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This is something that popped into my head just a moment ago.

There are some differences in the manner in which Orcs go about their business. In the First Age, Morgoth's will dominated thease creatures so strongly, that there is no mention (unless I am mistaken, I read The Silmarillion a while ago) of any Orc chieftain, in the sense, that he decided for himself. Everything the Orcs did in those days was to carry out orders of The Dark Lord.
However, in the Third Age there are times in wich Orcs seem to govern their own, to some extent. Thorin and Co. are captured and brought into the presence of a great Orc (Goblin) Chieftain, who seems to be more than just a puppet of someone's will. If he were, the fact that The One Ring existed relatively close to him would'nt escape his master's attention.
Azog and Bolg seem to be more than just pawns. They make decisions, plan strategies and act on them. Of course Moria (where Azog dwelt) was populated by Sauron with his creatures (around 2480, III Age), but reading the appedices in the Lord of the Rings, I got the impression that even if they got orders from Sauron, they weren't specific. They just stated: Don't let Moria be recolonized by Dwarves. How to achieve this was up to them. Their chieftains were to figure out how to carry out these orders.
Mount Gundabad, which was a sacred place fot the Dwarves became an Orc stronghold. It was from here that the Orcs moved on Erebor the battle of The Five Armies. This clearly suggests that they were "organized" in a way. During this battle the movements of their forces were made by Orcs, not by some outside will. They weren't entirely controlled by the will of Sauron or The Witch King. They showed a high level of independence (however it is safe to say that even though the Orcs may have thought they were fighting the Dwarves for some other reasons the bottom line is that it was in Sauron's interest that they do so)

It may be that this was due to the fact that Orcs in the Third Age were much more numerous than in the First Age. The territories they occupied were greater (after all the Orcs of the First Age were kept in Thangorodrim, thus on Morgoth's doorstep). They Orcs of the Third Age forged realms (in a way), like Gundabad or Moria. It may be because Sauron didn't have a power great enough to controll them all. Perhaps learning from Morgoth's mistakes, Sauron deduced that it was "wiser" to give the Orcs more freedom in their actions, and that, added to their sheer numbers and ferocity would serve him better.

The Orcs of Mordor, fighting at The Black Gate however were close to Sauron. I think that he and his Nazgul controlled their every movement. That is why The Lidless Eye had to concentrate fully on those events, leaving Orodruin totally unwatched.

I don't remember if Saruman's army had an Orc chieftain. Maybe some of you remember the structure of command. Did Saruman leave the immediate decisions of battle to some general or did he himself controll his hosts. It seems doubtful that he did it himself, I don't think he had that much power. Then again I may be wrong.
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It may be that this was due to the fact that Orcs in the Third Age were much more numerous than in the First Age. The territories they occupied were greater (after all the Orcs of the First Age were kept in Thangorodrim, thus on Morgoth's doorstep).

I disagree with this statement. I believe Orcs were more numerous in the First Age. Why else would Sauron need to add Easterlings to his armies ?

Take this quote from the Sil :

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There was marshalled the whole power of the Throne of Morgoth, and it had become great beyond count, so that Anfauglith could not contain it; and all the North was aflame with war.


We know from ROTK that one part of Sauron's army - one part of Sauron's hand, as Denethor called it - covered the entire Pelennor, but even his complete hand wouldn't be as big as Morgoth's final army.

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Of course Moria (where Azog dwelt) was populated by Sauron with his creatures (around 2480, III Age), but reading the appedices in the Lord of the Rings, I got the impression that even if they got orders from Sauron, they weren't specific.

Even so, there was still Durin's Bane lurking around there, who was awoken in 1980 III by the Dwarves, and of which Sauron was apparently unaware. In the end, it was the Balrog who took care of things, which was of course also good for Sauron's cause.

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The Orcs of Mordor, fighting at The Black Gate however were close to Sauron. I think that he and his Nazgul controlled their every movement. That is why The Lidless Eye had to concentrate fully on those events, leaving Orodruin totally unwatched.

