🧙 The Tolkien Forum 🧝

Welcome to our forum! Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox! Plus you won't see ads ;)

Failure to Success

H

Harad

Guest
JRRT wrote a great story by allowing all his major heros to have major failures. If the heros had gone from success to success, wouldn't that have been boring? Instead:

1. Gandalf, who is put on ME to oppose Sauron, doesnt recognize the OneRing for 77 years until it is almost too late.

2. The attempt to cross Caradhras is a collective failure.

3. The DeathMarch--Aragorn, G&L follow the raiding party of Orcs from Parth Galen and fall farther and farther behind. They fall so far behind that at the end they can only sift thru the ashes of a battle that has been fought and won by the Riders. This was an extraordinarliy important task they chose--the one they chose rather than follow the Ringbearer.

4. The treatment of the defeated Saruman.

All these failures make the characters more "human," even those that arent.
 

lilhobo

Retired
Joined
Jan 2, 2002
Messages
536
Reaction score
1
is this your attempt at redeemption, harad! :D

Now you realise why such a simple book would appeal to such a wide segment of the world, christians, jews, muslims, buddhists , aetheists etc.

it doesnt have a central god as such, there is no "one" son of god to sacrifice himself for the good of ME, rather "little" people striving to achieve great deeds
 

Elanor2

Registered User
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Messages
177
Reaction score
0
Location
Germany
Yes Harad, I noticed the same.

There is not "perfect hero" or "perfect vilain" in Tolkien's World. They all made mistakes, have doubts and get carried away. Even the Gods! And they all, evil and good, have a grain of the other in their nature and actions. Even Melkor helps, sometimes, even repents temporarily (very temporarily, I grant you).
 

Landroval

Registered User
Joined
Feb 14, 2002
Messages
54
Reaction score
0
Location
Ohio, USA
Originally posted by lilhobo
it doesnt have a central god as such, there is no "one" son of god to sacrifice himself for the good of ME, rather "little" people striving to achieve great deeds
Perhaps more like our "real" world than most would like to admit, don't you think?
 

lilhobo

Retired
Joined
Jan 2, 2002
Messages
536
Reaction score
1
Originally posted by Landroval


Perhaps more like our "real" world than most would like to admit, don't you think?
nope, our world has a god, it's green and it has the name alan greenspan on it :eek:

its a lost world, far far removed from Christianity that some are trying to tie it to lol ) that Tolkien was seeking
 

Greenwood

The Guild of Ost-in-Edhil
Joined
Dec 26, 2001
Messages
1,596
Reaction score
3
Location
New York
Harad

You are very clever. Your basic premise here is correct in that Tolkien did not make his characters perfect. Boromir is a basically good, noble man who succumbs to the temptation of the Ring, but redeems himself in the end; Galadriel is tempted by the Ring, but resists; Denethor, once a great man, loses his mind to evil; Saruman, a Maia sent to combat evil succumbs to it by studying it too closely; and of course, the ultimate example, our hero Frodo in the end does not have enough strength to do what he set out to do. Even the evil characters are not perfect. Gollum was not originally evil and almost repents under Frodo's guidance; the Nazgul were originally great kings; and of course, the seemingly nearly invincible Sauron is outfoxed by Gandalf, Aragorn and company. So yes, Harad, your basic premise here is correct.

Now to move on to your cleverness. None of your examples that you used to start this thread are truly examples of your basic premise. They are, for the most part, rehashes of your old debates on other threads where you failed to convince most members of your views, but you now dress them up in a new suit of clothes in an effort to get agreement.

1. Gandalf, who is put on ME to oppose Sauron, doesnt recognize the OneRing for 77 years until it is almost too late.
This was not a failure. Gandalf did recognize the One Ring. There was no reason for him to recognize it instantly. When his suspicions were aroused by Bilbo's long life and actions at his 111th birthday party, he immediately set out to discover the truth about this ring. This has been argued before.

2. The attempt to cross Caradhras is a collective failure.
True, they did not get across the mountains at the Redhorn Pass because of the weather, they then chose another route and got through. The goal was to get to the other side of the mountains, not specifically to go over them; in this they succeeded. This is just a dressed up version of your argument that they should not have tried the mountains, but gone for the Gap of Rohan.

