Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Necromancy

Hamfast of Gamwich
Rivendell


Feb 14 2013, 9:43pm

Post #1 of 17 (1262 views)
Shortcut
Necromancy Can't Post

I've been thinking about all the fuss around the Nazgul's and (possibly) Azog's resurrections in the films, and I was wondering why, according to Tolkein, Sauron was given the name "the Necromancer"? If not them then what or who did he bring back to life in the books to earn this name?


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Feb 14 2013, 11:06pm

Post #2 of 17 (604 views)
Shortcut
Perhaps it was misdirection by Sauron. [In reply to] Can't Post

He couldn't hide his presence in Dol Guldur so branded himself as a Necromancer to put any of his enemies off his scent.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Saurons master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Bombadil
Half-elven


Feb 14 2013, 11:48pm

Post #3 of 17 (549 views)
Shortcut
RTD names him that when he gives G-man the Morgul Blade.../// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Lio
Lorien


Feb 15 2013, 12:18am

Post #4 of 17 (569 views)
Shortcut
The ability to "summon the spirits of the dead" [In reply to] Can't Post

I believe that's how Radagast described it in the first movie. Sauron can't literally bring anyone back to life (at least, he shouldn't be able to), only command evil spirits, much like he does with the Nazgul. So maybe Dol Guldur is inhabited by some lesser spirits he has enslaved as well?

As an aside, I really, really, really don't want to see a resurrected Azog or Bolg or any other "zombie Orcs". It's simpler to assume that they're alive and survived the battle in the flashback. I just don't see what either of them being undead would add to the story, except maybe cheap B-movie cheesiness. Crazy

Want to chat? AIM me at Yami Liokaiser!


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Feb 15 2013, 12:43am

Post #5 of 17 (522 views)
Shortcut
It's a bit of a cross-medium discussion. [In reply to] Can't Post

The question was about Tolkien's decision to name him the Necromancer and any evidence from the book, although the question also echoes in the movie-verse.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Saurons master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Macfeast
Rohan


Feb 15 2013, 12:56am

Post #6 of 17 (547 views)
Shortcut
That's how I've always understood his necromancy. [In reply to] Can't Post

He prolongs, and twists, the life of nine human kings, creating the Nazgl, and he (well, I believe the Witch-king of Angmar, but I'm thinking that power is of Sauron's portfolio) reanimated dead bodies in the Barrow-downs and imbued them with fell spirits, creating the barrow-wights. That's some powerful tricks, and more than enough to warrant the moniker "the Necromancer". Actually claiming a soul from the state of death and returning it to life (which presumably would be the case with Azog, [assuming he actually did die], seeing as he seems to be very much the same orc he was before "death"), however, is not a part of his (recorded, admittedly) portfolio of powers. It may sound like semantics, but "necromancy" can mean many different things, and not necessarily "bringing someone back to life".


(This post was edited by Macfeast on Feb 15 2013, 1:05am)


imin
Valinor


Feb 15 2013, 1:05am

Post #7 of 17 (510 views)
Shortcut
maybe its [In reply to] Can't Post

referring to Sauron's abilities to create phantoms.

He did this to Gorlim when he tricked him into revealing info on the outlaws so he could be with his wife - Eilinel again, though what Gorlim saw was a phantom of his wife.


Ziggy Stardust
Gondor


Feb 15 2013, 1:50am

Post #8 of 17 (474 views)
Shortcut
I like this explanation [In reply to] Can't Post

After all, Sauron has powers that he would abuse for control. I just hope Azog was brought back from the dead, that would be cheesy. He was tolerable enough in the film. (I was apprehensive at first, but when I saw him, I was rather surprised.) But he needn't be an undead orc. I've never heard of an undead orc.


stoutfiles
Rohan


Feb 15 2013, 3:48am

Post #9 of 17 (458 views)
Shortcut
It was an evil place holder [In reply to] Can't Post

To be used at a later date. Highly doubt he had fleshed out Sauron when he wrote The Hobbit. Something's out there, he's evil, he has an evil name, and maybe we'll learn more about him someday.


