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They have a point. Sometimes the evillest people are not the ones with most power but the ones with most greed or selfishness. I still stick to what Miruvor said about this being a matter of opinion.
" Ere his foul spirit had left its dark house, Luthien came to him, and said that he should be stripped of his raiment of flesh, and his ghost be sent quaking back to Morgoth"...

What I meant earlier is that although Morgoth got injured by a powerful elf, Sauron was defeated by Isuildur, a man less superior to the firstborn and especial inferior to Fingolfin.

Huan is both hound of Valinor and hound of Orome but if nitpicking is your hobby hound of orome is more precise.

The quote i provided back along states that Tolkien does not beleive in absolute evil in rational beings. He says that sauron is the evilest of rational beings. But the other quote I put was that Morgoth was at least for some time irrational so therefore it follows that he is 100% evil, and therefore making him the evilest of all beings.
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Huan is both hound of Valinor and hound of Orome but if nitpicking is your hobby hound of orome is more precise.

Nitpicking would be correcting "Hound of Valinor" by "Hound of Oromë", which I didn't do. I corrected a grave mistake on your part, naming Huan a "Werewolf".

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But the other quote I put was that Morgoth was at least for some time irrational so therefore it follows that he is 100% evil, and therefore making him the evilest of all beings.

Ah yes, that really proves it indeed. You can collect your prize at the exit.
I've just got a question. How can Morgoth be 100% evil? Everyone's supposed to have two sides to them. Think about it in another light. Without Morgoth, there would have been no blah blah blah. And he still had a bit of good in him in the beginning, right? Although I do admit that that little bit of good may have disappeared with time, he still has this little record of "being good" in his history.
Evil is not measured by power, but great power used for evil would be more damnable than lesser power. So for example, it would have been lamentable for a Noldo to have attacked the Two Trees as they were holy and the source of light to all of Aman. But it was far more evil for Melkor to obtain their destruction with Ungoliant. Not only was he capable of desiring it, but capable of understanding the evil it would cause before he did it, and of course, capable of bringing it about. The Valar were able to bring good out of this evil in creating the sun and moon, but that does not change the great evil of this act in itself.

Tolkien's underlying theology defines good as being, and evil as the opposite of good--or nonbeing. Therefore, since you cannot have a being which is a nonbeing, you cannot have a creature which is pure evil. Now if we understand Eru, as Tolkien drew him, as the Origin of Being, Existence Itself, he is All-Good. Then any creature of his creation who chooses to wilfully pull away and want to "do his own thing" instead of follow Eru's plan--a plan which allows free cooperation, not blind submission to "fate"--would distance himself from the All-Good in the measure he was able to do evil. Now Melkor was the most powerful Vala, was he not? He was created with this power, we can say, in order to use it freely to accomplish good and contribute to the fulfillment of the Music and the Vision. Instead, he chose to use his power to bring about evil which no other being could have been capable of (destruction of the Two Trees, first murder, stealing Silmarills, etc.). I would therefore have to conclude that Melkor/Morgoth is more evil than Sauron.

With the readers of Tolkien, as with almost everyone, evil is perceived to be greater if it is more personal. So our understanding of the evil of Morgoth as opposed to the evil of Sauron is colored by the ways we perceive them in Tolkien's works. Because the Silmarillion is a more impersonal and high-flown work, we tend to think of the deeds recounted there as having little connection to us. "That was a long time ago, the First Age, and it happened mainly to Elves. So what has it to do with us?" But the LOTR, that was about the Third Age. We got to know a great many characters personally and learned to love them as though they lived and breathed in our own world. So when evil befell these characters, we felt it more personally and we were agrieved more profoundly. We were there when the Ringwraiths pursued Frodo, felt his fear, and agonized with him on Weathertop. We stood by Merry and Pippin and watched as Boromir died trying to save them. We trudged every step to Mount Doom to see the Ring destroyed. So naturally, we have the tendency to think nothing could be a great as the evil that our friends had to overcome in Sauron and his minions.

