Bestiary of Middle-Earth

FAN: Discuss various fictional worlds that don't qualify for SF.

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Postby Ar-Adunakhor » 2007-02-06 11:48pm

Edit: Apologies if I was harsh above, but I just got out of an argument with some Class-A Morons over this very thing. I agree that he may not be a Maia. However, if he is not a Maia then he is something less powerful -- not moreso. I was just aiming for the upper end with my first post.

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Postby Teleros » 2007-02-06 11:52pm

Soldier of Entropy wrote:I just thought of something. Besides Illuvatar, there are two beings in ME whose existence is never truly explained; Ungoliant and Tom Bombadil.

Most of the stuff I've read lends itself to the idea that Ungoliant was one of Melkor's followers (at least for a time), and so was likely created by Iluvatar. That said, I've not found anything that conclusively states what she was / wasn't, although personally I doubt she was ever a rival to Iluvatar. My impression has always been (to use a Christian example) of Iluvatar as God and the Ainur et al as angels etc (Melkor would be Lucifer), which rather rules out the idea of a serious challenge for the guy at the top.

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Postby CaptainChewbacca » 2007-02-07 01:07am

Bombadil definitely isn't a Maia, because the ring didn't affect him as it would have Gandalf or Saruman.
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Postby Ar-Adunakhor » 2007-02-07 01:56am

CaptainChewbacca wrote:Bombadil definitely isn't a Maia, because the ring didn't affect him as it would have Gandalf or Saruman.


Do you mean the corruption or the invisiblity? The corruption is explained, and we have zero experience with someone that powerful actually wearing the ring, except Sauron himself... who, interestingly, didn't turn invisible either.

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Postby CaptainChewbacca » 2007-02-07 02:51am

Ar-Adunakhor wrote:
CaptainChewbacca wrote:Bombadil definitely isn't a Maia, because the ring didn't affect him as it would have Gandalf or Saruman.


Do you mean the corruption or the invisiblity? The corruption is explained, and we have zero experience with someone that powerful actually wearing the ring, except Sauron himself... who, interestingly, didn't turn invisible either.

You make a valid point about Sauron not being invisible. I guess I'll just fall back to Tolkien's statements that Bombadil isn't a Maiar, a Valar, or Illuvatar himself.

Perhaps he's the music of creation.
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Postby Covenant » 2007-02-07 03:08am

Ar-Adunakhor wrote:Edit: Apologies if I was harsh above, but I just got out of an argument with some Class-A Morons over this very thing. I agree that he may not be a Maia. However, if he is not a Maia then he is something less powerful -- not moreso. I was just aiming for the upper end with my first post.


Nah, it's cool. I'm a fan of the theory that he's a nature spirit. It was mentioned somewhere that if Sauron got the ring, he would eventually get around to Tom, and whup him ten ways to Sunday.

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Postby Ar-Adunakhor » 2007-02-07 12:47pm

Covenant wrote:
Ar-Adunakhor wrote:Edit: Apologies if I was harsh above, but I just got out of an argument with some Class-A Morons over this very thing. I agree that he may not be a Maia. However, if he is not a Maia then he is something less powerful -- not moreso. I was just aiming for the upper end with my first post.


Nah, it's cool. I'm a fan of the theory that he's a nature spirit. It was mentioned somewhere that if Sauron got the ring, he would eventually get around to Tom, and whup him ten ways to Sunday.


You misremember, it was stated that Sauron would get around to whipping him even without the One, which is even more condemning. Remember that they were talking about hiding it, and Gandalf said something to the effect of: "Yeah, but even if we hide it there then Sauron will eventually whip the crap out of him, too, and take it."

CaptainChewbacca wrote:Perhaps he's the music of creation.


You know, I've never heard that one before. What are you basing it on?

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Postby CaptainChewbacca » 2007-02-07 01:35pm

Ar-Adunakhor wrote:
CaptainChewbacca wrote:Perhaps he's the music of creation.


You know, I've never heard that one before. What are you basing it on?


A few things:
1. He knows everything's "name", and has considerable power over it.
2. He's always singing, or rhyming.
3. He's older than Gandalf.
4. He transcends most temporal concerns.
5. He can control the ring without it controlling him.
6. There are no Valar in Middle Earth.

#5 makes him at LEAST Sauron's equal, and #3 puts him well beyond that. #6 precludes Valar, and Tolkien said he wasn't Illuvatar. I'm sure there's other good reasons, but that's 'top of my head'.
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Postby Soldier of Entropy » 2007-02-07 02:15pm

Tom Bombadil isn't just older than Gandalf-He's older than Melkor!
J.R.R. Tolkien in the chapter 'In the House of Tom Bombadil' in The Fellowship of the Ring, book 1 wrote:Eldest, that's what I am... Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn... He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord [Melkor] came from Outside.
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Postby darthbob88 » 2007-02-07 02:31pm

Soldier of Entropy wrote:Tom Bombadil isn't just older than Gandalf-He's older than Melkor!
J.R.R. Tolkien in the chapter 'In the House of Tom Bombadil' in The Fellowship of the Ring, book 1 wrote:Eldest, that's what I am... Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn... He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord [Melkor] came from Outside.
Well, now that is impressive. Possibly he could be part of the Ainulindalë; however, it could just be that Tommy-boy was present in Middle Earth before Melkor moved in, especially since the only thing before Melkor was Eru. IIRC, could be wrong, been a while since I read the books.
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Postby Murazor » 2007-02-07 02:50pm

CaptainChewbacca wrote:3. He's older than Gandalf.


