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Gollum escapes them all

noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Mar 1 2013, 10:05pm

Post #1 of 15 (1130 views)
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Gollum escapes them all Can't Post

In The Council of Elrond chapter, Legolas says that Gollum appears to have been rescued by from his Elvish captors by a force of orcs. These, with Gollum, are tracked as far as the elves dare towards Dol Gildur.

Any theories about this?
Whose orcs (Saurons? Sarumans? Independents?) and why are they sent to capture Gollum?
Do you think that Gollum then gives the orcs the slip? Or do they release him, and if so then why?

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....
Feel free to meddle in the affairs of noWizardMe by agreeing or disagreeing (politely...) with my posts! I may not be subtle, but at least I'm usually slow to anger...


CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 1 2013, 10:29pm

Post #2 of 15 (949 views)
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My theory [In reply to] Can't Post

Though it does get complicated. Sauron caught Gollum in Mordor, tortured him, found out about Bagginses, and released Gollum on the assumption that Gollum would track down the Ring again on his own, so great is his bond with it. (Gollum and the Ring were very good friends, you know, like Frodo and Sam.)

Sauron keeps an eye on Gollum when he's in the vicinity of Mordor and finds out Aragorn captures him and sends him to the Wood-Elf prison. Gollum in jail does Sauron no good, so whoever's in charge at Dol Guldur is told to send some orcs to bust Gollum out of Elf custody. Gollum has to follow the orcs towards Dol Guldur both because he may be their captive, and also because he doesn't want the Elves to recapture him. Sauron still has no use for Gollum in jail, so he is again released to track down Bilbo on his own.

Some doubts arise with this. Why was Gollum sent so far away to prison? Why not choose Gondor or Rohan as hosts? Or if it had to be Elves, why not Lorien? Why would Thranduil take in prisoners that Celeborn and Galadriel would not?

How elusive is Gollum? He seems almost supernaturally able to escape capture, but Aragorn was able to capture him, and Sauron did, and Faramir's archers were ready to shoot him near Henneth Annun. But I raise that question because it was impossible for Sauron to capture Gollum again in Mordor, and after freeing the poor slimy creature from the clutches of the dreadful Elves, why didn't Sauron's minions keep a better eye on him? Gollum even seems to have moved about Moria on his own, and he certainly didn't lead any orcs to capture the Fellowship while they slept at night. How did he become a free agent? Was this just another of Sauron's plans going wrong, one of many?


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Mar 2 2013, 8:01am

Post #3 of 15 (975 views)
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Nothing quite adds up.... [In reply to] Can't Post

...Which of course is what makes it fun to speculate.
At this point I the tale were still in the buildup to open action. The scrabble is to uncover information about the ring, while denying information to rival powers.

As you say, CuriousG, if Sauron was springing Gollum, he seems to do a poor job of monitoring his predictably unreliable agent later. Though perhaps that is not too incredible- Sauron's forces may still be thin on the ground that far west. And loyalty among his forces always seems a problem for him: the intelligent ones are far too prone to have independent schemes. So maybe the master plan miscarried because someone didn't get the memo, or suppressed it to further their own schemes. Or perhaps (Utterly Untestable Theory) the plan is that if Gollum gets the ring he'll betray himself: for example in a crazed and easily countered attempt to become the new Dark Lord. That seems a bit weak though: what did Gollum do with the ring last time? Just sneaking.

There's a bit in favour of a Saruman theory. Sauron and Gandalf have both interrogated Gollum by this point; Saruman is the only power scrabbling for the ring at this point not to have questioned him. Gollum's escape seems to have been on a summer night- so about the time when Saruman is tricking Gandalf into visiting Orthac, or already has him captive there. So Saruman is probably already sunk low enough for such schemes, and is too suspicious and jealous to expect to lead about Gollum from Gandalf. Saruman theory has to suppose that the orcs make off towards Dol Gildur as either a deception (make it look like Sauron's work) or by co-incidence. And then Gollum has to escape from the orcs, or surely he'd end up at Isenguard. A further weakness is that a Saruman theory supposes Saruman must know enough about Gollum to go for him. How did he find this out? Or is he merely keeping tabs on Gandalf, and wants whatever Gandalf has been playing with, whether its pipe weed or prisoners.

