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Old 01-18-2001, 10:03 AM   #1
Mithadan
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Ring Dragons, Balrogs and other nasties

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In UT, there is an essay called the Quest of Erebor in which Gandalf reveals that one of his motivations in &quot;sponsoring&quot; Thorin and co. was to eliminate Smaug from the coming conflict with Sauron. This raises several questions. The Hobbit and LoTR both imply that Smaug was not the last dragon (in Letters, JRRT specifically states that the &quot;race&quot; of Dragons survived into later ages). If there were other dragons, why didn't Sauron use them (other than the undersized steeds for the Nazgul)?

Which raises the broader question. Sauron was Morgoth's Lieutenant, but still an underling. To what extent could Sauron control the greater constructs/minions of Morgoth that survived to the Third Age? These include Dragons, the Balrog, perhaps the Watcher in the Water, and others that we may not know of. I raised this question on another board long ago and the primary answer seemed to be that Sauron couldn't control Morgoth's greater servants without the Ring. I find this &quot;answer&quot; to be unsatisfactory and, in my opinion, wrong. Thoughts?

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Old 01-18-2001, 10:55 AM   #2
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Re: Dragons, Balrogs and other nasties

Most of this is pure speculation. With that said here goes. Wasn't it you, Mithadan, that said that Sauron with the Ring was more powerful than Morgoth at the end of the First Age? If this is true, was it mainly due to the power of the Ring or because Morgoth's power was depleted? You see, if the power of Morgoth had weakened, then why would any of the greater creatures still follow him. So the Ring must have made Sauron much greater than he inherently was.

Another thing would be that the One Ring is called the ruling ring, maybe it didn't just give him dominion over the other rings. It could have helped him to control the other creatures that were servents of Morgoth.

You look at it from the point of Sauron not having the ring, maybe Gandalf was looking at Sauron with the ring.

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Old 01-18-2001, 03:14 PM   #3
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Re: Dragons, Balrogs and other nasties

Yes, I did report that JRRT stated that Sauron's power at the end of the Second Age may have exceeded Morgoth's at the end of the First Age. However, the reason for this is that Morgoth had disseminated his power into his servants, and Arda in general, and because of this, the dragons, balrogs, etc. were bound to him. They were not so bound to Sauron.

In context, Gandalf's statement refered to the War of the Ring as it took place, without Sauron having the Ring. He suggests that Smaug could have devastated Eriador if he had not been slain as a result of the Quest of Erebor. My question is why? Did Sauron have some control over Smaug? Did he &quot;cut a deal&quot; with Smaug? Or would Smaug have merely emerged from the mountain inspired by the war and gleefully begin slaying elves, men and dwarves?

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Old 01-18-2001, 03:37 PM   #4
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Re: Dragons, Balrogs and other nasties

I think the reason Morgoth was still able to exert control over his servants, even at the end of the second age, was because he was either their corrupter or their creator. They must have had a very strong loyalty towards him - as Mithadan says, they were bound to him. As far as I know, the only servant of Morgoth who stopped obeying him was Ungoliant.

Sauron, on the other hand, had less of a claim on evil as Morgoth did, and more of a capacity for attracting or stirring up evil. Certainly the ring, being completely evil in nature, must have magnified this power. I believe that the arising of Sauron in the third age may have helped to 'wake up' the Balrog in Moria. It's worth pointing out that this would have happened without the use of the ring.

I can't imagine Sauron having any control over dragons, which were extremely selfish creatures as a rule. Dragons must have been around at the time of the last Alliance, and there's no mention of Sauron using them then. If Smaug had still been alive during the war of the ring, he would probably have emerged of his own accord, seeing the opportunity for more plunder.



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Old 01-18-2001, 04:58 PM   #5
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Re: Dragons, Balrogs and other nasties

But in the books it says that everything would fall under the Dark Lord sooner or later, even Tom Bombadil(assuming he is very powerful). If by everything Gandalf meant everything, then that would have included Smaug and all the other dragons and the balrogs, elves, dwarves, humans, and what not. So wouldn't it be safe to assume that the dragons and the balrogs were inferior to Sauron.

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Old 01-19-2001, 07:54 AM   #6
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Re: Dragons, Balrogs and other nasties

It is possible that Sauron would have had a similar relationaship with Smaug to the one he had with Shelob. Sauron was perfectly happy to allow Shelob to spin her webs in Cirith Ungol, but if she had tried to enter Mordor itself or starting attacking his troops he would probably have taken steps to bring her into line. I think that Sauron would have been content to allow Smaug to ravage Erebor, Dale and perhaps the Iron Hills, but if the dragon had spread his wings further (no pun intended), the Dark Lord would have been less pleased.