But Sauron was the lieutenant of Morgoth. He learned his evil ways by imitating his Master first, although he then extrapolated in his own fashion. It was indeed a great evil to use orcs to murder and destroy elves and men. But Morgoth had "created" the orcs and used them with ferocious cunning. It was a great evil that Sauron dominated many peoples and wanted to dominate all ME. But Morgoth actually did dominate all of Beleriand by the end of the FA, and he had waged his horrible war for eons longer than Sauron did in the SA and TA combined. So if we want to take a body count, even apart from his standing in relation to Eru, Morgoth still is more evil than Sauron.
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But Morgoth actually did dominate all of Beleriand by the end of the FA, and he had waged his horrible war for eons longer than Sauron did in the SA and TA combined. So if we want to take a body count, even apart from his standing in relation to Eru, Morgoth still is more evil than Sauron.

I'm not sure if Morgoth would win this 'body count'. The first war Morgoth was involved in, was against the Valar which ended with Morgoth 1000-year imprisonment. When he was freed, soon he caused the Darkening of Valinor and the War of the Silmarils, which culminated in the War of Wrath. But this events, as happened in the First Age, lasted only 580 years and the victims of the War on the 'good side' were mostly Elves as the race of the Atani had not multiplied that much by then.

During the Second and Third Age, the race of Men had far outnumbered the race of Elves hence during the wars in those Ages the victims were mainly Men (safe the wars in Eriador), and I have the impression that the number of victims in those Ages was far higher than those in the First Age.

In the Second Age we not only have the War in Eriador and the Last Alliance, but primarily the sinking of Númenor : what was the body count there? It could be higher than the total number of victims in the First Age.

It all comes down to the question how one wants to measure evil? Can it be measured in power, let alone in numbers? Like Val already posted above, it is hard to see what is more evil : a despote who is responsible for the death of millions of people, or one anonymous person who longs to destroy millions of people but never does anyone any harm.

The only thing that is certain, is that Morgoth was the first and most powerful evil, and Sauron his prime servant.
As Morgoth is a Vala and Sauron a Maia, Morgoth's actions had more lasting effect on Arda than Sauron's. If we judge who's 'more evil' based on this, then Morgoth could be named most evil; though for the same Sauron could be named more evil than Morgoth, as even though he was far less powerful, still the actions and events Sauron was responsible for had such a huge impact on Middle-earth and its peoples.

It is unknown how to outweigh Sauron's evil intent (his desire to dominate, destroy and enslave) against Morgoth's.
And there you have if folks, Morgoth managed to squeak out a win in the final round of play due to the excellent teamwork of Miruvor. And the final score: Morgoth 2, Sauron 1.

And now we take you live to Turin, Italy for the final wrap-up of today's Opening Ceremony at the 2006 Winter Olympics....click.
Morgoth's power and abuse of it, his standing in relation to Eru as one of the primary Valar, and therefore, his responsibility go into determining how evil he was. If we look at how much he knew and how much he was given, how much power he was entrusted with and how much responsibility he had to use it well, we can easily see that he was far more evil than Sauron. This seems at first glance to boggle the imagination, but it is not at all far-fetched. Melkor had grave responsibility for his use/abuse of power. If we do not believe this, then we are missing a great part of Tolkien.

How did Melkor use his power? He destroyed the greatest source of light the world of Aman ever knew or ever would know--the sun and moon being but faded pieces of the Two Trees. He invented murder, for before the homocide of Finwe there had not been death among the elves. Would Feanor have brought about the Kinslaying if he had not seen what Morgoth had done to his father? It seems unlikely. So we can say that Morgoth is responsible for all the subsequent murders and sorrows in Valinor, Beleriand, ME, and even Numenor.