But even these Orcs had their amount of free will. Look at the conversation between Gorbag and Shagrat, who are doubting the good progress of the war and talking about running away if the war's over :

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`It's going well, they say.'
'They would.' grunted Gorbag. `We'll see. But anyway, if it does go well, there should be a lot more room. What d'you say? if we get a chance, you and me'll slip off and set up somewhere on our own with a few trusty lads, somewhere where there's good loot nice and handy, and no big bosses.'
'Ah! ' said Shagrat. `Like old times.'

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Even so, there was still Durin's Bane lurking around there, who was awoken in 1980 III by the Dwarves, and of which Sauron was apparently unaware. In the end, it was the Balrog who took care of things, which was of course also good for Sauron's cause.


Now that you mention it, how is it possible that Sauron populated Moria 500 years after the awakening of the Balrog, and he didn't know about its presence there?
If Sauron knew nothing, then it proves my point - he left Moria with the Orcs. But if he knew, would'nt he put the Deamon of Fire to some better use? Like attacking Lorien or try to transport him to Mordor...That would be much more useful to him than just "blocking" Moria.

As far as Shagrat and Gorbag go. I think they are the exeption to the rule. They cannot possibly represent a meaning percentage of Sauron's army. It's impossible that a considerable number of his Orcs were dreaming about their own realms. Sauron would'nt give them so much freedom, because he could'nt keep discipline in his ranks
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As far as Shagrat and Gorbag go. I think they are the exeption to the rule. They cannot possibly represent a meaning percentage of Sauron's army. It's impossible that a considerable number of his Orcs were dreaming about their own realms. Sauron would'nt give them so much freedom, because he could'nt keep discipline in his ranks

I think Shagrat and Gorbag are the proof that all Orcs are untrustworthy, undisciplined creatures that can only be commanded by means of fear and dread, and by promising them the lands (and heads) of their enemies.

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But if he knew, would'nt he put the Deamon of Fire to some better use? Like attacking Lorien or try to transport him to Mordor...That would be much more useful to him than just "blocking" Moria.

If Sauron knew, which is possible because he had Thrain in his dungeons in Dol Guldur once, i'm sure he treated the Balrog in the same way as he treated Shelob. He didn't hold control over any of them, but as they served his purposes, he let them have their own way.

Nor the Balrog, nor Shelob would easily submit to Sauron, to say the least.
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I think Shagrat and Gorbag are the proof that all Orcs are untrustworthy, undisciplined creatures that can only be commanded by means of fear and dread, and by promising them the lands (and heads) of their enemies


This is an interesting point. I agree with the first part. They were untrustworthy creatures. Fear of Sauron was what drove them, but not his promising of lands. As far as I am aware nowhere is it written that Sauron "bribed" Orcs in such a way. He used political means when dealing with his human allies, but not the Orcs. If there are such writings, they would have to totally change my perception of Orcs.

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Nor the Balrog, nor Shelob would easily submit to Sauron, to say the least.


This is true, although you must remember: Shelob and her ancestors were never dominated. With Shelob Sauron didn't even try. When it comes to the Balrog, he was "just" a servant. before he fled under the Mountains. He probably could be subdued again. And by who if not Sauron (with or without the Ring, I wonder...)
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When it comes to the Balrog, he was "just" a servant. before he fled under the Mountains. He probably could be subdued again. And by who if not Sauron (with or without the Ring, I wonder...)

Sauron was "just" a servant too, along with the Balrog, of Melkor the Great. It was Melkor who could subdue the Balrogs, as he was in a bigger league, whilst Sauron and the Balrog are in the same league.

After the dbcle at the end of the First Age, the Balrog of Morgoth would never want to serve anyone anymore, and would most likely fight to the death; hence Sauron would not take such a risk, as we all know what a great warrior he is : don't forget his body was destroyed by Gil-Galad (or Kill-Galad) and Elendil, even when he was wearing the Ring.

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If there are such writings, they would have to totally change my perception of Orcs.

Orcs are based on British football hooligans (or rather : cricket hooligans, as football wasn't yet as popular in JRRT's time) : all they like is fighting, and making the biggest mess as possible.

On another note, that "Orc chieftain" in PJ's ROTK really looked like Sloth from the Goonies, didn't he ? I call him Slothmog.
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Sauron was "just" a servant too


Do not underestimate Sauron.

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Sauron and the Balrog are in the same league.


