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Thread: Sauron and his Ring

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It's been a while since I saw the films, or re-read the books but it has occured to me that there is a slight flaw in Sauron's relationship to the One Ring. If I am correct in my recollections, someone tells Frodo that the Nazgul are 'drawn to the Ring' - not very completely but enough to be a danger to the ringbearer. Given that Sauron was the creator and indeed 'Lord' of the Ring, why was he so unaware of Frodo being in his domain? Even allowing for this lack of sensory acumen, in the book, weren't the Nazul drawn to the Ring in the Dead Marshes? Why not tell Sauron their suspicions and he could have sent out a small army to check it out? Maybe the 'greater part of his power' being part of the ring was part of the problem yet the power he had left allowed him to control the Nazgul, and immense numbers of orcs and so on, yet he could not detect the presence of his own creation at his back door. On the trip to Mount Doom, Frodo could feel the 'Great Eye' on account of the ring, was there no two way communication? I mean the ring was said to be able to influence it's wearer and tried to find suitable 'hosts' so that it could get back to Mordor. I would have thought once it got that near it's master it would have been sending signals out to every orc within a mile of Frodo.
I'm sure someone will argue the case for the external influence who may have helped , at just what point though did this influence decide to get involved? And where was it on Weathertop? Or anywhere else the Ring was almost exposed?
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Given that Sauron was the creator and indeed 'Lord' of the Ring, why was he so unaware of Frodo being in his domain?

Because Frodo didn't wear the Ring all the time. He only wore it on five occasions in FOTR - and he wore it not very long. Also the fact that Frodo didn't try to bend the Ring to his will, is a major contributing factor here.

Later on when Frodo had entered Mordor, the Eye was distracted by the battle of Minas Tirith and the host of Aragorn and Co marching to the Dagorlad. Also note that Sauron believed that Aragorn - who had shown himself to Sauron through the Palantír at Helm's Deep - had taken the Ring for himself which is why he threw the kitchen sink (or rather, one of his many kitchen sinks) at Minas Tirith.

And of course, even in his most pessimistic plans Sauron, the wise fool, could have never imagined that his enemies would reject his Ring and try to destroy it.
Very good, Vir, and well answered. Except, I should mention Dagorlad was a battle, not a place. I think Sauron was distracted with the Captains of the West marching to the Morannon. But you are absolutely right. Frodo didn't try to claim the Ring till near the end, and that was too late for Sauron.
Dagorlad was a battle yes, but the place where it was fought afterwards was called Dagorlad.

It does seem strange however that when Sauron detects frodo and the Ring actually inside Mordor, why he did not do something then.
Firstly although he thought Aragorn had the Ring, if he detects it inside his realm then he has proof that someone else is holding the ring as Aragorn is outside.

Secondly if Sauron detects the Ring in his domain then he surely would have realised that if they were going to use it, they would not do so under the shadow of Barad-dur. The Ring in his domain can only mean one thing - they are going to destroy it.

Thirdly the Ring is always top on Saurons to-do list. If he detected it in Mordor then his first priority would be to send st least a few Nazgul to retreive it, thus he would easily have enough bodies fighting against the Army, and enough going either to track the ring, or two set a guard upon Mt Doom.
I don't actually remember Sauron detecting the ring in his domain - but I could be wrong.

However, if he had, he may have thought someone was coming to overthrow him, to chuck him off his very own throne, in order to become the next dark lord and just take over control of Mordor and its armies. I don't think he ever would've guessed that someone would want to destroy it; and I don't think anyone could, willingly, knowing what it was, be able to cast it into the fire at the very last - I think that's when the ring makes its most desperate attempt ever.
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Except, I should mention Dagorlad was a battle, not a place.

Check the facts. The Dagor Dagorlad was a battle. The Dagorlad is the name of the battlefield (it means 'Battle Plain'), being the wasteland in front of the Morannon.

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I don't actually remember Sauron detecting the ring in his domain - but I could be wrong.

Only at the very end when Frodo claimed the Ring for his own at the cracks of Mt Doom... which was obviously too late for Sauron to turn the tide. He immediately sent Nazgûl to save his ethereal behind, but to no avail :
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And far away, as Frodo put on the Ring and claimed it for his own, even in Sammath Naur the very heart of his realm, the Power in Barad-dûr was shaken, and the Tower trembled from its foundations to its proud and bitter crown. The Dark Lord was suddenly aware of him, and his Eye piercing all shadows looked across the plain to the door that he had made; and the magnitude of his own folly was revealed to him in a blinding flash, and all the devices of his enemies were at last laid bare. Then his wrath blazed in consuming flame, but his fear rose like a vast black smoke to choke him. For he knew his deadly peril and the thread upon which his doom now hung.
From all his policies and webs of fear and treachery, from all his stratagems and wars his mind shook free; and throughout his realm a tremor ran, his slaves quailed, and his armies halted, and his captains suddenly steerless, bereft of will, wavered and despaired. For they were forgotten. The whole mind and purpose of the Power that wielded them was now bent with overwhelming force upon the Mountain. At his summons, wheeling with a rending cry, in a last desperate race there flew, faster than the winds, the Nazgûl the Ringwraiths, and with a storm of wings they hurtled southwards to Mount Doom.

from Chapter 3 of ROTK, Mt Doom
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Because Frodo didn't wear the Ring all the time. He only wore it on five occasions in FOTR - and he wore it not very long. Also the fact that Frodo didn't try to bend the Ring to his will, is a major contributing factor here.