Problem with this is that Gandalf is an Ainu and he played his part in the Ainulindalë, making him older than both the world and the music of creation. Unless Bombadil is supposed to be older than Gandalf the Istari and not Olorin the Maia.

There are only two things that are older than the Ainur: Iluvatar (and he doesn't strike me like the type) or the kind of thing Ungoliant is supposed to be in some versions. And Tom is none, meaning that this is probably a case of hyperbole.

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Postby CaptainChewbacca » 2007-02-07 02:52pm

Yeah, I was distinguishing between Gandalf and Olorin.
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Postby Ted C » 2007-02-07 03:28pm

Murazor wrote:Problem with this is that Gandalf is an Ainu and he played his part in the Ainulindalë, making him older than both the world and the music of creation. Unless Bombadil is supposed to be older than Gandalf the Istari and not Olorin the Maia.

There are only two things that are older than the Ainur: Iluvatar (and he doesn't strike me like the type) or the kind of thing Ungoliant is supposed to be in some versions. And Tom is none, meaning that this is probably a case of hyperbole.


Based on the quote, Tom is probably the eldest sentient (if not eldest living) thing in Arda. He would be a product of the music of the Ainur that existed before the Valar entered Arda to further refine and manage the work. Thus, he was on Arda before Melkor, even though Melkor existed before Arda.

In any case, there's no evidence that Tom has greater power than the Maiar, but he is strangely independent of them, hence the Ring has no power over him. That doesn't necessarily make him indestructible, though, and just because the Ring has no power over him doesn't mean he has power over it, or Sauron.
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Postby Ar-Adunakhor » 2007-02-07 08:49pm

I don't know why we are automatically assuming that statement is complete and utter fact relating to Melkor. We have an omniscient narrator account/direct event description of Melkor being the first being in Arda after the Music, and are discounting that for a "Well, the kooky old guy who we know nothing about says he was here before anyone else, so it must be true!" Hell, he doesn't even say he was here before Melkor, he just says Dark Lord from the Outside. While that would almost always be Melkor amongst the Wise, it is also entirely factually true about Sauron. After all, what do these halflings know about Morgoth for crying out loud? They just learned about the Dark Lord Sauron.

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Postby Baal » 2007-02-07 10:15pm

Ar-Adunakhor wrote:I don't know why we are automatically assuming that statement is complete and utter fact relating to Melkor. We have an omniscient narrator account/direct event description of Melkor being the first being in Arda after the Music, and are discounting that for a "Well, the kooky old guy who we know nothing about says he was here before anyone else, so it must be true!" Hell, he doesn't even say he was here before Melkor, he just says Dark Lord from the Outside. While that would almost always be Melkor amongst the Wise, it is also entirely factually true about Sauron. After all, what do these halflings know about Morgoth for crying out loud? They just learned about the Dark Lord Sauron.


Excellent point. If you take Tom's statements in context of who he said them to then he could have only meant Sauron.

The lack of power of the ring over him is simple to understand. Tom is similar to the hobbits in that hobbits have little or no ambition while Tom has absolutely no ambition at all. The ring needs something to work with in its target and Tom appears to give it nothing at all to even begin to latch onto.

This of course means little in comparing him to Sauron. Tom is not a being of power. If Sauron came after Tom then one would expect Tom's only real chance to be if he knew Saurons name and used it in some magical way against him.

Of course I doubt Tom would. Tom is not about violence. He is about happiness and the world around him. By the Time Sauron got to Tom there would be little of the world left to make Tom even care to keep living in my opinion. He would probably not even resist.

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Postby Ar-Adunakhor » 2007-02-07 11:06pm

Baal wrote:If Sauron came after Tom then one would expect Tom's only real chance to be if he knew Saurons name and used it in some magical way against him.


This keeps popping up and I see everyone accept it, but I honestly can't find anything even remotely suggesting that Bombadil has secret access to LotR's version of the Words of Power. I would like to see where this is coming from, preferably in quote form.

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Postby spongyblue » 2007-02-12 06:13pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but has the origin of the hobbit species ever been explained like the elves, men etc.? I'm asking cuz I'm wondering if Bombadils shortness, not being effected by the ring, really digging nature, his ability to not be noticed until he wants to be and his uninterest in the outside world is just a coinsidince that hobbits share similar traits.

Seperatly, has Tolkein said the Treebeard has misquoted some things. Saying that even though Treebeard has been around for a long time and knows a lot of things, he still doesnt know everything and got some things wrong? I cant remember the exact referance, but I think it had something to do with elves. Maybe Bombadil is in the same boat.
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Postby Balrog » 2007-02-12 06:58pm

spongyblue wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong, but has the origin of the hobbit species ever been explained like the elves, men etc.? I'm asking cuz I'm wondering if Bombadils shortness, not being effected by the ring, really digging nature, his ability to not be noticed until he wants to be and his uninterest in the outside world is just a coinsidince that hobbits share similar traits.

