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Thread: Tolkien General Discussion II

  1. #2461
    Ngugi's Avatar Play it again, Gamgee
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by Veteraan View Post
    Yes, that's something that struck me also when I checked his stats. 239 years, it would be as if Napoleon was still emperor of France. Tolkien's timescale is truly "otherworldly".
    Or 'proto-ancient' ^^
    On one hand JRR percived his legendarium to be a forgotten era in our worlds history, and on the other the Bible tell us about the early humans who became many hundred of years (Enoch ended his earthly life "young" at 365 while his son got past 900 years) even if declining, yet Abraham still was said to become 175 hehe.
    Last edited by Ngugi; March 03, 2014 at 03:52 PM.



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  2. #2462
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanaro Curufinwe View Post
    Well, he himself said that despite the world being fantastical, it was a world which was subjected to real-world standards and where "Days are days, and miles are miles", so I think we should try to find a more plausible explanation than magical grass.
    There are magical flowers in the Morgul Vale, and flies with Saurons eye seemingly branded on their backs. Outside Mordor there are waking talking trees. However I'd say any magic grass would be for the Nazgul's horses, and as mentioned the "great cavalry" (which is a vague enough term and perhaps conveys the impressions of terrified Hobbits unused to horses rather than atechnical military term) likely lived elsewhere and while concentrated at Moinas Morgul ate stored fodder.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ngugi View Post
    Or 'proto-ancient' ^^
    On one hand JRR percived his legendarium to be a forgotten era in our worlds history, and on the other the Bible tell us about the early humans who became many hundred of years (Enoch ended his earthly life "young" at 365 while his son got past 900 years) even if declining, yet Abraham still was said to become 175 hehe.
    Yes there is something biblical about the lengths of reigns of High Men. I have always thought there'sa a sense of the Irish myths about the elves given they don't seem to age in the Otherworld: I know Tolkien explicitly discounts Irish influence in favour of Nordic/Germanic but I suspect it was there (like the racism).
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  3. #2463

    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    What kind of men are the slaves of Nurn? Gondorian prisoners or easterlings and haradrim who dont follow Sauron´s teachings?

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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by AmrothForGondor View Post
    What kind of men are the slaves of Nurn? Gondorian prisoners or easterlings and haradrim who dont follow Sauron´s teachings?
    I imagine they were indigenous to the area.

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  5. #2465
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    as far as my knowledge goes, there were both indigenous men living there who were enslaved and prisoners taken by sauron over the years.

    Nurn was the name given to the southern regions of Mordor, more fertile than Gorgoroth in the north, in which the great inland sea of Núrnen lay.[1] The people who inhabited Nurn were Men and there may have been prisoners of war there as well. These people were enslaved by Sauron, working the soil around the sea of Nurn to feed Sauron's armies.
    After the War of the Ring, King Elessar liberated the peoples of Nurn and gave them the land as their own. The southern region of Nurn probably escaped the destruction caused in northern Mordor by the eruption of Mount Doom.[2]
    it is interesting the last part "liberated the peoples of Nurn" which let me thinks that there must have been an indigenous population that survided through the centuries, though they were enslaved.
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  6. #2466
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    Hi, I think this is the place to ask this.

    I have a few headscratchers about the series. I admit i've never read the books but i did some research on LOTR wiki and other sites and watched all the movies(which i know deviate from source material quite a lot but it's something), still few things puzzle me.

    First - with all the history of warfare and destruction at the hands of dark lords, rulers of middle earth seem waay too reluctant to unite against the clear and present danger, which threatens to consume the world as they know it. I understand the a considerable degree doubt and hesitation it's all too human(elven whatever) but still if you sit down and weigh all the pros and cons the choice is quite obvious.

