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Thread: Why did the Lothlórien elves and the mirkwood elves NOT attack Dol Guldur sooner?

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Bottom of Page    Message Board > The Lord of the Rings > Why did the Lothlórien elves and the mirkwood elves NOT attack Dol Guldur sooner?   
I believe a lot of it was due to Saruman urging the White Council to be overly cautious, against Gandalf's wishes to attack the place.

When Saruman discovered Sauron's servants were searching the Galdden Field's, however, he changed his tact and urged the Council to finally attack. This attack occurred the same year as Bilbo and Co went on their little jaunt to see Smaug, but rather than being killed, Sauron escaped to Mordor.

Foolishly, after defeating the forces there, the Council failed to destroy the stronghold. This was then later used once more by three of the Nazgul.
But I meant AFTER Sauron had left for Mordor....
Sorry Aule, I thought you meant the delay before the initial attack.

I'm not sure why they waited again after Sauron had been driven out, but the reasons might be a combination of:-

1) In one place in UT Gandalf describes it as a watchful peace. The elves, as was also seen in their wars against Melkor, prefered to watch and wait rather than go rushing into war. This can be a good tactic in a way, because you generally lose more men when attacking than when defending.

2) With Sauron gone and trouble brewing in Mordor, eyes were perhaps turned in that direction rather than towards Dol Guldur.

3) Saruman may still have been influencing things, particularly as Gandalf was now spending more time watching over the Shire.

If I can find a more positive answer on my travels, I'll let you know.
Yeah well because if they had destroyed the fortress of Dol Guldur they could have helped the men in Gondor and Rohan....
I just wanted to add a few things to the discussion here, and I guess a few things specifically regarding sepdet’s extremely informative post.

1. It was most certainly Gandalf who discovered that Sauron’s shadow had returned to Dol Guldur. He had been the first to suspect it, even though at the time, the conventional wisdom was that it was the Ulairi (Nazgul). Gandalf confirmed this first hand when he went to Dol Guldur himself and barely escaped with his life.

2. The White Council was indeed tricked by Sauron due to the fact that he had foreseen the actions of the White Council, and he had long prepared for their attack against him. His flight from Dol Guldur was just to cover up the fact that he was rebuilding Barad-dur, and that the Nazgul were already in Mordor preparing for his coming.

3. It was most definitely the White Council, and the White Council alone who assailed Sauron at Dol Guldur, and drove him from Mirkwood. Tolkien makes this clear on page 363 of the Silmarillion.

In addition to reading the Galadriel & Celeborn chapter in UT as sepdet stated, my suggestion for anyone who wants to have a more complete understanding of these events is to also read pages 359 to 364 in the Silmarillion, FOTR page 281, and the appendices in ROTK where the other details to the whole story can be found.
Elf Smilie

Hey,don't you say bad things about Dol Guldur,such as why wasn't it destroyed earlier! Big Smile Smilie

*dol guldur fan*

I think Val is pretty right on his first statement(about the elves waiting and waiting and waiting...),but also I might add that at that time easterlings were flooding from Rhun and an attack on Dol Guldur(wich would have required great strength) would have lef Lothlorien open forinvasion.
Okeyy thanks Raptor!
Gandalf said during the Last Debate that the good guys had always made the fatal mistake of conserving their strength and watching, and had figured out too little too late.

A lot of this was due to Saruman's incredible power to sway people to his point of view. He managed to keep them from going after Sauron far, far longer than they would have otherwise. Apparently Saruman's voice was able to affect even the wise.

A second factor is they simply didn't know it WAS Sauron.

The darkness creeping over Mirkwood was bad, but there's a problem with Mirkwood: its isolationist policy. Thranduil had cut off contact with Lórien, pretty much, partly due to massive losses in the Last Alliance, and partly because his family had rejected Sindarin heritage, deciding after the Kinslayings in the First Age and the Ruling Rings and resultant war in the Second Age, the elves would've been better off if they'd never gotten involved with Valinor or anything to do with it (like Melian). In particular Thranduil's father hand moved north in the Second Age to get away from Galadriel, long before Dol Guldur was a problem.
Their isolationism meant news didn't come out of Mirkwood very often.

Apparently Gandalf was the first to discover Dol Guldur was held by Sauron. Again, it seems Saruman had counselled them against going there. And Elves and Men had plenty on their hands defending their own borders— again, the mistake they always made. Gandalf went into Dol Guldur not long before The Hobbit began, and only then discovered it was Sauron (called the Necromancer) and not a Nazgűl which (probably) Saruman had guessed it to be.

Saruman delayed the Council too long. They drove Sauron out and thought they'd defeated him— I'm not sure why— and Gandalf admits they were tricked: Sauron secretly retreated to Mordor and hid low for a decade or so.

Again, the good guys conserved forces too much. No doubt Saruman was there to declare the threat had been removed along with the Necromancer, and that Dol Guldur would be perfectly fine now. Which it was, for at least ten years.

