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Was Frodo a hero?

NicolausVI

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Thank you NicolausVI for this informative post and welcome to the forum

... and of course Frodo took a sword strike from the Witch-King of Angmar Lord of the Nazgul, reminiscent of Christ on the cross?
I will always hold the view that nothing is more painful than being whipped more than half to death and then crucified alive; his stabbing at Weathertop, his stinging by Shelob, and his finger being bitten off by Gollum (not Smeagol), is but a small pain in the face of Christ's punishment. But it is still punishment nonetheless. The sword stabbing of Frodo and the spear thrust into Jesus' by the centurion seems to be a parallel; did those blows land in the same place on their bodies? Dante Alighieri in Inferno held the lowest circles of hell for traitors and betrayers; Judas, Cassius and Brutus. I tend to agree. The worst feeling in terms of emotional heartbreak is betrayal, especially by a close friend that results ultimately in death (hence why cheating and adultery is a moral sin). So Frodo's betrayal by Smeagol (not Gollum) hurt his soul also. All of these are archetypes of suffering.
 
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Squint-eyed Southerner

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You can take the priest analogy a step further, I think: just as Peter, who would have drowned in the "Galilean lake", if not saved by Christ, became the priest of the early Church, so Sam, who is pulled from the Anduin by Frodo, becomes the "priest", or at least apostle, of Middle Earth values in the Shire.
 
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Rivendell_librarian

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I guess this has all been said (written) before but do we have the following type/antitype pairs:

Gandalf and Sauron (or Saruman?)
Aragorn and the Witch King of Angmar
Frodo and Gollum
and now
Sam and the Apostle Peter

I wonder who is the counterpart to Pippin?! The Apostle Philip I suppose "show us the Father and that will be enough"
 

NicolausVI

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You can take the priest analogy a step future, I think: just as Peter, who would have drowned in the "Galilean lake", if not saved by Christ, became the priest of the early Church, so Sam, who is pulled from the Anduin by Frodo, becomes the "priest", or at least apostle, of Middle Earth values in the Shire.
Consider this also; Jesus ascended to Heaven and left this Earth, Frodo sailed to Valinor and left Middle Earth. Peter stayed and preached the Gospel in Rome, using written accounts of Jesus and himself, Samwise stayed in the Shire and told stories of Bilbo and Frodo and himself using written accounts (The Red Book; note also that most Latin chant missals are red books).
I guess this has all been said (written) before but do we have the following type/antitype pairs:

Gandalf and Sauron (or Saruman?)
Aragorn and the Witch King of Angmar
Frodo and Gollum
and now
Sam and the Apostle Peter

I wonder who is the counterpart to Pippin?! The Apostle Philip I suppose "show us the Father and that will be enough"
Well I just have to point out this:
Good; evil.
Gandalf; Saruman. Prophet, antichrist.
Aragorn; Witch King. King, tyrant.
Frodo; Gollum. Priest, criminal.
but not Sam; St. Peter because that is good; good, not good; evil. Nor Pippin; St. Phillip, that is still good; good.
 

Squint-eyed Southerner

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Yes, the type/antitype duality isn't about opposites, but the prefiguring of a later person or event, a kind of theological typology particularly popular in the Middle Ages. It goes back at least to Paul, who called Adam the "figure";of Christ, who corrects his flaw.

This is not limited to Christian theology; I mentioned in another thread how it can appear, in different form, in the structure of romance and folktale, where one character accomplishes what a predecessor could not. An example would be the pure Galahad, who succeeds where the impure Lancelot failed.

The same relationship is seen in LOTR, when Aragorn says that it is appropriate that "Isildur's heir should repair Isildur's fault".
 
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Rivendell_librarian

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I should have pointed out that the last two comparisons of Sam and Pippin are not the same type as the earlier three (pairs of LOTR characters)
The Apostles Peter and Philip aren't Tolkien characters.
 