    Which leads to my second question why the hell does Saruman think he could ally himself with Sauron? I mean i understand how he could've fooled the kingdoms in the east and south into believing that there would be bounty, loot and other material gains for them if they'd join his cause but Saruman should have known better not to trust him not even if he has switched sides and is on team evil now i honestly doubt he'd be happy to play second fiddle to Sauron's trombone and he's too smart to think he can put one over him. so what gives?

    Third for what little i've seen there's no mention whatsoever of people's will. what i mean is that Saurons' MO is to corrupt the king and make him do his bidding OK seems sensible enough but what about the civil unrest surely not all peasants are sheep that would follow the herder off the cliff?! Where's the unruly mob with torches and pitchforks banging on the door of the lord that has taxed them too much or went over to the dark side? I didn't see much guerrilla warfare either. Which would be all too natural against numerically superior enemy.

    Fourth at the beginning of their journey why would they choose to go through Moria. From what i learned on Wiki page it hasn't been secured yet and pretty much was an active battleground between Balin's expedition forces and Goblins that were occupying it. I think they had better routes to choose from they rejected the gap of rohan because it would bring them too close to Isengard it kind of makes sense but then again i don't think Suron or Saruman for that matter would have been looking for the ring in their backyard. They could've gone through High Pass and Mirkwood and then made turn to south. They could have gone past the gap of rohan and through the Gondor which was kind of risky because Boromir might have turn on them anytime they came across soldiers of Gondor and taken the ring for himself but it's still safer. And last but not least there's always naval travell go back down the river to the sea and around the whole mess of a continent disembark at Anduin's delta and simply walk into Mordor.

  7. #2467
    Ngugi's Avatar Play it again, Gamgee
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    Hello gaxuure

    This is indeed a good place to ask questions, though everyone will also warn you to if at all possible never use LotR Wiki as source for understanding of Tolkien's legendarium, that site is renowned for its corruption of lore and facts. In this thread's OP you can find links to better sites


    1) Yes, pride, greed, guilt and distrust tear apart the enemies of Morgoth and Sauron, but also distances and lack of communication.
    In the First Age the union against Morgoth is torn due to the kinslayings and the desire for the silmarills, the former a result of the latter.
    In the Second and more so Third Age main problems is that folks tend to care for themselves and have not connection with each other, a problem increased because the lands increasingly are depopulated and distances separate them.
    The stories theme is rather that military might is not what can save them, neither of the Númenórean-Elven alliances or Numenoreans themselves who actually defeat Sauron in battle result in true victory, that come trough the hands of 'the weak', while in the First Age all Elven might can not gain victory but hope lies alone in gaining the help form th eValar. Not a long shot theme from a Christian after all.


    2) Saruman betrayed Sauron just as much as he betrayed the Free Peoples. We know he desired to get the Ring himself to himself become the new Dark [though he cetainly did not look upon it like that himself] Lord of the world. This intention is known from at latest the 2nd White Council in 2851, while Saruman trough his palantir came in contact with Sauron first in ca year 3000 (and Frodo's adventure take place in the years 3018-3019).
    After Sauron ensnared Saruman Saruman no longer opposed the Dark Lord's success, and if we look at how Denethor was manipulated probably Saruman did not think the West even could win any longer and thus that appearing as an enemy was stupidity.
    But it is non the less a fact that Saruman activly worked against Sauron trough disinformation, manipulation and ambushing Mordor agents to get the One even during the War of the Ring; he was certainly not a puppet and firm allied as the film show it.

    3) No, we do not get such information. Sauron we know use military terror, lies that make his servants fearful and hateful towards the West and religion with himself set as a god to control his human servants - yet all in all we do get almost no information about the conditions for the people who live under Sauron's rule. We are informed that not all were loyal to the Dark Lord, and given hints about opposition, but not more.
    We do not even know if Sauron demanded tax, such information is left out, perhaps labour [direct slavery and trough demanded work of all and whatever kind from his free servants] provided all needed resources, or He financed trough donations haha, all in all finances was not a matter of interest to Tolkien even if it may be for us.


