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Thread: Smaug, The One Ring & Saruman

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Some time ago I started a discussion with my friend, concerning Dragons, The One Ring and Sarumanís voice.

After reading J.R.R. Tolkienís books I came to the coclusion that Dragons (be they dragon-worms or flying dragons) are Evil. They were bred for the first time by Morgoth, the ancient enemy. The first dragon was Glaurung. If there is anything to say about this foul creature itís this: the beast was evil to the core. Bred by the Dark Lord himself there was no other choice. Many more dragons appear in the Great Battle, ending the First Age. They all fought for Evil and their Master.

This information comes of course from ďThe SilmarillionĒ.
My theory was challenged by my friend, who said that dragons are Neutral. They can of course be corrupted to Evil, by they are born Neutral.
As always, new questions stemmed from this brief difference in opinion.
I think, that Dragons are evil. Therefore, if Smaug were alive during The War of the Ring, he would surely be a dangerous ally to Sauron. That is if he could control the great beast. Smaug was the largest and smartest dragon alive, during the time of ďThe HobbitĒ and he was the only one close enough to be caught in the war (I remind you, that Erebor, The Iron Mountains, Thranduilís realm and Lorien were all assaulted while Gondor and Rohan fought in the south).
And now comes the question: If Sauron obtained the One Ring, could he force his will upon Smaug?

The One Ring, combined with the will of Sauron controlls all evil creatures. Therefore if I am right (and I like to think so), Smaug would fall into Sauronís thralldom. But my friend argues that itís more likely that Smaug would be controlled by Saruman and his voice. I do not think that is true, because if Sauron had the Ring, Saruman would cease to exist. However, with every victory of The West Saruman became weaker and his powers gradually passed on to Gandalf. In the peak of Sarumanís power there is a chance that he could controll Smaug to some extent. However we must remember, that Dragons love language riddles and breaking othersjust by talking to them. They feel lies and fear and they are creatures most difficult to ďtameĒ with words.

So if I am right Smaug would devour the North and come down on Rohan and Gondor. If I am wrong and my friend is right, then Sarumanís greatest mistake was not challenging Smaug to a word duel and thus obtaining a powerful slave. This could help him greatly in his search for The One Ring. After all, he had been searching for it for a long time, before The War of the Ring started.


DwarfLord


Nice post there, Dwarflord (without the vowels, of course). Its been a long time since I got to read such a post here. Well, you are right in some parts and wrong in some (according to my beliefs).

I feel that dragons are neutral. They can be corrupted but are mostly harmless if they are not nder the influence of anyone. They are just greedy and care for material pleasures (as Tolkien made us believe in The Hobbit.) But in The Silmarillion the darker side of dragons was revealed. But that was in the beginning. Since they were bred by Morgoth himself, they ought to be evil creatures but I guess that with the passing of time and Morgoth, the later offsprings wore down their evil and became materialistic. But of course, they were still evil (remember how Smaug burnt the dwarf city of Erebor killing almost every dwarf which inhabited Erebor.)

And after Sauron had got the One Ring, I don't think he would have much use of Smaug (if it were still alive by that time). If Sauron had acquired theRing, there would be nothing left to withstand his total victory over Middle-Earth and I don't think either Smag or Sauron would care abut the existence of each other as long as Smaug's gold was safe and Sauron's dominion over Middle-Earth was not threatened. Its true that Sauron could have influenced and gained control over Smaug but I don't believe he would have cared.

As for Saruman controlling Smaug, the idea is very preposterous. Saruman had no power over Smaug and could never have it. And he being very arrogant, wold not have cared about Smaug if he had gotten the Ring himself, though that would have led to Sauron winning the Ring since Isengard is no match for Mordor and Saruman wielding the Ring is no match for Sauron. Sauron could have easily controlled him and taken the Ring back.