It is probably true that Sauron was responsible for the deaths of countless more men than elves. But has anyone counted the lives of elves lost in the FA? I did not intend that this should be the primary proof of Morgoth's evil. But it is something to consider. For thousands of years, it seems to me, Morgoth killed off the various elf kingdoms in Beleriand. So exactly how many Noldor and Sindar are we talking about? Keep in mind that none of them should have died at all. There is a special evil in killing a person who is never meant to die, as opposed to hastening the death of one who will eventually die anyway (men). And Morgoth killed whole kindreds, extinguishing whole families of elves, leaving none but distant relations to grieve by the end of the FA.

But as I said, the primary reason I believe Morgoth takes the "prize" over Sauron is his abuse of power and the responsibility he bore for that.
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If we look at how much he knew and how much he was given, how much power he was entrusted with and how much responsibility he had to use it well, we can easily see that he was far more evil than Sauron.

Again, evil is measured in power here. Again, there is no doubt that Morgoth was more powerful than Sauron. We're going around in circles here. Really, I cannot judge whom of the two was more evil as I do not have an idea of their evil intent.

Whether one judges Morgoth's evil actions to be larger than Sauron's, is a matter of opinion.
Power can be classified as a subject of Evil.
Galadriel wanted power over a realm in middle earth, but thast does not make here evil. It is what you want to do with that power that does. Morgoth wanted to destroy everything that was not bound up with his own will and afterwards thern even destroy those who were.
Manwe had considerable power but he did not use it in that way, that is why power CAN be classified into evil.
Sorry, LoA, I didn't quite get what you said. Are you saying that power can be classified as evil? Because the examples that you've used (Galadriel, Manwe) prove just the opposite. They are perfect examples that one can have power and not be evil at the same time. If, as you say, power is a subject of evil, the I'd say power is also a subject of good. Or we could even put it in another way : Power is a sword, neither evil nor good, but in the hands of the evil it is evil and in the hands of the good it is good.
Then what about the 'power' of the Ring which corrupted even the good?
Anyone remember the line from "Spiderman" in which Uncle Ben says, "With great power comes great responsibility"? The thought is hardly original to him. In fact, he is voicing a principle which I have been going back to repeatedly in this thread. Power is not itself evil. Of itself, power is indifferent and can be used either way. But the one who has the greater power has the greater responsibility to use it for good. This is because his power gives him the ability to do greater evil or greater good than the one with lesser power.

Take an example. Of itself, a gun in the hands of a 20-year-old can be used for murder or to procure food. In the hands of a 5-year-old, it could be used to kill as well. But the "power" of the 5-year-old is not used the same as that of the 20-year-old. The child is not as responsible for his act as the man, and the law recognizes this by normally inflicting different penalties in these cases.

So, I argue, Sauron, though he is very evil, did not bear the same responsibility as Morgoth in pursuit of evil. Melkor held a higher place, and therefore was more accountable for his conduct. This is why I think Morgoth is more evil. This does not make Sauron any Shirley Temple!
It is what you do with the power that is given to you that decides whether it is good or bad.
But what Tolkien is saying is that 'Absolute Power corrupts absolutely". Never mind that Gandalf was good, Frodo was good, Bilbo was good, Isildur was good - they would all succumb to the Power of the Ring and ultimately wield it for evil rather than good.
I agree, V. But that is because the power of the Ring was already itself evil. It was the power to dominate, which was the sole reason for Sauron to forge it at all. It was then not indifferent, but evil. So of course, that kind of power would corrupt anyone susceptible to the temptation. The Ring's allure was a lie, of course. No good could be done with it.
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Then what about the 'power' of the Ring which corrupted even the good?

It only corrupts the good who try to bind the Ring to their will in order to use if for good, which ultimately changes them into another Sauron as the part of Sauron's malice within the Ring is stronger than the will of any person in Middle-earth.

However, the Ring is unable to corrupt any person who holds no interest in the Ring (eg Tom Bombadil) or any person whose power is greater than Sauron (no example of such a person in Middle-earth, however take any Vala as example, or a Maia with greater power than Sauron).