    4) They could not go over Caradhras and Gandalf feared to go trough the Gap of Rohan because of Saruman's forces and they could not stay, and as far as we know there would be no one along the coast to give them a boat - and they deemed they must hurry to get to Mt Doom, alternatives to the Gap of Rohan and Moria would taken them months.
    Moria was expected to be hopefully empty.
    'But I would not lead you into Moria if there were no hope of coming out again. If there are Orcs there, it may prove ill for us, that is true. But most of the Orcs of the Misty Mountains were scattered or destroyed in the Battle of Five Armies. The Eagles report that Orcs are gathering again from afar; but there is a hope that Moria is still free. There is even a chance that Dwarves are there, and that in some deep hall of his fathers, Balin son of Fundin may be found. However it may prove, one must tread the path that need chooses!'
    - Gandalf, FotR; A Journey in the Dark
    About Balin's colony indeed it was wiped out earlier, in 2994 (14 years ago), but nobody as obvious is knew anything beside that it had not been heard from for a very long time.



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  8. #2468
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by Ngugi View Post
    (...)
    3) No, we do not get such information. Sauron we know use military terror, lies that make his servants fearful and hateful towards the West and religion with himself set as a god to control his human servants - yet all in all we do get almost no information about the conditions for the people who live under Sauron's rule. We are informed that not all were loyal to the Dark Lord, and given hints about opposition, but not more.
    We do not even know if Sauron demanded tax, such information is left out, perhaps labour [direct slavery and trough demanded work of all and whatever kind from his free servants] provided all needed resources, or He financed trough donations haha, all in all finances was not a matter of interest to Tolkien even if it may be for us.
    (...)
    Yes, we don't know anything for sure about something like resistance movements being active in Sauron dominated/ruled lands.
    However there is this small previously quoted snippet of information about how Sauron managed his economy.

    Neither he nor Frodo knew anything of the great slave-worked fields away south in this wide realm, beyond the fumes of the Mountain by the dark sad waters of Lake Núrnen; nor of the great roads that ran away east and south to tributary lands, from which the soldiers of the Tower brought long wagon-trains of goods and booty and fresh slaves."
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  9. #2469
    Dude with the Food's Avatar Princeps
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by gaaxure View Post
    I didn't see much guerrilla warfare either. Which would be all too natural against numerically superior enemy.
    Ithilien rangers. You also have Mirkwood Elves/Dunedain rangers who don't get featured as much. I think though, if more lands of the free peoples had been invaded, more guerilla warfare would have developed because the 3 groups mentioned were under constant attack from Mordor/Dol Guldur/mountain orcs. Had any large army defeated the Hornburg/Minas Tirith/Erebor, harassment would have become much more popular against Sauron.
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  10. #2470
    Ngugi's Avatar Play it again, Gamgee
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    Missed that one, good pointing out Dude
    Also all what the Northern Dúnedain do is guerilla warfare, against all evil creatures that dare to travel into Eriador between 1971 till the time of the War, with the possible exception during the Orc invasions of the 2740ths.



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  11. #2471
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaaxure View Post
    Hi, I think this is the place to ask this.
    Fourth at the beginning of their journey why would they choose to go through Moria. From what i learned on Wiki page it hasn't been secured yet and pretty much was an active battleground between Balin's expedition forces and Goblins that were occupying it. I think they had better routes to choose from they rejected the gap of rohan because it would bring them too close to Isengard it kind of makes sense but then again i don't think Suron or Saruman for that matter would have been looking for the ring in their backyard. They could've gone through High Pass and Mirkwood and then made turn to south. They could have gone past the gap of rohan and through the Gondor which was kind of risky because Boromir might have turn on them anytime they came across soldiers of Gondor and taken the ring for himself but it's still safer. And last but not least there's always naval travell go back down the river to the sea and around the whole mess of a continent disembark at Anduin's delta and simply walk into Mordor.
    Taking the High Pass into Rhovanion was rejected before the Fellowship ever left Rivendell. Staying on the West side of the Misty Mountains as they traveled south was decided to be the much safer and stealthier road. While yes, that would have brought them closer to the Elves of Mirkwood and Lorien, the elves had no control of the lands outside of their dominions. Lorien and the area of Mirkwood surrounding Thranduil's Halls. The impassibility of the Misty Mountains were meant to be of protection to the Fellowship from evil. While in hindsight, that may have been the safer road compared to attempting to cross Caradhras in Winter and ultimately passing through Moria.