But then Smaug was dead by the time The War of the Ring took place. So I guess these are all speculations!
Thanks, Lord Aragorn for replying

Continuing our discussion:
You wrote that Saruman wielding the Ring is no match for Sauron. I cannot agree. Saruman was still very powerful during The War of the Ring. If he had obtained it during or before The War, he was wise and powerful enough to take the place of Sauron. This is why Gandalf refused The Ring. He wolud have become another Dark Lord, once the Ring took hold of him. It would use his great power, it would work "through him". This is why I think, that Saruman with the aid of the Ring, would have overthrown Sauron. He probably would have robbed Sauron of his armies, with his will alone.

I quote: "The Council Of Elrond", page 261 (Harper Collins Publishers)
Elrond speaking: "It is too great for anyone to wield at will, save only those who have already a great power of their own. But for them it holds an even deadlier peril. The very desire of it corrupts the heart. Consider Saruman. If any of the Wise should with this ring overthrow the Lord of Mordor, using his own arts, he would then set himself on Sauron's throne, and yet another Dark Lord would appear."

Good point, saying that Sauron with the Ring and Smaug (if alive) would probably ignore each other if their interests didn't clash.
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Thanks, Lord Aragorn for replying

No problems. Glad to be of service.

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You wrote that Saruman wielding the Ring is no match for Sauron. I cannot agree. Saruman was still very powerful during The War of the Ring. If he had obtained it during or before The War, he was wise and powerful enough to take the place of Sauron. He would have become another Dark Lord, once the Ring took hold of him. This is why I think, that Saruman with the aid of the Ring, would have overthrown Sauron. He probably would have robbed Sauron of his armies, with his will alone.

You see, Sauron cannot be overthrown unless the Ring is destroyed. The Ring would make Sarman believe that he could have all the power and pset Sauron sing it and then usurp his place as the Dark Lord, but this would be his folly. The Ring was made by Sauron into which he put his powers. The Ring follows Sauron's will and none other's. So even if Saruman led his army into Mordor and weilded the Ring in front of Sauron, what I suppose would happen is the the Ring would fall off Saruman's finger (you know how it can change its shape) and then be taken up by Sauron leading to death of Saruman for his insolence and whatever happens afterwards.

The Ring cannot be used against Sauron. It is His own weapon and only He can wield it. I agree that the Uruk Hai's are better than the Orcs of Mordor, but they are no match for the Ring wraiths. And the Nine Nazgul with Sauron can easily overpower Saruman. He's no match even with the Ring. He can't do anything to Sauron except maybe put a chink in his armour. Saruman would have lost all paws down!

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Good point, saying that Sauron with the Ring and Smaug (if alive) would probably ignore each other if their interests didn't clash.

My turn to thank you!
From what I can recall of the Silmarillion and what Tolkien stated elsewhere, you are correct in your estimation of dragons. I do not believe they were created as neutral in Tolkien's mythology. Anything "created" or malformed by Morgoth was for evil. So the purpose of dragons was to serve as instruments of his domination of everything and everyone. It is either in the Appendices of LOTR or elsewhere that it is shown how Gandalf deliberately arranged for the quest of Thorin and Company to Erebor in order to get rid of Smaug, as he clearly foresaw the use Sauron could make use of the dragon in the coming war. Another instance of Gandalf doing his job well!

It is undoubtedly Sauron who would have used Smaug, as Tolkien says this was the threat Gandalf was eliminating. Saruman, we might conjecture, could have used anything, including a dragon, had he become a "power." But such was not to be. In the scheme of Tolkien's universe, I think it would have been the Ring which would have made the dragon into a weapon of Sauron. So either Saruman would have had to get the Ring--as he tried--or he could not have kept such formidable "tool" in check. His voice was enough for the domination of many people, but I don't think it was meant to convince dragons.
Wow! You guys are writing essays! I can't keep up to read them all!
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I do not believe they were created as neutral in Tolkien's mythology. Anything "created" or malformed by Morgoth was for evil.

