Thread: Isildur a bad guy?
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First off, in regards to Isildur's claiming of the One Ring, I'm not convinced Isildur was even aware of it's significance or danger. Obviously the elves new of the danger because they sensed Sauron's influence over Vilya, Narya, and Nenya. However, Tolkien describes the elves as being very secretive about their rings, presumably even with the Dunedain. I see no evidence to suggest that Elendil's people had any knowledge of the rings of power. None of the 9 where in their possession.
Second, I feel like Isildur kept the ring as a "trophy" of sorts in remembrence of his fallen brother and father, not out of plans to use it for its power. If Isildur had tyrannical motives, I feel that he probably would have followed Ar-Pharazon on his mission rather than his father who did not stand for such things. Also, Isildur must have hated Sauron for setting the downfall of Numenor in motion and probably wanted the ring as a form of closure.
What do you think? Please correct me if I am mistaken.
I agree with Odo about Isildur's foolhardy pride though.
As to your point that Isildur did not seek the Ring for power I agree, but Elrond seems to think it would have turned out that way anyhow, commenting on Isildurs fate Elrond says, "Yet death maybe was better than what else might have befallen him."
PS: It seemed to me that Elendil (and Gil-galad) killed Sauron, not Isildur. I love Elendil and was sad that all you see of him is him getting dominated.
Jackson's Isildur had held the Ring for at most a few hours at that point, though. Granted, Tolkien suggested that no one in Mt Doom could destroy the Ring wilfully, but I suspect Jackson had Isildur go to the Crack of Doom so he could set up the "men are weak" theme.
Tolkien more than suggested that no-one could willingly destroy the Ring at its source, Mt Doom. But perhaps you could resolve an issue for me. I thought Isildur DID take the Ring into the Crack of Doom in canon . Your post seems to imply that he did not.
Isildur never went to the Crack of Doom in canon. He was urged to destroy the Ring, but in a different location (possibly near the base of the mountain).
That said, Jackson's Isildur made the same decision that Tolkien's would have, had the latter ever gone to the Crack of Doom, because of the enhanced sorcerous nature of the Crack. Anyone at the Crack would have made the decision that Jackson's Isildur - and both versions of Frodo - made.
In any event, I'm not seeing this difference that you seem to. How did Tolkien's Isildur behave weakly compared to Jackson's? I notice you ignore the alternate circumstances of Isildur's death in your last post.
However I certainly concede that had Isildur's story in the film followed more precisely the text, your points about demonstrating Isildur's Nobility and the manner of his death would be entirely valid. In the end though, I think that given the changes (which I think were made to demonstrate the All Consuming Power of the Ring) Isildur is still portrayed in a manner consistent with the original intent. I don't think Jackson made Isildur look weak or cowardly. He showed him facing down and defeating Sauron only to be corrupted by the Ring at Mt Doom. The events that take place after that corruption therefore make sense in that context. And the essentials of the story of Isildur is preserved.
Though your point about Sauron reaching for Isildur does give me pause .
Hey! I just remembered Frodo's sneer at the Cracks of Doom, just as he decides to keep the Ring! Well, well, welll...
Maybe, you're right after all, Mr Ancalagon!
Maybe I'm being thick, but I don't understand how that makes movie-Isildur look better. Movie-Isildur has, probably, a better understanding of the importance of destroying the Ring, and his refusal to do so may indicate weakness (though the aforementioned sorcery is an important factor). At the very least I'd say its inconclusive in showing which version is nobler.
[quote:17wgdscp]However I certainly concede that had Isildur's story in the film followed more precisely the text, your points about demonstrating Isildur's Nobility and the manner of his death would be entirely valid. In the end though, I think that given the changes (which I think were made to demonstrate the All Consuming Power of the Ring) Isildur is still portrayed in a manner consistent with the original intent.[/quote:17wgdscp]
So if it had been more like the original the points about changes would be valid, but since things were changed, it's more like the original? You lost me there, GB.
My apologies again Eldo. Basically I agree with you, though I had to go through several steps of logic to get there. I worded my first sentence a bit unclearly. I meant that Isildur looked better based on Isildur's canonical keeping of the Ring. Without a lot of extra (and confusing) explanations to show how Isildur kept the Ring without being wholly corrupted as in canon, it was necessary for Jackson to clearly define the Ring as having corrupted Isildur. Changing the scene to the Crack of Doom was the best way to achieve that. Having done so, Isildur still ends up as Noble as he is in the books, his later supposed "cowardice" is clearly a result of the Ring's corruption in the film version.
Did you? Perhaps, I should read your posts? I've got out of the habit because you rile me so often with your fanciful liberal theories on everything! I find Mr Tyrant's views far more [i:1hp4k0eb]respectable [/i:1hp4k0eb]than yours - and he does, after all, get just as crabbity with PJ and Company as I do! And, anyhow, maybe with your knowledge of Mind Control, you read Mr Tyrant's Mind in the first place and stole the idea from him. Yes, that's probably what happened...
