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did Sauron know there were other Maiar in Middle-earth (and did he care)?

Felagund
Lorien


Aug 20 2012, 10:47pm

Post #1 of 17 (1422 views)
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did Sauron know there were other Maiar in Middle-earth (and did he care)? Can't Post

During his post-Morgoth Dark Lord 'career', Sauron acted like he was the only angelic being in Middle-earth. This, in my view, captures one of Sauron's key weaknesses - that there actually were other Maiar at work in Middle-earth made it tough for him but that he seems not to have countenanced that this could possibly happen massively compounded the dangers he faced.

The assumption that he was alone probably helped feed Sauron's megalomaniac desire to dominate the world, and quickly killed off his brief intent to benignly help Middle-earth to recover from the ravages of the War of Wrath. Part of this also stems from a deluded (as it turned out) belief that the Valar had abandoned Middle-earth. Perhaps Sauron could be forgiven for thinking the latter, at least at first. When Sauron emerged from hiding c. 500 years into the Second Age, Middle-earth was "for the most part savage and desolate, save only where the people of Beleriand came" (The Sil). There was also no attempt by Valinor to 'bring him in' - apparently running off from Eönwė (not the brightest custodian!) at the end of the First Age was all it took to avoid judgment. Ilśvatar's intervention to destroy Nśmenor was a stark message that Sauron wasn't completely free to lord it over the Children of Ilśvatar, but that's still not the same as Valar and Maiar wandering around Middle-earth.

My main question is did Sauron know (or care) that other Maiar actually were in Middle-earth, some of them affecting events? Also, could he have known? There were the Five Wizards / Istari in the Third Age - and according toTolkien's final writings, the Blue Wizards may have turned up even earlier, at the same time as Glorfindel, c. 1600 of the Second Age. A Balrog was hanging about in Moria, awake and angry from 1980 of the Third Age and then of course there's old Tom Bombadil, whatever he was.

All of these beings were either deliberately in hiding or self-confined (the Balrog), divorced from the world (Tom Bombadil) or in disguise (the Istari). But Sauron does encounter Saruman, through a palantķr. Presumably there is some test of wills at ths point - Saruman had more than enough pride to put up a fight or at least try to escape ensnarement. Sauron also encounters Gandalf in a struggle of wills at Amon Hen, when Frodo nearly gives the game away by wearing the One Ring for too long. Sauron, in his incarnation as Mairon back in Valinor, would presumably have known both Curumo and Olórin - indeed Sauron and Curumo both served Aulė the Smith and Olórin tells Manwė that he fears Sauron. Why, when he's able to dominate Saruman, does he not recognise his old smithy mate, or even just demand to know his true identity? As for Gandalf, the parley with the Mouth of Sauron reveals that Sauron knew Gandalf's name and the fact that he'd been at work for a long time building up resistance to Mordor. Not the same as knowing Gandalf's true identity but cause for suspicion, surely?

I'm not sure where all of this leaves us, apart from the tentative conclusion that Sauron didn't care much for details and seems to have been utterly convinced that none could, or would, oppose him in the long run for mastery of Middle-earth.

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


Plurmo
Rohan

Aug 21 2012, 1:50am

Post #2 of 17 (807 views)
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In my view Sauron knew about everything [In reply to] Can't Post

of relevance in Middle-earth apart from the existence of the heir of Isildur (he would know about the Oathbrakers in Ered Nimrais, though) and that the One Ring was in the hands of someone chosen by the Valar. Sauron was a master of intelligence and counter-intelligence. He would gladly play his strategy with powerful antagonists as long as no one who could storm his tower and grab him by the neck (or poke his eye) like Tulkas was involved (that would be cheating).

It was the strategy of full sacrifice that eluded him, not the power of his antagonists.


PhantomS
Rohan


Aug 21 2012, 10:49am

Post #3 of 17 (783 views)
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he knew alright [In reply to] Can't Post

he could easily see that Gandalf and Saruman were not ordinary people; their lifespans in Middle Earth were proof enough that they were not human. What is surprising is that he didn't try to dig up the Balrog and make it his lieutenant, or try to talk to Smaug as soon as he had taken Erebor. His problem is that he thought of himself as the sole superpower in Middle Earth and sought to make it clear to the world- that is why his lieutenants, after the Nazgul (who are his total slaves) are but humans, Orcs and Trolls; beings way below him in the food chain. Morgoth was much better as a Dark Lord when you consider the forces he placed around him, and thus could only be defeated by a fellow Vala (or their own lieutenants.)

If Sauron followed a Witch-King style of provoking evil everywhere (evil winters, fell men in Rhuadur, the Barrow Wights etc) he might have been stronger than before.