Neither do I. But I said they became neutral as time progressed after the destruction of Morgoth. There was noone to control them and therefore their evil faded (if I may be allowed to use that word). More than likely it was dormant or not exhibited in its full force.
Lord Aragorn

You are mistaken in thinking that Saruman wielding the Ring would be less powerfull than the Nazgul. In "Unfinished Tales" we read:

"Such was still the power of the voive of Saruman that even the Lord of the Nazgul did not question what it said, whether it was false or short of the full truth"

This refers to the time when the Nazgul rode to Isengard to learn news from Saruman. He was that powerful without the ring, mind you. He decieved the Witchking of Angmar using his voice alone. Do you still think that he would'nt suceed in dominating them with his will, once he possesed the One Ring?

As for overthrowing Sauron with the aid of the Ring. I believe it's possible. One of the Wise, if powerful enough could suceed and become another Dark Lord. It is clearly stated by Elrond duriong The Council of Elrond. It is impossible to say, however, what would become of the ring, if its new master took Barad Dur for his own and eliminated Sauron beyond all chance of return.
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Neither do I. But I said they became neutral as time progressed after the destruction of Morgoth. There was noone to control them and therefore their evil faded (if I may be allowed to use that word). More than likely it was dormant or not exhibited in its full force.

They didn't become neutral. If i follow your reasoning, the Balrog of Moria wouldn't be evil anymore once he was awoken by the Dwarves, because his master Morgoth wasn't around anymore. Instead, the Balrog now was free ("Free!!! Balrog is free!!!" *happydance*) to continue his evil acts without any Master holding him back.

Smaug attacking the dwarves of Erebor, killing them and sending them fleeing, Smaug attacking and ransacking Esgaroth wasn't something a 'neutral' being would do. It was an evil act.

And of course, Switzerland doesn't invade Austria.

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As for overthrowing Sauron with the aid of the Ring. I believe it's possible. One of the Wise, if powerful enough could suceed and become another Dark Lord. It is clearly stated by Elrond duriong The Council of Elrond. It is impossible to say, however, what would become of the ring, if its new master took Barad Dur for his own and eliminated Sauron beyond all chance of return.

Agreed there.

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The Ring cannot be used against Sauron. It is His own weapon and only He can wield it. I agree that the Uruk Hai's are better than the Orcs of Mordor, but they are no match for the Ring wraiths. And the Nine Nazgul with Sauron can easily overpower Saruman. He's no match even with the Ring. He can't do anything to Sauron except maybe put a chink in his armour. Saruman would have lost all paws down!

The Ring can be used against Sauron. Like Dwrflord explained, anyone of the Wise could take up the Ring and use it to destroy Sauron. The victor would only later be turned into an equivalent of Sauron, because of the corrupting influence of the Ring.

This was Saruman's plan : find the One Ring and use it and his army of Uruk-Hai to topple Sauron. It would have worked. Your description of Saruman is very degrading for no reason.

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It is undoubtedly Sauron who would have used Smaug, as Tolkien says this was the threat Gandalf was eliminating.

Yes, in UT it's mentioned Gandalf wanted to get rid of Smaug because he found out Sauron's original plan was to throw everything he had against Rivendell (using Smaug) and Lothlorien, instead of Gondor.

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So if I am right Smaug would devour the North and come down on Rohan and Gondor. If I am wrong and my friend is right, then Sarumanís greatest mistake was not challenging Smaug to a word duel and thus obtaining a powerful slave. This could help him greatly in his search for The One Ring. After all, he had been searching for it for a long time, before The War of the Ring started.

Saruman would never take such risks and go "all or nothing", imo. As Sauron, he would try to make Smaug persuade in working for him by offering him all the gold and jewelry of Rohan/RIvendell/wherever.

Of course, Saruman might be more powerful than Smaug, who after all is only a run-off-the-mill fire drake and no Glaurung or Ancalagon the Black. Just use his greed against him and you can use him as a pet.
Nice one, Miruvor

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Of course, Saruman might be more powerful than Smaug, who after all is only a run-off-the-mill fire drake and no Glaurung or Ancalagon the Black. Just use his greed against him and you can use him as a pet


