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A so called "inconsistency"



aruman
Rivendell


Oct 11 2012, 12:54pm


Views: 1751
A so called "inconsistency"

OK so you've probably already heard or thought about the whole "Why does the Mouth of Sauron use Sauron's name when Aragorn said Sauron doesn't permit his name to be spoken?" qualm. Maybe it's just me, but I don't see this as being much of a problem.

Christopher Tolkien explained it by saying that maybe Aragorn's info was out of date. If I could speak to Mr. Tolkien (Christopher), part of me would want to thank him for an interesting possible explanation, but part of me would want to yell at him for seeming to explain away a mistake that his dad didn't even commit. The fact that he felt the need to explain it in this manner seems to imply that a mistake was made, either by Tolkien or Aragorn. I don't believe there was one.

How's this possibility folks:

Sauron generally DID NOT permit his name to be spoken. There were exceptions- one of his "top dawgs" the Mouth of Sauron was able to use the name in dealing with the Captains of the West.

Aragorn's statements at the beginning of TTT could have meant: "Sauron wouldn't have an 'S' on any of the gear of his servants, b/c he generally forbids the use of the name," rather than, "No, under no circumstances whatsoever would Sauron ever allow his name to be spoken."

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.

(This post was edited by aruman on Oct 11 2012, 12:55pm)


CuriousG
Half-elven


Oct 11 2012, 4:28pm


Views: 1187
Your conclusion is what I've always thought myself.

I don't think low-lifes like orcs were allowed to use his name, and Mordor was not festooned with billboards with his portrait and name, but I'm sure the upper circle used it as needed. I would guess that to his face they'd say "Your Majesty" or the equivalent, but used his name behind his back, when not referring to him as "The Boss."

There are other examples. The orcs refer to the Chief Nazgul as "Number One," not by his name, and Saruman's people in Isengard call him Sharkey, a nickname. Lotho requires people to call him The Chief, not even Mr Sackville-Baggins.

Given all the use of titles in place of first names, I suppose the hobbits were lucky they were allowed to call their wizard "Gandalf" and not "Oh Great Wizard."


aruman
Rivendell


Oct 11 2012, 6:04pm


Views: 1103
Thanks...

Glad to know I'm not the only one who feels this way...

I always thought it was kind of neat how Sauron wouldn't permit his name to be spoken...makes him seem more like a "Dark Lord" and less like a 2-bit criminal...and as you mentioned most of the "villains" used aliases in the story.

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.


squire
Half-elven


Oct 11 2012, 6:41pm


Views: 1171
Inconsistency is as inconsistency does

‘S is for Sauron,’ said Gimli. ‘That is easy to read.’
‘Nay!’ said Legolas. ‘Sauron does not use the Elf-runes.’
‘Neither does he use his right name, nor permit it to be spelt or spoken,’ said Aragorn.
(LotR III.1)
Aragorn's statement is pretty definitive. There's no hint of "generally" about it, or any suggestion that he is only talking about what mere orcs are allowed to say or write.

On the other hand, as you and others have pointed out, the Mouth of Sauron not only calls Sauron by the right name, the Black Numenorean's own non-name does so inherently, and he works for the guy! As well, why not bring up the fact that the Dark Lord's Messenger speaks the name repeatedly in his visits to Dain, as described by Gloin at the Council of Elrond. And of course, when we read the thoughts of the Nazgul as they search the house at Crickhollow, they think the name Sauron while comforting themselves that the only good hobbit is an enslaved hobbit.

I think Christopher Tolkien is being charitable by suggesting that Aragorn's information is out of date. Aragorn was at the Council of Elrond, after all. I go with the idea that JRRT goofed while trying to achieve a little dramatic effect for Aragorn, Sherlock-wise, in a moment of hasty writing. Otherwise we have to twist the meaning of a plain sentence too much, and I hate doing that just to keep Tolkien's creation impeccably consistent.



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CuriousG
Half-elven


Oct 11 2012, 8:13pm


Views: 1152
Inconsistency vs. complexity

‘Nay!’ said Legolas. ‘Sauron does not use the Elf-runes.’

But Sauron used Elvish runes to write his message on the One Ring, according to Gandfalf: Elvish letters using the language of Mordor (The Shadow of the Past.) We could say that's inconsistent too, but I'd say there's a lot of complexity in Middle-earth, and to qualify every statement used in dialogue or description would be unwieldy, so I don't take Tolkien's declarations at face value unless there's a compelling reason to. I take the point in the dialogue to mean that the other two are correcting Gimli's perception that if you see an "S" on orc armor, it means Sauron. Tolkien is trying to deepen the mystery a little here for these three on who their real enemy is.