    The one alternate that I wish wasn't passed over was taking the Gap of Rohan. At this point, Rohan still controlled the Fords of Isen - and Isengard was still gathering its strength. At that point, it may have been possible for the Fellowship to cross the Gap of Rohan, which was the most direct path they could've taken.

  12. #2472
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    There are magical flowers in the Morgul Vale, and flies with Saurons eye seemingly branded on their backs. Outside Mordor there are waking talking trees. However I'd say any magic grass would be for the Nazgul's horses, and as mentioned the "great cavalry" (which is a vague enough term and perhaps conveys the impressions of terrified Hobbits unused to horses rather than atechnical military term) likely lived elsewhere and while concentrated at Moinas Morgul ate stored fodder.



    Yes there is something biblical about the lengths of reigns of High Men. I have always thought there'sa a sense of the Irish myths about the elves given they don't seem to age in the Otherworld: I know Tolkien explicitly discounts Irish influence in favour of Nordic/Germanic but I suspect it was there (like the racism).
    In fact the story of the Elves strongly reflects much of the Tuatha de Danaan mythos. Luthien is not Germanic she is fairy princess much more related to Celtic myths. Note how Beren is frozen by his view of her. While elves on the surface look very Fafnir, their story and fate is Celtic, Journeys, fading and the strange interaction with humans is very Celtic. Sindarin the common language among the Elves of ME is based on Welsh I don't think that is an accident.

    The original Silmarillion was rejected for being among other things to Celtic. This is easily seen in Lost Tales. Irish were not popular in Britain in the 20's and 30's. My Grandfather was born and raised in Scotland, he never made British jokes but lord he disliked the Irish. I always thought it weird because he was racist against people that looked like him. I am not sure he cared darker skinned people existed. He was born in 1899.

    Tolkien's essay on the journeys in fairy land are entirely celtic in my opinion. Though I admit a personal bias due to my own heritage.
    Last edited by muller227; March 06, 2014 at 12:40 PM.

  13. #2473
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Metz View Post
    The one alternate that I wish wasn't passed over was taking the Gap of Rohan. At this point, Rohan still controlled the Fords of Isen - and Isengard was still gathering its strength. At that point, it may have been possible for the Fellowship to cross the Gap of Rohan, which was the most direct path they could've taken.
    Both potential peril and the time aspect opposed that solution:
    ` "Are the Men of Rohan still to be trusted, do you think? " I [Gandalf] said to Gwaihir, for the treason of Saruman had shaken my faith.` "They pay a tribute of horses," he answered, "and send many yearly to Mordor, or so it is said; but they are not yet under the yoke. But if Saruman has become evil, as you say, then their doom cannot be long delayed."
    `He set me down in the land of Rohan ere dawn; and now I have lengthened my tale over long. The rest must be more brief. In Rohan I found evil already at work: the lies of Saruman; and the king of the land would not listen to my warnings. ...'
    (...)