Don't underestimate Smaug. He would submit to Saruman but he is still a very powerful creature.
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Yes, in UT it's mentioned Gandalf wanted to get rid of Smaug because he found out Sauron's original plan was to throw everything he had against Rivendell (using Smaug) and Lothlorien, instead of Gondor.
If you would like to read more of Gandalf's reasoning and preparations toward getting rid of Smaug prior to and after his appearance on Bilbo's doorstep on that bright sunny morning in the Spring of 2941T.A. as told in The Hobbit, read 'The Quest for Erebor,' which is Section 3, Part III of Unfinished Tales - The Lost Lore of Middle Earth.
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Smaug attacking the dwarves of Erebor, killing them and sending them fleeing, Smaug attacking and ransacking Esgaroth wasn't something a 'neutral' being would do. It was an evil act.

That's exactly what I meant. I never said that they had lost all their evilness and had become as tame as a duck. By neutrality, I meant that they were not working for anyone after Morgoth was destriyed but were using (or misusing) their evilness of their own free will. They were not under anyone's sway.

And I still don't think Sauron could be destroyed by using His own Ring against Him.
Lord Aragorn, how can you ignore Tolkien's own words:

I quote: "The Council Of Elrond", page 261 (Harper Collins Publishers)
Elrond speaking: "It is too great for anyone to wield at will, save only those who have already a great power of their own. But for them it holds an even deadlier peril. The very desire of it corrupts the heart. Consider Saruman. If any of the Wise should with this ring overthrow the Lord of Mordor, using his own arts, he would then set himself on Sauron's throne, and yet another Dark Lord would appear."
As long as the Ring excists, Sauron will excist, no matter how many people sits on his throne and calls themselves Dark Lord. To get rid of Sauron, they would have to destroy the Ring. Everything depends on if they are able to do that.

Everyone can use the Ring to a certain degree. Isildur and the Hobbits became invisible, Saruman could perhaps begin his attack on Sauron, but the Ring would do it's best to betray him as it has betrayed everyone else. I belive Saruman would become so scared of and obsessed about loosing the Preciousss Ring before he could accomplish his goal, that he wouldn't be able to get rid of it when he had placed himself on the dark throne. Eventually, Sauron would get his chance and return.
Hi AmariŽ!

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Everyone can use the Ring to a certain degree. Isildur and the Hobbits became invisible,


As far as invisibility goes, well it was'nt because Isildur or the Hobbits used it. That was just a "side effect". They had none power what so ever over the Ring (except maybe when they occasionaly fought off the urge to put it on). Others, like Saruman or Gandalf could actually use it, although we don't know how skillfuly.

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To get rid of Sauron, they would have to destroy the Ring.


Of course, you're right. As long as the Ring exists, Sauron exists, because he put a lot of his life power into it. There is always a possibility of his return.
It is very plain from the words of Tolkien in more than one place that the Ring was a great danger because of its ability to seduce even the Wise. If Saruman had the Ring, he himself would have become Dark Lord, using Sauron's own "life" in the Ring to overthrow Sauron. It does not follow that Sauron would be able to return. The power of the one who weilds the Ring, if he is powerful enough to overthrow Sauron, is powerful enough to maintain his domination. Sauron might exist somewhere, but like his master Morgoth, he would be impotent to become a Power again in Middle Earth.

But as Gandalf and Galadriel feared, another fell Power using the Ring would make things even worse than they already were under Sauron. That is why the destruction of the Ring was so important in Tolkien's myth. A temptation like this cannot merely be hidden, nor can it be used by anyone else for good. It must be destroyed utterly.
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This is why Gandalf refused The Ring.


Surely if anyone got hold of the ring they would become evil and powerful. Galadriel said

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In place of a dark lord you will set up a Queen and I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the morning and night, fair as the sea and the sun and the snow upon the mountain! Dreadful as the storm and lightening! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair


Can you imagine what would happen if ANYONE/THING evil got the ring - let alone a good person. The good person has the knowledge of what would happen, they would know right from wrong but unable to control this.

Sarumen would have been able to govern the dragons as he had the added power of his speech.

