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Istari Questions, Melian, Galadriel & Saruman
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AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Oct 8 2013, 3:43am

Post #26 of 92 (452 views)
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Indeed, all well stated. [In reply to] Can't Post

The line about "most dangerous" has been raised before, and it is one I remember well, though when these ponderings turn into debates full of heat, relevant quotes that are absolute somehow manage to get lumped by some into the catergory of irrelevancy. lol

In Reply To
I came across this quote while looking for something else tonight. In "The White Rider" chapter Gimil tells Gandalf he thought Fangorn was dangerous.

"Dangerous!" cried Gandalf. "And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord." He also says Gimli is dangerous too, everyone is dangerous, but it's interesting how he explicitly ranks himself as #2 to Sauron. This is before Saruman's defeat and downfall, and before the death of the Witch-King (but after the Balrog's death), so Gandalf appears to be ruling out those two as possible rivals.

As for Man vs. Balrog, it wasn't just any Elf that could kill a Balrog, and the two who did died during the fight, but they still made it an even kill...


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Oct 8 2013, 4:05am

Post #27 of 92 (464 views)
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Indeed. Ms. Boyens made an absolute statement, and that is where much of the [In reply to] Can't Post

consternation regarding her statement here. Consternation that was notably absent among some in our own forum circles who have claimed to take issue with absolutes, some of whom even defended her objectionable absolutism.

The comments of some characters cannot be lightly or entirely dismissed. Gandalf The White as he appears newly reincarnated and recently returned from Valinor in The Two Towers is about as close to a definitive Voice of God as we ever get in the tales, and it is not really within our scope to correct his assertions.

It is likely that Sauron's defenses were already compromised by the attacks of Erenion Gil-Galad, high king of The High Elves, a being of great spiritual power. Once weakened/made vulnerable by the attacks of the royal Noldor, Sauron may well have been much more capable of being harmed by the weapons wielded by men. Elendil also had a slight (very slight by that point) Noldorin and Maia strain, but we digress.

Sauron was also not the greatest named Maia, even strictly in terms of Power (we know Olorin was more wise). That would be Eoynwe (check spelling lol) the Herald of Manwe. Osse and Uinen may have been near contenders. Sauron's greatness and power also extended well beyond his immediate martial force. The exact powers of the ring are not certain either. Cheif amongst its functions were the binding of Sauron's spirit to Arda so that while it endured he could not be wholly exiled to The Void. It also served to give him mastery over the other Great Rings, their wielders and works, and he let a great part of his own power pass into the Ring to achieve this, so that its creation diminished him significantly, and only with it in his keeping was his power truly whole.

Aragorn almost certainly could NOT, barring the intervention of Fate et al, have defeated a Balrog. Gandalf is very clear, "fly! This is a foe beyond ANY of you! I must hold the narrow way." And the general consensus, including Tolkien's is that none of the Fellowship save Gandalf had any chance of overcoming the Demon of Might. The others would have perished together before it, almost without question. Gandalf and Tolkien knew quite well what Aragorn and Legolas were, but no caveats of, "this is a foe beyond any of you, except maybe Aragorn and possibly Legolas, depending on how the battle is approached," were made. Durin was a sacred and special case amongst Dwarves if ever there was one. The Balrog killed him just as dead as hardened dirt, and Durin did not reincarnate again whilst the Balrog remained in Moria. Even the defeat of Balrogs by mighty High-Elves of great martial AND Spiritual Power, was considered an almost unheard of and legendary feat worthy of story and of song, even though the Elves in question did not survive. The unrevised Fall of Gondolin cannot be pointed to, as it was a draft that was never altered or reworked with changing information, and can no more be cited for validation where it directly contradicts the more refined legendarium, than can such early writings be used to prove that Finrod was really Galadriel's father, not her brother, or that Draugluin was actually a giant cat, or that Aragorn was actually Trotter, and was not a man at all but a Hobbit name of Peregrin Boffinns. Unsure Could Aragorn have defeated a Balrog? Only in the way that Eowyn and Meriadoc defeated The Lord of THe Nazgul.

