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So if the Watcher saved the company, specifically Sam, from the insidious influence of Bill, doesnt that make it an agent for good? ie: If there had been no Watcher, Bill would not have been frightened off and the quest would have been doomed? (Assuming, of course, that Bill survived the rest of the journey through Moria)
What was the Watcher in the Water really?? Was it a spirit like Gandalf and the Balrog , or was it just creature that Sauron used to try and get the ring?
If it hadn't done this Sam would have insisted on taking him through Moria with him as he needs someone to pamper and most likely wouldn't of gone off with Frodo.

I don't think this is necessarily true...as much as Sam loved Bill, he loved Frodo more and would have chosen to go with Frodo over Sam. Also, I don't think Bill would have made it into the mines anyhow. It might have taken quite a while for the other members of the Fellowship to convince Sam to let him go, but I think it would have been accomplished in the end. The Watcher just sort of sped up the process.

As for what the Watcher was, I think it is sort of like Shelob...not particularly an agent for either side, just something malevolent lurking in an out of the way place. Sauron may have known it was there, and regarded it the same way as he did Shelob: it just made him happy to know that there was something nasty and evil out there that he didn't really have to worry about controlling. I don't think the Watcher was aware of the Ring; it just was doing what it would to any potential prey. After his battle with the Balrog, Gandalf says there are things in the deep places of the world older than Sauron. I think the Watcher is one of these things. The Watcher, if it is, as I assume, older than Sauron or at least unconnected with him, really isn't particularly good or evil...just nasty.

So if the Watcher saved the company, specifically Sam, from the insidious influence of Bill, doesnt that make it an agent for good?

Really, there's nothing in the world that's so bad that nothing it does or causes has any good consequences. If you think about it, the Ring itself is sort of an agent for good. Although it was created for evil and did cause horrible things to happen, in the end, good prevails. If the Ring hadn't been created and then destroyed, Sauron or a worse power would still be lurking somewhere.
I don't really think the watcher in the water was something like shelob, because shelob was one of Ungoliat's desendants, and it was the las of his desendants to die, then how could the watcher in the water be a desendant of Ungoliat while shelob was de last of his kind.
Come to Rednell's Sunday's chat room class in Bilbos-Study where we will be discussing this and other of the Enemy's Nasty Critters. It starts at 9:00 PM GMT Teacher Smilie

The reading assignment's are posted under each weeks' topic under Tolkien Weekly Courses near the bottom of the forum. After the classes are over the transcript of the class is posted for review and comments by those who could not get to the class. Wiggle Smilie

Even if you haven't read the assignment you are welcome to join us. You may join in our discussion or just sit quietly in the background listening, and there are no pop quizzes or final exams. Cool Elf Smilie

Happy Elf Smilie

[Edited on 20/1/2003 by Grondmaster]
then how could the watcher in the water be a desendant of Ungoliat while shelob was de last of his kind.

I didn't mean the Watcher was a descendant of Shelob or Ungoliant...I just meant that, like Shelob, it wasn't actually in allegiance with either side.
Ok thanks for clearing that up chikakat. Big Smile Smilie
As to what the Watcher in the Water was, Gnampie (one of our resident naturalists) informed us last October in our triva thread, that it was a type of mollusc called a cephalopod. So it is something like a squid or kraken.
I think the watcher in the water was one of the beings from under the mountains that are as old as the worlsd it self and has just managed to escape to the surface.

Bill's not an agent of evil, ti's just that he's much loved and you see how stubborn Sam is when he dives into the water to join Frodo on the boat. In my mind there's no doubt about it he would have just brought him with him.
Maybe Ulmo sent the watcher to see to that noone entered Moria. hehehehe I was just joking hahaha
I have no idea what the watcher could possibly be but I trust what you said Grondmaster.......=D
Gandalf says that the watcher is one of the fowler things that orcs that comes out from the waters of Moria. It might be a creature that sauron sent to get the ring. Who knows?
Well, I don't think it even knew Sauron existed; I think it was one of Mekor's creatures that escaped at his downfall and the submegance of Beleriand.
Could be ancient....from Morgothīs time...but like Golly it wanted dominion and mastery of itīs own....this could be possible right?
if i am not hallucinating, i think in the appendices of lotr the watcher is mentioned somewhere. maybe only in one sentence, but better than nothing.
at least sauron filled moria with orcs (mentioned in appendices too) so could be he had something to do with that bunch of tentacles too, coz the beast first attacked the ringbearer when the gate to moria was opened, but maybe it only sensed the evil presence of sauron in the Ring.
True....but still....do you think it was an agent of Sauron that if it had taken the Ring from Frodo that it would "email"Wink Smilie Sauron that it had it? Or would it put it on one of itīs tentacles and become a slimy dark octopus?

