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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:25 pm 
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In my mind, they are a contrivance of Sauron's through Saruman.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:34 pm 
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Gandalf does address their leader as a hound of Sauron. He could be wrong, of course, but how is the reader to know.

On the one hand, it fits with the whole "Sauron is gathering evil creatures to his service" theme and justifies some of Sauron's fearsome reputation. On the other, Sauron seems to have run out of evil creatures very fast, other than orcs.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:14 am 
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It also follows on directly after another "supernatural" attack.

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"I wonder if this is a contrivance of the Enemy," said Boromir. "They say in my land that he can govern the storms in the Mountains of Shadow that stand upon the borders of Mordor. He has strange powers and many allies."
"His arm has grown long indeed," said Gimli, "if he can draw snow down from the North to trouble us here three hundred leagues away."
"His arm has grown long," said Gandalf.


I sometimes wonder if Tolkien realised he was making Sauron too Omnipotent and came up with the whole "he doesn't know where we are now" thing to cover it and make Sauron more of a commander and less of a God.

I also sometimes wonder if this stuff had been in the films and not in the books, how many purists would be screaming about how these scenes JUST DON'T FIT!!!!!! ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:58 pm 
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Well, they would have been right, wouldn't they have? After all, that's what we are saying about the book. ;)

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:25 am 
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Been awhile, life as always seems so hectic between the wife's health, work, and finishing my advance degree stuff (it seems to go on and on, the work and research).

Actually moving beyond the vanishing wargs, I love the descriptions that Tolkien uses in this chapter. A tiny word where at the doors of the Mines Gandalf "threw his staff on the ground. . . " It is so nice to see Gandalf being not just Gandalf, but human. Sure he is a mighty wizard but that statement made me realize he is actually like me when I get frustrated.

The Watcher in the Water is another creature in this chapter that is of a mysterious nature. Did he seize Frodo on purpose as mentioned by Tolkien in Gandalf's thought, despite everyone in the company or was it chance seizure? I personally believe that the creature was driven up from the deeps and the evil of the Ring called out to it.

I love the connection Aragorn makes that Gandalf has been on worse journey's than this (Dol Guldor) when he seeks to reassure the company as Gimli and Gandalf meet together.

The description of the Mines themselves with their "fissures and chasms" and the sound of water and a wheel moving. Tolkien makes me feel and hear the eeriness, cold and sounds that make up this long lost dwarven kingdom.

No mention of Gimli's song either of Moria. I feel this is a link to the song sung in Bag End by Thorin and Company before seeking out. Dwarves seem to be able to enact a magical feeling when they sing/chant. One that is captivating. Then the link with Mithril and the vest that Frodo now wears that Thorin gave to Bilbo. This chapter for me, of all the chapters is the transition chapter. It connects LOTR to the story found in The Hobbit and I feel it is the last chapter that really does that. Many things change after this chapter.

So is it time to move on to The Bridge of Khazad-dûm?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:34 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 5:42 pm 
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The Watcher in the Water is another creature in this chapter that is of a mysterious nature.


Yes, but I think there may be allusions to it.

Gandalf at one point in the chapter says "there are older and fouler things than orcs in the deep places of the world".

In the chapter "The White Rider", he also states; "Far, far below the deepest delvings of the dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he
".

And beyond LOTR there are allusions to them in the Silmarillion, but I can't recite them or remember where they are without a lot of searching. Some form of lesser maia perhaps or other type of "spirit".

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:45 pm 
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So perhaps that is why Gandalf noticed that the Watcher went after Frodo, the Ring Bearer.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:24 pm 
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It is in this chapter too that we are reminded of Frodo's wound at the hands of the Nazgûl.

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His senses were sharper and more aware of things that could not be seen < > he could see more in the dark than any of his companions, save perhaps Gandalf.