Olorgando

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NicolausIV, I accept without reservation that you are applying what to you is what JRRT himself in the foreword to the second edition approved as what readers may find in the way of applicability, found by any given reader. But I have the distinct impression that you have strayed too deep into what JRRT considered to be - I think - loose allegory (JRRT was not averse to allegory per se - he used it himself on many occasions, but he used it in a very strict way). Something equals something else (and nothing else, an if-and-only-if term of logic).
I have stated more than once here on TTF (and perhaps on other JRRT sites) that I view JRRT's "Letters" with deep suspicion when it comes to "canon". Another term highly disputed. With all the details we have received about Middle-earth from them (and only from them, if I recall correctly), the letters have one serious defect: written off-the-cuff, with none of the sometimes slowly grinding revisions so typical of JRRT. They were more like C.S. Lewis's "Narnia" books (for which JRRT could never develop any sympathy). Some of the letters you quote are to Catholic clergy; JRRT would have been trying to explain away things not considered Catholic-canon (as he was aware at least as much as his letter correspondents). JRRT quite simply had a fascination with the heathen north (Norse) of Europe that he was ultimately not able to reconcile with his Roman Catholic beliefs.
He basically left out everything explicit that you in your posts have found applicable - and by this leaving out wrote one of the greatest books of the 20th century.
 

Northman

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Which leads me to another impression about the rings, either the One or those made by the Elves under Sauron's tutelage, including the seven and the nine: that they worked best with Men. Which immediately raises the question in my mind whether this was by accident or at least partially by design.
I think it is generally by accident, since the nature of Men was created to be different from the others. Rather than a conscious decision by Sauron to target Men with his Rings, I think it is a reflection of Men's nature that they were more susceptible to the types of promise that Sauron's Rings offer. Let's consider a few 'racial' differences between Eves, Men and Dwarves:

Elves are, rather famously, immortal, and their leaders have personal memory going back thousands of years. No matter where the Elves dwell, be it Valinor, Mithlond, Lorien or Amon Thranduil, they are under no illusions as to the composition of the Heavens, and who is responsible for their world's creation. They have an indelible link to the Valar, even the Moriquendi, since while not all of them undertook the journey into the West, they still are aware of their true place and role within the greater scheme of the world. It's hard to convince such beings to bow down to the will of a creature they know for a fact to be only a middleman in the celestial hierarchy which was established to service their creation. Sauron could lie to them about his intentions or his identity, and indeed he did so, but not about his stature within the make-up of the cosmos, because they simply know better, collectively. Instead, all he could offer them was assistance in creating nice toys, which is how he managed to fool Celembrimbor (but NOT the others, it should be remembered, who rejected his wiles).

Dwarves are slightly different. Not immortal, but not technically Children of Iluvatar either. They were created directly by Aule, and are reflective of his tastes. The Dwarves are also fully aware of this creation, and while they might not understand or credit the wider celestial drama unfolding across the history of the world, they know darn well that their 'god' created them with love, and all other gods are false. Again, it's tough to try and cow or impress such creatures with magical powers, because they know that whatever you are, you are NOT rightful authority to them. Again, all he can offer them is assistance in achieving their heart's desires, which is why the Dwarven Rings ended up mostly inspiring greed and arrogance in their wearers but this did not translate to a relationship of dominion.

You may by this point be wondering why I am bringing this up, but please bear with me, because now we get to Men, who are quite different. Because of the gift of Death, Men are not bound to the world as Elves are, and they have no direct link or knowledge of their creator, such as Dwarves do. Men live short lives, generally fearing the unknowns of death, and are therefore prone to inventing lots of systems of gods and myths to explain their world and make promises of an afterlife. In Tolkien's universe it is Men (and Orcs, but that's a different story) who are prone to worshiping powerful beings as gods and masters, and several described human societies do so, in direct contrast to the established, known lore held by the other races. It's easy to promise Men great power or threaten them with divine wrath, since unless they were raised in the traditions of Wesrnesse they simply don't know better, and even then they can be manipulated into believing false claims such as when he lulled Numenor into catastrophe.

That's why Sauron always had more success with Men, even before the Rings were made. In fact, I would argue that the Rings were actually tailored, from the beginning, to try and regain some influence among the Elves. Men, especially the 'lesser' men of Middle-Earth were of small concern to him, whereas the great loremasters and lords of the Eldar were direct rivals to his power and skill. It was still Celebrimbor who fashioned the Rings for Men and Dwarves, even though we know the extent of Sauron's involvement, and it was the Elves who gifted them to the various Dwarven houses/clans. The Nine were kept in Eregion, while Celebrimbor worked privately on the Three. In the meantime Sauron left to create the One, specifically to control all the others, and it's not until the Elves perceived him and took theirs off that Sauron attacked Eregion and claimed the Nine, before distributing them to kings and lords of Edain stock, which as we know turned into the Nazgul over the next few centuries as Sauron slowly took over and dominated their wills into submission with the One; the exact fate that the Elves sought to escape themselves. After all, it's easier to do that to Men in general, since Men have so little grasp of their place within the grand scheme of things, and live short lives often seeking an escape from death.