My bet is that what I said beforeWink Smilie
Well if it had taken Frodo into the water and possible had eaten Frodo, then Sauron would at least know where to find the Ring : he'd just give the squiddie a laxative and he would have his possession back.

Anyway, the squid had to be there with a purpose, i don't think it was just coincidence it came in the water just before the entrance to Moria, in a time when Sauron filled it up with Orcs and such stuff.
Why did the watcher kill the dwarves then?
Because he was hungry?
Why did the watcher kill the dwarves then?
Because he was hungry?
No, if the Watcher was there at Sauron's behest (which I doubt) it was only to keep riff-raff from getting in and anyone from getting out, including the Orcs.

I don't believe the Watcher was sentient, just a good guard dog. The Watcher would have eaten any Orc that was foolish enough to try direct communication. So, if the Watcher had taken the Ring, Sauron wouldn't have known it unless a Nazgul happened by.
Interesting. So you are saying that the watcher simply happened to be dwelling outside of Moria, where he could feast on any water-disturbing life form? Was it a game of chance that our hero was struck first by its tentacles? Perhaps the story would have been shorter and painless if it had eaten Frodo, for the ring would pass on, for generations even, until worn by another soul. Could it, perhaps, burn the innards of the Watcher? Doubtful. Encapsulated in feces at the bottom of that dark pond where no one dared to pass... mmhhh. If indeed It was watching for the ring, by orders or not, seems kind of far fetched. Remember that Orcs and Goblins and fire and shadow reign in the mines. Anyone trying to get out that way had to engage everything in those mines. And it was not likely that anyone would try and get in that way either. Darn the pass of Carahdras!

(Grondy merely replaced a naughty word.)
Darn the pass of Carahdras!
Ah, but had the pass been open, Gandalf wouldn't have have got himself killed fighting the Balrog or have been sent back in a much stronger form enabling him to withstand the Nazgul and to council the free peoples toward the destruction of Sauron and the return of the King. But I know what you meant. Elf Winking Smilie
I think the watcher in the water is some kind of giant squid Kraken beast, that was released from under the misty mountains at the same time as the Balrog.

But everyone knows that, right?
Actually i have read that the Watcher in the Water was in some distant relation with the.......wait for it....Dragons!!! I agree that it does have a Krakenish side thou, but hey, im just stating what i read in the "TheComplete Tolkien Companion", great book, really. And i dont really think the Watcher was a simple beast under the command of Sauron, but he did grab Frodo first..... So i think he either was in some connection with the Enemy, or he had darker and deeper ambitions for himself.........
As there are tentacles involved, i support the huge squid theory.

Maybe the watcher in the water is an independent Maia like Ungoliant, who chose to take the form of a squid and live under the misty mountains after it came down to Arda, and after thousands of years it decided to take some fresh air? It's logical for the Watcher to attack Frodo as it'd feel the power of the Ring - Sauron's Maian power.

Don't forget Gandalf himself says later on "There are older and unknown creatures in the deepest bowels of the earth" - or something like that (and he's probably not referring to Morlocks).

If the watcher's Maian, it would indeed be related to Dragons, as Dragons are maiar. For the same, it's related to Gandalf himself.
where is it said dragons are originally maian? seems pretty cool though
I wouldnīt have thought about dragons being Maiar. Good call! I just want to thank Barandahir for his ingenious deduction on the watcher being realesed from the mines as well. Sounds mighty possible. Also, if you read a couple replys up, Etharion tingled your creative side with a risible idea: it had ambitions for himself. Made me smile! Of course. It is sooo obvious that no one had seen it. Call it Big Picture miopia, if you will. It has to be true, for I am still smiling. As a Maiar, to sense the last resort for salvation and domination in this putrid swamp, Eureka! No way Iīm asking questions, this one is mine. Of course, as notably suggested, it had to happen the way it did... weīre still alive; are you sure the oracle didnīt tell you more? But, in that context, Gandalf still wouldnīt feel anything being near the ring, as he does not. He didnīt feel the coming of the watcher, did he? I have a question. does Bill, the pony, appear ever again in the story? Or did the watcher settled for second best and said, "Neh, what the hell! Iīll take what I can get." and went on and grabbed the pony?
Sam finds Bill at Mr Butterbur's when they return to the Shire.