‘S is for Sauron,’ said Gimli. ‘That is easy to read.’
‘Nay!’ said Legolas. ‘Sauron does not use the Elf-runes. Except when he is writing on Rings of Power messages that only he will read."
‘Neither does he use his right name, nor permit it to be spelt or spoken, except by his messengers and spokespersons in certain diplomatic situations, or when they've been foiled from seizing the ring in hobbit homes in Buckland, or when...,’ said Aragorn.



mandel
Rivendell


Oct 11 2012, 11:56pm


Views: 1119
What reason would Sauron have at that point...

...to forbid the use of his name? "Okay guys, I know I've made war on the whole world, and this army of men is standing at my gates in a last ditch effort to oppose me. But MAYBE, just MAYBE...if y'all call me...I don't know - Stan? Yeah, that's it: call me Stan, and MAYBE it'll throw them off..."


aruman
Rivendell


Oct 12 2012, 1:30am


Views: 1109
Maybe

I always thought he enforced that rule as some sign of respect. I don't know, for some reason it seemed neat to me that a "Dark Lord" wouldn't allow his servants to use his name. I always imagined that it was OK for his emissaries to use the name in dealing with others (enemies) for reference, but his lower servants couldn't use the name...or perhaps it wasn't able to be widely used in Mordor.

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.


aruman
Rivendell


Oct 12 2012, 1:34am


Views: 1106
Exactly

The point of the dialogue was to help determine where the orcs were from and where Merry and Pippen had been taken. If CuriousG and I are correct, and the use of Sauron's name was widely forbidden in Mordor, it wouldn't really have been relevant if some of Saurons "higher ups" used his name in dealing with the enemy, so Aragorn may just not have pointed that out.

It seems like most uses of the name are restricted to dealing with the enemy, perhaps to make it clear who they were talking about?

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.


Plurmo
Rohan

Oct 12 2012, 4:27am


Views: 1129
Perhaps there is consistency

The preconceived view that Gimli was the one that could be "mistaken at all points" is at work here. But in this passage evidently Gimli is wrong, Legolas is wrong and Aragorn is wrong. The easily mistaken dwarf, the very insular elf and the relatively young man being themselves. All of them being professorial and wrong, each in his peculiar way. Perhaps they are not the voice of the author this time. Perhaps reaching the right conclusion (Saruman) through a series of wrong arguments is something academics are used to, and like to joke about in very subtle ways.

In my understanding the orcs also use "Lugbśrz" as a substitute name for Sauron roughly similar to the way the british use "Wales" for the Prince, "Norfolk" for the Duke, etc. Maybe the orcs in The Hobbit could call the Necromancer "Guldlśrz."

"Filthy Shriekers" is how the cool orcs called the Nazgūl. A very inspired and sensible name, as only orcs could produce.Smile


FarFromHome
Valinor


Oct 12 2012, 10:35am


Views: 1094
I think you've hit the nail on the head.

I agree there's no "inconsistency" here, just a lack of detail in that discussion between Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. If Tolkien had chosen to go off on a digression to spell out the complexity (as CuriousG puts it) in Sauron's use of his name amongst his servants, then perhaps his son (who apparently was always on the lookout for inconsistencies in his father's work, sometimes to his father's chagrin!) wouldn't have felt the need to repair something that didn't actually need fixing.

I agree with you that Aragorn & co's conversation was entirely on the level of the badges of the orcs, and at that level Tolkien goes on as the story progresses to show very clearly how that worked. I just re-read the chapter The Uruk-hai last night, because your post made me realize that some of the traits I noticed in the different groups of orcs in our last discussion might be made clearer in light of what you said. And indeed, in that chapter you can see a clear difference between the Uruk-hai, who call themselves servants of Saruman, and who seem to feel some kind of orcish loyalty to him, and the Mordor orcs who, although they do talk about Lugburz, i.e. Mordor, never mention Sauron by name, and only talk about him as the Great Eye that they all fear.

Sauron's orcs, it seems, were to think of him only as this disembodied, impersonal Eye, an all-permeating sense of being observed that keeps them to their tasks not by any personal attachment to an actual lord and master, but only by fear of being seen and punished. He doesn't want them to feel loyalty to him, or even feel they "know" him - he just wants them to feel the nameless fear of being constantly watched. It's not uncommon in mythical stories for a villain to be someone Who Must Not Be Named - but it's usually the victims of the villain who are afraid to use the name, not his own servants. Sauron uses this psychological fear of the name against his own orcs.

The Nazgul on the other hand, as Sauron's high-level enforcers, do seem to have a personal loyalty to him. So they are free to think of him not just as the Great Eye (except when they're putting the frighteners on orcs, no doubt) but as Sauron, the Dark Lord they admire and serve willingly. The same presumably goes in spades for the Mouth of Sauron. It's all there in the story, when you come to look. I've always found the Uruk-hai chapter rather confusing, but I''m now thinking that there's quite an insight into orcish psychology right there!

