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Old 09-03-2012, 11:07 AM   #1
Pervinca Took
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LOTR - A Long-Postponed Re-Read

Mods, is it OK for me to start this thread? I haven't actually read LOTR from cover to cover since my second complete perusal of it almost thirty years ago, although I have dipped into it on many occasions.

I've finally found the time to completely reread it again, (that is to say, I finished "The Council of Elrond" this morning, and do not intend to start anything else until I have finished the whole book, including the Appendices), and thought it might be interesting to share new insights/similarities and differences in my reaction to it now as compared with my reactions as a much younger person.

I would be fascinated to hear other posters' changing reactions to the book too (or even non-changing, as the case may be!) I don't read LOTR every year, but I have a strong memory for texts that I really connect with, and I am now discovering the bits I had forgotten, through not periodically re-reading the entire work.

I know there are threads discussing each chapter, but I was thinking more of general impressions, and how they change.

Again, if there is already a thread covering this, I apologise and will await deletion.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:46 PM   #2
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White Tree

Well, i had read to entire book twice before i watched the movie and each time i imagined certain things differently. For example; the first time i read about Lorien and Galadriel i didn't think Galadriel was very powerful (don't ask me why because i don't know) but the second time i was almost scared of her power and i was like-Wow! This is NOT an elf to mess with. I don't know if it was the difference in ages-even though i was 11 both times-i think i had a new found respect for the book and its characters, more so than the first time. Maybe i was not paying attention to what i was reading or...

I don't know, but great idea for a thread Pervinca and i hope more people post stuff.
And about there already being a thread-i have no idea.
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Old 10-13-2012, 04:14 PM   #3
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Have finished, barring the Appendices - and am up to the family trees.

Am wondering - why didn't Ar-Pharazon try to take the Ring from Sauron when he took him prisoner? I take it Sauron had him in a kind of spell, since he managed the Downfall of Numenor through his "imprisonment." If Ar-P desired immortality, the Ring would have given him that - after a fashion. Maybe Sauron deflected this with a very lyrical hard sell about invading Valinor.

Or maybe this is told in more depth somewhere else (Unfinished Tales, perhaps), and I've forgotten it.
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Old 10-13-2012, 04:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Pervinca Took View Post
Am wondering - why didn't Ar-Pharazon try to take the Ring from Sauron when he took him prisoner? I take it Sauron had him in a kind of spell, since he managed the Downfall of Numenor though his "imprisonment." If Ar-P desired immortality, the Ring would have given him that - after a fashion. Maybe Sauron deflected this with a very lyrical hard sell about invading Valinor.

Or perhaps this is told in more depth somewhere else (Unfinished Tales, perhaps), and I've forgotten it.
Odds are, Pharazôn didn't know anything of the One Ring. The best source of information on the subject would have been the Eldar in Middle-earth, and Pharazôn wouldn't have been disposed to ask them anything.

Even if legends of the Rings of Power remained in Númenor, I can see Pharazón convincing himself the tales, with an "Elvish" origin, weren't worth worrying over.
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Old 10-13-2012, 04:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Inziladun View Post
Odds are, Pharazôn didn't know anything of the One Ring. The best source of information on the subject would have been the Eldar in Middle-earth, and Pharazôn wouldn't have been disposed to ask them anything.

Even if legends of the Rings of Power remained in Númenor, I can see Pharazón convincing himself the tales, with an "Elvish" origin, weren't worth worrying over.
Good point.

I was quite astonished at how long Sauron held the Ring before he was overthrown. Plenty of time to wreak all kinds of destruction. I know there were far more of the Eldar in Middle-earth then to withstand him, not to mention the Last Alliance, but it makes me wonder exactly how powerful the Ring was.
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:42 PM   #6
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I'm sure Sauron did not take his Ring to Numenor or it would have been lost when Numenor was destroyed. He left it in Mordor and took it up again after the cataclysm.
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:29 PM   #7
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I'm sure Sauron did not take his Ring to Numenor or it would have been lost when Numenor was destroyed. He left it in Mordor and took it up again after the cataclysm.
It is clear that Sauron did have the Ring in his possession when taken to Númenor.
Aside from the question whether Sauron would have felt secure enough to have the One Ring not only out of his sight, but across an ocean, Tolkien himself said:

Quote:
[Sauron] naturally had the One Ring, and so very soon dominated the minds and wills of most Númenóreans. (I do not think Ar-Pharazôn knew anything about the One Ring. The Elves kept the matter of the Rings very secret, as long as they could. In any case Ar-Pharazôn was not in communication with them...)
Letters #211

I wish I'd known of that letter when I made my earlier remark.