'It was as shaggy as an old dog and as lean as a clothes-rail, but it was alive. Nob's looked after it.'

'What! My Bill? cried Sam.
I have conflicting thought regarding the Watcher being Maian.

For a long time I used to think the Watcher was Maian. Only Iluvatar could create beings with free thought, and these were either Valar, Maiar, or his Children (plus the Dwarves of course). Anything that wasn't "Children" but had free thought tended to be Maiar. Examples of this are the Ents and the Giant Eagles, Morgoth's Werewolves, Balrogs, and vampires. In HOME these is also some evidence to suggest the earliest Orcs and the dragons were Maia too.

So does the Watcher have free thought, or is it just an animal? It appeared to go for Frodo, but was that just a one in nine chance? It did appear to drive the party in Moria and collapse the entrance behind them. This does suggest some form of thinking, but I'm not totally convinced. Gandalf's remark of there being older and darker things in the bowels of the earth than orcs, does suggest something more insidious, but again, could just mean any of Morgoth's creations. I think here, too, his mind was possibly refering to the Balrog, which he must have known resided in Moria.

Now if the Watcher was Maiar, it almost certainly would have started out as one of Ulmo's servants, just as Sauron was once in the service of Aule. Ulmo was the one Valar who never totally abandoned Middle Earth, and was thus the reason Morgoth and Sauron never posed any threat at sea, beyond corrupting the Numenorians. If the Watcher was Maiar, and Morgoth had managed to corrupt it into his service, where would it go to avoid Ulmo's wrath. The only watery places Ulmo did not control were the rivers. Why does a huge great kraken finish up in a lake at the foot of Moria? Not by choise I'd imagine. I think it was driven there to escape Ulmo, and had swam up the Gwathlo from the sea.

For some reason you get the impression the Watcher is ancient, and again if that is so, it suggests Maiar rather than animal.

Funny, when I began this post I was actually going to say I used to think the Watcher was Maiar but now I''m not so sure. As I've written my thoughts down, however, I'm back to thinking that yes, the Watcher is Maiar. That is only my own thought however, and the above reasoning could have totally different explainations. Be interesting to hear Virumor's views on this.
Like i posted in here before on 11 February, i think the Watcher in the Water (Watcher in the Waste would be a better description) is a free(lance) "evil" Maia like Ungoliant, but in the form of a huge kraken instead of a spider. Perhaps those "older and darker beings" Gandalf refers to are any of those Maiar who answer to no Vala but only to themselves (Shelob for instance, is another good example).

At one point, it came from beneath the misty mountains or whatever, to keep an eye on the entrance to Mordor, for whatever reason. It could be the lake in front of Moria is fed by streams deep under the misty mountains (like the one Gandalf and the Balrog fell in) and that the Watcher came from there, after spending numerous years there. I think this is the only possibility for the Watcher to end up there - i don't think he was walking around in the vicinity of the lake and then suddenly decided to take a really long bath.

It wasn't sent there because of Sauron for sure, but still the presence of an evil thingy just in front of the entrance seems a bit very coincidental, doesn't it - i don't think he was there yet when Khazad-Dûm flourished by the presence of the Dwarves and the contacts with the Elves of Eregion. It came there when Sauron was busy filling Moria with Orcs and Goblins (cf appendices), i presume - but this doesn't mean that Sauron commanded the Watcher; i think the Watcher moved to the surface because it felt that other evil was stirring in Moria and that something was about to happen.

