the Prophecy of the Witch-king

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manwe1 25/Aug/2006 at 07:06 PM
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I have heard many theories about the witch-king’s death. there are many questions on the prophecy. Many are trying to interpret too much.
I look at it like this. Glorfindel says, in a flash of forsight, that the witch-king will not fall by the hand of man. Does this mean that the witch-king has suddenly gained an invicibility against the male sex. this is not true. There was nothing stopping a man from attacking and defeating the witch-king. The fact that the prophecy, due to the process of free will, came to pass, in no way grants the witch-king any extra protection agains a man.
Qtpie 25/Aug/2006 at 07:13 PM
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manwe1 you are absolutely correct. Glorfindel’s prophecy didn’t mean that no Men can defeat the Witch-King. It just meant that the Witch-King would not fall to the blade of Men. So what is your question?
manwe1 25/Aug/2006 at 07:17 PM
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more of a discussion topic than a question.
Qtpie 25/Aug/2006 at 07:18 PM
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Oh, ok.
merickson 25/Aug/2006 at 07:21 PM
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There is a philisophical question in there. How can you combine free will with true prophecy?

Given that Glorfindles prophecy was true, then a man could not kill the Witch King. Even though there was no magic sheild protecting him from man weilded swords, he could not be killed by a man.

What difference, if any, is there between truely prophecying that he would not be killed by a man and bestowing that magic sheild on him?
manwe1 25/Aug/2006 at 07:27 PM
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no, the prophecy merely states that man WOULDN’T kill the witch-king, not that they COULDN’T kill him.
look at the prophecy of Malbeth the seer. in aragorn’s decision, if he hadn’t taken the paths of the dead, he wouldn’t have been able to stop the corsair fleet. yet if it weren’t for pippen grabbing the orthanc stone, none of this may have come to pass.
Also, "...That they may live outside and beyond the music which is as fate to all else." (Ainuidale.....I think). this states that there is no FATE guiding the path of the race of man, but that it is all free will.
Lord_Vidύm 25/Aug/2006 at 07:30 PM
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Well, that magic shield could have been the people same feelings. I mean who would dare to kill the one who cannot fall by the hands of man? Pretty brave ones, but bravery against the Witchking (And all the Nazguls) is easily lost. So i come to the idea that it was not only the Prophecy and a "Magic" shield, but it is also the results of it.

Eowyn had no problem with that however, because she was a woman, and Merry I don’t think he knew of that Prophecy- he merely knew what they were fighting against.

Istanira 25/Aug/2006 at 07:34 PM
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Well, the way I understand it, the prophesy is not so much dependent upon the object of the prophesy (any action he or she may take) so much as it is upon the prophesizer--and that all prophesy is a gift of Eru.

Only Eru, and through him, some of the Ainur, are given visions of what the future holds; and these visions have been understood as being incomplete (in ’The Silmarillion’ ) . However, for whatever reason, the future can be revealed to some outside these original beings who were given knowledge.

The WK--who had heard this prophesy before--probably interpreted it exactly as Glofindel had revealed it, word for word; in other words, that he had (in his ’free will’ ) interpreted that he had some special immunity from the hand of Men. However, he interpreted the vision wrongly--he was indeed felled by the hand of Men--a wo(man) and a hobbit (relative of Men).
Istanira 25/Aug/2006 at 07:35 PM
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oh dear. major simul!
Lord_Vidύm 25/Aug/2006 at 07:42 PM
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Istarina, don’t forget what happened to Earnur, who instead of listening to the steward and the prophecy of Glorfindel long ago, went to fight the Witcking. Probably that’s why and he failed, and that was something that could make the people to believe that the WK would never fall by hands of man and waited for something bigger to bring him down.

As for the Prophecies, I think that Mandos could be a strong example. Whatever is said, cannot be unsaid. The Doom of Mandos upon the Noldor kings did idead come true- and when he warned them it was just like a prophecy. After that Ulmo was only aware of the elves, and he tried to resist the Doom- however he could not (He sent Tuor to save Gondolin, however the city was finally in ruins)

Istanira 25/Aug/2006 at 07:56 PM
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Lord V yes, I don’t forget Earnur, and sure, most of those other guys are just reacting to the situation and not heading any prophesy (that is but a guess on my part--the prophesy was spoken only to a few, right?) . Earnur didn’t listen because he was hot-headed.

Frodo, however, did hear the prophesy from Gandalf, right? ; even still, he resisted the WK on Weathertop. Merry certainly disregarded the prophesy--if he had ever heard it; he participated (as did Eowyn) in his demise.

I am not sure the Doom of Mandos is the same as a prophesy; Mandos knows the future as much as Manwe under Eru. He alone of the Ainur paid attention to the Music. He probably knows (not prophesy-knows, but true-knows) what the future holds.
manwe1 25/Aug/2006 at 07:59 PM
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all we know of earnur was that he was challenged in minas morgul, and, ignoring the advice of the steward, went, never to return. We know nothing of what happened at minas morgul. While it is possible that earnur did indeed fall at the hand of the witch-king, it is just as possible that he was ambushed by a legion of orcs or the rest of the nine.
Lord_Vidύm 25/Aug/2006 at 08:08 PM
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Well, it is said that since there was no witness of his death (he actually died unable to kill WK) the people of Gondor thought that he had been ambushed and was taken to Minas Morgul were he died of tortures. I think that shows that what happened was an Ambush- yet still the Prophecy had to be fullfiled.
Istanira 25/Aug/2006 at 08:11 PM
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It doesn’t matter by what hands Earnur fell; but fall he did. Nevertheless, he was told by Glorfindel himself that the WK would not fall by ’any man’s hands’; yet, he chose not to listen.
Istanira 25/Aug/2006 at 08:12 PM
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simul again! Lord Vi
Moros 25/Aug/2006 at 08:25 PM
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Lord_Vidum--I agree with manwe1. We do not know exactly what happened to Earnur. One can make the assumption that the Witch-king indeed stayed true to his word and faced Earnur in battle, but as is said, it is more likely that Earnur was captured and/or killed in an ambush arranged by the Witch-king. If the former is the case, then that reinforces the prophecy, but if it is the latter then it has no affect whatsoever since Earnur and the Witch-king never made contact.

In any case though, whether Earnur faced the Witch-king directly or not, I do not think it has any bearing on the prophecy. For, as was stated before, it wasn’t that the Witch-king couldn’t be deafeated by a man, but rather that he wouldn’t. That is, even if Earnur did face the Witch-king mono e mono (yeah, I don’t care if I totally butchered that ), it was not the Witch-king’s time to die and Earnur was not the person to kill him and so the Witch-king lived. Eowyn was meant to kill the Witch-king, not Earnur.

As for the Doom of Mandos, I would not put that into the same category as Glorfindel’s prophecy simply because it dealt with Elves. Elves did not have the same free will as Men, and so were wholly subject to Eru’s plan and could not pass outside of it and influence it save for how Eru intended. This is not so with Glorfindel’s prophecy since it deals with Men.

Lord_Vidύm 25/Aug/2006 at 08:34 PM
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Well for me could not means that he CANNOT die from a man. Whereas WOULD NOT means that it wasn’t his fate to die from a man.

Nazguprobably you meant to say face to face about Earnur and the WK

And since Mandos Doom could really not be undone (because it wasn’t just a prophecy but tthe true future) what would be the reason for Ulmo to fight against it?

Ambarvänye 25/Aug/2006 at 11:32 PM
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This is how i interpret it...

The prophecy stated that the witchking WOULD NOT be killed by a man meaning thats not how he was going to die however because people know that he would not be killed by a man they COULD NOT kill him because they knew that it would not happen. It doesn’t mean that the witchking is immune from men but it just means that no man would be able to because it was not the way he was going to die.

manwe1 26/Aug/2006 at 02:45 PM
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I look at it as a self fulfilling prophecy. men believed that the witchking couldn’t fall by their hand, and thus He didn’t fall by their hand. Eventually all believed that noone could defeat him, because the only warriors were men. at least until eowyn slipped into the army. What would have happend if rohan didn’t come at that time. Would gandalf, having taken the form of a man, not have been able to defeat the witchking?
Lord_Vidύm 26/Aug/2006 at 11:11 PM
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Would gandalf, having taken the form of a man, not have been able to defeat the witchking?
I do really think that the WK by the time he entered in Minas Tirith, was more powerful than Gandalf the White. For the WK was not alone- his powers were busted through the powers of Sauron and his Will. So, since Gandalf was much weaker than Sauron, I don’t think he could fight against WK.Though it stills a thought, the answer you ask for we will never know, for this fight never occured.
Narthin Alarion 27/Aug/2006 at 08:01 AM
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 doubt the witch king could have defeated even gandalf the grey, as doubtless a Balrog is far more powerful than the WK and gandy whupped that
Lord_Vidύm 27/Aug/2006 at 08:04 AM
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The Balrog was prematurely awaken!

Nah, it is just that when Gandalf faced the Witchking it was like facing Sauron, and that’s why all these years I have been insisting that the Witchking would have slaughtered Gandalf (probably the Orcs would have killed him from behind as long as the Witchking was fighting him-don’t forget He is not to be trusted)

Alcarináro 27/Aug/2006 at 08:08 AM
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Actually, Vidum, the Balrog had been awake for some 1129 years, assuming that it was asleep when the Dwarves let it loose.
On another note, I fail to see where your logic is in your statements that facing the Lord of the Nazgul was like facing Sauron himself.
Lord_Vidύm 27/Aug/2006 at 08:14 AM
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If I had been sleeping for somekind 5000 years, it would be impossible for me to recover in 1000 years. But never mind, I was just kidding on that.

As for how I got that he was Sauron, the only support I have are his boldness against Gandalf, and the way he talked. In addition it is obvious that he had a demoniac force been given to Him by his Master.

Alcarináro 27/Aug/2006 at 08:20 AM
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Yes, the Lord of the Nazgul had been enhanced, given ’added demonic force’, as Tolkien says. But that does not mean that fighting him was like fighting Sauron. This is your leap, the hole in your logic. He was more powerful, but he was still merely the Lord of the Nine.
Phil_d_one 28/Aug/2006 at 11:33 AM
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Vidum:

In [Sauron’s] actual presence, none but very few of equal stature could have hoped to withold [the Ring] from him. Of ’mortals’ none, not even Aragorn.
(Letter 246)

And yet Frodo witholds the Ring from the Lord of the Nazgul on Weathertop, already demonstrating clearly that facing the Lord of the Nazgul is nothing like facing Sauron himself. And this ignoring the fact that the Lord of the Nazgul feared Glorfindel, feared Boromir I, and could not (along with the eight other Nazgul) defeat Gandalf upon Weathertop. Your assertion that the Lord of the Nazgul would have slaughtered Gandalf is similiarly flawed: if, along with the other eight he was unable to defeat Gandalf the Grey, how much less would he be able to defeat Gandalf the White alone and unaided?
Lord_Vidύm 28/Aug/2006 at 11:43 AM
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Phil, this brings us back in old debates from which I got that we cannot really know, for that battle never occured.

However i will add some things from our last debate. WK was added the demonic force of Sauron (That was already said). The WK and the Nazguls at weathertop were too far away from the Darkness of Mordor, which had covered the sky at the battle of Pelenor Fields and then the sieging of Minas Tirith (I think that it was also said the last time).
Now, Who said that the Witchking was unaided? Orcs and Trolls were there, probably as long as He would fight with Gandalf, a sword would get the "Old Fool" from the behind. The WK was never trustworthy at his challenges (See Earnur), why would he be now?

manwe1 28/Aug/2006 at 11:51 AM
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true, but the nazgul’s power’s were enhanced at night. thus they would have been at there highest possible power, at that distance, when they attacked gandalf. And remember, gandalf was much more powerful when he faced the witchking a second time. thus I believe that gandalf would have won again
Phil_d_one 28/Aug/2006 at 12:07 PM
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Unless the Lord of the Nazgul was standing behind the Orc or Troll, holding his arms and stabbing Gandalf from behind himself, then an Orc or a Troll is not the Lord of the Nazgul. You said that the Lord of the Nazgul would easily ’slaughter’ Gandalf: the possibility of Gandalf being killed by a random soldier participating in the Siege of Gondor is completely irrelevant to your point.

As for your other points: WK was added the demonic force of Sauron And Gandalf had been hugely enhanced by his self-sacrifice and return. This point is moot; in fact I’d go so far as to stress that the inverse is true: Gandalf’s enhancement was far greater (relatively speaking) than that of the Lord of the Nazgul.

The WK and the Nazguls at weathertop were too far away from the Darkness of Mordor, which had covered the sky at the battle of Pelenor Fields and then the sieging of Minas Tirith Why would this make a difference? Because the power of the Nazgul was greatly enhanced in darkness, you say. Ignoring the fact that the darkness had broken when the Lord of the Nazgul confronted Gandalf at the Great Gate and ignoring the fact that they fought at Weathertop at night, consider the quote that says this, in more detail.

Their peril is almost entirely due to the unreasoning fear which they inspire (like ghosts). They have no great physical power against the fearless; but what they have, and the fear that they inspire, is enormously increased in darkness
(Letter 210, Emphasis is Mine)

Now with that in mind, consider the following quote.

In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl. A great black shape against the fires beyond he loomed up, grown to a vast menace of despair. In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl, under the archway that no enemy ever yet had passed, and all fled before his face.
     All save one. There waiting, silent and still in the space before the Gate, sat Gandalf upon Shadowfax: Shadowfax who alone among the free horses of the earth endured the terror, unmoving, steadfast as a graven image in Rath Dínen.
     ’You cannot enter here,’ said Gandalf, and the huge shadow halted. ’Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!’
     The Black Rider flung back his hood, and behold! he had a kingly crown; and yet upon no head visible was it set. The red fires shone between it and the mantled shoulders vast and dark. From a mouth unseen there came a deadly laughter.
     ’Old fool!’ he said. ’Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!’ And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade.
     Gandalf did not move. And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the City, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, recking nothing of wizardry or war, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn.

(TRotK (I) The Siege of Gondor, Emphasis is Mine)

Gandalf shows no fear. Again, the effect of the darkness on the situation is outweighed by the fact that Gandalf is fearless, and hence the Lord of the Nazgul has no great power over him.

Lord_Vidύm 28/Aug/2006 at 12:17 PM
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Well, for me, Gandalf would fall by a normal soldier. Otherwise, it would be foolish for Sauron to send his armies at the Black Gate to fight Gondorians, since Gandalf was with them. Who of His soldiers could slain Gandalf? If you get my point- Gandalf is not unbeaten- once he has to face mass, he would more possibly fall. If that’s what I understood.

If you mean however that Gandalf;s death then would not come from the WK, then i have to apologise. By slaughter him I meant to say "get rid" in a metaphorical way. I didn’t mean a real slaughtering.

And Ok, I have to agree about that "fear" thing, since it is written. Yet even Eowyn, who stood on her place before the WK, was able to defeat him in a straight battle- but that’s not true. Eowyn but for Merry would be dead. So and Gandalf. I don’t know if what I am going to say now is correct, but Gandalf was not a warrior, in contrast to the witchking. He was more likely to use his tongue or wisdom rather than his sword. But since he was a Maia...Slaughter me or not?

manwe1 28/Aug/2006 at 12:28 PM
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I must disagree, does the defeat of a balrog, a warrior demon whose power dwarfed the witchking’s, not mean anything. Gandalf battled whip to blade, light arts to dark arts, for, what was it, 2 straight days. That makes him a warrior in my books.
Gandalf was a true warrior, at least in my opinion, He fought only when he had to, and when he fought he held nothing back.
Alcarináro 28/Aug/2006 at 03:17 PM
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2 straight days
After climbing stairs for eight.

Vidum, you are missing the point. You said that the Lord of the Nazgul would defeat Gandalf. Phil countered with evidence that this is not the case. You countered by saying that the Nazgul would be aided by other beings. Phil countered by saying that then it would be those beings, not the Witch-King, who defeated Gandalf, so those other beings are irrelevant (to your argument). You countered by warping the issue out of context.