Interesting side effects. We know that Frodo's wound never healed while he resided in middle-earth, and he was never the same. I didn't realize till now how the wound could have affected him. With awareness, also come the emotions and consequences of that awareness. If he became highly attuned to evil (if that is what is implied in the above quote), then that sensitivity to evil can likely disrupt daily lives. Imagine being aware of the evil around you - evil that is manifest in multiple forms. Cruelty, harshness, maliciousness - maybe Frodo became more attuned to it in everyday life. If one is always noticing evil, its' very difficult to be at peace.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:12 pm 
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I had never considered that with Frodo's wound and his sensitivity to evil. I had always thought the burden of the Ring would do that as he neared ever closer to Mordor. Frodo does say later that the knife wound would never heal. Combining the wound with the burden of the Ring I think would be very difficult.

It would make sense if you consider Gollum and his ability to know where evil and Orcs are. Take Mirkwood where he climbed the tree and wouldn't come down. Did a messenger arrive and let him know, or could he simply sense evil and used that to his advantage. I think it is the later. So with Frodo and his nature, the sense of evil would be more profound at first. I'll have to see how this plays out the closer he gets to Mordor and if the sensitivity is enhanced to the point that he becomes oblivious to it as a mode of survival, or if evil is finally allowed to win after trying to put it off for so long and Frodo thus fails in the quest to destroy the Ring himself because in the end, he is mortal and cannot endure the burden any longer?

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J.R.R. Tolkien in his 6 October 1940 letter to his son Michael Tolkien.

2. We have many ways using technology to be in touch, yet the larger question is are we really connected or are we simply more in touch? There is a difference.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:11 am 
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It also follows on directly after another "supernatural" attack.

Quote:
"I wonder if this is a contrivance of the Enemy," said Boromir. "They say in my land that he can govern the storms in the Mountains of Shadow that stand upon the borders of Mordor. He has strange powers and many allies."
"His arm has grown long indeed," said Gimli, "if he can draw snow down from the North to trouble us here three hundred leagues away."
"His arm has grown long," said Gandalf.


I sometimes wonder if Tolkien realised he was making Sauron too Omnipotent and came up with the whole "he doesn't know where we are now" thing to cover it and make Sauron more of a commander and less of a God.

I also sometimes wonder if this stuff had been in the films and not in the books, how many purists would be screaming about how these scenes JUST DON'T FIT!!!!!! ;)


But, at that moment, Sauron does know where the party is. By trying the Redhorn Gate, the party has given away their position, and Gandalf implies as much at the end of the previous chapter and the beginning of this one. The attack of the wargs is the immediate result, and illustrates it is critical that the party must get out of sight and cover their trail quickly. I believe that Jackson's portrayal of Saruman as being responsible for "throwing" the storm at the Redhorn rather weakens the story at this point and comes across as sort of silly (and seems to have been inspired by the equally weak portrayal of Saruman "hurling fire" at Helm's Deep from a distance in Bakshi's animated version.)

As to the wargs themselves... I love the scene. Tolkien does indeed try to re-visit many of the episodes of The Hobbit in a much more sinister light, and here we see him doing it again. The fact that the wargs bodies disappear illustrates that they are indeed werewolves and not ordinary wolves; Gandalf's invocation against them terms them thus in Sindarin ("ngaurhoth"). It bears remembering (although it wouldn't have been known to readers until publication of The Silmarillion) that Sauron has a special affinity with werewolves. He was "Captain of the Werewolves" at Tol-in-Gaurhoth, and it was in werewolf form that he fought and was defeated by the hound Huan in the company of Beren and Lúthien. Similarly, in fleeing his defeat, he abandoned his corporeal form and fled as a vampire to the shadowed forest of Taur-nu-Fuin. It is also worth mentioning (as noted by John Rateliff in The History of The Hobbit) that it was that event which was likely in Tolkien's mind when he came to mention the Necromacer in Mirkwood in The Hobbit, and the association of events was probably still in his forethought as he wrote this chapter.

As to being omnipotent... well, Sauron is a god of sorts, and of a higher order than either Gandalf or Saruman. Yes, he can influence the weather and, seemingly, a good portion of the natural (and un-natural) world against the party. But such contrivances do ultimately fail, and no, he can't bring his most effective troops (the Nazgûl and orcs) across hundreds of miles to instantly lay hands on them. Not yet.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:01 pm 
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You miss my point Phibbus. At this stage Sauron is pretty omnipotent. After he loses track of the company in Moria Tolkien resorts to the "I wonder where they are" excuse for the fact that Sauron doesn't just blast a crater round them when they're closer to Mordor. Cause based on the omnipotence shown from 300 leagues, you'd think frying them on the spot in Ithilien would be a petty task.