That's why I don't think it was part of Sauron's intention to make the Rings specifically tailored to work on Men, and rather this is just coincidence because Men are the ones Sauron got the chance to actually work on the longest, plus their native susceptibility to power and magic.

Just a couple of pennies.
 

Olorgando

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Dwarves are slightly different. Not immortal, but not technically Children of Iluvatar either. They were created directly by Aule, and are reflective of his tastes. The Dwarves are also fully aware of this creation, and while they might not understand or credit the wider celestial drama unfolding across the history of the world, they know darn well that their 'god' created them with love, and all other gods are false.
...
Men live short lives, generally fearing the unknowns of death, and are therefore prone to inventing lots of systems of gods and myths to explain their world and make promises of an afterlife.
As I stated, it raised a question (hypothesis) in my mind about Sauron having targeted Men, followed by what I found to be plausible for such a hypothesis. But a hypothesis it remains, as I am not aware of any writings by JRRT himself which would raise it to the (far higher) level of "theory" - or debunk it as wild-and-wooly speculation. Your deductions leading to the "accident" side are as plausible as mine (though I find myself, to my consternation, on the wrong side of a "conspiracy theory" divide! 😲 )

You comments about the Dwarves gave me a bit of a pause. Calling Aulë their 'god' smacked a bit of what would pass, in Middle-earth, for idolatry, pretty much uniformly associated with Melkor and Sauron. And specifically the scene (in The Sil, part "Quenta Silmarillion", chapter 2 "Of Aulë and Yavanna"), where Ilúvatar granted the Dwarves an existence independent of Aulë, he was "in the presence" of the Dwarves. But then the visible bodily form that the Ainur assumed in Arda were like clothes are to us. The Ainur / Valar / Maiar did not need this visible form to be aware of and interact with each other, and never mind Eru Ilúvatar. I certainly can't imagine any visible form Eru might have taken in Arda. So the Dwarves, besides not being able to see Eru, would probably also not have been able to hear him (and in a humorous vein, might have been wondering why Aulë was talking to himself). But besides this "theological" aspect of their only accepting Aulë as their 'god' and no others (the Ainur were able to "change their clothes" at least to a degree and might have been able to delude the Dwarves with this trick), I think Aulë's having been aware of Melkor's dissonances in the Music of the Ainur, and having created the Dwarves to be specifically resistent to this (as stated explicitly in The Sil) had at least as much to do with their (mainly) immunity to Sauron's rings.

As to Men inventing lots of systems of gods and myths, my feeling is that Melkor (having apparently also been among the Elves before their explicit discovery by Oromë, or at least some of his (Melkor's) servants may have been) also had a head start on the Valar and Maiar with Men. Sauron's disappearance from the "action" of The Sil after almost having his incarnate form destroyed by Huan in the late 460s First Age seems far too short a time period to corrupt the Easterlings of the First Age, whose treachery may have decided the Battle of Unnumbered Tears perhaps five years later, 473 FA. But Finrod had met the first Edain in Ossiriand in 310 FA, and they must have spent a lot of time getting there (when one considers the time it took the Elves to get to the western shores of Beleriand during the First Age part of the Two Trees). But then: when the Valar made war on Melkor and captured him prior to leading the Elves ultimately to Valinor, they did an awfully sloppy job. While they completely destroyed Utumno (apparently), they definitely did not do the same with Angband, and never mind that they did not even remotely rid Middle-earth of Melkor's servants. The Three Ages of the Two Trees that Melkor was held captive in Valinor may be, by some calculation, have been around 10 000 sun years each, or 30 000 years total. That's a lot of time for Melkor's servants (and I'm guessing Sauron to be among them) to concoct a lot of mischief in Middle-earth, which was at least for the second time totally abandoned by the Valar (with the exception of Ulmo, probably).
 
