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Elrond and the ring

Nerven
Rivendell

Dec 15 2012, 3:48pm

Post #1 of 24 (1175 views)
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Elrond and the ring Can't Post

Hi,

how would you interpret that "especially Elrond":


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Of the others only Gandalf might be expected to master him – being an emissary of the Powers and a creature of the same order, an immortal spirit taking a visible physical form. In the 'Mirror of Galadriel', 1381, it appears that Galadriel conceived of herself as capable of wielding the Ring and supplanting the Dark Lord. If so, so also were the other guardians of the Three, especially Elrond. But this is another matter. It was part of the essential deceit of the Ring to fill minds with imaginations of supreme power.


Would he be more capable in wielding the ring than Galadriel (I canīt really believe that, cause I think that Galadriel is much more inherntly powerful than him, even if he has Maiar blood in him) or did he just believe that, more than Galadriel, because deceit of the ring? I think they both thought they had a chance in wielding the ring, but both were wrong, cause only Gandalf can master it.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Dec 15 2012, 3:55pm

Post #2 of 24 (575 views)
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I find the text quite clear... [In reply to] Can't Post

Going by this passage, Elrond had no more chance of mastering the One Ring than did Galadriel (who was apparently not quite as powerful as Boyans and Walsh imagine her to have been). Gandalf could have done so, but would have still been subject to the Ring's corruption.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Dec 15 2012, 6:29pm

Post #3 of 24 (658 views)
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"If so" [In reply to] Can't Post

refers to the possibility of her being able to wield it, therefore "especially Elrond" means he had the best chance of doing so, excluding Gandalf from this considerstion as his position had already been addressed. So this puts Elrond ahead of Gil Galad and Cirdan in his ability to master the ring. Does this mean he is more powerful than these two despite their greater heritage and ancientry, who knows.

I do not think it infers that he was more capable of doing so than Galadriel.


(This post was edited by ElendilTheShort on Dec 15 2012, 6:33pm)


Nerven
Rivendell

Dec 15 2012, 7:12pm

Post #4 of 24 (519 views)
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Elrond [In reply to] Can't Post

Intersting entry, one cold read it that way too:

Galadriel seems to think she could wield the ring ("it appears that Galadriel conceived of herself as capable of wielding the Ring"), if she really thinks that ("If so") so does Elrond think that and that even more("especially Elrond"). So Elrond thought he has the best chances.


(This post was edited by Nerven on Dec 15 2012, 7:19pm)


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Dec 15 2012, 11:30pm

Post #5 of 24 (460 views)
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I do not think [In reply to] Can't Post

these comments refer to what they think was possible. I think it is a comment by JRRT that if Galadriel could do this then Elrond is also a serious contender. In short I do not think JRRT had defined in his own mind or decided if they would be capable, but if G could so might E more so than any other (always with theGandalf comment in mind)


Nerven
Rivendell

Dec 16 2012, 9:59am

Post #6 of 24 (485 views)
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Another [In reply to] Can't Post

thing that is not clear to me is that:


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...Galadriel mightiest and fairest of the remaining elves

Does that in your opinion include Elrond? I know he is half elven but he already chose his fate, cause he chose to be "counted among the Eldar".


CuriousG
Valinor


Dec 16 2012, 4:25pm

Post #7 of 24 (435 views)
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I think so [In reply to] Can't Post

Elrond had a good blood line, but Galadriel had the advantage of being born in Valinor when the two trees of light were in their prime. That seems to confer an extra grace on her that Elrond wouldn't have. Though I don't think that's all, or every Elf born in Valinor would outshine Elrond. I think Tolkien set her up as the most powerful Elf in Middle-earth after Gil-Galad is gone.

The Three Rings went to the greatest Elf-lords living at the time. Gil-Galad was the #1 ruler and received the mightiest of the three; Elrond only got it in the will. To compare Cirdan and Galadriel, I'd say that Tolkien always seems to depict the Noldor as more powerful than the Teleri, so Galadriel would trump him for that reason.


ltnjmy
Rivendell


Dec 17 2012, 5:25pm

Post #8 of 24 (494 views)
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Very nice analysis [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Elrond had a good blood line, but Galadriel had the advantage of being born in Valinor when the two trees of light were in their prime. That seems to confer an extra grace on her that Elrond wouldn't have. Though I don't think that's all, or every Elf born in Valinor would outshine Elrond. I think Tolkien set her up as the most powerful Elf in Middle-earth after Gil-Galad is gone.

The Three Rings went to the greatest Elf-lords living at the time. Gil-Galad was the #1 ruler and received the mightiest of the three; Elrond only got it in the will. To compare Cirdan and Galadriel, I'd say that Tolkien always seems to depict the Noldor as more powerful than the Teleri, so Galadriel would trump him for that reason.