In fact, these Wargs as you state are clearly supernatural. One has to wonder why Tolkien didn't have a company or two of these werewolves at the Pelennor. Magic wolves are a pretty good weapon.


I'd also question your assertion that Sauron is of a higher order than Gandalf or Saruman. They are all Maiar. There's no indication that Olórin and Curunir are "Lesser Maiar".

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:47 pm 
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Actually, there is an indication that Olórin was reluctant to come to Middle-earth because he was afraid of Sauron. And Sauron was obviously far more powerful than Saruman, since he was able to dominate him through the palantirs.

You do make a good point about the supernatural wargs making a good weapon, had they been available at the Pellenor, etc.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:40 am 
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Phibbus wrote:
But, at that moment, Sauron does know where the party is. By trying the Redhorn Gate, the party has given away their position, and Gandalf implies as much at the end of the previous chapter and the beginning of this one.

Does Tolkien ever confirm that Sauron knows the Fellowship is there? Even if Sauron's palantír can see as far as the Redhorn pass (a note in UT indicates that the lesser palantíri, as Sauron's is, have a "proper distance" of about 500 miles, beyond which images are much harder to make out -- and Caradhras is about 600 miles from Barad-dûr), he would have to have been looking at that particular spot, give or take a mile or two (and through a mountain in a snowstorm at night), at that exact time to see Gandalf magically start a fire.

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The attack of the wargs is the immediate result, and illustrates it is critical that the party must get out of sight and cover their trail quickly.

Sauron has no "immediate" control over his underlings working at 600 miles away, or they would have been rather more effective than they are. It would take him several days to arrange for a wolf attack.

Quote:
I believe that Jackson's portrayal of Saruman as being responsible for "throwing" the storm at the Redhorn rather weakens the story at this point...

In the book, there are four possible agencies behind the storm on Caradhras: (1) the storm could simply be a natural, purposeless storm; (2) the storm could be caused by the spirit of the mountain Caradhras, whose bad reputation is known to Dwarves and Elves; (3) that spirit could in fact be the malice of the Balrog, which Celeborn later suggests; or (4) the storm could be caused by Sauron's "long arm". Tolkien never makes it clear who is to blame.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:18 am 
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Such ambiguity, far from being a weakness, is one of the reasons why Tolkien's writings have such staying power.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:56 pm 
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I don't think one has to read this section as implying the wolves had been sent from Mordor by Sauron with specific instructions to waylay the fellowhip in Hollin. Rather, imagine them in the same light as the Watcher, the Balrog, and Shelob--ancient, malignant spirits of some sort awakening as Sauron's shadow grows over the land. They are Sauron's natural allies, but not precisely in his service.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:53 am 
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And even if they were really in Sauron's direct service, the Fellowship may not have been their target specifically. Rather, they may have been appointed to ambush any elves, dwarves, Dúnedain, or other enemies of Mordor that happened to pass that way.


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Just want to say that I don't see a plothole with the wargs. I don't think there's even anything in the text to connect them directly to Sauron. They probably are associated with him in some way, but that doesn't mean they're an attack squad specifically sent after the Fellowship.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:06 am 
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Right. My interpretation of entities like the wargs and the watcher in the water going after Frodo in particular is that because Sauron has all his thought bent on the Ring, these evil creatures are simply drawn to him. I do not see them as carrying out orders for Sauron, in any way. If that was the case, the watcher in the water would have found a way to report back to Sauron that a certain hobbit was carrying the ring...

Honestly, I think this plot hole hunting is rather thin stuff...The world is complex, no matter how cleanly logical we try to make it...


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:40 pm 
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And I think that the desire of some to find no fault makes them blind to the obvious flaws. I don't WANT Tolkien's books to have flaws, but I'm not so blind as to refuse to see those that are there. But I see I'm completely wasting my time here, so I'll withdraw. I thought we were have an actual discussion, not a fan party.

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