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Northman

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As I stated, it raised a question (hypothesis) in my mind about Sauron having targeted Men, followed by what I found to be plausible for such a hypothesis. But a hypothesis it remains, as I am not aware of any writings by JRRT himself which would raise it to the (far higher) level of "theory" - or debunk it as wild-and-wooly speculation. Your deductions leading to the "accident" side are as plausible as mine (though I find myself, to my consternation, on the wrong side of a "conspiracy theory" divide! 😲 )
Oh hey, I hope I didn't come across as being critical; I wasn't intending that. I just found the discussion you guys were having very interesting, so I thought I'd offer my own take. I'm approaching just from the point of view of a nerd who likes having incredibly pedantic chats with other Tolkien nerds. I'm new here, but I'm hoping I'm in good company! :)

You comments about the Dwarves gave me a bit of a pause. Calling Aulë their 'god' smacked a bit of what would pass, in Middle-earth, for idolatry, pretty much uniformly associated with Melkor and Sauron. And specifically the scene (in The Sil, part "Quenta Silmarillion", chapter 2 "Of Aulë and Yavanna"), where Ilúvatar granted the Dwarves an existence independent of Aulë, he was "in the presence" of the Dwarves. But then the visible bodily form that the Ainur assumed in Arda were like clothes are to us. The Ainur / Valar / Maiar did not need this visible form to be aware of and interact with each other, and never mind Eru Ilúvatar. I certainly can't imagine any visible form Eru might have taken in Arda. So the Dwarves, besides not being able to see Eru, would probably also not have been able to hear him (and in a humorous vein, might have been wondering why Aulë was talking to himself). But besides this "theological" aspect of their only accepting Aulë as their 'god' and no others (the Ainur were able to "change their clothes" at least to a degree and might have been able to delude the Dwarves with this trick), I think Aulë's having been aware of Melkor's dissonances in the Music of the Ainur, and having created the Dwarves to be specifically resistent to this (as stated explicitly in The Sil) had at least as much to do with their (mainly) immunity to Sauron's rings.
I can agree with that, certainly, but then the question is begged, would Sauron even know about Aule's crafting making them so resistant? He was a Maiar of Aule originally, but I was under the impression he had switched to Melkor long before the Dwarves were created, although I could be wrong. Now, when I said that Aule is their 'god', I was simplifying for the sake of brevity. But even so, they do call him Mahal in Khuzdul, which translates as "The Maker", so regardless of their knowledge of Eru's existence (and I agree that they probably have no clue of him, hence me referring to Aule not Eru as their 'god'), I can't help but assume they revere Aule at least as a Divine Creator figure for their race. You're right in that calling him their 'god' was an over-simplification, but I was concerned more with conveying the link they have to the knowledge of where they came from, and who might or might not be a divine authority to them. It's that relationship that I'm highlighting, to point to the lack of it for Men (save for the Elf-wise). But, I've had another thought on that which I'll explain in the next part.

As to Men inventing lots of systems of gods and myths, my feeling is that Melkor (having apparently also been among the Elves before their explicit discovery by Oromë, or at least some of his (Melkor's) servants may have been) also had a head start on the Valar and Maiar with Men. Sauron's disappearance from the "action" of The Sil after almost having his incarnate form destroyed by Huan in the late 460s First Age seems far too short a time period to corrupt the Easterlings of the First Age, whose treachery may have decided the Battle of Unnumbered Tears perhaps five years later, 473 FA. But Finrod had met the first Edain in Ossiriand in 310 FA, and they must have spent a lot of time getting there (when one considers the time it took the Elves to get to the western shores of Beleriand during the First Age part of the Two Trees). But then: when the Valar made war on Melkor and captured him prior to leading the Elves ultimately to Valinor, they did an awfully sloppy job. While they completely destroyed Utumno (apparently), they definitely did not do the same with Angband, and never mind that they did not even remotely rid Middle-earth of Melkor's servants. The Three Ages of the Two Trees that Melkor was held captive in Valinor may be, by some calculation, have been around 10 000 sun years each, or 30 000 years total. That's a lot of time for Melkor's servants (and I'm guessing Sauron to be among them) to concoct a lot of mischief in Middle-earth, which was at least for the second time totally abandoned by the Valar (with the exception of Ulmo, probably).
Okay, so here I do have some disagreement. Yes, Melkor did get the chance to influence Men before the Valar did, and his chief evil in that regard is described by Tolkien as having made them fear death, which was after all their greatest gift from Iluvatar (in the same way that his chief evil to the Elves was to corrupt them into Orcs). His malice comes in the desire to hinder and mar the fair works of the Valar and Eru, which he achieves. But still, his main concern was nearly always with destroying the kingdoms of the Eldar, to whom the Edain were merely friends who dwelt alongside them. I'm really not sure that he paid them much attention at all, for he neither enslaved, bred, nor even used them in his armies. That's why I struggle to accept the notion that this was something Sauron was taking into account when teaching the Elves the craft of Ring-making.