Hobbits are suppose to be an offshoot of Men, but are still considered a seperate race. As for Bombadil sharing similar traits, IMO it's just a coincidence; Hobbits were Hobbits before they ever crossed the Misty Mtns and settled near Tom's home.

Seperatly, has Tolkein said the Treebeard has misquoted some things. Saying that even though Treebeard has been around for a long time and knows a lot of things, he still doesnt know everything and got some things wrong? I cant remember the exact referance, but I think it had something to do with elves. Maybe Bombadil is in the same boat.

The only example that comes to mind is that he didn't know what Hobbits were, which was due to them being such a recent "addition" and he doesn't get out much these days.
'Ai! ai!' wailed Legolas. 'A Balrog! A Balrog is come!'
Gimli stared with wide eyes. 'Durin's Bane!' he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face.
'A Balrog,' muttered Gandalf. 'Now I understand.' He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. 'What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.'
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Postby Balrog » 2007-03-08 11:47pm

Ungoliath
Of the Darkening of Valinor wrote:‘Thus unseen [Morgoth] came at last to the dark region of Avathar... There, beneath the sheer walls of the mountains and the cold dark sea, the shadows were deepest and thickest in the world; and there in Avathar, secret and unknown, Ungoliath had made her abode. The Eldar knew not whence she same; but some have said that in ages long before she descended from the darkness that lies about Arda, when Melkor first looked down in envy upon the Kingdom of Manwë, and that in the beginning she was one of those that he corrupted to his service. But she had disowned her Master, desiring to be mistress of her own lust, taking all things to herself to feed her emptiness; and she fled to the south, escaping the assaults of the Valar and the hunters of Oromë, for their vigilance had ever been to the north, and the south was long unheeded. Thence she had crept towards the light of the Blessed Realm; for she hungered for light and hated it.

In a ravine she lived, and took shape as a spider of monstrous form, weaving her black webs in a cleft of the mountains. There she sucked up all the light that she could find, and spun it forth again in dark nets of strangling gloom, until no light more could come to her abode; and she was famished.’

Morgoth comes across her, but finds her somewhat unwilling to help since she doesn't want to get her ass kicked by the Valar. After some cajoling (and making a few promises he later regrets) she agrees to assist him get his revenge by sneaking on the Elves and Valar by killing the Trees and stealing the Silmarils.

Of the Darkening of Valinor wrote:‘A cloak of darkness she wove about them when Melkor and Ungoliath set forth: an Unlight, in which things seemed to be no more, and which eyes could not pierce, for it was void. Then slowly she wrought her webs: rope by rope from cleft to cleft, from jutting rock to pinnacle of stone, ever climbing upwards, crawling and clinging, until at last she reached the very summit of Hyarmentir, the highest mountain in that region of the world, far south of great Taniquetil. There the Valar were not vigilant; for west of the Pelóri was an empty land in twilight, and eastward the mountains looked out, save for forgotten Avathar, only upon the dim waters of the pathless sea.’

She can create a miniature "black hole" if you will, and has impressive physical abilities to be able to scale the Mountains of Defense, which were much taller then Thangorodrim.

Fortunately for Melkor and Ungoliath, everyone in Aman is off celebrating and not really paying much attention to a giant void racing across their land...
Of the Darkening of Valinor wrote:‘And in that very hour Melkor and Ungoliath came hastening over the fields of Valinor, as the shadow of a black cloud upon the wind fleets over the sunlit earth; and they came before the green mound Ezellohar. Then the Unlight of Ungoliath rose up even to the roots of the Trees, and Melkor sprang upon the mound; and with his black spear he smote each Tree to its core, wounded them deep, and their sap poured forth as it were their blood, and was spilled upon the ground. But Ungoliath sucked it up, and going then from Tree to Tree she set her black beak to their wounds, till they were drained; and the poison of Death that was in her went into their tissues and withered them, root, branch and leaf; and they died. And still she thirsted, and going to the Wells of Varda she drank them dry; but Ungoliath belched forth black vapours as she drank, and swelled to a shape so vast and hideous that Melkor was afraid.

Obivously eating the main source of light in the world gave her a big power boost, and that's when the shit hit the fan:
Of the Darkening of Valinor wrote:'So the great darkness fell upon Valinor…The Light failed; but the Darkness that followed was more than loss of light. In that hour was made a Darkness that seemed not lack but a thing with being of its own: for it was indeed made by malice out of Light, and it had power to pierce the eye, and to enter heart and mind, and strangle the very will.

Varda looked down from Taniquentil, and beheld the Shadow soaring up in sudden towers of gloom; Valmar had foundered in a deep sea of night. Soon the Holy Mountain stood alone, a vast island in a world that was drowned. There was silence in Valinor, and no sound could be heard, save only from afar there came on the wind through the pass of the mountains the wailing of the Teleri like the cold cry of gulls. For it blew chill from the East in that hour, and the vast shadows of the sea were rolled against the walls of the shore.

But Manwë from his high seat looked out, and his eyes alone pierced through the night, until they saw a Darkness beyond dark which they could not penetrate, huge but far away, moving now northward with great speed; and he knew that Melkor had come and gone.