Nolofinwe
The Shire

Dec 25 2012, 4:18pm

Post #9 of 24 (323 views)
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Especially Elrond... [In reply to] Can't Post

I may be that Elrond may not have been the most capable of weilding it... but was most sorely tempted. Tolkien never really delves into the possibilities of Elrond & the Ring as he did with Galadriel.

Elrond could see himself as being the last of Sauron's foes from the Last Alliance still standing.... With Elrond having taken up much of the responsibility left un-assigned and un-claimed after the fall of the last High King at the end of the Second Age. From the text, however, I came away with the impression that Galadriel came the closest to taking the ring out of all the persons of power put in a position to conceivably do so. No doubt stemming from her desire to be "mighty".


sador
Half-elven


Dec 25 2012, 9:32pm

Post #10 of 24 (409 views)
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A moment of nostalgia [In reply to] Can't Post

When I was less than two months a member of these boards, I wrote a short post about the overlooked temptation of Elrond.
If you are interested - it is here.


Nerven
Rivendell

Dec 26 2012, 10:17am

Post #11 of 24 (356 views)
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That [In reply to] Can't Post

was really an interrestng view on Elronds feelings, but I still think Galadriel was more tempted, becoming a powerful queen was her whole purpose in coming to ME, she also lost her beloved home, her grand child and her freedom living in ME and doing what she thinks is right. In the End she has nothing. In Aman life is easier to live but in ME one is more free, that is at least the image I got.


(This post was edited by Nerven on Dec 26 2012, 10:18am)


SilentLion
Rivendell

Dec 26 2012, 7:43pm

Post #12 of 24 (349 views)
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Have often thought that Elrond is overlooked as a tragic figure [In reply to] Can't Post

As you point out, he had a lot to lose from the triumph of Gandalph's plan, including Rivendel and Arwen. It seems strange that he never appears to be explicitly tempted in the text of LOTR.

Perhaps Elrond's temptation came long before. At the end of the Second Age, Elrond was with Elendil, Gil-Galad, and Isildur in the final combat with Sauron at the Seige of Barad-Dur. When Sauron was vanquished, he was alone with an exhausted Isildur, and was more or less in a position of being the military leader of Elves. The ring would have been within Elrond's grasp at that point, but he appears to have rejected it: first advising Isildur to destroy the ring, and then even accepting Isildur's claim to the ring as a weirguild for his brother and father.

Accepting the latter must have been extremely difficullt. After all, Elrond was right that the Ring should have been destroyed, and had Elrond intervened at that point he would have had the rationalization that he was doing so on behalf of other inhabitants of Middle Earth. Once a character has experienced and rejected the temptation of the Ring, it seems like they acquire a degree of immunity to further temptation.

Perhaps Elrond's great temptation came much earlier, and once he demonstrated his faith in greater 'plan of thiings', even to the extent of allowing an ally to make a horrible mistake rather than stake his own claim to the Ring, he was immune to further temptation and about as safe a host for Frodo and the Ring as could be found anywhere in Middle Earth.


sador
Half-elven


Dec 27 2012, 6:46am

Post #13 of 24 (342 views)
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Were you responding to me? [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyway, thank you! Your contributions are always valuable; I wish you could make them more often.

I think your idea might be right; especially once Eregion fell, Elrond was the one to establish the outer fortress against Sauron as the lieutenant of Gil-galad in Lindon. He was likely to know, better than any other, the particulars of Celebrimbor's fall and death, and perceive both the power and the peril of the One Ring in a way that Gandalf, Galadriel and Cirdan never did.

The more I think of it, the better I like it; the only minor qibble I have with your post is that I do not think Elrond ever accepted Isildur's hubris in claiming the One as a weregild legitimate.
At the Council, when Frodo says to Aragorn "Then it is yours, and not mine at all!", Aragorn replies: "It belongs to neither of us"; and it was Elrond who inculcated this attitude into him.


SilentLion
Rivendell

Dec 27 2012, 11:32pm

Post #14 of 24 (260 views)
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Yes, I meant my post as a reply to yours [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the kind words. There are always many interesting converstions here, and I enjoy joining in when I can.

I guess maybe 'accept' wasn't the clearest choice of words. I didn't mean to imply that Elrond ever accepted Isildur's claim to the Ring as legitimate, but only that he accepted that trying to impose a different choice on Isildur would have resulted in a worse outcome. Sort of like the Valar 'accepted' the Feanor's decision to leave Valinor, because forcing another decision would have been an even worse outcome.