We know that the chief power of the Rings is to hold at bay decay. That's their primary purpose, and the reason why they were attractive as an idea to Men and Elves alike. The Elves of Middle-earth wished to preserve their kingdoms in the face of the inevitable rise of the dominion of Men, and indeed when the One was lost following the ambush of Isildur, they used their Rings for precisely that purpose. But, that desire to preserve their own dominance was the tool Sauron wished to use against them, and dominion over the Elves was ever his chief concern. The Men, however, have a different reason to find this attractive, since it allows them to escape death, which again they've been taught to fear from ancient times by Melkor, and it seems more likely to me that this was simply a happy accident which assisted Sauron in his ensnaring of the Nazgul.

Also, since posting my first comment, the thought has grown in my mind that in actual fact, it may be that Men are the only ones that Sauron actually got the chance to directly affect at all. Again, the Nine were not even distributed by the time Sauron seized them, whereas the Seven had already gone to the Dwarf lords. The instant Sauron put on the One, the Three were taken off, and not used until he had lost possession of the One. If the Dwarven resistance can be attributed, as you say, to Aule's design of them to resist Morgoth's wiles, which I don't dispute, then in fact it may be that the wearers of the Three would have turned into servants of the One in the exact way that the wearers of the Nine did, while Sauron still had it, and it was indeed the fact that the Three were removed during his possession which prevented it. from affecting them as potently as the Men.

What do you think?
 

Olorgando

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Oh hey, I hope I didn't come across as being critical; I wasn't intending that. I just found the discussion you guys were having very interesting, so I thought I'd offer my own take. I'm approaching just from the point of view of a nerd who likes having incredibly pedantic chats with other Tolkien nerds. I'm new here, but I'm hoping I'm in good company! :)
Just wanted to reply to this part briefly. As it's close to 1 AM in Germany, I think I'll need some sleep before I tackle the rest of your lengthy post (shades of Alcuin! 😄 ).

I have no problem with you being critical. All opinions are open to criticism - with the old saw about it being "constructive". I'm also quite in favor of challenging assumptions, especially if they are of the silent type. Like if I think something is obvious, but someone points out that it is not nearly as obvious as I assumed, because …
The because is important. What strikes me as annoying about quite a few of JRRT's negative critics after LoTR was published is that they hardly seem to get beyond derisive snorts (often exceedingly pompous and arrogant) and hardly if ever seem to explain themselves. Something they have not gotten noticeably better at over the decades. I sometime view them as little Gollums, who hardly get beyond an "Augh! Dust and ashes, we don't eats that!" level. Criticism well explained is quite another matter, as it can shake one out of lazy, complacent thinking.

More after sunrise (probably quite a bit after; as I'm retired the clock has lost much of its significance for me). 😩
 
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Squint-eyed Southerner

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Welcome to the forum, Northman -- I hope you find much of interest here!

I'm curious about this:

It was still Celebrimbor who fashioned the Rings for Men and Dwarves, even though we know the extent of Sauron's involvement, and it was the Elves who gifted them to the various Dwarven houses/clans.
I've never heard that before; is there a source for this? Aside from Gloin's recital of the words of the emissary from Mordor:

"The Lord Sauron the Great, so he said, wished for our friendship. Rings he would give for it, such as he gave of old."

There is the explicit statement in "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age":

But Sauron gathered into his hands all the remaining Rings of Power.; and he dealt them out to the other peoples of Middle-earth, hoping thus to bring under his sway all those that desired secret power beyond the measure of their kind. Seven rings he gave to the Dwarves . . .