Noel Q. von Schneiffel
Rivendell


Aug 21 2012, 2:16pm

Post #4 of 17 (750 views)
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Would the balrog have obeyed Sauron's orders? [In reply to] Can't Post

Not so sure there. Theologically, Sauron and the Balrog were both Maiar and therefore equals. Furthermore, the Balrog had his own mini-realm in Moria already (he never seemed obsessed with territorial expansion).

I do not know if there is anything by Tolkien, in HoME or elsewhere, that explains the nature of the balrogs' allegiance to Morgoth, and if the balrog would have "legally" accepted Sauron's claim as Morgoth's successor.

At the very least, I think, Sauron would have needed the Ring back to make the Balrog bow.



The Glorious Truth of J.R.R. Tolkien
Radiates from his Holy Writings


http://www.tolkientruth.info/


Felagund
Lorien


Aug 21 2012, 3:00pm

Post #5 of 17 (815 views)
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Sauron and Balrogs - henchman pecking order [In reply to] Can't Post

I think in the Treason of Isengard (HoMe VII), one of the drafts of the Moria-to-Lorien section mentions Sauron having sent the Balrog to Moria, which implies a master-servant relationship. Left on the cutting room floor though amd what we're left with strikes me as an independent Balrog 'realm'.

As for the First Age, I reckon we can interpret Sauron as senior to the Balrogs, despite them all being Maiar. At various points in The Silmarillion, Sauron is described as the greatest of Morgoth's servants. By implication, this puts him above even Gothmog, the "Captain of Angband", and Glaurung.

Speaking of 'ranks', it's interesting that Tolkien calls Gothmog "Captain of Angband" and Sauron the "Lieutenant of Angband". As a former army man himself, Tolkien would have known that a captain is more senior than a lieutenant! I don't read too much into this though - Sauron still seems to be the #1. Even though Gothmog and Glaurung handled the military campaigns, it was Sauron who Morgoth turned to when he needed to hold and administer territory - eg. Angband during the Chaining of Melkor and Tol Sirion / Tol-in-Gaurhoth after the Dagor Bragollach.

And I agree, without the One Ring, Sauron would have struggled to impose his will on the Balrog of Moria.

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


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Aug 21 2012, 5:40pm

Post #6 of 17 (730 views)
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Based on a statement that I read and agreed with a while ago, [In reply to] Can't Post

This is my theory on the matter:
I think that Sauron greatly underestimated the Maiar (at least as far as the Wizards were concerned). He underestimated Gandalf to his eventual undoing, thinking him merely a more intelligent version of Radagast (Because Radagast neglected the Men and Elves, Sauron's chief combatants).

In my mind, the only Wizard he had any concern about was Saruman, because he was learned in the lore of the rings and had long studied Sauron's ways (Of course, it turned out that Sauron probably had the least to fear from Saruman, as he ultimately betrayed the Valar as Sauron did)

On a related note, it is a mere coincidence that both of these traitors were Maia of Aule?

"Radagast is, of course, a worthy wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue, and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friends."-Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings.


Noel Q. von Schneiffel
Rivendell


Aug 21 2012, 8:15pm

Post #7 of 17 (753 views)
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Aule, Sauron and Saruman [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

On a related note, it is a mere coincidence that both of these traitors were Maia of Aule?


Probably not. And neither is it coincidence that of all Valar (excluding Morgoth), Aule came closest to a rebellion against Eru, when he made the Dwarves.

It was that mindset of creating artificial things, of stone- and metalwork leading to technology and industry, which was typical for Aule and his followers. Tolkien was very ambiguous and doubtful about all that. It could lead to great and wonderful things - remember Aule also taught the Noldor, which eventually led to Feanor making the Silmarils. It could also lead to evil, destruction and ruin.

If you're a godly being with a chief interest in prancing amidst the flowers, it's hard to be seduced by evil Cool



The Glorious Truth of J.R.R. Tolkien
Radiates from his Holy Writings


http://www.tolkientruth.info/


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Aug 21 2012, 8:18pm

Post #8 of 17 (669 views)
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Thanks for the reply Noel! [In reply to] Can't Post

Indeed, Tolkien was incredibly distrustful of technology. That was what first brought the idea into my mind that it might not have been a coincidence. Thanks for confirming.

"Radagast is, of course, a worthy wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue, and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friends."-Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings.


squire
Valinor


Aug 22 2012, 1:10am

Post #9 of 17 (738 views)
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Tolkien mistrusted technology, but trusted art [In reply to] Can't Post

And as his creation of Aulė shows us, he understood that that two creative impulses are similar expressions of the human spirit.

What always strikes me is that, as noted here, it is Aulė's apprentices among the Maiar and Noldor who are most apt to become corrupted by a desire for power or possession of beauty. Aulė himself is above such corruption (...the delight and pride of Aulė is in the deed of making, and in the thing made, and neither in possession nor in his own mastery; wherefore he gives and hoards not, and is free from care, passing ever on to some new work.- Sil, Ainulindale) so why did he not teach his people and students the same very important lesson?



