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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Chart Room:
Was Sauron's downfall Thrain's key?

DanielLB
Captain


Jul 22 2012, 12:13pm

Post #1 of 21 (893 views)
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Was Sauron's downfall Thrain's key? Can't Post

I've often wondered why, when Sauron imprisoned Thrain in Dol Guldur (and took from him his Dwarf-Ring), he did not also take the map and key which Thrain possessed? You would think that the Dark Lord's minions had searched Thrain thoroughly, and taken everything the dwarf had on him?

I can only think that, Sauron didn't think of them as important. He had got one of the Seven back, and that was what mattered to him. Whatever else a prisoner might carry with him, except of course weapons that were certainly confiscated, was of no interest. The prisoner was going to rot in the dungeons for the rest of his life anyway...

This does seem to be the case:


Quote

"I do not know how [Thrain] endured so long, nor how he had kept these things hidden through all his torments. I think that the Dark Power had desired nothing from him except the Ring only, and when he had taken that he troubled no further, but just flung the broken prisoner into the pits to rave until he died. A small oversight, but it proved fatal. Small oversights often do." ( Unfinished Tales , Part III, Chapter 3: "The Quest of Erebor")



Had Sauron taken the map and key, would the Dwarves still gone on the Quest? Probably not, or perhaps they would've done, either later in time and/or with little success. If Gandalf hadn't turned up with the map or key, would Gollum have found the Ring (again) and kept it hidden for many more hundreds of years?

Was Sauron's downfall simply because he did not take Thrain's key? Crazy


(This post was edited by DanielLB on Jul 22 2012, 12:18pm)


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gunner


Jul 22 2012, 5:28pm

Post #2 of 21 (416 views)
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You have a good point [In reply to] Can't Post

Indeed, that does seem to be the case, as without the map the quest may not have been a success, and Bilbo would not have brought the Ring back to Bag End...something which eventually brought about Sauron's demise.
It does seem strange to me that one as cunning as Sauron would overlook this matter, and it is also strange that Thrain managed to keep both the key and map concealed for so long. As you said, it seems that Sauron was content in the finding of one of the seven. Still, I would have thought that the finding of this ring would have made Sauron more interested in his prisoner, and it would have been logical in his position to check Thrain and see if he was hiding anything else of potential value.

"What do you mean? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not, or that you feel good this morning, or that it is a morning to be good on?"-Gandalf the Grey, The Hobbit.

(This post was edited by Radagast-Aiwendil on Jul 22 2012, 5:30pm)


DanielLB
Captain


Jul 22 2012, 5:39pm

Post #3 of 21 (398 views)
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Sauron was blinded by the Ring [In reply to] Can't Post

All Sauron wanted to do was find the 7 (and the 1). Once he knew he had found one of the seven, then a key is just a key.

Sauron assumed too much - he assumed the key was of little importance, he assumed that Smaug would always occupy the Lonely Mountain, and he assumed the key would never leave Dol Guldur.

The 10th mistake of Sauron?

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Radagast-Aiwendil
Gunner


Jul 22 2012, 5:55pm

Post #4 of 21 (375 views)
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At other times Sauron would have been right [In reply to] Can't Post

Smaug could have been a very useful asset to Sauron had things gone differently. With a stronghold such as Dol Guldur Sauron would have felt justifiably confident that no enemy would be able to enter his fortress and emerge alive. But Sauron forgot one of the golden rules of being a bad-guy: never underestimate Gandalf the Grey.

"What do you mean, good morning? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not, or that you feel good this morning, or that it is a morning to be good on?"-Gandalf the Grey, The Hobbit.


DanielLB
Captain


Jul 22 2012, 6:23pm

Post #5 of 21 (369 views)
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You're right. So I wonder ... [In reply to] Can't Post

Was this a mistake made by Tolkien (an interal inconsistency) or a deliberate plot. Was Sauron blinded by his desire, or did Tolkien not think of this?


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gunner


Jul 22 2012, 9:08pm

Post #6 of 21 (361 views)
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Good question [In reply to] Can't Post

It could be either. We do know that Tolkien mostly crafted his stories as he went along, so your idea is probably not far from the truth.

