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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Necromancer's Origins

Dirhaval
The Shire

Jun 9 2013, 9:26pm

Post #1 of 17 (336 views)
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Necromancer's Origins Can't Post

Such a person confuses me. The Necromancer's purpose of setting his domain in the West
and belatedly announcing it begs the question why?
Think about it. Such a person had to exist before Sauron arrived. Who was this Necromancer
that Sauron took as a disguised?

Heard at White Council Meeting #55.
Geez Galadriel. Who did you rent out Amon Lanc to this time? Before it was the Pumpkin Pie Demon,
and before that it was the Dragon Tooth Fairy. You have to do better background checks got it?

***
The White Council speak of the Necromancer as though he was known to them before and destroyed.
Then why would a defeated power resurrect in the heart of other powers (Thranduil, Galadriel, and Gondor).
Why not go into Moria or Mordor or the Oathbreakers? Why not become a threat elsewhere and then migrate to Mirkwood?
It makes no sense. Even if he was an acolyte of the original Necromancer. It is dumb to set up shop
in southern Mirkwood without a great army to resist attack.

My view is that the original Necromancer was out East and destroyed by the Blue Wizards.
Then Sauron arrives letting the name Necromancer be heard under tree. This will give doubt to the
good powers in the West. If he was a necromancer, that means he can control spirits, no necessary
have an undead army. Then where would he get spirits to control? Mirkwood is not full of men and elves right?
I think the White Council came together to understand the stupidity of this new neighbor. If the neighbor
would be dangerous, then he would be evicted. Did Saruman suspect it was Sauron before Gandalf visited?


aruman
Rivendell


Jun 9 2013, 10:01pm

Post #2 of 17 (196 views)
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A few possible reasons [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi. I'm not Tolkien scholar, and other will have much more to say on this, but I think one of the reasons Sauron set up as the Necromancer in Mirkwood was because he knew Isildur had fallen in that vicinity and hoped to find the Ring nearby.

I was actually reading a whole article on this topic, but I think that's all I remember at the moment. Also it might have had something to do with things being prepared for him in Mordor.

Yet another factor is probably that the Hobbit was written before LOTR and Tolkien therefore had some loose ends to tie up, which I think he did very well, I might add.

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


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Jun 10 2013, 6:23am

Post #3 of 17 (180 views)
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I don't follow your reasoning... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Such a person confuses me. The Necromancer's purpose of setting his domain in the West
and belatedly announcing it begs the question why?
Think about it. Such a person had to exist before Sauron arrived. Who was this Necromancer
that Sauron took as a disguised?



Why do you think that there was a Necromancer before Sauron? When the White Council discusses an earlier defeat, they are referencing Sauron's defeat by the Last Alliance of Men and Elves at the end of the Second Age. When Gandalf resumed his investigation of Dol Guldur in TA 2850, he discovered the Necromacer's true identity and revealed it to the entire Council the following year. Saruman might have suspected it before then, but he did not know for certain until Gandalf revealed his findings.

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


Yngwulff
Gondor


Jun 10 2013, 6:55am

Post #4 of 17 (165 views)
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nygromansye [In reply to] Can't Post

Somebody put the name out on another thread here for old words so I looked it up.
Nygromansye is the Old English (maybe Middle English) word from which Necromancy sic Necromancer is derived and it means black magic. It doesn't necesarily mean someone who raises the dead although it has been used in that context. As JRRT was a scholar of OE and ME literature, and he sometimes inconsistent, it could be several possiblities.

-People in the 3rd age of Middle Earth did not like to use Sauon's name and referred to him as the Enemy, perhaps the Necromancer was another name they used for him that went out of fashion.

-He was described as being black and burned ie Necromancer "the Black Sorcerer"

-The 9 Rings turned the Kings of Men of old into the Ringwraiths and that could be directly attributed to necromancy in terms of making undead. (as a side note - if memory serves wasn't the Witch king of Angmar responsible for the wights on the Barrow Downs and not Sauron?) As far as I can recall there are no records of sauron making hordes of undead to do his bidding ... that's what he had orcs and trolls for. This is the one I think is the shakiest reason.

-Or a little bit of some or all of them.


Take this Brother May it Serve you Well
Vote for Pedro!


wildespace
The Shire

Jun 10 2013, 8:13am

Post #5 of 17 (167 views)
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There was no Necromancer before Sauron [In reply to] Can't Post

Sauron IS the Necromancer. He has a long and complicated history in Middle-Earth. Let's try to break it down.