3. The DeathMarch--Aragorn, G&L follow the raiding party of Orcs from Parth Galen and fall farther and farther behind. They fall so far behind that at the end they can only sift thru the ashes of a battle that has been fought and won by the Riders. This was an extraordinarliy important task they chose--the one they chose rather than follow the Ringbearer.
Another dressed up version of one of your old arguments, this one your thread attacking Aragorn's decision at Parth Galen. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli did not fail. Merry and Pippin survived (notice I do not say were rescued, they escaped through their own resourcefulness). If they had not met Treebeard than they would have been quite grateful for Aragorn & company's arrival. All are eventually reunited, along with Gandalf, and perform great deeds in the foiling of Saruman's and Sauron's plans. This was not a failure.

4. The treatment of the defeated Saruman.
How was this a failure? Just because of the cleaning up of the Shire that was eventually needed? What were they supposed to do with Saruman? Execute him? Give one example of capital punishment in LOTR. The treatment of the defeated Saruman is completely in keeping with Gandalf's statement to Frodo in the beginning of the FOTR "Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in punishment." If you wish to be more specific here and say that Treebeard failed as a jailer, I will agree with you.
 
H

Harad

Guest
Sorry Greenwood but I don't need agreement. I am putting forward points for discussion. Some get it. Some dont. Your arguments on every point tell something about needs, but not mine.

1. As has been argued conclusively, as far as I am concerned, by the process of elimination, Bilbo's Ring was the OneRing, from day or year 1. 77 years later is a failure of Gandalf.

2. Caradhras shows that JRRT allowed his heros to pursue dead ends. Nothing more.

3. The DeathMarch failed. An argument on this point is astounding.

4. The treatment of Saruman resulted in death and destruction in the Shire. I put forward no other solution. There were at least 2. I just pointed out that unless the winners of the war in Rohan were masochists, their post-war policy, unwittingly led to more death and destruction.
 

Elanor2

Registered User
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Messages
177
Reaction score
0
Location
Germany
Hi Harad

Originally posted by Harad
1. As has been argued conclusively, as far as I am concerned, by the process of elimination, Bilbo's Ring was the OneRing, from day or year 1. 77 years later is a failure of Gandalf.
The argument in favour of this comes from the sentence of Gandalf that Bilbo's ring was "obviously a Great Ring". If it was so "obvious", he should have investigated further and earlier.

However, I think that Tolkien missed that one. Gandalf statement on the "obvious" should have been more moderated, to make sense with the rest of Gandalf's explanation.

Now, if you want even a bigger failure, I would take the one of Gandalf letting Gollum go loose at the beginning. Had he continued and captured him, it would have been truly obvious what Bilbo's ring was.

4. The treatment of Saruman resulted in death and destruction in the Shire. I put forward no other solution. There were at least 2. I just pointed out that unless the winners of the war in Rohan were masochists, their post-war policy, unwittingly led to more death and destruction.
We have to assume that they could capture Saruman while he was inside Orthanc. Even the Ents could not dislodge him there!

The problems in the Shire were Treebeard's failure, not Gandalf's.
 
H

Harad

Guest
Origninally posted by Elanor2
However, I think that Tolkien missed that one. Gandalf statement on the "obvious" should have been more moderated, to make sense with the rest of Gandalf's explanation.
No Elanor2, don't go down this path! It leads to ridicule and persecution.

Now, if you want even a bigger failure, I would take the one of Gandalf letting Gollum go loose
Yes, I considered that. However I lumped that in with the failure to recognize that Saruman was a traitor. This we can chalk up to Saruman's great abilities to disguise his real intentions.


The problems in the Shire were Treebeard's failure, not Gandalf's.
True. I suppose this was done when Gandalf was otherwise occupied. Still it shows how the best intentions go awry. Another "real life" lesson.
 

Landroval

Registered User
Joined
Feb 14, 2002
Messages
54
Reaction score
0
Location
Ohio, USA
Originally posted by Elanor2

We have to assume that they could capture Saruman while he was inside Orthanc. Even the Ents could not dislodge him there!