    `Nor is it now, I will swear,' said Boromir. `It is a lie that comes from the Enemy. I know the Men of Rohan; true and valiant, our allies, dwelling still in the lands that we gave them long ago.'
    `The shadow of Mordor lies on distant lands,' answered Aragorn. 'Saruman has fallen under it. Rohan is beset. Who knows what you will find there, if ever you return?'
    - FotR; The Council of Elrond


    'I think no good of our course from beginning to end, as you know well, Gandalf,' answered Aragorn. `And perils known and unknown will grow as we go on. But we must go on; and it is no good our delaying the passage of the mountains. Further south there are no passes, till one comes to the Gap of Rohan. I do not trust that way since your news of Saruman. Who knows which side now the marshals of the Horse-lords serve?'
    - FotR; The Ring Goes South


    'The road that I speak of leads to the Mines of Moria,' said Gandalf. Only Gimli lifted up his head; a smouldering fire was in his eyes. On all the others a dread fell at the mention of that name. Even to the hobbits it was a legend of vague fear:
    `The road may lead to Moria, but how can we hope that it will lead through Moria? ' said Aragorn darkly.
    `It is a name of ill omen,' said Boromir. `Nor do I see the need to go there. If we cannot cross the mountains, let us journey southwards, until we come to the Gap of Rohan, where men are friendly to my people, taking the road that I followed on my way hither. Or we might pass by and cross the Isen into Langstrand and Lebennin, and so come to Gondor from the regions nigh to the sea.'
    'Things have changed since you came north, Boromir,' answered Gandalf. 'Did you not hear what I told you of Saruman? With him I may have business of my own ere all is over. But the Ring must not come near Isengard, if that can by any means be prevented. The Gap of Rohan is closed to us while we go with the Bearer.
    'As for the longer road: we cannot afford the time. We might spend a year in such a journey, and we should pass through many lands that are empty and harbourless. Yet they would not be safe. The watchful eyes both of Saruman and of the Enemy are on them. When you came north, Boromir, you were in the Enemy's eyes only one stray wanderer from the South and a matter of small concern to him: his mind was busy with the pursuit of the Ring. But you return now as a member of the Ring's Company, and you are in peril as long as you remain with us. The danger will increase with every league that we go south under the naked sky.
    `Since our open attempt on the mountain-pass our plight has become more desperate, I fear. I see now little hope, if we do not soon vanish from sight for a while, and cover our trail. Therefore I advise that we should go neither over the mountains, nor round them, but under them. That is a road at any rate that the Enemy will least expect us to take.'
    - FotR; A Journey in the Dark
    Last edited by Ngugi; March 06, 2014 at 12:52 PM.



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  14. #2474
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    You're discussing lore question and I'm not involved! Stop it! It's outrageous.

    Being at the Hospital sucks. It's nothing bad, but a still long-term treatment.
    Anyway, I'm pretty sure those horsemen from Morgul were mercenaries or fanatics from Harad or Rhûn, who had joined Sauron's army. Maybe comparable to Roman auxilia. The odd thing is that they are never again mentioned explicitly.
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  15. #2475
    Ngugi's Avatar Play it again, Gamgee
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    Get well soon T'