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



sador
Half-elven


Oct 12 2012, 12:41pm


Views: 1098
That's not what I would call complexity.


In Reply To
But Sauron used Elvish runes to write his message on the One Ring, according to Gandfalf: Elvish letters using the language of Mordor


However, Isildur wrote in his Scroll that there are no other letters for such delicate work, and this was anyway nearly five hundred years ago. Things have changed. Not so with Aragorn's statement, which is contradicted three times by contemporary events (well two, if you don't count the Riders' thoughts).

In this case, there is no way around it: Aragorn is simply wrong. Whether it is Aragorn, or Tolkien himself, is a question of whether you think within Middle-earth or as an outside reader. As a reader, there is no doubt that squire is correct, and this is one of Tolkien's slips (there are others).

But if you try to think internally - why don't you do it properly? Aragorn is wrong, and being in the Council, he should have known better. I take this to mean that he is not infallible - and consequently, allow myself to question all of his authoritve statements, and look out for different interpretations of the events. Now that's complexity for you!

The problem is that of course, the inconsistency is not there to teach us Aragorn is human, but because Tolkien himself made mistakes. So what? He created a world too great and complex for himself to mantain consistency in, thus making it more like history or mythology than a mere story. Otherwise, what would we be discussing?

"Bard is known as someone who forebodes gloomy things like floods and poisoned fish. Floods I can see, but poisoned fish? How and why would Bard forebode poisoned fish? Or is this just a slander against Bard?"
- Curious



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Tweezers of Thu
Rivendell


Oct 12 2012, 12:49pm


Views: 1173
From Parma Eldalamberon 17, Saura (Quenya) = foul, vile...

...whence (the) name Sauron, cf. SAWA- disgusting, foul, vile.

So. Would you wish to be called "The Disgusting?" Or "The Vile?"*

I chalk up the discrepancy between the Mouth of Sauron's reference to his Big Boss and Aragorn's declaration to inconsistency on the part of the author. Considering how complex JRRT's imaginary history is, it's not surprising that there were lapses on his part. No need to hand wave them away.

*Back in the day when I wore the ring of a middle-management Nazgūl in the dark halls of Pharma-dūr, I preferred my minions to call me She Who Must Be Obeyed. Wink



A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. ~~ Henry David Thoreau




(This post was edited by Tweezers of Thu on Oct 12 2012, 12:54pm)


aruman
Rivendell


Oct 12 2012, 3:33pm


Views: 1092
"No doubt?" Really?

While I will admit that it is possible that Aragorn was simply basing his statement on false knowledge, I'm surprised that you feel that there is not at least room for the possibility that he was speaking in a general sense.

Aragorn was in a hurry to make the correct decision. He didn't have time to delve into exceptions to a rule that, as far as we know, was generally followed by Sauron's servants, especially Orcs, the creatures in question.

Clearly, as with many rules, there were exceptions. Most of these seem to fall under the category of use during diplomacy by his emissaries, perhaps for clarity, and by his upper level servants.

These exceptions were not relevant at the time. The companions were able to (corrrectly) determine that the Orcs (with the S- rune) were from Isengard.

I'm not trying to "hand wave" anything away, nor would I refuse to admit if there was an inconsistency. If this were an inconsistency, it would effect my enjoyment of the book very little, if at all.

We don't know what JRR was thinking exactly, or what he would say about this, I'm just explaining why this never posed a problem in my mind.

If we posed this questions to JRR it could go a couple ways 2 possibilities: "Hey why did Aragorn say this and yet the Mouth of Sauron said that?" "Oh yeah, I goofed up."

or

"Well, of course the name was used in certain situations, where it needed to be used, but the point is that there wouldn't be an S-rune on the gear of his Orcs."

If we are taking every sentence in LOTR at face value then I guess we've solved the Balrog/wings debate!

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Oct 12 2012, 7:10pm


Views: 1137
Plenty of doubt, when you think about it

‘Neither does he use his right name, nor permit it to be spelt or spoken,’ said Aragorn.

OK, so how much time does Aragorn, or any of the Wise, spend in Mordor eavesdropping on every orc, troll, Variag of Khand, and Nazgul conversation, and reading through all the Mordor mail and literature to even make this statement with certainty? Hearsay, I say, hearsay.

Wait, balrogs have wings?! Can they fly, or are they more like penguin wings? (just kidding!)


Elizabeth
Half-elven


Oct 12 2012, 8:47pm


Views: 1059
So, it's not his real name.

As with cats (per T. S. Eliot):

But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.


Aragorn was right, and there's no inconsistency.Smile






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Tweezers of Thu
Rivendell


Oct 12 2012, 10:08pm


Views: 1125
By Jove, er, Jupiter, I mean...Zeus!

