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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
One thing that always interested me...

aruman
Rivendell


Sep 8 2013, 2:28am

Post #1 of 20 (446 views)
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One thing that always interested me... Can't Post

What exactly went through the minds of Gandalf and the Captains of the West when the Mouth of Sauron revealed to them the tokens (the barrow dagger and mithril coat (I think there might have been a cloak too)).

Of course, simply seeing these tokens would probably cause them to lose all hope, but if you read carefully the words of the Mouth of Sauron, it could safely be guessed or assumed that he knew nothing of the quest and that Frodo was the Ringbearer. (Oh my gosh, for a moment a part of my brain almost didn't want to post that Frodo was the Ringbearer on a public forum b/c it was such a big secret (and who knows, maybe The Mouth of Sauron frequents these forums as well)).

Anyhoo, you can read the exact quotes, but he basically admits that he doesn't know what exactly Frodo's errand/purpose was and refers to them merely as "spies," if I recall correctly.

From these statements, it could logically be deduced that while the enemy is in possession of some of Frodo/Sam's belongings, they do not, in fact, have them captive.

Of course, at that moment, the Captains of the West were probably all very scared anyway, and their hope was hanging by the thinnest of threads, and at that moment they may not have been able to think through all this rationally.

Gandalf does demand that Frodo be brought forth, which, I guess, could be taken as a sign that Gandalf isn't sure that the enemy has Frodo.

One final possibility (assuming we were reading ROTK for the first time and hadn't yet learned what really happened to Sam and Frodo) would be that the enemy has captured Frodo, but isn't yet aware that he has the Ring. They would surely find out very soon, but one possible way in which this could happen would be if Frodo were captured by Sauron's servants and in the process being taken to Sauron before being searched/tortured, but hadn't exactly been brought before Sauron yet. If this were the case, it would still almost certainly spell the end of all hope. But even this might offer a very faint glimmer or hope, if the assault on the Black Gate could somehow cause enough of a disturbance/distraction in Mordor to allow Frodo to somehow escape (even after already being caught).

Thoughts?

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.

(This post was edited by aruman on Sep 8 2013, 2:31am)


Meneldor
Tol Eressea


Sep 8 2013, 2:50am

Post #2 of 20 (285 views)
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Fight on, and do not despair! [In reply to] Can't Post

But if you do, then, fight on in despair.

The Captains of the West know what Sauron is like, and they know that he knows who they are. There is nothing to be gained by trying to negotiate any kind of terms for surrender. If all is indeed lost, then the only thing left to do is to go down swinging and trust Eru for whatever happens in the next life. That's what good soldiers do, and when the call came they all volunteered to be good soldiers. What was it Gimli said? "Small chance of success, high probability of death. What are we waiting for?"


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Sep 8 2013, 4:33am

Post #3 of 20 (256 views)
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Aragorn the leader [In reply to] Can't Post

I would think that they would be discouraged, and rightly so, but held firm because of the will of Aragorn. He really shines in RotK!


sador
Half-elven


Sep 8 2013, 4:34am

Post #4 of 20 (263 views)
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Where is Sting? [In reply to] Can't Post

And why does the MoS mention only one spy? His surprise at Pippin's dismay indicates he didn't realise there was more than one.
And ironically, Pippin's inability to contain himelf indicates that Frodowould probably be unable to withstand a continuous torture. So let's gamble, and ask the MoS to produce him, like Morgoth did Gelmir before the Nirnaeth.


Elizabeth
Valinor


Sep 8 2013, 8:36am

Post #5 of 20 (250 views)
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Exactly. [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf played it brilliantly. He could see that something bad had happened, but it is perfectly clear that the Enemy does not have the Ring. If they had, MoS wouldn't be out there talking, the West would just all be smashed already.

Then, MoS talks about one spy, as sador says. He had the mithril vest, which is a bad sign, but only one sword and it's not Sting. There is still hope, and the West has to play out the hand.








Hamfast Gamgee
Gondor

Sep 8 2013, 9:27am

Post #6 of 20 (249 views)
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Maybe Sam did what he nearly did and continued on his own. [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Sep 8 2013, 11:42am

Post #7 of 20 (250 views)
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This is the Reading Room... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I would think that they would be discouraged, and rightly so, but held firm because of the will of Aragorn. He really shines in RotK!



That is fine for the film; although, many Tolkien fans have condemned Aragorn's action as a serious breech of the rules of parly. However it is Gandalf, not Aragorn, who rallies the Captains of the West and the remainder of the Fellowship and dismisses Sauron's servant out-of-hand.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Sep 8 2013, 12:59pm

Post #8 of 20 (250 views)
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I think Gandalf, ring bearer himself, would know immediately if Sauron had regained The One Ring [In reply to] Can't Post

From The Council of Elrond. Glóin asks Elrond about the use of the Three rings as possible weapons. Part if Elrond's answer is:

Quote
But all that has been wrought by those who wield the Three will turn to their undoing, and their minds and hearts will become revealed to Sauron, if he regains the One.