Yes, Gandalf cannot beat an army. But an army beating Gandalf is the victory of the army, not of the Lord of the Nazgul. And thus Phil is correct when he initially claimed that you were wrong.

Congrats on the new rank, Phil. I’m jealous.
valars_ending 31/Aug/2006 at 11:11 AM
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i personally believe gandalf could of beaten the WK becuse afterall gandalf was a  maia and also the blarog was a maia twisted by melkor (morgoth) and most likly made a bit stronger in the physical side of things, but everyone forgets that the lord of the nazgul was a particcular strong sorcerer in life but then enslaved to the ring as a spirit walking in both worlds, when you weigh this up it seems obvious that a maia ( and one of the three remaining iztari that were sent to fight sauron himself) would beat a mere spirit of a greater fighter.

Aganaphel 02/Sep/2006 at 03:01 AM
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Interesting debate... Here is what I think.

Glorfindel stated two things:
1.not by the hand of men (/Men) will the Witch-King fall
2. far off is his doom

The prophesy only stated what would NOT happen, that is that the Witch-King would not be killed by a man anytime soon. So Earnur to whom the prophesy was spoken clearly had no chances.

Isn’t it curious that Earnur seemingly didn’t believe in Glorfindel’s prophesy, while the Witch-King himself clearly did?

It is evident the way he hesitated when he heard that Dernhelm was "no man", that he was thinking of the old prophesy and whether a woman was eligible to kill him or not... and whether enough time has elapsed since TA 1975 for the Elf to call this day "far off".

It seems that hearing the prophesy and believing in it, the WK regarded it as a sort of protection. If Glorfindel was right, then he had nothing to fear for a very long time. And even much later, no man was a threat to him. His early death just was not going to happen.

By the way, how COULD the Witch-King learn of Glorfindel’s prophesy? He hardly heard it first-hand in 1975, as he had fled before Earnur returned to Glorfindel and the prophesy was spoken. Or was it his exceptionally good nazgul hearing?
Most likely the Witch-King heard about the prophesy after he became the Morgul Lord in 2002, from spies reporting Gondor gossip.

Now Earnur, the unbeliever, paid dearly for his folly. I think the Witch-King DID fight him in person in Minas Morgul. The Witch-King meant to do it anyway at the battle of Fornost, even before he heard the prophesy, and clearly was sure to win. (Were he suicidal he wouldn’t have run from Glorfindel, right?). After hearing the prophesy, he became even more confident as he risked nothing himself. So why not play with his victim?

Probably Earnur was slain by a Morgul blade and remained as a minor wraith in Minas Morgul ever since.
halfir 02/Sep/2006 at 04:56 PM
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Your assertion that the Lord of the Nazgul would have slaughtered Gandalf is similiarly flawed: if, along with the other eight he was unable to defeat Gandalf the Grey, how much less would he be able to defeat Gandalf the White alone and unaided?

But Gandalf the White himself states quite categorically "Black is mightier still’ and at the time of the Gondor encounter with the Witch-king the Lord of the Nazgul has been empowered by Sauron with an added demonic force.

The fact that Gandalf does not fear him is no proof whatsoever of his ability to defeat him- indeed one of the major themes in Tolkien’s Legendarium is the Norse concept of hopeless courage.

The other fact, irrespective of what the prophecy means, is that up to the time of his confrontation with Dernhelm/Eowyn- no man had defeated the Witch-king. As to Frodo’s confrontation with him at Weathertop :

More deadly to him {The Witch King} was the name of Elbereth

manwe1 02/Sep/2006 at 06:17 PM
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while gandalf says Black is Mightier still, he is not necessarily talking about the witch king, after all, the entire context of that conversation has nothing to do with the witchking.
Aragorn says in the TT "And this also I say. You are our captian and banner. The Dark Lord has nine. We have one mightier than they: The White Rider. He has passed through fire and the abyss, and they shall fear him.
That to me says that gandalf was more powerful than all the nine together.
halfir 02/Sep/2006 at 07:49 PM
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manwe1: How on earth can you make such an assertion given the context in which the words I quoted are spoken.And what an absurd statement: the entire context of that conversation has nothing to do with the witchking.

The entire context has to do with the powers of evil, of which the Witch-king is a very major representaive.

It starts with Gandalf’s very salutary words:

’I have spoken words of hope. But only of hope. Hope is not victory. War is upon us and all our friends, a war which only the use of the Ring could give us surety of citory. It fills me with great sorrow and fear: for much shall be destroyed and all may be lost. I am Gandalf, Gandalf the White, but Black is mightier still.’

Aragorn, in contradistinction to Gandalf’s earlier analysis : 

’And this I also say you are our captain and our banner. The Dark Lord has Nine: But we have One, mightier than they: the White Rider: He has passed through the fire and the abyss, and they shall fear him.’

But that is Aragorn’s assertion and assessment of the situation, not Gandalf’s!

and they shall fear him.

The Nazgul per se indeed do fear him- but the Witch king most certainly does not- enhanced as he is by Sauron for  the onlsaught against Gondor:

’The Nazgul screeched and swept away, for their Captain was not yet come to challenge the white fire of his foe.{ROTK- The Siege of Gondor}

’Old fool!’ he said. ’Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!’ {ROTK- The Siege of Gondor}

Those words hardly demonstrate that the Witch-king is fearful of Gandalf!X(

 

manwe1 02/Sep/2006 at 08:58 PM
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enhanced beyond the power of a Maia? I highly doubt that. That would drain sauron’s power too much. The quote that you keep using doesn’t necessarily talk about the witchking. It could just as easily be talking about sauron.
You are right, that is aragorn’s assertation of the situation, BUT GANDALF DID NOT DISPUTE IT.
Words, are just that, words. Did the witchking actually move to attack Gandalf? No, I don’t believe that he did.
halfir 02/Sep/2006 at 09:59 PM
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Manwe 1: When ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise!
manwe1 02/Sep/2006 at 10:33 PM
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WTF is that suppose to mean
Olme 02/Sep/2006 at 10:40 PM
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"Dangerous?" Cried Gandalf.  "And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord." (Gandalf, TTT, The White Rider)

Now I realize that he was answering a question about Fangorn being dangerous, but nonetheless, those are Gandalf’s words right there.   Gandalf is more powerful than much of the evil in ME, all but a few powers.

 

halfir 02/Sep/2006 at 10:41 PM
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He has passed through the fire and the abyss, and they shall fear him.’ {TT-The White Rider}

’The Nazgul screeched and swept away, for their Captain was not yet come to challenge the white fire of his foe.{ROTK- The Siege of Gondor}

’Old fool!’ he said. ’Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!’ {ROTK- The Siege of Gondor}

they shall fear him Really? Well the Witch-king certainly has an odd way of showing how frightened he is!

You are right, that is aragorn’s assertation of the situation, BUT GANDALF DID NOT DISPUTE IT.

Well already having said: Black is mightier still’ that would have been a tad redundant! And you seem not to appreciate that Aragorn is very much- as a leader- establishing an ’esprit de corps’ for the totally outnumbered forces of the West. Of course he’s going to cheer-lead Gandalf to the roof-tops. They need to believe in Gandalf- and of course he undoubtedly is an awesome power.

You also overlook the fact -as Denethor does not- that Sauron: ’uses others as weapons’ -"He will not come save  only to triumph over me when all is won.’ {ROTK- The Siege of Gondor}.And the most powerful of his ’others’ now with ’an added demonic force’  { Letter # 210} is the Witch-king of Angmar. And the Witch-king is, in any case :’more powerful in all ways than the others’ {ibid}

enhanced beyond the power of a Maia? I highly doubt that. That would drain sauron’s power too much.

Pray tell us where you derive this information from- other than your own ’feelings’.

 Even without the One, those powers were incredibly potent:

even if he did not wear it, {the One} that power {of the One} existed and was in rapport with himself: he was not diminished. {Letter # 131}

Granted Gandalf has been returned with powers enhanced by Eru himself { Letter # 156} which he can only use ’in extremis’ which I accept would cover the situation at the Gate of Gondor.

And Tolkien- admittedly talking of a Gandalf- Sauron contest - only goes so far as to say that Gandalf with the One might be expected to master him’  {Letter # 246 my emphasis} and ’might’ is a weak modal verb.

Words, are just that, words

Oh I see. The Witch-king- he whom earlier had not yet come to challenge the white fire of his foe had just dropped by for a belligerent chat! Well, well, you live and learn- I don’t think!X(

And I have nowhere stated that ultimately Gandalf would not have defeated the Witch-king- I have simply probed the somewhat simplistic underliying assumptions that it would have just been ’easy-peasy’.

manwe1 02/Sep/2006 at 11:14 PM
Soldier of Mordor Points: 1462 Posts: 1653 Joined: 23/Mar/2003
He also has an odd way of showing how much mightier he is. Trying to make gandalf back down, intimidation is an interesting art that can backfire as easily as it can be effective.
I see the witchking trying to intimidate gandalf, but he never even raised a weapon, that strikes me as fear, well covered fear, but fear none the less.
And are you saying that, while gandalf is more powerful than the other eight combined, he is no match for the witchking?
"Dangerous?" Cried Gandalf. "And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord." (Gandalf, TTT, The White Rider) How do you dispute this, which is said before that Black is mightier still quote you keep using
halfir 02/Sep/2006 at 11:23 PM
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but he never even raised a weapon

Really?

’Old fool!’ he said. ’Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!’  And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade.{ROTK- The Siege of Gondor -my emphasis}

manwe1 02/Sep/2006 at 11:33 PM
Soldier of Mordor Points: 1462 Posts: 1653 Joined: 23/Mar/2003
a symbolic gesture, like a bully cracking his knuckles as he threatens you. did he ever take an agressive stance? Did he make any move to attack?
you also havent answered my last quote? How can gandalf be more dangerous than anything tha aragorn or the others will EVERmeet, save the Dark Lord, if the witchking was more powerful?
halfir 02/Sep/2006 at 11:46 PM
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a symbolic gesture, like a bully cracking his knuckles as he threatens you. did he ever take an agressive stance? Did he make any move to attack?

You really are scraping the bottom of the barrel if you have to put forward such a ridiculous thesis on words which are crystal clear.

And where have I stated that the Witch-king is more powerful?

However, the quote that you and Olme used is set ina very particular context for a very particular reason, and I suggest that you put the full context forward rather than just borrowing a convenient phrase.

And try and read what I write: I have nowhere stated that ultimately Gandalf would not have defeated the Witch-king- I have simply probed the somewhat simplistic underliying assumptions that it would have just been ’easy-peasy’.

manwe1 03/Sep/2006 at 12:01 AM
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who said it would be easy
Really, what words are crystal clear, raising a weapon high? leaders use that as a rallying symbol, much like a banner. Raising a weapon high could also be a challenge, but it is in no way readying for an imminent battle.
If the witchking were intent on defeating gandalf, he would have attacked, without words, Much like he did to theoden.
Also, If you want to talk about context. "....a war in which only use of the ring will give us surety of victory. It fills me with great sorrow and great fear. much will be destroyed and all may be lost. I am gandalf, gandalf the white, but black is mightier still."
Now, IF gandalf were to use the ring to give sure victory to the allies(Don’t yell at me for my use of the term, I am not refering in any way to WW2) would that not make him Gandalf the Black. And as Gandalf the Black, would he not be more powerful?
halfir 03/Sep/2006 at 02:58 AM
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manwe1 :In the context of the lines:

’Old fool!’ he said. ’Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!’  And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade ROTK- The Siege of Gondor -my emphasis}

I find the suggested interpretation raising a weapon high? leaders use that as a rallying symbol, much like a banner. Raising a weapon high could also be a challenge, but it is in no way readying for an imminent battle.

absurd in the extreme. The gloss it offers is nonsenscial.

As to your point about Gandalf  becoming Gandalf the Black I am not quite clear what you are seeking to assert. That when he says ’Black is mightier still’ he is referring to Sauron, as opposed to Sauron and the forces of darkness in general? If so it amounts to the same thing- for it is the will of Sauron that ultimately empowers his servants- not their own innate ability.

manwe1 03/Sep/2006 at 11:45 AM
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if the witchking, with all of the nazgul with him, couldn’t overtake Gandalf on weathertop? why would they be able to do so now? are you saying that an empowered witchking is more powerful than a balrog? and don’t forget that gandalf the grey held weathertop, and it was gandalf the white holding the front lines at gondor
Olme 03/Sep/2006 at 12:42 PM
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However, the quote that you and Olme used is set ina very particular context for a very particular reason, and I suggest that you put the full context forward rather than just borrowing a convenient phrase.(by halfir)

Now I realize that he was answering a question about Fangorn being dangerous, but nonetheless, those are Gandalf’s words right there.   Gandalf is more powerful than much of the evil in ME, all but a few powers. (by me)
I was fully aware of the context of the quote, which is why  I said so.  However, the "Black is mightier still" quote is no less convenient, nor out of context halfir.    It is Gandalf’s answer to Aragorn’s question, "Do we go to find our friends and to see Treebeard?"  And the "dangerous" quote context has already been stated.  They are both "Gandalf monologues" as vague and very important answers to a precise question.

The "Black is  mightier still" quote is much more vague, as far as the subject is concerned.  It is an ’all-encompassing’ subject, including all of the Black forces of Sauron.  "How shall any tower withstand such numbers and reckless hate?" (Théoden, Helm’s Deep, TTT).  I know that quote is by neither Gandalf nor Aragorn, but it ties to the all encompassing quote of Gandalf.  Evil seeks and uses it’s power with much less restriction; it is an unbridled force that seeks its desires with all it’s power, and by whatever means necessary.  In the previous quote, Gandalf is referring directly to the Dark Lord, Sauron.  Gandalf himself says that he is more dangerous than anything but the Dark Lord himself. 

"But as the theme progressed, it came into the heart of Melkor to interweave matters of his own imagining that were not in accord with the theme of Ilúvatar; for he saught therein to increase the power and glory of the part assigned to himself."(Ainulindalë, The Silmarillion)  From the beginning of the story of ME, the power of Black has always been in its selfish search for  power, and irresponsible (but no less effective) use of that power.  The Black that Gandalf is referring to is indeed much more powerful than White, because it cares not how it uses its power, as long as its will is accomplished.  White on the other hand, complies with moral restrictions, otherwise it would not be "White", or what is good.

 

chaoserver 03/Sep/2006 at 01:14 PM
Thief of Mordor Points: 258 Posts: 84 Joined: 28/Nov/2005
Way too often people take what he says as, that if a man tried he could not defeat the witch king.
The prediction was that he would not, merely a guess that a woman would end up killing him.
Lord of the Rings 03/Sep/2006 at 06:36 PM
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However, the quote that you and Olme used is set ina very particular context for a very particular reason, and I suggest that you put the full context forward rather than just borrowing a convenient phrase.

Ok.

’Perhaps he [Fangorn] also thought that you were Saruman,’ said Gimli. ’But you speak of him as if he was a friend. I thought Fangorn was dangerous.’

’Dangerous!’ cried Gandalf. ’And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord. And Aragorn is dangerous, and Legolas is dangerous. You are beset with dangers, Gimli son of Glóin; for you are dangerous yourself, in your own fashion.
-The Lord of the Rings III, The White Rider


You are going to have to explain to me, Halfir how the context changes that statement in any way. To me, the idea of dismissig a piece of evidence as ’out of context’ without saying why isn’t a good way to get at Lore. Now I am no more trying to assert that Gandalf would steamroll the WK as you are saying the opposite, but I think we should look at the situation accurately.

As to the other relevent quote (aside from the description of the actual encounter, we seem to only have two floating around so far), here it is in full:

’Do we go to find our friends and to see Treebeard?’ asked Aragorn.