I think you've got it! Furthermore, in the same volume (PE 17), Tolkien notes that Sauron was know by his "original" name - Mairon (The Admirable) - until his corruption by Melkor, but he continued to call himself "Mairon" until the post-Nśmenórean period (IIRC PE17; corrections welcome).

So you're right, and so is Aragorn!


Quote
The name that no human research can discover--
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.



Wait. Let me guess...Tifil? Tevildo? Wink



A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. ~~ Henry David Thoreau




Morthoron
Gondor


Oct 13 2012, 1:45am


Views: 1147
My take...

The "Mouth of Sauron" speaks directly for the Dark Lord, hence his utterances are given weight by name alone. The MoS has no name, or at least has forgotten it so long ago that it no longer applies.

If you think about it, the very act of saying "I am the Mouth of Sauron" is in itself demeaning, indicating a subservience and slavish surrender far beyond a more standard ambassador or emissary.

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.



ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Oct 13 2012, 8:36am


Views: 1057
It could have been

casual observance of most situations, rules that are not absolutes that are superceded under unique circumstances such as creating the One Ring or presenting an ultimatum under parely to your main remaining foes that you are about to crush or enslave.

On a different tack, there were comments above about the Nazgul as willing servants of Sauron....this is the opposite to the real situation. They were utterly enslaved through their rings, which Sauron has in his possesion. As mortal men they willingly accepted the rings but they had no idea of the ultimate consequence.


(This post was edited by ElendilTheShort on Oct 13 2012, 8:38am)


Tweezers of Thu
Rivendell


Oct 13 2012, 3:57pm


Views: 1130
This...


In Reply To
If you think about it, the very act of saying "I am the Mouth of Sauron" is in itself demeaning, indicating a subservience and slavish surrender far beyond a more standard ambassador or emissary.


...is a very astute assessment and chilling in its implications.



A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. ~~ Henry David Thoreau




Elthir
Grey Havens

Oct 13 2012, 10:24pm


Views: 1011
technically, runes versus letters...

... equates to cirth versus tiw in Tolkien's world, and the One was not inscribed with runes (cirth) but with letters (tiw).

For myself I see no reason for Aragorn to digress into exceptions here -- his meaning can be general even if he didn't begin with 'generally speaking' Sauron...

It's just natural enough speech in my opinion: Aragorn's point is sound enough in context here; his listeners get the intended meaning with respect to the rune in question, and digressing about possible exceptions is not necessary. And the Mouth of Sauron can be an easy exception too, in my opinion, since he is essentially speaking for Sauron himself.


Elthir
Grey Havens

Oct 13 2012, 10:30pm


Views: 1035
The meaning 'disgusting, foul, vile'...

... was revised a bit by Tolkien however.

Sauron was revised to mean The Abhorred or The detestable, and hailed from a different root THAW- (not SAWA- as found in PE17)


Tweezers of Thu
Rivendell


Oct 13 2012, 10:46pm


Views: 1008
Thanks for the correction!


In Reply To
... was revised a bit by Tolkien however.

Sauron was revised to mean The Abhorred or The detestable, and hailed from a different root THAW- (not SAWA- as found in PE17)


Nonetheless, one might wonder if said Dark Lord would choose to be called The Abhorred.



A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. ~~ Henry David Thoreau




Elthir
Grey Havens

Oct 13 2012, 10:48pm


Views: 1090
A Dark Lord by any other name...

... I know you're just having fun but I'll say it anyway: the fact that Sauron might not be seen as Sauron's 'real' name is not an easy way out, as the S-rune is an S-rune, and thus Aragorn means Sauron in any case (not Mairon or something else).

A 'problem' there might be that _S_aruman was not a true name at the time but a modern translation, but one can assume that whatever name 'Saruman' meant to translate begins with the same sound.

Or sssomething Wink


(This post was edited by Elthir on Oct 13 2012, 10:48pm)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Oct 14 2012, 11:58am


Views: 1011
That would be me...


Quote
...there were comments above about the Nazgul as willing servants of Sauron....this is the opposite to the real situation. They were utterly enslaved through their rings

And you're right, calling the Nazgul "willing servants" is to ignore their backstory completely. I wasn't thinking of the backstory though, but of the story's present, after the Nazgul had long ago gone over completely to the "dark side", and had become trusted servants of Sauron. I'm no expert on the Appendices and other writings, that's for sure, but as far as I can see the Nazgul are long past feeling any reluctance about serving Sauron, and now feel entirely on his side. At least, if their thoughts at Crickhollow ("Let the little people blow! Sauron would deal with them later...") are more than just the invention of the narrator(s), then they suggest to me that the Nazgul feel themselves in sympathy with Sauron. You're right of course that they were "enslaved" long ago, but I think they now serve Sauron willingly, and out of more than just fear. In this they are very different from the orcs, who (as the hobbits see and hear at first hand) are always looking for ways to rebel, and are only kept in line by the fear that they are under constant surveillance by the impersonal, unknowable Eye. (Think East Germany, The Lives of Others, Nineteen Eighty-Four...)