I'm imagining Gandalf would notice his mind and heart being revealed: this not having happened, he knows the game isn't up yet.

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"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!"


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Sep 8 2013, 1:51pm

Post #9 of 20 (239 views)
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Tolkien's "Theory of Courage" at work here [In reply to] Can't Post

Very much agree with you, Meneldor . Tolkien's stories abound with characters who are admirable because they push on doing the right thing because it is right, not because they are confident it will be successful. So for example Elrond comments that he has seen many defeats and many fruitless victories- but this rather negative take on the history of resisting Sauron does not mean +one bit+ that he plans to stop doing it any time soon. Treebeard leads the Ents to Isengard commenting that quite likely this will be their own doom. Frock (and even more so Sam) have a job to do and get on with doing it, no matter how it might end.

As for despair: that's what Denethor does, and is criticised for assuming he can see the future without there being any room for an unexpected eucatastrophe.

Meanwhile, on the battlefield, Éomer is all set to form up his men in a shield wall for their last stand, when Aragorn 's banner breaks from the leading corsair ship…

Or, in an example which ends less well, Fingolfin is still hacking at the foot Melkor has put on his chest until the last moment when Grond comes down upon him. There is a kind of despair in Fingolfins decision to go 1 on 1 with Melkor (or Éowyns decision to desert her post & go to war) but their fighting despair is more noble than Denethor's suicidal and murderous despair.

“Defeat is not defeat unless accepted as a reality-in your own mind.”
(Bruce Lee)

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"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!"

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Sep 8 2013, 1:54pm)


elaen32
Gondor


Sep 8 2013, 3:08pm

Post #10 of 20 (226 views)
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I agree with both of your posts NoWiz [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf would have known if Sauron had the ring. And I doubt that Sauron would have had to undertake much torture (except perhaps for fun) of Frodo to realise that Frodo had the Ring. If Frodo had been brought into Sauron's presence, bearing the Ring, Sauron would have felt its power immediately. So, Gandalf, knows that Sauron does not yet have the Ring- who does? One hobbit seems to remain free- it's not certain which one, but it seems likely to be Sam. There still is little hope of victory and obviously a profound grief for Frodo However, there is only a choice to give up entirely, or, against monstrous odds, to continue and at least die/fail knowing that everything possible has been done.

reply] Frock (and even more so Sam) have a job to do and get on with doing it, no matter how it might end.

btw What or who is Frock, precious??!! That opens a whole vista of alternative stories which I would rather not think about and will not denigrate this thread by elucidating!

Shocked


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 November. Happy writing!



noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Sep 8 2013, 4:12pm

Post #11 of 20 (206 views)
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Frock and Sam :) // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"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


Sep 8 2013, 5:03pm

Post #12 of 20 (226 views)
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Did Gandalf wear his ring? [In reply to] Can't Post

The Three were hidden for 1700 years chiefly by not being used. If Gandalf did not use Narya, he might not 'feel' the One yet.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Sep 8 2013, 5:07pm

Post #13 of 20 (219 views)
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Perfectly true: if he's not wearing his Ring, the argument falls. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"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!"


Rembrethil
Tol Eressea


Sep 8 2013, 7:44pm

Post #14 of 20 (210 views)
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I am thinking of these passages... [In reply to] Can't Post

"But the victory did little to enhearten the captains.'It is but a feint,' said Aragorn; 'and its chief purpose, I deem, was rather to draw us on by false guess of our Enemy' weakness than to do us much hurt, yet.'"

"Therefore Aragorn now set the host in such array as could best be contrived"

"There was Gandalf as chief herald...."

"Aragorn said naught in answer, but he took the other's eye and held it, and for a moment they strove thus;...Aragorn did not stir nor move hand to weapon, the other quailed and gave back..."

"Little time was left to Aragorn for the ordering of his battle."

I would say that Gandalf supported Aragorn, organizing the men under him. I might have overstated the case, but I do believe that his position as King-to-be was a factor in the encounter, though the courage of despair may have been greater.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Sep 8 2013, 8:54pm

Post #15 of 20 (205 views)
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Fair enough... [In reply to] Can't Post

I may have been too specific, thinking only of the parley with the Mouth of Sauron.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


squire
Valinor


Sep 8 2013, 10:15pm

Post #16 of 20 (248 views)
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I have always thought so. [In reply to] Can't Post

Every passage in the book that I can remember suggests that Gandalf wore the Ring of Fire throughout his time in Middle-earth.