’No,’ said Gandalf. ’That is not the road that you must take. I have spoken words of hope. But only of hope. Hope is not victory. War is upon us and all our friends, a war in which only the use of the Ring could give us surety of victory. It fills me with great sorrow and great fear: for much shall be destroyed and all may be lost. I am Gandalf, Gandalf the White, but Black is mightier still.’

He rose and gazed out eastward, shading his eyes, as if he saw things far away that none of them could see. Then he shook his head. ’No,’ he said in a soft voice, ’it has gone beyond our reach. Of that at least let us be glad. We can no londer be tempted to use the Ring. We must go down to face a peril near despair, yet that deadly peril is removed.’
-The Lord of the Rings III, The White Rider


I quoted that last paragraph because of its relevence to what Manwe1 argued. Indeed, I thought it to be a rather odd argument at first, but looking closely I find that the gloss of Gandalf the Black may actually be the intended meaning. Then again, perhaps not.

All the evidence, in my estimation, actually points to an uncertainty in the outcome of the battle. Indeed, here is the clearest quote on the matter that I have yet found:

’Yet now under the Lord of Barad-dûr the most fell of all his captains is already master of your outer walls,’ said Gandalf. ’King of Angmar long ago, Socerer, Ringwraith, Lord of the Nazgûl, a spear of terror in the hand of Sauron, shadow of despair.’

’Then, Mithrandir, you had a foe to match you,’ said Denethor. ’For myself, I have long known who is the chief captain of the hosts of the Dark Tower. Is this all that you have returned to say? Or can it be that you have withdrawn because you are overmatched?

Pippin trempled, fearing that Gandalf would be stung to sudden wrath, but his fear was needless. ’It might be so,’ Gandalf answered softly. ’But our trial of strength is not yet come. And if words spoken of old be true, not by the hand of man shall he fall, and hidden from the Wise is the doom that awaits him. However that may be, the Captain of Despair does not press forward, yet. He rules rather according to the wisdom that you have just spoken, from the rear, driving his slaves in madness on before.
The Lord of the Rings V, The Siege of Gondor


Between this quote (both the words and Gandalf’s attitude) and his earlier comment about relative dangerousness, I am inclined to think that Gandalf saw the battle as being uncertain, but thought he had a good chance at victory. At any rate, he was clearly willing to give it his all at the Gate. Of course, the WK’s attitude was more or less the same (except that he was rather more certain about Gandalf’s defeat). However, I am inclined to trust Gandalf more, and give him the edge in the battle. Not anything certain, however.

While I’ve got my book open, I’ll go ahead and quote the confrontation in full for easy reference:

In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl. A great black shape against the fires beyond he loomed up, grown to a vast menace of despair. In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl, under the archway that no enemy ever yet had passed, and all fled before his face.

All save one. There waiting, silent and still in the space before the Gate, sat Gandalf upon Shadowfax: Shadowfax who alone among the free horses of the earth endured the terror, unmoving, steadfast as a graven image in Rath Dínen.

’You cannot enter here,’ said Gandalf, and the huge shadow halted. ’Go back to teh abyss prepared for you! Go back! Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!’

The Black Rider flung back his hood, and behold! he had a kingly crown; and yet upon no head visible was it set. The red fires shone between it and the mantled shoulders vast and dark. From a mouth unseen there came a deadly laughter.

’Old fool!’ he said. ’Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!’ And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade.



Gandalf did not move. And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the City, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, recking nothing of wizardry or war, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn.

And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin’s sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last.
-The Lord of the Rings V, The Siege of Gondor


But it was no orc-chieften or brigand who that led the assault upon Gondor. The darkness was breaking too soon, before the date that his Master had set for it: fortune had betrayed him for the moment, and the world had turned against him; victory was slipping from his grasp even as as he stretched out his hand to seize it. But his arm was long. He was still in command, wielding great powers. King, Righwraith, Lord of the Nazgûl, he had many weapons. He left the Gate and vanished.
-The Lord of the Rings V, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields


That’s got to be one of the best scenes ever written!
Olme 03/Sep/2006 at 06:52 PM
Pilgrim of Isengard Points: 1725 Posts: 766 Joined: 01/Jan/2002

That’s got to be one of the best scenes ever written!

 It’s my favorite, the language there is nearly unparalleled.

halfir 04/Sep/2006 at 01:41 AM
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Lord of the Rings: If I were to give a detailed explanation as to why I feel that a quote has been used out of context every time I made that statement I would never finish more than one post. Olme has very properly explained why he used the quote in the way he did and also has gone on to discuss the "Black is mightier still’ quote in great detail, for which I applaud him. It is e very important quote and his expositon of its implications is masterly.

However, the context of the "dangerous’ quote has both a literary subjective and a philosophic objective meaning. By that I mean Gandalf is seizing upon Gimli’s use of the word ’dangerous’ to demonstrate that all named are dangerous in their way. At that level he is not speaking  ’ex cathedra’ as it were and saying"and I am the most dangerous  in ME other than Sauron.’ Now I accept, which is why I referrred to Gandalf’s post-Moria powers as awesome- that it also carries the implication of the very real force that is now inherent in Gandalf. However, I do not see that interchange as has been initially offered by Manwe1 and Olme as being an absolute statement of Gandalf’s power. Contextually I do not see it as having been meant that way by Tolkien, nor in terms of character do I believe Gandalf was making an absolute claim.

I am inclined to think that Gandalf saw the battle as being uncertain, but thought he had a good chance at victory. At any rate, he was clearly willing to give it his all at the Gate.

I don’t think it possible to give a definitive statement as to how Gandalf saw the outcome of his ultimate confrontation with the WK- but of course he was clearly willing to give it his all at the Gate for he had been returned to life precisely because he had been willling to make a similar sacrifice at Moria (cf. Letter # 156).

Moreover, an underlying theme of the whole of Tolkien’s Legendarium is the Norse concept of ’hopeless courage’ of which both Gandalf’s sacrifice in Moria and Galadriels’ comment of  having fought  the long defeat, are examples.

But in fact, in his earlier exchange with Denethor Gandalf seems more to take hope from the ’words spoken of old’  that ’not by the hand of man shall he {the WK} fall".{ROTK- The Siege of Gondor}.And , of course, Gandalf is incarnate as a man- by definition!X(

And to return to context again, the context in which I set my critical comments was one of suggesting that it was far too facile to assume that the Gandalf /WK confrontation was a pushover as far as Gandalf was concerned. He was under no illusions as to the danger that he might face. And indeed his adversary grown to a vast menace of despair was pretty assured of  the outcome for him:

’Old fool!’ he said. ’Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!’ And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade.{my emphasis}

Can one impose a dual identity on the statement This is my hour that of the WK and Sauron speaking? It is tempting to do so, and also, at one level correct, for Sauron (Letter # 210) had certainly imbued the WK with ’an added demonic force’ to ensure the destruction of Gondor for he had of it a:

hatred {that} comes down out of the depths of time and over the deeps of the Sea. {ROTK- Minas Tirith}

And Sauron also knew that the WK would have to face Gandalf:

’their Captain was not yet come to challenge the white fire of his foe".{ROTK- The Siege of Gondor}.

And to argue as Manwe 1 has done that the lines:

’Old fool!’ he said. ’Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!’ And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade.

 is just belligerent posturing- is absurd.

And for your information if you want an exhaustive response from me never tell me:

You are going to have to explain to me,Halfir

I am no man’s bond-slave! I choose to answer or I don’t - and that is the long and the short of it! And do try and take the trouble to get my name right- halfir - it is the most basic of courtesies.

Lord_Vidύm 04/Sep/2006 at 01:55 AM
Banned Points: 1957 Posts: 2449 Joined: 26/Jun/2004

I am no man’s bond-slave! I choose to answer or I don’t - and that is the long and the short of it! And do try and take the trouble to get my name right- halfir - it is the most basic of courtesies.

Halfir I think he wanted to tell you that he NEEDED at all costs your answer, and not that you are obliged to post them!

In addition, that "This is my hour" comment could be wrong. I am not sure if Sauron could really speak through others-did he have that power? The Witchking was the enemy who passed under the archway no enemy had ever passed before. That could be what he meant with that "my hour". He had done, the undone. He had crushed all his foes’ hopes, by bringing down what the believed to be unbroken (The gondorians were laughing at the Orcs because they knew their walls and gates were very strong to be brought down, created during Numenorian power was still rose). That was Witchking’s hour.

Of course, however the WK was just the "pion" leader of Sauron. Everything he did, was that of Sauron’s will. But I don’t think that SAURON said that to Gandalf. I might be wrong however, since Nazguls had no independence

halfir 04/Sep/2006 at 02:03 AM
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Lord_Vidum: If I misread LotR"s comment then I unreservedly apologize!

As to my Sauron speaking comment I expressed it apallingly badly. I did not mean to state that Sauron was actually speaking, rather that it was the culminating hour for both of them- the WK and Sauron, for the latter had enhanced the powers of the former for that very reason.

As to the meaning, surely the following sentence in the sequence  explains the preceding one: This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!’

manwe1 04/Sep/2006 at 09:40 AM
Soldier of Mordor Points: 1462 Posts: 1653 Joined: 23/Mar/2003
do you keep ignoring My assertations that you can’t answer?
Gandalf held his own against all nine on weathertop, at night, when they are at their strongest. Granted, the WK gained "Added Demonic Power" at the seige of minas tirith, But gandalf had also gained "Added Holy Power". I have no reason, or evidence, to believe that the witchking was enhanced to the level of sauron. or even close to sauron.
Lord of the Rings 04/Sep/2006 at 10:15 AM
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halfir, fistly let me apologize for my capitalization of your name. However, as one who rarely gets my full name quoted (not that I care in the slightest), please allow me a little leniency in accidental capitalization.

As for ’have to’, that was really just an expression, as in ’if you expect me to accept that the context changes the meaning, then you would have to explain your logic further as I don’t see it yet’. I was not attempting to order you around or anything of the sort. You have now explained what you meant, and I at least see what you mean.

I did not say that my interpretation was ’definitive’. I acutally said ’I am inclined to think’, and gave my reasons for my thought.

I am trying to figure out if you were addressing the bit about whether the WK was posturing or not to me. I never mentioned that particular argument (a place where I am seriously inclined to doubt that the WK was simply posturing. He may or may not have been intending to immediately strike, but it was clearly a challenge and precursor to battle), so I will assume you weren’t talking to me.

I’m sorry if I was curt or rude to anyone in my post- please attribute it to tiredness and not to intentional disrespect to anyone.
manwe1 04/Sep/2006 at 10:35 AM
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the thing of it is, why waste time and energy boasting before the fight even begins. If he were readying for battle would it not be smarter to merely raise the blade to a guard and attack. Sure, having flames run down the blade was impressive, but you just made a tactical mistake, now your enemy knows your blade can set things on fire.
Any commander would know to keep some secrets for the battle. Why would the witchking, who would have some tactical sense, relinquish the advantage of such knowledge before the fight begins, unless he is trying to postpone or stop said fight?
Lord of the Rings 04/Sep/2006 at 12:29 PM
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Manwe1, perhaps he was simply trying to intimidate Gandalf. Fear, after all, is his favorite weapon (and still probably his most powerful, even with whatever other enhancements he has).
manwe1 04/Sep/2006 at 12:51 PM
Soldier of Mordor Points: 1462 Posts: 1653 Joined: 23/Mar/2003
exactly. if he is trying to intimdate gandalf, that means that he fears gandalf, and wants him to back down without a fight
Lord of the Rings 04/Sep/2006 at 09:24 PM
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No, it doesn’t necessarily (I’m trying to avoid saying it absolutely doesn’t, because I can’t be sure). If he’s trying to intimidate Gandalf, that is the first attack he is making against him in their confrontation. His hope would presumably be to demoralize Gandalf to make the imminent battle easier.

I can’t see any reason why the WK would want Gandalf to back down. He knows that would just mean facing Gandalf later. He wants two outcomes: 1) surrender and 2) death. Surrender would be preferable, assuradly, but to say that the WK would somehow have backed down if there hadn’t been outside intervention (the Rohirrim) seems to me a very great stretch.

Can you imagine this:

WK: Old fool! Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!

WK: *flames sword*

Gandalf: *sits still*

WK: Oh, man, why aren’t you running away?

Gandalf: *still doesn’t move*

WK: Crap! Well, I’ll just be getting along then. Cheerio!


(With slightly different words of course, but the point remains)

I just just don’t think some other interpretation beyond it being an iminent confrontation, highly anticipated by both sides (WK with supreme confidence, and perhaps some underlying anxiety if you really want to get into his psychology; Gandalf with a more realistic view but unbending determination) with an uncertain outcome is warrented. Also, halfir’s quote about ’their Captain was not yet come to challenge the white fire of his foe’ supports this view.
manwe1 04/Sep/2006 at 09:27 PM
Soldier of Mordor Points: 1462 Posts: 1653 Joined: 23/Mar/2003
what is more intimidating? meaningless posturing, taunting. or just sitting there waiting for battle, not responding to any taunts, acting as though you are beneath notice?
Lord of the Rings 04/Sep/2006 at 09:44 PM
Mandos Points: 8968 Posts: 7368 Joined: 03/Dec/2005
What does that have to do with anything? If you are suggesting Gandalf was the more intimidating, then you may or may not be right. Somehow I doubt that animals would flee in terror from Gandalf as they would from the WK. But even if Gandalf is more intimidating, is that going to make the WK run away from his final obstacle to his victory?

If you are suggesting that the WK was going to run away without the problem of the Rohirrim to deal with, I have to say no. He wouldn’t. There is just no reasonable to conceive of that act happening given all the quotes and the circumstances of the confrontation.

It isn’t as if the WK went to an excessive amount of posturing in the confrontation. He rides up, listens to Gandalf’s challenge, responds with one of his own, and draws his weapon. How is that indicative of anything but an imminent battle?
Tar-Adahnamir 04/Sep/2006 at 09:57 PM
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At the very least, he is definitely trying to intimidate Gandalf. Whether he does it well, succeeds or anything like that is a different matter.

If he is trying to intimidate Gandalf, it’s probably because most creatures that he knows are impressed by this sort of thing rather than the whole "silently waiting" thing.

The WK may be posturing and arrogant, buit he isn’t stupid, he wouldn’t pick a fight with someone that he knows he clearly doesn’t have a chance against and expect a pretty blade-flame to deter this powerful opponent. He was in it for the fight, whether that was wise or not.

halfir 05/Sep/2006 at 12:55 AM
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Tar_Adahnamir: He was in it for the fight, whether that was wise or not.

Precisely. That was clearly part of his mission from Sauron. The Dark Lord was aware that Gondor was now protected by Gandalf and that he would need to be dealt with:

’their Captain was not yet come to challenge the white fire of his foe".{ROTK- The Siege of Gondor}.


Manwe I- who persists in the absurd notion that the Witch King -

King of Angmar long ago, Sorcerer, Ringwraith, Lord of the Nazgul, a spear of terror in the hand of Sauron, shadow of despair’

(Gandalf’s words - ROTK - The Sieger of Gondor) - was simply posturing complains that I have not answered his assertions (good word for that is all they are) regarding the Balrog and Gandalf and The Nine and Gandalf at Weathertop.

As for the former Manwe 1 fails to state that in defeating the Balrog Ganddalf himself died! In that sense it was a Pyrrhic Victory, and certanly would have been if Eru had not intrevened. (In fact it echoes in its dual deaths  Ecthelion of the Fountain’s destruction of Gothmog and of his own death by the Balrog’s hand- cf. HOME 4 The Shaping of ME The Quenta).

As for Weathertop Gandalf says:

’I was beseiged  on the hill-top, in the old ring of Amon -Sul. I was hard put to it indeed: such light and flame cannot have been seen on Weathertop since the war-beacons of old.

At sunrise I escaped and fled towards the north’.  {FOTR-The Council of Elrond -my emphasis}. Hardly the words of a conquering hero!

Manwe 1 also tells us:  I have no reason, or evidence, to believe that the witchking was enhanced to the level of sauron. or even close to sauron.