Nor, I believe, were any of the rings intended by the Elves for other races; they would give power "beyond the measure of their kind", and therefore be a danger, not only to the Elves, but to those who received them. As Gandalf tells Frodo:

'The lesser rings were only essays in the craft before it was full-grown, and to the Elven-smiths they were but trifles--yet still to my mind dangerous for mortals.'

I can't think the Elves would wish to endanger the world in this way. But I can accept correction, if there's a statement otherwise I don't know about.
 

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I've never heard that before; is there a source for this?
Well, consider the known lore: the Nine were not distributed among the Men of the time, until Sauron seized them. Tolkien specifically states that the Three were removed, and there is no known text which details when the Dwarves received their Rings. Well, when and where did did they receive them, if not thanks to Celebrimbor and the smiths of Eregion gifting them to the seven established Dwarf clans? There is a line in the Silm suggesting Sauron distributed these Seven himself among Dwarven clans, but I would argue this seems extremely unlikely given the details of the way Dain Ironfoot treats with the emissaries of Mordor, and the conundrums whic this poses, that I am about to detail. The Dwarves have never been a ready ally to the wiles of Morgoth or Sauron, and any assistance they have ever rendered to such a cause has been accidental. In the time of Eregion, the Dwarves and the Elves were in close communion, marrying the crafts of the Noldor with that of the Khazad, so why would they not share these Rings with the Seven clans of the Khazad, since they were supposedly allies? Why would the Ring-makers fashion Seven rings for the Dwarves if NOT for the long-established number of Khazad clans?

I do not pretend to have unearthed a concrete reference which proves my words, but I appeal to your faculties of logical deduction. If there is friendship between seven clans of Dwarves and the Elves of Eregion, and the Three and Seven are both absent when Sauron comes looking for the Nine, and the number of absent Rings created for the Dwarves just-so-happens to match the number of accepted Dwarven kingdoms, whom we know for a fact received a Ring, can you think of any reason whatsoever not to assume that the Dwarven Rings, seven in number, were already distributed to the known seven clans before Sauron ransacked Eregion?

Like, can you honestly come up with a lore-based reason at all why that doesn't make sense? Is there any canonic explanation we can accept which explains the absence of these Seven rings when Sauron comes pillaging through Eregion, even when he takes pains to detail the capture of the Nine? I know that Occam's Razor is a very risky thing to invoke when dealing with a fantasy world, but I'm banking here upon you taking Tolkien's world seriously enough to wish to reconcile this inexplicable oversight. To me, it's perfectly clear: the Dwarves received their Rings thanks to the Elves who created them, back when they were enjoying a close, friendly relationship, or else Sauron inexplicably gained them during the events of a chapter in which the author takes pains to highlight the acquisition of the Nine but utterly ignores the potential theft of the Seven.

Do you see what I'm saying? If this logic endears itself to you, then consider its implications for the idea that Sauron is the one who gave out Dwarven Rings.

At the time of Eregion All we are led to believe is that four of the Seven were lost to dragon-fire,
I disagree that this is true at the time of Eregion. Is there a reference for this information, or are you deducing it from the words of Gandalf, who stated this with regard to the Rings at the close of the Third Age? It was almost certainly not the case during the middle of the Second Age, unless I am overlooking something?

"The Lord Sauron the Great, so he said, wished for our friendship. Rings he would give for it, such as he gave of old."
Well sure, but I'm going to assume that you're open to the possibility that Sauron in this instance is an unreliable narrator? Just because he claims to Dain that he is the one who used to gift Rings to people doesn't mean that he is, especially if his claims are just that he had a hand in the making. It is explicitly stated by Tolkien that Celebrimbor actually forged the Rings, but who exactly in Middle-earth could have gainsaid Sauron if he claimed that HE is the one who created them? All I'm saying is: there are multiple ways in which you can reconcile the distribution of the Seven occurring before Sauron sacked Eregion. but comparatively few ways to reconcile the known lore with the idea that Sauron seized them and distributed them himself, especially when the very passage which describes the capture of the Nine makes *precisely zero mention* of the capture of the Seven. That seems pretty convincing, to me.

