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Old 05-01-2002, 04:58 PM   #1
Halfir
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Sting Why didn't Sauron make use of the dragons?

It is perhaps an interesting commentary on Sauron's power vis a vis that of Melkor that in LOTR he makes no use of the dragons that are left in ME. That there are dragons still in existence is confirmed by Gandalf. Is it that they had been so defeated in previous wars that they had no further spirit for the fight? Or is it that Sauron lacked the power of his great master and could not control them? Indeed, it could also be argfued that the Balrog in Moria was acting under its own devices and not that of Sauron, but that is not a contention I pursue here.
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Old 05-01-2002, 05:44 PM   #2
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The Balrog had been cohabiting with Sauron's orcs for several hundred years, so they at least had an understanding. However, it is doubtful that the Balrog was actually under the control with Sauron. Sauron let much of his own power pass into the ring, and without it Sauron's power to dominate others was severely weakened. The Ring gave power according to the stature of the possessor; Sauron's power to dominate others was greatly enhanced by the Ring (it was after all made to dominate the 3 elven rings). I believe in the Unfinished Tales (maybe the Letters) it says at the end of the Second Age (Sauron has possession of the Ring) that Sauron gathered to himself all of the fell creatures that were under the dominion of Morgoth. So it is possible that Sauron did control the Dragon's during the Second Age, and they are just not mentioned. However, it is more likely that the shock of losing the will of Melkor put the Dragon's out of commission for most, if not all of the Second Age. They would have started to recover and gain some independence of their own by the time of the third age, but by this time Sauron no longer controlled the Ring. It would be very unlikely that without the Ring, Sauron would have had the power to dominate a creature as powerful as a dragon, and equally if not more unlikely that he could compel the Balrog to obey him. This also raises the question of what type of a Fea (spirit) inhabits a dragon and how independent the dragons actually were.

[ May 01, 2002: Message edited by: Thingol ]
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Old 05-01-2002, 08:54 PM   #3
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1420!

Maybe because he didn't want to...
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Old 05-01-2002, 10:20 PM   #4
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Hehehe...

Good comment after Thingol's exceptionally detailed account. I'm sure Halfir knows more than he ever wanted to about dragons now. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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Old 05-02-2002, 06:28 AM   #5
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Thingol: thanks for your very comprehensive reply. I too had inclined to the idea of the weakness of Sauron to control without the ring the capriciousness of dragons, and your very helpful post comfirms me in that belief.

Dragons quite clearly had their own ideas and pleasures - mainly to do with the acquisition of riches (in that trait they much resemble the dwarves!) Glaurung, for example, at the taking of the Elven fortress of Nagothrond turned on the Orcs who were plundering the fortress and took all the plunder for himself. Given such wilful 'servants', and without the power of the Ring, it is more than likely that Sauron was unable to coerce them to his service.

On the other hand, as was also posted, he might not have wanted to, or the dragons themselves might have decided to opt out of any future dealings with him! However, I prefer your theory.
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Old 05-03-2002, 09:41 AM   #6
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Thingol: I forgot to say that I liked your phrase about the Balro co-habiting with the Orcs. It put a somewhat different gloss on the usual approach to the subject!
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Old 05-03-2002, 11:01 AM   #7
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Weren't there very few dragons left at the end of the Third Age in the first place? Wasn't Smaug one of the last?
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Old 05-03-2002, 11:49 PM   #8
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Silmaril

