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Minas Morgul

H

Harad

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A bunch of questions about this fun place. There seems to be a pass, a tower, and a city:

1. What are the division of responsibilities between Shagrat's and Gorbag's lads?

2. Gorbag says:

The messages go through quicker than anything could fly, as a rule.
Gorbag is hardly an authority, but an interesting quote. What is he talking about? Direct instantaneous communication between Sauron and the Nazgul? Or a palantir in Minas Morgul?

3. Snaga says:

He got past the Watchers and thats tark work."
What are the Silent Watchers? Are they related to the Nazgul or just a happy coincidence that they are in their pass? What's a "tark"?

4. Where are the rest of the Nazgul? "The High Nazgul [went] off to war." Where is the quote about when the Wing-ed Nazgul were released to cross the River?
 

aragil

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First off, as we all know well by now, Snaga is not an actual orc. Snaga is a name that the Uruk-hai use to refer to lesser breeds. Shagrat is a Mordor Uruk-hai (although such creatures are never described by Tolkien), and hence when he says 'Snaga', he is referring to the Orc as a lesser breed, not actually naming it. When Tolkien refers to the same Orc as Snaga, he is exercising his role as translator, not giving the Orc's proper name. Just so we keep things clear here, we wouldn't want to stray from how Tolkien intended us to read his books.

Referring to the post of Harad, here is some stuff from 'The War of the Ring', which I just purchased last night (it's already paying itself off):

p. 216 "(Gorbag) Yes, we, Shagrat. We, mark you . But why we're going to your miserable tower I don't know. We found the spy, my lot were there first. He should be ours He should be taken back to Minas Morgul."
"(Shagrat) ...orders are orders, and I've mine."
"(Gorbag) And I've mine."
"(Shagrat) Yes, and I know them, for I was told 'em by Lugburz, see? Gorbag from Morgul will patrol until he meets your guard, or as far as Ungol top: he will report to you before returning to report to Morgul. ..."
"(Gorbag) ... The Lords of Morgul have some secret of quick messages and they will get the news to Lugburz quicker than anyone you can send direct."
"(Shagrat) I know all that, and I'm not stopping you taking news to them. I know all the messages. They trust me in Lugburz, He knows a good orc when he sees one. This is what happened: message from Morgul to Lugburz: Watchers uneasy. Fear elvish agent passed up the Stair. Guard pass. Message from Lugburz to Ungol: Morgul uneasy. Redouble vigilance. Make contact. Send report by Morgul and direct. And there you are."
"(Gorbag) No, I'm not there, not yet. I'm going to take a report back, my own report, Master Shagrat, and I want to know this first. When did you get this message? We set out as soon as possible after the forces left, and we see no sign of you till we're right through the Tunnel - a filthy place and inside your area. Then we see you just starting. Now I guess you got that message early today, this morning probably, and you've been drinking since to give you the guts to look at the hole. That's what you think of orders that don't suit you."
"(Shagrat) I've no need to account for myself to you Morgul horseboys, Master Gorbag. But if you're so curious to know: the message from Morgul was sent out late: things seem a bit slack with the Lord away. Lugburz did not get it till [last night, mark you, nor me till this agternoon. By which time messages were hardly needed..."

(note- I've changed Yagul, the original name, to Gorbag, and likewise Dushgoi to Morgul) Seems they meet in Shagrat's territorty, but Gorbag was required to go until he either met Shagrat or reached the tower himself.
I don't think there is a palantir left in Morgul- the one that was located in Minas Ithil was relocated to Barad-dur. Whatever message system is used seems to be much faster than Orc (Shagrat took 3 days to eventually deliver his report to Barad-dur), but still fallible, since the original report was delayed to Barad-dur with the departure of the witch king. As far as Nazgul-Sauron communication, it appears that this can be instantaneous, as the remaining eight Nazgul in at the Morannon wheel off to Mt Doom the moment that Sauron realizes Frodo is there.
I think that the watchers refer to the multi-headed stone statues at the gates to C. Ungol. Sam refers to those as the watcher, and it seems to be in response to the screech of the statues that the Nazgul eventually show up at the tower. I've always taken a 'tark' to be someone from Gondor.
I have no idea where the rest of the Nazgul were. They seemed to put in an appearance by chasing Faramir all the way to Minas Tirith, but then were not around (except for the witch king) during the siege of that city. If I were to guess, I would say that a couple were up at Dol-Guldur, directing the attacks on Lorien and Thranduil, some were at Minas Morgul, and some were at Barad-dur, with the later two groups exchanging messages, and looking for Sam and Frodo whenever the mood seemed right.

ps It should be noted that the above passage is an early draft of the incident, so it is entirely possible that Tolkien's conception of message delays and relative duties for Gorbag and Shagrat changed by the time of final publication. It should also be noted that I don't agree with the view that says 'Snaga' is not the orc's name.
 
H

Harad

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'The War of the Ring', which I just purchased last night
Is that part of HoME? Volume #?.

A lot unanswered, but maybe there are no answers. What about the origin of "tark"? Could it come from "Tar"?

The Nazgul going to Mount Doom were nigh at hand for communication from Sauron, so that system whatever it was, was not necessarily taxed at that instance.

Its an interesting idea to have Nazgul up north. Any written evidence for this--not much written about the northern battles in total, however.