As for how Sauron's disembodied spirit could have transported the Ring back to Mordor, Tolkien said in the same letter:

Quote:
Though reduced to 'a spirit of hatred borne on a dark wind', I do not think one need boggle at this spirit carrying off the One Ring, upon which his power of dominating minds now largely depended.
Sauron was an 'angelic' spirit, after all, and even though he lacked a physical body, maybe what carried the Ring was his will.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:32 AM   #8
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Sauron did not have the one ring in Numenor, as it was clearly stated in the end of Akkalabeth:

Quote:
But Sauron was not of mortal flesh, and though
he was robbed now of that shape in which he had wrought so great an
evil, so that he could never again appear fair to the eyes of Men, yet his
spirit arose out of the deep and passed as a shadow and a black wind
over the sea, and came back to Middle-earth and to Mordor that was his
home. There he took up again his great Ring in Barad-dûr, and dwelt
there, dark and silent, until he wrought himself a new guise, an image of
malice and hatred made visible; and the Eye of Sauron the Terrible few
could endure.
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:32 AM   #9
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I think I would take that to mean "started openly wielding it again" and/or "resumed using it from Barad-dur." I just couldn't see him leaving it on the mantlepiece while he went off to Numenor. There was simply too much of himself in it. Maybe he could trust the Nazgul to guard it, since they were already completely enslaved (and he did send them out to the Shire, several thousands of years later, to fetch it), but it still seems too much of a risk.

I think I'd maybe compare it to Gandalf finally wearing Narya openly, just before embarking on the ship back to Valinor.

Very interesting source, though, d4rk3lf.

Quote:
Sauron was an 'angelic' spirit, after all, and even though he lacked a physical body, maybe what carried the Ring was his will.
By the same token, I'm guessing that beings such as Gandalf and Sauron would not feel the Ring's magical weight, either. Elrond refers to the Ring-quest as "a heavy burden," and I think his intended meaning is literal as well as metaphorical, but although great among the Wise, and a descendant of Melian, he is not an angelic being himself, and is probably remembering Isildur, the first "mortal" Ringbearer, whom he would remember in his earliest days of "possessing" the Ring.
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Old 10-15-2012, 08:09 AM   #10
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I believe that the comment about Sauron taking up his "great Ring in Barad-dûr" referred not to the One at all. Rather, "ring" in that context meant the fortress of Barad-dûr. Similar uses of "ring" are found with the "Ring of Doom" of the Valar, and the "Ring of Isengard".
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Pervinca Took View Post
it makes me wonder exactly how powerful the Ring was.
The Ring had the power to corrupt but I think it was meant in the end to work in concert with the other Rings so that Sauron could control the free peoples of Middle Earth. Anything built with the One would always stand until the Ring itself was destroyed. However, with the One he was able to corrupt the king's line in Numenor save the Faithful, but, "Ar-Pharazôn...grew to the mightiest tyrant that had yet been in the world since the reign of Morgoth" [Sil, p. 339]. Not even his most powerful servants could stand against the Numenoreans [Sil, p. 334].
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:27 PM   #12
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I'm sure Sauron did not take his Ring to Numenor or it would have been lost when Numenor was destroyed. He left it in Mordor and took it up again after the cataclysm.
I think it is possible he did have the Ring and brought it back with him to Mordor when Eru took action. He was one of the beings who built Middle Earth. I think he could take his Ring back with him even if he were unbodied.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by d4rk3lf View Post
Sauron did not have the one ring in Numenor, as it was clearly stated in the end of Akkalabeth:
The reason I cannot see this is because of the Ring's influence on its wearers. I do not think there is a way Sauron could simply set his Ring aside. Anyone who bore it thought it precious and did not want it out of their sight. Also ring need not necessarily refer to those you put on your finger.
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:10 AM   #14
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The question is why would Sauron needed the ring in Numenor?
He was a prisoner, and then later, an advisor. He doesn't need the ring to be king's advisor.

Also, it seems perfectly logical to me, that Sauron left the ring to Nazguls during negotiations, so if he got killed during negotiations, he could resurrect again (after all, he did that after the destruction of Numenor. His body was killed, and he resurrect again in Barad Dur, with the help of the ring, I think).