What would have happened if a dragon got hold of the ring Question Smilie

Hope I don't sound stupid but this is just the way I read it in the Sil, UT, TH and LOTR. I don't imagine to teach you all to suck eggs as I know you all know far more than me about Tolkiens work judging by the discussions I read on PT - this is just my little input.
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In place of a dark lord you will set up a Queen and I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the morning and night, fair as the sea and the sun and the snow upon the mountain! Dreadful as the storm and lightening! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair

That's what Galadriel thought, of course. She would use the One Ring as a sort of "beauty case" to make everybody love her and find her pretty.... jeez !!

That vision she describes is perhaps nothing more than the temptation of the Ring working on her, while it was in Lothlorien. By showing the visions it wants to seduce the wearer to try to bend it to its will, and when that happens the wearer is lost, as the Ring's inherent malice would begin to take over the wearer's mind.

The real effect of the Ring would probably be something else. She might not even be able to bend it to her will, or perhaps only with great pain. But the Ring would never cease with torturing her, like it did with Isildur. The Ring would always try to avenge its Master.

I think in the end everyone would succumb to the Ring and become its slave, hence making a puppet version of Sauron, but with the Ring in control and not vice versa.

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What would have happened if a dragon got hold of the ring

A dragon would have no interest in it, as it wouldnít be able to use it and as they didnít care about ruling Middle-Earth. They just wanted money and jewelry (Morgoth must've made them using female Maiar...). It would just keep it as a part of their treasures. So there would be a chance for Sauron to get hold of the One Ring by trading it with the dragon.

One of the olden dragons though, like Glaurung or Ancalagon the Black, would probably know what it was and use it for their own benefits, like bribing Sauron in giving them parts of Eriador to burn/pillage. Or part of the Shire. Would be great to see all those nice hobbit holes burn and fat, lil hobbits run for the might of the dragon !

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By neutrality, I meant that they were not working for anyone after Morgoth was destriyed but were using (or misusing) their evilness of their own free will. They were not under anyone's sway

That's not neutrality. Neutrality means not interfering at all, not with the good ones and not with the bad ones. It means Switzerland. You basically explained that they were 'independent'.

Both Smaug and the Balrog interfered with the business of the good ones, hence they weren't neutral. If Smaug had just stayed in the northern wastes, he would have been neutral.
Tolkien's dragon's aren't neutral, they are independent until they meet a more powerful entity that can live long enough in the face of flame and claw that he/she can brow beat one of the critters into subjection. In order to do this, the entity must be stronger willed than the dragon.

Gandalf couldn't do it on his own; Saruman probably couldn't. Though with the Ring and voice Saruman may have been able to; however, holding the Ring he would have had even greater fish to fry as Sauron would have noticed, and there would have been war between them before Saruman would have had time to worry about subugating a measly worm.

I don't think Smaug would have worn the ring, not even on one of his whiskers; he would have placed it in his hoard and slept on it and grown more evil with the passage of time, but he would have left it in his hoard and stayed even closer to home than before. The Ring would have found Smaug an even poorer holder than Gollum.

Of course this is only my uneducated opinion and it might have been otherwise.
I think it is more accurate to say Gandalf WOULD NOT have subjugated Smaug (under normal circumstances) because that was not what he was sent into Middle Earth to do. Subjugation was the modus operandi of Sauron which the Istari were sent to oppose. So Gandalf, when he foresaw that Sauron would use Smaug against the Free Peoples in the coming war, rightly interpreted it as part of his duty to arrange that Smaug was taken out of the picture. With Gandalf, it was not a question of who has the power to do such a thing as destroy the dragon. With him, it was a question of who should be inspired and who would suit for the task. Thorin and Company and Bilbo obviously answered this.

The point about the Ring, of course, is not what would they have been able to do with it had they acquired it. The point is, they refused the temptation to use it because they knew the doom that would befall them and Middle Earth if they did. That is already a great victory for these champions of the West. Sauron's best devices could not subvert them.

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The point is, they refused the temptation to use it because they knew the doom that would befall them and Middle Earth if they did. That is already a great victory for these champions of the West. Sauron's best devices could not subvert them.


You are absolutely right, byt sometimes it's fun to play the what if game.