Was Shagrat in charge of the Tower and Gorbag the pass or the city? Interesting that Sauron would establish an "embassy" in the Morgul city, with Shagrat the captain of his "marine guards."
 

aragil

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'tark' from Tar, as in Elros Tar-Minyatur (or Tar-Palantir or Tar-Elendil)? Hadn't thought of that- certainly compelling. Off hand I don't think this is the only passage referring to tark- I think it came up in the Gorbag-Shagrat conversation. In any case, my impression has always been tark=man of Gondor (Dunedain, Numenorean), so it certainly could come from the Tar of Numenorean distinction. 'The War of the Ring' is the 3rd volume of 'The History of the Lord of the Rings', which is basically a lot of rough drafts for the various chapters in Lord of the Rings, along with a lot of C Tolkien commentary. It is also (and confusingly) volume 8 in HoME. Apparently volumes 6-8 (plus parts of 9) are also published as volumes 1-3 of History of the Lord of the Rings. I felt compelled to buy the series as people were using quotes from these books in the infamous 'Uruks vs Uruk-hai' thread.
As for the locations of the Nazgul- I'm guessing that a couple were overseeing the fighting in Dol Guldur based on the entry for 2951 in the Tale of Years: 'Sauron sends three of the Nazgul to reoccupy Dol Guldur.' Of course, they leave to pursue Frodo, but if this was a permanent base for them, then maybe they stayed there rather than Mordor? I thought there was mention of them up there during the War of the Ring, but I'm having trouble finding it.
As for Shagrat and Gorbag: Shagrat was commander of the tower of Cirith Ungol. It was a days march into the mountains from Minas Morgul, and as near as I can tell it was relatively autonomous. Cirith Ungol guarded the pass into Mordor, not Minas Morgul. I believe that Gorbag was just a run of the mill orc captain of Morgul (not to be confused with Gothmog, the captain of the city), and he just happened to be the lucky orc to stay back from the war and pull patrol duty up in the pass. There were plenty of individuals in Morgul with higher authority than Gorbag (the Witch King, any other Nazgul residing there, and Gothmog), and these probably could have pulled rank on Shagrat if they so desired. But Shagrat and Gorbag apeared to be somewhat of equals (at least when on neutral ground).

Just found this...

This is from 'The End of the Third Age', which was originally published as the first half of HoME volume IX, Sauron Defeated'

p. 30, footnote 13. Cf. LR Appendix F (RK p. 409): in Orkish Westron 'tark, "man of Gondor:, was a debased from of tarkil, a Quenya word used in Westron for one of Numenorean descent'.

Damn these books are coming in handy!
 
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Snaga

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Yeah that's also in Appendix F of LotR itself.

It also translates Snaga as 'slave' - suggesting that this is not a name that mummy-orc gave to baby-orc, more what the nasty Capt Shagrat gave to a lesser orc he didn't like.

I've searched in vain for the reference that shows that a Nazgul led Sauron's forces in Dol Guldur, but I am all but certain that's right. Anyone??
 

Tar-Elenion

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Originally posted by Harad

2. Gorbag says:



quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The messages go through quicker than anything could fly, as a rule.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Gorbag is hardly an authority, but an interesting quote. What is he talking about? Direct instantaneous communication between Sauron and the Nazgul? Or a palantir in Minas Morgul?
The Gorbag might not know what he is talking about, but it could be a reference to 'sanwe-latya' ('thought-opening'), essentially (if oversimplified) 'telepathy'. There is a very long and involved essay on this which was written in conjuction with Quendi and Eldar in WotJ.
I am not going to try to get into its complexities at this time.
 

Cian

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In case anyone's wondering, not all editions of LotR include the Appendix ref. to tark.
 
H

Harad

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Right. I cant find "tark" in Appendix F. Maybe V of K can be a bit more explicit...what subsection and near what other reference in his App. F? Thanks--
 
H

Harad

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thanks BtP.
Geez with on-line appendices we can all be goshdurn genii
 

Halasían

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Just so we keep things clear here, we wouldn't want to stray from how Tolkien intended us to read his books.
This one line here cracked me up.

(Gorbag) Yes, we, Shagrat. We, mark you . But why we're going to your miserable tower I don't know. We found the spy, my lot were there first. He should be ours He should be taken back to Minas Morgul."
"(Shagrat) ...orders are orders, and I've mine."
"(Gorbag) And I've mine."
"(Shagrat) Yes, and I know them, for I was told 'em by Lugburz, see? Gorbag from Morgul will patrol until he meets your guard, or as far as Ungol top: he will report to you before returning to report to Morgul. ..."
"(Gorbag) ... The Lords of Morgul have some secret of quick messages and they will get the news to Lugburz quicker than anyone you can send direct."
"(Shagrat) I know all that, and I'm not stopping you taking news to them. I know all the messages. They trust me in Lugburz, He knows a good orc when he sees one. This is what happened: message from Morgul to Lugburz: Watchers uneasy. Fear elvish agent passed up the Stair. Guard pass. Message from Lugburz to Ungol: Morgul uneasy. Redouble vigilance. Make contact. Send report by Morgul and direct. And there you are."
"(Gorbag) No, I'm not there, not yet. I'm going to take a report back, my own report, Master Shagrat, and I want to know this first. When did you get this message? We set out as soon as possible after the forces left, and we see no sign of you till we're right through the Tunnel - a filthy place and inside your area. Then we see you just starting. Now I guess you got that message early today, this morning probably, and you've been drinking since to give you the guts to look at the hole. That's what you think of orders that don't suit you."
"(Shagrat) I've no need to account for myself to you Morgul horseboys, Master Gorbag. But if you're so curious to know: the message from Morgul was sent out late: things seem a bit slack with the Lord away. Lugburz did not get it till [last night, mark you, nor me till this agternoon. By which time messages were hardly needed..."
My favourte two Orcs!

(Now to see if it's SES or Gando that first comments about necromency)
:D
 

Aramarien

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LOTR: Appendix F: The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age has sections that are listed: "Of the Elves"; "Of Men"; " Of Hobbits" and "Of Other Races".
It is under the last category that there is a section "Orcs and the Black Speech" that discusses the origins of "tark" and "snaga"
 

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