But Sauron gathered into his hands all the remaining Rings of Power.; and he dealt them out to the other peoples of Middle-earth, hoping thus to bring under his sway all those that desired secret power beyond the measure of their kind. Seven rings he gave to the Dwarves
And that verbiage raises multiple other questions. If Sauron gathered the 'remaining' Rings of Power, and distributed he Seven among the Dwarves, then why would he choose 7 of them to be for Dwarves in the first place, and 9 of them to be for Men? He had no clue as to how many clans or tribes there were. Either Celebrimbor created the orders of Rings for specific races, in which case the conundrum of the Seven's omission from the account of the sacking is opened up again, or else they were all designed to be low-level Elf traps, and it turned out this had some weird side-effect.[/quote]
 
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Olorgando

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Your comments about the Dwarves gave me a bit of a pause. Calling Aulë their 'god' smacked a bit of what would pass, in Middle-earth, for idolatry, pretty much uniformly associated with Melkor and Sauron. And specifically the scene (in The Sil, part "Quenta Silmarillion", chapter 2 "Of Aulë and Yavanna"), where Ilúvatar granted the Dwarves an existence independent of Aulë, he was "in the presence" of the Dwarves. But then the visible bodily form that the Ainur assumed in Arda were like clothes are to us. The Ainur / Valar / Maiar did not need this visible form to be aware of and interact with each other, and never mind Eru Ilúvatar. I certainly can't imagine any visible form Eru might have taken in Arda. So the Dwarves, besides not being able to see Eru, would probably also not have been able to hear him (and in a humorous vein, might have been wondering why Aulë was talking to himself). But besides this "theological" aspect of their only accepting Aulë as their 'god' and no others (the Ainur were able to "change their clothes" at least to a degree and might have been able to delude the Dwarves with this trick), I think Aulë's having been aware of Melkor's dissonances in the Music of the Ainur, and having created the Dwarves to be specifically resistent to this (as stated explicitly in The Sil) had at least as much to do with their (mainly) immunity to Sauron's rings.
I can agree with that, certainly, but then the question is begged, would Sauron even know about Aule's crafting making them so resistant? He was a Maiar of Aule originally, but I was under the impression he had switched to Melkor long before the Dwarves were created, although I could be wrong. Now, when I said that Aule is their 'god', I was simplifying for the sake of brevity. But even so, they do call him Mahal in Khuzdul, which translates as "The Maker", so regardless of their knowledge of Eru's existence (and I agree that they probably have no clue of him, hence me referring to Aule not Eru as their 'god'), I can't help but assume they revere Aule at least as a Divine Creator figure for their race. You're right in that calling him their 'god' was an over-simplification, but I was concerned more with conveying the link they have to the knowledge of where they came from, and who might or might not be a divine authority to them. It's that relationship that I'm highlighting, to point to the lack of it for Men (save for the Elf-wise).
Oh dear, oh dear me … I'm getting the uneasy feeling I'm going to have to make a list of what I've commented on to avoid repetition - and more to the point a kind of "to-do" list of what I still want to comment on. The latter is susceptible to the danger that when I've blathered on, especially excessively (I have an irrepressible urge to go flying off on tangents, aka OT) on item X, I may have forgotten the point I wanted to make on item Y ... I'm talking from personal experience here. 🤕

Anyway …
Sauron's knowing about Aulë's creation of the Dwarves? Unlikely, I would think, as in the chapter 2 of the QS I mentioned above, after Eru's having adopted the Dwarves, there's the statement "Now when Aulë laboured in the making of the Dwarves he kept this work hidden from the other Valar, but at last he opened his mind to [his "spouse"] Yavanna and told her of all that had come to pass." (This the led to the creation of the Ents)