That's what I noticed when I read the sections in which we overhear orcs' thoughts and behaviour. They never mention Sauron by name, and always call him the "Great Eye".
It's almost a taboo, or a kind of group-think. It's different with other races - Sauron can't cow them in the same way because his "Eye" doesn't (yet) reach that far. So when talking to Dwarves, Men or whoever, Sauron's servants do present him as a personal Dark Lord and use his name accordingly.

So if Tolkien "goofed", I reckon he only goofed in not spelling out his thoughts completely in Aragorn's words. I find it hard to believe that an author would know his own characters so poorly that he would write something about one of them (and his chief villain at that!) that's just wrong. And I certainly don't buy answers that offend the conventions of storytelling (such as "the info was out of date", or "Aragorn doesn't know everything"), because whatever else he may be accused of, Tolkien is an excellent storyteller, and by storytelling convention, information that is given in this unqualified way is meant to be accepted by the reader as correct. Those kinds of explanations would only work if there was some payoff for them, which there isn't. By the law of Occam's Razor, then, I would argue that the simplest explanation is that Tolkien was writing something that did make sense in his own mind
for Sauron's character, but that he never spelled out well enough to satisfy the nitpickers among us!

Tongue


(Edited to add: sorry I got a bit far from my reply to your point, ElendilTheShort. Blush Some of the above is just meant as general rambling theorizing on the original topic...)

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



(This post was edited by FarFromHome on Oct 14 2012, 12:06pm)


squire
Half-elven


Oct 14 2012, 1:35pm


Views: 989
Can one be "willing" or "unwilling" when one no longer has a will?

I agree with you that we can hardly see the Nazgul as "oppressed slaves", since that implies they would take freedom if they could get it, in the manner of the cynical orcs. But there is a magic here that precludes the opposite conclusion as well, that they are somehow "in sympathy" with Sauron or "feel entirely on his side". Both characterizations credit the Nazgul with some kind of independent sense of being, and I think Tolkien intends us to realize that that is exactly what the Nazgul lack. They do Sauron's work neither willingly nor unwillingly, but simply because they have become metaphysical extensions of him, via the rings they bear and the One Ring that contains Sauron's essential spirit.

Tolkien is more explicit about this in his writings that followed the completion of The Lord of the Rings:
At length [Sauron] resolved that no others would serve him in this case but his mightiest servants, the Ringwraiths, who had no will but his own, being each utterly subservient to the ring that had enslaved him, which Sauron held. ("The Hunt for the Ring", Unfinished Tales)

[Had Frodo claimed the Ring in Mount Doom without interference by Gollum, the Nazgul would have been dispatched to stall him until Sauron himself could come.]
I do not think they could have attacked him with violence, nor laid hold upon him or taken him captive; they would have obeyed or feigned to obey any minor commands of his that did not interfere with their errand–laid upon them by Sauron, who still through their nine rings (which he held) had primary control of their wills. (Letter 246, September 1963)




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aruman
Rivendell


Oct 14 2012, 4:51pm


Views: 790
Thank you!

That's the point I was trying to make earlier Smile

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.


aruman
Rivendell


Oct 14 2012, 5:10pm


Views: 790
A couple great points here

I had also thought about the Mordor Orc dialogue Merry/Pippin and Sam/Frodo overhear, and noted the exemption of the name "Sauron."

I am also intrigued by the implications of the Nazgul's thoughts when Fatty rings the alarm bell. It makes the Nazgul seem very...shall I say, human? Now I want to learn more about them!

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.


aruman
Rivendell


Oct 14 2012, 5:19pm


Views: 816
Question

I guess the big question all this is making me ask myself is, "When reading the book, who is the 'Supreme Deity' here, the author or the reader?"

Does it really matter if the author goofed if the reader believes that an "inconsistency" makes sense on some level?

I think the only person who could answer the question of whether he goofed or not would be the Professor.

I believe this is why we are debating this. To borrow a concept from Sir Ian, who said that this story never really happened, "...except somewhere in our hearts," it seems like in the story that occured in some of our hearts there was a goof up, either on the part of Aragorn or Tolkien, whereas, in the story that happened in other hearts, Aragorn was speaking in a general sense and there was no mistake.

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.

(This post was edited by aruman on Oct 14 2012, 5:27pm)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Oct 14 2012, 8:21pm


Views: 799
Good point

"Willing" and "unwilling" don't really apply to the Nazgul, do they? Yet the sense that they identify with Sauron, share his goals and have no desire to rebel was what I was getting at. It's hard to pin down just what a "magical" subservience might entail, although I sometimes find myself thinking of the kind of brainwashing that was believed to be possible at the time Tolkien was writing.