I don't think they had the power to destroy Dol Guldur except by using the Ruling Rings. Galadriel could have done it then, yes. But if she had, she would have revealed that she had Nenya, and she was taking great pains to conceal that she was a Ringbearer. I'm not sure in the long run whether it was a good thing that the Elves concealed who was holding the Rings for so long.
In LOTR she tells Frodo that Sauron suspects, but doesn't know she has one. It's Lórien's chief protection. It is definitely a double-edged sword.


The Wood-elves did not have the power or will to fight. Thranduil had lost his father, his noble house, and two thirds of his people, the last time they went to war in the Last Alliance. After that he risked few open engagements, much like the Green-elves of the First Age (some of whom had settled in Mirkwood after most of Ossiriand was flooded out). You will notice Thranduil does not help in any way against Dol Guldur: he just moves as far away from it as he can. I suspect thinks that, like Morgoth, the Elves will only waste and diminish their strength by fighting a futile battle. (They couldn't beat Morgoth without the Valar, and in the Third Age they wouldn't have beaten Sauron without at least one Maiar).


So the only army available to help against Dol Guldur was Lórien's. Were they enough? I get the impression the White Council tackled Dol Guldur all by itself, because magic of that sort is out of the ken even of most Elves (especially Silvan elves, who are a simple people— Lórien had some Sindar but a lot of Wood-elves too). Lórien never had the population of Mirkwood: it was very small. In the Last Alliance, King Oropher of Mirkwood had led an army, and was joined by his friend King Amdir of Lórien with a company. This was well after Eregion fell in the middle of the Second Age, and refugees of Eregion were Lórien's last significant influx of population. Since then they'd been going to the Havens, and a great many had died or fled when Amroth was lost and the Balrog was causing problems in T.A. 1981. That was only a thousand years or so before LOTR, so not many children would have been born in the meantime. All of which means that Lórien's fighting strength was small, and could only manage stealth and guerilla tactics (as indeed they use when orcs follow the Fellowship to Lórien's eaves) not head-on assaults.
So, finally, I think they had insufficient forces.

And that was a problem they never solved. In the end, it was one hobbit, and a lot of luck, and a magic ring that conveniently would destroy Sauron and most of his dominion, rather than force of arms that prevailed.





**note: I'm spouting a lot of Mirkwood and Silvan Elf history here. 99% of this is from the Galadriel and Celeborn chapter of Unfinished tales and, in particular, the Appendix on the Sindarin princes of Silvan kingdoms. It's not all officially canon, but there's enough consistency in Tolkien's post-LOTR writings on Mirkwood and Lórien, at least about general things like policy and population levels and their role in the Last Alliance, to assume that those things are sound.

Moderator Smilie I just edited this excellant post to switch off an overlong signature. Moderator Smilie

[Edited on 20/4/2003 by Valedhelgwath]
Hey I only want to say that I remember that in UT in the Chapter over the Istari I read that Gandalf sayd, the Elvs didnt had the strangs to fight against Sauron. He sayed in the way, when Sauron attacked the Elves in Lorien and ( or later then in Rivendell) and let the men in Gondor allone (didnt fight them) the Elvs woud be destroyed. In this way it was good for the Elvs and the Men that Sauron was looking for the Ring and a fight against Gondor. I think this sayes a much over the Power from Sauron and his companions and over the Power from Dol Guldur.

Maybe somebody knows the sentence what I mean, in this way bey.
HELLO EVERYBODY!!! I MEAN WHEN SAURON HAS LEFT DOL GULDUR AND IS IN MORDOR!!! WHY DIDN`T THE LOTHLORIEN ELVES AND THE MIRKWOOD ELVES BESIEGE DOL GULDUR SOONER THEN AFTER A LONG TIME HE HAD LEFT!!!!
After Sauron left Dol Guldur he sent some Nazgul back to Dol Guldur so that the Elves would not attack and conquer it.
That's pretty much the reason why the Elves did not attack it = they were afraid of the Nazgul.
Thanks Virumor....I know that now...I forgot that he sent some nazguls to secure Dol Guldur!
Sepdet said Galadriel didn't want to reveal herself by using her ring and throwing down the walls of Dol Guldur. I can't remember but did she do this AFTER the destruction of the One ring and the fall of Sauron? Because the attacks on Lorien were launched before his fall.
Quote:
Sepdet said Galadriel didn't want to reveal herself by using her ring and throwing down the walls of Dol Guldur. I can't remember but did she do this AFTER the destruction of the One ring and the fall of Sauron? Because the attacks on Lorien were launched before his fall.
Upon the destruction of the One Ring, the other rings lost their power; besides which, they were made for building-up and maintaining rather than destroying. Also once Sauron and the Nazgul were gone, there probably wasn't any need to level Dol Guldor.
It was after the fall of Sauron that Celeborn took Dol Guldur. The One Ring had been destroyed when Galadriel tore down its walls and cleansed its pits.