Fair point, as is its opposite!X(

Lord of the Rings: No, the WK point was not addressed to you but as a commenatry on Manwe 1’s proposition of  posturing which I find absurd. As to my name and my tetchiness regarding ’have’ - put it down to old age creeping on - I apologize for the short-tempered response.

One thing we have not  yet considered in all this, is how Sauron viewed Gandalf.For if he was going to oppose Gandalf with the WK, then presumably, he would seek to equip the WK with powers that would - as far as possible- combat those of  the White Rider.

In HOME 10 Morgoth’s Ring Myths Transformed V11 Tolkien writes:

’Sauron had, in fact, been very like Saruman, and so still understood him quickly and could guess what he would be likely to think and do, even without the aid f the palantiri or of spies; whereas Gandalf eluded and puzzled him.......If he thought about the Istari,especially Saruman and Gandalf, he imagined them as emisssaries from the Valar, seeking to establish  their lost power again and ’colonize’ Middle-earth, as a mere effort of defeated imperialsits ( without knowledge or sanction of Eru). His cynicism , which ( sincerely) regarded the motives of Manwe as precisely the same as his own, seemed fully justified in Saruman. Gandalf he did not understand. But certainly  he had already become evil, and therefore stupid, enough to imagine that his {Gandalf’s} different behaviour was due simply to weaker intelligence and lack of firm masterful  purpose. He {Gandalf} was only a rather cleverer Radagast - cleverer because it is more profitable (more productive of power) to become absorbed  in the study of people than of animals.’ {I owe a debt of gratitude to mm for clarifying in my mind this less than perfect writing of the Master’s here !}

So it could be that Sauron understimated Gandalf in trems of an opponent when he was weighing his battle plans for Gondor.

But even more interesting to consider is the depth of knowledge- if any- that Sauron had about Gandalf’s veiled but enhanced powers, after his return.

That he knew of both Gandalf and the Balrog’s detah I think must be implicit in TT-The Uruk Hai. Here we have Mordorian Orcs, Sarumanic orcs, and Orcs from Moria, the latter who would have seen and heard the Balrog’s fall and Gandalf’s death- and it is inconceivable that such knowledge was not passed earlier- or at the that time - back to Mordor. But did Sauron Know of Eru’s intervention and Gandalf’s enhancement?

According to Tolkien HOME 10 Morgoth’s Ring Myths Transformed V11

’He{Sauron}  probably deluded himself with the notion that the Valar (incouding Melkor) having failed , Eru had simply abandoned Ea, or at any rate Arda, and would not concern himslef with it anymore."

Of course, we have to be terribly careful in trying to align these texts into a seamless whole, because they aren’t, and it might well be that we cannot use this information on Sauron’s view in any enlightening fashion with regard to LOTR.But if we can, and if we do, for the purposes of this thread, it would appear that Sauron’s misreading of the situation included both Eru and Gandalf. If that were  the case, then in enhancing the demonic force of the WK  Sauron could well have not provided an adequate empowerment.

I would be interested to know what others feel about this aspect of the Gandalf/WK combat- and if they have any supporting textual quotes form LOTR or HOME to enarge our views of Saurons’ attitude to Gandalf, and particularly to the enhanced Gandalf of the post-Moria period.

Given the contemptuous words of the Mouth of Sauron {ROTK- The Black Gate Opens} it would appear that Tolkien’s comments in HOME 10 do hold good- Sauron grossly underestimated  Gandalf’s capacity. And, of course, it was not by Gandalf’s hand that the WK had fallen.

 


Lord_Vidύm 05/Sep/2006 at 01:36 AM
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Halfir, do you think that the escape of Gandalf was a coward action (not worthy to think of Gandalf as a hero)? I personally believe he had to leave, because he was growing weary with the sieging of the nine. So before his powers fully abandoned him, he had to leave. In addition, I don’t think that Gandalf wanted to fight then.

As for the Sauron and WK I fully agree with you (And either it is wrong or not, that’s why I believe the WK would be able to fight Gandalf). For there were two possibilities. The first, most probably, Gandalf would fight WK and an Orc would finally hit Gandalf from behind (WK cannot be trusted-something like what happened to Earnur). The second, the WK would honorably fight Gandalf, and since Sauron would have given him enough powers, he would slaughter Gandalf, if Sauron had not, he would be slaughtered by Gandalf. However nothing happened, since Rohirrims came OHH THEODEN, YOU ALWAYS ARRIVE THE WORST TIME!

As for the former Manwe 1 fails to state that in defeating the Balrog Ganddalf himself died
I believe that Manwe would want to say that: Gandalf the Grey fought against Balrog(a Maia) and killed him-and died. So the power of Balrog and Gandalf the Grey were almost equal. So when Gandalf returns as Gandalf the White/stronger than Gandalf the Grey, is also stronger than the Balrog, so stronger against any foe except for the Black One (Since Gandalf himself admits that)

halfir 05/Sep/2006 at 03:57 AM
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Lord_Vidum: do you think that the escape of Gandalf was a coward action

No of course I don’t. I simply seek to show that the naive view that Gandalf had the eight Nazgul plus the WK as a ’pushover’ at Weathertop is textually the exact opposite of what happened. He did not conquer- he very sensibly fled. The time was not yet come for such a decisive battle.

So when Gandalf returns as Gandalf the White/stronger than Gandalf the Grey, is also stronger than the Balrog, so stronger against any foe except for the Black One (Since Gandalf himself admits that)

But Gandalf ( and Tolkien) does not say the Black One or Sauron- he says ’Black is mightier still’, a phrase on which Olme has given some excellent comments in an earlier post, and which has a wider remit regarding evil than simply Sauron.

And Gandalf is much more cautious in estimating the power of the WK than those who blithely grasp partial pieces of text, and selective contexts to urge  his obvious pr-eminence in any contest. Indeed, Gandalf says , in measured response to Denethor’s deliberatley insulting ’overmatched’ comment:

It might be so. ..But our trial of strength is not yet come. And if words spoken  of old be true , not by the hand of man shall he fall, and hidden from the Wise  is the doom that awaits him.’{ROTK- The Siege of Gondor- my emphasis}.

Kaos the Gold 05/Sep/2006 at 06:37 AM
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    In my opinion, the prophecy didn’t say that The Witch-King would be invincible to the male sex, only that it woudn’t be a man who would eventually kill him.  So if the witch king says that no man could harm him, he’s lying.  Glorfindel only foresaw that it woudn’t be a man who would kill him but a woman, and things at the Battle of Pellennor could have gone another way, for example, Aragorn or Eomer dueling with the Witch-King and killing him.  But as it happens, Eowyn eventually killed him, after the Witch-King had been drawn to a false sense of security that he was invincible to the race of men, and he began to have doubts when Eowyn declared herself a woman, and realized that his assumptions about being invincible to men as a race could be wrong.

Lord of the Rings 05/Sep/2006 at 10:04 AM
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But even more interesting to consider is the depth of knowledge- if any- that Sauron had about Gandalf’s veiled but enhanced powers, after his return.

That is an intruiging thought which I have also wondered about. One important question is did Sauron know that it was Gandalf who he strove with when Frodo was on Amon Hen? Gandalf says this:

Very nearly it [the Ring] was revealed to the Enemy, but it escaped. I had some part in that: for I sat in a high place and I strove with the Dark Tower; and the Shadow passed. Then I was weary, very weary; and I walked long in dark thought.
-The Lord of the Rings III, The White Rider


Did this action reveal Gandalf to Sauron; and if so, how much of Gandalf’s powers was Sauron able to gauge? This confrontation occurred after Gandalf’s return, so there is at least a potential for Sauron to have gotten a sense of how strong the new Gandalf was, but by no means a certainty.

That confrontation was on February 26. Gandalf’s next overt action would be his arrival in Edoras on March 2, news of which may or may not have reached Sauron’s ears in a timely manner. On the Fifth (of March), Gandalf confronts Saruman. I wonder when Sauron found out the details of that encounter as well.

Does anyone know if the Nazgul (the one that passed over their camp) went on to Orthanc to hear tidings directly from Saruman? That would be interesting to know. If it did, then Sauron would know quite a lot about Gandalf from this point on.

Regardless, Gandalf comes to MT on the 9th, and confronts the Nazgul (the lesser ones) for the first time (since his return) on the 10th. It is difficult to say whether they know the identity of their attacker or not. Regardless, they are fully aware by the 13th, when they avoid confrontation for the reason that the WK is not there.

So the major points where Sauron may have learned of a) Gandalf’s existance, and b) his enhanced powers.

Feb 26: a, b
Sometime after Mar 2: a
Sometime after Mar 5: a, b
Mar 10: a is a certainty here, b a slight possibility

Also, on Mar 10 is when the WK rides forth. Presumably he has already been enhanced at some point before this (although I am not certain of the exact nature of his ’demonic powers&rsquo.

Mar 13: they already know a, perhaps they know b
Mar 15: confrontation between WK and Gandalf

It would seem most likely that Sauron either knew it was Gandalf he strove with on the 26th, or heard knews of him concerning the events of Rohan and Isengard. If he only learned of Gandalf after his arrival in MT, there would appear to be too little time involved for him to appropriately enhance the WK to the correct power level.

The only real possibilities for him to learn of Gandalf’s added might would be during their struggle or if he had direct correspondance with Saruman.

These aren’t really focused thoughts yet, just rough ideas.
Lord of the Rings 05/Sep/2006 at 10:06 AM
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Bah! That is just a ’ and a ) .
manwe1 05/Sep/2006 at 10:18 AM
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yet, if he were enhanced beyond the power of a maia to destroy, how would a mere mortal slay him?
Lord_Vidύm 05/Sep/2006 at 10:36 AM
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Manwe, don’t think that Maiar cannot die by mortals. For this is not true. Gothmog died by Ecthelion (although Ecthelion was an immortal, he still as an able-to-be-slained he killed Gothmog). Turin for example, killed Glaurung, the Father of Dragons. That shows that "most powerful beings" doesn’t mean "control over everything beings".
halfir 05/Sep/2006 at 02:56 PM
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Lord of the Rings: Regarding the March 5 date around that time Gandalf makes the very important comment:

’I had considered whether or not to probe  this Stone myself to find its uses. Had I done so , I should have been revealed to him myself. I am not ready for such a trial, if in deed I shall ever be so. But even if I found the power to withdraw myself, it would be diastrous for him to see me, yet - until the hour comes when secrecy will avil no longer’.{TT-The Palantir}

On that basis Gandalf at least seems to be saying that auron is not yet aware of him- and thus the Amon Hen episode was  probably not a revealing one.

And in ROTK- The Black Gate Opens the Mouth of Sauron says:

’Have we not heard of thee at whiles , and of thy wanderings, ever hatching plots and mischief at a safe distance. But this time  thou hast stuck out thy nose too far , Master Gandalf; and thou shalt see what comes to him who sets his foolish webs  before the feet of Sauron the Great.’

And while the contemptuous use of ’thou’ is partly arrogant ’braggadacio’  my view is that it is also representative iof the gross underestimation of Gandalf t by sauron hat I referred to in a previous post.

Olme 05/Sep/2006 at 04:08 PM
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We can’t forget that Gandalf and the ’white wizards’ had at one point driven the Necromancer out of Dol Guldur.  "It was in this way that he learned where Gandalf had been to; for he overheard the words of the wizard to Elrond.  It appeared that Gandalf had been to a great council of the white wizards, masters of lore and good magic; and that they had at last driven the Necromancer from his dark hold in the south of Mirkwood." (The Hobbit, The Last Stage)  Although it is arguable that Sauron did not have as much power in Mirkwood as in Mordor; I think that he was no less powerful, or any less in potential.  Gandalf does say though, "The North will be freed from that horror for many long years, I hope.  Yet I wish he were banished from the world!" (Hobbit, the Last Stage).  I think that Sauron may indeed have had a good idea of Gandalf’s capabilities, unless perhaps, driving him out of Mirkwood was at the very limits of the ’white wizards’" powers.  So he was probably familiar with the powers of Gandalf the Grey, if unfamiliar to those of the White, which if for any reason, was why he underestimated him. 

halfir 05/Sep/2006 at 04:29 PM
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Olme: I am always very cautious in using The Hobbit to assert propositions for LOTR. Although I won’t go the whole nine yards with my friend Osse and reject it totally as canon I think it is a very flawed source of information as even with the later- and -in Tolkien’s own view- unsatisfactory revisions- it is cast in a totally different style to LOTR and its genesis was entirely different.And the ’Necromancer’ of The Hobbbit is such an undeveloped figure that little credible information is able to be derived from that source.

Moreover, it was Saruman, not Gandalf,  who was particularly instrumental in driving Sauron out of Mirkwood- once he had seen he could not avoid the issue:

But Saruman has long studied the arts of the Enemy himself, and thus we have often been able to forestall him. It was by the devices of Saruman that we drove him from Dol Guldur.’ {Gandalf- Council of Elrond- FOTR}

And, assuming we can use Morgoth’s Ring in the way I have sought to do so:

’Sauron had, in fact, been very like Saruman, and so still understood him quickly and could guess what he would be likely to think and do, even without the aid f the palantiri or of spies; whereas Gandalf eluded and puzzled him.......But certainly  he {Sauron} had already become evil, and therefore stupid, enough to imagine that his {Gandalf’s} different behaviour was due simply to weaker intelligence and lack of firm masterful  purpose. He {Gandalf} was only a rather cleverer Radagast - cleverer because it is more profitable (more productive of power) to become absorbed  in the study of people than of animals.’ HOME 10 Morgoth’s Ring Myths Transformed V11 my emphasis}

I think his underestimation came from a lack of understanding which led to a dangerously complacent contempt -for example,  the words of the Mouth of Sauron seem to indicate irritation as opposed to wary respect:

’Have we not heard of thee at whiles , and of thy wanderings, ever hatching plots and mischief at a safe distance.

Olme 05/Sep/2006 at 04:54 PM
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Olme: I am always very cautious in using The Hobbit to assert propositions for LOTR. Although I won’t go the whole nine yards with my friend Osse and reject it totally as canon I think it is a very flawed source of information as even with the later- and -in Tolkien’s own view- unsatisfactory revisions- it is cast in a totally different style to LOTR and its genesis was entirely different.And the ’Necromancer’ of The Hobbbit is such an undeveloped figure that little credible information is able to be derived from that source.

Precisely why I was hesitant about using it, but it was much quicker to find the quote I needed in the Hobbit as opposed to the 1008 pages of LotR!!  I did use it for this context though, because I knew that the instance was alluded to in LotR, but I had in fact forgotten that,’It was by the devices of Saruman that we drove him from Dol Guldur.’  So apparently my assertion that Sauron did perhaps have more knowledge of Gandalf than we thought was not very appropriate. 

I think his underestimation came from a lack of understanding which led to a dangerously complacent contempt -for example,  the words of the Mouth of Sauron seem to indicate irritation as opposed to wary respect: 

halfir 05/Sep/2006 at 05:39 PM
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 it was much quicker to find the quote I needed in the Hobbit as opposed to the 1008 pages of LotR!!X(
Lord of the Rings 05/Sep/2006 at 11:08 PM
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Also, any information Sauron may learned of Gandalf during the Dol Guldur would have been to give him a sense of the abilities of Gandalf the Grey, not the White.

halfir, the quotes you give cause me to wonder at the exact nature of the ’added demonic force’ of the WK. If Gandalf was still unkown to Sauron on the fifth, it would seem likely that Sauron would learn nothing of him until the tenth when Gandalf first encountered the Nazgul at MT. That is the same day on which the WK rode to war.

So when and how was the WK ’enhanced’? Was it something done to him in the presence of Sauron? How long did the process take? Could Sauron enhance him more whenever he felt like it? I’d be very interested to hear the answer (if there is one) to any of these questions.

The other possibility is that the Nazgul on the fifth gained news of Gandalf from Isengard. This seems somewhat at odds with Gandalf’s apparent relief at not having been revealed (unless Gandalf did not realize that the Nazgul would learn the news from Saruman, which seems rather unlikely to me, but still possible).