Then the pursuit was begun; and the earth shook beneath the horses of the host of Oromë, and the fire that was stricken from the hooves of Nahar was the first light that returned to Valinor. But so soon as any came up with the Cloud of Ungoliath the riders of the Valar were blinded and dismayed, and they were scattered, and went they knew not whither; and the sound of the Valaróma faltered and failed. And Tulkas was as one caught in a black net at night, and he stood powerless and beat the air in vain. But when the Darkness had passed, it was too late: Melkor had gone whither he would, and his vengeance was achieved.’

The Darkness she creates bears a resemblance, though obviously on a greater scale, to what was felt by the Hobbits back in Shelob's lair. BTW, before leaving Morgoth was able to break into Fëanor's stronghold, kill his dad and steal the Silmarils. I'm sure the Orcs hung up "Mission Accomplished" when their boss came back. :D

While the rest of Aman is running around like chickens with their heads cut off, Melkor (now declared Morgoth Bauglir by Fëanor) and Ungoliath head north, passing through Araman, a northern and colder version of Avathar, and over the Helcaraxë (another impressive feat considering it's a giant land of grinding ice and freezing water) before finally coming up to Beleriand. Ungoliath guesses that Morgoth's trying to ditch her, and so brings up his earlier promises of giving her whatever she wants to sate her endless hunger. He hands over a few other stolen jewels he kept in his left hand before she enquires about the right.

Of the Flight of the Noldor wrote:‘In his right hand Morgoth held close the Silmarils, and though they were locked in a crystal casket, they had begun to burn him and his hand was clenched in pain; but he would not open it. “Nay!” he said. “Thou hast had they due. For with my power that I put into thee thy work was accomplished. I need thee no more. These things thou shalt not have, nor see. I name them unto myself for ever.”

But Ungoliath had grown great, and he less by the power that had gone out of him; and she rose against him, and her cloud closed about him, an she enmeshed him in a web of clinging thongs to strangle him. Then Morgoth sent forth a terrible cry, that echoed in the mountains. Therefore that region was called Lammoth; for the echoes of his voice dwelt there ever after, so that any who cried aloud in that land awoke them, all all the waste between the hills and the sea was filled with a claumour as of voices in anguish. The cry of Morgoth in that hour was the greatest and most dreadful that was ever heard in the northern world; the mountains shook, and the earth trembled, and rocks were riven asunder. Deep in forgotten places that cry was heard. Far beneath the ruined halls of Angband, in vaults to which the Valar in the haste of their assault had not descended, Balrogs lurked still, awaiting ever the return of their Lord; and now swiftly they arose, and passing over Hithlum they came to Lammoth as a tempest of fire. With their whips of flame they smote asunder the webs of Ungolaith, and she quailed, and turned to flight, belching black vapours to cover her; and fleeting from the north she went down into Beleriand, and dwelt beneath Ered Gorgoroth, in that dark valley that was after called Nan Dungortheb, the Valley of Dreadful Death, because of the horror that she bred there. For other foul creatures of spider form had dwelt there since the days of the delving of Angband, and she mated with them, and devoured them; and even after Ungoliath herself departed, and went whither she would into the forgotten south of the world, her offspring abode there and wove their hideous webs. Of the fate of Ungoliath no tale tells. Yet some have said that she ended long ago, when in her uttermost famine she devoured herself at last.’

And so the story of Ungoliath comes to an end. There's a little bit more later on about the 'realm' she established in Beleriand:
Of the Sindar wrote:‘Soon afterwards Ungoliath fled from the north and came into the realm of King Thingol, and a terror of darkness was about her; but by the power of Melian she was stayed, and entered not into Neldoreth, but abode long time under the shadow of the precipices in which Dorthonion fell southward. And they became known as Ered Gorgoroth, the Mountains of Terror, and none dared go thither, or pass nigh them; there life and light were strangled, and there all waters were poisoned.’

Of Beleriand and its Realms wrote:‘…and [in Nan Dungortheb] she dwelt awhile, filling the ravines with her deadly gloom, and there still, when she had passed away, her foul offspring lurked and wove their evil nets; and the thin waters that spilled from Ered Gorgoroth were defiled, and perilous to drink, for the hearts of those that tasted them were filled with shadows of madness and despair.’

Interesting to note that, despite having just gobbled up the Two Trees and overpowering Morgoth (weakened though he may be) she still could not pierce the protective 'shield' Melian placed around Doriath.
Last edited by Balrog on 2008-04-25 03:40pm, edited 1 time in total.
'Ai! ai!' wailed Legolas. 'A Balrog! A Balrog is come!'
Gimli stared with wide eyes. 'Durin's Bane!' he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face.
'A Balrog,' muttered Gandalf. 'Now I understand.' He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. 'What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.'
- J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Postby Balrog » 2007-04-14 10:12pm

Radagast the Brown
The Council of Elrond wrote:"Radagast is, of course, a worthy wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue; and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friends."


There is very little of Radagast in Tolkien's works, and this is the only passage about his abilities. 'Master of shapes/hue' could mean he had the ability to change his shape; it isn't exactly unprecedented among the other Aniur, and even among mortal men, though the Wizards were special in that their normal powers were restricted.