Now the Aulë-Eru scene with the Dwarves has something of Moses on Mount Sinai - or from the timeline more accurately of Adam and Eve in Eden; though The Sil is noticeably silent on the seven Eves of the Dwarves, in contrast to some writing in HoMe. An imperfect comparison, as Aulë would be more comparable in a way to the archangels (Micha-El, Gabri-El etc), and we seem to agree that the Dwarves were ignorant of Eru's presence in the scene. But Moses was the last human as per the Old Testament to have "personally" seen YHWH, there having been a few between himself and Adam and Eve. After the scene above, I doubt that any mortal even had a "face-to-face" encounter with any of the Valar with the sole exception of Tuor, meeting Ulmo at Vinyamar. So for any Dwarves after the Seven Fathers, even Aulë is a being approaching myth. Now as they were very secretive of their native language Khuzdul, even to the point of not inscribing more than a tiny fraction of it on monuments and tombs (in script learned from the Elves), they must have had a strong oral tradition (which can be surprisingly strong even in non-literate human societies, at least from a standpoint of us memory-slugs used to being able to write down anything and everything - need I mention the Internet and "social media"?). With their normal life-spans apparently being about 250 years, they would also have had far more time to commit things to memory than we do. So there may have been far less corruption of far-back memories than is usual in human societies with the best memorizers. But at the time of the action of LoTR, we are talking about about 7000 years of the Sun (and Moon), plus unknown comparable millennia during the First Age part of the Two Trees (Aulë created the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves before the Elves had awakened!). Useful estimates of how long in Sun years that period was are scanty and perhaps ultimately inconclusive. At least in one sense my reaction of 'idolatry' above does not seem to be validated: for all their stone- and metal-working skill, the Dwarves do not seem to have indulged in creating sculptures, which would seem to be a necessity for true idolatry. Nor in building / carving out of 'temples' (that carving-out in our real world is most prominent in the archaeological site of Petra in the Jordan Valley, and in Ethiopian Christian churches, to my knowledge). The temples bit is prominent in Sauron's sojourn in Númenor - where, I find it interesting, for all of his obviously super-human (not super-natural, they were natural to him) abilities, he still put forward Melkor as the being to which homage was to be paid.

So my point is: what form could the Dwarves' "knowledge of where they came from, and who might or might not be a divine authority to them." have taken, especially at the end of the Third Age? Lacking any proven Dwarves in the membership of TTF (at least to my knowledge!), we're stuck with speculation once again (but that's fuel and a driving force behind all JRRT sites, isn't it? Tom Bombadil, Balrogs' wings, etc. … "whee" goes the imagination! 🤪 )
 
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Squint-eyed Southerner

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I'm about to go out of town, Northman, so will have to be brief -- sorry if my response seems overly terse.

1. The passage in the Silmarillion isn't a "suggestion", but a flat statement.

2. At the time of the making of the rings, the Elves of Eregion had friendly relations with the Dwarves of Moria, Durin's Folk, who had been joined by members of two other clans; I know of no evidence they were closely associated with the others, though again, would accept correction on this. It would seem strange to me that they would distribute rings of power to peoples with whom they had no relationship.

Why would the Ring-makers fashion Seven rings for the Dwarves if NOT for the long-established number of Khazad clans?
That is the matter in question, isn't it? Whether they did, or not? My understanding is that they did not. "Many Elven-rings were made"; Seven were given to the Dwarves, one to the head of each clan. The question is, by whom? You believe it was the Elves; Tolkien says it was Sauron. The only suggestion otherwise is the tradition among the Dwarves that the Ring taken from Thrain was given to Durin III "by the Elven-smiths themselves and not by Sauron", clearly an attempt to avoid at least some of the "taint".

3. Again, I know of no statement that the Seven were absent at the time of Sauron's assault on Eregion, or that he came "looking for the Nine":

. . .and he came against them with open war, demanding that all the rings should be delivered to him. . .

It could be argued that Sauron was in ignorance about the locations of the various rings, but keep in mind that Sauron "made One Ring to rule all the others", and "while he wore the One Ring he could perceive all the things that were done by means of the lesser rings, and he could see and govern the very thoughts of those that wore them". I find it difficult to believe that, had these rings previously been distributed to widely scattered clans, none of them would have been in use at the time; in which case, he would know where , and with whom, they were.

4. I don't know who you're quoting in your second quote; not me, so I won't address it.

5. Sauron as "unreliable narrator". Sure, but Dwarves are "retentive of the memories of injuries (and of benefits)"; aside from the possible exception I noted above, Dwarves have long memories, and I doubt such a bald-faced lie would be allowed to pass without rebuttal.
6.
He had no clue as to how many clans or tribes there were
Again, do you have a source for this? Sauron traveled all over Middle Earth, except for Lindon. It's hard to believe he somehow failed to notice the Dwarves.

Finally, the lesser rings would be "designed to be low-level Elf traps" only if they were intended for someone other than Elves; my contention, based on the actual texts, is that they were intended for what Tolkien said they were: to enhance the Elves' own powers.
 

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