So either Sauron knew of Gandalf before the 10th from Saruman indirectly (or perhaps his spies finally got word to him), or he remotely enhanced the WK at some point between the 10th and the 13th.

Of course, all this is assuming that the enhancements were tailored to Gandalf. While the challenge of Gandalf, once discovered, was obviously reserved for the WK ("their Captain was not yet come to challenge the white fire of his foe"), it is possible that this was only so because he was the only being who was powerful enough in the hosts to confindently challenge a Maia- and not, as I have been assuming, because the WK was specifically prepared to challenge Gandalf (indeed, the Morgoth’s Ring text about Sauron’s opinions of Gandalf, and the strange chronology, would seem to make it unlikely that Sauron would go to such lengths to counter Gandalf).

Does anyone have the full Letters quote about the demonic force on hand? It seems to be quite relevent, but I can’t seem to find it.
Lord_Vidύm 06/Sep/2006 at 05:08 AM
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Also, any information Sauron may learned of Gandalf during the Dol Guldur would have been to give him a sense of the abilities of Gandalf the Grey, not the White.
Well, Gandalf is kept under the restriction of Valar, which make him unable to show all of his powers. Gandalf the white was a bit stronger than gandalf the grey, and much wiser. I mean that with Gandalf the white I gain a different "note" of Gandalf. Very calm and very patient. I don’t know, maybe because i have read the RotK and TTT more times than I have read the FotR.

So when and how was the WK ’enhanced’? Was it something done to him in the presence of Sauron? How long did the process take? Could Sauron enhance him more whenever he felt like it? I’d be very interested to hear the answer (if there is one) to any of these questions.
Sauron had the ability to pass his powers and will on to other creatures. That is what he does to create the Ring, so that could be the additional demonic force of WK. It didn’t take longer than some minutes I think- Sauron would put a lot of his will and power on the WK, and that was all. Doesn’t need a great preparation.

Sauron could have learnt of Gandalf because of Saruman- when Gandalf left Isenguard, after its fall, a Nazgul (because of the use of Pallantir) flew towards Orthanc. Probably, that time Sauron learnt of Saruman’s degrading, and realised the power of Gandalf. In addition, Sauron might have seen Gandalf with the Palantir (I am completely unsure for what I say, and I expect someone to deny it).

manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 07:10 AM
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when you say enhanced demonic powers what do you mean?
Lord of the Rings 06/Sep/2006 at 07:17 AM
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Vidum, can I have quotes on any of what you say?

Manwe1, there is a Letters quote (which I directly allude to in my last post) which mentions this. I want that quote so that everyone is on the same page, and also for any insight it might give as to exactly what these ’demonic powers’ are.
manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 09:37 AM
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that is what i meant, what is the nature of this demonic power.
Lord_Vidύm 06/Sep/2006 at 10:02 AM
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Lord of the Rings, what exact quotes? Gandalf never stopped to be an Istari, and as an Istari, he was restricted by the Valar.

As for my second part/answer:
Sauron passing his will and power over the Ring: "And a great part of Sauron’s power and will passed in that Ring"-Silm and the Rings of Power. That shows an ability of passing his will and power over other things.

"From all the deeds and nets of fear and treachery; from all the strategical plans and wars, his mind was released with a shock; from side to side all his kingdom shaked, his slaves rucked of fear, and his armies ceased and his captains, without willing, shaked and despaired. For he had forgotten of them. All his mind and reason of his Power that was moving them was now turnt towards the mount"-RotK Mount Doom

"The same time all the armies of Mordor shuddered, doubt tight their hearts, their laugter ceased, their hands began to shake and their joints were untied. The power that inspired and filled them with hatred and mania was trembling and its will aandoned them."-RotK- The battle of Cormallen.

Both these quotes show that Sauron was able to inspire his soldiers through his own will and power, and make them "mania" (which could be considered as a demoniac force).

If the "enpowering" ability of Sauron would take that long, I don’t think that it was really usable. Don’t forget that Sauron was hastened to attack. That came to be when he learnt of the events we see to take place at the UrukHai chapter. Gandalf said that to Aragorn,Gimli and Legolas: "So the powers that he was preparing for so long, now he moves faster than he had expected"-TTT the White Ridder
Seeing the timetable:
28 February 3019:Eomer got the Orcs before Fangorn
(however some time should pass first in order for Sauron to learn of that loss)
14-15 March 3019: WK is at the battle.
That is arround 20 days, and considering the delaying of the whole thing, I would say arround 10-15 days.

manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 10:08 AM
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so in reality said demonic power is really nothing more than a disregaurd of ones own life?
Lord of the Rings 06/Sep/2006 at 10:16 AM
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Ah, here we are:

They [the Ringwraiths] have no great physical power over against the fearless; but what they have, and the fear they inspire, is enormously increased in darkness. The Witch-king, their leader, is more powerful in all ways than the others; but he must not yet be raised to the stature of Vol. III. There, put in command by Sauron, he is given an added demonic force. But even in the Battle of the Pelennor, the darkness had only just broken.
-Letter #210 to Forrest J. Ackerman

(my bold emphasis, italics original)

While that doesn’t really shed any light on the matter of just what this ’demonic force’ is (other than it would seem to be an increase of the WK’s other powers- not, or at least not just, his fear), but it does give the indication that it was a general purpose enhancement to aid him in his role as commander of the armies.

That fits in quite well with the timeline. The WK need have no knowledge of Gandalf before the 10th when the other Nazgul encountered him, although he had already been ’upgraded’, so to speak. Knowing something of Gandalf (both from past experience and from his display of power on the 10th), the challenge would quickly have been reserved for the WK. (Interestingly, this fits in with what little I know of customs regarding commanders- they were only to be killed by the other leader or by a random stroke of misfortune. I wonder if the WK’s death was intended to be a slight of sorts, actually).


I did a bit of looking at the winged messenger. It would appear, according to Gandalf’s words in The Palantír, that Saruman would not likely cooperate with the Nazgul, or if he did, he would not be believed. He would be thought a traitor who was withholding the Stone and his captive hobbit, hiding in Isengard. So I think it unlikely that Sauron would have found out anything substantial about Gandalf on that day.
manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 12:54 PM
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so in otherwords, added demonic force only makes him a more ....for lack of a better word, able....commander?
Lord of the Rings 06/Sep/2006 at 01:01 PM
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so in otherwords, added demonic force only makes him a more ....for lack of a better word, able....commander?

Sort of, but only indirectly, I think. The quote says that the Nazgul aren’t that powerful physically, but that the WK is more powerful than the others in all respects (clearly indicating physical as well). Then it goes on to say that even though he is more powerful (physically and otherwise), he is not yet as powerful as he will be. I think that clearly means that he is enhanced in every way: physically, terror-wise, and presumably in his sorcerous abilities (would he have had the power to shatter the Gate before?).

The reason for this upgrade is so that he would be a more effective foe in Sauron’s conquest- to make him a more potent leader of his forces. It seems unlikely that the ’demonic force’ somehow enhanced his strategic capabilities. So yes and no, the reason for the upgrade, according to my theory, is to make him a more mighty spear in Sauron’s hand; but no, it wasn’t specifically to enhance his ability to command an army (at least not to any great extent, I think).
Aganaphel 06/Sep/2006 at 01:35 PM
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It was not only the Witch-King that got additional demonic force. I believe the power of other nazgul was also enhanced:
"The Nazgûl came again, and as their Dark Lord now grew and put forth his strength, so their voices, which uttered only his will and his malice, were filled with evil and horror."

By the way, when working on this part of the story, Tolkien tried to figure out the nature of this empowerment. The passage above in the draft looked as follows:

"The Nazgul came once   more, slaves   of the   Nine Rings,   and to each, since now they were utterly subject to his will, their Lord had given again that ring of power that he had used of old."              
                                                                          
"This survived into the first typescript, where it   was afterwards
replaced by the words in RK (p. 97)." - HOME 8 Chapter 4 The Siege of Gondor.


Tolkien took away the mention of the Rings, most probably because he decided that Sauron couldn’t give back to them the very things that ensured their loyalty (see UT), while he still had no Ruling Ring.

But interesting that he thought of the Rings… Perhaps, as the story stands now, it was through their Rings that the nazgul were empowered? Perhaps he simply put their rings on his nine remaining fingers (while usually he kept them in a safe)? But it may be a simplistic explanation.

Another thing to consider is Boromir’s tale of the events of June 3018, when the Witch-King attacked Osgiliath: "We were outnumbered, for Mordor has allied itself with the Easterlings and the cruel Haradrim; but it was not by numbers that we were defeated. A power was there that we have not felt before.
`Some said that it could be seen, like a great black horseman, a dark shadow under the moon. Wherever he came a madness filled our foes, but fear fell on our boldest, so that horse and man gave way and fled."


It doesn’t seem that the power the Witch-King wielded when put in command by Sauron in 3018 differed that much from that he possessed at the Pelennor battle in 3019.

But in the Shire he seemed to be much weaker. Perhaps the distance from Mordor (from Sauron and from his nazgul Ring) was an issue? Or simply he was not allowed to use his full power on that secret mission, much as Istari were restricted in their power by the Valar?
Personally if I have to choose between these two possibilities, I would have chosen the former explanation.

Also, this passage in LOTR draft (HOME 8 ) supports this explanation, it seems: "Gandalf in the draft (p. 331) reminds Pippin who the Black Captain is: ’You have met him, Peregrin son of Paladin, though then he was far from home, veiled to your eyes, when he stalked the Ringbearer. Now he is come forth in power again, growing   as his   Master grows.’
So the distance seems to be important.   Wasn’t the Ring more powerful near Mordor?
manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 01:59 PM
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the witchking didn’t break down the gate. it was an enchanted battering ram named Grond in memory of the Hammer that Morgoth wielded.
Aganaphel 06/Sep/2006 at 02:09 PM
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Manve1, in the Tale of Years, the entry for March 15, 3019 starts with: In the early hours the Witch-king breaks the Gates of the City.

You really think the WK rose in his stirrups and cried trice the words of power and terror just for amusement of on-lookers?
manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 03:09 PM
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"Great engines crawled across the field; and in the midst was a huge ram, great as a forest tree a hundred feet in length, swinging on mighty chains. long had it been forging in the dark smithies of Mordor, adn it’s hideous head, founded of black steel, was shaped in the likeness of a ravaging wolf; on it spells of ruin lay. Grond they named it, in memory of the Hammer of the Underworld of old. Great beasts drew it, orcs surrounded it, and behind walked mountain trolls to weild it...
The drums rolled and rattled. With a vast rush Grond was hurled forward by huge hands. it reached the gate. it swung. Adeep boom rumbled through the city like thunder running in the clouds. But the doors of iron and posts of steel withstoo the stroke....
Thrice he cried. Thrice the great ram boomed. and suddenly upon the last stroke, the Gate of Gondor broke. as if stricken by some blasting spell it burst asunder: there was a flash of searing lightning, and the doors tumbled in riven fragments to the ground."
(ROTK the seige of gondor)

As you can clearly see, it was a ram that broke down the city gate.
Aganaphel 06/Sep/2006 at 04:24 PM
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Then you can say it was Gandalf’s staff that drove away the nazgul.
Pointless discussion.
Lord of the Rings 06/Sep/2006 at 04:43 PM
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Manwe1, you left out a very important piece of the quote:

Then the Black Captain rose in his stirrups and cried aloud in a dreadful voice, speaking in some forgotten toungue words of power and terror to rend both heart and stone.
-The Lord of the Rings V, The Siege of Gondor


I have no idea why you totally disregarded that paragraph (it being the only thing you skipped in the quote), but it is clearly indicative of the WK’s part in the breaking of the Gate. Also, see Aganaphel’s quote from the Tale of Years.

Aganaphel, perhaps distance was a part of it, but I think it’s clear that he was specifically enhanced for the Pelennor. Perhaps Boromir’s comment was simply in contrast to the WK not having come forth to battle in so long (I don’t actually know off the top of my head when he last came forth, and don’t have the time to look now. Obviously this hypothesis is totally dependant on him not having forcibly fought Gondor in at least a generation).

Remember that he was a powerful foe throughout history, even in Angmar which was rather remote from Sauron (although not so distant as he was with Sauron in Mordor and himself being in the Shire). It is quite possible that he was unenhanced this entire time, and that Gandalf the Grey was sufficiently powerful to oppose him and the Nine (far from their Master- or perhaps more importantly, far from their Rings?). One interesting possibility is that after the failure of the Nazgul to capture the Ring (and perhaps also their inability to defeat Gandalf at Weathertop) caused Sauron to give the WK extra force to avoid a repeat situation.

Your quotes from the HoME (from volumes which I do not yet own) are most interesting. Are there any others which may help shed more light on the matter?
manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 05:53 PM
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yeah yeah, it also says that Sauron was overthrown by Isildur and elendil. You could use that and say that they were the only two to attack.

So the words rend heart and STONE??? The Gate was made out of STEEL....
Tar-Adahnamir 06/Sep/2006 at 07:05 PM
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I don’t think that should be taken literally manwe1, I’m sure he meant stone as just any generic building material, he didn’t need to say steel deliberately.
manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 07:30 PM
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so somethings should be taken literally, like the fact that the witchking’s power can destroy things, but other things shouldn’t like the fact that it says stone, but really means any building matterial?
Tar-Adahnamir 06/Sep/2006 at 08:32 PM
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Yes, some things you should take literally and some you shouldn’t. What’s the problem with that? Some people like to speak figuratively now and then. Just like balrog "wings"

If you want to be pedantic though, the gates were made of steel but the wall they were connected to was stone. Rernd the stone and the gates will fall. However, I don’t find that reasoning neccesary anyway.

manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 08:45 PM
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they don’t tend to speak literally and figuratively in the same sentance

"...yet it(the gate) was the key, the weakest point in all that high and IMPENETRABLE wall"
I highly doubt that he can destroy the wall.
Tar-Adahnamir 06/Sep/2006 at 08:58 PM
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OK just a silly counter-example: let’s say I’m using a cheesy pick-up line on a girl. "I think you are beautiful, like I think all beautiful flowers are. Now the first part is literal, the second is figurative. God I have to throw up now. But my point is, I think both these sentances work with figurative and literal parts.

Impenetrable doesn’t mean indestructible neccesarily by the way.

manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 09:09 PM
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indomitable--that cannot be subdued or overcome, as persons, will, or courage; unconquerable: an indomitable warrior.
if you look earlier in the paragraph that I quoted the wall is described as this.
also, no, it was not 2 sentances. it is grammatically incorrect to begin a sentance with "like". It also makes no sense. It should read: I think you are beautiful. Just as a beautiful flower.---thusly 2 sentances. OR it would read: you are as beautiful as a flower: Thus it is a simile.
I see none of the key words that would make that sentance,the one about rending stone, that you quoted a simile or metaphor. Also, one word usually isn’t figurative, it tends to be an entire sentance, or at very least a significant part of a sentance.
halfir 06/Sep/2006 at 09:12 PM
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Lord of the Rings: Of course, all this is assuming that the enhancements were tailored to Gandalf. While the challenge of Gandalf, once discovered, was obviously reserved for the WK ("their Captain was not yet come to challenge the white fire of his foe"), it is possible that this was only so because he was the only being who was powerful enough in the hosts to confindently challenge a Maia- and not, as I have been assuming, because the WK was specifically prepared to challenge Gandalf (indeed, the Morgoth’s Ring text about Sauron’s opinions of Gandalf, and the strange chronology, would seem to make it unlikely that Sauron would go to such lengths to counter Gandalf).

I very much liked the tenor of this post as with the emphasized comment (my emphasis) you are walking down the same road that I have been traveling. In fact I gave a detailed -albeit- speculative- gloss on this when a computer glitch wiped it all out! I hope to return in detail within the next 48 hours,as  RL is currently being very mean, and intruding!X(


 

Tar-Adahnamir 06/Sep/2006 at 09:31 PM
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manwe1- I find you’re grasping at straws here. Indomitable can also mean imposing, intimidating, can’t jump over it, extremely difficult to destroy in such a context. Unless you can really find something that says the wall was immune to all attack, it’s not going to be easy to convince me it couldn’t be done.