I was struck by this phraseology of Tolkien's in the first passage you quote: "the Ringwraiths... had no will but his [Sauron's] own." Interesting phraseology - implying not so much that the Nazgul have no will, but that they share Sauron's own will. Can't get much more loyal than that!


They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Oct 15 2012, 6:52am


Views: 788
I'm of the opinion loyalty must be a willing choice

whereas the ringwraiths no longer have a choice and the excerpts squire quoted were largely what my comments were based on. In a way I do see your meaning, they are completly loyal in a sense that they will not do anything but what they believe to be Saurons will. They were not automotons, they still had conscious thought as evidenced by the Witch Kings fear during and after the encounter at Weathertop, fear of the name Elbereth, Sauron's wrath at their failure, and possibly even fear of Aragorn as an unknown but obviously great power.


Tweezers of Thu
Rivendell


Oct 15 2012, 1:25pm


Views: 854
You might be right, i.e., . . .


In Reply To
... I know you're just having fun

Wink


In Reply To
A 'problem' there might be that _S_aruman was not a true name at the time but a modern translation, but one can assume that whatever name 'Saruman' meant to translate begins with the same sound.


And a good point!

Slightly off-topic here and going back to the SAWA root. I'm no linguist by any stretch of the imagination, and really no more than a dilettante when it comes to the Serious Study of Things Tolkienian. With that proviso, I noticed something that kind of tickled me: in Tolkien's notes as compiled in PE17, it's noted under the FANA discourse that disembodied Maiar could be detected by their fragrance, and furthermore, that those Maiar corrupted by Melkor stank. Adds a whole new "flavor" to the SAWA meaning, don't you think? Wink



A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. ~~ Henry David Thoreau




Phibbus
Rohan


Oct 18 2012, 3:47am


Views: 783
Another distinction


In Reply To
Aragorn's statement is pretty definitive. There's no hint of "generally" about it, or any suggestion that he is only talking about what mere orcs are allowed to say or write.

On the other hand, as you and others have pointed out, the Mouth of Sauron not only calls Sauron by the right name, the Black Numenorean's own non-name does so inherently, and he works for the guy! As well, why not bring up the fact that the Dark Lord's Messenger speaks the name repeatedly in his visits to Dain, as described by Gloin at the Council of Elrond. And of course, when we read the thoughts of the Nazgul as they search the house at Crickhollow, they think the name Sauron while comforting themselves that the only good hobbit is an enslaved hobbit.

I think Christopher Tolkien is being charitable by suggesting that Aragorn's information is out of date. Aragorn was at the Council of Elrond, after all. I go with the idea that JRRT goofed while trying to achieve a little dramatic effect for Aragorn, Sherlock-wise, in a moment of hasty writing. Otherwise we have to twist the meaning of a plain sentence too much, and I hate doing that just to keep Tolkien's creation impeccably consistent.

Beyond that which others have noted of the Mouth and the Nazgūl being the elite corps of the dark lord's horde as opposed to run-of-the-mill grunts, and the possible interpretation of the Mouth as the actual surrogate of his own voice in the absence of a physical form capable of producing one...

In each of the three cases cited, Sauron is in the act of openly declaring himself (or being contemplated as on the verge of doing so) to unconquered, stranger nations for the first time in centuries. It is necessary that the Dwarves of Erebor know who their master is before they bend knee and turn tithe. Although Sauron has previously declared himself to Gondor, at the Black Gate, Aragorn is being addressed as its presumptive king for the first time, and again, formal declaration must be made in order for the subsequent annihilation to have its proper savor. When the Nazgūl think Sauron's name, they are in a position of disadvantage; they must still operate in sly secrecy under cover of night and are driven away by a mere cockcrow and toot of a horn. However they anticipate the day, soon to come, when Sauron will openly declare his name, here, as well, and the now-happy hobbits will be enslaved.

After so long preparing in the shadows, Sauron is finally having his coming out party. Yes, his name will be trumpeted. Dogs must be made to know who their master is. Afterwards, presumably, they will fear to speak that name as well as the orcs now do.

Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Oct 18 2012, 8:13pm


Views: 775
Excellent question

And superb quote too. While I think it's true that all fiction & poetry occur only "somewhere in our hearts," (except for really bad writing, which fouls our bowels), I think that quote is especially true regarding Tolkien's fans. It's an emotional, personal story to each of us, and that competes with our analytical thought.

