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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The Return of the King - Unofficial read through
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Aug 13 2017, 9:13pm

Post #176 of 184 (2021 views)
Yes, this is one of those WW 2 parallels Tolkien was so defensive about [In reply to] Can't Post

Whether he meant it or not, I can't read this part without thinking of Hitler's promise to take only the Sudetenland part of Czechoslovakia, and his peace with France in 1940 that left the southern part unoccupied under the puppet Vichy regime. In both cases Germany soon seized the rest of the country Readers in the early 1950s would not have forgotten those episodes.

I've always liked the touch that the Mouth of Sauron foresaw, or had been promised, the viceregency of the West with his HQ at Isengard. It's another detail, given in passing, that helps us imagine Barad-dur as a real place and Sauron as a real sovereign being rather than just a symbol.

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

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Aug 13 2017, 9:20pm

Post #177 of 184 (2018 views)
Gandalf called Sauron the great liar so I don't think he put much stock into the offer [In reply to] Can't Post

 - however - it makes me wonder why Sauron offered it all. Was he still a bit unsure, even with his massive trap - more than 10x the forces so anywhere from 50-100K + - did he still think Aragorn could have the Ring?

Plus, he must have made promises of land and title to his Easterling and Southron enemies. Gondor, Rohan, the Shire etc. would be teaming with waves of settlers and new overlords.

Pippin has his Bilbo moment, and he is very self aware of it as it is happening. Both Pippin and Merry use their swords of the Westernesse to save the life of a friend and then are removed from battle, like Bilbo, in a way that probably saved their lives.

Part Two - Book VI will start on a new thread.


Aug 14 2017, 2:06am

Post #178 of 184 (2009 views)
I think Sauron's false parley was just part of his game. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll reference this line here:

But Sauron had already laid his plans, and he had a mind first to play these mice cruelly before he struck to kill.

I don't think 1) he intended to honor the terms or 2) to have them accepted.

But wittingly or not, Tolkien casts Sauron in the role of the tyrant who wants to appear rational/respectable by offering peaceful & reasonable terms. Yes, they meant surrender, but Gandalf & Co. know Sauron will ultimately win, they all do, so asking for surrender wasn't totally unreasonable. One Tolkien critic (Shippey?) talked about how evil needs to give the appearance of being good, just as Hitler hid the death camps and wanted propaganda showing him kissing babies, etc. Sauron is Ultimate Evil, but rather than saying something sinister in public, he puts on this phony display of diplomacy. It "humanizes" his behavior and makes him seem less like a traditional demonic spirit spewing malice and threats of death, torture, pain, etc.


Aug 14 2017, 2:32am

Post #179 of 184 (2002 views)
I think the outcome of acceptance may have been a delayed slaughter. [In reply to] Can't Post

Much easier to kill a disarmed populace then the thorny mass they represent on his door step and all along their lands. Yes, he knows he will ultimately win, but I can imagine his goons rounding up what is left of the "leadership of the West" and their families for imprisonment and torture before executing. After all, his allies need "lebensraum" and the current residents will be pushed out and probably enslaved. Tolkien may not have been thinking of WWII at the time but there are parallels none the less.


Aug 14 2017, 2:34am

Post #180 of 184 (2007 views)
That line seems to prove it. [In reply to] Can't Post

And it is something Tolkien writes with the authority on the omniscient author, not as the words or thoughts of one of the characters - so we've got no wiggle room.
Sauron wants to break his enemies' spirits; and he knows, like nobody else would, that whoever wields the Ring is ever consumed with doubt, and whichever allies he holds in sway might easily scatter once he seems at loss.

So this, I guess, is the nature of Sauron's game. The interesting bit is that MoS seems not to be on the joke, and confidently hopes the offer will be accepted.

Saruman had deceived his messenger, because he could not recruit Radagast (or did not have the time, or did not consider it necessary); and Sauron deceived his messenger, so that MoS will be able to exude the confident glee he does, alternately bragging, threatening and "negotiating".

(This post was edited by sador on Aug 14 2017, 2:35am)


Aug 14 2017, 7:33am

Post #181 of 184 (1986 views)
"And with chaos installed,/ Sauron can reluctantly agree to be called." [In reply to] Can't Post

If Aragorn and Eomer accept the offer their people will doubtless decide their new kings are too weak (if not actually traitors) and toss them both out on their ears. Chaos will follow in Gondor and Rohan. And Gandalf would lose all authority as a counselor of Middle-earth. Then there's the Dwarves and Men in Erebor, and the Elves of Lorien and Mirkwood. They'd definitely be demoralized at Gondor's and Rohan's separate peace. Basically, as Lenin famously didn't say of the West, "We will not have to attack. It will fall like an overripe fruit into our hands."

The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.


Aug 14 2017, 11:58am

Post #182 of 184 (1969 views)
And meanwhile, of course, Tolkien has his own agenda [In reply to] Can't Post

Tolkien gives us a motivation for Sauron to offer parley, and to flaunt Frodo's mail and Sam's sword. And by then having this scene, Tolkien can give his readers a nice bit of tension ready for the next Book- remember that first time readers last saw Frodo as a captive, and do not yet know that Frodo has already been rescued by Sam.

That effect was sacrificed in the movies of course - if I recall, the film runs so that we already know that Frodo, Sam and the Ring are still at large

Where's that old read-through discussion?
A wonderful list of links to previous chapters in the 2014-2016 LOTR read-through (and to previous read-throughs) is curated by our very own 'squire' here http://users.bestweb.net/...-SixthDiscussion.htm


Aug 14 2017, 5:08pm

Post #183 of 184 (1941 views)
Fitting quote "not from" Lenin! [In reply to] Can't Post


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Aug 14 2017, 5:09pm)


Aug 14 2017, 5:26pm

Post #184 of 184 (1938 views)
For sure. [In reply to] Can't Post

Which is probably the reason theMoS scene was cut out of the theatrical edition - it really added nothing to the climax.

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