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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:10 am 
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This is not a question of who was more powerful at creation, but who did more evil to the free peoples. I will argue that Sauron was the most powerful force for darkness in all of Middle-earth. And that his power was greater than Melkor's for much of history and he accomplished more than did morgoth. At creation of course melkor was the most powerful being created by Eru as the most powerful of the valar. However as I argue elsewhere the valar are not as powerful as often believed. Further the differences from valar to maiar I believe are not as great as often thought

“And the Valar drew unto them many companions, some less, some well nigh as great as themselves, and they laboured together in the ordering of the Earth and the curbing of its tumults.”
-The Sillmarillion Ainulindalë

“Melian was a maia, of the race of the valar”
-Of Thingol and melian


So maiar and valar are of the same race as elves are with men and elves like Thingol, married maiar like melian. The chief among the maiar in valinor was a Maiar Eönwë, the banner bearer and herald of Manwë, “whose might in arms is surpassed by none in arda.” Neither is the valar's “power” a power of strength- but a power in creation to accomplish Eru's design for them. In Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth Tolkien says of the valar “They had sufficient power for their functions.” Much of their power has to do with the potential for creation. Morgoth fled often from Tulkas even though he was the most powerful of the valar. As a poster stated

“Tolkien did not really think in terms of video game–style levels of power. Power to him was an intangible thing that can take many forms, and is not the same as raw strength or destructive ability. Tulkas, one of the Valar, is the strongest and the best at fighting; but he's certainly not the most powerful among them, and he readily accepts Manwë's leadership...Likewise, Morgoth at his height was the most powerful nondivine entity in Arda; but even he was defeated in a fight by Ungoliant, who could only do one thing (engulf and consume things in darkness), but could do it really, really well.To Tolkien, the power to resist, the power to stay true to your goals, the power to inspire other people to follow you, were all equally or more important than the power to win battles or use “magic” to change the world..”

Melkor poured much of his strength into the creation of arda [before his fall] reducing his power. Also he used much of his strength corrupting the matter itself of arda and pouring his malice into orcs and other creatures. Melkor was envious of Fëanor because of his great crafting abilities. Ungoliant the giant spider was able to match Morgoth in battle and he had to be saved by his servants the balrogs [his power was not yet reduced by giving it to other creatures yet, see Annuls of Ammon Morgoths Ring] .

“Ungoliante....drank and swelled to a shape so vast and hideous that even Melkor was adread...morgoth could not master her and she emeshed strangling webs, and his dreadful cry echoed throughout the world.”
- Morgoths Ring AAM


He later lost the silmarill to Beren and Luthian. He was besieged by the Noldor for 400 years. When the high elf king Fingolfin challenged melkor to a 1v1 fight. Morgoth feared Fingolfin and did not want the fight but had to accept given the horn blasts of Fingolfin being so loud that all his servants would know of his fear. In the 1v1 dual the elvin king wounded melkor eight times including one on his foot that bled and caused morgoth to forever limp. Morgoth gave a cry of anguish and his nearby chieftains “fell on there faces in dismay.”It was not until “the king grew weary” [having traveled a long distance to challenge melkor] that Morgoth was than able to kill him. Following the fight Thorondor king of the eagles, marred Morgoths face and stole the body of the king from him. Morgoth limped on one foot and never fully recovered from his wounds.

[Morgoth was]“Severely wounded by fingolfin and Thoronder in 455 and lost a silmarill to Beren and Luthian in 467”
-Robert Foster Tolkien's World from A to Z: The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth


Further it is prophesied in the second prophecy of mandos, Morgoth is to be killed by a man, Túrin.

"Sauron, greatest and most terrible of the servants of Morgoth, who in the Sindarin tongue was named Gorthaur".
-The Silmarillion, Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin.

“He became the greatest and most trusted of the servants of the Enemy, and the most perilous.”
-The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age


Sauron


Sauron was the greatest of Morgoth's Servants so much so that melkor left Sauron in charge of the war with the noldor when he left and Angband was controlled by Sauron and was the rallying point for the servants of Melkor after his capture.