So we forgive and overlook some things, the way you do with a friend, and pick on other things, the way you do with the same friend. Hence for me, this isn't a goof, or even inconsistent, since I hold to the view that Aragorn wasn't omniscient and wasn't supposed to be, and was speaking generally, not categorically, and I move happily along as a reader with the little bit I've learned that Sauron may want everyone in Middle-earth to obey him, but he doesn't want any slaves on a first-name basis with him. Others, obviously, see it as a crack in the foundation of Tolkien's constructed universe. I'm not sure we can all reach agreement on this.

That leads me back to your question, where I would answer that the author is mostly the deity, but every author makes mistakes that they overlook, and then readers assume a position of power, in a way, because they become "right" when they spot it. I can't think of anything off the bat, but let's say Tolkien wrote in one spot, "But the hobbits dreaded to return to the valley of Rivendell, which had forever been the home of orcs." Then the reader would be right to call it a goof, and Tolkien would be wrong. And of course he'd correct if it was pointed out to him.

It would be a gray/grey zone to decide who's the deity if Tolkien wrote "Boromir looked upon Galadriel, and he was filled with great dread." A reader could argue that Tolkien had mistakenly made her "dreadful" as if she were evil, and the reader now disliked Galadriel, who's supposed to be good, though the author could argue back that the intent was that Boromir's dread arose from having Galadriel perceive the corruption that was gnawing at his heart, and that it was Galadriel's goodness that exposed the problem. So the argument could go either way there.

Which means I'm playing Elf today, because if you come to me for an opinion, I will say yes and no.Smile


Morthoron
Gondor


Oct 19 2012, 3:49am


Views: 773
The Difficulty of having a Lord one can't name...

I wrote a story once that had a dialogue between two orcs regarding this very topic. It is quite germane for this discussion. Well, maybe not, but just the same:

The two Orcs halted their belletristic tźte-ą-tźte briefly as a fierce Mordorion destrier passed close by. Astride the hideous steed sat a grim man, clad wholly in black with a tall helm. An Orc slavedriver tipped the bill of his rusty iron helmet and lowered his eyes in deference as the haughty figure rode further up the line.

"Who's the 'ell is that?" Shiznit said, rather surprised to see a man that wasn't meant for supper.

"Who, him?" Slūtbag shrugged again. "That's the Mouth."

"The Mouth? Mouth of who?" Shiznit asked.

"Him what can't be named," Slūtbag answered in a whisper.

"And who is Him what can't be named?" Shiznit continued.

"Go on," Slūtbag spat, "you can't be that dense. Him what can't be named – the Great Eye."

"Oh, that Him," Shiznit nodded dimly. The Orc arched a ratty eyebrow and glanced dubiously at his comrade. "So…this feller's name…is...The Mouth of Him What Can't Be Named?"

"No, stupid," Slūtbag grumbled, "that aint it. But I can't repeat his name."

Shiznit rolled his eyes. "How can the feller have a name what can't be named?" he chuckled. "That makes no sense."

Slūtbag lowered his voice and in a choked whisper said, "I can't name his name because of the prohibition."

Shiznit frowned. "Prohibition? What prohibition?"

"The prohibition against naming Him what can't be named."

"Him? You mean the Great Eye?"

"Yes-s-s," Slūtbag hissed.

"So, let's see if I follow you here," Shiznit sighed in irritation. "That feller is the Mouth…"

"Yes-s-s," Slūtbag repeated.

"The Mouth of S-s-s…"

"Don't you dare say it!" Slūtbag barked.

"But how can he have a name what can't be said?" Shiznit growled in frustration. "That's bloody idiotic! I mean, its not like we're takin' the lord's name in vain."

"It can't be helped, even when taken out-of-context," Slūtbag stated matter-of-factly. "It's a literary convention of the plot."

"Well, what the 'ell do you call him then?"

"Oh, 'round here we don't call him nothin'. It's best not to mention him at all."

Not to be put off, Shiznit decided to attack the problem at a different angle. "Okay then. This feller - this Mouth of Him What Can't Be Named - what's he do, exactly?"

"Why, he's the Lieutenant of Barad-dur, that's what he is," Slūtbag said reverently.

Shiznit glowered. "He don't look like no Nazgul."

"He aint," Slūtbag replied, "that's the thing: he's a man - a mortal man."

"He aint got no Ring?"

"Nope."

"No great pterodactyl-like flyin' beastie thing?"

"Nope."

"He aint got that Nazgulish high-pierced shriek whats I hate?"

"Oh, I hates that as well! But no, he aint got any of that."

"Well, what's he good for then?"

"I don't rightly know. But he'd flay you alive as soon as look at ya, that's what I says."

"Mean, is he?"

"Over-the-top cruel, he is. Worse than any Orc."

Shiznit was quite impressed. "Where'd he come from then?"

Deep in thought, Slūtbag stroked his chin and after a moment's consideration, answered, "No one rightly knows, but my best guess is he's a Black Numenorean."