The fact that Gandalf considered that Sauron might `use` Smaug indicates to me that the wizard believed that Sauron was powerful enough to order the dragon for his own ends.

Look into the http://www.fortunecity.co.uk/library/classiccourt/77/Mirror of Desire.</a> </p>Edited by: <A HREF=http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_profile&u=00000099>Taimar</A>&nbsp; <IMG SRC=http://www.ezboard.com/ezgfx/gicons/black_ball.gif BORDER=0 WIDTH=10 HEIGHT=10> at: 1/19/01 8:56:35 am
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Old 01-19-2001, 08:33 AM   #7
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Re: Dragons, Balrogs and other nasties

I do not think that Sauron could order or exercise control upon the Dragons to act on his behalf. For this reason I find Gandalf's comment to be puzzling. Consider: during the Second Age, while Sauron had the Ring, Sauron fought a series of battles with the Elves and the Dunedain, including the Battle of Dagorlad and the Seige of Barad Dur. Despite losing on Dagorlad and being in a severe situation during the Seige, Sauron did not or could not call upon the aid of any of the Dragons.

In the Second Age, both Scatha and Smaug and others such as the cold drake referred to in the Appendices would have been available. The dragons could have wreaked havoc among the the armies of the Last Alliance and perhaps turned the tide of the battles. The fact that Sauron did not enlist their help suggests strongly that he was unable to even with the Ring. At the end of the Third Age, without the Ring, Sauron certainly could not do what he was unable to do with the Ring during the Last Alliance.

So Gandalf's comment is puzzling. Maybe Gandalf believed that Sauron and Smaug could have reached an agreement through which the dragon would have provided assistance. Alternatively, maybe Smaug, inspired by the chaos of war, would have acted on his own, seeking more treasure or just out of malice.



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Old 01-19-2001, 09:57 AM   #8
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Chaotic Evil

&quot;Another thing would be that the One Ring is called the ruling ring, maybe it didn't just give him dominion over the other rings. It
could have helped him to control the other creatures that were
servents of Morgoth.&quot;


I speculate that the One Ring was designed w/ the express purpose of controlling the leaders of various communities[ and through them possibly the communities themselves].
Some of these were for him [Black Numenoreans, some evil houses of Dwarves?] and some against him [Elves and Durin's house -,were some of the 9 ,originally good Numenoreans whom he usedd the ring to corrupt] and that sauron himself seems not to have known just how the rings woud work.

Did he forsee that Celebrimbor would see him finishing and begining to use the One Ring?
Did he know that the Elves simply would not use them if they guessed something was amiss?
Did he know that the ( would become wraiths instead of maintaing a bodily state {like the Mouth}
Did he know they would have little effect on the Dwarves?

I think not in most if not all the above . They were an ambitious experiment w/somewhat poor results.

So I don't think it necessarily gave him any greater power of the other evil beings.
Re: Gandalf's concern re: Smaug- sauron or the ring wraiths would have to go in person and promise Smaug something of great value to him I suspect to entice any useful 'work ' out of him. Even the Early dragons [Glaurung I think] went somwhat against Bauglir's will [ or were sneaky enough to not ask!] by going out before he was prepared.

So with the greater evil creatures we are never shown that Sarun can automatically command them. Or that the ring would give Sauron power over them. Gandalf saying that if Sauron regained the ring , all things would come under his sway , meant I believe, that he [G.] knew that the Dunedain/elves and other good guys [if you will] were not in any position to defeat him militarily. Saying that Sauron, if the ring was not destroyed , would eventually take over middle-earth, was a generalized statement.
He seems capable of ignoring Smaugs and Balrog's and such as long as they are a threat to his enemies.

I wonder about the Balrog. Arn't there indications ,that the Orcs that attacked the party in Mazarbul were Mordior Uruks.
Were these ambassador's to the balrog from Sauron? free agents? Spies from Sauron to keep tabs on the Balrog?
Was the balrog hiding out waiting for Sauron to be defeated so as to become the next evil Maiaat large ?
I tend to favor the latter and guess that is why Gandalf had to destroy him or there would be another evil Maia just waiting t rally the Orcs and such [w/ a pretty the largest fortress at his command in ME]




