection to his power. Their power would become in a sense materially linked to his, and subject to it because it was from him that their power had evolved into that form. Sauron underestimated the power of the Elves. In the hour of the completion of his design, the Elf Lord Celebrimbor perceived his intent, and 'the three were hidden from him'.
The Elves were far stronger and more numerous at the great battle at the end of the second age, the power of the Numenorean kindoms in exile was still very strong, though in decline. And at that time the very lives, hearts and minds of the Elves and their Lords were directly threatened. If at any time Sauron succeeded in capturing a traveling Elf, or some Lord's messenger, and by torture learn the wherabouts and idenity of a keeper of one of the Three Rings, that knowledge would greatly strengthen him and weaken the possessor of the ring. He did not know which of the Great had the rings. At any time he could by ill chance or design find out. And so the whole combined and entire might of the Elven kingdoms moved as one in great stroke against him, and with the help of the still numerous and strong Gondor, but little removed from the height of it's power and fresh in the living memory of the splendor of Numenor. And there are other powers at work in Middle Earth, powers of good and they are not always distant or idle.
After the end of the second age Sauron's power began to grow again because the Ring was not destroyed. Although it was not in his posession, the greater part of his native power was become material, bound to the ring, so long as the ring continued, so did he. During this time the Elves, on the other hand, faded. The passage to the Grey Havens long hindered, was open, and after many thousands of years and battles, many elves began to take to the west. After I believe somewhere in the neighbor hood of 1500 years when the Elves learned for certain, that the ring was not destroyed, and Sauron had risen again, They could not muster again the resolve to suffer the carnage of another great war for middle earth. They could leave. They would leave.
Yes the Elves and Numenorean exiles won the war, but at exceptional cost. Close to half the number of all the Elves and Men of the West who could wield blade died in that war. Men were bound to Middle Earth, the Elves were not. And even if the Elves once again united against Sauron, and the Ring were destroyed, then the Power of the Elven rings would also cease. Such was the evil of Sauron. So either way, the Elven lords would also lose their power. But better to leave middle Earth, that to become the slaves of Sauron or to dwindle into a secret and wild people of the wilderness and finally fade out altogether. So by the time of the great battle of the Third Age, as was made clear at the Counsel of Elrond, The battle against Sauron and the responsibilty for resistence and the custodianship of Middle-Earth fell to Men, and so great was the burden that Aragorn bore. only Gandalf and Elrond knew fully what that hour meant to him.
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Old 04-08-2007, 02:50 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sauron the White
Does anyone here seem to subscribe to the idea that IF Sauron did get the ring from Frodo then he could have somehow increased his might to take over Middle-earth under his rule as many seemed to fear?
Since it doesn't look seem like this quote has been brought before:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Last debate, RotK
Concerning this thing, my lords, you now all know enough for the understanding of our plight, and of Sauron's. If he regains it, your valour is vain, and his victory will be swift and complete: so complete that none can foresee the end of it while this world lasts.
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Originally Posted by Neithan Tol Turambar
Close to half the number of all the Elves and Men of the West who could wield blade died in that war.
Hm, is there some evidence in that regard?
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Old 04-08-2007, 07:50 AM   #17
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Since it doesn't look seem like this quote has been brought before:
Hm, is there some evidence in that regard?
Taking everything I know about the battles of Middle Earth I feel that I can say so with confidence. But no, not directly. Good Catch.
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Old 04-19-2007, 12:53 AM   #18
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I think the time of the Lord of the Rings was actually a pretty troublesome time to begin with.

I'm not sure what Tolkien says or even if does say anything about recent history in the third age(famines, wars, rebellions?) but it seems to me everyone has been having problems and no one has been doing to well(examples? the second Khazad Dum...).

The power of the ring, though, is unbroken, so I can understand the fear of not just Sauron, but anyone getting the ring! But Sauron in particular since it's easier to direct fear at him than at the ring, since you would have to fear yourself as well.
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Old 03-03-2009, 06:15 AM   #19
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Interesting point, Sauron The White.

Sauron poured much of his power into the Ring, but even then he was so powerful that his diminished self could still command a very mighty army from his stronghold in Mordor. Had he the Ring again his power would have been greater, though this might not have affected the strength of his army to any important degree -- they would still have won, regardless.

It would have been checkmate for the Elves, though, because of the Ring's dominance over the Elven rings.

So if the Ring is kept from Sauron, then his enemies have more time to conjure up a crazy, game-saving move -- and isn't that just what happened?

If Sauron gets the Ring, all hope is gone and the end will be a lot sooner.
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:22 AM   #20
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Looking back over old threads and came across this quotation from Tolkien, supplied by Boromir88.

--

Eomer, sounds like you are looking for an answer that Tolkien wrote in a letter to Mr. Milton Waldman...

Quote:
While he (Sauron) wore it, his power on earth was actually enhanced. But even if he did not wear it, that power existed and was in "rapport" with himself: he was not "diminished." Unless some other seized it and became possessed of it. If that happened, the new possessor could (if sufficiently strong and heroic by nature) challenge Sauron, become master of all that he had learned or done since the making of the One Ring, and so overthrow him and usurp his place. (ENDQUOTE)

So, we have the Ring's power is still "rapport" or "bound" to Sauron. However, if someone comes along (say Gandalf) and is strong enough to challenge him with it (one on one) and is able to beat him that bond would be broken. The Ring's powers would no longer be bound to Sauron, therefor he would be destroyed for good. However, as SpM says, Sauron's works would live on, as the new Ring-Bearer would turn up to be a new dark lord. - (Boro)

--

Interesting and relevant to this thread.
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Old 03-04-2009, 07:12 AM   #21
The Sixth Wizard
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Yeah, Sauron got beaten with the Ring.

... by NUMENOREANS.