A freelance effort is an even more speculative theory: to want to capture Gollum you probably need to know a lot about the history of the ring already. I can just about imagine Saruman or Sauron trying to work through a client Orc princeling who decides that Gollum must somehow be important, and so decides to nab him himself. Pretty similarly, maybe the Captain of the Dol Guldur garrison has a miscarried attempt at initiative....

Who else is concerned with Gollum's whereabouts and freedom. Well, the Valar might be: one could argue that they perceive he's needed for the destruction of the ring and so do something to aid his escape. But "because the Valar willed it" explanations seem like no explanations to me: might as well say "Because the author willed it."

I'm out of theories after that!

I hadn't thought before about why Gollum is taken to Mirkwood of all the options. We hear that Gandalf hopes Gollum might still be cured, and perhaps elves are the best hope for that. Maybe we end up with Mirkwood by elimination: Rivendell too far away, and Lorien being reluctant to unseal its borders? Why not take him to Gondor or Rohan? That would involve a lot if explaining: maybe a big risk given that it later turns out that Denethor would like the Ring for himself, and that Theoden's court has been infiltrated by Sarumans agents. Sending Gollum to Edoras results in Saruman getting him, I expect. Not sure what happens if he's in Denethor's dungeons - an attempt to get the ring? An earlier siege of Minas Tirith?

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....
Feel free to meddle in the affairs of noWizardMe by agreeing or disagreeing (politely...) with my posts! I may not be subtle, but at least I'm usually slow to anger...


PhantomS
Rohan


Mar 3 2013, 9:50am

Post #4 of 15 (879 views)
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the Mirkwood Minutemen [In reply to] Can't Post

I hadn't thought before about why Gollum is taken to Mirkwood of all the options. We hear that Gandalf hopes Gollum might still be cured, and perhaps elves are the best hope for that. Maybe we end up with Mirkwood by elimination: Rivendell too far away, and Lorien being reluctant to unseal its borders? Why not take him to Gondor or Rohan? That would involve a lot if explaining: maybe a big risk given that it later turns out that Denethor would like the Ring for himself, and that Theoden's court has been infiltrated by Sarumans agents. Sending Gollum to Edoras results in Saruman getting him, I expect. Not sure what happens if he's in Denethor's dungeons - an attempt to get the ring? An earlier siege of Minas Tirith?

Aragorn found him east of the Brown Lands- there is no safe place east or south, and going west risks Dol Guldur knowing about it. Hence he goes north, but Aragorn doesn't think Dale/Erebor is safe either as Gollum is a cave dweller and will evade the Dwarves. He knows from experience or Bilbo that Thranduil has underground prisons that can hold Gollum- hence Aragorn puts him there thinking that Gollum will be secure at least until he can be brought to Rivendell or Lothlorien. Legolas and his Elves are the ones who spoiled the strategy by showing Gollum mercy and putting him up a tree, which the prince relates to at the Council of Elrond.

Aragorn can't go to Minas Tirith-despite saying he will go with Boromir later, he is shown to be incredibly reluctant to meet Denethor or arrive in MT without being the approved King. Even when hunting Merry and Pippin he looks at the White Mountains and laments the fact to an extent. Yet he can't carry Gollum everywhere with him or leash him like Sam did- he needs to get back to Rivendell and inconspicously.



Mim
The Shire

Mar 3 2013, 10:19am

Post #5 of 15 (873 views)
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Rescuing Gollum wasn't the intention [In reply to] Can't Post

I believe we are told that it is a large company of orcs that are passing through and that Gollum is able to escape because so much of the elvish force is occupied by having to fight them off. It doesn't really make tactical sense. Essentially, what it would be would be a rescue mission into the heart of your enemies territory. It would make more sense to do that with a small force, quickly and quietly in and out before anyone knew what was happeneing. Sending a large force to be destroyed by the elves as a cover to allow Gollums escape seems quite a roundabout way of doing it.