Not any more. Sauron in the Third Age is the single most powerful being in Middle Earth. No single person could withstand him one to one. It took nothing short of the alliance of the free peoples to temporarily overthrow him. The Balrog could not withstand Sauron who was one of the the Maia, long ago servant of Aule. The Fire Demon was a twisted creation of Morgoth. In my opinion Sauron could controll the Balrog with or without the Ring on his finger. It would be difficult without the Ring, but certainly Sauron was capable of it. And the fact that he was unable to take physical form weakened him for a time. But when he regained his power he was once again as mighty as ever.

The cutting of the Ring from his hand was destiny, pure fate. Otherwise nothing could ever stop him. This one event had far fetched consequences for Sauron. Years later it proved to be the pebble that started the avalanche of his downfall.
Call it an intervention of Eru...

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On another note, that "Orc chieftain" in PJ's ROTK really looked like Sloth from the Goonies, didn't he ?

Nice one Miruvor, something we totally agree on Smile Smilie
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Not any more. Sauron in the Third Age is the single most powerful being in Middle Earth. No single person could withstand him one to one. It took nothing short of the alliance of the free peoples to temporarily overthrow him. The Balrog could not withstand Sauron who was one of the the Maia, long ago servant of Aule. The Fire Demon was a twisted creation of Morgoth. In my opinion Sauron could controll the Balrog with or without the Ring on his finger. It would be difficult without the Ring, but certainly Sauron was capable of it. And the fact that he was unable to take physical form weakened him for a time. But when he regained his power he was once again as mighty as ever.

That's where we disagree. Balrogs are Maiar as well, not just "twisted creations by Morgoth". Morgoth didn't create the Balrogs, he convinced them into joining him, just like he did with Sauron.

I believe Sauron could never force the Balrog in serving him, without killing him. And even if Sauron would be able to kill him, i believe Sauron would barely leave the battle alive, la Gandalf. Again, history has proven Sauron is a lousy warrior. When facing a Balrog, there wouldn't just be a "battle of wills" la Finrod vs Sauron, but there'd be some hand-to-hand combat and sumo wrestling involved.

No one could stand him one to one ? Aragorn did, through the Palantir. But yes, in the flesh Aragorn would have been toast, although Sauron wouldn't leave that battle unharmed as well.

Furthermore, i believe Gandalf the White would be able to trounce Sauron, but he wasn't allowed to do that.

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Do not underestimate Sauron.

Do not overestimate Sauron. He was just a wise fool. Morgoth, now that's my man. ;-)
Oh of course, how could I forget. Balrogs are also Maia. You're absolutely right.
So Sauron could have controlled him only when he had the Ring.
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So Sauron could have controlled him only when he had the Ring.

See my previous post.

Really, the Ring was just a scheme to trap all Free Peoples of Middle-Earth under his dominion. Sauron with his Ring on was just Sauron with his full power, and that's all. He didn't have any influence on the Three, as they didn't wear their rings. The Ring wouldn't enhance the power that was originally given to him by Eru.

There has been a discussion somewhere else about whether Sauron would be able to control Smaug : i think the same applies there as well.

The only thing Sauron can manage vs Smaug and Durin's Bane, and perhaps even Galadriel, is only a Pyrrhic victory.

The Ring was just a partly failed scheme, a bad experiment. Sauron only wanted it back to fully restore his power from 40%-50% back to 100%.

It's maybe true that Sauron had the highest amount of latent power, but he didn't know how to use it efficiently, hence he has been defeated quite some times in the history of Arda. Sauron is a twit.
I'm WAY too tired to be doing this, so I'll limit myself to a few comments on the original and last posts.

True, Sauron was thrice defeated, once without combat, but in each case the combined might of the Children of Eru to do it, and in the last it would have been pitifully insufficient against even the half-Sauron without the Ring; that was fate as well, with a little free will thrown in. All carefully stage managed be Eru thousands of years before the fact. One wonders how it would have been accomplished had the characters made different choices.

