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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
**Unfinished Tales Discussion - The Hunt for the Ring
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CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 12 2014, 10:24pm

Post #26 of 61 (219 views)
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Do you say that you are a Huorn too? That must really scramble their minds.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Mar 12 2014, 10:26pm

Post #27 of 61 (223 views)
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This being an Unfinished work, I suppose we don't know... [In reply to] Can't Post

This being an Unfinished work, I suppose we don't know what Tolkien planned to do with it: for example, did he feel he'd filled some plot holes nicely, or should these papers have been filed under "Darn, Still Stuck!"

~~~~~~

"… ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”
Arthur Martine

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 12 2014, 10:26pm

Post #28 of 61 (220 views)
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Professional rivalry [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting that you say so. I've always seen this as Saruman's great moral failing, but now that you make that comparison, it seems more like everyday professional rivalry, which certainly can become ugly (and insane). Tolkien was probably writing about what he knew in depicting this relationship.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Mar 12 2014, 10:28pm

Post #29 of 61 (210 views)
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Depends whether it's an interview with Huorn Resources // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

~~~~~~

"… ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”
Arthur Martine

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 12 2014, 10:29pm

Post #30 of 61 (213 views)
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ROFL!!! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Mar 12 2014, 10:29pm

Post #31 of 61 (209 views)
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Certainly is a moral failing though: Pride, Vanity, Arrogance...// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

~~~~~~

"… ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”
Arthur Martine

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 12 2014, 10:46pm

Post #32 of 61 (219 views)
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Inversion of the Hobbit-sense... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Quote
Why is Gollum indomitable but the Nazgul are not? Hobbit-like origins and lack of greater ambitions? The size of one's wants seem to make you more or less a marked target for Sauron. Gollum never wanted more than small, mean things for himself, in a small, mean way.

All true. Yet the more I think about this, the less I'm sure of it. I think Tolkien's intent is that Gollum was indomitable because of his residual hobbitness, but the Ring was the master of Gollum and had twisted him physically and mentally into a caricature of malice, so was it the malice in him that made him unbeatable? Because it seems that to be confronted by the maker of the Ring and the one who wants it back, Gollum's deepest instincts would be aroused to counter Sauron as a rival.

This had happened even to Frodo. When Gollum attacked him outside the Sammath Naur in LOTR:

Quote
"This was probably the only thing that could have roused the dying embers of Frodo's heart and will: an attack, an attempt to wrest his treasure from him by force."

This was Frodo's dying will fighting to protect his precious, his dark side at work, not his noble side trying to fulfill the quest. So if the Ring could have that effect on Frodo, it would be multiplied in Gollum, of course, and I wonder if it steeled him against the Dark Lord?


Wow - now that you lay it out that way, I can say that I agree with you. I think a core of Hobbitness is shared by them both, but how the Ring changes it is certainly towards desire and possession...is it a Hobbit-tenacity? They both seem to have a core that Sauron cannot touch by domination yet rival him in desire for the Ring! Excellent citation there too BTW.

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 13 2014, 1:58am

Post #33 of 61 (211 views)
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And Saruman was going to rename Mordor as "Snarkania" [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Do you suppose the real origin of "Sharkey" was not "sharku" but "snarky?" How prescient of Tolkien to guess at slang in 2014. But if Saruman was The Lord of Snarkiness, who was the Lady? (Gee, that question sounds snarky all on its own.)

That's a wonderful scene of Gandalf blowing many rings of smoke in front of Saruman and then dashing them with his hand. So symbolic! Though I'm glad it didn't make the final edit, because while it makes Gandalf seem powerful and dangerous, it also seems a little too dark for him, or too prescient, and we see in LOTR that he often lacks prescience. If he really knew it all, it wouldn't be so good. Similarly, I'm glad for the sake of the story that Galadriel might distrust Saruman, but if she spotted him as a traitor too soon, that would also be less satisfying for the plot.


Little-known fact. Wink

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Mar 13 2014, 2:00am

Post #34 of 61 (203 views)
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Gandalf--A revisonist???? [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe, if we make Gandalf a bit more proud and human, we could say that he *embellished* the story a bit?

I like to think it makes him more complex and personable. We know that Istari aren't all M-E paragons of virtue, so a little professional pride may not be a bad thing...

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 13 2014, 2:05am

Post #35 of 61 (198 views)
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Instinct at work [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
1) Saruman seems all powerful intellect and not at all happy to go by instinct- that seems to be a key difference between him and Gandalf.

Nope, the Saruman (pupil of Aule) had the mind of metal and wheels. Keep the trains running on time. An engineering solution to every problem. Like the modern idea of lawyers, guns and money solving all the problems of the world! A modern conceit maybe that I can see JRRT not having much patience with.


2) There seems to have been a fair amount of instinct in Tolkien's writing practices - he'd decide something was so, & see if he could make sense of it. He was a pretty stringent self-editor, but where there are odd things left it means it's hard to decide whether it doesn't make sense & Tolkien didn't spot that, or it does make sense given the appropriate realizations...
And in a lot of the times when a sensible (or thus implied) fill is needed, we have the semi-divine waft its way through the tale...Cool



Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 13 2014, 2:06am

Post #36 of 61 (194 views)
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Franchise cross-over...? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Maybe, if we make Gandalf a bit more proud and human, we could say that he *embellished* the story a bit?





"You lied?"
"I exaggerated."
Laugh

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 13 2014, 2:10am