Please stop being pedantic. If you want to get like that, I’ll do an example that’s not just off the top of my head.

false quote: Gandalf heard the Witch-King shout with such intensity that it both hurt his ears and froze his heart.

Not a quote at all, but an example, hurting his ears is literal. Freezing his heart is not. I find no problem with this use of english, not using stone as figurative.

Let’s not forget, by the way, that it’s not exactly literal for the W-K to rend someones heart.

halfir 06/Sep/2006 at 09:38 PM
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manwe1- I find you’re grasping at straws here.

Its a specialty of his!X( First the WK simply postures verbally with Gandalf at the Gate and does not in any way intend to actually attack him (see Manwe’s earlier posts on the subject) and then the wall becomes invulnerable. I suspect he has a different copy of LOTR from the rest of us!X(

manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 09:43 PM
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true, that does work, but it is not the heart that is figurative, it is that entire phrase, froze his heart.
unless you want to say that the entire phrase, rends both heart and stone, is figurative, then I still disagree that the word stone means anything other than that. ALSO, if you want to say anything in that is figurative, it would be RENDS HEART, after all, it didn’t really rend any hearts did it? The word BOTH then qualifies the stone as being figurative. But then in that context the word rends is also figurative.
Tar-Adahnamir 06/Sep/2006 at 09:49 PM
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God I love your sig halfir  carry on

Hang on manwe1, did you just switch figurative with literal there? Now is he literally rending stone and figuratively rending hearts? make up your mind! or is he being figurative with both? Why would the word both change anything about the fact that stone is being used as a metaphor? I’m not sure you have this all clear in your head yet. I see no reason whatsoever to back down from my original opinion that stone is a metaphor. It’s well in line with the kind of style Tolkien uses.

manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 10:18 PM
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@%*# you Halfir
no, did I say that? although i will say that I can’t make out a real idea in that last post
YET, let me ask you a question. WHY WOULD SAURON SPEND ALL THE TIME TO MAKE GROND WHEN HE COULD HAVE HAD THE WITCHKING MORE OR LESS YELL AT THE WALL AND GET THE SAME EFFECT?

Lord of the Rings 06/Sep/2006 at 10:32 PM
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Manwe1, please calm down. This thread has already come near the point of unacceptable anger at least once, and now I think it has been passed. I think we could all do with a bit more civility. While halfir’s post was flip, that is no reason for you to react as you did.

To answer your actual question, notice how the Gate is destroyed. The WK cries out, and Grond strikes. They are both important components to the Gate’s destruction, and very clearly portrayed as such. We are all capable of reading the text critically and with comprehension, and if someone is making an argument or interpretation, the best strategy is to get our your book and read the passage (and preferably the bits before and after as well for context).

This whole thing is about whether the WK’s role in destroying the Gate (and he most definitely played a role) was making use of his ’added demonic force’ (ADF for short if we’re going to keep talking about it) or not. I personally am rather inclined to think it was- a demonstration of the ’new stature to which he has been raised’ to paraphrase #210.

This is part of a discussion which could prove to be quite interesting, once we can actually get on with it.
manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 10:37 PM
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I meant nothing by it, stresses of the day.... it was a convinient outlet.
sorry Halfir

yet if you look at grond, wound about with spells of destruction, that would also explain the way the gate is destroyed.
and there is nothing saying that the words of power and terror is anything that is not native to the witchking.
manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 10:42 PM
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although, i have yet to see anyone provide me with a quote that prove that the wall is indeed vulnerable.
after all, was it not made in, more or less the same fashion as orthanc? and the ents, who by the way tore through the outer wall like it was nothing, couldn’t even mar the surface.
Did gandalf not say that saruman would be able to hold out in orthanc until sauron came to get him. something about the destruction of orthanc being beyond his power, but saying that the power of sauron was something that he didn’t know about. I cant find the actual quote.
Lord of the Rings 06/Sep/2006 at 10:44 PM
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No, there isn’t anything explicitly saying that the WK’s destruction of the Gate was part of his ADF- that’s just part of the theory I’m talking about, and we should debate whether or not we think it is and why.

The WK’s words are important. They warranted a rather dramatic mention, and are tied very closely to the destruction of the Gate. If Grond alone were sufficient, then Grond alone would have been mentioned. However, the description of the WK’s cries were given substantial weight in the passage. Even if Grond may have been able to destroy the Gate on its own (presumably over a much longer timespan), it didn’t- the WK helped. He used words which were explicitly described as holding power.

It is this demonstration of power on the WK’s part which is of relevence to the discussion.
manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 10:49 PM
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true, yet it also mentions that the words rend the heart, and when the gate broke, all fled but gandalf, that could be the reason for it’s mention. also note that the rending of heart takes precedence before the rending of stone...in the words I mean. If he meant for The rending of stone to take preccednce, would it not say... The power to Rend both Stone and Heart.
Tar-Adahnamir 06/Sep/2006 at 10:51 PM
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I don’t think it was made in the same fashion as Orthanc. I think it more likely it was made in the same fashion as the outer wall.

I’ll forget about the language thing in your other post, assuming it was typed with the same anger as the preceding words. I’ll just say I indeed didn’t make any new points, I was just criticising your rebuttal. My point is already made.

Nowhere in LotR does Tolkien say "And with ADF, the W-K did this" because it sounds silly. I just assume that his more fearsome deeds (like the gate) were done with ADF without it having to be said so.

manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 10:54 PM
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yet nowhere in his notes or letters does he say it either.
also, remeber that the Ancient men of gondor built orthanc, why would they not build their wall with the same diligence and ...for lack of a better word... indestructability.
Tar-Adahnamir 06/Sep/2006 at 10:56 PM
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I don’t think we should read too feeply into precedence of words. In a way, having a word at the end of a sentence makes it stronger too.

manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 10:57 PM
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true......
Tar-Adahnamir 06/Sep/2006 at 11:01 PM
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Also, Orthanc is a tower, MT is a city. Far less material needed.
manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 11:03 PM
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exactly, although minas Tirith was originally more of a fort, built in defence of Osgiliath, only after Osgiliath fell during the Kinstrife, i think it was, did people move to Minas tirith.
although, I see more of a point in making a city wall indestructible than a tower.
Tar-Adahnamir 06/Sep/2006 at 11:09 PM
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OK manwe1, think of it this way: the outer wall of Isengard and Minas Tirith are both somewhat vulnerable to outstanding attack (like witch-kings, "grond" s and ents). Orthanc (and maybe some towers within Minas Tirith too) are basically indestructible. Makes sense?

Sure, it makes more sense to make an outer wall indestructible, but that wall is huge, so it’s difficult, if not impossible.

manwe1 06/Sep/2006 at 11:11 PM
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no, because the outer wall of Orthanc was built by saruman
how is more impossible than making a hundred foot hight tower, that has been sculpted like it has, indestructable.
Tar-Adahnamir 06/Sep/2006 at 11:21 PM
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Did he build that wall? Quotes?

It is perhaps impossible because Minas Tirith had high walls (maybe not 100 feet, but surely at least 20 feet) and it was much much wider than Orthanc was. Vastly more building materials, effort, etc. Surely it is very hard to make a wall indestructible. It is much easier to make a tower (or at least a towers base anyway) indestructible and make a citys wall merely exceedingly strong. If it is not impossible, it would be harder at least.

Lord_Vidύm 07/Sep/2006 at 12:14 AM
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Minas Tirith’s walls were indestructible, because they were created by the Numenorian craft, before their fall. The same happens with Orthanc I think. So it is not the impossible here, it is all matter of a craft of a very noble race.

 the outer wall of Isengard and Minas Tirith are both somewhat vulnerable to outstanding attack
No, Minas Tirith’s wall was not vulnerable. "And its outer sight was like the tower of Orthanc, tough and dark and smoothy, invulnerable by steel or far, unbreakable, except for if a shake would break the earth itself on which it was founded"-RotK the Sieging of Minas Tirith. That shows that only by destroying the earth under it, it would be broken. What WK did was to "enpower" the Grond.

Did he build that wall? Quotes?
"2953 TA: Saruman retired to Isenguard, which he takes, and fortifies it" RotK-Timetable

Tar-Adahnamir 07/Sep/2006 at 12:25 AM
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Good one Vidúm!

But, returning to the gate debate, indeed it was never neccesary for the WK to break the stone. Why would he say stone at all if he meant nothing at all by it? I always thought, and still do, that it was a metaphor, and it works very well with the kind of figurative language that Tolkien always uses.

It was one of the WKs more impressive feats, so I think it was done with ADF (it took 3 tries, so clearly it was difficult, so why would he not use his ADF if he could?). etc. etc. so he at least believed he had a chance against Gandalf.

Lord_Vidύm 07/Sep/2006 at 01:08 AM
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ADF?What is that?

I think that without the enchantment of Witcking, the Grond would have to give more than 3 hits in order to bring the Gate down.
Of course and the WK believed that he had a chance against Gandalf. If he didn’t, he would call himself Gandalf’s Death.

Tar-Adahnamir 07/Sep/2006 at 01:38 AM
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ADF?What is that?

Added demonic force, alluded to in previous posts (quoted from one of the letters)

I think that without the enchantment of Witcking, the Grond would have to give more than 3 hits in order to bring the Gate down.

Or perhaps it would never have fallen without the W-K, but I agree

Of course and the WK believed that he had a chance against Gandalf. If he didn’t, he would call himself Gandalf’s Death.

Well, Manwe1 would (have) argue(d)  (not sure if he still thinks so) that that was meaningless posturing, attempting to make Gandalf back down. I think we’ve pretty much covered why that isn’t true though, about a page ago.

halfir 07/Sep/2006 at 05:17 AM
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manwe 1: Absolutely no need to apologize, but let’s now all leave ’barbs and rants’ aside and proceed to some serious detective work. I will try and post tomorrow my somewhat speculative thoughts which have been developing since I conjoined this thread with Morgoth’s Ring Myths transformed V11, and read LOTR’s post, to which I referred earlier.

A few random points before then:

1. Note the use of the ’magic ’number 3 in the WK’s uttering of the words of power. On the third time of utterance and the third stroke of Grond the Gate collapses.

2. HOME 8 The War of the Ring  -The Siege of Gondor gives us this version  of the ’Grond’ Gate episode:

Then great rams went on before {i.e. in advance of the WK} , but the steel only shook and boomed. The Black Captain....lifted again his hand crying in a dreadful voice. In some forgotten tongue he spoke crying aloud words of power and terror. Thrice the  rams  boomed. Thrice he cried, and then suddenly the gate  as if stricken by some blast  burst {asunder}, and a great flash  as of lightning, burst and fell, and in rode the Lord of the Nazgul.’

3. Words of power were spoken by Gandalf in Moria to prevent a door opening and were challenged by the Balrog:

’I could think of nothing to do but to try and put a shutting spell on the door.....The counter-spell was terrible. It nearly broke me. For an instant the door left my control and began to open! I had to speak a word of Command. That proved too great a strain. The door burst  in pieces.’

4. With regard to Sauron’s ability to affect the Tower of Orthanc itself Gandalf says of Saruman:

’Unhappy fool! He will be devoured, if the power of the East stretches out  its arms to isnegard. We cannot destroy Orthance from without, but Sauron- who knows what he can do? {TT- The Voice of Saruman}

It’s interesting to compare this with Galdor’s comment at The Council of Elrond- FOTR:

’Power to defy our Enemy is not in him {Tom Bombadil}, unless such power is in the earth itself. And yet we see that Sauron  can torture and destroy the very hills.’

5. And its outer sight was like the tower of Orthanc, tough and dark and smoothy, invulnerable by steel or far, unbreakable, except for if a shake would break the earth itself on which it was founded"-RotK the Sieging of Minas Tirith. {ROTK- The Siege of Minas Tirith}  

But of course the WK had been probing for the weak point, which all defences, however formidable, have:

’It was against the Gate that he would throw his heaviest weight. Very strong it might be, wrought of steel and iron and  guarded with towers and bastions of indomitable stone, yet it was the key, the weakest  point in all that  high and impenetrable wall’. {ibid}.

Aganaphel 07/Sep/2006 at 06:49 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Lord of the Rings on Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Aganaphel, Your quotes from the HoME (from volumes which I do not yet own) are most interesting. Are there any others which may help shed more light on the matter?

Thank you, the Lord of the Rings. I think there are.
HOME Books 6-8 give answers to many debatable things in the LOTR. I have already posted this bit on another forum, so I repeat it here.

There are several LOTR plot-holes caused by the perpetual development of Tolkien’s conceptions.
One of them is this: Gandalf is an incarnated Maia, the Witch-King is a Wraith who once was a Man. Normally, Gandalf should be more powerful than the WK. Also, the prophesy "No living man..." shouldn’t have excluded the possibility of Gandalf killing the WK, as the Maia is "no Man".
So, why is the Witch-King so confident before the Battle? Why is Gandalf so unsure of himself?
‘Then, Mithrandir, you had a foe to match you,’ said Denethor. (...) Or can it be that you have withdrawn because you are overmatched? (...) ‘It might be so,’ Gandalf answered softly. ‘But our trial of strength is not yet come. LOTR

The answer lies in the drafts for the story. Tolkien had an earlier conception of the Witch King, where his nature and identity were no mystery. In LOTR drafts he was called "the Wizard King" and was originally the greatest and most powerful WIZARD of the same order as Gandalf:

"Gandalf has insufficient magic to cope with Black Riders unaided, whose king is a wizard" The Treason of Isengard p. 9"

"War between Ond and Wizard King....Tarkil’s fathers had been driven out by the wizard that is now Chief of the Nine" The Treason of Isengard p.116"

"Then my heart failed me for a moment; for the Chief of the Nine was of old the greatest of all the wizards of Men, and I have no power to withstand the Nine Riders when he leads them" The Treason of Isengard p. 132"

"Denetor and Faramir marvel at Gandalf’s power over Nazgul. Gandalf says things are still not so bad - because the Wizard King has not yet appeared. He reveals that he is a renegade of his own order...from Numenor. ’So far I have saved myself from him only by flight’...""The War of the Ring" p.326.


Yet, in the drafts of the story, the Wizard King was never meant to be a Maia, instead, all the Wizards were meant to be Men.

Interesting that the idea that the 9 Rings were given to MEN was a very early conception:
"But all the Nine Rings of Men have gone back to Sauron, and borne with them their possessors, kings, warriors, and wizards of old, who became Ring-wraiths and served the maker and were his most terrible servants" HOME 8, The Return of the Shadow, p.260.

On the contrary, the idea that Wizards were Maiar who were sent to ME from Valinor in the THIRD Age was a late idea, most likely from the time when "The Istari" in the Unfinished Tales were written (after the main text of the LORT and before the Appendices).

Of course, when Tolkien made up his mind about the nature of Wizards, and decided they came to ME as late as TA 1000, it became impossible for the WK to be one of them, because, how then "the 9 rings were given to Men back in the Second Age?" How could a Maia become a wraith?

So, the "Wizard King" was changed to the "Witch-King" throughout the text, and a few sentences when Gandalf reveals his nature (see quotes above) were removed.
But some remnants of the earlier conception persisted.

Everyone reading LOTR gets a clear impression that Gandalf fears the WK, because he is overmatched. And it made sense in the earlier conception, because the Wizard King was the more powerful WIZARD of the two, or had similar (but greater) power and strength as Gandalf the White.

Also, there was a debate earlier about this quote:
" I am Gandalf, Gandalf the White, but Black is mightier still."
This sentence was present in the draft of the story (HOME 8) as well, and I am almost sure that when it was first written it referred to the Wizard-King, meaning: "I am Gandalf the White Wizard now, but the Witch-King, the Black Wizard, is mightier still.
Then the Black Wizard was removed from the story, and in the context where this sentence stands now in the LOTR, it seems to refer to Sauron, or maybe, to Forces of Evil in general.