In Reply To
The comments of characters can only be taken as their knowledge which cannot be considered absolute even that of an Istari. At best, excluding perhaps some specific situations "never" should be taken as very unlikely or not forseeable. Even CT's comments could be argued as such, to do otherwise is to ignore the fact that incarnates were bound by what are meant to be physical realities like our own. Supernatural elements expand upon certain attributes but there is enough in Tolkiens writing to emphasise the ever present reality of death for all incarnates.

If an elf and a man can defeat the greatest named Maia when he is greatly enhanced beyond his natural state by an artifact, then a single great man such as Aragorn, noted by Elrond as Elendil's equal, should possibly be able to defeat a Maia such as Durins Bane who's power is a fraction of Sauron's. Just an example of possibilities, certainly not a statement of what I believe is an inevitable or likely outcome.


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Elizabeth
Valinor


Oct 8 2013, 7:04am

Post #28 of 92 (441 views)
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Nicely summarized. [In reply to] Can't Post

And, to add to the summary, Melian was a maia, but not one of the Istari, who are a special class.








Arannir
Valinor


Oct 8 2013, 9:41am

Post #29 of 92 (445 views)
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Very nicely said. [In reply to] Can't Post

By the way, I do not think Ms. Boyens would disagree with it for one second and object to the claim she wanted to set up any kind of Galadriel-Rules-Middle-earth absolutism. This is the kind of "defense" (I do not think she needs one) some here brought forward, however their exact words are soemtimes twisted a bit by those with opposing opinions regarding the whole Galadriel/Gandalf issue ;)

She [PB] is marketing a movie and a decision made within this movie and tries to explain this to an audience which might not care at all about who is how powerful, other from what they understood from the movies themselves (and even then may not care as long as the story in tiself makes sene).



ďA dragon is no idle fancy. Whatever may be his origins, in fact or invention, the dragon in legend is a potent creation of menís imagination, richer in significance than his barrow is in gold.Ē J.R.R. Tolkien

Words of wisdom that should be remembered - both by critics, purists and anyone in between.

(This post was edited by Arannir on Oct 8 2013, 9:43am)


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Oct 8 2013, 11:37am

Post #30 of 92 (448 views)
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This is a good example [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf's knowledge is great but his statement would read more accurately that it is a foe that cannot foreseeably be beaten by any of you. Of course that would be a ridiculous way of putting it, and unrealistic given the urgency of his situation. In respect of Aragorn the Witchking recognised him as one of power at Weathertop, although he did not know his identity, and Sauron himself feared him and what he may become.


Re the Maia, my error was not qualifying it as those residing in Mortal lands, but even so Eonwe is noted only as being greatest in arms of all in Arda, and he of course held a high office, but Sauron is noted as being one of the great of the Maia, I will have to source it, maybe in UT, certainly much more powerful than Olorin/Gandalf who feared him, and the Balrogs.

As an aside Sauron minus the ring was not weaker than his natural state, this only occured if another possessed and mastered the ring, bending it to their will, which none ever did. With the ring he was much more powerful than before he created It.


(This post was edited by ElendilTheShort on Oct 8 2013, 11:43am)


PhantomS
Rohan


Oct 8 2013, 4:25pm

Post #31 of 92 (415 views)
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You Shall Not Pass.....Gas! [In reply to] Can't Post

Did not Gandalf try to battle the Witch King? Also, as with the Balrog, he could have not just let his regular form with its limitations go against a Balrog who does not follow the rules of the Valar that were imposed upon the Istari?

Gandalf is free to fight anyone apart from Sauron himself; anyone can take the WK on if they can resist his aura of terror and be able to fight him physically. Nothing happenned between Big G and the WK though, or we might have seen Gandalf fight his greatest battle with a non-monster.

He can't slip out of his old-man body to fight the Balrog, he can only show his true power as much as it allows, which is a lot. He was also helped by the Balrog hitting ice water and him running up the stairs; he was ready to run with Frodo and the others when the Balrog was flaming.


And why was Melian allowed to exercise her power at will? And others were not? Perhaps she was sent not only for Doriath, but to teach Galadriel eventually so the songs and enchantments she has can be learned by a powerful Elf?