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Old 10-16-2012, 03:21 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by d4rk3lf View Post
The question is why would Sauron needed the ring in Numenor?
He was a prisoner, and then later, an advisor. He doesn't need the ring to be king's advisor.
Sauron may not have had to have the Ring to dominate Ar-Pharazôn (especially when much that he told the King was in line with what Pharazôn already thought), but its power would have been a great asset all the same.

Quote:
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Also, it seems perfectly logical to me, that Sauron left the ring to Nazguls during negotiations, so if he got killed during negotiations, he could resurrect again (after all, he did that after the destruction of Numenor. His body was killed, and he resurrect again in Barad Dur, with the help of the ring, I think).
Since Sauron had so much riding on the Ring (it contained a good deal of his native power) it would have been absolute madness for him to have willingly left it behind, especially when there was no need to do so. Like I said, Pharazôn didn't even know about the One, so Sauron had nothing to lose by keeping it with him, but would have risked everything by not taking it along. Sure, he could have left it in the care of the Nazgûl, but the possibility of its loss would have always been present. Again, why risk that when it wasn't necessary?
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Old 10-16-2012, 03:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
[Sauron] naturally had the One Ring, and so very soon dominated the minds and wills of most Númenóreans. (I do not think Ar-Pharazôn knew anything about the One Ring. The Elves kept the matter of the Rings very secret, as long as they could. In any case Ar-Pharazôn was not in communication with them...)
Quote:
But Sauron was not of mortal flesh, and though he was robbed now of that shape in which he had wrought so great an evil, so that he could never again appear fair to the eyes of Men, yet his spirit arose out of the deep and passed as a shadow and a black wind over the sea, and came back to Middle-earth and to Mordor that was his home. There he took up again his great Ring in Barad-dûr, and dwelt there, dark and silent, until he wrought himself a new guise, an image of malice and hatred made visible; and the Eye of Sauron the Terrible few
could endure.
It would not be the first or last time the prof wrote something at one time and contradicted it on another...
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Old 10-16-2012, 04:16 PM   #17
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It would not be the first or last time the prof wrote something at one time and contradicted it on another...
True enough. I think the second quote could be explained though by what I said earlier.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:00 PM   #18
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I don't see that the second necessarily contradicts the first
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:39 PM   #19
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But that Sauron did not take the Ring to Númenor is never said by Tolkien. It is only said by d4rk3lf who cites some some supposed logic which only shows what d4rk3lf imagines and need not be what Tolkien or any others of his readers imagine.

Tolkien wrote:
There he took up again his great Ring in Barad-dûr, and dwelt there, dark and silent, until he wrought himself a new guise, an image of malice and hatred made visible; …
Tolkien does not write anything here about the whereabouts of the Great Ring during the period when Sauron was in Númenor, only that Sauron, hidden in Barad-dûr, there took up his Ring again and over some period of time devised for himself a new form. It is only imagining by a reader that fills in the gap, that perhaps Sauron takes up the Ring which he has carried to Barad-dûr in the form of a spirit or that perhaps Sauron takes up the Ring which has lain hidden in Barad-dûr.

In Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, letter 211, 14 Oct. 1958, Rhona Beare asked, “How could Ar-Pharazôn defeat Sauron when Sauron had the One Ring?” Tolkien writes a response indicating:
He (Sauron) naturally had the One Ring, and so very soon dominated the minds and wills of most of the Númenóreans. (I do not think Ar-Pharazôn knew anything about the One Ring. The Elves kept the matter of the Rings very secret as long as they could. In any case, Ar-Pharazôn was not in communication with them. … )
Tolkien continues:
Though reduced to a ‘spirit of hatred borne on a dark wind’, I do not think one need boggle at this spirit carrying off the One Ring, upon which his power of dominating minds now largely depended.
Tolkien might have more easily pointed out to Rhona Beare that Sauron is not said to have had the One Ring in his possession in Númenor and saved himself some writing. But, at least on 14 Oct. 1958, Tolkien thought not.

Had Tolkien ever thought so? Well, Tolkien’s original Númenor writing was done long before Tolkien had invented any such idea as the “One Ring”. It was only in writing The Lord of the Rings that there emerged the idea of the One Ring upon which Sauron’s power later depended. But after than point we first have Rhona Beare and himself in this letter, neither of which interprets the text as d4rk3lf does.
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