That said, I believe it was a late addition to the story. I have no problem imagining Tolkien writing the parley at the Black Gate with no idea that Gandalf has a surefire "One Ring on Sauron's Hand" detector buzzing away - or not buzzing away, as was the case - on his pinky. I think it's more likely that Tolkien would have seen Gandalf as being in sufficiently general tune with the universe (with "The Force" if you will) to know in his gut if Sauron had taken back the One.

I've always read Gandalf's response to the Mouth - bring the prisoner out and show him to us - as a clear sign that Gandalf knows perfectly well that only one hobbit, and not the one with the Ring, has been captured. And the Mouth's sudden hesitation communicates back to Gandalf that the prisoner has likely escaped.



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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noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Sep 9 2013, 2:29pm

Post #17 of 20 (183 views)
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ring-wearing and ring-bearing and rapport with Sauron [In reply to] Can't Post

This got me thinking about the distinctions between being a ringbearer and a ringwearer. Bear (or wear?) with me a moment while I explain...

The Mirror of Galadriel chapter has an exchange between Galadriel and Frodo and Sam which might help us here.

Galadriel says:

Quote
But do not think that only by singing amid the trees, nor even by the slender arrows of elven-bows, is this land of Lothlorien maintained and defended against its Enemy. I say to you, Frodo, that even as I speak to you I perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind, or all of his mind that concerns the Elves.

At this point she holds up her hands in the starlight. Frodo perceives she is waring a ring, and infers she has one of the Three. Galadriel then confirms this.

Later, Frodo asks Galadriel why he, as current bearer of the One Ring, does not perceive the minds of he bearers of the lesser rings. She answers that he has not tried to do this, and should not attempt it. Then...


Quote
'Yet even so, as Ring-bearer and as one that has borne it on his finger and seen that which is hidden, your sight has grown keener. You have perceived my thought more clearly than many that are accounted wise. You saw the Eye of him that holds the Seven and the Nine. And did you not see and recognize the ring upon my finger? Did you see my ring?' she asked turning again to Sam.
'No Lady,' he answered. 'To tell the truth, I wondered what you were talking about. I saw a star through your fingers....'


My reading of this is:
  • I infer that Galadriel has a mental link with Sauron because of her ring (I think I recall that she uses its power to maintain Lothlorien, but that is not specific in this passage)
  • Sam, as our control experiment, can't see that she is wearing her ring - either it is invisible to normal folks, or she isn't actually, literally wearing it at the time, and Frodo's vision of it was not a straightforward sighting. (Or Sam was unobservant - but that would be out of character for him)
  • Frodo, who is clearly not wearing his Ring during this section, has powers and insights because he has worn the Ring in the past, and/or because he is the current bearer.

So I conclude that Gandalf (and Elrond) might have similar insights into Sauron's thoughts, and that they might not need actually to put their rings on for this to happen.

Not having to wear the 3 rings openly would certainly be an advantage - to conceal them from Sauron, & to stop Saruman becoming jealous that he's the only blingless bigshot on the White Council.

Whether the rings are not worn, or are worn but can't usually be seen, we get this observation right at the end, in The Grey Havens:

Quote
As he turned towards them Frodo saw that Gandalf now wore openly on his hand the Third Ring, Narya the Great...

...as if the Rings have now become just rings, and can now be worn as jewelry (or can be seen when they are being worn)

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"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!"


Meneldor
Tol Eressea


Sep 9 2013, 2:58pm

Post #18 of 20 (183 views)
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Ha! Blingless bigshot! [In reply to] Can't Post

Cool
Did Saruman know who bore the three? Could petty jealousy and covetousness be part of the reason he wanted the one? That would seem to fit with his character of hypocrisy, which we see in his criticism of pipeweed although he keeps barrels of it in a hidden stash.


They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.


noWizardme
Tol Eressea


Sep 9 2013, 5:16pm

Post #19 of 20 (177 views)
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Not too hard to guess who the bearers of the Three are… [In reply to] Can't Post

…two of them are the obvious candidates; I'd have guessed 3/3 if Cirdan hadn't given one to Gandalf.
(A good trivia question that: what do Cirdan and Bilbo have in common? Voluntarily handing over a ring of power).

Disclaimers: The words of noWizardme may stand on their heads! I'm often wrong about things, and its fun to be taught more....

"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!"


aruman
Rivendell


Sep 13 2013, 1:51pm

Post #20 of 20 (136 views)
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Great point! [In reply to] Can't Post

And when you mentioned characters who do the right thing, b/c it is the right thing to do, and not b/c they think it will be successful, I immediately thought of Faramir letting Frodo go. I also think of Aragorn following the Uruk-hai (w/ Merry and Pippin in tow).

In the movies Elrond, Denethor, Haldir, Galadriel, and Celeborn stink.

 
 

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