Friday, July 23 – The Enemies

12:00 PM The Valaquenta: Sauron, the Enemy’s servant

Sauron – The Text

 “Among those of his servants that have names the greatest was that spirit whom the Eldar called Sauron, or Gorthaur the Cruel. In his beginning he was of the Maiar of Aulë, and he remained mighty in the lore of that people. In all the deeds of Melkor the Morgoth upon Arda, in his vast works and in the deceits of his cunning, Sauron had a part, and was only less evil than his master in that for long he served another and not himself. But in after years he rose like a shadow of Morgoth and a ghost of his malice, and walked behind him on the same ruinous path down into the Void.”

Sauron – Discussion

A. Sauron was originally of the Maiar of Aulë; so too was Saruman. Is this a bum rap on Aulë, or what?

Hills: necromancer Yeah, unfortunately. I've never personally like Aule anyways. It seems like he makes lots of bad choices, such as making the dwarves, etc.

Luthien Rising: Aulë's folk This is the problem of the thin line between craft and manufacturer -- the question of motives and methods than can turn good subcreation into evil miscreation. Even Aulë eventually treads very nearly over that line [stopping here to avoid spoilers]; it is that much less surprising that lesser beings aligned to him would cross that line and change their allegiance.

Bythedar: Aule's legacy Finally able to chime in this week!

Aule himself was guilty of a little free-lancing in the beginning when he made the dwarves.  Perhaps it is just the fact that they are Ainur that like to create and build.  Being crafty, they often build first before thinking about if they should build.  Perhaps Tolkien's way of taking a jab at modern 'progress'?

Aragonvaar: "Craft" leads to either great humility or great arrogance... Aule gets forgiven for a transgressive creation because his motives were loving and creative, if misguided and because he was willing to accept criticism.  Sauron and Saruman, and Feanor and Celebrimbor end as they do because because all or part of Aule's extenuating circs are not true of them.

Bigidiot: Sauron only has to fight Gandalf It sure seems to be, huh.  So what is it about Aule's powers that Tolkien finds so dangerous?  The desire to subcreate?  I guess that is similar to Melkor's initial downfall.

Mapalon: On Tolkien/Aule Subcreation The idea of Tolkien finding a threat of Evil in the Aulean tendency to Subcreate fascinates me. Looking at Sarumans and Sauron's fall, and even more at Aule's almost-fall (when he created the Dwarves without Illuvatars permission), we can see the dangers inherent in the desire to subcreate; and yet, from his very theory of Subcreation is evident, Tolkien is one of the masters of the Subcreation, and probably (we would all agree, I think) one of the greatest sub-creators the world has ever seen. The ingredient, the potential for evil in the creative urge was probably not lost on Tolkien, who understood in this Fallen world the potential in himself. I think I remember reading in a Carpenter Biography of Tolkiens fits of depression every time he was unable to attend Church and recieve Communion; Knowing his Christianity, and feeling himself to be a Sinner in a fallen (perhaps Morgoth-tainted) world in need of salvation, perhaps he felt himself in danger of misusing his 'craft' in a way not in align with God's plan, and wanted God's sanction as much as possible.

That was Sarumans/Melkors/Sauron's mistake; not acting by, and against, God's Plan.

Curious: And the Noldor subcreate The Noldor sometimes seem to have more in common with the dwarves than with other elves, and Feanor and Celebrimbor both fell into folly through subcreation.

Beren IV: Tolkien shoots up his own cosmology... I agree that there is a fine line between craft and assembly line, which is what Tolkien was being didactic about.

Notice, also, that of the three kindreds of Elves, the one that does the most bad in the world is the one chosen by Aulë...

B. What does “he remained mighty in the lore of that people” mean to you? Did Saruman know and admire Sauron back in the good old days?

Hills: No, I think that the lore of that people was the making of crafts, like the Noldor. however, if this is true, then why did he need Celebrimbor to teach him how to make rings?

Bythedar: I'm sure that Saruman knew Sauron back in the day, and in some way was jealous of his ability.  Jut my UUT :)

Bigidiot: I think it just means that among Aule's Maiar they still respect that Sauron was able to become the most powerful Maia even if they don't like the choice.

Beren IV: I think they all did, probably.

C. Sauron “had a part” in all the evil “vast works” of Morgoth on Arda. Is this supported by the stories in The Silmarillion?

Hills: Not necessarily, but possible.

Bythedar: Yes, it is supported.  Werewolves, vampires, Tol Sirion's fall, etc.  All these things Sauron had a hand in.

Bigidiot: Yeah, especially the conflict in the tower with Beren and Luthien

Beren IV: Not much, but I expect that after Morgoth lost one Silmaril, he realized in some corner of his spirit that sooner or later the Valar were going to depose him, and so he decided to train a replacment.

D. By this reading, is the Sauron of “after years”, The Dark Lord of the Rings, the equal of Morgoth?

Hills: I don't think that he was quite equal of Morgoth, but the Sauron of "after years" was indeed the necromancer and then Sauron in Barad-dur with the ring.

Luthien Rising: Interesting question. He's the equal, I think, of Morgoth, but not of Melkor. (That probably makes no sense, though.)

Squire: Your answer to D. is addressed in that essay you bookmarked, by the way... [below, in Piled Higher and Deeper]

Bythedar: Absolutely not.  He was defeated by Men and Elves not once, but three times!  This is something that they could NEVER do with Morgoth.  Morgoth was only cast down with help from the West.  Sauron was definitely the lesser.