As for the Wizard himself, again there is very little Tolkien wrote about; his main and only role in the War of the Ring was to (unwittingly) lead Gandalf into Saruman's trap, and at the same time help him out of it. His home for awhile was Rhosgobel on the borders of Mirkwood, and Gandalf remarks earlier about how he rarely traveled "unless driven by great need." He's regarded as a Maiar of Yavanna (no surprise), who according to Unfinished Tales persuaded Saruman to take Radagast along with him when the Istari were setting out. Also according to UT Radagast is regarded as having failed his mission, since he ended up going "native" and cared more about the animals and plants then helping the Free Peoples defeat Sauron. When or whether he returns to Valinor is never told.
Last edited by Balrog on 2008-04-25 03:40pm, edited 1 time in total.
'Ai! ai!' wailed Legolas. 'A Balrog! A Balrog is come!'
Gimli stared with wide eyes. 'Durin's Bane!' he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face.
'A Balrog,' muttered Gandalf. 'Now I understand.' He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. 'What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.'
- J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Postby spongyblue » 2007-04-16 12:39pm

I always thought that term "going native" was a bit funny in a way. So basicly Radagast became like one of those old men who lives behind Sears in an old VW van, picking up stray dogs and come to find out he has millions in stocks and bonds stashed in an old mattress.

I found it a little strange that the wizards where sent to help assist the free peoples, yet Gandalf and Saruman where the only ones who ever really communicated with each other about their respective roles. Granted you had a lot of geographical space between them, but you would think they would have some way of hinting to each other how their overall mission was procedding. In the BBC radio drama when Radagast hunts down Gandalf, Gandalf bearly reconizes him at first. I dont know if it was ment that that's how cruddy looking Radagast got being "native" and all, or if it was just that long of a time since they saw each other.
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Postby Balrog » 2007-04-16 02:09pm

Well, of the Five sent to the NW of Middle-Earth, the two Blue Wizards went east with Saruman and kinda...disappeared. Their exact fate is a bit murky, though IIRC the last Tolkien wrote of them was that they succeeded somewhat in building a resistance against Sauron's control. In their case, geographical distance would be the primary deterrant against keeping up-to-date with the others.

And Radagast seemed to have worked well with the others, at least in the early years. He took part in White Council meetings and such, but like all the Istari being stuck in human bodies gave them all the weaknesses that come with it - Radagast lost focus, and Saruman became corrupted.
'Ai! ai!' wailed Legolas. 'A Balrog! A Balrog is come!'
Gimli stared with wide eyes. 'Durin's Bane!' he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face.
'A Balrog,' muttered Gandalf. 'Now I understand.' He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. 'What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.'
- J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Balrog
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Postby Balrog » 2007-05-16 06:55pm

For this one, the sources I used were the Sil and Unfinished Tales; I realize that the Children of Húrin contains most of these quotes, but having the chance to read through it there's very little variation in the texts, and I figured getting it straight from the horse's mouth is as good as a slightly edited version.

Oh, and spoiler alerts for those who want to read Children of Húrin ;)

Glaurung

Of the Return of the Noldor wrote:‘Glaurung, the first of the Urulóki, the fire-drakes of the North, issued from Angbad’s gates by night. He was yet young and scarce half-grown, for long and slow is the life of the dragons, but the Elves fled before him to Ered Wethrin and Dorthonion in dismay; and he defiled the fields of Ard-galen. Then Fingon prince of Hithlum rode against him with archers on horseback, and hemmed him round with a ring of swift riders; and Glaurung could not endure their darts, being not yet come to his full armoury, and he fled back to Angbad…’

Glaurung makes his first apperance on the world stage, and it's a bit of a disaster. We don't know just when he was born, but given that he was 'scarce half-grown' when he first issued forth two hundred years after the Dagor Aglareb, and that, by his appearence two hundred years later at the Dagor Bragollach
Of the Ruin of Beleriand wrote:'In front of that fire came Glaurung the golden, father of dragons, in his full might…’

it indicates that's he's full-grown by now, I'd say he was around two hundred years old at that point, and took four hundred in all before he became powerful enough to go smash armies by himself:
Of the Fifth Battle wrote:‘And there came Balrogs, and dragons, and Glaurung father of dragons. The strength and terror of the Great Worm were now great indeed, and Elves and men withered before him; and he came between the hosts of Maedhros and Fingon and swept them apart.’


Of the Fifth Battle wrote:‘But the Naugrim made a circle about him when he assailed them, and even his mighty armor was not full proof against the blows of their great axes; and when in his rage Glaurung turned and struck down Azaghál, Lord of Belegost, and crawled over him, with his last stroke Azaghál drove a knife into his belly, and so wounded him that he fled the field…’

The Dwarves could withstand Glaurung's blast due to their nature and their metalcraft, and exploit the classic dragon weakness, though the fact that it could only be done when Azaghál was underneath Glaurung seems to indicate that it's not that an exposed of an area of his body. Not much is said about Azaghál's knife, but given how prolific Dwarven magic is in their weapons and armor of the time, I wouldn't put it past him to carry something nastier then a regular short blade.