Post #37 of 61 (197 views)
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Similiarites of thought, in negative relief? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Wow, Breth, I agree with Wiz that that's a fascinating perspective. For all the re-reading one can do, I'd never thought of that parallel before. I wonder how intended or accidental it is? The white wizard uses one hobbit as his agent (or pawn, according to Saruman), and the dark wizard uses an Anti-hobbit as his pawn. It didn't work out so well for the dark side, but in my opinion, it was a smart move by Sauron. He knew better than anyone the nature of the Ring, and he could count on it rightly to attract Gollum to it, given enough time, and it would certainly be no problem liberating it from him if he did happen to recover it. Really, except for that misstep at the Crack of Doom, one could say that Sauron's plan was right all along. Imagine Gollum running out of Mt Doom ahead of the lava--Sam was more concerned with helping Frodo than capturing Gollum, so Smeagol would go free, and when the Nazgul eventually found him, he'd be easy prey.

There is that sense in Quest for Erebor of Gandalf using people as pawns. It's hard to get away from it. Saruman exaggerated it, but I feel like it's there, and it was his explicit mission to get other people to fight Sauron than do it himself.

Which takes us back to the Cold War, where the US and USSR did their fighting by proxy. Another parallel.


Parallel as using small pawns as well as the almost amazing level of passivity in allowing Sméagol to roam free (knowing his Ring-lust). It always struck me that uber-micro-manager-control-freak Sauron took almost the same hands-off, almost leap-of-faith (in the 180 degree inversion) that Gandalf does, allowing a Hobbit (for all intents) to have that much free rein when it comes to the One and the fate of Middle-earth. Interesting idea of their convergent origins, perverted in course but somehow similar in thought?

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Mar 13 2014, 2:15am

Post #38 of 61 (195 views)
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Hail Snarkania!!! (Parody of 'Hail Doofainia') [In reply to] Can't Post

Cool It's a country where there plenty of attitudeCool
Angelic There's a place for verbal jibes Angelic
Pirate Where we can fight Pirate
Evil And it's founded on spiteEvil
Smile And it's everything I dreamed it would be Smile
Angelic Hail, Hail Snarknia!Angelic

Unsure There's a dark, depressing place Unsure
Mad; Where there are frowns on our face Mad
UnimpressedAnd seething with acerbity Unimpressed
Sly Far away from Valar's might, and stupid Gandalf's sightSly
Evil; And it's got an evil attitude Evil
AngelicHail, Hail Snakania! Angelic

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?

(This post was edited by Rembrethil on Mar 13 2014, 2:20am)


Brethil
Half-elven


Mar 13 2014, 2:23am

Post #39 of 61 (191 views)
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**applause** [In reply to] Can't Post

'...stupid Gandalf's sight...'
LaughLaughLaughLaugh

Have an idea relating to the world of JRR Tolkien that you would like to write about? If so, the Third TORn Amateur Symposium will be running in the Reading Room April, 2014. *The Call for Submissions is up*!





CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 13 2014, 2:40am

Post #40 of 61 (185 views)
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Yes, indeedy [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf had great faith in Frodo's virtue, and Sauron put his faith in Gollum's corruption.


sador
Half-elven


Mar 13 2014, 6:27am

Post #41 of 61 (201 views)
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Do you? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Tolkien seems almost incapable of writing about characters without some empathy (think of the Orcs in LOTR). I get a vague sense of that empathy in this story too.

Just in theother thread, everyone was enjoying Ursula leGuin's praise of Tolkien as avoiding hate - precisely by making the evil guys so dehumanised that one feels no emotion at all towards them!

I didn't join in that thread, because I am not versed enough in Lewis' writings to argue against what seems to be a lot of unfair citicism against him over there. But I strongly recommend re-reading letter 83 in that context, and the relevant letter (I forget the number, and do not have the book here) in The Screwtape Letters (25? I think it was earlier).
Just saying.


On another note - I will have to refer to this remark when I get to answer the rest of your post. But there you are; if your discussion is too good, it can't all be answered in one go. Smile


sador
Half-elven


Mar 13 2014, 6:31am

Post #42 of 61 (198 views)
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Unless he told Christopher personally, [In reply to] Can't Post

I tend to think version C is the "definite" one; after all, I can see very well why this chapter wasn't tucked in LotR anywhere; but it should have been reflected in appendix B - in which only version C fits in.


But I fully realise that Christopher Tolkien did not find this argument convincing.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Mar 13 2014, 11:33am

Post #43 of 61 (196 views)
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empathetic orcs [In reply to] Can't Post

The Le Guin discussion sadr referred to is here http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=720884#720884 and the portion of the quote about Tolkien is as follows (hop across to that link to see the bit about CS Lewis too, and join in as appropriate):


Quote
J R R Tolkien, Lewis's close friend and colleague, certainly shared many of Lewis's views and was also a devout Christian. But it all comes out very differently in his fiction. Take his handling of evil: his villains are orcs and Black Riders (goblins and zombies; mythic figures) and Sauron, the Dark Lord, who is never seen and has no suggestion of humanity about him. These are not evil men but embodiments of evil in men, universal symbols of the hateful. The men who do wrong are not complete figures but complements: Saruman is Gandalf's dark-self, Boromir Aragorn's; Wormtongue is, almost literally the weakness of King Theoden. There remains the wonderfully repulsive and degraded Gollum. But nobody who reads the trilogy hates, or is asked to hate, Gollum. Gollum is Frodo's shadow; and it is the shadow, not the hero, who achieves the quest. Though Tolkien seems to project evil into "the others", they are not truly others but ourselves; he is utterly clear about this.

This review, entitled "The Dark Tower by C S Lewis" was originally published in The New Republic, 1977, and is anthologised in "Dancing at the Edge of the World" (Grove Press 1989)


I think the orcs do, actually, fit both into kinds of villain in Le Guin's analysis. In The Hobbit, or until we get as far as Mordor and the orcs who capture Frodo, orcs are "embodiments of evil in men, universal symbols of the hateful.". But the Shagrat/Gorbag dialogue hints at something else (or something more) - it reads to me more like the timeless voice of the grumbling squaddie. In this case, people caught up in something evil (and choosing to go along with it to be sure - or so used to it that a choice does not seem to be possible). Having seen the orcs in that light, its hard (or at least I find it hard) to go back to thinking of them as the Mindless Mooks of Evil.