Elizabeth
Valinor


Feb 15 2013, 7:42am

Post #10 of 17 (403 views)
Shortcut
That's it. [In reply to] Can't Post

TH was never intended as an integral part of the Legendarium, much of which (all of the Third Age) was invented later. At the time of writing, Tolkien need an amorphous "evil" and he called it The Necromancer.








Fredeghar Wayfarer
Lorien


Feb 15 2013, 10:38am

Post #11 of 17 (350 views)
Shortcut
Manipulating spirits [In reply to] Can't Post

There's quite a bit that Sauron does that involves raising the dead or summoning spirits. He prolongs the life of the Nazgul, turning them into wraiths. He gives them the Morgul-blades which can turn others into wraiths. He teaches the Witch-king how to imbue dead bodies with evil spirits, thus creating the Barrow-wights. He traps spirits in the Dead Marshes, creating the glowing corpse-candles that lead people astray. He summons spirits to give intelligence to the Watcher statues of Cirith Ungol. In the First Age, he created or summoned phantoms to trick people with illusions.

I agree that the Necromancer was a placeholder name when Tolkien was writing The Hobbit. But there were plenty of instances in later stories where Sauron's power involved spirits of the dead.


RalphDamiani
Rivendell

Feb 15 2013, 5:11pm

Post #12 of 17 (301 views)
Shortcut
My thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

This is christian Tolkien at his best. If you regard the gift of men being mortality and being rid of the prison of flesh, the opposite of that would be to become trapped in a state of undeath. The ringwraiths were punished for their greed by eternal slavery to Sauron. Saruman, Morgoth and Sauron were denied Valinor and reincarnation in the circles of Arda.
Even the elves will soon become weary of their immortality, while the evil unwisely yearn for it.

Necromancers are traditionally portrayed as sorcerers that attempt to master death in their lust for power. And by doing so condemn themselves and their servants to the prisons of time and decay. Meanwhile, mythical heroes do the opposite, which is sacrifice and the embrace of death as something natural and honorable, while their afterlife in heaven is the prize for their faith and wisdom.


(This post was edited by RalphDamiani on Feb 15 2013, 5:11pm)


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Feb 15 2013, 6:29pm

Post #13 of 17 (272 views)
Shortcut
Place Holder [In reply to] Can't Post

You can find a lot of good information on various Tolkien chats about the use of the term necromancer. Tolkien admits that at fist the introduction of the necromancer was a plot device to get Gandalf out of the way so the dwarves would not have his help. But if we understand that this mythology was given to Tolkien and he just had to figure it out and write it down, then Sauron could not have been named anything else. You see this fascination with the dead in all that Sauron does. Remember he empowers evil spirits to enter wolves and so become werewolves.


Roheryn
Grey Havens

Feb 16 2013, 10:02am

Post #14 of 17 (256 views)
Shortcut
In The Annotated Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

Douglas Anderson gives a great explanation. I had been wondering this same thing myself, and was pleased to run across this note a few days ago when I was working on an SAST quiz. I've typed out below (in boldface) Anderson's note 12, p. 188 (of the second edition); he gives a less complete explanation in the first edition as note 10, p. 149.

The reintroduction of the Necromancer here was originally quite casual; his function, as Tolkien wrote in a letter to Christopher Bretherton on July 16, 1964, was hardly more than to provide a reason for Gandalf going away and leaving Bilbo and the Dwarves to fend for themselves, which was necessary for the tale (Letters, No. 257).
A necromancer is (generally) a wizard or conjurer who communicates and has dealings with the dead. In the essay Laws and Customs Among the Eldar, published in Morgoths Ring, volume ten of the History [i.e., The History of Middle-earth, or HOME], we see an explanation as to why Sauron is called a necromancer. In discussing what happens to the Elivsh spirit (or fa) after the death of the body, a wicked fa may seek friendship with the living and attempt to house itself in a living body, either to enslave its host or to wrest from the other fa its rightful body. Tolkien continues: It is said that Sauron did these things, and taught his followers how to achieve them (p. 224).