Second Age:

1. Sauron forges the Great Rings, establishes foothold in Mordor.
2. A great force of Numenorians arrives and overwhelms Sauron's forces. Sauron gives himself up to the Numenorians and becomes their servant.
3. By guile, Sauron influences Numenorian kings until the Numenorian fleet tries to land in Valnor to gain immortality, and Numenor is destroyed as punishment.
4. Sauron (in a greatly diminished form) flees back to Mordor. There he tries to establish himself again, but is defeated in the War of the Last Alliance (as shown in LotR movie prologue).

Third Age:

1. After spending around 1000 years as a shapless, dormant evil, Sauron establishes a stronghold in Dol Guldur, becoming known as the Necromancer and corrupting Mirkwood.
2. The White Council gradually realises that the Necromancer is their old enemy Sauron, and eventually decides to make a move against him (during the events of The Hobbit).
3. Sauron flees back to Mordor and finishes the building of Barad-dur. Events of LotR follow.

Read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sauron and http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Sauron

Tolkien's term Necromancer, and the literary history of Sauron, is of particular note. Sauron went through several stages of identity, starting with Tevildo the Prince of Cats in "The Book of Lost Tales", in the context of the story of Beren and Luthien. He then became Th the Necromancer. The name was then changed to Gorth, Sr, and finally to Sauron.


(This post was edited by wildespace on Jun 10 2013, 8:20am)


Yngwulff
Gondor


Jun 10 2013, 8:24am

Post #6 of 17 (148 views)
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i am not debating whether or not he is the necromancer [In reply to] Can't Post

He is. No question.

But rather Tolkien's use/choice of the word and what he intended it to mean regarding Saurons nature/powers.


Take this Brother May it Serve you Well
Vote for Pedro!


Fredeghar Wayfarer
Lorien


Jun 10 2013, 8:32am

Post #7 of 17 (150 views)
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Men and Elves [In reply to] Can't Post

As to your comment about Mirkwood not being full of Men and Elves, actually it was. The Silvan Elves (Legolas' people) had their Woodland Realm in Northern Mirkwood and there were communities of Woodmen living in the forest as well. Whenever any of them died, Sauron would have spirits to command. Besides this, who's to say he couldn't draw spirits to him from elsewhere? He's the focal point of all evil in Middle-earth.


wildespace
The Shire

Jun 10 2013, 9:13am

Post #8 of 17 (146 views)
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Did Sauron really command spirits or bodies of dead men? [In reply to] Can't Post

Apart from the Nazgul (which could be considered undead men, commanded by Sauron), did Sauron actually raise any dead spirits/bodies, like the term necromancy would imply? I haven't seen anything like that in any of Tolkien's writings. To me, the term Necromancer was applied to Sauron's presence in Mirkwood as a general word for a powerful and evil wizard, without the implication that he was raising armies of the undead. The name was given to him by others, not chosen by Sauron himself.

If you're familiar with Lovecraft's works, it's a bit like people of Innsmouth calling Cthulhu Dagon (which is the name of an ancient sea god).


Yngwulff
Gondor


Jun 10 2013, 9:37am

Post #9 of 17 (139 views)
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Thats my point exactly [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think necromancer applies to a raiser of dead spirits in this case but at a reference to his black magic/sorcery and actually being black from being scorched and not wanting to use his real name.


Take this Brother May it Serve you Well
Vote for Pedro!


PhantomS
Rohan


Jun 10 2013, 2:35pm

Post #10 of 17 (121 views)
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"I raise dead people.... "Sixth Sense 2 [In reply to] Can't Post

Like many evil (and some good) people in Tolkien the name 'Necromancer' is something other people call him, rather than what he calls himself. In the narrative no one actually meets the Necromancer (Gandalf saw him but ran) and we don't meet his servants-he's just the bogeyman in the south that Thorin has to ignore.

People must have called him the Necromancer because Dol Guldur has all the signs of sorcery- open pits, dark surroundings, smoke rising and an incredibly eerie forest that seems to obey its will. South Mirkwood is a dead place meant for the dead; in Tolkien's world no one wants to be living among the dead, even in tomb-happy Gondor.

Sauron has played with ghosts and spirits before in the Silmarillion but in the Third Age, and it probably gave him the idea to control spirits via the rings later on.


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 10 2013, 3:27pm

Post #11 of 17 (117 views)
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Witch-King as Wight master [In reply to] Can't Post

"if memory serves wasn't the Witch king of Angmar responsible for the wights on the Barrow Downs and not Sauron?)"

Yes, I can't remember where it's said exactly, but the Wi-Ki is the cause of the Barrow-Wights, not Sauron. Possibly Sauron gave him the recipe for them, and maybe not. Either way, Sauron didn't raise them himself.