~~~~~~

"… ever let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.”
Arthur Martine

"nowimë I am in the West, Furincurunir to the Dwarves (or at least, to their best friend) and by other names in other lands. Mostly they just say 'Oh no it's him - look busy!' "
Or "Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!"


sador
Half-elven


Mar 13 2014, 1:15pm

Post #44 of 61 (196 views)
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Regarding your summary [In reply to] Can't Post

I still need to respond to your questions, of course... when will that be? I hope tomorrow, or else it will be further postponed.


1. Nagzul
a. They get lost and confused in daylight. -- doesn't this seem almost comical?
Well, we are familiar with the idea from the goblins in The Hobbit. But even in that book, we can wonder why do they descend on their enemies for the bbattle of the five armies in broad daylight. Sure, the bats blot out the sun for them - but why launch a surprise attack at a time when the other side has a clear advantage, rather than at night?
I guess Tolkien is trying to combine here the night-life of supernatural enemies with actual armies; but it doesn't work well, IMO.


c. They can travel unseen and unclothed. -- so why did it matter if they were unhorsed in Elrond's flood of Bruinen?
Good point! I have no answer for that, except for the aforementioned dichotomy. But you're right, it doesn't fit.


d. Even though they are Sauron's greatest and most trusted servants, he can threaten them with dire punishment if they displease him. -- What in the world would he threaten them with?!!!?
Well, this goes with the question why did Sauron remain faithful to Morgoth after the Bad One was cast out into the Void.
Apart of that, nowiz' answer is pretty good; add to which that he could always hand over ther Rings to new fellows. and demote the original (or present!) Nazgul tomere wraithes.