Eldo:"the Ring betrayed Isildur ... to his death"-----Isn't that how Bakshi handled Isildur's story ? It works! But I like Jackson's version too. Like you say though, not a big deal in the end.
The fact you're downplaying this now, suggests to me that this IS a BIG DEAL! Are you conspiring again, GB?
I don't remember how Bakshi handles it, only those horrid black-on-red visuals. I'm pretty sure the line you quote was said in some form in PJ's Prologue, though. A quick visit to the Internet Movie Script Database, while not conclusive, corroborates this memory.
I agree. Movie-Aragorn's reluctance may well have been a result of growing up around Elrond "Men are weak, wait, what's that you say about my father" Halfelven. That whole idea was introduced by Jackson.
"if they [the elves] were fully aware of the Rings abilities and power would simply have let Isildur walk away with it with nothing more than a bit of 'counciling' that he'd be best just destroying it."
I'm surprised how often people ask me why the elves (particularly Elrond) didn't kill Isildur and destroy the ring themselves.
First off, I really don't think it would be in the elves (or anyones) best interest to start a war with the Dunedain in the days of their prime in Middle Earth. Remember the Dunedain were by no means ordinary humans considering Aragorn is a "diluted" decendent. This is a quite trivial scenario as it would never happen but just an interesting "what if" to ponder.
Second, and again trivial, I honestly don't think [b:1igrdpv7]any[/b:1igrdpv7] of the elves (powerful as they were) were capable of defeating Isildur. The man was an absolte beast on the battlefield. The elves really had no choice but to let Isildur have his way.
I don't mean to be silly "what if" guy but what do you guys think?
From a physical standpoint:
-Isildur is described as being about 7 feet tall
-Isildur survived major wounds while stealing a fruit from the White Tree in Numenor
From a lineage standpoint:
-Isildur is decended from the "cream of the crop" of both elves and men
-Men (Elendil < Lords of Numenor < Elros < Earendil < Tuor < Huor < Galdor < Hador)
-Elves (Earendil < Idril < Turgon < Fingolfin)
Maybe I'm just biased toward humans too
One thing that I get hung up on though is the fact that realistically/historically these types of battles where not only hack, slash, stab, but they where also punch, kick, claw, push... In that case I just struggle to see the sophisticated elves as good brawlers. Think of it this way, would you rather take a left hook from Aragorn or Legolas (in other words, a broken jaw or an annoyance.) This isn't to say the elves weren't deadly skilled with their blades, but that's just not the whole picture. I think the fighting style we see Aragorn and Saruman's Uruk-hai use in PJs films is more realistic. Then again this is fantasy though...
Your choice of username suggests to me that you've read the Silmarillion, but in that case I would think you know that Elves are quite good in a fight. I'm not sure where the 'gay pansy' stereotype about Elves came from, but insofar as Tolkien's are concerned it's just not accurate. Witness Feanor fighting a group of Balrogs, or Finrod wrestling a werewolf after being starved in prison, or Fingolfin wounding Morgoth. Or any one of a number of other examples. Legolas might not be as strong since he's from a less straightforwardly brutal culture than the Noldor, but I think getting punched by him would be considerably more than an annoyance.
Just because I feel the ancient Dunedain were probably more brutal than the elves doesn't mean I think the elves were weak. That would be like saying the Atlantic Ocean is small just because the Pacific is bigger. I chose Aragorn and Legolas as examples because they are easier to relate to than their ancient counterparts and both represent a somewhat diminished form of the "glory days." Your point about the Noldorian lords in combat is 100% valid, all three did die though Also, although obviously great leaders such as Gil-galad were present, I thought the Noldor were already greatly diminished in numbers and strength from the War of the Jewels at the time of the Last Alliance while the Dunedain were in their prime.
They were extreme examples in extreme situations of the sort unlikely to be encountered in the later Ages, but yes, all three did die.
[quote:13v56iig]Also, although obviously great leaders such as Gil-galad were present, I thought the Noldor were already greatly diminished in numbers and strength from the War of the Jewels at the time of the Last Alliance while the Dunedain were in their prime.[/quote:13v56iig]
They were, but so were the Dunedain. The end of the Second Age was not exactly their prime. Numenor had just recently been destroyed and they were still rebuilding. In the Third Age Arnor didn't really have a prime (it was always rather small), but Gondor achieved a golden age of its own c. 1000. In contrast, the Eldar only diminished after the Last Alliance due to casualties and many of their people leaving for the Undying Lands.
I guess I always considered the fall of Numenor to have happened right at the pinnacle of their strength (although clearly not their moral fiber.) Since the Last Alliance occured relatively soon after the fall of Numenor I just considered them to still be in their prime as individuals but not in numbers. Also this would be before the Dunedain mixed with "lesser men" - that sounds so terrible.