I agree with G-O; all visions of power that the Ring shows to its wielder, which changed according to who wields it (for instance, Samwise saw himself as the greatest gardener in Middle-earth) are lies and only meant to trap the wielder - the only function that the Ring has, is dominate the Three, the Seven and the Nine. It cannot be used to create, or preserve beauty like the Three.

The Ring is like a parasite seeking a host to pour its part of Sauron's will into; Sauron's will would then subsequently dominate and take over the host's will, and not much would remain of the original mind of the host : even our 'Dark Queen' Galadriel's spirit would eventually been blown away like dust in the wind, had she taken the Ring for herself.
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the only function that the Ring has, is dominate the Three, the Seven and the Nine. It cannot be used to create, or preserve beauty like the Three.


I agree that Sauron created the Ring as a tool for dominating the other rings of power. I was going to argue that Sauron also used the ring to build the foundations of Barad-dur, because I believe that is written somewhere in LotR. However, on reflection, the timing for that is way out. I think what is meant by that statement is that when Sauron poured part of his own power into the ring, part of the power he used to create Barad-dur would have also gone into the ring.
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It only corrupts the good who try to bind the Ring to their will in order to use if for good, which ultimately changes them into another Sauron as the part of Sauron's malice within the Ring is stronger than the will of any person in Middle-earth.


This is more or less what I said. The good who try to use the Ring become 'corrupted' no matter what their intentions are. Even Gandalf, a Maia, feared corruption. Faramir, like Tom B, was not interested in it but even Faramir would have succumbed to its power had he wanted it. Tom B was different from any other creature in ME and as Gandalf said, he would just have forgotten it even though it had no power of him. Saruman never touched the Ring but he suffered long distance corruption.

So, was Tolkien implying that absolute power corrupts absolutely? I think so.
I do not think that was the lesson, V. Otherwise, how do we account for the power held by the other Valar? They all had similar powers, though as we know, most used their abilities for good. They took their resonsibilities to heart and did what they should have with the gifts they were given. Sauron, like Morgoth, could only think of himself and what he could get by domination. So maybe the lesson is "Don't be selfish," or "Look to thy end."
Ya know, as some of you have already almost said, Morgoth created the first evil. He is the drop that started the ripple that became the wave. Or maybe not so much of a 'drop', but you get the idea. My pont is, Sauron would never have come into power had the Morgoth not made him a lieutenant. Ungoliant would never have darkened the trees in Valinor had Melkor never made the initial decision to destroy. I agree that, as a bearer of greater power, and taking into account the fact that he knew that his choices would effect the Creation for the rest of its duration, his was the greater evil of the two. Sauron ‘merely’ followed in the footsteps of his teacher and provider. I say ’merely’ because Sauron, though evil was all he had ever known, could have at any time looked beyond his shadows and seen the light and changed his path. His was also a cognizant choice to remain evil.
Sauron still had some good in him. Tolkiens quote say 'I do not beleive any rational being could be wholly evil. Sauron is the most evil of rational beings in my book', that is what is basically said. It is saying that even Sauron was not wholly evil. But Tolkien states that Morgoth is irrational so that must mean he is absolute evil.
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Saruman never touched the Ring but he suffered long distance corruption.

Not at all, he was just forced in Sauron's service when he directed the Orthanc-stone to Barad-Dûr. Saruman did not become corrupted by the Ring, just like Sauron he consciously set aside his appointed task; his long study of the Great Rings made him long to make a Great Ring of his own and use it to dominate and enslave under the motto "Knowledge, Rule, Order".

Saruman was merely a betrayer.

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and taking into account the fact that he knew that his choices would effect the Creation for the rest of its duration, his was the greater evil of the two. Sauron ‘merely’ followed in the footsteps of his teacher and provider.

Sauron knew too, as Sauron had also taken part in the Great Music. But of course, his understanding did not have the same extent as a Vala's.