“Melkor had made also a fortress [after called Angband]...this was in the command of Sauron.”
-The Later Sillmarillion the war of the Jewels

In the Grey Annuls we read that Sauron often led the successful assaults of morgoths armies in the first age such as on Inglor, Minias-tirith, Dorthonion etc. He also found Barahir and his outlaws when Morgoth could not “Thither, Barahir and his outlaws withdrew....and Morgoth could not discover it. Therefore he commanded Sauron to find and destroy the rebels speedily.” and Sauron did.

Sauron had accumulated vast knowledge from Melkor and other valar. ButSauron had not fallen so low as Morgoth. In myths transformed Tolkien said “He was not obliged to expand so much of himself” compared to Melkor. Sauron only spent his power on the rings while melkor poured his power into corruption middle earth and its creatures. This enabled Sauron to “pick up” where melkor left off and build upon his power and efforts.

“It was this Morgoth element in matter indeed witch was a prerequisite for such “magic” and other evils as Sauron practiced with it and upon it.”
-Myths Transformed


Also in myths transformed we read “Sauron was also wiser than melkor.” and “It was Sauron also, who secretly repaired Angband. And there the dark places underground were already manned with hosts of orcs.” and again “It was Sauron who, during the ages of melkor's captivity in Aman, brought into being the black armies that were available to his master when he returned.” Sauron not melkor had the idea of breeding orcs for infantry, melkor did so to make fun of men/elves out of hate. Further “Sauron achieved even greater control over his orcs than Morgoth had done.” It was also Sauron who worked to create trolls from a dumb useless beast.

“In their beginning... the eldar days, these were creatures of dull and lampish nature and had no more language than beasts. But Sauron had made use of them, teaching them, what they could learn, and increasing their wits and wildness.”
-J.R.R Tolkien Myths Transformed

Sauron was “more capable of calculation than melkor he was able to achieve things, first conceived by Melkor, which his master did not or could not complete in the furious haste of his malice.”
-Myths Transformed

Sauron invented the black speech and had more success than Morgoth in middle earth. Sauron was able to avoid capture by the valar and continued the work of his master into the fourth age. He has his way with the Eldar, sacking Eregion of the Noldor, holding at bay Elrond, and advancing toward the Grey Havens.For long peridos of time

“Sauron was become now a sorcerer of dreadful power, master of shadows and of phantoms, foul in wisdom, cruel in strength, misshaping what he touched, twisting what he ruled, Lord of werewolves, his dominion was torment.”
-The Sillmarillion

“Sauron became almost supreme in middle-earth.... he ruled a growing empire from the great dark tower of Barad-dûr in Mordor.... wielding the one ring.””
-Letters 131

“The strength of his terror and mastery over men had grown exceedingly great.”
-Akallabeth The Sillmarillion


Later he single handle took out the mightiest nation of men that ever lived, the Númenóreans. He than was abel to turn them against the valar and forced Eru to remake the world. In letters 130 Tolkien said of the attack on valinor “The Numen-oreans directed by Sauron could have wrought ruin in Valinor itself.” Sauron slayed the last high king of the Noldor Gilgalad, as well as Elendil. Nowhere did morgoth have this kind of success. He had to flee valinor after sneaking in while Eru had to change the world to stop Sauron. Further during the second age Sauron owned massive amounts of middle earth.

“Sauron was greater, effectively, in the Second Age, than Morgoth at the end of the First.”
-Morgoth's Ring, Myths Transformed


He became more powerful in the third age with the creation of the one ring.

“while he wore it his power was enhanced”
J.R.R Tolkien letters 130


He deceived the 9 who turned into the The Nazgûl, it is said in of the rings of power and the third age were “the mightiest of Saurons servants” and of course the strongest of them all the witch king himself and their use of fell beats in the third age. He recived some of the dwarves rings as well. He Corrupted Suaroman, created Grond to break down the walls of minas tirith and reunited the orcs to make war on the free peoples while reestablishing Mordor as the great power in middle earth.

_________________
“I am a Christian, that fact can be deduced from my stories.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humour (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late.”
-J.R.R Tolkien

“Tolkien was a lifelong enemy of big government in every form, not just the harsher forms we find in soviet communism, German Nazism, or Italian fascism, but also as it manifested itself in British democratic socialism and the mongol state capitalism in other parts of the west.”
-Jonathan Witt and Jay W The Hobbit Party: The vision of freedom that Tolkien got and the west forgot


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