"What do you mean, good morning? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not, or that you feel good this morning, or that it is a morning to be good on?"-Gandalf the Grey, The Hobbit.


Yngwulff
Gunner


Jul 22 2012, 10:04pm

Post #7 of 21 (377 views)
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Or Thrain was able to hide them [In reply to] Can't Post

Kinda like the guy who comes and sees Butch in Pulp Fiction with the watch ...


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


Macfeast
Rigger

Jul 22 2012, 10:40pm

Post #8 of 21 (374 views)
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In the beard, perhaps? [In reply to] Can't Post

How about a small locket, braided into the middle (and thus, unseen) of a terribly thick beard? Tongue


(This post was edited by Macfeast on Jul 22 2012, 10:41pm)


DanielLB
Captain


Jul 23 2012, 7:10am

Post #9 of 21 (361 views)
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You would think they would have [In reply to] Can't Post

stripped him bare and searched him (including a route round the beard!)


sador
First Mate


Jul 23 2012, 12:17pm

Post #10 of 21 (318 views)
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I don't really think so. [In reply to] Can't Post

Hindsight is always 20:20, but even with hindsight, one can count several grave mistakes Sauron made, as well as some the good guys did. It was the accumulation of mistakes which tipped the scale, combined with luck/ chance/ fate/ divine intervention/ authorial shoehorning.

And if Bilbo and the dwarves didn't pass that way - then what? I guess the goblins and wargs attacks on the woodmen might have succeeded, and plenty of them would be saved from the wargs to work as slaves in the goblins' tunnels. Perhaps one or two of them would be sent to the lake for a fish for the Great Goblin... do you get my drift?

After that? Really, anything might have happened, but after Dol Guldur was temporarily deserted, with Beorn far away, Eriador infested by trolls and other unsavoury folk (remember poor Arador), and his spies roaming all over the place between the Misty Mountains and the Anduin - I think Saruman is the best bet. Which might have been Sauron's downfall, but of a different kind.


If Thrain's key was Sauron's downfall, it was not by its direct consequences, but as a part of his general fatal flaw - his being able to completely outthink his enemies in mind-an-power games, to the extent that he overlooks small details, like the contradicting reports regarding spies up Cirith Ungol. Once he found out about Aragorn and Gandalf, and had them marching up way too early to his gates - he could ignore those puny spies. Of course, a search was mounted - but the likeliest theory was anyway that the big spy descended back down to the Morgul Vale, and the small one was eaten or burned by the rebels from the Moon Tower, once that idiot Shagrat escaped unscathed with his bearings. No biggie.

(Personally, I suspect that Sauron would have beaten Huan, if Luthien did not help with her enchantments - but as Tolkien never rewrote this story on ample scale after the early 30s, he never wrote that detail in the story. In the version we have, Huan beat him fair and square, and Luthien only recovered from her swoon once wolf-Thu was pinned down)

"Do you find it strange that the food is strewn about but the clothes of victims are hanging on the walls nice and neat?"
- Finding Frodo.



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DanielLB
Captain


Jul 23 2012, 12:32pm

Post #11 of 21 (319 views)
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Yes, I agree that it was part of a much greater general character flaw [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
If Thrain's key was Sauron's downfall, it was not by its direct consequences, but as a part of his general fatal flaw - his being able to completely outthink his enemies in mind-an-power games, to the extent that he overlooks small details, like the contradicting reports regarding spies up Cirith Ungol. Once he found out about Aragorn and Gandalf, and had them marching up way too early to his gates - he could ignore those puny spies. Of course, a search was mounted - but the likeliest theory was anyway that the big spy descended back down to the Morgul Vale, and the small one was eaten or burned by the rebels from the Moon Tower, once that idiot Shagrat escaped unscathed with his bearings. No biggie.

Sauron (as with many megalomaniacs...) always overlooked the details. However strong and omnipotent he may have thought himself, his fatal character flaw was by presuming the little detials didn't matter. Thinking that nobody would try and destroy the Ring, not taking Thrain's key, ignoring Sam and Frodo at Cirith Ungol, not having guards at Mount doom, underestimating the intervention of the Valar (etc ...) were big mistakes.