So of course I had to go look up page 224 in HOME, wherein lies a rather fascinating discussion of what happens to a fa after the death of its body. They are summoned to Mandos, yet the summons can be refused, and those that refuse are called the Unbodied, and wander the world bodiless. But by the very act of refusing the summons, a fa is tainted -- already essentially tending towards evil. Tolkien writes: "They [i.e., the Unbodied] will not speak truth or wisdom. To call on them is folly. To attempt to master them and to make them servants of one own's will is wickedness. Such practices are of Morgoth; and the necromancers are of the host of Sauron his servant" (HOME, p. 224).

Interestingly, at least with regards to necromancy, only Elves have far; men and other beings do not have them. So, Sauron is corrupting Elvish spirits, but not those of Men (or other races), though he could be rehousing those corrupted spirits in the bodies of Men (or other races). Although with his ability to ensnare other beings with rings, he's got more tricks up his sleeve than just necromancy!

Anyways, that's what I understand of Tolkien's take on Sauron's necromancy. To what extent this will be used in the movies, obviously we have no idea yet; PJ and co could make something completely up (like Sauron bringing dead Orcs back to life), or they could give no explanation (which I sort of doubt).




Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 16 2013, 7:01pm

Post #15 of 17 (185 views)
Shortcut
Thank you Ro [In reply to] Can't Post

that is a very awesome analysis! I haven't seen a copy of HOME or UT in so long because in the last move I lost so many books to water damage.

So the 'necromancy" idea, even if used in origin casually by JRR, was fleshed out (haha. sort of punny) to continue the struggle between Morgoth and the Elves he despised, threfore a continuation of the essential conflict through the activities of Sauron. So as you say not only does Ringcrafting allow for the attempt to enslave other races, can we go a step further and say that because the othe races lack the fea then the idea of domination through temptation with physical objects (particularly as a Maiar of The Great Smith) evolved directly from that fact?
So logically can we infer that Necromancy begat Ringmaking?

...she took the point at once, but she also took the spoons.

(This post was edited by Brethil on Feb 16 2013, 7:03pm)


Lio
Lorien


Feb 16 2013, 10:51pm

Post #16 of 17 (164 views)
Shortcut
Thanks for looking this up! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's good to see that a definitive explanation exists after all (and has nothing to do with zombie Orcs or otherwise Crazy).

Although, regarding the far, I'm fairly certain that Men had them too. The word simply refers to the spirit of an incarnate being, so Elves, Men, Orcs, and presumably Dwarves (and Ents and Eagles and the like as well?) would possess one. Although, if I recall correctly (and it's possible that I might be misremembering here), the spirits of Men could not refuse the summons after death. So I think you're on to something with only Elvish spirits being able to hang around and participate in necromancy.

Anyway, I think the presence of the Nazgl at Dol Guldur in the movie is enough to demonstrate the power of necromancy without them having to explain it further. Or introduce zombie Orcs. Please, just no. (Can you tell I really really hate this idea? Laugh)

Want to chat? AIM me at Yami Liokaiser!


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 17 2013, 1:47am

Post #17 of 17 (307 views)
Shortcut
fea [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes you are right. I read some more about it. (Am astounded how bad my memory is). Men cannot remain within the Halls of Mandos and leave the world so their fea would not be usable for Necromancy in Arda, unlike Elves who can refuse the summons and wander without hroa (body).

However I cannot figure out what Tolkien intended for Dwarves though, except for the 7 Fathers with the "rebirth" option for them. What about all other Dwarves? They don't seem to be subject to the influence of Morgoth in other ways so maybe in this way too they aren't subject to any Necromancy. Maybe the fea simply sleeps in the body, but not leaving Arda? In which case no chance for Necromancer influence if it just stays pu t(?) Or do they leave ?
Anyone know?

As a PS: PLEEEase, I second, no zombies.

...she took the point at once, but she also took the spoons.

(This post was edited by Brethil on Feb 17 2013, 1:49am)

 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.