Orc control, hurm.... there's two ways I can look it that: one, Morgoth continued to exert some control over them from within (without?) the Void, and any apparent independence was an illusion. On the other hand, they're supposed to be derived from Elven stock, and had some identity inherent that Morgoth merely subjugated. With Morgoth removed, this would reassert itself unless dominated by a similar will, and while Sauron could accomplish things such as this, he couldn't do it as comprehensively as Morgoth, and would likely have become more difficult with distance.

Just my two cents; I'm still wrestling with that "two minds, beating with just one heart" Dragon Reborn thing.
We can see at several times in the history of Middle-Earth, that Sauron was not a warrior. He is more a pure Commander not willingly to fight himself with weapons save with his own powerful will.
In the First Age, he was forced to fight with Huan and lost. In the Second Age he came out of Barad-dur only because the siege was so oppressively. He didn't search a duell. And he lost another time.
We can see in the Third Age, that Sauron haven't very powerful servants save the Nazgul, which Sauron overwit to get them into his service.
The other powerful creatures as the Balrog, Shelob or Smaug resp. other dragons are not in his service. These creatures would have been served him probably, but not without a great showdown, which Sauron obviously tried to avoid. I am sure, that Sauron could beat them to get them into his service, but it was a big risk and Sauron was content with the status quo, because these creatures guarded some important places. And why risking so much and maybe show some weak points when he could overthrow the western realms of Middle-earth with his lesser servants?

To write something about the independence of the orcs. The orcs are only independent and ruling themselves, when there is a lack of power, which could dominate them. There was lack of power in the Third Age. There was not 'evil' power to dominate them. And I find, that it is in the nature of the orce, that they follow someone. And I speculate, that this would be a mighty warrior, because this warrior would kill the orcs, who don't follow him. In every case so long as a greater power will come to dominate.
Nice to see such an interesting discussion has popped up while I've been away.

Firstly, I'll just add my support to Miruvor's belief that Sauron is not all powerful, and though he might be able to defeat the Balrog, the injuries he would suffer himself would be too great to risk. Whatever, I don't think the balrog would ever willingly serve him. If it did not fight to the death or manage to flee, as soon as it regained its strength Sauron would have to fight once more.

Anyway, back to orcs. Two things that have not been mentioned why Morgoth appeared to have better control on them than Sauron.

1) For most of the Third Age Sauron was still regaining his power after his defeat at the Battle of the Last Alliance. His form had been scattered and it took the best part of 3000 years to come back into being. Remember, even at the time of the Hobbit he was hiding in Mirkwood as the Necromancer. His power was building by then, but he was still unable to hold off the White Council when they attacked Dol Guildur. Only by the time of the War of the Ring was he feeling powerful enough to launch a war on the West, and only then by using alliances with Saruman etc.

In that 3000 years, the orcs had had time to form some sort of clan leadership for themselves, so they had perhaps developed a greater independance than they had enjoyed under Melkor's domination. This independance would no doubt have led to greater experience (and perhaps better intelligence) too. This is tied in to my second point...

2) It was Sauron who had first bred the Uruk hai. These were far superior to ordanary orcs in both strength and intelligence. Almost all of the later "chieftains" we later hear about would have been uruks. Azog and Bolg almost certainly were, and I imagine the War of the Dwarves and Orcs fought during their time was conducted without too much direct control from the Necromancer. These uruks were certainly able to make their own decisions, and Sauron would have to be pretty close to dominate them. I believe one of the reasons Sauron bred the uruks was not just to get a more powerful fighting unit, but he knew he had the need for better leaders. Melkor, with his greater power, was able to dominate his armies from afar. Sauron did not have this luxury and so had to have commanders who could control the action when he was not near.
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Sauron did not have this luxury and so had to have commanders who could control the action when he was not near.

It never seemed to me that Sauron cared much about good commanders and tactics : his numerical superiority over Gondor and the Elves was so big that he could easily waste an entire army at the Pelennor Fields, and still be victorious in the end, as that army was just one finger of his hand.

Furthermore, Sauron let the Witch-King command his armies, once things were really on stake.
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It never seemed to me that Sauron cared much about good commanders and tactics : his numerical superiority over Gondor and the Elves was so big that he could easily waste an entire army at the Pelennor Fields, and still be victorious in the end, as that army was just one finger of his hand.