Melian was an independent operator who wasn't sent by anyone in particular. The Istari were bound by the rules of the Third Age whereas Melian came from a time when Orome himself still rode in the forests of Middle Earth blowing his horn. She decided to live in Doriath with Thingol ,but she didn't teach Galadriel anything. Galadriel's power fluctuates between it being her own, being from her family and being from her Ring of Power. Melian taught her things like lembas bread though.

As for Saruman, if he was turning evil anyway, what does he need the Ring for. Yes, I mean if he sheds his mortal form, wouldn't he be more powerful than Sauron as Mair who has no restrictions? Sauron has no restrictions too...but he does not have the ring..so......

Saruman can't get rid of his forms, only augment it with power-which is why he wanted the Ring to start with. Without the Ring Saruman can't confront Sauron.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Oct 8 2013, 10:50pm

Post #32 of 92 (412 views)
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I agree that would be more accurate, but the unforseeable would not be attributable to [In reply to] Can't Post

the greatness of Aragorn, but rather to the possibility of interventions of Fate as seen with Eowyn, Merry and The Witch-King. There is no doubt that Aragorn had a nobility and presence greater than that of an ordinary human, but he was not on par with a Maiar Demon. How The Witch-King regarded him is not specified, and the reasons for the departure of the Nazgul has many speculative answers. It is worth noting that they had just concluded an all night battle with one of the greater of The Istari and repeatedly harassed by one of the mightier of the Noldor, and were likely not at the performing peak. Sauron primarily feared an Aragorn who might take up The Ruling Ring, as he greatly feared Aragorn or one of The Wise would do.

We really don't know the exact powers and measurments of the Maiar, one to the other. That is really ambiguous territory. Olorin and the other Istari are said to have been relative equals to Sauron. As great, in their way, but not greater. Olorin feared Sauron because he was far more wise than Curumo. He understood that, especially in a limited form in Arda, he would be subject to many failings, and that Sauron was not only martially and materially mighty, but also full of craft, guise and deceptions. Sauron never confronted Saruman with force, but he contributed greatly to Saruman's ruin. Certainly Olorin would not have wanted to end up on such a course as Curumo did, and he was farsighted enough to see that as a possibility. Sauron's great advantage over the Balrogs was his guile, and his ability to alter shape and to deceive and influence minds and hearts. He was likely also a greater sorcerer in other ways, though it has been demonstrated with clear evidence that the Balrogs were also very mighty in sorcery. Wether he was a greater warrior than any of them... insert probably but with a notable question mark.

Sauron and the Ring and its powers is a matter of long debate. I don't think your statement necessarily sums it all up. His power went into the Ring and infused it. That much is certain. He used it to gain a greater connection to and mastery of the substance of Arda. Beyond that... long speculation and inquiry may ensue.

In Reply To
Gandalf's knowledge is great but his statement would read more accurately that it is a foe that cannot foreseeably be beaten by any of you. Of course that would be a ridiculous way of putting it, and unrealistic given the urgency of his situation. In respect of Aragorn the Witchking recognised him as one of power at Weathertop, although he did not know his identity, and Sauron himself feared him and what he may become.


Re the Maia, my error was not qualifying it as those residing in Mortal lands, but even so Eonwe is noted only as being greatest in arms of all in Arda, and he of course held a high office, but Sauron is noted as being one of the great of the Maia, I will have to source it, maybe in UT, certainly much more powerful than Olorin/Gandalf who feared him, and the Balrogs.

As an aside Sauron minus the ring was not weaker than his natural state, this only occured if another possessed and mastered the ring, bending it to their will, which none ever did. With the ring he was much more powerful than before he created It.


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Oct 9 2013, 3:43am

Post #33 of 92 (392 views)
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It's in the "LOTR A Readers's Companion" re the WK, Weathertop & Aragorn, it refers to another source that I think is HOME but I can't find it. [In reply to] Can't Post

The WK departed due to several reasons, being Frodo's defiance and the name of Elbereth being uttered by him, the fact the WK thought the wound would take it's toll quickly and due to the fact that he perceived Aragorn as one of power. The partial quote with regards to the WK's thoughts on Aragorn is".....Aragorn, who seems to be a GREAT POWER though apparantley 'only a Ranger'." (my emphasis and capitalisation.)