    Not quite true:
    ‘Nay, I came rather to guard the hurt men that can yet be healed; for the Rammas is breached far and wide, and soon the host of Morgul will enter in at many points. And I came chiefly to say this. Soon there will be battle on the fields. A sortie must be made ready. Let it be of mounted men. In them lies our brief hope, for in one thing only is the enemy still poorly provided: he has few horsemen.’
    (...)
    Now the main retreat was scarcely two furlongs distant. Out of the gloom behind a small company of horsemen galloped, all that was left of the rearguard. Once again they turned at bay, facing the oncoming lines of fire. Then suddenly there was a tumult of fierce cries. Horsemen of the enemy swept up. The lines of fire became flowing torrents, file upon file of Orcs bearing flames, and wild Southron men with red banners, shouting with harsh tongues, surging up, overtaking the retreat.
    - RotK; The Seige of Gondor
    Which in turn makes it very reasonable to assume that the riders who left Minas Morgul, the host that took Osgiliath and bsieged Minas Tirith, were Haradrim, who held the strong cavalry force at the battle of the Pelennor fields that challenged the Rohirrim.
    Well nigh all the northern half of the Pelennor was overrun, and there camps were blazing, orcs were flying towards the River like herds before the hunters; and the Rohirrim went hither and thither at their will. But they had not yet overthrown the siege, nor won the Gate. Many foes stood before it, and on the further half of the plain were other hosts still unfought. Southward beyond the road lay the main force of the Haradrim, and there their horsemen were gathered about the standard of their chieftain. And he looked out, and in the growing light he saw the banner of the king, and that it was far ahead of the battle with few men about it. Then he was filled with a red wrath and shouted aloud, and displaying his standard, black serpent upon scarlet, he came against the white horse and the green with great press of men; and the drawing of the scimitars of the Southrons was like a glitter of stars.
    - RotK; The Battle of the Pelennor Fields
    That not saying anything sure about horsemen seen inside Mordor at other occasions, but I think the Morgul matter can be considered solved.
    Otherwise we have to assume that the Haradrim cavalry waited to join the Witch-king's army somewhere between Morgul and Osgiliath (since they would not passed the river at any other place) or joined in later, but there is nothing in the books that truly support such theories and we are already informed about riders present when the hosts march out to war.



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  16. #2476
    Aquilifer
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    I don't think so. The Morgul cavalry was dressed in black ("All that host was clad in sable, dark as the night").

    As I quoted earlier:
    "Yet armies he had. As far as their eyes could reach, along the skirts of the Morgai and away southward, there were camps, some of tents, some ordered like small towns. One of the largest of these was right below them. Barely a mile out into the plain it clustered like some huge nest of insects, with straight dreary streets of huts and long low drab buildings. About it the ground was busy with folk going to and fro; a wide road ran from it south-east to join the Morgul-way, and along it many lines of small black shapes were hurrying.
    'I don't like the look of things at all,' said Sam. 'Pretty hopeless, I call it - saving that where there's such a lot of folk there must be wells or water, not to mention food. And these are Men not Orcs, or my eyes are all wrong.'"
    These are military 'towns' of Mordor Men. This would be the likely source od the Mordor horsemen

  17. #2477
    Ngugi's Avatar Play it again, Gamgee
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    Do not concur on that the interpetation of "small black shapes" mean they were dressed in black, but only that they were not lit up to be seen as anything but black figures in the distance.



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  18. #2478
    Signifer
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    Excellent quote Infidel, but are these truly "Mordor Men"? It seems highly unlikely that men would settle on the Plain of Gorgoroth. While they could've come from the Nurn area, it's just as likely they could've come from Rhun or Harad. One thing we have TATW miscues is the relationship between the men of Rhun/Harad and Mordor. During the War of the Ring Rhun/Harad were not entities allied to Mordor - Sauron was their King and God - they were one entity. An army of men from Rhun/Harad encamped in Mordor would be expected.

  19. #2479
    Aquilifer
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    Quote Originally Posted by Ngugi View Post
    Do not concur on that the interpetation of "small black shapes" mean they were dressed in black, but only that they were not lit up to be seen as anything but black figures in the distance.
    Um... the quote having the host out of Morgul dressed in black is:
    "All that host was clad in sable,"

    The 'small black shapes' is in Mordor proper, after Frodo and Sam escape Kirith Ungol.

    If the Morgul host also included the Haradrim, I would expect Mumakil to be seen there by Frodo and Sam.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Metz
    Excellent quote Infidel, but are these truly "Mordor Men"? It seems highly unlikely that men would settle on the Plain of Gorgoroth.
    These would seem to be military towns where soldiers were barracked, rather than where 'civilians' chose to live.
    Last edited by Infidel144; March 07, 2014 at 07:25 PM.

  20. #2480
    Ngugi's Avatar Play it again, Gamgee
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    Default Re: Tolkien General Discussion II

    LOL, missed the quote above ^^
    Good catch



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