Bigidiot: I don't think he's the equal of Morgoth but I do think he has the same if not more dangerous ratio of power to the opposing forces of the third age that Morgoth had to those opposing him in the first.  Morgoth had to contend with all the Valar, the Valar's uncorrupted Maia and elves and uncorrupted men.  Gandalf is the only supernatural being Sauron is pitted against, and has the bonus of fighting an ailing army of men.

Aragonvaar: Tolkien says in some of the very late HoME that Sauron was greater at his prime than Morgoth was at the end of the First Age, because Morgoth had poured much of his native strength into his "tools", his "minions" and because he had become a mere nihilist.  Tolkien argued in the same essay, that for a long time, Sauron was not wholly evil "unless as such reformers and progressives who insist on their own programme above all else" are evil.  This interpretation of Sauron is, I would say, more compelling and arguably more topical than the arcane psychological twistings of an artist turned destroyer, which is the chief representation of Morgoth. [Squire’s Note: this essay is the subject of Piled Higher and Deeper, below. Way to go, Aragonvaar!]

Beren IV: Tolkien seemingly contradicts himself here, based on his own religious conviction that evil must necessarily destroy itself, and Sauron, being less evil than Melkor, must destroy himself not as quickly.

Personally, I think this is hogwash. I have no problems with Tolkien having been Catholic, and I have no problems with Catholics in general. Since his religion was the source of much of his inspiration, I am glad that Tolkien had it. However, I think that this is one case in which he is extrapolating too far.

Images of Sauron

Here is our portfolio for Sauron. Since he’s such a superstar in The Lord of the Rings, it was hard to find anyone who wanted to draw the early Sauron from the First Age, and I’m not sure all of these are from The Silmarillion.

E. How would you distinguish Sauron from Morgoth in these illustrations if I told you that one of them was actually of Morgoth? Just pulling your chain, ha ha!   …but you have to answer the question anyway.

Hills: well, if the pictures were more detailed and closer, then morgoth would be the one with black hands, since he handled the Silmarils and was burned. though, did Sauron also have black hands in LOTR, when someone described the four fingers on his Black hand? although, that could just be a literary device, or metaphorical/personified adjective...

Luthien Rising: I'm certain you said we were allowed to skip questions! But the anser is, no. I imagine that Sauron has at all stages modelled himself on Melkor/Morgoth and is distinguishable only in his relative lack of charisma.

Bythedar: Meltairi's picture strikes me the most.  I always pictured (and it is supported in the text) that Sauron was "looked fair and felt foul".  He would not be dark and forboding like Morgoth at this point in time, but fair, beautiful and terrifying.

Beren IV: I agree that Sauron tends to model himself after Morgoth quite a bit. I'm not really sure I have a good picture of what Sauron looked like - he had many forms, apparently. But none of them do I think had Fallen Angel wings, so that way could tell them apart. Morgoth's crown also has slots for Silmarils, and I picture Silmarils as being rather visible objects.

Piled Higher and Deeper

Tolkien wrote an interesting essay on the differences between Morgoth and Sauron.

Luthien Rising: And someday I'll have time to read it! *bookmarks for later*

F. Is Tolkien’s discussion of Sauron in this essay relevant to the Sauron that we meet in the Silmarillion?

Bythedar: I would say that this discussion of Sauron really does'nt apply to the First Age, as he has not yet aserted himself on the world stage.  He is still a follower, not a driver of policy.  I do find it very interesting that the Prof would say that Sauron in the Second Age was actually more powerful than Morgoth was at the end of the First Age.  In reading the Silmarillion, I just don't see it.  But, it IS the Prof speaking, and it is his world, afterall.....

N.E. Brigand: Morgoth v. Sauron

Here's where you can see what Tolkien meant:  at the end of the First Age, Morgoth cringes in his deepest hall; at the end of the Second Age, Sauron comes out to fight.

Beren IV: We shall see when we get to the Lúthien chapter.

G. Is Sauron actually an “improved” Morgoth, as far as being a dramatic villain character in Tolkien’s stories is concerned?

Bythedar: I think Morgoth is more developed.  He has more of a presence.  In LOTR, he is just out there somewhere.  We never see him.  Morgoth is present, clear and vibrant.  He actually comes out to do battle with Fingolfin, which is my favorited part of the whole mythology!  But, that is my bias speaking :)

Beren IV: See above. No, I think that the War of the Ring is a loud *echo* of the War of the Jewels, not that the War of the Jewels is a premonition of the War of the Ring to come.

Extra Credit

From the text we see that Mr. S. Gorthaur is talented and technically skilled, loyal and ambitious, very detail-oriented while still keeping the big picture in mind. After a calamitous disaster resulting in the loss of upper management, he single-handedly rebuilt the enterprise while preserving the founder’s business plan.

H. Doesn’t Sauron deserve a performance bonus and a golden parachute rather than exile to the Void?

Luthien Rising: "Deserves" is different from "will get". Shareholders and the appointed board of directors will happily give them to him, regardless of my personal opinions on selfish capitalist industrialist entrepreneurs. But new governance regulations just might get him nabbed. Then they can hire someone who "thinks outside the box" to "reengineer" the company into the "new open business environment of today".

Bythedar: Hmm.  Sauron...Enron...Sauron...Enron...coincidence?

Beren IV: If Melkor were still calling the shots, I'm sure he would get something! I do see Morgoth as not being necessarily hard on his lieutenants - especially if those lieutenants like doing things that Morgoth likes to have happen, like painful executions of beautiful elf-maidens...

Discussion Guide and Full Text of the Valaquenta


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