I think that Sauron was the greater evil, because Sauron was once good before he joined Morgoth, whilst Morgoth had been evil from the very beginning when he sought to enter thoughts of his own in the Music.
Sauron consciously left the light to enter the darkness, in order to dominate and enslave whilst Morgoth never had an idea what 'good' and 'light' meant. To me, this makes Sauron the more evil.
Melkor knew absolutely what good was from the beginning. And he knew in a degree of knowledge superior to that of Sauron's knowledge. He was not created evil, for that would attribute to Eru the fault of having created evil. This is not the case, and it is not something Tolkien would ever do. Rather, Melkor was created good but free to choose good--leaving him also free to choose evil if he failed in his responsibility. Therefore, again, his greater status gave him the greater responsibility to do good and not evil.

I also cannot agree that Saruman was "merely" a betrayer, that he wanted to create his own ring and subjugate all to him by that means. If that were entirely true, why then did his Uruks drag Merry and Pippin clear across Rohan? It is obvious that he was after the Ring itself, and that he had succumbed to its temptation. This was also believed by the characters as the story unfolded. So we can say that the Ring, or desire of it, corrupted him, although the door to his heart was already open to that subversion because of his own desire for power.
I believe there is some place in the text that said the reason Saruman kept the White Council from investigating Dol Guldur was that he wanted to keep them away from the River Anduin because he was searching for the Ring, even though he had previously said it had been washed out to sea and lost forever. Or words to that effect.

Yes it is written about twenty-one pages into the chapter entitled 'Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age' of The Silmarillion.
This may take a while. It's all Jordans fault....
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So, here's a suggestion - everyone read the Silmarillion!

Sounds like a plan to me, Vee.
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Well at least Beren & Lúthien are first!
In your face, LOTR movie lovers!

As usual, we think alike, as that was my reaction, too.
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Actually, no, as from the Silmarillion we know that both Sauron and Saruman were originally servants of Aulë :

You knew what I meant! :P Morgoth seduces Sauron SUBSEQUENT to his own fall then, to be more precise. Not that that alters the logic a whit....
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Well I'm more one to believe that evil already existed before the Music. If there wasn't evil then there wouldn't have been good. So technically there were always two sides to any of the Ainur, it's just some of them could control their inner desires and turn them to better uses(Aule), and some, like Manwe, could even cleanse himself of them.

When Eru made the world, he pretty much left it to its own fate. I think he knew there was going to be pain and suffering on his new planet. How could there not be, when everyone he made had two sides to them? Eru sort of just threw his children onto the world and left them to see if they would turn to the dark or the light. I guess maybe to him it was just another world he created. He knew how it would end, and all he wanted to see was how the people would bring it about.

If you haven't yet, you MUST read WoT (even if books 8-10 were kinds a sorry, the first seven were awesome. ) I seem to remember something about how a Gardener doesn't weep for every blossom that falls in his garden, and the Creator making all the worlds and leaving them to fend for themselves. Now, in terms of they choice, I'm inclined to agree, but I still maintain that antithesis is not as essential as thesis, that, to use Tolkiens word describing Manwe and Morgoth, they aren't "coeval." Put more simply, I disagree that evil is as old as good because it's not as substantial: evil isn't required to contrast good and provide the dialectic, but good has its own inherent identity, and while, in a sense, evil can be said to date from goods beginning, this is only true of a hypothetical evil. Think of it this way: if I have an idea, say, for you to to drive to your state capitol, that's an active thing; if you say, "NO!" that's not really an "idea" as such, just a negation of mine. My idea can stand on its own in the absence of yours, but the reverse is not true (no!... what?) Antithesis is not coeval with thesis because it can only be defined in terms of the latter, and that makes it subordinate, in every sense. But that's just me.
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.... There wouldn't be free will if there wasn't something to choose from, but it is clear that Eru didn't like what Melkor chose.