By this I meant commanders who would ensure the army made it to the battlefield and stood and fought, rather than military geniouses. If it were not for their bullying sergeants etc, my guess is many of Sauron's orcs would have slipped away into the hills long before they saw a Gondorian soldier or Rohirrim nag. Under Melkor's thrall, however, I don't think they had the chance.
I don't think the Orcs needed to be bullied to prevent them from deserting; their inherent hate for the ppls of the light and the desire to kill them and take over their lands, which was originated and fed by Morgoth (even after he was cast into the Void) would imo be enough to drive most of them forward.

We mustn't forget they were all killing machines, hence I think they were all more than eager eager to wet their blades with something else than each other's blood, not to mention very eages to sink their teeth in something else than each other's flesh.

To put it like Barfagorn would : they wanted to hunt some "tarq".

Of course, there were always some smaller, cowardly, sneaky "snagas" who'd try to flee, but those would probably be regarded as good riddance.
Valedheldwath, interesting point:

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In that 3000 years, the orcs had had time to form some sort of clan leadership for themselves, so they had perhaps developed a greater independance than they had enjoyed under Melkor's domination


I also think there is a lot of truth in your other statement:
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my guess is many of Sauron's orcs would have slipped away into the hills long before they saw a Gondorian soldier or Rohirrim nag. Under Melkor's thrall, however, I don't think they had the chance.

I also think that Morgoth had a much greater power over the Orcs of his time.However Sauron had enough power over them that they did'nt just flee before Gondorians and the Rohirrim. They could be overpowered in battle, but they were'nt that "free" of Sauron as to escape long before they saw their enemies.

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I don't think the Orcs needed to be bullied to prevent them from deserting; their inherent hate for the ppls of the light and the desire to kill them and take over their lands


You must remember that the Orcs were smart enough to know who they were fighting. They feared individuals (eg. Aragorn, Gandalf) and weapons (eg. Orcrist). The only thing that would force them to fight was bullying and a greater fear of what would be done to them if they did'nt. They were'nt mindless killing machines, throwing themselves on their opponents' blades. They had to be controlled - Saruman's Uruks and other Orc species eventually fled from the Hornburg. Saruman obviously lacked the power to hold them at bay.

And I have to agree, Morambar:
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True, Sauron was thrice defeated, once without combat, but in each case the combined might of the Children of Eru to do it, and in the last it would have been pitifully insufficient against even the half-Sauron without the Ring


You and I see it the same way.

And Miruvor, how can you say:
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Do not overestimate Sauron. He was just a wise fool.


Isn't The War of the Ring all about the fact that he cannot be underestimated? He was left relatively to himself and he regained his power. Everyone had to chip in to destroy him again. If not the destrucution of the Ring, he would still have been victorious in arms. You say that Gandalf would be able to overpower him. That cannot be true - his mission was to destroy Sauron, period. If Gandalf were powerful enough he would at least think about facing Sauron, even if it meant his (Gandalf's) death. It doesn't state anywhere that he was'nt allowed to.
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You say that Gandalf would be able to overpower him. That cannot be true - his mission was to destroy Sauron, period. If Gandalf were powerful enough he would at least think about facing Sauron, even if it meant his (Gandalf's) death. It doesn't state anywhere that he was'nt allowed to.

The mission of the Istari was only to guide and advice the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth in their strife vs Sauron. They weren't allowed to interfere directly, for instance by leading the Free Ppls into war against Sauron or face Sauron directly.

It doesn't state anywhere ? You are wrong.

From UT, chapter Istari :

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Emissaries they were from Lords of the West, the Valar, who still took counsel for the governance of Middle-earth, and when the shadow of Sauron began first to stir again took this means of resisting him. For with the consent of Eru they sent members of their own high order, but clad in bodies of as of Men, real and not feigned, but subject to the fears and pains and weariness of earth, able to hunger and thirst and be slain; though because of their noble spirits they did not die, and aged only by the cares and labours of many long years. And this the Valar did, desiring to amend the errors of old, especially that they had attempted to guard and seclude the Eldar by their own might and glory fully revealed; whereas now their emissaries were forbidden to reveal themselves in forms of majesty, or to seek to rule the wills of Men and Elves by open display of power, but coming in shapes weak and humble were bidden to advise and persuade Men and Elves to good, and to seek to unite in love and understanding all those whom Sauron, should he come again, would endeavour to dominate and corrupt.