The situation could have presented a particularly powerful temptation to Elrond, because he could have rationalized that seizing the ring from Isildur was in the best interests of the free peoples of Middle Earth, or even in the best interests of Isildur himself. I think somewhere Tolkien remarks that Gandalf would have been a worse tyrant than Sauron because Gandalf would have done everything in the firm belief that it was the moral thing to do. Elrond would have been a similar tyrant, had he succumbed to the temptation.


CuriousG
Valinor


Dec 28 2012, 1:30am

Post #15 of 24 (260 views)
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Just joking, but [In reply to] Can't Post

Don't you wish Elrond had bitten off Isildur's ring finger and thrown it into the fire? Sure would have made the world a better place for posterity.


CuriousG
Valinor


Dec 28 2012, 1:44am

Post #16 of 24 (523 views)
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Gandalf's temptation by the Ring (or Frodo) [In reply to] Can't Post

"Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good."

It's not clear to me that he would be worse than Sauron, but equally bad, in his own words.

He echoes Galadriel's perspective:

Sam: "I wish you'd take his Ring. You'd put things to rights."

"I would," she said. "That is how it would begin. But it would not end there, alas!"

We're discussing on another thread Elrond's temptation to use the Ring. It seems to me the Wise would all agree on the same perilous result of using it. It is played out in Saruman, for that matter. His speech to Gandalf about using the Ring is all about the good they would do, not an evil cackle and "With it we shall destroy the world!" Saruman's speech is pretty creepy in his self-deception, now that I reread it:

"We may join with that Power [Sauron]...approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order...The Ruling Ring? If we could command that, then the Power would pass to us."


SilentLion
Rivendell

Dec 28 2012, 9:00pm

Post #17 of 24 (316 views)
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I think in one of his Letters, Tolkien speculates that Gandalf [In reply to] Can't Post

would have been strong enough to control the Ring and would have ended up a worse tyrant than Sauron. I googled and found the following quote:

"Gandalf as Ring Lord would have been far worse then Sauron. He would have remained `righteous', but `self-righteous'. He would have continued to rule and order things for `good', and the benefit of his subjects according to his wisdom (which was and would have remained great)."

- The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien # 246 to Mrs. Eileen Elgar (Sept. 1963)


CuriousG
Valinor


Dec 28 2012, 9:20pm

Post #18 of 24 (267 views)
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Like Pol Pot and bad bunnies [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the citation.

I read somewhere (I say that a lot) that some evil dictators thought in their own minds that they were doing good, at least at the beginning. One example given was Pol Pot in Cambodia, who seemed to genuinely believe society would be better if the corrupt cities were emptied and people returned to their rural roots and traditional values. That's how it started, but it led to the killing fields.

On a less horrific scale, that's how General Woundwort operated in Watership Down. He seemed to think in the beginning that he was protecting other rabbits from predators with all of his rules and controls about secrecy. But he had his ultimate day of reckoning when Hazel tried to negotiate peace with him, and he had to confront why he was really in power, and that he wanted to keep it no matter what.


SilentLion
Rivendell

Dec 28 2012, 10:10pm

Post #19 of 24 (245 views)
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Good examples! [In reply to] Can't Post

And its been a long time since I've read Watership Down, but it is an apt comparison.


squire
Valinor


Dec 28 2012, 11:02pm

Post #20 of 24 (261 views)
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Wait a second [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think we're on solid ground, when discussing the minds of tyrants, to use Pol Pot and a fictional character as if they were equally illustrative of the same point. Woundwort is comparable to Sauron, of course, because both are fictional expressions of their authors' ideas about the corruption of power. And Pol Pot is an excellent example of a real-world dictator who may (or may not, depending on the reliability of the evidence regarding his state of mind) have engaged in self-deception regarding his own tyrannical rule.

The question I would ask is, where did Tolkien and Adams get their ideas about the descent into tyranny? They must be working from their own understanding of the human soul and from examples in history, whether ancient or contemporary. I would look for those examples, rather than compare two authors with similar ideas, if I was inquiring into whether the authors' ideas have validity.

For instance: is Tolkien right, when he says in that letter that Gandalf as Ringlord would have been "far worse" than Sauron, because he would have been "self-righteous" rather than merely "righteous"? I admit I'm not really sure what distinction he is making here. As he notes, Gandalf "would have continued to rule and order things for `good', and the benefit of his subjects according to his wisdom (which was and would have remained great)."

"Wisdom" as such is a double-edged sword in Tolkien's vocabulary, since both Denethor and Sauron are deemed by Gandalf to be "wise" without having good sense. Yet, how in the quote above is Gandalf's tyranny "far worse" than Sauron's? As far as I can tell when I read the parts of LotR that describe Mordor, Sauron doesn't even pretend to rule his domain "for the benefit of his subjects", yet Tolkien says Gandalf would have.