Of Túrin Turambar wrote:‘Then the warriors of Nargothrond went forth, and tall and terrible on that day looked Túrin, and the heart of the host was upheld, as he rode on the right hand of Orodreth. But greater far was the host of Morgoth than any scouts had told, and none but Túrin defended by his dwarf-mask could withstand the approach of Glaurung; and the Elves were driven back and pressed by the Orcs into the field of Tumhalad, between Ginglith and Narog, and there they were penned. On that day all the pride and host of Nargothrond withered away…’

Again Glaurung plows through the Elven forces (with a little help, of course), and only Túrin with a bit of Dwarven craftsmenship survives getting scortched.

Of Túrin Turambar wrote:‘In that day the bridge over Narog proved an evil; for it was great and mightily made and could not swiftly be destroyed, and the enemy came readily over the deep river, and Glaurung came in full fire against the Doors of Felagund, and overthrew them, and passed within.’

Dwarven doors being notorious for their resistance to physical blows, makes Glaurung a hard-hitting bastard.

Of Túrin Turambar wrote:‘But in that moment Glaurung issued from the gaping doors, and lay behind, between Túrin and the bridge. Then suddenly he spoke, by the evil spirit that was in him, saying: “Hail, son of Húrin. Well met!”

Then Túrin sprang about, and strode against him, and the edges of Gurthang shone as with flame; but Glaurung withheld his blast, and opened wide his serpent-eyes and gazed upon Túrin. Without fear Túrin looked into them as he raised up the sword; and straightway he fell under the binding spell of the lidless eyes of the dragon, and was halted moveless. Then for a long time he stood as one graven of stone; and they two were alone, silent before the doors of Nargothrond. But Glaurung spoke again, taunting Túrin…and Túrin being under the spell of Glaurung hearkened to his words, and he saw himself as in a mirror misshapen by malice, and loathed that which he saw…

Then suddenly Glaurung withdrew his glance, and waited; and Túrin stirred slowly, as one waking from a hideous dream.’

Glaurung plays mind-games with Morgoth's whipping boy - the spell lasts it seems so long as Glaurung remains gazing at the victim, which could put a limit on its use if facing more then one foe.

Of Túrin Turambar wrote:‘But Túrin drawing back his sword stabbed at the dragon’s eyes; and Glaurung coiling back swiftly towered above him…”

Gives a sense of size and scale to Glaurung, he is not a small dragon by no means.

Of Túrin Turambar wrote:‘Then Túrin, being yet bemused by the eyes of the dragon, as were he treating with a foe that could know pity, believed the words of Glaurung; and turning away he sped over the bridge…

But Túrin passed away on the northward road, and Glaurung laughed once more, for he had accomplished the errand of his Master. Then he turned to his own pleasure, and sent forth his blast, and burned all about him. But all the Orcs that were busy in the sack he routed forth, and drove them away, and denied them their plunder even to the last thing of worth. The bridge then he broke down and cast into the foam of Narog…’

Turin still remains affected even after Glaurung withdraws his spell, and the mighty stone bridge that supported Glaurung's crossing is just as easily crushed, no surprise really.

Narn i Hîn Húrin wrote:‘But Glaurung lay there, just within the shadow of the great passage that led inward from the ruined Doors, and he had long been aware of the spies, though few other eyes in Middle-earth would have discerned them. But the glance of his fell eyes was keener than that of eagles, and outreached the far sight of Elves; and indeed he knew also that some remained behind and sat upon the bare top of Amon Ethir.

Thus, even as Mablung crept among the rocks seeking whether he could ford the wild river upon the fallen stones of the bridge, suddenly Glaurung came forth with a great blast of fire, and crawled down into the stream. Then straightway there was a vast hissing and huge vapours arose, and Mablung and his followers that lurked near were engulfed in a blinding steam and foul stench…’

Glaurung's eyesight is quite superior, and Smaug's musing about taking a dip in the lake causing a vast cloud of steam is actualized, though in this case it's just a river and the cloud obviously smaller but no less potent:
Narn i Hîn Húrin wrote:‘But even as they came down from the hill into the plain, an ill wind blew the great vapours upon them, bringing a stench that no horse would endure. Then, blinded by the fog and mad in terror of the dragon-reek, the horses soon became ungovernable, and went wildly this way and that…’


Narn I Hîn Húrin wrote:‘And there right before her was the great head of Glaurung, who had even then crept up from the other side; and before she was aware her eyes looked in his eyes, and they were terrible, being filled with the fell spirit of Morgoth, his master.

Then Nienor strove against Glaurung, for she was strong in will; but he put forth his power against her. “What seek you here?” he said.

And constrained to answer she said: “I do but seek one Túrin that dwelt here a while. But he is dead, maybe.”

“I know not,” said Glaurung. “He was left here to defend the women and weaklings; but when I came he deserted them, and fled. A boaster but a craven, it seems. Why seek you such a one?”

“You lie,” said Nienor. “The children of Húrin at least are not craven. We fear you not.”

Then Glaurung laughed, for so was Húrin’s daughter revealed to his malice. “Then you are fools, both you and your brother.” Said he. “And your boast shall be made vain. For I am Glaurung!”

