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Old 12-08-2012, 02:35 PM   #6
Inziladun
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Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.Inziladun is a guest of Galadriel in Lothlórien.
Having given this more thought, I wonder if it wasn't Saruman's apparent non-magical "fire of Orthanc" that may have lit the fuse (pun definitely intended) for the ultimate development of such weapons, leading to their widespread use beyond the Fourth Age.

With the Istari gone, Elves dwindling and having over time less and less contact with the kingdoms of Men, it doesn't seem much of a stretch that over time the moral equation of impersonal technology designed to kill great numbers with "Morgothian" behavior would have fallen by the wayside. With that blockage gone, and always new enemies (of other Men), the motivation would have been there.
Though at the end of LOTR the reader is left with hope that King Elessar would lay a sure enough foundation that Gondor at least would remain true in heart to its old allegiance to the West, Tolkien himself began a story set after Elessar's death in which Gondorian boys were playing at "orcs" and the people there, in keeping with the state in our own world, were becoming ill at ease with peace. All that is to say that if the reader had been given a glimpse into Middle-earth just a few hundred years later, I don't think it's impossible that cannonballs could have been flying in some battle or other.
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