So Sauron had some magic metal, so what? That match up is like Super Saiyan 3 Goku versus some guy with boxing gloves.

(link)


Anyway he was going to win in the Third Age because of the decline of Men due to infighting and remnants of his Second Age army beating up on them all the time (see Gladden Fields). As the return of Men from Numenor was relatively recent at the time of the Last Alliance they still wielded enough power to defeat him. I doubt they could have done it twice though, as they only barely won even then. And as I remember Sauron made war too hastily after the fall of Numenor, before his forces were full strength.

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Old 03-31-2009, 06:45 AM   #22
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I think it's worth remembering that the Last Alliance besieged the forces of Sauron in Mordor for seven years before he himself came out in a last ditch attempt. I doubt that the movie portrayed this at all accurately, as it would appear (from the book) that Sauron let his forces fight virtually to the last orc before he came out. So at this point what could Sauron, even with the Ring, do by himself against a huge force of Elves and Men?

Of course, in taking Sauron down both Elendil and Gil-galad died, but I'd put that down more to Sauron's abilities as a Maiar rather than to any power of the Ring. It seems to me that the Ring was designed to give Sauron power by controlling the other Ringbearers, who were the leading Elves, Dwarves and Men. The Ring was not designed to make Sauron into some kind of unstoppable killing machine. The Ring was partially successful in that it did give Sauron nine mighty wraiths - but it didn't work on Elves or Dwarves.

It might also be worth remembering that at the time of the Last Alliance, Sauron had already died once - in the downfall of Numenor - so that he may not have been as physically powerful as he once was. He may have used much of his strength in creating a new body - which he had done fairly quickly.

All in all - Sauron was defeated and/or killed five times after the creation of the Ring. Four of those times occurred while he was in possession of the Ring.

1. By the Númenóreans and Elves in the War of the Elves and Sauron (S.A 1693-1701). Sauron was forced to retreat after the Battle of the Gwathló, and so lost the war. I wonder why the Númenóreans did not pursue him at this point, when Sauron's armies were routed.

2. By the host of Ar-Pharazôn (S.A. 3255). Sauron surrendered to Ar-Pharazôn when his forces deserted him, but what else could he do? The Númenórean army would have eventually overwhelmed him and Ar-Pharazôn might have ended up with the Ring. Sauron wouldn't have wanted to risk that.

3. The Downfall of Númenor (S.A. 3319). Sauron died as a result of the actions of the Valar and Eru. Since everybody in the vicinity was also dead, Sauron was able to take the Ring back to Middle-Earth, even though he was presumably in some kind of disembodied spirit form. Or maybe he animated what was left of his lifeless body to carry the Ring back ... not pretty but it would get the job done.

4. The Last Alliance of Elves and (Númenórean) Men (S.A. 3434–3441). We know that this force was not as great as the host of Ar-Pharazôn, because Sauron's forces simply deserted him on that earlier occasion. Elendil and Gil-galad physically killed Sauron's body and then Isildur removed the Ring before the spirit of Sauron could claim it. Also, since Sauron had already died just a few years earlier in the Downfall of Númenor, this second death (perhaps before he was back to his "full strength") may have weakened his spirit to the point where it was virtually not functioning. It took Sauron many long years to "get himself together" and for an extended period of time he was not aware of the continued existence of the Ring. Presumably when the Ring lay undiscovered on the floor of the Anduin it was in a dormant or quiescent state. Once Gollum had the Ring, Sauron must have become aware of it; in any case, Sauron would have realised that the continued existence of the Ringwraiths meant that the Nine Rings still "worked" and that therefore the One Ring must be out there "somewhere".

5. Gollum falling into the chasm in Mount Doom, thereby inadvertently destroying the Ring which had just recently come into his possession (along with the previous bearer's finger). (T.A. 3019).
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:05 AM   #23
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I am surrpised Sauron trusted Saruman so much when the latter decided to side with him in their search for the Ring.

As has been commented before, Sauron never entertained the idea the Ring would ever be destroyed by mere mortals. What he did fear was someone finding & using their Ring and thus quite possibly usurping his power & position of dominance.

So he may have feared the elves, dwarves & the Men of Numenor. But what of the other wizards, especially Saruman, who had now turned his back on doing good and wanted the share of the spoils over a ravaged Middle Earth.

Surely Sauron must have considered the possibility that Saruman's own armies could have found the Ring before his own, during their tenuous partnership of the two towers.

Saruman owning the Ring would have completely overwhelmed the Dark Lord and Mordor would have been crushed by the might of Isengard & Orthanc.

So I am quite surprised Sauron placed so much trust in the alliance with Saruman, even though as we later know Saruman failed quite miserably at Helms Deep and on his own doorstep with the revenge of the Ents.
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:00 AM   #24
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Sauron didn't trust Saruman, nor would Isengard have a hope of competing with, let alone crushing, Mordor - even had Saruman the ring.
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Old 03-12-2010, 03:30 AM   #25
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Sauron was certain that the Ring would be used against him. By the time he learned of the whereabouts of the Ring, much less after factoring in the time it would take to march his forces north across hundreds of leagues, he could reasonably expect that the Ring would have been moved. In fact, the Ring did leave Rivendell after only two months, which is probably faster than Sauron could have heard of the events and sent an army north.

As we learn in Unfinished Tales Isildur, with a small force of hardy Numenoreans, expected it would take him 40 days one way. Sauron would need longer than that even to just march his army and gather his forces.
Sauron would only know that the One Ring had been delivered to Rivendell and he would not know this right away. At Rivendell were several very powerful Individuals that, with the One Ring in (or on) hand could defeat Sauron. Add to this the idea that Tolkien himself gives as Sauron's greatest error in judgment, which was a belief that a person of power who gained control of the ring would act as he would.
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