Then he drew here eyes unto his, and her will swooned. And it seemed to her that the sun sickened and all became dim about her; and slowly a great darkness drew down on her and in that darkness there was emptiness; she knew nothing, and heard nothing, and remembered nothing.'

Nienor gets a mind-wipe in the very literal sense of the word. Mablung ends up having to drag her by the hand for days until enough senses come back for her to run from an Orc ambush, but even when she regains the ability to see, hear and speak she remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from. Also, another indication of the importance of will in Tolkien "magic". The effort seemed to drain Glaurung
Narn I Hîn Húrin wrote:'But he was slow now and stealthy; for all the fires in him were burned low: great power had gone out of him, and he would rest and sleep in the dark. thus he writhed through the water and slunk up to the Doors like a huge snake, ashen-grey, sliming the ground with his belly.'

though it could just be the combination of being immersed in water (which Smaug notes that swimming in Long Lake would "quench" him) and the willpower used to mind-wipe Nienor.

Narn I Hîn Húrin wrote:“When dusk falls, we must creep down, with all stealth, to Teiglin. But beware! For the ears of Glaurung are as keen as his eyes – and they are deadly.”

Sneaking up on ol' Glaurung is a tough proposition, though Túrin & co. do succeed (thanks in part to their hiding spot within a ravine and probably all the noise Glaurung was making when he made his crossing over it).

Narn I Hîn Húrin wrote:'Then they groped for a way up, to come nigh under the brink; for in that lay all their hope to come at their enemy beneath his guard. But so foul now was the reek that their heads were dizzy, and they slipped as they clambered, and clung to the tree-stems, and retched, forgetting in their misery all fear save the dread of falling into the teeth of Teiglin.'

Glaurung's stench, not just offensive to horses :)

Narn I Hîn Húrin wrote:'And even as he steadied himself in a fork of its boughs, the midmost parts of the Dragon came above him, and swayed down with their weight almost upon his head, ere Glaurung could heave them up. Pale and wrinkled was their underside, and all dank with a grey slime, to which clung all manner of dropping filfth, and it stank of death. Then Turambar drew the Black Sword of Beleg and stabbed upwards with all the might of his arm, and of his hate, and the deadly blade, long and greedy, went into the belly even to its hilts.

Then Glaurung, feeling his death-pang, gave forth a scream, whereat all the woods were shaken, and the watchers at Nen Girith were aghast. Turambar reeled as from a blow, and slipped down, and his sword was torn from his grasp, and clave to the belly of the Dragon. For Glaurung in a great spasm bent up all his shuddering bulk and hurled it over the ravine, and there upon the further shore he writhed, screaming, lashing and coiling himself in his agony, until he had broken a great space all about him, and lay there at last in a smoke and a ruin, and was still...

There now Glaurung lay, with jaws apage; but all his fires were burned out, and his evil eyes were closed. He was stretched out in his length, and had rolled upon one side, and the hilts of Gurthang stood in his belly. Then the heart of Turambar rose high within him, and though the dragon still breathed he would recover his sword, which if he prized it before was now worth to him all the treasure of Nargothrond. True proved the words spoken at its forging that nothing, great or small, should live that once it had bitten.

Therefore going up to his foe he set his foot upon his belly, and seizing the hilts of Gurthang he put forth his strength to withdraw it. And he cried in mockery of Glaurung's words at Nargothrond: "Hail, Worm of Morgoth! Well met again! Die now and the darkness have thee! Thus is Túrin son of Húrin avenged." Then he wrenched out the sword, and even as he did so a spout of black blood followed it, and fell upon his hand, and his flesh was burned buy the venom, so that he cried aloud in pain. Thereat Glaurung stirred and opened his baleful eyes and looked upon Turambar with such malice that it seemed to him that he was smitten by an arrow; and for that and for the anguish of his hand he fell in a swoon, and lay as one dead beside the Dragon, and his sword beneath him.'

Glaurung's down, but not quite out yet. Even after getting stabbed by a magical talking sword, he still has a few cards left to play: seems that after Nienor ran away from the Orcs she found Túrin, fell in love with him, married and got pregnant. Jerry Springer would be proud:
Narn I Hîn Húrin wrote:'For at the cry of Niniel Glaurung stirred for the last time, and a quiver ran through all his body; and he opened his baleful eyes a slit, and the moon gleamed in them, as gasping he spoke:

"Hail, Nienor, daughter of Húrin. We meet again ere the end. I give thee joy that thou hast found thy brother at last. And now thou shalt know him: a stabber in the dark, treacherous to foes, faithless to friends, and a curse unto his kin, Túrin son of Húrin! But the worst of all his deeds thou shalt feel in thyself."

Then Nienor sat as one stunned, but Glaurung died; and with his death the veil of his malice fell from her, and all her memory grew clear before her, from day unto day, neither did she forget any of those things that had befallen her since she lay on Haudh-eh-Elleth. And her whole body shook with horror and anguish."