My theory would be that when Gollum climbed high up in his tree, he saw that there was a company of Orcs massing in the vicinity. On that night, when he refused to come down he saw that they were close and saw his chance. A specific motive for his desire to leave is, perhaps, not really neccessary. He just wants to leave captivity, any way will do. When the orcs pass through, he makes himself known to them and they pick him up and take him. Perhaps Sauron issued a list of wanted people to his outposts. Or Gollum simply lures a few to the elves by his tree with noise or something and then when they're taken care off slinks off on his own.

I think the whole thing makes too little sense for us to suppoes that the Orcs were there specifically with the aim of capturing Gollum.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 3 2013, 3:27pm

Post #6 of 15 (883 views)
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Legolas thought it was [In reply to] Can't Post

a deliberately planned rescue:
"When the battle was over, we found that Gollum was gone, and his guards were slain or taken. It then seemed plain to us that the attack had been made for his rescue, and that he knew of it beforehand. How that was contrived we cannot guess; but Gollum is cunning, and the spies of the Enemy are many." (The Council of Elrond)
I must say I'd never thought about the logistics (or the logic) of this "rescue" before noWizardme brought it up, but when you come to look at the details we're given, I think you have to work with the idea that this appeared to be planned by someone, although who isn't very clear. Legolas goes on:
"The dark things that were driven out in the year of the Dragon’s fall have returned in greater numbers, and Mirkwood is again an evil place, save where our realm is maintained."
I suppose the "dark things" must belong to Sauron, if they are the same ones that have "returned" since the days of The Hobbit. We never get a clear look at the "spies of the Enemy", although I recall that Aragorn hints darkly at one point that not all the birds can be trusted. So perhaps the "how" isn't too hard to answer, but we are still left with "why".

I'll guess that Sauron wanted Gollum freed again 1) so that he could carry on looking for Baggins and generally causing trouble ("He could work much mischief still, if he were free," says Aragorn, before he hears Legolas' news), and 2) perhaps to prevent Gandalf or anyone else extracting any further information from him.

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



noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Mar 3 2013, 3:37pm

Post #7 of 15 (848 views)
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Fiasco rather than rescue? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, Legolas would not agree with Mim's theory. But I don't think it's completely implausible: it could be difficult for the elves to tell whether the Orc attack had been a co-incidence that Gollum profited from rather than a rescue. And maybe "rescue" would be a more palatable explanation / apology to take to Gandalf.

I suppose you'd need a credible reason for the orcs to turn up, but a number of those could be constructed, I'd expect.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....
Feel free to meddle in the affairs of noWizardMe by agreeing or disagreeing (politely...) with my posts! I may not be subtle, but at least I'm usually slow to anger...


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 3 2013, 4:59pm

Post #8 of 15 (844 views)
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It's only a fiasco [In reply to] Can't Post

if Sauron was trying to recapture Gollum, surely? If he was just trying to rescue him and set him free to cause more trouble, then the plan worked perfectly!

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



noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Mar 3 2013, 5:30pm

Post #9 of 15 (837 views)
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True! Success for any rescue (as opposed to capture or recapture). Fiasco for the elves.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....
Feel free to meddle in the affairs of noWizardMe by agreeing or disagreeing (politely...) with my posts! I may not be subtle, but at least I'm usually slow to anger...


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Mar 3 2013, 6:44pm

Post #10 of 15 (839 views)
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vote for your favourite theory! [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought it might be fun to set up a "Pollantir" poll so that people can vote for their favourite of the theories we've discussed. Vote at http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=578663#578663

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....
Feel free to meddle in the affairs of noWizardMe by agreeing or disagreeing (politely...) with my posts! I may not be subtle, but at least I'm usually slow to anger...


Mim
The Shire

Mar 3 2013, 11:54pm

Post #11 of 15 (857 views)
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Legolas asks the right question [In reply to] Can't Post

How was the plan communicated to Gollum? If the elves can't figure that out I don't think we can completely trust their conclusions on the nature of the attack either. Yes birds are an option, but from what we know of Gollum he is probably more inclined to eat the birds than to wait and listen for messages they might be bringing him.