2. Sauron
b. He's not perceptive enough to know when Gollum is lying.
Are you sure about this?
The only thing I can think of is that he thinks Gollum guesses the Shire is near the Gladden Fields, which I don't buy for a moment (Sauron himself resided in Dol Guldur for four centuries, so he would know); so at most he believed that Gollum hadn't had the foggiest idea himself, which was quite true.
And would Sauron be unable to guess that Gollum still wanted the precious for himself? Really?


c. He's cautious and calculated in his moves, and takes great care to hide his moves from the Wise. Clearly he fears them. Yet every thought he has seems to be a strategic one. Did he have any hobbies besides designing the destruction of his foes?
This is where I quibble with your assertion in the previous post, that Tolkien imagines well the innermost thoughts of the Nazgul.
On p. 344, in version B, Tolkien has a remarkable phrase:

Quote

Sauron then must have been filled with anger and alarm


Remarkable, because it shows a long-expected stylistic variance; it normally is "wrath and fear".
In short, I am unimpressed by this second-guessing of the thoughts of the Nazgul and Sauron; I prefer by far the thoughts of the Black Riders when foiled at Crickhollow (in A Knife in the Dark) and Sauron regarding Shelob (in Shelob's Lair).


Saruman
c. In one version, he repents of his evil ways and turns to Gandalf for help, but only too late.

Well, he could easily have sought him out in Edoras. Can't he follow Gwaihir with the palantir?
Once we discuss those stones, wouldn't Sauron have noticed that goods were coming to Isengard from the north?



d. He didn't just buy goods from the Shire, he documented its geography and social structures with spies, and in one version, visited it himself.
Here Tolkien missed a golden opportunity to clarify Gandalf, once and for all, from the responsibility for so many quiet lads and lasses which abruptly left the Shire following an old wizard!


Wormtongue
a. He was so cowed by the Nazgul that he never told his master that they had waylaid him and successfully interrogated him.

I've commented on that before.




(This post was edited by Silverlode on Mar 14 2014, 7:28am)


Dame Ioreth
Grey Havens


Mar 13 2014, 2:44pm

Post #45 of 61 (201 views)
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THis is a more general comment about UT [In reply to] Can't Post

that I was thinking about because of this specific chapter. I wonder if it gives clues to Tolkien's so-called "inconsistencies."

This chapter in particular had me imagining Tolkien writing these passages as the historian he pretended to be while creating this world. He wanted to write a prehistory that was detailed enough to really exist. It seems to me his style of writing an event or series of events then going back to fill in blanks that don't always fit was very much like a historian discovering new documents or evidence for a certain period of study. Tolkien wrote and published what he thought was the definitive story but like a good historian, couldn't let it stand. He had to go back and dig for more information. History is a living thing just like his beloved languages. There is always something to be found around the next bend, in the next book, buried in the next pile of papers.

Historical texts contradict or overlap, historians can't agree on details because events of the past were reported in a wide spectrum of truths. To me it makes perfect sense that Tolkien's histories and events and accounts don't match. Granted, he's the only one researching (unless you count Christopher's editorial hand in the world) but the sense of discovery and re-documenting of history feels the same.

When I read UT and especially this chapter, Tolkien's spirit of discovery comes to the surface. He's writing like a researcher who is finding new information and has to go back and correlate new with old. He must have had a fascinating mind to be able to wander at will in this world and "discover" these new things like an archeologist uncovering the past. He seemed to write on two levels - the author of the good story and the historian digging around in the world of Middle Earth, finding new and exciting things around each corner. Critics look at it as a literary construction and see plot holes and inconsistencies. That is only part of the story though and a short sighted way of looking at Tolkien's work.