Lindil is often found on posting on the New Silmarillion Canon Forum at the Barrowdowns discussion board. 'The dwindling Men of the West would often sit up late into the night, and awaken early before dawn- exchanging lore and wisdom such as they possessed , so that they should not fall back into the mean and low estate of those , who never knew or more sadly still, had indeed rebelled against the Light.' </p>
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Old 01-19-2001, 10:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
{like the Mouth}
My apologies, lindil, what do you mean by that? This here Mouth caused serious debate some two months ago, I do consider him to be a subject no to be treated lightly. Please explain yourself clearly
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Old 01-19-2001, 11:19 AM   #10
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Re: Chaotic Evil

This thread brings back up a question that I posed near the end of another thread a while ago that never really got much discussion. At the risk of having it re-ignored, I'll pose it again. How do dragons fit into the cosmology? I don't think they're Maia spirits, right? They're apparently able to reproduce. Yet they are intelligent and are apparently longer-lived than just about any race in ME except for elves. If we believe the idea that evil couldn't &quot;create&quot; outright, then they were not literally made by Morgoth. Hmm...


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Old 01-19-2001, 11:36 AM   #11
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dragons

I would hazard a guess that they don't fit .In the sense that JRRT never [as far as I know , and i stand ready to be corrected] explained the Nature of their hroar and fea . Maia [balrogs ? ] breeding w/ dinosaurs [forgive these evil suggestions] may be the only explanation , but I think JRRT said earlier that only species that were biolgically compatible to start w/ could do this. However if melian could take on a Humanoid form to wed Thingol then I suppose Balrogs could perform an evil counterpart to it.

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Old 01-19-2001, 11:48 AM   #12
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Re: dragons

Would you say dragons were long lived in the way that ents are? And dragons very well could be maia, but maybe it took so much out of them to maintain their body, that they became mortal, to an extent.

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Old 01-19-2001, 12:28 PM   #13
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Re: dragons

This is just a theory but it is based upon JRRT's early writings. The Fall of Gondolin in BoLT introduces dragon-like constructs made of iron and other metals. They were capable of carrying orcs into battle. They were animated by &quot;spirits&quot; (shades of the &quot;Wolves&quot; thread, no pun intended). Carrying this forward, dragons were likely large reptiles made greater by an infusion of Morgoth's power (perhaps similar to the Nazgul steeds) and then inhabited by lesser Maiar. The advantage to the Maia would be that not only would it have its native power, but also the physical strength of the dragon-creature. JRRT, to my knowledge, does not explain the origins of dragons.

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Old 01-19-2001, 01:16 PM   #14
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Mithadan, your theory fits well in with what I was considering the possibility of dragon origin. and that explains well their longevity too, as well as such sentences as Glaurung, who was not fully prepared yet, retreated back to Angband; and so on. It seems that a maia - possible possesor of his/its (reptile's) body needed some time to gain complete control over it. And, as well as istari, despite that embodied in mortal form, died not, also the dragons were long-lived (though not immortal)
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Old 01-19-2001, 02:31 PM   #15
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Re: dragons

Well I can admit that Balrogs were examined in the face-to-face meeting.

Interestingly enough; when examined, a possible explanation and insight was seen concerning the numbers of Balrogs.

It IS possible to accept both postulations of JRRT concerning numbers; i.e. At most 7 AND great multitudes (hoards) of Balrogs (mostly a result of an examination of earlier mythology ideas) and may be an answer to the integration of relevant text in the canon studies re: Fall of Gondolin.

I'll leave this concept open on this to allow speculation as to how this is possible... if needed, a new thread can be started.

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Old 01-21-2001, 09:25 AM   #16
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DRAGONS

Michael Martinez puts forth a worthy theory [in my opinion] that Dragons long lives were dependent on them acquiring a large hoard of Gold! In a brief space I will try and do justice to his theory [but those interested in that and more on D's should check out his Suite 101 article on Dragons] .
Because Melkor marred the nature of Matter, some substances contain greater concentrations of his evil will. Gold being the tops, thus the dragon who can acquire such a hoard , more or less stays put [if the hoard is big enough] and do not need to venture forth unless they wish to . Thus Smaug not having eaten of the Lakemen for a generation or 2 .

The whole presentation is worth a look and I have shortened it to the extreme.



Lindil is often found on posting on the New Silmarillion Canon Forum at the Barrowdowns discussion board. 'The dwindling Men of the West would often sit up late into the night, and awaken early before dawn- exchanging lore and wisdom such as they possessed , so that they should not fall back into the mean and low estate of those , who never knew or more sadly still, had indeed rebelled against the Light.' </p>
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Old 01-22-2001, 07:39 AM   #17
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Re: DRAGONS

With all due respect to MM, I find his &quot;theory&quot; to be entirely unsupported speculation. His theory, in a way, suggests that gold acts as a sort of battery for dragons. The 'evil' in gold supports the dragon's life. The centerpiece of this theory is an assumption that gold contains more of Morgoth's essence than other elements. This assumption is not necessarily correct. He basically creates an idea with no textual support.