Pls check out all sources before using strong words, thx.

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Isn't The War of the Ring all about the fact that he cannot be underestimated? He was left relatively to himself and he regained his power. Everyone had to chip in to destroy him again. If not the destrucution of the Ring, he would still have been victorious in arms.

Sauron is a wise fool, as he orchestrated his own destruction with the One Ring, and because he couldn't grasp that his enemies would refuse to use the Ring, but instead decide to destroy it. That's what the War of the Ring is all about; that is the main reason for Sauron's downfall.

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You must remember that the Orcs were smart enough to know who they were fighting. They feared individuals (eg. Aragorn, Gandalf) and weapons (eg. Orcrist). The only thing that would force them to fight was bullying and a greater fear of what would be done to them if they did'nt. They were'nt mindless killing machines, throwing themselves on their opponents' blades. They had to be controlled - Saruman's Uruks and other Orc species eventually fled from the Hornburg. Saruman obviously lacked the power to hold them at bay.

You're entitled to your opinion.
So you're saying that in the utter need Gandalf would just step down and not overpower Sauron (even as you think he had the power to do so). He would just set sail and leave Middle Earth to his dominion?
I'm just saying that Gandalf didn't have that power in the first place.
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So you're saying that in the utter need Gandalf would just step down and not confront Sauron (even as you think he had the power to do so). He would just set sail and leave Middle Earth to his dominion?

That were the orders of the Valar, yes.

It would've been easier if the Valar sent Tulkas or Enw to take Sauron into custody and end everything before it even started, but the point about LOTR was that the free ppls had to do it on their own, with only advice of the Istari. This was primarily a test for the race of Men, to see if they were worthy to inherit Middle-Earth.

If they'd have failed the test, then they would've failed and that would be just that. It's debatable whether the Valar would ever have sent help after that.

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I'm just saying that Gandalf didn't have that power in the first place.

Whether or not he had that power is of no importance; as the wisest of the Maiar Gandalf would never even engage Sauron directly in combat, not to mention cross the Valar's will.
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This was primarily a test for the race of Men, to see if they were worthy to inherit Middle-Earth.
If they'd have failed the test, then they would've failed and that would be just that. It's debatable whether the Valar would ever have sent help after that.


This is true, but Gandalf could'nt have helped in any other way, even if he wanted or was permitted to. No one individual in Middle Earth could have. Sauron was just too powerful.
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This is true, but Gandalf could'nt have helped in any other way, even if he wanted or was permitted to. No one individual could have. Sauron wqas just too powerful.

Well, due to lessons learnt in the past, Sauron wouldn't come out of his Tower anyway, until all his enemies would have been crushed.

He may have been the most powerful Maia, but nonetheless he has been defeated quite a few times, even when his power was great than in LOTR. He would not take the risk to let that happen again. It seems that Sauron could not use his powers efficiently in combat, he was really more the sorceror-general type. Sauron is the anti-Gandalf. Morgoth used Gothmog as warrior.

Elendil and Gil-Galad defeated him : replace those by Glorfindel and Aragorn and imo Sauron could be defeated again. But this scenario would be impossible anyway in LOTR, as Sauron had numerical superiority in his armies, he would never have to leave his Tower.
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It seems that Sauron could not use his powers efficiently in combat,


I agree Miruvor. The only duel he could be challenged to was a mind duel. Via the Palantir. After all that's how he enslaved Saruman and Denethor. This was the only "fight" he felt comfortable in.

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replace those by Glorfindel and Aragorn and imo Sauron could be defeated again

And he could'nt reclaim his physical form anyway, after the drowning of Numenor, so I don't think a physical duel was at all possible after that.

His combat skills let him down a couple of times as was mentioned before. In the Third Age he knew that well and thence others fought for him. He just waited for the final victory of his forces. Then he would'nt need to fight anyone, anymore.
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And he could'nt reclaim his physical form anyway, after the drowning of Numenor, so I don't think a physical duel was at all possible after that.