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'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


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Noel Q. von Schneiffel
Rivendell


Aug 22 2012, 5:53pm

Post #10 of 17 (637 views)
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Perhaps he tried [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
What always strikes me is that, as noted here, it is Aulė's apprentices among the Maiar and Noldor who are most apt to become corrupted by a desire for power or possession of beauty. Aulė himself is above such corruption (...the delight and pride of Aulė is in the deed of making, and in the thing made, and neither in possession nor in his own mastery; wherefore he gives and hoards not, and is free from care, passing ever on to some new work.- Sil, Ainulindale) so why did he not teach his people and students the same very important lesson?


Perhaps he tried, but they wouldn't listen - or he was unable to understand the nature of corruption and therefore couldn't really imagine it. Like Manwe who let Morgoth go after his imprisonment, which was incredibly naive in hindsight, because he could not understand evil.



The Glorious Truth of J.R.R. Tolkien
Radiates from his Holy Writings


http://www.tolkientruth.info/


Felagund
Lorien


Aug 22 2012, 7:08pm

Post #11 of 17 (707 views)
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the lure of Melkor: Sauron, Saruman & Ossė [In reply to] Can't Post

Agreed, Aulė's crew were prone to fall, and for similar reasons. Tolkien's description of the original motives of Sauron and Saruman are much alike:

"He [Sauron] loved order and coordination, and disliked all confusion and wasteful friction. (It was the apparent will and power of Melkor to effect his designs quickly and masterfully that had first attracted Sauron to him.)” [HoMe X, Morgoth's Ring].

"He [Sauron] had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to order all things according to his own wisdom he still at first considered the (economic) well-being of the other inhabitants of the Earth" [Letter 183].

"But we must have power, power to order all things as we will, for that good which only the Wise can see...we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order..." [Saruman speaking to Gandalf, FotR, II.2].

A quite different rebellion against the Valar is represented by Ossė, the Maia follower of Ulmo. What seemed to attract Ossė to Melkor was "the delight in violence", in the shape of "great tumults in the sea" (The Sil, Valaquenta). This was certainly another aspect of Melkor, as portrayed in the continental-scale destruction he wrought to bring about the end of the Spring of Arda.

Interesting then, that Melkor could both attract those who desired order and those who desired wanton violence. From Melkor's point of view, cataclysmic violence was needed to the 'wipe the slate clean' so that 'order' (in his own image, of course!) could be established. Sauron was a useful pawn for the latter, whilst Ossė and the Balrogs / Valaraukar were ideal for the former.

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


squire
Valinor


Aug 22 2012, 7:48pm

Post #12 of 17 (676 views)
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Both aspects of Melkor's evil seem to boil down to ego [In reply to] Can't Post

I like your analysis of Melkor's sinful personality. The good Valar all perform their jobs in submission to Eru's plan, or at least to the plan as the Music seems to lay it out. In any case, harmony, cooperation and submission to the common weal are all virtues in this cosmogony, even on the divine level. Melkor will have none of that. As you note, he desires violence to destroy what cannot be claimed as his; and he desires dictatorial power to direct and create what he can claim as his.

I'm guessing that ego is closely linked to creativity, since that involves an expression of uniqueness. It's really amazing that Aule is as perfect as he is at the aspect of his work that involves just walking away from ones creations, leaving them free for all to enjoy.



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'.
Footeramas: The 3rd (and NOW the 4th too!) TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Sam20
Lorien

Aug 24 2012, 11:37pm

Post #13 of 17 (615 views)
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Sauron and the Maiar [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems pretty clear to me that he knew that there were other Maiar sent to Middle-earth by the Valar. It is said in Unfinished Tales that Sauron presented himself to the Elves of Eregon in the Second Age with a fair form, forseeing the coming of the Istari. It is then not surprising if he had been able to 'discover' each of them at their coming in the Third Age.

But I do not think he saw them as a threat to his growing power. For they were working individually and most astray from their tasks. The Blue wizards probably failed in the East, Radagast gave thought only to the wild and Saruman considered the most powerful on the Mair sent to Middle-earth, was finally corrupted and even enter his service for a time. Gandalf alone remained but Sauron gave not much heed to him for the wizard alone was no match for the Dark Power. In that he made a mistake. For as we know Gandalf proved a true hinderance to his plans and fulfill his task as was appointed to him by the Valar.