Also note that the WK still remains the strongest BY FAR than the other nazgul. But now the reason for it is gone, because the Witch-King is a wizard no longer. That is how the Witch-King lost his identity. He is still called "King and Sorcerer of old", but Tolkien never came up with a new story for him, which had to explain why he was so very powerful.

And, so, the conception of "Added Demonic Force" (ADF) had to be introduced at a later date, after the publication of the book, to somehow explain these inconsistencies remaining in the published LOTR.
manwe1 07/Sep/2006 at 07:15 AM
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yet do we know the timeframe in which these were written? if they were written before the final conception of LOTR, then we can dismiss them,not out of hand, but as building blocks.
BECAUSE if they were written before, and not added to the story, then JRRT clearly decided that it would serve no purpose to put those paragraphs in the story.
ALSO, the quote black is mightier still, well I have yet to see a quote that says it was specifically talking about the witchking. REMEMBER JRRT was deep into Norse Mythology, where Evil was IN GENERAL more powerful then good, IN GENERAL. not that the weakest evil can defeat the greatest good, but that evil conquers in the end.
halfir 07/Sep/2006 at 07:20 AM
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Aganaphel: I am impressed by the scholarly way that you have analyzed earlier and later text, but have very grave doubts as to whether the very coherent explanations you have given can be given at all.

Having HOME and Letters allows us a degree of ex post facto observation that no one reading LOTR before 1981 {the publication of the Letters }  or more likely before 1992 (the publication of Sauron Defeated} could have had. Of course, those who privately corresponded with Tolkien would have aspects of the matters raised illuminated, but in general only those limited  questions that they had personally asked.

If your premise is correct then Tolkien allowed the LOTR to go to press - having stated that ’ Hardly a word in its 600,00 or more has been unconsidered {Letter # 131} with considerable lacunae that were only resolveable by reading drafts he never intended for publication and Letters that as far as he was concerned were a private correspondence between him and the individual reader!

I find this very diffiulct to swallow, and while I accpet the historical veracity of the points you make I do not go along at all with the inferences you draw from them.

I think that what Tolkien published was considered and measured, and that while earlier conceptions can lead to the conclusions that you draw, I do not feel that  the actual fact of the matter. The possible ’overmatching’ of Gandalf  vis a vis the WK  gives a dynamic tension to the storyline in the same way that the Boethian and Manichaen concepts of evil -represented by individual moral choice and the external evil of the One give the concept of evil in LOTR such a complex finesse - not a simple black and white paradigm.

So while your explanation makes sense- I am by no means persuaded that it is correct. I think the Master was far too masterly a wordsmith for that, and far too much a niggler to have allowed what you suggest to have happened.

 

manwe1 07/Sep/2006 at 07:34 AM
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i am going to hate myself for saying it, but i agree with you HALFIR
Lord_Vidύm 07/Sep/2006 at 07:58 AM
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ALSO, the quote black is mightier still, well I have yet to see a quote that says it was specifically talking about the witchking. REMEMBER JRRT was deep into Norse Mythology, where Evil was IN GENERAL more powerful then good, IN GENERAL. not that the weakest evil can defeat the greatest good, but that evil conquers in the end.

The end of the Norse Mythology is Ragnarok. During Ragnarok everything will be destroyed, the seas will consume the world, and after that a new one will dive, and two men who had fallen asleep under a tree(i don’t remember the name) will awake, and make our world. That is not EVIL, evil was destroyed finally, and the world that came to be was a paradise.

manwe1 07/Sep/2006 at 08:51 AM
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I am not well versed in Norse mytholgy, greek yes, norse no.

so sue me.
yet in norse mythology is evil not greater than good?
Lord_Vidύm 07/Sep/2006 at 08:59 AM
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Balder’s death was something evil, that could not be fixed, because of evil again. But still it isn’t that is greater. It is that Loki refused to cry. butWe’d better ask Regnelle about that.

As for greek, it is still that evil loses. And what is evil? It is those who dare to face something greater than them, because they think they can overpass it (and they end up in being Tragic Heroes). Turin could be regarded as a Tragic Hero, for he wanted to face and overpass his Fate (We see that when he doesn’t want his name to be called), and finally he was crushed by it.

manwe1 07/Sep/2006 at 09:36 AM
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well yes in greek myth evil loses. not that there really is evil....
Lord_Vidύm 07/Sep/2006 at 09:45 AM
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No there is not. Human deeds can be considered to be evil
Aganaphel 07/Sep/2006 at 10:38 AM
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manwe1 I wouldn’t have dismissed anything written by Tolkien out of hand or as "building blocks", I only wish we had more material...

I think the drafts give us a great insight in the manner in which Tolkien wrote his stories. And it was a rather unusual manner, I would think. He never had a detailed conception of the whole book developed before he started "fleshing" it. So the hobbits almost got halfway to Rivendell before Tolkien figured out why they had set out in the first place. The conception of the Ruling Ring was late to emerge, for instance, and Tolkien had no idea what the Black Riders were before the hobbits met one on the road. When Tolkien was writing the scene, first it was Gandalf swathed in a great cloak who overtook them (and he was sniffing because Frodo had his Ring on and Gandalf couldn’t see him). Then Tolkien decided it was not Gandalf, but an enemy, and changed the colour of the robe and the horse to black, and the final description of the sniffing black rider was achieved before he started to think what this enemy might be.
And like that Tolkien has written the greatest story of 20 century. Isn’t that awesome?

The exact timing of particular drafts was a difficult thing even for Christopher Tolkien who spent the better part of his life sorting his father’s manuscripts. The only thing we can tell for sure, is that Tolkien removed the wizard-king from the tale, when drafts for the whole story had been already written. The Wizard King was present not only in the Pelennor drafts, but also even in the drafts for the scene at Sammath Naur (thus showing that first Tolkien didn’t believe him really and irretrievably dead by Eowyn’s hand).

halfirI was not trying to imply that the story as it stands now is impossible to understand without reading HOME or Letters. There are some places where an attentive reader sees sentences that could be interpreted in many ways. This thread is another proof how different and conflicting these interpretations could be. But is it a bad thing? Not at all, otherwise thousands of people wouldn’t be discussing Tolkien on multiple forums.

Are there some minor plotholes? Yes, there are, IMO, as Tolkien was no God, but a busy man with a job and many obligations. And when one reads his letters, one sees how many times he had promised to his publishers to finish the story "in a few months", when in reality years and decades passed and the end was never in sight. No doubt he was under stress before the publication.
Are those "considerable lacunae" (as halfir put it): mistakes made because of negligence or inattention? Not at all, you would have to dig deep to see one of them. And when you find one, there will be lots of people who tell you it is not a plothole at all...

In the case of the Wizard King, Tolkien did a good job of removing all the references to him that were present in the Draft. I readily believe the Professor, when he says that "not a single word remained unconsidered".
Even if INITIALLY the sentence "the Black is mightier still" referred to the Wizard King, Tolkien’s decision to leave it in the final version was justified, as it could refer to Evil in general or to Sauron. A first-time reader will never stop at this place to scratch his head and to ask "now, now what may it be about?".
But a thing that is much more difficult to alter, once the story is written, is the general feeling. The mounting tension, the anticipation of the final confrontation between the WK and Gandalf is there, even when Tolkien toned down the references to the WK’s power. A first-time reader will be greatly worried for Gandalf. Will he defeat the Black Captain? Or will he be killed? What about the prophesy? And Tolkien wanted it to be this way. Because a first-time reader has NO idea that Gandalf is "no man", that he is a Maia, and that he has one of the Three in his possession. All this knowledge will come later.

So, again, there is nothing confusing in the story for a new reader.
It becomes a bit confusing only for those who have access to Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales ("the Istari" and "the hunt"...), letters, etc. None of these were published in Tolkien’s lifetime.
Lord of the Rings 07/Sep/2006 at 12:56 PM
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Also in connection with Tolkien’s habit of ’niggling’- he may very well have decided at some later date that the relative powers of Gandalf and the WK weren’t entirely satisfactory to him, and come up with an explanation (ADF) to set things aright. That doesn’t make it a plot hole to start with, just something that, when one digs deep enough, not entirely explained in the published text. Then we turn to other means of understanding Tolkien’s thoughts--at the time of TLotR or later--: the Letters and HoME.
manwe1 07/Sep/2006 at 02:12 PM
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much of the HoME about the trilogy are beginning drafts. as such they were built upon and edited until we have the trilogy we have now. The only books in the HoME that have impact on any of his writings are UT, MR, WotJ, the last 2 because JRRT never actually got around to finishing the sil. And of course the letters.

I am not dismissing it out of hand, i am saying that previous concepts have no bearing on this converstation. in the original draft, the WK may have been greater than gandalf, BUT that was not in the final draft. It is the Final works that matter.
Lord of the Rings 07/Sep/2006 at 02:38 PM
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manwe1, that isn’t strictly true (and UT isn’t actually part of HoME). Being somewhat familiar with how the HoME work (just not the HoTLotR), it is easy to gain a lot of insight about what the published ideas were based on the ideas which lead up to the final ones.

It is clear that the WK was intended to be powerful, and present a challenge to Gandalf. If the WK were clearly no match for Gandalf, there would be no drama in that story, and the confrontation would lack meaning. The earlier conception, it would appear, is that the WK’s power came from his wizardry. That was removed, but all the drama remained, and the WK was still left in as a powerful foe who, as we have argued from many angles, was somewhere near Gandalf’s power level (whether more or less, it was by enough of a margin that Gandalf was worried).

The solution to where the WK now gets his power (now that he’s not a wizard) is ADF. This force now explains other demonstrations of power which would presumably have been attributed to wizardry: the words at the Gate and the flaming sword come to mind.

The HoME would indicate to us that Tolkien wanted the WK to be basically a wizard as far as power went, but not as far as his history and personality were concerned. ADF is the solution he came up with. While the HoME made this explanation much clearer, we should remember that it is more or less the same idea we came up with independant of the HoME drafts- a fact which adds significantly to it’s validity as an idea, I should think.

For now, I am looking forward to halfir’s post on the matter, or for any further information from any book. I have a feeling there is quite a lot more to be said about this.
Lord of the Rings 07/Sep/2006 at 02:39 PM
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Clarification: when I said ’enough of a margin’, I meant ’small enough of a margin’.
halfir 07/Sep/2006 at 04:17 PM
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It becomes a bit confusing only for those who have access to Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales ("the Istari" and "the hunt"...), letters

Anganaphel: The greatest danger in using all and any of these is that of the  post hoc ergo proper hoc’ ’fallacy -the ’after this therefore because of this’  fallacy which is based on the mistaken notion  that simply because one thing happens after another, the first event was the cause of the second event.

Tolkienian criticism is littered with it, and I have an innate suspicion of arguments such as the one propounded in your earlier post. I also do not accept LOTR’s claim that :

The HoME would indicate to us that Tolkien wanted the WK to be basically a wizard as far as power went, but not as far as his history and personality were concerned. ADF is the solution he came up with.

And the Letters are a minefield for the exegesist. They were private correspondence , not intended for puiblication, and not forming some seamless corpus of knowledge which advanced progressively over the years. As Hammond & Scull observe:

’Although he was concerned  , by and large, when adding  to his invention not to contardict what had been said in print, statements sent privately in correspondence were of a different order, to be held or discarded as the author wished.’ {LOTR -Companion- Preface my emphasis}

As for the WK Tolkien consciously rejected the earlier conception and replaced it with a later one. His creation was certainly not linear as  both CT,  Verlyn Flieger, and many others have  ably demonstrated but it is  not true to say that he had no form of overarching  structure- as a reading of Hammond & Scull’s Companion will show. Tolkien had a very exhaustive  series of time-schemes, (now mainly housed in the Tolkein Archives at Marquette University - Marquette MSS Series 4, Box 2, Folder 18 - cf. LOTR -Companion- Preface ):

’with which he kept track of the whereabouts and actions of his various characters, and the plot outlines and time schemes.’

 

Aganaphel 07/Sep/2006 at 05:54 PM
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halfir, I have read the Readers Companion quite recently. It proves again Tolkien’s attention to keeping time and place continuity straight. Earlier versions of the "Schemes" published the in RC could be found in HOME 6 and 7, so the existence of notes for instance tracing the movements of the individual Black riders is no news. Also Tolkien’s spent infinite time trying to co-ordinate the timing of Frodo’s journey to Mordor with the events in Rohan and later Minas Tirith. Same with the Moon and its phases. Tolkien paid great attention to details.

Still, when the whole plot was concerned, the author had very vague ideas about the future development of the story, while the previous chapters had practically reached the final form. But you know this if you have read HOME.

This said, I fail to see,halfir, where in my argument do I claim that "because one thing happens after another, the first event was the cause of the second event"? Please be clearer, exactly what events you mean?

As far as I see, I only claim that Tolkien, changing constantly his ideas while writing and correcting the story, failed to pinpoint and change all the remnants of the earlier ideas. Or just decided to leave them as they were.

halfir 07/Sep/2006 at 07:17 PM
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failed to pinpoint and change all the remnants of the earlier ideas. Or just decided to leave them as they were.

Exactly-it was purposive.

And, so, the conception of "Added Demonic Force" (ADF) had to be introduced at a later date, after the publication of the book, to somehow explain these inconsistencies remaining in the published LOTR.

I fail to see how you can make such a claim in the context of a single private letter.

Lord of the Rings 07/Sep/2006 at 10:01 PM
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As for the WK Tolkien consciously rejected the earlier conception and replaced it with a later one.

I do indeed see this issue. What I said still stands as a possibility which I think is worthy of consideration (especially the aspect which puts the WK forth as being a real potential challenge to Gandalf). I also have not actually read the relevent books, I want to qualify all my statements with that.

The part of my argument which is probably the shakiest is the ADF. It is, as you say halfir, based only a single letter. While I am fairly certain that Tolkien’s reasoning for the idea of ADF was more or less what has already been put forward (not necessarily in direct connection with anything wizardly, but rather as an explanation for his increased displays of power and his stature as a threat to Gandalf), there is nothing to say he developed the idea fully or held it for any length of time.

Thank you for pointing this out- it is all too easy to get carried away with an idea, and build a theory too high on a fragile foundation.
halfir 09/Sep/2006 at 08:27 PM
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LOTR:  there is nothing to say he developed the idea fully or held it for any length of time.

You are at a disadvantage in not having the relevant HOME  volumes to hand, and I understand that. But your statement  does not bear close examination in the context of the HOME drafts any more than that advanced by Anganaphel- on which it is based- does.

Unfortunately visitors and RL preclude my responding in detail at the moment, but as soon as I have attended to both I will return and explain my reasoning more extensively.

It also seems to me that inherent in the way this discussion has progressed are three questions:

1. What was the nature of the ADF and how was it transfered to the WK by Sauron?

2. When did that transfer take place?

3. Was the ADF  in direct response to Gandalf’s enhanced powers or for totally different reasons?

In order to full answer Question 1 I think we will need to look at the different ways in whcic Morgoth and Sauron diffused their power.

Aganaphel 11/Sep/2006 at 10:12 AM
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Halfir, when you do have time, please make clearer your points. I still fail to see why LOTR or my ideas "do not bear close examination".

As for the questions you listed, I am aftaid you will never find a satisfactory replies from the text of the LOTR. The comparison of the last known draft found in HOME 8 with the published text of the ROTK shows that Tolkien hadn’t added anything important into the draft concerning the WK, the nazgul, or Sauron. Instead, he removed some significant parts ftom the draft.

The draft versoin contained no ADF idea (as I have tried to prove), because it needed no ADF idea. The Witch- King was powerful because he was a wizard. Now how could the ADF idea have been incorporated into the ROTK text if no important additions were made?
To look for ADF in the LOTR is the same as to look for a black cat in a dark room when the cat isn’t there.
halfir 11/Sep/2006 at 10:31 AM
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Aganaphel: I am perfectly cognizant of both the draft and published texts, and have been for some considerable time.

