Mouth of Sauron as Lord of Isengard

Discussion in '"The Lord of the Rings"' started by Alcuin, Oct 2, 2018.

  1. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    I’m reading LotR again, and I have a question:

    Supposing Frodo, Sam, and Gollum (let’s not forget him!) together failed to destroy the One Ring…

    Had Sauron gotten his way at the Morannon, and the West accepted the demands of Sauron delivered by the Mouth of Sauron…

    Do you suppose Sauron would have given his servant, Mouth of Sauron, the Ring of the deposed Witch-king?

    And what do you suppose became of that old fellow, the Witch-king? I think his spirit was unable to leave the Circles of the World, bound to his Ring until either Sauron broke the binding, which he might not be able to easily accomplish without the One, though I suppose he could do it in time: he had after all been rather preoccupied during the ten days between the old boy’s discomfiture at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and the arrival of the Army of Gondor at the Morannon; or the One Ring was destroyed; leaving the soul of the poor old Witch-king rather weak and – pardon the expression – dispirited before the throne of his no doubt unforgiving master, Sauron.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
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  2. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Lurking in the Chetwood

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    These questions have been argued over many times here, over the years; some searches will bring up several days-worth of reading!

    I have more questions myself, than answers. One that comes to mind: would MOS want the Witch-King's ring? (Leaving aside the question of whether it would be possible to refuse a "gift" from Sauron). Possession leads to fading, which would mean, not only permanent invisibility, but difficulty in sensing and interacting with the physical world.

    On the other hand, the ring would bestow great power (though we're never really told what that consists of -- I suppose the ability to dominate other minds would be a part of it); and importantly to a mortal, long life, the only sort of "immortality" available to a man, in a kind of demonic parody of the Elves. Those two advantages would be enough for a corrupted being to make the tradeoff, I think.

    Your question about the WK and his ring raises another question: was it possible for two beings to be simultaneously tied, or enslaved, to one ring? If the Witch-King's "spirit" was not destroyed or dissipated, as the cryptic wording of the text appears to hint, it seems, as you suggest, that it would remain linked to the ring. The ring itself could be transferred; would its "power" then pass to the new owner? If so, what effect would this have on the disembodied spirit? What the effect of that spirit on the new owner?

    This is something of a special case, as the WK had been "killed"; what would happen if Sauron decided to give someone the ring of a Nazgul who still "lived"? (Sorry for all the quotation marks -- the existence or nonexistence of the Ringwraiths makes for difficult nomenclature!).

    To your question, I wonder if Sauron would want to allow the Witch-King's spirit to leave the world; apart from his egocentric desire to control everything, which he was unable to do outside Middle Earth, he would want to keep a spirit of evil, however weak, within his realm, and under his control -- absent the possible problem I mentioned above.

    No help, I'm afraid -- just more muddying of the waters. But that's what happens, when we embark on speculation:

    'If I had! If you had! Such words and ifs are vain.' :D
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
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  3. Desert Loon

    Desert Loon New Member

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    And maybe this has also been addressed, but:

    Did the Witch King's ring fall to the ground under his empty clothes on the Pelennor Fields, waiting to be claimed?
     
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  4. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Lurking in the Chetwood

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    There's a thread about that around here somewhere.

    The argument was mainly based on two quotes that seem contradictory: one saying the Nine held the rings, the other (from The Council of Elrond chapter, IIRC) saying that Sauron held them.

    I lean toward the latter, myself.

    EDIT: Here it is:

    http://www.thetolkienforum.com/inde...with-the-ring-of-the-king-of-the-nazgûl.9280/

    Spanning the decades!
    And I see I Did Not RC.

    And I even posted on it! :oops:

    SECOND EDIT:

    Say, Alcuin, rereading that thread raises yet another question in my mind regarding your idea: Sauron gave the rings out to those he wished to enslave; would it even be necessary to give one to someone who was already in his thrall?

    I suppose he might consider it useful as a sort of "insurance policy", in case the Mouth started getting too big for his britches, perhaps after (presumably) taking over Isengard, but that hardly seems likely, for one so far gone that he had "forgotten his own name", which I take to mean total loss of identity separate from Sauron.

    Perhaps it would, in the circumstances, be more usefully be bestowed elsewhere?
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
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  5. Azrubêl

    Azrubêl Drúadan

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    My initial thought to that part of the OP was that he would probably try to ensnare new life with it, because the servitude is his goal, not increasing the power of his servants. ~

    I wonder, would Sauron be content with his stronghold in Mordor? Or would he leave that to the Mouth and seek to build a new great stronghold in the North to challenge the Valar?
     
  6. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    So do I. Gordis, whose especial interest is the Nazgûl, has not posted here in quite some time, but I think she is also of that opinion, that if the Nazgûl had possession of their Rings, they would have had some independence from Sauron as long as he was dispossessed of his One Ring. If Gordis is about or comes upon this thread, I hope she will comment on these matters herself.

    I think the Nazgûl were Sauron’s most useful slaves. They were all great “kings, sorcerers, and warriors of old.” (Silmarillion, “Of the Rings of Power…”) Three of them were Númenóreans ensnared by Sauron through their Rings, and the greatest of them all was the Witch-king. For myself, I believe the Witch-king was a Númenórean prince, a member of the House of Elros (or as the Númenóreans referred to it, the House of Eärendil), most likely their viceroy in Middle-earth in Umbar. Citing Tolkien’s manuscript notes, Reader’s Companion (p 262) says that “if there was any in the world in whom [Sauron] trusted it was the Lord of Angmar,” the Witch-king. So I think we can say the Witch-king also served as Sauron’s chief counselor.