(This post was edited by sam90 on Aug 24 2012, 11:41pm)


Escapist
Gondor

Aug 24 2012, 11:51pm

Post #14 of 17 (600 views)
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It is a matter of guesswork to discern how much Sauron really knew. [In reply to] Can't Post

Sauron certainly knew of some of the other Maiar, but does that mean he knew that they were Maiar? And if he did know that some were definitively Maiar (Balrog) does that mean he knew that all of them were in some part Maiar (wizards being Maiar in the guise of men) but not fully Maiar as they had been known of before?
Clearly he cared about all life in ME - specifically, he cared about dominating and lording over it, crushing and squeezing and debasing as necessary to clasp his fist around them and bend all to his will - Maiar and anything else included.
There is evidence of Sauron feeling threatened by Aragorn in the Palantir (at some level he at least responded swiftly to that encounter) but it is not clear that the same feeling of threat was derived from the other Maiar.
There is evidence of some Maiar (Saruman) actually bending to his will - but not all (Gandalf).

Show or do not show, there is no tell.


Sam20
Lorien

Aug 25 2012, 5:53pm

Post #15 of 17 (622 views)
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Maiar [In reply to] Can't Post

@Escapist

quote:

'Sauron certainly knew of some of the other Maiar, but does that mean he knew that they were Maiar? And if he did know that some were definitively Maiar (Balrog) does that mean he knew that all of them were in some part Maiar (wizards being Maiar in the guise of men) but not fully Maiar as they had been known of before?'

One can only guess what Sauron actually knew for sure in his mind but if we take in consideration what is told in the Unfinished Tales that Sauron guessed the coming of the Istari sent as messengers by the Valar and therefore presented himself as one to the Elves of Eregon it is logical to think as he is a Maiar himself, perhaps he fairly knew they were of the kind. That doesn't mean he found out about the five Wizards as soon as they came to Middle-earth. But since Sauron has many spies he may have gathered and pondered informations of strange tales of magical Old Man that dies not in the Third Age and so discover their true nature under their guises and names.


(This post was edited by sam90 on Aug 25 2012, 6:03pm)


Felagund
Lorien


Aug 26 2012, 9:24am

Post #16 of 17 (587 views)
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Sauron and the Istari [In reply to] Can't Post

Not convinced Sauron consciously 'foresaw' the coming of the Istari. Apologies in advance if that's not what you meant. The text in Unfinished Tales is equivocal:

"In Eregion Sauron posed as an emissary of the Valar, sent by them to Middle-earth ('thus anticipating the Istari')" [retold by Christopher Tolkien]

"When he [Sauron] came among the Noldor he adopted a specious form (a kind of simulated anticipation of the later Istari)" [CT's analysis / not a JRRT quote]

I see this 'anticipation' as more of a historiographic device on the part of the author, with Sauron's deception in the Second Age a narrative foil for the arrival of the Istari in the Third. Sauron, afterall, was convinced at the time "that the Valar, having overthrown Morgoth, had again forgotten Middle-earth" (The Sil, "Of the Rings of Power...") - quite the opposite of predicting that help would come from the West.

That said, I agree that Sauron had enough scope to discover what the Istari were in the centuries after their arrival. Certainly in the case of Saruman, most likely Gandalf too and possibly even Radagast. The latter's abode, for a time, was Rhosgobel, near Dol Guldur. The Necromancer may have figured out that his neighbour was no ordinary old man.

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


Sam20
Lorien

Aug 27 2012, 6:43pm

Post #17 of 17 (781 views)
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Sauron and Unfinished Tales [In reply to] Can't Post

@Felagund

quote:

'Not convinced Sauron consciously 'foresaw' the coming of the Istari. Apologies in advance if that's not what you meant. The text in Unfinished Tales is equivocal:

"In Eregion Sauron posed as an emissary of the Valar, sent by them to Middle-earth ('thus anticipating the Istari')" [retold by Christopher Tolkien]

"When he [Sauron] came among the Noldor he adopted a specious form (a kind of simulated anticipation of the later Istari)" [CT's analysis / not a JRRT quote]'

Thanks for rectifying my words, I hadn't the book close-by when I wrote these messages and therefore tried to remember what whas said precisly in Unfinished Tales (thus the use of 'forsaw' and latter 'guessed'')

quote from Unfinished Tales:

'in Eregion Sauron posed as an emissary of the Valar, sent by them to Middle-earth ('thus anticipating the Istari') or ordered by them to remain there to give aid to the Elves.'

I interprete this as that Sauron anticipated that the Valar would send messengers to Middle-earth someday, since the overthrow of Melkor (and so probably Maiar, but that is a personal view, since these spirits are for the most part into the service of the Valar) but for what exact purpose was not so clear to him. Was it to 'give aid' to the Elves or to reorder Middle-earth?

Not until the Thrid Age ( if he ever discovered the true origin of the Five Wizards) his anticipation was proved.


(This post was edited by sam90 on Aug 27 2012, 6:52pm)

 
 

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