I will have to respect your opinion but never be able to agree on it to the degree you do about divine providence being the only possibility of Aragorn beating Durin's Bane. If it takes a greater power to defeat a Balrog I think Aragorn fit's that bill. Not to the degree of an Istari or course but his ability well beyond that of normal men is referenced many times in the story or supporting works.

I do believe the physical reality applied to incarnates and the futility of an absolute power scale and/or the ability or otherwise to defeat someone is quite well represented by the following ridiculous chain.

Durin's Bane defeated by Gandalf....Gandalf imprisoned (so I assume bested in some way) by Saruman....Saruman killed by Wormtounge.....Wormtounge shot by hobbit archers....so in conclusion hobbit archers could defeat Durins Bane. This shows as much as anything how circumstance plays a big part in outcomes, when the realities of the physical world are given their proper weight.

Some may argue that Saruman at the time of his death was diminished, with a loss of power. This is only true in so far as he was cast from the order of the Istari and his staff as a sign of office was broken. The broken staff did not diminish HIM, he had not invested power into it as Sauron had done with the ring. All his native power remained as Gandalf had neither the ability or authority to strip him of that.


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Oct 9 2013, 4:17am

Post #34 of 92 (398 views)
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Istari restrictions Letter 156 [In reply to] Can't Post

of Gandalf the White "He is still under the obligation of concealing his power and of teaching rather than forcing or dominating wills, but where the physical powers of the Enemy are too great for the goodwill of the opponents to be effective he can act in emergency as an 'angel'-no more violently than the release of St Peter from prison. He seldom does so, operating rather through others, but in one or two cases in the War (in Vol III) he does reveal a sudden power: he twice resuces Faramir. He alone is left to forbid the entrance of the Nazgul to Minas Tirith, when the City has been overthrown....."

I cannot currently find the source of the following but if I can be taken at my word, in sources outside the stories, I am 99%+ sure that there is text stating Olorin prior to taking on the Gandalf incarnation is noted as being fearful of Sauron in part at least because Sauron was much more powerful than himself, and hesitated in accepting the Istari mission. Similarly elsewhere, when discussing the Maia and their power there are words to the effect of "greater such as Sauron or lesser such as the Balrogs"


Sauron and the One Ring, Letter 131. "While he wore it, his power on earth was actually enhanced. But even if he did not wear it, that power was existed and was in 'rapport' with himself; he was NOT 'DIMINISHED'. Unless some other seized it and became possesed of it. If that happended, the new possesor could (if sufficiently strong and heroic by nature) challenge Sauron, become master of all that he had learned or done since the making of the One Ring, and so overthrow him and usurp his place." (my capitalisation and emphasis).


So as I read it he was not diminished unless another possesed the One Ring and mastered it.


(This post was edited by ElendilTheShort on Oct 9 2013, 4:18am)


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Oct 9 2013, 4:48am

Post #35 of 92 (390 views)
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It does not seem to work that way. [In reply to] Can't Post

Saruman The White was greater than The Nazgul at the time of Fellowship. Even then, The Nazgul could not be harmed by normal weapons. Saruman as we encounter him in the last scenes is much diminished, cast from office and his staff broken. He is not, and would not be, powerless, but he would have been MUCH more limited in his power.

If the Balrog could have been slain by archers and ordinary weaponry, believe that the Dwarves would have done it. He was not hundreds of feet long and firebreathing like Smaug with an iron overcoat and only his underbelly vulnerable. Aragorn, like Denethor but to greater degree, had powers of vision and of will, of healing etc, but he was certainly not on par with Glorfindel or Galadriel, any of The Wizards, Bombadil or The Balrogs. Christopher Tolkien comments on the Balrogs becoming far more powerful and far less destructible as the legends solidified, requiring a foe of great power to overcome them. Excluding an unrevised draft from a time when the whole legendarium was still largely unclear to Tolkien, only two Balrogs were EVER defeated in The First Age before the coming of The Host of THe West, and both of these fell in battle with two of the mightiest High-Elven heroes of legend, both of whom perished in the conflict, and the feats of these High-Elves was considered legendary. When Feanor, who had never before encountered Balrogs, came into conflict with them, he was fresh from Aman, and the Light of The Holy realm still brightly infused him. The Nazgul, had they existed then, would have been terrified of him in that moment. The Balrogs bore down upon him without fear. Gandalf fought the Balrog for ten days. Aragorn wouldn't have survived fighting that Demon for ten days. Aragorn would have been killed by the fall alone.