Didn't stop the Nazgul trailing him though - I guess the question really boils down to the nature of the Ring and Sauron's power and it's limits. As is the case with many good tales these details are left to the imagination of the reader and it is something of a cliché that the bad guys tend to have a blind point that the good guys exploit to win the day. In this case as Virumor points out Sauron could not believe that someone would want to destroy the ring. It also occurs to me that Sauron kept the knowledge of the Ring from all of his servants, even the Nazgul(who may not have known exactly what it was) in case one might find it and use it against him.
Don't know why Sauron should see what he is not looking at.

It's central to the plans of the Free People, and to the plot of the story, that Sauron not look for the Ring in Mordor. The plan of the Fellowship is dangerous, but they note from the start that it is the last thing that Sauron would expect. He cannot fathom that someone would want to destroy his Ring, so why look for the Ring in Mordor? Maybe he'd look for a full army coming into Mordor to attack him, but not a hobbit trying to destroy the Ring.

Indeed, the army is exactly what the West wants Sauron to look for. This is the essence behind their plan to storm the black gate. Thus, Gandalf says in "The Last Debate": "We must at all costs keep his Eye from his true peril. We cannot achieve victory by arms, but by arms we can give the Ring-bearer his only chance, frail though it be. . . . We must call out his hidden strength, so that he shall empty his land. We must march out to meet him at once. We must make ourselves the bait, though his jaws should close on us. He will take that bait, in hope and in greed, for he will think that in such rashness he sees the pride of the new Ringlord." By marching to the Black Gate, they plan to make Sauron think he is being attacked head on by the new bearer of the Ring--Aragorn, who has returned to be King of Gondor. And how well that plan worked, distracting both Sauron's eye and the Nazgul. Tolkien refers black to the importance of this plan when he is following the Ringbearer's final approach to Mt Doom: "Of all the slaves of the Dark Lord, only the Nazgul could have warned him of the peril that crept, small but indomitable, into the very heart of his guarded realm. But the Nazgul and their black wings were abroad on other errand: they were gathered far away, shadowing the march of the Captains of the West, and thither the thought of the Dark Tower was turned." So Sauron's eye and the nazgul are not there to see the real Ringbearer because of the bold plan of Gandalf and Aragorn. And the armies of Mordor have also been brought to the north, out of Frodo's way.

Even before the plan, we learn that Sauron's eye is distracted from his own land by Aragorn looking in the Palantir. Aragorn describes his motive: "It was then ten days since the Ring-bearer went east from Rauros, and the Eye of Sauron, I thought, should be drawn out from his own land" (The last debate). It's no surprise that a few chapters later in RotK, when we are following Frodo and Sam through Mordor, we see the results of Aragorn's decision to use the Palantir: "The Dark Power was deep in thought, and the Eye turned inward, pondering tidings of doubt and danger: a bright sword, and a stern and kingly face it saw, and for a while it gave little thought to other things." This is a clear reference to the distraction which Aragorn had brought Sauron by revealing himself in the Palantir. And given while we are following Frodo into the heart of Sauron's realm.

So it's really easy to see how sauron missed Frodo. It was part of the plan (even if it was a bit of hope and luck too). They knew that Sauron's weakness from the start was his pride, and then they utilized his weakness and won the psychological warfare--fooling Sauron into thinking that his opponent was a king, a wizard and an army, utilizing the Ring as a newfound weapon. After all, Sauron could not imagine a lesser force attacking him, nor could he imagine anyone using his Ring otherwise than to wage war and gain power. In reality, the real enemy was a couple of hobbits, and the goal the Ring's destruction.
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it is something of a cliché that the bad guys tend to have a blind point that the good guys exploit to win the day.


I wonder if it's not merely a cliche but an actual fact of the nature of evil. In order to rebel against whatever Eru is doing, a being has to intentionally look away from the fact that Eru is good, all powerful, able to weave every rebellion into his own themes, etc., etc. Evil is always stupid from the get-go. because it doesn't acknowledge the idea that Eru's themes will always prevail. In the end, evil is destroyed by Eru even if no one else stands against it. If the very premise of doing ones own thing starts on this unwise footing, ignoring the fact that Eru is against it, then no matter how much intelligence it has in other areas, it's not much of a leap for evil to be blind to whatever plot Eru is stirring up for its demise.
Yes, but we should thank the evil guys and gals for being so stupid and stubborn, or otherwise there wouldn't be much of a story left.

Hence, Melkor, Sauron, Ungoliant, Gothmog, Thuringwëthil, Carcharoth, Draugluin, Glaurung, Ancalagon, Smaug, all 9 Nazgûl, the Watcher in the Water, Uglúk, Azog, Bolg, and all other named or unnamed lesser evils : THANK YOU for making this wonderful story possible!!!!