And you seem to completely misunderstand the nature of my questions. Much of the fascination  that we have with Tolkien resides in the fact that we can only speculate- if we could produce cut and dried answers what a boring Plaza this would be. I was indicating to those with an interest in this thread that those questions are in my opinion  relevant to the theme of the thread. Whether we can answer them or not is neither here nor there. Have you not heard of ’gap analysis"?

And why -if it were  such a major change as you claim- is ADF consigned - as far as we know- to a letter to an American Film director - and not incorporated into a textual note in the revised Appendices in the 1966 edition that resulted from the Ace books controversy? The reason is because your explanation is as illusory as the black cat you claim I can’t find in the dark room.

Aganaphel 11/Sep/2006 at 12:18 PM
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Halfir, I may be misunderstanding you, but you seem to be misunderstanding me as well.

I never claimed that ADF was a major change. No, IMO it was an afterthought, an attempt to explain things to which the published text of the LOTR gives no answers. That’s why ADFappears in one letter only.
Also, please consider that this letter contains Tolkien’s comments on Zimmerman’s film ’treatment’ of The Lord of the Rings, so it was meant to put Tolkien ideas in a simple form, easily understandable even to those who treated his work " it would seem carelessly in general, in places recklessly, and with no evident signs of any appreciation of what it is all about". - quote from the same letter No 210.

Now we have all the right to try to fill the gaps. I am all for it. Only we should remember that in the case of the ADF we are trying to apply a late (and may be not fully developed) conception to an eariler text, much in the same way as we might try to analyze how Teleporno the Telerin Elf (from UT) fits into the LOTR. (By the way, it might have been an interesting thread - just what changes are needed to the text of Silm and LOTR to accommodate Teleporno or completely guiltless Galadriel?)

By the way, halfir, I have not a slightest doubt that you are "perfectly cognizant of both the draft and published texts, and have been for some considerable time." That’s why I believe that you will be able to see some truth in what I say.


halfir 11/Sep/2006 at 02:35 PM
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Only we should remember that in the case of the ADF we are trying to apply a late (and may be not fully developed) conception to an eariler text,

But that is exactly where we disagree. As to why I will explain in detail once I have the time to address this subject ion the detail it deserves.But I am glad that you are willing to join in the ultimate analysis I outlined earlier- even if we conclude with  less than satisfactory answers.

Lord_Vidύm 11/Sep/2006 at 03:56 PM
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1. What was the nature of the ADF and how was it transfered to the WK by Sauron?

2. When did that transfer take place?

3. Was the ADF  in direct response to Gandalf’s enhanced powers or for totally different reasons?

I think I had given some answers, yet I am not sure.

1. I think that the nature of the ADF and the transfering on to the WK, was Sauron’s will. The same way Sauron was able to move his will and power over his Orcs, the same way he was able to move his will and power over the WK, and give them the ADF. The same power of Sauron made the Orcs not fear the men, inspired them into a hatred and mania, in order to kill men, but when it was gone, the Orcs feared of the sight of men.

2. Probably the same time the War took place. Since the orcs were given and taken away immediately the Will and Power of Sauron, so and the ADF, as it was coming from that, was given and taken away at any immediate momment.

3. I think it was not really a great responce to Gandalf’s added powers, but a Responce of the Fear of using the Ring. For Sauron feared of that the Ring was taken in MinasTirith, and someone really powerful would use it in order to overthrown him. In that threat, for me, Sauron enchants WK. And in addition, the enchanting might occur because he wanted the WK to easily break the Gates of MinasTirith.

So what do you have to say on these? I can give quotes for several ideas if I will be asked.

Lord of the Rings 11/Sep/2006 at 04:01 PM
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I think it was not really a great responce to Gandalf’s added powers, but a Responce of the Fear of using the Ring.

I think this is a very good point, Vidum. For what was Sauron’s reason in attacking MT in the first place? To defeat Aragorn, who challenged Sauron through the Orthanc stone, and who Sauron suspected of having claimed the Ring. I think this bears some further consideration as a possibility.
Lord_Vidύm 11/Sep/2006 at 04:06 PM
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LOTR agreedGandalf says that Sauron, because of his fear, had to hasten his attack in MinasTirith. Even more his fear came, when Aragorn used the Palantir, and openly revealed himself to Sauron, showing him he had no rights over the stones of the kings.
halfir 11/Sep/2006 at 04:46 PM
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I think we have to be a little careful here. Sauron had already put into motion his plan of attack on Gondor, and he intended it to be anihilating, before Aragorn revealed himself.

cf. The WK- ROTK -The Siege of Gondor:

Old fool. This is my hour.

and

the defeat unlooked-for of his first assault  Gandalf- ROTK The Last Debate

Aragorn could not have used the Orthanc stone before the 5th of March,3018 cf Tale of Years ROTK -App B) and probably used it on the 6th:

’I did so {used the palantir} ere I rode from the Hornburg’.

 (cf. ROTK  The Laste Debate and Tale of Years App B}

and Aragorn himself was surprised by the speed of Sauron’s response:

’Though if I had foreseen how swift  would be his onset in answer, maybe I would not have dared  to show myself.’ {ROTK-The Last Debate}

The army that issued forth from the Morannon  on March 10 3018 had not been assembled in a nanosecond- it had been building -up over time.It’s formation was not the result of Aragorn’s revealing himself in the palantir. As it was, if it had not been readied, it only had four days to assemble (6-10th) and this is an unlikely time for a force of such size- unreadied.

And Gandalf observes of Sauron- ROTK The Last Debate:

’he has not built up his power  by waiting until his enemies are secure, as we have done.’

At the best Aragorn’s revealing of himself hastened  what was going to happen anyway, and by no more than a few days.

Lord_Vidύm 11/Sep/2006 at 05:14 PM
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However, Sauron knew that the Ring would possibly be at Minas Tirith when he would attack.

Sauron was scared however of that, long before Aragorn used the Palantir. We are told of that fear, when Aragorn,Gimli and Legolas meet the White Rider in Fangorn. From that time, Sauron wanted to hasten his campaigne.

However the revealing of Gandalf at the Pellenor Fields, would show him that the Ring had eventually reached MinasTirith. He knew of the Fellowship depart and all of its members. So since Gandalf arrived at Minas Tirith, so had and the Ring (I don;t think he knew of the Fellowship splitting, did he?)

halfir 11/Sep/2006 at 05:28 PM
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However the revealing of Gandalf at the Pellenor Fields, would show him that the Ring had eventually reached MinasTirithX(

But it hadn’t. And Boromir comes to the Couincil of Elrond for aid against the blow that Gondor knows is waiting to be struck. Sauron’s plans against Gondor might have been made more precipitate by the revealing of the  finding of the One and the revealing of Aragorn, but they were most certainly laid long before either of those eventualities arose:

’he has not built up his power  by waiting until his enemies are secure, as we have done.’

Lord_Vidύm 11/Sep/2006 at 05:36 PM
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Halfir I don’t understand what you say or understood. By the post:
However the revealing of Gandalf at the Pellenor Fields, would show him that the Ring had eventually reached MinasTirith
I meant:
Sauron knew that 7 people consisted the Fellowship, and Gandalf was in them
He knew that they had the Ring
Seeing Gandalf at Pelenor Fields (When he uses the Light rays)
So since Gandalf had reached Minas Tirith, so had and the Fellowship, so had and the Ring.

So the Ring was not anymore outside moving on the land, but it was inside Minas Tirith ready for his enemies to use it (According to Sauron’s mind)

Lord of the Rings 11/Sep/2006 at 10:01 PM
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To clarify: the current debate is whether Sauron added the ADF because he wanted to WK to be able to challenge a potential Ring-bearer. Whether he did this long before on the assumption that the WK would face the Ring-bearer at some point, or whether he only added it at the last minute because of Aragorn is a point of debate as well.

I am inclined to think that the WK was imbued not solely to challenge the Ring-bearer (although the possibility of such an encounter surely occurred to Sauron, and may have been a partial motivation), but rather as part of the long prepared plan of attack.

To take halfir’s points:

1. What was the nature of the ADF and how was it transfered to the WK by Sauron? I don’t have enough information to comment on this, other than I attribute his destruction of the Gate to ADF (that being the prime display of his increased stature).

2. When did that transfer take place? Of course, I cannot say for sure. The window is sometime between October 20, 3018 and March 15, 3019. I would think that the ADF was added before the ride to war on the 10th. It seems quite possible to me that Sauron added the ADF at the point when the Nazgul returned from their failure at the Fords (and that said failure, as I believe I have said before, may have motivated Sauron to increase the power of his servant), at more or less the same time he gave the Nazgul their new steeds. This could place it as early as shortly before the 9th of January, 3019 (if the shadow in Hollin was a Nazgul), and surely before 23rd of February.

3. Was the ADF in direct response to Gandalf’s enhanced powers or for totally different reasons? It seems less and less likely that it was in direct response to Gandalf. The earlier that the transfer happened, of course, the less likely it becomes. Other possible reasons (as stated already) are: 1) to challenge a new Ring-bearer (the thing Sauron fears most), 2) a response to the failure of the Nazgul at Rivendell, and 3) to make him more formidable and able in the upcoming war. These reasons (and this is of course nowhere near a comprehensive list of the possibilities) aren’t mutually exclusive.

I have tried to avoid conclusions, and rather point out possibilities I see.
halfir 12/Sep/2006 at 02:11 AM
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I am inclined to think that the WK was imbued not solely to challenge the Ring-bearer (although the possibility of such an encounter surely occurred to Sauron, and may have been a partial motivation), but rather as part of the long prepared plan of attack.

I think the overall text makes that very clear.

I have tried to avoid conclusions, and rather point out possibilities I see.

Excellent advice for us all at this stage in the proceedings.X(

SD_Morgoth 12/Sep/2006 at 02:29 AM
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Yes Halfir, but Sauron knew of the Ring’s moving for a pretty long time.

on March 1st 3019 ("Aragorn meets Gandalf the White") Sauron was aware of the Ring. But since the attack at MinasTirith would be lost for the Gondorians even if the WK had not the ADF (Except for if they would use the Ring of Power) then i see no reason for adding it so.

Aganaphel 12/Sep/2006 at 09:46 AM
Miner of Mordor Points: 951 Posts: 116 Joined: 01/Sep/2006
I think we might at least try to figure out what this ADF might be.

1. The easiest ADF explanation – Sauron giving back to the Witch-King his nazgul ring - should be rejected, IMO. Tolkien himself thought of that possibility when he was writing the draft, but then removed this passage (see one of my previous posts). Also, it would be impossible to give the Nazgul back the very thing that ensured his loyalty to Sauron – especially if confronted with a wannabe Ringlord. The letter 246, describing the hypothetical situation with Frodo wielding the One Ring against the nazgul is also relevant here.

2. Ringwraiths were forever connected to the Rings that enslaved them. So, may be, increasing their power could be done through these Rings, even without Sauron giving the rings back . Perhaps ADF could be passed to a nazgul if Sauron put on the corresponding nazgul ring and bent his will on the nazgul. That method had its advantages and disadvantages. Advantages: it could be done at any moment and lasted as long as needed. Disadvantages: Distance issue must have been important here, but worse, it necessitated constant concentration from Sauron himself, while the transfer of ADF lasted.
Does it agree with what we see in the LOTR? More or less. Sauron was definitely intent on something on the field of Pelennor, letting drop other things – like looking around through his Palantir, for instance. He failed to see the approach of the Rohhirim, he failed to see that the Black Ships were manned by Dunedain and not Corsairs, he failed to see two hobbits and Gollum on the Stairs of Ungol. Also, he never had time to send for the prisoner, captured at Ungol and he allowed his Darkness to dissipate at a crucial moment of the Pelennor battle. All these failures on Sauron’s part might be explained by ADF transfer taking much of his attention. Also it is much in the same way Sauron fuelled his orcs and trolls at the Black gate. Once his attention wavered, they felt lost and panicked (though will is not exactly ADF)

3. The third way to transfer ADF is by some spell, done once, likely cast in the presence of the Witch-King. It could have been done at any moment, but likely it was done once Sauron panicked about the Ring in Aragorn’s hands brought to Minas Tirith.
There are two possibilities here
3a. ADF is like a portion of fuel put in a mechanism, it wears out with time and depending on how much the WK uses it.
3b. ADF increases the WK’s power once and for all and remains stable, unless Sauron withdraws it by another spell (it is slightly similar to putting aside some of his power into the One Ring)

Does this method agree with LOTR? I am not sure, but I think not much.
Look at the Mouth during the Parley. Sauron sent him to confront the one whom he believed to have his Ring. Some ADF for the Ambassador would be handy. But it doesn’t seem the Mouth got any. Why? The third method allows to transfer the power to anyone of Sauron’s choice, while the second method could be used only with a nazgul. The fact that the mortal man known as the Mouth of Sauron got no ADF speaks against the third method.

Perhaps there are more possibilities that I didn’t see. I have no time to think about it more, sorry. And all this is pure speculation anyway.
great earendil 21/Sep/2006 at 06:32 AM
Banned Points: 822 Posts: 170 Joined: 21/Sep/2006
the whole concept of prophecy is very tricky and ambigous. see any famous prophecy and all of them u’ll find to be ambigous and confusing, having more than one interpretation.

what the main thing about prophecies are that they are not binding on the times i.e a contrasting event may also happen. what has been prophetised will happen only when things are allowed to pass as it is without intervention. take for example, the case of the mirror of galadriel. even that’s a kind of future telling and hance a prophecy, whereby sam clearly sees parts of all that which was to happen in "the scouring of the shire" in the return of the king. galdriel herself says....."this mirror shows things that were, that are and that are yet to pass if things are left as they are". thus, if sam had returned to shire, would the scouring had happened. the answer is no.....

fate is a complex topic which is beyond any of our grasp and so is the future. hence, fortune telling and prophetising is a tricky business indeed.

thus i conclude that by glorfindel’s prophecy, the witch king of angmar was not benefite in any wa he wasn’t even a special protection against all the male sex or anything). the only possible benefit would be that the hearts of all of the witch-kings foes would have been filled with read and hopelessness due to the prophecy.
Bregweneth 23/Sep/2006 at 08:40 AM
Herald of Imladris Points: 216 Posts: 36 Joined: 24/Jul/2006
maybe the prophecy does protect the witch-king in a way, as many people, when told something is impossible, beleive it to be so, and wont even attempt it. the prophecy of Glorfindel’s becomes reported whenever the witch-king is mentioned, and eventually becomes ’fact’-that no man can kill this king.
its kinda similar to macbeth in a way, he is told he cannot be killed by ’one born of woman’ and comes to beleive this means he is invincible. maybe the same sort of thing happens to the witch-king? he beleives he cannot be killed by man, and due to this belief and mens fear, he remains "alive".
NineFingered 27/Sep/2006 at 07:51 AM
Crafter of the Shire Points: 2251 Posts: 1253 Joined: 17/Jul/2005
I agree with Bregweneth, in that it is common in classical literature (like Shakespeare) to have a prophecy that is interpreted by the "victim", but in the end betrays him. Like Bregeweneth said, "[Macbeth]  is told he cannot be killed by ’one born of woman’ and comes to beleive this means he is invincible" But then Malcom comes around and declares that he was not born of a woman, for he was taken out of her womb after she died (or something like that). In this way, Macbeth’s power becomes his doom. Likewise, the Witchking is sure of his power because he will not die by the hand of man. But when Eowyn challenged him, the book says, "the Ringwraith made no answer, and was silent, as if in sudden doubt". The Withking then, suddenly doubts whether the prophecy will protect him now or turn against him. As with other prophecies, the consumation of it is unthinkable. The prophecy in the end tricks the Witchking because Eowyn, a woman and Merry, a hobbit, defeat him. My point is that we must interpret the meaning of "Man" after the event, because no one could have foreseen such a thing before. Prophecies work in strange ways.