Evil attracts evil : it seems that all evil beings gather or suddenly pop up at the end of the Third Age, no matter who they answer to, just like all good beings are gathering.
I think it is quite possible that The Watcher is the aquatic equivalent of a balrog, or perhaps even some sort of evolved or mutated balrog. It probably dates back to before the rising of the sun and moon, when all was dark. Maybe it was awakened by the activity around that area but is capable of hibernation... Just my opinion. Smile Smilie
if these maiar/animals can reproduce how is it that it was decided that the Valar could not?, as far as i was aware the only difference between the two was that teh valar were alot more powerful?
Melian proved that at least some of the Maiar could reproduce. I think what is explained in HOME, is that those Maiar who took on a more permenant physical form, and thus became "earthly", could breed.
Ungoliant had offspring as well but what of Balrogs and other demons. Could Sauron have had a child? I cannot recall any mention of Vala having kids but is there a reason why they could not?
Vee wrote:

Could Sauron have had a child?

Wow! now that would be one tempermental child. Could you imagine the offspring of Sauron going through his terrible-two's? I thought my toddler was a handful, but I guess I won't moan anymore given the thought of what could have been! Big Laugh Smilie
Me thinks Sauron probably had many children, especially in Numenor, but he sacrificed them all in annual Ceremonies of Infanticide on the altars of his great leader, 'The Lord of Darkness', 'Melkor, Lord of All, Giver of Freedom, He that makes you stronger than they.'* He would have done this to the yearlings so he never had to put up with the terrible-twos.

This I proport to be yet another aspect of Saurons great evilness—and Jonathan Swift' only proposed eating them before they reached that age. Personally, as a matter of moral policy, I reject all forms of infanticide and would rather put up with the terrible twos in rememberance of my parents, who put up with me and my siblings.

* I paraphrased that last bit which I found in the 'Akallabeth' of The Silmarillion, where Sauron was preaching to Ar-Pharazon.
Any Maia who took a material form could produce children. Melian is a good example. But for instance also the Eagles could reproduce : Gwaihir and Landroval were Thorondor's sons.

And actually, Gothmog -the lord of Balrogs- is sometimes mentioned as Morgoth's son.

Sauron didn't have kids, but he sure wanted some! Why else did he forge the One Wedding Ring?

One Ring to marry them all!
GOTHMOG MORGOTH'S SON? But he's a Vala. Where does it say that? I don't suppose it is to be taken literally, though.
so if the maiar could have kids while inhabiting a corporeal form, could the valar? was tere really any difference between the two apart form degrees of power? wot i read from the ainundale led me to believe that all ainur were the same, the divisions only occuring because of them being more or less powerful
In his early drafts of what became the Silmarillion, the Valar were able to reproduce. As well as Gothmog being son of Morgoth, Eonwe was the son of Manwe. Over time, however, Tolkien changed these relationships until the Valar were all childless. As has been pointed out, though, the Maiar were able to breed.
Fingolfin, as Maiar and Valar are both of the same race of the Ainur, i indeed think both Maiar and Valar are able to reproduce should they take a human form.

I compare it to Greek mythology, where both the 12 Olympic gods and the numerous lesser gods (Valar and Maiar) are able to reproduce to their heart's content. In the case of Greek mythology, reproducing could even happen without copulating : for instance, Pallas Athena was born out of Zeus's head, Aphrodite out of a shell, etc.
This is getting much too confusing for my liking. Maiar can reproduce, that's certain. But I just don't see Sauron having a child. Or Gandalf, for that matter. Gandalf's kid!!!! He would almost certainly be a geek!!! And if he wasn't, it would be funny... how would Gandalf handle one of today's teenagers?

Sorry, I just had to post that!!! What a funny thought!!!
Of course Gandalf can have kids. Why not? He has proven on numerous occasions he's still virile... the Hugh Hefner of Middle-Earth?
Heīs a friend for all cultures. You see him riding alongside with men, elves, in confidence with eagles and trees. One gets to wonder why so little is said about his trips to Dwarf country. Could it be... love? Picture him getting it on with the Dwarf women! Woo-hoo!
Picture him getting it on with the Dwarf women! Woo-hoo!

Possibly not an image to dwell on for too long on a Family Friendly site. Shaking Head Smilie
Gandalf'd be too tall to go for any long trips in Dwarf country anyway - and isn't 'Dwarf Country' an oxymoron? I mean, no dwarves live in the country...