"What makes you think that?"

"Well, he dresses all in black."

"That makes sense, I guess" Shiznit nodded. "But what's his real name? I mean, he can't have gone through his whole life bein' called The Mouth of Him What Can't Be Named."

"That's just it," Slūtbag replied, now as equally perplexed, "he's forgotten it!"

"Forgot his own name? And how do you go about forgettin' yer own name? I mean, it's not like yer social security number or the wife's birthday."

"Just the same, he don't know it anymore."

"Odd bird."

"I'll say."

Please visit my blog...The Dark Elf File...a slighty skewed journal of music and literary comment, fan-fiction and interminable essays.



telain
Rohan

Oct 19 2012, 1:19pm


Views: 757
My take on it as well and what is Aragorn's "real" name anyway?

Names are always powerful in mythology (e.g., "Rumplestilskin") and Tolkien surely understands this point. Knowing Sauron's true name would surely be a detriment to his relative "well"-being.

Also, how many names does Aragorn have? Which is his "real" one? This is somewhat of a rhetorical question. If anyone knows what it's like to have many names, it's Aragorn. But wait! Who in Middle-earth doesn't have a dozen names -- especially when you take into account who is doing the naming? Even Gandalf has several depending on which culture is speaking to him.

So, I think it is very likely that Aragorn simply means Sauron's "true" name, i.e., the name that has not been given to him by someone else (i.e., one of his enemies).

Now I wonder what Sauron's "real" name might have been -- what would his mother have called him...?


Elthir
Grey Havens

Oct 19 2012, 6:09pm


Views: 733
S is for Sauron


Quote
So, I think it is very likely that Aragorn simply means Sauron's "true" name, i.e., the name that has not been given to him by someone else (i.e., one of his enemies).




I think Aragorn must mean Sauron however, whatever Sauron's right or true name is, due to the context... otherwise such a comment tells his listeners very little about whether or not these are Sauron's orcs, based on the S-rune.

‘S is for Sauron,’ said Gimli. ‘That is easy to read.’
‘Nay!’ said Legolas. ‘Sauron does not use the Elf-runes.’
‘Neither does he use his right name, nor permit it to be spelt or spoken,’ said Aragorn.


In my opinion both Legolas and Aragorn are correcting Gimli here, not simply adding stuff about Sauron in general. Thus S is not for Sauron, because not only does Sauron not use the Elf-runes, he does not permit the name Sauron to be spelt or spoken (although again, it's only natural that Aragorn not digress about exceptions in my opinion, since what he is saying is pertinent to the matter at hand).

If Aragorn means (which I don't think he means): neither does Sauron use or permit (to be spelt or spoken) some other name that is not Sauron (Mairon, Joe, or whatever it might be) then why can't the S-rune here be for Sauron (outside of Legolas' comment of course)?


(This post was edited by Elthir on Oct 19 2012, 6:14pm)


telain
Rohan

Oct 20 2012, 11:25am


Views: 705
true, true!

That's what happens when I try to post without thinking things through first. Still, the entire post poses an interesting question -- and obviously one that has caught the attention of the Reading Room!


Noel Q. von Schneiffel
Rivendell


Oct 20 2012, 12:49pm


Views: 729
Why do you assume the MoS was permitted to use the name?

I wonder why we all, in this discussion, assume that the Mouth of Sauron was permitted to use his master's name. He did so, but that is a difference. Maybe he sometimes did, but just accidentally and illegally, and whenever he was within hearing range of Barad-dūr, Sauron slapped him for it. Maybe these repeated head beatings are precisely why he forgot his own name, and became generally weird.



The Glorious Truth of J.R.R. Tolkien
Radiates from his Holy Writings


http://www.tolkientruth.info/


sador
Half-elven


Oct 21 2012, 8:25am


Views: 856
Very nice!


In Reply To
Forgot his own name? And how do you go about forgettin' yer own name? I mean, it's not like yer social security number or the wife's birthday.



This also puts a new twist on the sergeant's threat

Quote
'I'll give your name and number to the Nazl,' said the soldier lowering his voice to a hiss. 'One of them's in charge at the Tower now.'


Is it a threat to deny the tracker his hunting license?


"Like The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit is a tale that grew in the telling, beginning as a children's fairy tale and evolving into the epic of fairy tales... The Gathering of the Clouds completes this transition. Unlike a typical children's story, the sides of good and evil are no longer clear-cut: the good peoples that we have been introduced to earlier are preparing to fight a war, and if that war happens, good people will die no matter who wins. Moreover, everyone, the good guys included, have character flaws that bring this situation about... and it is hinted that although the Dragon's body may be dead, his evil will remains to corrupt those who defeated him."
- Beren IV



The weekly discussion of The Hobbit is back. Join us in the Reading Room for The Gathering of the Clouds!