I, and I mention this to dormouse as well, have NO interest in the legendarium being held to Dungeons and Dragons charts and statistics. I don't like those at all. They take the mysticism and magic out of a tale. Yet I have sometimes noticed another video game strain here. The strain of false equity, as seen in some video games and promoted by certain gamers. Middle-Earth was not a D&D scenario, yet it also was NOT Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter, where, if you are quick with your fingers and press the right buttons in the right order, take the right perks and save up your health elixirs, your village thief can take down the immortal Daedra, Reptile and Johnny Cage can defeat a thunder god like Raiden and a devil like Shao Kahn, and Frodo can beat back a Balrog. In an honest depiction, Raiden would assume an entirely electrical nature and fry Reptile's brains like eggs, and The Balrog would pin Frodo down with its potent sorcery and slay him in an instant.

In the legendarium, greater often means exactly that. Gandalf was not sure who would prove greater in certain contests between Powers, but he understood that sometimes certain foes were simply beyond certain would be opponents, barring Divine Providence.

I will say here what Mandos (or the herald Eonwe) said to Feanor, "Vala he is, thou sayest. Then thou hast sworn in vain. For none of the Valar canst thou ever overcome within the walls of Ea, not though Eru, Whom thou namest, had made the thrice greater than thou art." The war of the Elves and The Edain was HOPELESS without Divine Aid, for Melkor's power extended far beyond what they understood, and was in the fabric of the world itself and, to an extent, in themselves. manifesting as ill fortune and treachery even when he was not directly orchestrating it. The quote stands. Argue with the Ainur about that.

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Oct 9 2013, 5:00am

Post #36 of 92 (388 views)
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I know the quote. It is in Unfinished Tales. It dpes not say anything about much more powerful. [In reply to] Can't Post

It says that he commented he would be too weak for such a task "that" meaning not merely confrontation with Sauron but all the task entailed, including the possible limitations of the set form, and that he was fearful of Sauron. As well Curumo-Saruman should have been, but was not. In that same chapter of notations it is said, that he was a " mighty spirit of the Angelic people, coeval and equal, doubtless, to Sauron in their beginnings, but not more. Olorin was his name."

And, yes, Sauron was a greater Spirit than the Balrogs, though this could apply to many things and does not mean he was mightier in arms, per se. Sauron could change shapes at will, decieve even The Wise with fair guise and words, create Rings of Power through his great skill etc. etc. etc. The Balrogs were powerful in socerery, but almost certainly did not have the lore and skill in making artifacts of domination that Sauron had, and they could not assume fair forms, the could only match (or nearly so) Sauron's power to inspire terror. That he had many more abilities than they is apparent, but it does not mean he was far stronger than they in an immediate martial or even combat sorcerous sense. Tolkien states in commentary that The Balrog of Moria would have been the second most powerful force of Evil in Middle-Earth during that Age, after Sauron. This is echoed by Legolas. "Of ALL Elf Banes the MOST DEADLY, save the One who sits in The Dark Tower." The Balrogs themselves were among the mightiest of the spirits who followed Morgoth, hence their title, the Power Demons or Demons of Might, but even the least of his Maiar servants, like those who took primitive orcish shapes and equated with Boldog, would have been, by Tolkien's description, much more perilous and powerful than any true orc.

As to the Ring, again, it bound Sauron to the world, and while it remained his Spirit was able to grow again to its full potential IN Arda. Yet it remains to be seen whether the power of the Ring (outside of the films) was a battle field martial power, or enhanced the wearers power over the fabric of the world and the wills of others. His first motive in creating it was to dominate the other, earlier created Rings of Power, their wearers and their works. Had he reclaimed the one, all of the secret knowledge and works of the wearers and users of the other Rings, past and present, would be fully revealed to him and placed entirely under his dominion, most significantly, The Three.