He did have a physical form when he was defeated by Gil-Galad and Elendil, and when Isildur cut the Ring of his black hand. It's mentioned nowhere Sauron was unable to retain a physical form, tis only mentioned he was unable to decieve the Free ppls again with one of his forms, like he did when he was Annatar.

I myself believe he had a physical form during the events of LOTR, and this is backed up by book passages as well. But that is a different discussion, which doesn't have his place in here. Not to mention, i already gave all my opinions on that matter in the "What is Sauron?" thread, but after my previous PT account had been deleted, all my contributions in that thread disappeared as well, hence i don't really feel like going into that again.
It's an interestiing thing - Sauron's form. Unfortuantely I don't have my books with me. It's a totally different topic, not for this thread.
Sauron's losing his ring finger to Isuldur and the shard of Narsil was a fluke caused, in my humble opinion, by Eru when both Gil-galad and Elendil had been killed, and he had to revert to plan B, or was than plan D, I guess I had better summarize, though my list may contain omissions.

Eru's War Plans Towards the Overthrow of Sauron and Where They Went Wrong
Plan A was ruined when Sauron sweet talked his way into the good graces of the Numenorians.
Plan B was negated when he survived the sinking of Numenor.
Plan C was ruined when he killed both Gil-galad and Elendil.
Plan D was ruined when Isildur failed to toss the ring into the fires of Orodruin.
Plan E was ruined when he escaped from Dol Guldor.
Plan F which stands for Frodo, Fellowship, and Freedom, finally succeeded in Sauron's Final Curtain Call on the stage of Middle-earth.

This was the case, at least as far as Tolkien got in the telling of his story, but who is to say that Sauron couldn't once again rear his ugly eye sometime in the future.

But this doesn't have anything to do with Orc Chieftains, so I'll say that Sauron used the fear of the Nazgul to keep his Orc Armies under Control. Those Orcs separated from Sauron by distance were controled by the fear of their independent leaders who used force to instill the fear. The biggest, meanest sob on the block got to be the leader; and they and their followers just did what was natural(?) for Orcs: unwanton killing and destruction and maybe a little plunder while were at it.
Very nice, Grondmaster. You share my wiev on Eru's intervention (he was the only power that could deprive Sauron of his Ring) and the Orcs.
Nicely put Smile Smilie
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You share my wiev on Eru's intervention (he was the only power that could deprive Sauron of his Ring) and the Orcs.

He certainly wasn't. If the Valar had sent a second army to start a second War of Wrath, Sauron would (literally) be toast. Whether the Valar would have done such a thing, in case of Sauron being victorious, is debatable.

Imo, I wouldn't call Sauron's ultimate downfall intervention of Eru. He didn't intervene at the moment Sauron, Gil-Galad and Elendil were lying dead at the battlefield, performing a "deus ex machina". As i see it, using some informatics nomenclature, it's "IF THEN ELSE"-predestiny, set by Eru at the beginning of time, even before Arda was made, when he "corrected" Melkor's stirrings of the Music of the Ainur (see also the "Eru's thoughts" thread) : no matter what choices the protagonists in JRRT's stories would make, and no matter to what events those choices would lead, ultimately evil would be defeated.

Everything that happened in Arda, is only one branch of Eru's divine probability tree.

Note that this doesn't exclude free will : none of the choices of any character in JRRT's works, was set by Eru. Only the outcome (the ultimate destruction of evil/Morgoth in the Dagor Dagorath) was.

Tis comparable to the Apocalypse in the Bible.
Nicely put, Miruvor; I'm in total agreement with a position whose nuances I've found most people don't appreciate. "But, but, predestiny contradicts free will!!!" Not if you're omniscient....
Just jumping back a bit...

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Do not overestimate Sauron. He was just a wise fool.


Gandalf, himself, referred to Sauron as a wise fool for bringing his armies out of Mordor, where they would have been more use in tracking down the Ring. He did not expect anyone would ever attempt to destroy it.

On reletive strengths of Gandalf and Sauron.... I cannot find the quote just now, but it is in LotR.... Gandalf the White actually says to one of the fellowship that he doesn't think he is quite as strong as Sauron yet. It always amazed me at the time of reading it, however, that Gandalf put himself in the same league as Sauron (who in LotR is portrayed as being all mighty.)