Salmacis81
Grey Havens


Jun 10 2013, 9:40pm

Post #12 of 17 (109 views)
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As far as I am aware... [In reply to] Can't Post

"The Necromancer" was originally created by Tolkien strictly to serve as a diversion, to draw Gandalf away from the group so Bilbo could have his opportunity to be a hero, instead of the group being constantly being saved by Gandalf over and over. When Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, the character of Sauron was either not yet created, or existed in a very early form. It was only when he began working on the LOTR books that he decided to make Sauron and the Necromancer one and the same.


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 10 2013, 10:07pm

Post #13 of 17 (103 views)
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Quite right Salmacis [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
"The Necromancer" was originally created by Tolkien strictly to serve as a diversion, to draw Gandalf away from the group so Bilbo could have his opportunity to be a hero, instead of the group being constantly being saved by Gandalf over and over. When Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, the character of Sauron was either not yet created, or existed in a very early form. It was only when he began working on the LOTR books that he decided to make Sauron and the Necromancer one and the same.




I don't have Letters on me but he discusses it there. A lovely example of how he melded the tales together.

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


wildespace
The Shire

Jun 12 2013, 3:34pm

Post #14 of 17 (90 views)
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Letter 163 (1955) [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I had no conscious notion of what the Necromancer stood for (except ever-recurrent evil) in The Hobbit, nor of his connexion with the Ring. But if you wanted to go on from the end of The Hobbit I think the ring would be your inevitable choice as the link. If then you wanted a large tale, the Ring would at once acquire a capital letter; and the Dark Lord would immediately appear. As he did, unasked, on the hearth at Bag End as soon as I came to that point.


Sauron did exist before the writing of The Hobbit, as Th the Necromancer who got renamed to Sauron in the Lay of Leithian. But it was only at the writing of LotR that Sauron and the Necromancer of Dol Guldur became one.


wildespace
The Shire

Jun 12 2013, 3:49pm

Post #15 of 17 (89 views)
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Letter 257 (1964) [In reply to] Can't Post

Couldn't edit my post above, so here's another quote:


Quote
The magic ring was the one obvious thing in The Hobbit that could be connected with my mythology. To be the burden of a large story it had to be of supreme importance. I then linked it with the (originally) quite casual reference to the Necromancer, end of Ch. vii and Ch. xix, whose function 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.



#argonath
Registered User

Jun 13 2013, 12:45am

Post #16 of 17 (75 views)
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The Necromancer [In reply to] Can't Post

The Necromancer is Sauron, but in his feeble form. He took on the name Necromancer, or that is what others referred to him as for they did not yet know it was Sauron. Necromancer means sorcerer and so, many of the peoples of Mirkwood must have thought of him as, for the Necromancer was breeding evil and foul wicked things in Mirkwood and thus it had become an infested, almost diseased forest and all of it's former beauty was stolen from it due to the coming of the Necromancer. The Necromancer took up residence in Dol Guldur, which translates to the hill of sorcery, for his evil spread forth in the forest, but it all originated in the foul depths of Dol Guldur. The Necromancer had formerly held Thrain, father of Thorin captive and thus it was that Gandalf the Grey so boldly dared to step forth into Dol Guldur itself and found Thrain. Thrain had gone mad(insane) by the time Gandalf found him, but the only thing Thrain remembered was the key he had kept...the key to the Lonely Mountain. Thus it was that Gandalf himself barely escaped from Dol Guldur, but he kept the key of Thrain and many years later, when he found the rightful owner, Thorin, Gandalf gave the key to him when the dwarves talked about their quest at Bilbo's home called Bag End located in Hobbiton.


Dirhaval
The Shire

Jun 23 2013, 10:21pm

Post #17 of 17 (52 views)
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Necromancer [In reply to] Can't Post

Good. I like putting something out there and realizing I may go a bit astray.
All that was written that can be found in Tolkien's writings I already now.
I did extend too far in saying "necromancy" refers to spirit-control.
Minas Morgul is the Tower of Sorcery, which was taken by Sauron 61 years
before Gandalf's first visit to Dol Guldur.

It could be that the West gave the name of "Necromancer", just like
the dwarves gave the name" Smaug" which if I recall correctly, means "small hole."
That is a sorry creature that sneaks in small holes. I wonder if the dragon will
call himself that in the movie or take great anger if Bilbo mentions that name.

Elrond's people knew that a Ringwraith survived the Second Age with Glorifindel
mentioned that prophecy or did the elf just think it was a witch, then later the West
learned that it was the First of the Nine, but the prophecy stuck none-the-less.
The White Council may have believed a Ringwraith was at Dol Guldur.
The North Kingdom fell in TA 1975 and 27 years later Minas Ithil fell. Then
King Earnur died in combat.

It seems more enjoyable to me to believe Sauron took ownership of another's identity.

They say the best place to hide something is in the open.

 
 

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