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Old 01-22-2001, 09:18 AM   #18
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True

True [no textual support] , but it is an hypothetical explanation for their longevity which, at least doesn't drag the Maia into it again<img src=smile.gif ALT="">

Although, seemingly Glarung had no wings , [if I recall correctly] so he could have been a foul blend pf unwinged balrog and alligator's<img src=smile.gif ALT="">
I have a weakness I guess for complex,interdependent hypothesize [sp?].
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Old 02-12-2001, 08:52 AM   #19
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Re: True

Couldn't it just have been geographical reasons? Weren't the Dragons mostly in the Withered Heath? (Except for a couple maurading ones) They could just be like the Ents in Fangorn Forest. Both 'races' are secluded to one spot with a few exceptions. And the Withered Heath is way, way North and in no way close to Mordor. Maybe Gandalf feared if Smaug did 'spread his wings too far' that he would forge an alliance with Sauron. And since Smaug was the last of the GREAT dragons, he could have had some control over the rest of them.

Just some thoughts... don't persecute me if you disagree <img src=frown.gif ALT="">

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Old 02-13-2001, 06:13 PM   #20
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Welp?

Anybody have anymore thoughts?

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Old 02-14-2001, 08:42 AM   #21
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Re: Welp?

Sauron's failure to use dragons in his wars could to some extent have been based upon geographic constraints. But it seems to me that if dragons, particularly the great dragons such as Smaug (and perhaps Scatha), are such overwhelming powers then Sauron would have gone out of his way to recruit them. This infers that he had no control over them; they were servants of Morgoth not Sauron.

Another possibility is that Sauron did in fact send emissaries to the Withered Heath, only to have his servants barbequed on sight by the ill-tempered and impetuous dragons. Perhaps this is why he could not recruit their assistance in his wars.

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above the reek of earth leap forth." </p>
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Old 02-14-2001, 12:36 PM   #22
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Balrog

Why Sauron don't have any control over Balrog??? Some says it's because Sauron don't have the one ring. But I don't think so. Balrogs are MAIA so why do they have to obey to Sauron who is a maiar himself???



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Old 02-14-2001, 12:42 PM   #23
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Re: Balrog

Likely true. See my post above. Welcome to the Downs, XKIcelord

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Old 06-21-2001, 02:51 PM   #24
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<img src="http://www.barrowdowns.com/images/posticons/onering.jpg" align=absmiddle> Sauron was a Maiar...so where the Balrogs...

From my point of view they where both at the same level under Morgoth command.Therefor Sauron couldnt control his equals...

From my point of view...


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Old 12-04-2001, 05:20 AM   #25
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Maybe the balrogs is lower rank, in The Silmarilion it says that Sauron is Lieutenant. I don't know about the balrogs, but I think they can't be more than corporals.
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Old 12-04-2001, 07:11 AM   #26
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Ai! Ai!

But dragons seem to be slightly more negotiable... and they're more polite! [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 12-05-2001, 07:50 PM   #27
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I find this quote of Mithadan's from earlier to be about the crux of it. "Alternatively, maybe Smaug, inspired by the chaos of war, would have acted on his own, seeking more treasure or just out of malice." I don't think Sauron could control Smaug. I don't think Gandalf was worried about Smaug being recruited by Sauron, I think he was worried about Smaug joining in on the bad guys' side due to his capricious and chaotically evil nature.
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Old 05-09-2002, 02:58 AM   #28
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power of Morgoth?

hullo?

about Morgoths' power, diddnt his power consist of lies & persuation etc
not direct power to command dragons...but to make them think they would do it for
them selves? (eg Glaurung 'control' of Turin)
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Old 05-09-2002, 04:12 PM   #29
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My theory as to why Sauron did not employ Dragons during the Second Age is that the dragons were all asleep. It is probable that the first of the dragons had Maia spirits inhabiting them, but I doubt that their brood would. Most of the dragons would have been like the vast majority of orcs; chained to the mind of their master, and powerless without his will to guide them. The shock of losing the will of Melkor would have put the dragons out of commission for the Second Age. Sauron might not have been able to, or even thought to wake the dragons before the Last Alliance formed, and by then it would have been too late. By the time of the Third Age the dragons would have recoverd from the shock of losing Melkor's will. Becaue they were such powrful creatures, perhaps they would have learned to operate on their own. However, during the Third Age Sauron did not have the Ring and would not have been able to compel the Balrog or dragons to obey him. He and the Balrog at least had an understanding, considering his orcs and the Balrog had been cohabiting for several hundred years. I believe that Gandalf’s statement was made with the unsaid, but understood, stipulation that Sauron would need the Ring to use Smaug to wreak havoc in the Northern Lands. With the Ring (which was designed to enhance Sauron's power to dominate others) I believe that Sauron would have been able to force the Balrog or the dragons to at least acknowledge his leadership role.