Melkor chose not to do as Eru would have liked, but would a forced, "nice" song from Melkor be better? The world would still be tainted with hiddend hate and anger. Or if he was refused to sing at all? Would the others feel free to pour their hearts into the world or would they hold back? Wouldn't it be a crippled creation? Would Melkor wish to own the world or to destroy it?

As of pain and suffering. I think that in a way Eru is saying: "See now what free will created. War, murder, suffering, hunger. But also hope, love, endurance, creativity, music, art. You will all get to sing in the Second Song, the choise is yours what you add to it." In the first song the Ainur created a world for themselves and Eru's children, without fully knowing what they were making. In the second song, all will create a new world together.


I cut as much of that as I could bear, because I didn't want to have a bunch of "exactly" in what's already going to be a long post. Yeah, you can't coerce Love.
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If you believe Sauron is the most evil being then your best quote is thus,

"In my story I do not deal with absolute evil. I do not think there is such a thing since that is zero. I do not at any rate think any 'rationl being' is wholly evil. Satan fell. in my myth Morgoth fell before the creation of the phisical world. In my myth Sauron represents as near an approach to wholly evil as is possible". (Letter 183)

I have now some succesful rebuts flawing this idear and proving Melkor is the evilest,

1 - "He was aware, at any rate originally when he was capable of 'rational' thought, that he could notn annhialate them (Elves and men)". Morgoths ring
"This was sheer nihilism and nagation its ultimate object. Sauron had never reached this stage of nihilistic madness". (Ibid 396)

A subtle but important distinction, and the one you suspected all along. Tolkien was a master of the English language; that's why he was Oxford Proffesor of English. He qualified his statement on Sauron, and did so for a reason. It does sound like Tolkien himself might have been a little conflicted though; if Morgoth was not "zero" that was at least his goal. It's nice to know my favorite author shares my view that the goal of absolute evil is nihilism. It offers some insight into Morgoths mindset: everything he perceived was a slap in the face, a reminder that he wasn't in control: it'll have to go.
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But logically, if everything could be "blackened" by Morgoth, then why is it so hard to "whiten" everything back again? Let beauty seep through the darkness and all that. Oh never mind. I know this doesn't work, but it's just wierd. Evil and good are like a one-way road. It only goes one way.

Because evil is infectious and corrupting, tainting all it touches. Look at the Ainulindale: it started small, but by the time it ended it took Erus own intervention to correct the effects of Morgoths lone note of discord. The good can never be completely eliminated, but neither can the evil. Hence Miruvors exposition of Morgoths Rings that I've cut and can't restore (D'oh!)
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The line between evil and good isn't always clear in JRRT's works, though. Look at Fëanor and his sons, for instance. Or Maeglin and Eöl.

The line isn't always clear in men (or Quendi, in Tolkiens world. ) We can have absolute evil in Morgoth, and absolute good in Eru, and extrapolate these to their servants, but in the Children of Iluvatar the two forever war, and which has ascendancy at any one time depends on whom you ask. Was it "good" for Turgon to have Eol thrown from the walls of Gondolin? Not really, but following Feanor into Exile in the first place wasn't too swift, and all the Noldor in Middle-earth bit on that one.
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In the end, Sauron had been a pest for the Children of Ilúvatar for 7,000 years (minus the years in which he regained his form), while Morgoth was only a pest for around 1,000-1,500 years (he was released soon before he destroyed the Two Trees).

I do think that the student may have surpassed the master. It was a bit embarassing of course that he got toppled a few times, but Morgoth didn't quite look good a few times either.

True, but I maintain that neither in capacity nor intent did Sauron surpass Morgoth, and the only reason he didn't destroy the world before Sauron had 7000 years to trouble it is because the Valar forcibly restrained him, as they never thought to do to Sauron. Seemingly he was beneath their concern, and at the close of the Elder Days this is understandable, for the combined might of the Free Peoples was many times greater than needed to overcome him.
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So we can say that the Ring, or desire of it, corrupted him, although the door to his heart was already open to that subversion because of his own desire for power.