Speculation: Maybe dragons were part of an age older than Sauron and needed to be wooed into service, much like Shelob was. Dragons' motivations seem to be to possess treasure rather than to control people. A slightly different sort of evil. Perhaps Sauron and his minions had nothing to offer dragons whereas orcs could offer Shelob food and thus form a mutually beneficial alliance.
Sauron and those who seek power often are unwilling to part with treasure as well. The dragons' price was perhaps too high.
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Old 05-04-2002, 07:28 AM   #9
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Sauron was one of the Ainur, one of the original spirits created by Iluvatar (God of Middle Earth) in the beginning of time. The dragons do not belong to an earlier age, they were first conceived by Melkor, Sauron's master, during the first age of Middle Earth. Glaurung was the first of the dragons, he lacked wings and was consequently land bound.
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Old 05-05-2002, 11:29 PM   #10
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By inference from Gandalf's comments I think you are probably correct. But it still leaves at large the question of Sauron's non-use of them, which I think Thingol's post answers pretty well.
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Old 02-20-2003, 02:45 PM   #11
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Sting

One thing Is certain, Gandalf was worried about Sauron using the dragon Smaug. In U.T. the quest for Erebor He says...

"You may think that Rivendell was out of his reach, but I did not think so. The state of things in the North was very bad. The Kingdom under the Mountain and the strong men of Dale were no more. To resist any force that Sauron might send to regain the northern passes in the mountains and the old lands of Angmar there were only the Dwarves of the Iron hills, and behind them lay a desolation and a dragon. The Dragon Sauron might use with terrible effect. Often I said to myself: I must find some way of dealing woth Smaug.

It seems clear that Gandalf intervention kept at least one dragon from joining the War of the Ring. I think that Smaug was the only real dragon threat at the time.

[ March 06, 2003: Message edited by: Michel Delving ]
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Old 02-20-2003, 06:10 PM   #12
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Yep, I was going to point that out, but now I don't need to!

Welcome to BD, btw. You are associated with the Dwarven Delving website, by any chance?
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Old 02-21-2003, 08:05 AM   #13
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Silmaril

This is just my own two-cents, but even if Sauron had the power to dominate the dragons, do you think he would? I imagine he'd be slightly miffed at them, considering some of them had consumed some of his Dwarven rings. That fact alone would have had him attempting to completely enslave and torment them, if he could, but since he didn't, it leads me to believe that either their usefullness slipped his mind (such as the existence of hobbits once did) or he didn't, at any given time after Isildur took his ring, have the power to, and thus left them alone to pursue more important matters, like the finding of his own ring which would give him the definate power needed for world-domination. I prefer to think that he was too busy to deal with the dragons.
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Old 02-21-2003, 08:59 AM   #14
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Sting

Orodhromeus was right. During the War of Wrath, very few of the Dragons escaped. Maybe even less dragons than Balrogs. Smaug was one of the last (or maybe even the last) dragons in Middle-earth. Even if any else did still exist, they all lived to far in the Forodwaith for Sauron to bother with.
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Old 02-21-2003, 09:36 AM   #15
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I think I read in the 'Grey Annals'(HoME 11) that two Dragons escaped out the whole lot. Though it is probable this was only early draftings, so as for it's legibility in Tolkien's later works, I am uncertain....
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Old 02-21-2003, 12:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
even if Sauron had the power to dominate the dragons, do you think he would?
If I was Sauron and I had any chance of enlisting the aid of Dragons, I'd take it. Wouldn't you? [img]smilies/evil.gif[/img]
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Old 02-21-2003, 01:55 PM   #17
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I think if a Balrog/Dragon 'worked for' sauron they would be more like allys than servants, they were very powerful and i think sauron would have to win them over or bribe them.
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Old 02-21-2003, 02:38 PM   #18
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Shield

Sauron was without a doubt much stronger than the dragons. i don't believe smaug was the last of the dragons, just really close. i beilieve there were some dragons living up North in the desolation. i can't remember where i heard that, but in makes sense to me since [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img] for the Dragons who escaped in the War of Wrath to have stayed up North where there master was. Remember the Balrogs in the First Age when they totted Melkor to Valinor? the Balrogs stayed in Utumno, or in neighboring regions, waiting for their Master's return. why couldn't ther Dragons do the same.

BTW, was there any clear count how many Dragons escaped the Great Battle?
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Old 02-21-2003, 08:04 PM   #19
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Sting

Didn't I read somewhere that Morgoth had to put a bit of his power into his evil allies such as dragons, and this weakened him to the point he eventually could be overcome? I'm going out on a limb with this because I don't remember my source.