???

Tolkien seems to be implying that Evil, honestly acting for its own aggrandizement, is in some way superior to Evil that does not admit that it is Evil. I would agree, in a theoretical or theological sense - but somehow I doubt there are any real-world examples of Tolkien's super-fine distinction between self-conscious and self-deceptive Evil in a ruling tyrant. In other words, I suspect that Gandalf would have been "far worse" than Sauron simply because Tolkien's moral philosophy requires that to be the case, rather than because it would actually true in our own real world.




squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


SilentLion
Rivendell

Dec 30 2012, 12:38am

Post #21 of 24 (261 views)
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The point is taken that we need to be careful about [In reply to] Can't Post

mixing 'truths' about how a fictional world functions with how the real world functions. However, part of Tolkien's reasons for creating Middle Earth, and part of the reason why I find it such an interesting place, is that it provides a laboratory for exploring the nature of morality in our real world. Just as Einstein's 'thought experiments' eventually led to a deeper understanding of physics in our real world, there is every reason to believe that debate about the actions of fictional characters in good literature can lead to a deeper understanding of human behavior in the real world.

I think I could make a case that tyrannical rulers who are driven by personal ambition do less harm than tyrants who are driven by an ideological certainty. Two leaders who Tolkien would have been familiar with who fit the personal ambition model were Napoleon and Bismark. Both were driven by a desire for personal power and glory that could be obtained by expanding the power and influence of their nation. Both could be ruthless in pressing their advantage or breaking alliances when it was to their advantage. Both could be considered 'evil' by someone who looked at the human costs of the wars they started. Since both were rivals to the U.K., Tolkien was likely to have considered them in a negative light. However, since they were really all about their own power and prestige, both were happy to latch onto good ideas that they thought would enhance their legacy. Napoleon established many of the public institutions of modern France, and Bismark is regarded as the father of a united Germany. On the whole, they have a mixed legacy where people could legitimately argue the extent of their positive or negative influence on history.

The most truly destructive dictators of the 20th century were more about promoting the correctness of their ideology than their personal success or comfort. Throughout their reigns they pursued ever more destructive means to achieve the ends of their ideology. Tolkien was very familiar with Hitler and Stalin, and their legacies were very apparent at the time Tolkien was writing LOTR. Tolkien would not have been familiar with Pol Pot, but he was an ideological descendent of Stalin and Mao.

So on the whole, I would say that 'Dark Lords' who govern based on an ideological purity are capable of much more profound evil than 'Dark Lords' who simply ruthlessly pursue their own personal ambition.

Returning from the real-world to Tolkien's world, I can see a Dark Lord Gandalf who succumbed to the temptation of power represented by the Ring wanting to pursue ideals of fairness and beauty, and gradually seeing the need to eliminate first enemies, then allies and then whole peoples who resisted his plans.


squire
Valinor


Dec 30 2012, 1:24am

Post #22 of 24 (278 views)
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Very interesting thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you have an interesting thesis there, regarding the 19th century's daemonically-gifted leaders versus the 20th century's.

But to get back to Tolkien, I would argue that the Ring is a device that represents the acme of personal ambition and self-centeredness: It represents pure power, the drive to dominate others, the idea (as Auden put it, I think) that the truly evil don't want others to follow them, they want others to be made to follow them against their own wills. Ideology has nothing to do with this exploration of the nature of power and the evil of compulsory action. I suspect that Tolkien would have been more interested in Hitler's or Stalin's (or Pol Pot's) "will to power" (a 19th century idea, courtesy of Nietzsche) than he would have been in those dictator's stated desires to achieve "ideological purity" in the nation state that they led.

I agree with your analysis of the course of Gandalf's degradation by the Ring. But I would argue that that describes exactly what happened to Sauron as well, according to Tolkien's notes and writings. I don't see Gandalf having some "ideology" that Sauron didn't have. So I remain somewhat mystified by Tolkien's assertion that Gandalf's corruption would have been in some way "far worse" than Sauron's, as per my first post.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Dec 30 2012, 4:09am

Post #23 of 24 (236 views)
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Squire [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien commonly references wisdom as knowledge as opposed to how we would use the word.


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Dec 30 2012, 4:15am

Post #24 of 24 (428 views)
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One wonders how Gandalf could be worse [In reply to] Can't Post

when Tolkien wrote to the effect that Sauron was as close as possible to a wholly evil will, and absolute evil was not possible. Perhaps Gandalf could somehow be a worse dictator but remain less evil than Sauron.


(This post was edited by ElendilTheShort on Dec 30 2012, 4:17am)

 
 

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