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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Control over Caradhras

Saruman
The Shire


Nov 19, 1:24am

Post #1 of 12 (1023 views)
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Control over Caradhras Can't Post

In the book, it's implied several times by Gimli that Caradhras has a sort of life of its own and was unhappy with the travelers due to past wrongs. However, Gandalf sort of implies that Sauron could have had something to do with their ill luck on Caradhras ("his arm has grown long").

In the film, PJ and co. had Saruman controlling Caradhras, and I suppose in the book this is not out of the realm of possibilities.

What do you think? Was the malice of Caradhras due to the mountains own will, or an external force such as Sauron or Saruman?

"I have seen it..."


squire
Half-elven


Nov 19, 2:29am

Post #2 of 12 (985 views)
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There's no definitive answer [In reply to] Can't Post

But in the book, it seems like Caradhras is an independent and hostile entity, unconnected with either Saruman or Sauron.

Gandalf's remark ("His arm has grown long") is a generalization in response to Gimli's incredulity that Sauron could have any influence on affairs this far north and west of Mordor. Gandalf warns Gimli not to depend on distance for safety; it's not at all clear that his response is a confirmation that Caradhras is doing the bidding of the Dark Lord.



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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CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 19, 6:17pm

Post #3 of 12 (923 views)
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I side with Gimli [In reply to] Can't Post

His explanations seem the most convincing, plus I like the idea of a mountain having agency and a personality. Though it raises questions like "What other mountains in Middle-earth were smart and alive? Were any of them nice to travelers instead of hostile? And why is Caradhras the only one of three peaks that seems to have personality for Gimli to single out?"


hanne
Lorien

Nov 19, 8:19pm

Post #4 of 12 (910 views)
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Was Erebor alive? [In reply to] Can't Post

We know it was lonely... :)
If we could have sentient trees like Old Man Willow why not mountains, or rivers, etc? But for the other side, I can also remember other descriptions of the Valar or Maiar controlling natural forces, like the power of Ulmo in the river Sirion or the gloom Sauron created and the wind that blew it away, etc. Was the girdle of Melian a sort of control over the forest?


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Nov 19, 10:30pm

Post #5 of 12 (893 views)
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The Girdle of Melian [In reply to] Can't Post

was her web of magic that she laid over Doriath to keep Thingol's realm safe from Morgoth, so yes, I think it would count as control over the forest.
Caradhras was, I suspect, a sentient being - why, I have no idea.

"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord."


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 20, 1:08am

Post #6 of 12 (872 views)
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Why not Mount Doom? [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems like if any other mountain would be alive, it would be this one, and it would be another slave of Sauron's. Like Caradhras, it should have inhibited the travelers' ascent, but it doesn't. (I'm okay with it not doing that, I'm just pursuing story logic here.)

On the other hand, after the Ring is tossed in, it seems like Orodruin is almost dying like a physical being dies.


Quote
Frodo and Sam could go no further. Their last strength of mind and body was swiftly ebbing. They had reached a low ashen hill piled at the Mountain’s foot; but from it there was no more escape. It was an island now, not long to endure, amid the torment of Orodruin. All about it the earth gaped, and from deep rifts and pits smoke and fumes leaped up. Behind them the Mountain was convulsed. Great rents opened in its side. Slow rivers of fire came down the long slopes towards them. Soon they would be engulfed. A rain of hot ash was falling.


Torment, convulsions: that sounds like something a living being goes through. Sure, maybe Tolkien was just being anthropomorphic in his description, but who feels sorry for the pain Mt Vesuvius had when it was destroying Pompeii?


hanne
Lorien

Nov 21, 4:29pm

Post #7 of 12 (674 views)
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Well spotted. [In reply to] Can't Post

Mount Doom does sound like it is personally suffering. Willing or unwilling partner with Sauron's evil?

This is making me think about how volcanoes/mountains get personified in various cultures. Popocatepetl near Mexico City, whose myth says it is a warrior raging about the death of his lover. Bromo in Indonesia, which receives annual sacrifices for luck. Have read a belief that Everest magnifies the karma of travellers. Even Vesuvius -- the wikipedia article says the mountain was considered a divinity in AD 79.


Saruman
The Shire


Nov 21, 8:09pm

Post #8 of 12 (653 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree, I always liked the idea that the mountain had agency. After what squire said too, I believe that Caradhras was acting of its own free will. But, questions also raised by another poster make sense - as to why Caradhras is the only mountain in the tale referred to as having such personality and agency. Why aren't other mountains spoken about in such context? For instance, I don't recall the Lonely Mountain having agency of its own.

"I have seen it..."


CuriousG
Half-elven


Nov 21, 9:11pm

Post #9 of 12 (641 views)
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And Middle-earth in general seems semi-sentient [In reply to] Can't Post

From "The Ring Goes South" in FOTR:

Quote
[Gandalf:] "There is a wholesome air about Hollin. Much evil must befall a country before it wholly forgets the Elves, if once they dwelt there.’

‘That is true,’ said Legolas. ‘But the Elves of this land were of a race strange to us of the silvan folk, and the trees and the grass do not now remember them. Only I hear the stones lament them: deep they delved us, fair they wrought us, high they builded us; but they are gone. They are gone. They sought the Havens long ago.’

So if stones lament the departure of Elves who used them in construction, did Erebor miss the Dwarves?


Saruman
The Shire


Nov 23, 2:40am

Post #10 of 12 (521 views)
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Bodies of water [In reply to] Can't Post

Exactly! It's quite puzzling. The more I re-read (I am currently on my fourth re-read of LotR) it seems to me that the natural barriers of Middle Earth have some sort of agency or will of their own. To touch on bodies of water in the same respect, the Mirrormere doesn't even mirror the sun while it's day. In Lorien, Nimrodel (river) carries Elven voices upon it and heals those who walk through it. But later, when Haldir laments that orcs soiled it by crossing it, he doesn't mention that the river flooded or anything like that on its own to stop the orcs. So, maybe just how much agency a natural body or barrier has on ME is circumstantial.

"I have seen it..."


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Nov 25, 11:37pm

Post #11 of 12 (386 views)
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Maybe Caradhras was sentinent [In reply to] Can't Post

But maybe the relationship between it and Sauron was a bit similar to that of Saruman and Sauron. I.E. not entirely perfect! In fact, if Caradhras was older than Sauron as Gimli hinted, he might have resented the upstart!


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Nov 25, 11:39pm

Post #12 of 12 (384 views)
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That's a slightly vague remark from Gandalf if you ask me! [In reply to] Can't Post

Which you didn't! But possibly the Dwarves might have had legends of that mountain which even Gandalf was not aware. Until then. Even Wizards live and learn.

 
 

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