As is apparent, the effects of the mind-wipe arn't permanent, perhaps simply locked away somewhere in the victim's mind and maintained by Glaurung's "magic".
Last edited by Balrog on 2008-04-25 03:41pm, edited 2 times in total.
'Ai! ai!' wailed Legolas. 'A Balrog! A Balrog is come!'
Gimli stared with wide eyes. 'Durin's Bane!' he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face.
'A Balrog,' muttered Gandalf. 'Now I understand.' He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. 'What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.'
- J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Postby Balrog » 2007-06-07 01:46am

Right, some debate whether to include this or not, as it's not clear whether they're actually alive or just mindless constructs (or if such a distinction should be made for this guide), but it can always be moved elsewhere.

The Silent Watchers
The Tower of Cirith Ungol wrote:"Come on, you miserable sluggard!" Sam cried to himself. "Now for it!" He drew Sting and ran towards the open gate. But just as he was about to pass under its great arch he felt a shock: as if he had run into some web like Shelob's, only invisible. He could see no obstacle, but something too strong for his will to overcome barred the way. He looked about, and then within the shadow of the gate he saw the Two Watchers.

They were like great figures seated upon thrones. Each had three joined bodies, and three heads facing outward, and inward, and across the gateway. The heads had vulture-faces, and on their great knees were laid clawing hands. They seemed to be carved out of huge blocks of stone, immovable and yet they were aware: some dreadful spirit of evil vigilance abode in them. They knew an enemy. Visible or invisible none could pass unheeded. They would forbid his entry, or his escape.

Hardening his will Sam thrust forward once again, and halted with a jerk, staggering as if from a blow upon his breast and head. Then greatly daring, because he could think of nothing else to do, answering a sudden thought that came to him, he drew slowly out the phial of Galadriel and held it up. Its white light quickened swiftly, and the shadows under the dark arch fled. The monstrous Watchers sat there cold and still, revealed in all their hideous shape. For a moment Sam caught a glitter in the black stones of their eyes, the very malice of which made him quail; but slowly he felt their will waver and crumble into fear.

He sprang past them; but even as he did so, thrusting the phial back into his bosom, he was aware, as plainly as if a bar of steel had snapped to behind him, that their vigilance was renewed. And from those evil heads there came a high shrill cry that echoes in the towering walls before him. Far up above, like an answering signal, a harse bell clanged a single stroke."

Lots of information here, they were most likely created by Sauron himself, who's done things like this in the past (i.e. Werewolves). Their ability to block anyone, even invisible, is most interesting, and the key to overcoming them is not through strength but willpower, something that's played a key role in Tolkien's "magic". It's highly likely, if a backwater post like Cirith Ungol has such defenses, that other important locations like Minas Morgul would have them as well. Indeed, Gollum makes mention of "Watchers" when the trio first approach the silent city.

The Tower of Cirith Ungol wrote:'At length they came to the door upon the outer court, and they halted. Even from where they stood they felt the malice of the Watches beating on them, black silent shapes on either side of the gate through which the glare of Mordor dimly showed. As they threaded their way among the hideous bodies of the orcs each step became more difficult. Before they even reached the archway they were brought to a stand. To move an inch further was a pain and weariness to will and limb.

Frodo had no strength for such a battle. He sank to the ground. I can't go on, Sam," he murmured. "I'm going to faint. I don't know what's come over me."

"I do, Mr. Frodo. Hold up now! It's the gate. There's some devilry there. But I got through, and I'm going to get out. It can't be more dangerous than before. Now for it!"

Sam drew out the elven-glass of Galadriel again. As if to do honour to his hardihood, and to grace with splendour his faithful brown hobbit-hand that had done such deeds, the phial blazed forth suddenly, so that all the shadowy court was lit with a dazzling radiance like lightning; but it remained steady and did not pass.

"Gilthoniel, A Elbereth!" Sam cried. For, why he did not know, his thought sprang back suddenly to the Elves in the Shire, and the song that drove away the Black Rider in the trees.

"Aiya elenion ancalima!" cried Frodo once again behind him.

The will of the Watchers was broken with a suddenness like the snapping of a cord, and Frodo and Sam stumbled forward. Then they ran. Through the gate and past the great seated figures with their glittering eyes. There was a crack. The keystone of the arch crashed almost on their heels, and the wall above crumbled, and fell in ruin. Only by a hair did they escape. A bell clanged; and from the Watchers there went up a high and dreadful wail.'

The Watcher's effect is stronger this time, like Shelob and the Ringwraiths their malice being a palpable thing and having a negative effect on the hobbits before they even reach the actual barrier. The combined will of the Phial, Sam and Frodo was enough to break the Watchers' will, though even after the destruction of the archway they were functional enough to let out one last warning.
Last edited by Balrog on 2008-04-25 03:41pm, edited 2 times in total.
'Ai! ai!' wailed Legolas. 'A Balrog! A Balrog is come!'
Gimli stared with wide eyes. 'Durin's Bane!' he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face.
'A Balrog,' muttered Gandalf. 'Now I understand.' He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. 'What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.'
- J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Postby Ar-Adunakhor » 2007-06-07 02:42am

My books are not easily at hand right now, but perhaps a comparison with the Morgul Watchers is in order? If they are similar enough, it could provide some more information to the power of the higher-end ones being as the Watchers on the main paths generally would be stronger.


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