With Sauron ringless his power was already reduced. Perhaps he wanted to avoid the same mistake. (of course Gandalf helped eliminate some likely candidates! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] )
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Old 02-22-2003, 01:00 PM   #20
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Sting

Ran across this last night and thought it would be good to add it here.

Quote:
Therefore he (Sauron) hid his knowledge of Saruman’s double dealing and concealed his wrath, biding his time, and preparing for the great war in which he planned to sweep all his enemies into the western sea. At length he resolved that no others would serve him in this case but his mightiest servants, the Ringwraiths, who had no will but his own, being each utterly subservient to the ring that had enslaved him, which Sauron held.

UT IV “The Hunt For the Ring”
Note that this was very early on just after Gollum was released.
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Old 02-22-2003, 01:47 PM   #21
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Tolkien

Not trying to sound overly precocious or anything, but Sauron was a Maia (of Aule), not one of the Ainur... "The Silmarillion," (Valaquenta-Of the enemies). [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 02-22-2003, 02:50 PM   #22
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In FotR, Gandalf tells Frodo that there are no dragons left that could melt Rings of Power. This suggests two things. There were dragons left after Smaug, the Great Dragon, but, they were not useful to Sauron. Perhaps also, these poor excuses for dragons lived in areas uninhabited by Sauron's enemies and could not be tempted to move.
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Old 02-22-2003, 04:04 PM   #23
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Quote:
Sauron was a Maia (of Aule), not one of the Ainur...
Maiar were Ainur.
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Old 02-23-2003, 09:32 AM   #24
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Quote:
In FotR, Gandalf tells Frodo that there are no dragons left that could melt Rings of Power. This suggests two things. There were dragons left after Smaug, the Great Dragon, but, they were not useful to Sauron. Perhaps also, these poor excuses for dragons lived in areas uninhabited by Sauron's enemies and could not be tempted to move.
--Imladrien
I think he said that no Dragon could EVER burn the ring of power, except for maybe Ancalagon, though he was doubtful about him, too.

I think that there is a mention of Dragons living in the Northern Waste, close to Ered Mithrin (The grey Mountains.)

I also found this quote form the tale of years;HoME 11:

"Ancalagon is cast down by Earendil and all save two of the dragons are destroyed"

As i have mentioned earlier, it may have just been a brief note, soon abandoned by Tolkien, on how many Dragons escaped the War of Wrath.
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Old 02-23-2003, 11:57 AM   #25
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Ok time for the exact quote from FotR Shadow of the Past chapter about 3/4 of the way through, Gandalf to Frodo:
Quote:
It has been said that dragon-fire could melt and consume the Rings of Power, but there is not now any dragon left on earth which the old fire is hot enough; nor was there ever any dragon, not even Ancalagon the Black, who could have harmed the One Ring, the Ruling Ring, for that was made by Sauron himself.
So no dragon, not even the biggest, baddest dragon had what it would take to melt the One Ring. The quote says that the big, bad ones could melt the Rings of Power, but, there aren't any left now that are able. It doesn't say that there aren't any dragons left -- period.
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Old 02-23-2003, 06:44 PM   #26
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Was Smaug one of Ancalagon's host? Did he participate in the War of Wrath?
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Old 02-23-2003, 07:14 PM   #27
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it's possible that he he was or on the other side it's may be that he was a weak one who after the destruction of the most power ones he became the greatest through process of elmination. ponder that for just a moment.
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Old 02-23-2003, 07:26 PM   #28
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TO Thingol:

first of all cohabitate means to live together in PEACE the Balrog ruled with fear and the balrog and Sauron were both Maia so they were both of equal power
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Old 02-24-2003, 01:32 AM   #29
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All Maiar were not equal.
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Old 02-24-2003, 01:53 AM   #30
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I think that after the will of melkor(morgoth) was diminished they had not a purpose to join with sauron
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Old 04-14-2004, 05:26 AM   #31
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1420! No, Thank 'Ee, I Won't.

