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PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:33 pm 
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Nibonto Aagun
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Found this question worthwhile to discuss while re-reading LotR.

Why is it that Isildur had to cut-off Sauron's finger to take the Ring? He could have simply taken it off of Sauron's hand and the story would be no different. I haven't really thought about this before but is there any significance to Isildur cutting off Sauron's finger, as opposed to simply taking the Ring from Sauron's prone body? It may be that the Ring was just difficult to remove, and rather than trying to uncurl Sauron's fingers, Isildur solved the quicker of the two solutions.

But why just cut one finger? Wouldn't it have been easier to simply slash all the fingers from Sauron's hand? And why use the hilt-shard of a broken sword instead of Isildur's own sword or knife?

Also, is it in anyway significant that the Ring is never really removed from its wearer? The Ring just leaves Isildur and Gollum, Déagol never wears it, it is given up by Bilbo and Sam, and Sauron and Frodo have part of themselves removed, not the Ring, i.e. the connection between Ring and bearer is not directly broken, rather there is an internal severing in the bearer.
This is a fine distinction, but I think it is quite interesting that the Ring is never simply plucked from its wearer's hand (note, the Nazgûl were apparently unable to just take the Ring from Frodo).

What do you think? :)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 6:43 pm 
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The main reason Isildur keeps the Ring (or at least the one he is most conscious of) is as weregild for his father and brother. So perhaps cutting off the finger could also be seen as a sort of repayment to Sauron.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 3:24 am 
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I always thought of Sauron's body as "clothing", since he's a Maia, which means you can't really "kill" him. But you can separate the Ring from the rest of the Maia, and thereby cripple his power to the point where he couldn't stay corporeal. But that's just my completely non-scholarly-Tolkien-fangirl take on it.

Of course, this theory is not in anyway propped up by Gandalf (another Maia) actually killing the Balrog (another Maia), and temporarily dying, so I tend not to think about it too hard, and just enjoy the ride.

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~ Albert Camus


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 4:12 am 
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Feeling grateful
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It really depends on what is meant by "Sauron himself was overthrown, and Isildur cut the Ring from his hand with the hilt-shard of his father's sword." The implication is that he was overthrown by Elendil and Gil-Galad in the battle in which they also died, and that then Isildur cut the Ring from his hand, but what does it really mean that he was overthrown? It is doubtful that it means that he was killed, as Gandalf was when he threw down the Balrog. I have always interpreted it as meaning that Gil-Galad and Elendil severely wounded Sauron's body, leaving him vulnerable to Isildur's final blow severing his finger and thus removing him from the Ring, and all of his power that he had placed into the Ring. Thus it had to be done quickly and decisively and Isildur would not have had time to casually slip the Ring off of Sauron's finger.

Plus it sounds more dramatic. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:29 pm 
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Not to mention the fact that anyone resisting having a ring pulled off is in a good position to prevent it. Cutting the finger was probably the only way, especially since he was in a hurry. And the hilt-shard of the sword would have already been in Isildur's hand. Easy enough with a good blade to grasp the finger and slice.

(Eww, what a gruesome thread! :shock: )


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:28 am 
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Nibonto Aagun
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Thank you for the responses and to make me understand the text better. :)

And yes, it's a gruesome topic. :twisted:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:33 pm 
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chocolate bearer
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And it's a Chekov's gun for Gollum/Frodo.

Checkov's amputation?

:D

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In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

~ Albert Camus


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