Curious
First Mate


Jul 23 2012, 4:16pm

Post #12 of 21 (312 views)
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That reminds me of a certain [In reply to] Can't Post

scene from Pulp Fiction. Thrain might have hidden it where, er, the sun don't shine. Although it must have been one tough map.

That being said, perhaps it was a trap that went awry. After all, Sauron apparently set Gollum free as a trap for Frodo, and that went awry. The Ring itself went awry. The fall of Numenor went awry. Really, Sauron had a habit of outsmarting himself. Maybe he wanted someone to rouse Smaug from his sleep.


Escapist
Gunner

Jul 23 2012, 4:27pm

Post #13 of 21 (307 views)
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bad-guy turf war? [In reply to] Can't Post

Another possibility along similar lines would be that unlike Morgoth, Sauron didn't have the full allegiance of baddies like dragons and balrogs without the one ring - so maybe there were some non-compliance issues surrounding Smaug that needed clearing out before setting up the "proper order" of Sauron's divising?

I agree that it seems unlikely for a detail like a map and key to be simply overlooked in the situation as reported.


Escapist
Gunner

Jul 23 2012, 4:31pm

Post #14 of 21 (292 views)
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The key was one link on one particular pathway to Sauron's downfall [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Although the events of the particular instance of Sauron falling that we know of were dependent on the key for their development, I don't think Sauron's downfall depended on this key in the same way it depended on the destruction of the one ring since there may have been other possible ways to have enticed Smaug out to meet a fated black arrow.

Good question though! I never thought of it that way, it's interesting indeed!


DanielLB
Captain


Jul 23 2012, 5:34pm

Post #15 of 21 (280 views)
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Good point Curious [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
That being said, perhaps it was a trap that went awry. After all, Sauron apparently set Gollum free as a trap for Frodo, and that went awry. The Ring itself went awry. The fall of Numenor went awry. Really, Sauron had a habit of outsmarting himself. Maybe he wanted someone to rouse Smaug from his sleep.



Felagund
Able Seaman


Jul 23 2012, 6:47pm

Post #16 of 21 (273 views)
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the tenth mistake, indeed!// [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


DanielLB
Captain


Jul 23 2012, 7:53pm

Post #17 of 21 (236 views)
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Thank you ;-) / [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Plurmo
Rigger

Jul 24 2012, 4:39am

Post #18 of 21 (331 views)
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Stripping him bare would amount to nothing. [In reply to] Can't Post

Dwarf doors are invisible when closed, you know.Wink


DanielLB
Captain


Jul 24 2012, 7:04am

Post #19 of 21 (346 views)
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hahahahaha! [In reply to] Can't Post

Sly


BallyWhooo
Powder Monkey

Jul 25 2012, 2:20am

Post #20 of 21 (269 views)
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Really evil... [In reply to] Can't Post

Since we know how corrupt and arrogant Sauron is... he did not even stop to think that somebody might try to get rid of him by getting rid of his Ring... and if he was that arrogant about the defenses of Mordor then it is not illogical to think that he would have felt the same about Dol Goldur once he had Thrain locked up. His plan was to grow in power and eventually take over Middle Earth... and that included one nasty dragon.... but if you have the Ring, not even a dragon can withstand you for long (not even Tom Bombadil can)... so why not just torture the poor blithering dwarf king by leaving the key and the map with him assured that he would never be able to use them and after taking a ring of power from him and inflaming his lust for gold and jewels that much more, how it would eat at his mind to stare at it day after day after day. Who knows Sauron might have given him a visit now and then and pretended he was going to take it away just to watch Thrain squirm... I guess it just depends on how really evil you think the Dark Lord was.... but we know he got outsmarted by one crafty wizard who snuck in found said dwarf king and the key to unlock the door to the Dark Lord's eventual total defeat.


DanielLB
Captain


Jul 25 2012, 8:48am

Post #21 of 21 (400 views)
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That's a really good thought... [In reply to] Can't Post

Did Thrain go a bit loopy because he still had the key and map? He must have had some hope that he would escape ...

 
 

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