The problems in the Shire were Treebeard's failure, not Gandalf's.
Actually, they had their chance with Saruman after the War when they encountered him and Wormtongue on the road north. He should have at least been recaptured and sent to the dungeons in Mirkwood. Thus, the Shire would not have had to be scoured and much death and destruction would have been avoided.
 

Goldberry

River Daughter
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
Messages
406
Reaction score
1
Location
Westchester County, New York
I'll add another failure of Gandalf's was to let Frodo linger around the Shire for a while, instead of telling him to make all haste to Rivendell. (And also trusting Butterbur to deliver a message). It's possible the Black Riders would not have been able to catch up with Frodo, and he might have been spared the attack on Weathertop.
 

Grond

Morgoth's Mace
Joined
Oct 31, 2001
Messages
3,040
Reaction score
37
Location
Somewhere in a Tolkien story.
Originally posted by Harad
No Elanor2, don't go down this path! It leads to ridicule and persecution.

Yes, I considered that. However I lumped that in with the failure to recognize that Saruman was a traitor. This we can chalk up to Saruman's great abilities to disguise his real intentions.

True. I suppose this was done when Gandalf was otherwise occupied. Still it shows how the best intentions go awry. Another "real life" lesson.
Let's not forget that last time the Hobbits encounter both Saruman and Wormtongue, somewhere on the west side of the mountains as the party is headed for Rivendell. Instead of giving him leaf and the pouch, they should have beheaded the both of them. Then you would have still had a "Scouring of the Shire" but it would have been less Saruman and his ultimate murderer, Wormtongue. ;)
 

Elanor2

Registered User
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Messages
177
Reaction score
0
Location
Germany
Thanks Landroval and Grond. I had forgotten the second encouter in my reconing.

However, would it make sense to kill Saruman then? He was a defeated, ragged beggar. His encounter with the Hobbits makes you despise Saruman's evil, but also to pity a lost being. They could not know that this was a pretense and that Saruman was heading back for the Shire to revenge.

Gandalf probably knew something, but by then it was too late to save the Shire from battle anyway, and the 4 Hobbits were more than trained to tackle it. Saruman's thugs were already there. I do not think that Saruman's presence made a great difference during the battles. It would have saved Otho's life, perhaps, if Saruman had not returned, but little more.
 

Tar-Palantir

Registered User
Joined
Dec 22, 2001
Messages
151
Reaction score
0
Location
Maryland
Originally posted by Elanor2
Thanks Landroval and Grond. I had forgotten the second encouter in my reconing.

However, would it make sense to kill Saruman then? He was a defeated, ragged beggar. His encounter with the Hobbits makes you despise Saruman's evil, but also to pity a lost being. They could not know that this was a pretense and that Saruman was heading back for the Shire to revenge.

Gandalf probably knew something, but by then it was too late to save the Shire from battle anyway, and the 4 Hobbits were more than trained to tackle it. Saruman's thugs were already there. I do not think that Saruman's presence made a great difference during the battles. It would have saved Otho's life, perhaps, if Saruman had not returned, but little more.
If I remember correctly, Saruman told Frodo that he didn't decide to go to the Shire til after he met the Hobbit "lordlings" in Dunland. Then he hurried ahead to cause as much trouble as he could before Frodo & friends got home.

I also think it would have been completely out of character for Gandalf, Elrond, etc...to kill Saruman & Grima.
 

Grond

Morgoth's Mace
Joined
Oct 31, 2001
Messages
3,040
Reaction score
37
Location
Somewhere in a Tolkien story.
Gosh people!! My little ;) was meant to denote sarcasm. I was not seriously suggesting that the Great of Middle-earth needed to dispatch the Fallen. Sorry I didn't communicate that better.

In the end, the confrontation in the Scouring of the Shire had to occur in the way it did. It illustrated the extent to which Frodo had advanced. He had taken on a near Elf-like wisdom and tolerance. In pardoning Saruman and inviting Wormtongue to stay, he showed ultimate compassion and forgiveness. It also, in an unintended way, brought about the final destruction of the Great Evil Powers who played a part in both the resurrection of the Ring and its final destruction.

That'll teach me to try and be cute in a serious thread. :)
 

Thread suggestions

Top