In Reply To
of Gandalf the White "He is still under the obligation of concealing his power and of teaching rather than forcing or dominating wills, but where the physical powers of the Enemy are too great for the goodwill of the opponents to be effective he can act in emergency as an 'angel'-no more violently than the release of St Peter from prison. He seldom does so, operating rather through others, but in one or two cases in the War (in Vol III) he does reveal a sudden power: he twice resuces Faramir. He alone is left to forbid the entrance of the Nazgul to Minas Tirith, when the City has been overthrown....."

I cannot currently find the source of the following but if I can be taken at my word, in sources outside the stories, I am 99%+ sure that there is text stating Olorin prior to taking on the Gandalf incarnation is noted as being fearful of Sauron in part at least because Sauron was much more powerful than himself, and hesitated in accepting the Istari mission. Similarly elsewhere, when discussing the Maia and their power there are words to the effect of "greater such as Sauron or lesser such as the Balrogs"


Sauron and the One Ring, Letter 131. "While he wore it, his power on earth was actually enhanced. But even if he did not wear it, that power was existed and was in 'rapport' with himself; he was NOT 'DIMINISHED'. Unless some other seized it and became possesed of it. If that happended, the new possesor could (if sufficiently strong and heroic by nature) challenge Sauron, become master of all that he had learned or done since the making of the One Ring, and so overthrow him and usurp his place." (my capitalisation and emphasis).


So as I read it he was not diminished unless another possesed the One Ring and mastered it.

</SPAN

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."

(This post was edited by AinurOlorin on Oct 9 2013, 5:06am)


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Oct 9 2013, 5:27am

Post #37 of 92 (379 views)
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Good quote to use, and interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

although diminished at the end of the first age, Melkor was still a Vala, yet he was defeated by an army comprised of Eldar and Maia with no Valar present. So yes spiritual/physical/power are all relevant but I can never consider them as the only boundary to outcomes.

Re Saruman, there is nothing to suggest Wormtounge could not have as easily cut Saruman's throat before he was cast out of the order.

Sorry for giving the impression but I would not suggest the One Ring enhanced martial prowess. It may have but there is no text I know of to support this. I only sought to clarify Sauron's relative power with and without posession of the One Ring thanks to fallacies introduced by the movies.

I do not believe a bunch of Hobbit archers or Wormtounge could defeat a Balrog, the chain of characters was shown to exhibit the ridiculousness of any such insistence (not by you) about who can beat who.

I do not think your quote about Olorins fear is the one I am thinking of, the wording is very different.


Girdle of Melian
Lorien

Oct 9 2013, 9:52am

Post #38 of 92 (386 views)
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Should we then have a separate section for vs and power threads...and just leave [In reply to] Can't Post

"hardcore" and "deep" discussions to the intellectuals. Maybe a "newbie" or "never read the book" section?

I realize many people care about Tolkiens work and many are MUCH more familiar than others. However, as much as every poster has the right to post whatever topic they wish (hopefully in the right forum), people should not act as if they their interpretation of Tolkien's work is the only way to converse or talk about it. If I do not like a topic, I do not participate. This is just for fun, when it comes down to it, and there are varying degrees. I'm not going to die if my fav character is not portrayed the way I want it to be. My fun or others is not going to re-write the book and convince hundreds of others that I am right or wrong. I appreciate every discussion here, so long as it is not rude.

I actually looked into the forums, if there was a section for newbie or stupid questions forum. Just saying.

GOM


Arannir
Valinor


Oct 9 2013, 11:43am

Post #39 of 92 (362 views)
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Well said. [In reply to] Can't Post

Though I do not think anyone here wanted to be rude to anybody :)

But your post got me thinking and in the end when it comes to these power orders one has to be aware of the fact that this is highly theoretical and almost all final or absolute statements will never be able to be 100% verified (Tolkien simply was too ambigious on that matter).

