Why did the Nazgul think stabbing Frodo would give them victory?

Discussion in '"The Lord of the Rings"' started by BalrogRingDestroyer, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. BalrogRingDestroyer

    BalrogRingDestroyer Member

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    I know this seems awful to think about as decent people, but consider what Mordor would have done in the situation of the good guys. Who is to say that after Frodo was stabbed, that they wouldn't just leave him to die and give the Ring to someone stronger like Aragorn? Staying with Frodo would endanger the lot of them, especially if he was won over by the wound and fell to the will of the Enemy.

    One would have thought that Sauron, who was so power hungry that the idea of someone wanting to destroy the Ring rather than use it NEVER occurred to him till Frodo claimed it on Mount Doom and the whole plan of the Council of Elrond was exposed to him, would have assumed that Strider and the three other Hobbits would leave Frodo to die and run with the Ring themselves in hopes of defeating Sauron and using the Ring themselves. That they would run the risk of Frodo falling and all being lost wouldn't seem like something that Mordor would think of.
     
  2. Merroe

    Merroe Active Member

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    Regarding the events on Weathertop, I think it's probably more correct to talk about the attack of the Nazgul (rather than of "Mordor"): they were Sauron's emissaries with the explicit mission of recuperating the Ring and returning it to Mordor.

    As I see it, their plan was not just to stab Frodo but to overrun and kill the whole party as needed to accomplish their mission. Their attack was done, but in not too clever a manner:
    • They relied on their effect of terror at night, but were met with unforeseen courage.
    • They were not expecting resistance. Apart from Aragorn's courage, they were also surprised by his use of fire and by Frodo's resistance with his enchanted sword from the Barrow Downs, specifically forged for combat against the Witch King.
    • So they took the job too lightly: they did not even attack at full strength (some of them were still in pursuit of Gandalf).
    Their attack was not fully in vain because Frodo was becoming visible to them as a result of his wound, but that result was eventually insufficient to make a difference.
     
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  3. MrsEowynBrandybuck

    MrsEowynBrandybuck New Member

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    While their entire plan wouldn't have been to stab Frodo, they probably thought it would be enough - if Aragorn wasn't skilled in field medicine, and if Glorfindel (/Legoloas/Arwen) hadn't come along, Frodo would certainly have fell into shadow, and would willing have returned the Ring to Sauron.
     
  4. Barliman

    Barliman Member

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    BalrogRingDestroyer, it seems, at least in my reading of the OP, that you're working on the assumption that the plan was merely to stab Frodo. I never go that from the story. I always read it the same as Merroe.

    On you thinking that Sauron wouldn't have thought that someone would try to destroy The Ring rather than wield it, he didn't. Not until Frodo put it on at Mount Doom.
    Is him thinking they might something from the movies?
     

  5. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Treacherous and Vile

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    That's Balrog's point: he wouldn't have.

    And his question is still unanswered: why would Mordor (or more correctly, as Merroe points out, the Nazgul) believe that Aragorn and the hobbits would stay with a weakening Frodo, who could only slow them down, and further, allow him to retain the Ring? From their point of view, the reasonable thing to do would be to take it and leave him behind.

    The original intent, of course, was not to wound him, but capture both him and the Ring. As Gandalf explains:

    'They tried to pierce your heart with a Morgul-knife which remains in the wound. If they had succeeded, you would have become like they are, only weaker and under their command".

    The implication is that this effect would have been immediate: Frodo would have put up no resistance, and they would have gotten away with both him and the Ring, with, as they thought, no trouble from hobbits or man, who would have been of no account to them.

    After the failure of the original plan, the reasons for which Meroe gave some above, the next thing to do would be to attack again. Whoever carried the Ring, whether Frodo or not, would still be a target, as they could sense the Ring, if near enough. If Frodo still carried it, so much the better -- they would be able to see him, making the task easier -- but they would have attacked whoever had it in any case.