I don't know. I think the elves conclusion is as much conjecture as our own conclusions and I don't find the idea that this was a rescue mission, specifically, at all convincing. However, Sauron doesn't seem too fussed about subtlety or about throwing away his troops so he just couldn't be fussed to be tactical about it.


sevilodorf
Gondor


Mar 5 2013, 2:14am

Post #12 of 15 (810 views)
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Mirkwood vs Lorien as a Gollum Prison [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe Galadriel woudn't take him... figuring his connection to the Eye would draw it too close to her or focus more attention on her than she wished.

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com





Elizabeth
Valinor


Mar 5 2013, 8:27am

Post #13 of 15 (837 views)
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Lorien is a closed realm. [In reply to] Can't Post

They really don't encourage anyone they don't know to come in -- look at what a hard time they gave the Fellowship, even with Aragorn along and a blessing from Elrond. So I can't imagine their being willing to accept a prisoner.

They probably don't have anything resembling a suitable facility, anyway, and it's known that Mirkwood does.








(This post was edited by Elizabeth on Mar 5 2013, 8:27am)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 5 2013, 10:19am

Post #14 of 15 (825 views)
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Mirkwood was always the intended prison, it seems [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
[The Elves of Lorien] probably don't have anything resembling a suitable facility, anyway, and it's known that Mirkwood does.


And in fact Aragorn says in The Council of Elrond that there was an agreement that Gollum should be brought there once he was captured:
"I deemed it the worst part of all my journey, the road back, watching him day and night, making him walk before me with a halter on his neck, gagged, until he was tamed by lack of drink and food, driving him ever towards Mirkwood. I brought him there at last and gave him to the Elves, for we had agreed that this should be done..."
This agreement was probably based on the Mirkwood Elves' involvement years before, when Gollum was first lost from sight:
"The Wood-elves tracked him first, an easy task for them, for his trail was still fresh then. Through Mirkwood and back again it led them, though they never caught him. The wood was full of the rumour of him, dreadful tales even among beasts and birds. The Woodmen said that there was some new terror abroad, a ghost that drank blood. It climbed trees to find nests; it crept into holes to find the young; it slipped through windows to find cradles.

But at the western edge of Mirkwood the trail turned away. It wandered off southwards and passed out of the Wood-elves’ ken, and was lost."
(Gandalf in The Shadow of the Past)
Mirkwood had already been terrorised by Gollum, so the Wood-elves were already aware of him and so would be ready to take responsibility in a way that none of the other realms were. At this point, neither Aragorn nor Gandalf would have wanted to be talking openly about Gollum's connection to the Ring (or even talking about the Ring at all), so I imagine it would have been a difficult bit of diplomacy to convince any other realm to take Gollum in and keep him imprisoned without any evidence that he posed a threat to them.

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



FarFromHome
Valinor


Mar 7 2013, 10:02am

Post #15 of 15 (842 views)
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Yes we only have Legolas' guesswork here [In reply to] Can't Post

At the Council of Elrond, Legolas says, "It then seemed plain to us that the attack had been made for his rescue, and that he knew of it beforehand."

But if Gollum did know about it, why would he have cooperated? Legolas' explanation for Gollum refusing to come down from the tree that night was that he knew he was to be rescued, yet we know from what Gollum says to Frodo later that he believes he escaped from Mordor by himself and that he would be brought back there tortured again if he was recaptured. If he thought he was going to be "rescued" by Sauron's minions, you'd think he'd have been begging to be locked up in Thranduil's deepest dungeon, not staying out and waiting for the "rescuers" to arrive! It may be, as I was thinking earlier, that the orcs were only supposed to free Gollum and not recapture him, but I don't see how Gollum could ever have been made to believe that himself.

I guess wha't really going on here is Tolkien trying to come up with a way for Gandalf to know what he does about Gollum's backstory, and yet Gollum to be free to play his part in Frodo's story later. Perhaps he should have gone for the "Treebeard" solution - just letting a prisoner go out of sheer softheartedness - instead of trying to combine the Elves' own softheartedness with a story about a rescue. I think Tolkien says somewhere in the Letters that it's better not to explain too much, and maybe Legolas' "explanation" here is a step too far. Still, as you say, the fact that we only get this explanation via Legolas' theorizing does allow us to doubt his conclusions and come up with some theories of our own!

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 Mar 7 2013, 10:06am)

 
 

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