But even if there was a statement somewhere buried that would bring clarity, it would not change anything about the fact that different readers will get different ideas of who is how powerful and who could defeat who. And that is how it should be. This is were the fun comes from and I am sure that is what Tolkien as an author would be satisfied with.

This does not mean one cannot discuss with all the deeper backstories and quotes here, I enjoy this myself and love how some can use them in discussions.

But the results of such debates should not be loaded over the more casual readers or even seen as "truths" or "how-people-should-see-it" because of secondary literature. Unfortunately this is what some of the "lore" people do when it comes to Tolkien's work (usually not on TORN though).



ďA dragon is no idle fancy. Whatever may be his origins, in fact or invention, the dragon in legend is a potent creation of menís imagination, richer in significance than his barrow is in gold.Ē J.R.R. Tolkien

Words of wisdom that should be remembered - both by critics, purists and anyone in between.


Girdle of Melian
Lorien

Oct 9 2013, 1:53pm

Post #40 of 92 (369 views)
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True Enough [In reply to] Can't Post

And that is why I love forums...lol.


CuriousG
Valinor


Oct 9 2013, 9:08pm

Post #41 of 92 (350 views)
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The only stupid questions [In reply to] Can't Post

are the ones that I often ask, and I've got a monopoly on them, or try to, so no worries, Girdle. Please always feel free to ask any newbie or other question in the RR. There are varying levels of Tolkien expertise here, which makes it fun. I enjoyed your original question and the thinking it made me do.


ElendilTheShort
Gondor


Oct 9 2013, 11:22pm

Post #42 of 92 (344 views)
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I think refering to people as newbies would be a shame. [In reply to] Can't Post

Your OP was a very good one but the answers can't be found in the stories alone. For this I am thankful because if everything was explained in the stories they would become bloated, ponderous, and remove all mystery.

References to other sources such as Letters may give some reasonably solid answers on Tolkiens thoughts on a subject at that time of his life.

I think Sador put it best on these forums once along the lines of not taking just one piece of Tolkiens writing and using that to pin an argument on but fit it within the context of how his thoughts/work developed throughout his life and form an opinion based on that.

So any reference such as the one I gave of Letter 156 which seems to answer at least one part of your OP very well can be considered as useful information. That information may or may not be subject to contradictions, earlier conceptions or further changes within Tolkiens works or thoughts, as well as the opinion of each reader.

For me it's all about learning more, being made to think about or entirely re-think something I believed I knew, being proven wrong by others, and even separating book lore from movie lore as this is where much of the confusion arises. The separation of book & movie lore does not have to be seen as a derogatory thing, but can subject either source to criticism and comparism when relevant.


(This post was edited by ElendilTheShort on Oct 9 2013, 11:23pm)


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Oct 10 2013, 5:41am

Post #43 of 92 (326 views)
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The Maia were present, which means other Ainur were present. Mandos (or Eonwe) made a statement [In reply to] Can't Post

to the Noldor Feanor. He did not say "no Ainur less than a Valar can ever be defeated under any circumstances by a lesser Ainur", unlikely as it might be. Some of the Maiar were very great, though not on the parameters and dimensions of the Valar. Melkor was diminshed so that he could no longer approach Arien the Maia. It will also be noted that, as the war of The Host of The West was indeed Holy and Sanctioned, Divine Providence was with it, and Divine beings, Valar or no, were in it.

I don't know of any other quotes about his fear. That is one of the most extensive commentaries involving him, even when one includes The Peoples of Middle Earth.

In Reply To
although diminished at the end of the first age, Melkor was still a Vala, yet he was defeated by an army comprised of Eldar and Maia with no Valar present. So yes spiritual/physical/power are all relevant but I can never consider them as the only boundary to outcomes.

Re Saruman, there is nothing to suggest Wormtounge could not have as easily cut Saruman's throat before he was cast out of the order.

Sorry for giving the impression but I would not suggest the One Ring enhanced martial prowess. It may have but there is no text I know of to support this. I only sought to clarify Sauron's relative power with and without posession of the One Ring thanks to fallacies introduced by the movies.