Quote:
At length he resolved that no others would serve him in this case but his mightiest servants, the Ringwraiths, who had no will but his own, being each utterly subservient to the ring that had enslaved him, which Sauron held.
Interesting. So there is a theory going about that Sauron was a bit nervous of the fickle beasties? That their lust for treasure may extend to his Preciousess? True, it was not believed that a dragon could harm the One Ring, but you'd hardly want to fetch it out of Smaug's gullet, would you?

Michel Delving makes an excellent point: Gandalf himself believed that Sauron could "use" Smaug. *Shudder!* The thought that the Dark Lord was so powerful that he could simply use a dragon as his tool is pretty scary. Maybe this would have come to pass if not for Gandalf's intervention. Smaug decided to up and fly south to Erebor at the time that the power of Sauron was strongest in Dol Guldur. Coincidence? I doubt it; Sauron had a habit of drawing all nastiness to him. I think if it hadn't been for Thorin and Company (not to mention Bard the Bowman and a little birdie), Smaug and Sauron may have had a lot more to do with each other.

Glaurung had basically his own private army of Orcs for the Sack of Nargothrond. If Sauron had provided Smaug with the same thing, it would have been a catastrophe for Middle Earth.
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Old 04-14-2004, 08:07 AM   #32
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Smaug

But if Smaug was killed with one arrow, wouldn't it have been a piece of cake for the archers of the king and such. I mean, 20 bowman must hit something if not a gigantic belly. But didn't Smaug have any spawns? I mean, dragon's have children. (freaky as it seems they do. I wonder how they do that. Perhaps a bit of Violins and Barry White *shrug*)
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Old 04-14-2004, 10:26 PM   #33
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Perhaps, but one must also take into account several factors. First of all, the arrow that shot Smaug down was of special repute. It was fashioned by the dwarves of Erebor during the height of their power, or so Bard claims right before taking that final, fateful shot. That alone gives the material properties of the weapon greater fortitude. Second, Bard also knew what he was aiming for. With Smaug flying around and creating general chaos, the odds of a random arrow piercing that specific spot on his breast are less than inspiring. It's possible, surely, but not probable - even if a bunch of archers were firing upon him. Finally, Bard has a personal grudge against the dragon, being a direct descendant of the Kings of Dale, whom Smaug gratuitously destroyed centuries earlier. The force behind his shot was one of bitter vengeance, not only for destroying the home of his ancestors but also his current home.

Also, Bard had always been able to retrieve that one black arrow. Not to become too deterministic, but perhaps there's a reason why that one particular arrow hung around for so many years, just as a certain hobbit was "meant" to get a ring. But let's not look too deeply into things, shall we?
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Old 04-15-2004, 08:41 AM   #34
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I think we have to assume that some Dragons survived after Smoug was defeated. As Thorin says;
Quote:
There were many Dragons in the North.
Thorin: The Hobbit, An unexpected party
We aren’t told what happened to these dragons though. If the dragons were around in the north which we can guess to ether be the northern waste, blue mountains, or Helcar. These wide lands may be suited to Dragons.
The reasons behind Sauron not using the dragons is perhaps because he did not think that they would be useful in a battle situation, After Smoug was defeated, perhaps the other dragons weren’t considered as much as a threat. Dragons were not very trust worthy, Glourong often desolated even the orcs that were supposed to be helping him, and Perhaps Sauron did not want to risk the same.
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Old 04-16-2004, 04:11 AM   #35
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Either there must have been more than two dragons that survived the War of Wrath, or they bred. There were three dragons mentioned in the Third Age, Smaug, Scatha and the cold-drake that killed Dain I and Frór. The cold-drake can't be Scatha, for Scatha was already dead then, and it can't be Smaug, for he was a fire-dragon.
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