Also I must admit that 2 of my earlier statements:
"Think of it this way, would you rather take a left hook from Aragorn or Legolas (in other words, a broken jaw or an annoyance.)"
"Just because I feel the ancient Dunedain were probably more brutal than the elves doesn't mean I think the elves were weak"
are completely contradictory and I would like to retract the first if you'll allow. I was trying to create a contrast and betrayed even my own views.
It might be challenging to perform martial arts in an up close and personal infantry combat.
Then again, I'm was also a little hesitant about seeing the Gondorian/Arnorian Army marching into the battle of the Last Alliance with long swords. One needs a lot of room to swing those bad boys vertically much less horizontally. I'm sure you guys all know, but this is why the ancient romans used the gladius and other such weapons. The Rohirrim actually use a similar but longer sword known as a spatha in the film. Long swords (especially Narsil) look awesome though and would probably be an encouraging thing to rally toward in a battle.
Just check out some Hong Kong Historical Action Epics to see how it's done .
That means a lot to me. Thank you.
I guess I always considered the fall of Numenor to have happened right at the pinnacle of their strength (although clearly not their moral fiber.) Since the Last Alliance occured relatively soon after the fall of Numenor I just considered them to still be in their prime as individuals but not in numbers.
I would agree at least partially with that, but I would be careful not to underestimate the importance of numbers. I also don't think that the 'individual' decline of the Numenoreans (i.e., becoming less-Elf-like) and the rising power of the Gondorian Empire (it was one in all but name) are necessarily exclusive. However, the 'decline' of the Gondorians from their previous Numenorean heights didn't really get underway until after the Kin-strife in the 15th century.
[quote:1ywxem9y]Also this would be before the Dunedain mixed with "lesser men" - that sounds so terrible.[/quote:1ywxem9y]
Mostly covered above, but I agree that it does sound bad. While I disagree with a lot of accusations of racism against Tolkien, this part does come off as pretty odious.
[quote:1ywxem9y]I would like to retract the first if you'll allow. I was trying to create a contrast and betrayed even my own views.[/quote:1ywxem9y]
Certainly. This makes your position a good deal clearer.
I'd never really thought of it that way, but that makes sense. I wonder what effect the unusually tall height of the average Numenorean/early Gondorian soldier would have, though. I really don't know. Unfinished Tales, The Disaster of the Gladden Fields mentions the Numenorean infrantry using shield-wall tactics when on the defensive and having - relative to the attacking Orcs - long swords and spears. (As a side-note, if you haven't read that story already, I recommend that you do since it has a great deal of knowledge about the early Numenoreans and their army despite being quite short.)
Is it just me or does Boromir's clothing in the Fellowship not seem Gondorian at all (except for the small White Tree on his vambraces and small feather badge on his cloak)? Maybe he was trying to be discreet about his identity during his travels?
(1) As to Isildur keeping the ring and the Elves not pushing the issue, remember it had been a War with Sauron, not jut one battle. All parties would have been nigh exhausted. The Americans did not turn on the Russians at the end of the Second World War, even though there were plenty saw it as a necessary thing to do to defeat the evil of Communism (as it's enemies saw it). Anyhow Elves and Men were good buddies.
(2) Who could know exactly what the propensity of the Ring was, as in how it affected it's bearer? It was a Ring of Power, yes, but maybe it was not clear that it was a Ring of Evil. Perhaps, Elrond suspected it should be destroyed just in case. Maybe he just misliked the thought of it's Power placed in the hands (or on the finger!) of anyone, whether purportedly good or bad. And maybe the idea of the Ring being inherently 'evil' and 'treacherous" dawned slowly. It's betrayal of Isildur, perhaps, opened a few eyes to it's inherent malevolence! Sauron was evil, but was the Ring initially thought to be so? Yes, he put his power into it, but could it be sure he put his malice in as well? The Elves sensed the Ring's power when Sauron put it on, but did they sense Sauron's malice or the Ring's? Easily confused, I guess, as they were revealed in a packaged form! Could the Ring's inherent [i:2f545b41]evil [/i:2f545b41] have been an open question at the time?
(3) Yes, Eldo is our resident Loremaster, God bless him.
(4) Elves were both Gay and Tough. (Possibly like those Gay old ancient warriors - only whiter, less olive skinned).
(5) On the issue of people being 'lesser'. Well, that's not Racist. For instance, I am Great among all you [i:2f545b41]lesser[/i:2f545b41] Forumers. That's not Racism. That's just fact. No one here (to my knowledge) is offended by that knowledge. Someone has to be at the top of the pyramid, so it may as well be me.
Boromir wears leather vambraces that we see Aragorn take from his dead body at the end of The Fellowship. Way to salvage!