Where there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings







CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 13 2014, 3:05pm

Post #46 of 61 (186 views)
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Excellent observations, Dame! [In reply to] Can't Post

And a great conclusion:


Quote
Critics look at it as a literary construction and see plot holes and inconsistencies. That is only part of the story though and a short sighted way of looking at Tolkien's work.

Just today I was reading something about WW1 and how much the Germans "really wanted war," and I thought, for Pete's sake, that was not Egypt in 4000 BC, I think we should have been able to settle that a long time ago, like mabye in 1920. But history, as you say, is a living thing that is always being revisited for more understanding, and Tolkien was a chronicler at heart, always searching for new sources, and coincidentally the inventor of them. This chapter has a mild detective story feel to it, as if you can peer over Tolkien's shoulder as he's piecing together the historical clues to flesh out the mystery of the great hunt.

Thanks for your insights.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Mar 13 2014, 4:53pm

Post #47 of 61 (214 views)
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Nazgul time-outs? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know if I am misreading the text, but IIRC in takimg stock of the rings, it is said that Sauron had taken the Nine, several of the Seven, while the rest were destroyed by dragons, that the Three were hidden, and only the One was lost.

Now, I had always assumed that Sauron enslaved the Nazgul with the Nine, then taken them back. Maybe I'm wrong (perhaps the RW need the Nine to preserve thier existence, or to use thier power of fear/ring detection?) but there is also the thought that the sheer torment of separation would help keep them enslaved.

I think of Gollum. How he followed Frodo, perhaps out of fear and anguish at his bereavement and as the new 'master of the Ring'. Maybe the possessive tie of the Nazgul was the same? They didn't want to allow thier 'precious' be hurt by the new master, so they obeyed the 'Lord of the Rings' in fear?

I think the presents of evil in Tolkien are shown to be superficially helpful at first, then taken away and in its place bondage and enslavement. Melkor, Saruman, Wormtongue, and Sauron were 'friends' at first. That is why I tend to think that the RW did not carry thier Rings. They could be counted on to return, like an addict needing a fix. So maybe the punishment was separation from their object of desire? It didn't hurt either that Sauron could daunt people.

Call me Rem, and remember, not all who ramble are lost...Uh...where was I?


CuriousG
Valinor


Mar 13 2014, 5:19pm

Post #48 of 61 (191 views)
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Sauron had their rings [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, it's said in this chapter that he had their rings. Whether he actually wore them or kept them in a box isn't clear to me.

The mechanism of ring enslavement is also unclear to me. By giving up their One Ring, the 3 hobbits who'd possessed it all slowly recovered, even Smeagol, though they'd never faded, and maybe the fading is the key. The Nazgul had faded away from the real world and were so enslaved to their rings that they obeyed them/Sauron even when they no longer wore them. Maybe it doesn't make too much sense to think of them as humans and more as ex-humans or intelligent zombies; all the rules change then.


elaen32
Gondor


Mar 13 2014, 9:05pm

Post #49 of 61 (167 views)
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Well stated Ioreth... [In reply to] Can't Post

I always feel that there is a strong element of " historical discovery" in Tolkien's "published by CT" works. It is something that I really enjoy in the world, since it gives so much depth to it. For me, this "historical" element overrides the issues around " canon" ( although I know that doesn't work for everyone)


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 April. Happy writing!



Elwen
Lorien


Mar 14 2014, 3:03pm

Post #50 of 61 (178 views)
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There is something Sauron could do hurt the Nazgul... [In reply to] Can't Post

Couldn't he threaten their rings? Presumably they felt the same desire and attachment to them that other mortals seemed to develop.

Other answers to your excellent questions:

  • Gollum still has something the Nazgul do not, which is free will.
  • The Dunedain of Anor perhaps are less "outbred" with lesser lineages given that they are fewer in number.
  • There's nothing you can do about the Sarumans of the world. If they feel threatened by you, they will always feel undermined, and even if Gandalf did try to appease him, Saruman would likely have taken any action as condescension on Gandalf's part.


 photo Desolation-of-Smaug2_zpsc1584ee1.jpg
Tauriel: So let me get this straight sir, this Elwen girl is back on something called TORn, and rather than just tell her to stop stalking you, you'd like me to show up in a movie I have no business being in as a ploy to distract her, and nevermind the wrath of countless Tolkien fans who will be calling for my destruction?

Legolas: That about sums it up. Besides, some people might like you. Oh, and to be on the safe side, can we pretend to be a couple too?

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