[ May 09, 2002: Message edited by: Thingol ]
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Old 05-14-2002, 08:05 AM   #30
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In all these arguments we forget 1 importantnt thing. Sauron's ring of power wasn't anything special in that it would have given him enhanced powers in the third age if he had regained it. Because of the fact that the ring's power was the greater part of the strength native to Sauron in the begining. The ring's primary purpose was to gain domination over the power accesible from the other rings, and in gaining control of those, Sauron would gain power to control the mind, strength, influence, and whatever resourses the unfortunate user of those lesser rings possesed. There fore making giving him more powe than he originaly had (see my train of logic here) [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] so what lindil said about Sauron's intentions,
Quote:
Did he forsee that Celebrimbor would see him finishing and begining to use the One Ring?
Did he know that the Elves simply would not use them if they guessed something was amiss?
Did he know that the ( would become wraiths instead of maintaing a bodily state {like the Mouth}
Did he know they would have little effect on the Dwarves?

I think not in most if not all the above . They were an ambitious experiment w/somewhat poor results.
is somewhat false the only thing that messed up Sauron was him losing the One and even though he didn't completely succede with the Elves and Dwarves he still accomplished evil by incapacitating the elvin power and by stoking the deadly fires of Dwarven greed. So I agree with the fact that the ring did not give sauron any extra power besides controlling the other rings. Remember, the power in the ring was all originally native to him so gaining it would only bring him to full power. Also about Sauron controlling dragons and Balrogs, it says in the Valaquenta
Quote:
Among those of his (Morgoth's) servants who have names the greatest was the one whome the Eldar name Sauron or Gorthaur the Cruel...In all the deeds of Melkor the Morgoth upon Arda, in his vast works and deceits of his cunning, Sauron had a part and was only less evil than his master in that for long he served another and not himself.
Remember also that Sauron was the captain of Angband, and to have such high rank in a fortress whre all is evil you must be able to reinforce it and maintain with your power. So I don't doubt Sauron's capabilities. However Thingol's quote is very reasonable.
Quote:
My theory as to why Sauron did not employ Dragons during the Second Age is that the dragons were all asleep. It is probable that the first of the dragons had Maia spirits inhabiting them, but I doubt that their brood would. Most of the dragons would have been like the vast majority of orcs; chained to the mind of their master, and powerless without his will to guide them. The shock of losing the will of Melkor would have put the dragons out of commission for the Second Age. Sauron might not have been able to, or even thought to wake the dragons before the Last Alliance formed, and by then it would have been too late. By the time of the Third Age the dragons would have recoverd from the shock of losing Melkor's will. Becaue they were such powrful creatures, perhaps they would have learned to operate on their own. However, during the Third Age Sauron did not have the Ring and would not have been able to compel the Balrog or dragons to obey him. He and the Balrog at least had an understanding, considering his orcs and the Balrog had been cohabiting for several hundred years. I believe that Gandalf’s statement was made with the unsaid, but understood, stipulation that Sauron would need the Ring to use Smaug to wreak havoc in the Northern Lands. With the Ring (which was designed to enhance Sauron's power to dominate others) I believe that Sauron would have been able to force the Balrog or the dragons to at least acknowledge his leadership role.
I like what he says about the dragons falling asleep due to the shock of losing Melkor's will. As you see in the battle at the gates in the Return of the king this is exactly what happens (although in lesser degree because the orcs and other soldiers were less poweful than dragons and requred less force of will). The primary reason I think that Sauron couldn't control the Balrog was that the balrog for much of the second age was asleep and hidden deep in the bowels of the earth and when he did come out in the second age for a while Sauron had no idea he was there apparently it seems the balrog was setting up his own dominion in Moria after the dwarves were driven out as we see from the immense gathering of orcs and trolls (it was obviously the Balrog's will directing them). And when Sauron finally figured it out when he directed his will towards Moria in the third age, (most likely in search of mithril) his ring was lost and the greater part of his power native to him with it yet he was still powerful enough that the balrog had a healthy respect for him (otherwise that balrog might have tried to take Sauron's place as the dark lord). These are my thoughts, so hit me with all you got! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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