    Once the Witch-king has been “killed,”* Sauron has no more use for him; and given Sauron’s unforgiving, selfish, caustic nature, his old servant receives his master’s hate and contempt.

    But what should Sauron do to fill this vacant position? He could, I suppose, “promote” Khamûl to the office of chief Nazgûl, and maybe he does; but he would probably want another Man of some sort to take on the now-unused Ring. After all, it’s a source of considerable power, even if the poor creature enslaved to it is not as powerful or cunning or experienced as the now-impotent Witch-king was, nor nearly as old – the Witch-king was probably 4800-4900 years old when Éowyn cut his head off: so the ages of the Nazgûl were comparable to those of Elves born in Middle-earth after the War of Wrath and the fall of Morgoth.

    It just seems to me that the Mouth of Sauron is a likely candidate for this “promotion.” Not as an “insurance policy” for the Mouth of Sauron’s obedience or obeisance: Sauron already had the Mouth of Sauron’s worship and obedience; but to make best use of his (Sauron’s) resources. How best to bestow it but to his most powerful and trusted servant besides the remaining Nazgûl?

    ───◊───

    * (A non-sequitur) My opinion is that the Nazgûl are not “undead” like Barrow-wights, which are (I think) the spirits of evil Elves inhabiting the dead bodies of Men; or “ghosts,” as Peter Jackson depicts them; but Men who have been completely overcome by their Nine Rings so that they can neither die, an unbearable and maddening source of agonizing pain, nor return from their invisible condition on “the other side,” the spirit world that powerful Elves like Glorfindel and creatures such as Tom Bombadil (for all practical purposes some kind of Maia in Tolkien’s universe, I think) naturally inhabit at the same time they walk under sun in the “normal” world we see and experience. The term Tolkien uses for this is “wraith,” which seems to mean a creature in the “other world,” the spirit world, interacting against “The Rules” with the normal world. The Nine Ringwraiths, I think, have been trapped by their Rings of Power. If that’s the case and the Witch-king’s soul is held to Arda because of his Ring, then the only ways he can escape Arda would be if (1) his Ring is destroyed; (2) Sauron’s Ring is destroyed; or (3) Sauron breaks the link between him and his Ring. In Morgoth’s Ring, “Aman and Mortal Men”, Tolkien says that the fëa (spirit) of a Mortal seeks to leave its hröa (body) at the end of the hröa’s natural lifespan, and if it is unable to do this, the fëa goes mad. (Cf. Bilbo’s comment to Gandalf that he felt “like butter … scraped over too much bread.”) It follows that all the Nazgûl are insane: they’re all psychopaths. Some were probably psychopaths to begin with, and their Rings of Power just made them more deadly and dangerous; others like the three Númenóreans, who were probably decent people before Sauron ensnared them through their Rings, became psychopaths. (Gollum, too.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  7. Aramarien

    Aramarien New Member

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    I do not think Sauron would give the Witch King's ring to the Mouth of Sauron since he is already under his thralldom. I feel he would keep it and offer it to another man he would feel he would want to have under his dominion, even maybe wanting to ensnare a powerful man such as Aragorn, who would refuse. Someone like Boromir, who initially wanted to use power to help his people might be a candidate.

    As for what happens to the Witch King after he is destroyed? Not even Sauron can take away "the gift of Eru" to man, even such an evil man as the Witch King of Angmar. Sauron is powerful, but he still just a Maia and cannot override Eru. No one knows where men go after they die in Tolkien's world. We are not told if men go to different places such as our concept of heaven and hell.
     
  8. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Lurking in the Chetwood

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    I agree with this; the story certainly bears that out. Which is what led me to speculate that he might want to use a "vacant" ring to enslave another member of that set, assuming any still existed.

    Taking the scenario in the OP as a basis, we would see a great influx of "Easterlings" of various stripes, as well as Haradrim in the south. We could assume many are "Sauron-worshippers", but that wouldn't rule out some competition, or even warfare, among the various different peoples, all very useless, from Sauron's point of view. Plus, these struggles for power might well produce one or more strong, and independent-minded, leader. Therefore, it seems to me reasonable that he would want to give the ring to a likely-looking strongman around the beginning of the migrations, both to keep a lid on possible rebellions, and to make sure the leader of the invaders was loyal only to him.

    I suppose it hinges on the nature of the ring; that is, did its importance lie more in giving "power", or in "enslaving"? If the former, maybe the Mouth would be a good choice. If the latter, there would not be much point.
     
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  9. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    “Enslaving” seems to be Sauron’s primary intention: he sought to enslave the Elves. He subsequently used three of the Nine Rings to enslave the three Númenóreans he caught with them: they were able to cause a “shadow” to fall upon Númenor in the middle of the Second Age, only about a century after the Númenóreans defeated Sauron’s armies and chased him back to Mordor, where they nearly caught him and his personal bodyguard before they could reach the safety of his closed realm. Enslaving was his intent in giving Rings to the Dwarves, too, though unlike the Elves, I am inclined to think Celebrimbor’s giving the greatest of the Seven to his friend and ally Durin III inspired Sauron to try this trick.

    “Power” was probably the impetus behind Sauron’s distribution of the other six of the Nine to Men. I strongly suspect Khamûl the Black Easterling was already under Sauron’s sway when he received his Ring of Power: the Easterlings seem to have been already in alliance with him so that when he moved against Celebrimbor and Gil-galad, they comprised part of the invasion force of Mordor. I can’t prove that with a citation, but I think it is true. Rhûn (“the East”) and Khand (east and south of Mordor, east of Harad, originally Númenórean territory in the Second Age) seem long to have been allied with Sauron and Mordor. By giving his followers Rings, he would make them too powerful to resist in their respective territories, cementing his control over the people there.