    When Strider's Ranger abilities caused the Nazgul to lose track of the party, they planned to strike when they returned to the Road to cross the bridge; after Glorfindel drove them off, they pursued, with some setting an ambush at the Fords, the next crossing place.

    It's at least possible that they believed Frodo wouldn't have been abandoned, and that he would still carry the Ring, in which case, he should have been overcome by his wound; they certainly wouldn't have guessed he would hold out so long. But this is presumption on my part: as Balrog says, going by "Mordor-morality", the logical thing to do would be to take the Ring and discard him. It's a nice question -- in the Shakespearian sense.

    In either case, though, the problem would remain: how to get the Ring? And I don't see how they could have acted otherwise than they did.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2018
  6. Barliman

    Barliman Member

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    Ah, yeah, I misread the OP.

    One could hypothesize that they didn't know that Frodo wasn't abandoned, that is was a safe assumption he had been.

    If you think of their sensing the presence of The Ring working something like a GPS locater, they wouldn't know exactly who had it, until the person put it on, but would know it was within a general radius of 10' or some such, or in this case, "It's that way!". So any of the group could have had it. Only when they saw Frodo fleeing towards the Ford of Rivendell would have they known that it was still Frodo who had it.
    I don't recall the Black Riders having actual sight of them prior to that chase.

    Their ability to locate it wouldn't have been super accurate since there were no GPS satellites during the Third Age. :D
     
  7. BalrogRingDestroyer

    BalrogRingDestroyer Member

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    Another thing I might ask is what they had hoped to do if Frodo DID fal to the wound? Even if succumbing to the wound turned him into a Mordor-loyal wraith, the others, especially when Glorfindel became involved, could still have overpowered him and taken the Ring safely into Rivendale and still send the water on them to kill their horses and leave them weakened.
     
  8. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Treacherous and Vile

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    As I said, my reading of Gandalf's words is that, had the plan succeeded, they would have been able to grab Frodo at once. It failed, but the sliver would normally be expected to achieve the same effect within a few days. They would still have to contend with Aragorn, but one important factor would be absent: any resistance from Frodo. Merroe didn’t mention this, but remember, as Aragorn said after the attack, "More deadly to him was the name of Elbereth". This is the cause of the "shrill cry" Frodo heard, after invoking her.

    This did not happen either, due to Aragorn's healing powers, the natural resistance of hobbits, and eventually, yes, the intervention of Glorfindel. From one point of view, the odds against them increased as time went on; but after all, how were they to know the man accompanying the hobbits was the Rightful King of Arnor and Gondor, the only person in all Middle Earth who could use athelas effectively? What real experience had they or Sauron had with hobbits, other than Gollum? And I'm sure they hoped to avoid Glorfindel.

    You may find this old thread of interest:

    http://www.thetolkienforum.com/index.php?threads/nazgul-drawn-by-the-ring.19097/
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
  9. Barliman

    Barliman Member

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    Yeah, interesting thread.

    I'd realized the fallacy of my GPS analogy after I thought about it more, but hadn't gotten back to post this
    [​IMG]

    I still think that the Nazgul could very well think Frodo would have been left behind, but knew the party wouldn't leave the ring behind, so it didn't really matter if Frodo was abandoned or not. Once the party left Weathertop they knew the Ring was moving again.

    Their tracking of Frodo to Weathertop could have been (probably was) entirely based on clues they had, Baggins got it from Gollum, Baggins was a Hobbit, Hobits (particularly Baggins) lived in Hobbiton, Baggins moved to Crickhollow, Bree would likely be on the path they took when they fled Crickhollow, there's only one reason someone would suddenly vanish at the Prancing Pony, etc. all the way to the Ford of Rivendell when they finally caught sight of him again.
     
  10. BalrogRingDestroyer

    BalrogRingDestroyer Member

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    Who is Elbereth anyway and why does mentioning her name hurt the Nazgul?
     
  11. Barliman

    Barliman Member

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    One place to start your research, http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Elbereth
     
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  12. Squint-eyed Southerner

    Squint-eyed Southerner Treacherous and Vile

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