I do not believe a bunch of Hobbit archers or Wormtounge could defeat a Balrog, the chain of characters was shown to exhibit the ridiculousness of any such insistence (not by you) about who can beat who.

I do not think your quote about Olorins fear is the one I am thinking of, the wording is very different.


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Oct 10 2013, 5:49am

Post #44 of 92 (332 views)
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I make an effort to never use words like newbie in forum. lol [In reply to] Can't Post

I assume people know what they are speaking on, and inform from what is known to and or believed by me. I have enjoyed your discussions, even when we have not agreed. In the end, we merely submit what evidence we have for our position.

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Elizabeth
Valinor


Oct 10 2013, 7:20am

Post #45 of 92 (357 views)
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As Istari, they were not as they were as maiar. [In reply to] Can't Post

The Istari had limitations in addition to their "rules of engagement" (which have been described here):

Quote
...clad in bodies of Men, real and not feigned, but subject to the fears and pains and weariness of earth, able to hunger and thirst and be slain...

So, comparing Olorin and Curunir with Gandalf and Saruman, or measuring their powers as maiar against TA maiar is simply not appropriate. They were not empowered to "shed their bodies" nor protected from being killed, so Wormtongue could have stabbed Saruman at any time: he did not because he was mentally enslaved, not because Saruman had extra powers or escape options.








dormouse
Half-elven


Oct 10 2013, 7:22pm

Post #46 of 92 (310 views)
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The quotation you wanted may be this one... [In reply to] Can't Post

It's in Unfinished Tales, as AO said, in the chapter on the Istari [p.393 in my copy], and it comes from 'a brief and hasty sketch of a narrative' about a council of the Valar where the Istari are chosen. Manwe asks who will go, 'For they must be mighty, peers of Sauron, but must forgo might, and clothe themselves in flesh so as to treat on equality and win the trust of Elves and Men. But this would imperil them, dimming their wisdom and knowledge, and confusing them with fears, cares, and wearinesses coming from the flesh.'

Curumo and Alatar volunteer, and then Manwe calls for Olorin, who is there but has not come forward, and says he wishes him to be the third messenger. And this may be the line you were thinking of:

'But Olorin declared that he was too weak for such a task, and that he feared Sauron. Then Manwe said that that was all the more reason why he should go, and that he commanded Olorin...'

I's day it's a very significant piece that, and for two reasons. First is those four words in the first part, 'but must forgo might', which I think say a lot about the nature of good power in Middle
Earth. Second is in what Manwe says to Olorin. That being afraid, and feeling too weak for the task, makes it 'all the more reason' why he should go. So humility and self-doubt were actually qualifications for the job.




elaen32
Gondor


Oct 10 2013, 9:00pm

Post #47 of 92 (298 views)
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I think you're right Dormouse [In reply to] Can't Post

 "So humility and self-doubt were actually qualifications for the job."

In which case, it does make you wonder why on earth Manwe selected Curunir/Saruman!!Crazy Even in Valinor, he was known to be proud. ? Yet another misstep by the Valar


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!



dormouse
Half-elven


Oct 10 2013, 9:48pm

Post #48 of 92 (298 views)
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Manwe didn't select Saruman... [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't include that part. Curumo/Saruman put himself forward, having been chosen by Aule, and Alatar came forward, chosen by Orome. It goes on to say that Yavanna afterwards persuaded Curumo to take Radagast and Alatar took Pallando, who was his friend.


elaen32
Gondor


Oct 10 2013, 9:58pm

Post #49 of 92 (291 views)
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Aule seems a talented guy, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

Not so good a judge of character sometimes! Look at his followers who went over to the dark side. It must have been quite painful for him to deal with the fall of the likes of Sauron and Saruman. And Feanor's fall must have grieved him deeply tooUnsure


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!



Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Oct 10 2013, 11:05pm

Post #50 of 92 (293 views)
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honestly [In reply to] Can't Post

 
i don't see it as aule being a poor judge of character, but of the perils (per tolkien's viewpoints) of being overly besotted with the work of one's hands, of technical accomplishments, instead of applying one's time and effort to peace, healing, understanding, and wisdom.

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo

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