He was corrupted by his own desire for power, not by the Ring. He merely wanted to have the Ring as it would be a great tool for his plans for domination. The Ring was miles and miles away from him, it could not affect his mind whatsoever. Instead, after Saruman's "fall" it was Sauron who further influenced his mind through the Palantír.

He sent his Uruks to retrieve the Halfling because he had likely seen the voyage of the Fellowship in his Palantír, and because Sauron had given him this task (even though Saruman also betrayed Sauron). When he saw they were drifting down the Anduin, he sent his Uruks.

But as this is off-topic, I'll show now refrain from this argument and refer it to a Saruman thread ("Saruman's evil", perchance?).

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Seemingly he was beneath their concern, and at the close of the Elder Days this is understandable, for the combined might of the Free Peoples was many times greater than needed to overcome him.

Seemingly, yes, because it was up to the Free Peoples of Middle-earth to defeat Sauron. Moreover, the Valar did send the Valar to guide them in this task.

Anyway, it is ironic that Sauron's tool for world domination - the Ring (insert sinister music) - caused his downfall, and that this was also the only possibility for the Free Peoples to defeat him : a military victory would be impossible, as they were largely outnumbered by Orcs and Easterlings; even with the Ring never found, Sauron would still have been victorious, despite the reforging of the sword of Andúril and what not.
I think some of this discussion overlaps with this thread - Eru's Thoughts

My thoughts then were that evil (or at least the seeds) must have been created by Eru. Where else would it come from? And as has been said here how do we know good unless we have something to compare it with?

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So, was Tolkien implying that absolute power corrupts absolutely? I think so.


I do not think that was the lesson, V. Otherwise, how do we account for the power held by the other Valar? They all had similar powers, though as we know, most used their abilities for good.


Thank you for pointing that out, Gandalf. You are right. They did use there powers for good, although there are times I feel they were guilty by omission. When I made that statement I was not thinking of the Valar at all but just those beings living in Middle-earth and subject to the taint of evil that Morgoth had spewed into the world.

Maybe it should be "absolute power corrupts, absolutely, sometimes"?


Well, Mir, someone made the comparison of Morgoth to Saruman, which I answered. I don't recall bringing it up. But if you move that tangent over to a new thread, show us where it is.

Meanwhile, thanks Morambar and V. I think you are both right. In fact, Morambar, you echoed a number of points I made. Great minds....
Well, most of the time (thanks, O White Wizard. ) Yet I must respectfully disagree with Vee; I still maintain when dealing with dialectic we have to go back to Aristotle, and thus Eru "creates" evil only in the sense of being possessed of inherent and distinct identity: By defining himself as absolutely good, he automatically defines anything opposed, or even separated from him, as evi. Maybe it works best in terms of the free will argument: if the Ainur and Erus Children are to have a choice, they must be free to make it; if Eru is absolutely good, to the point good is defined by HIM as much as the reverse, any other choice they make is, by definition, evil. It's "not good."

That still doesn't give Not Good the same level of being as Good though. It can only be expressed in terms of Good, while Good is self sufficient, just as Miruvor notes (more often than me, I think) it's easier to destroy than create, because the latter requires a degree of wit and planning generally unnecessary for the former, which requires naught but might (not to mention the Second Law of Thermodynamics.) And, of course (bringing it full circle,) until good creates, evil has nothing to destroy. This not only frees Eru from the merest mote of evil, but makes evil inferior to good, inevitably: not good vs. evil, but Good vs. evil.

I think I actually made essentially these arguments once upon a time in Erus Thoughts (where, admittedly, they do more properly belong) but also think this is the closest thing to a concise statement of my view that yet retains all the points. But whether I'm right as far as Morgoth and Eru (and given the parallel line of mine and Tolkiens reasoning, I think that's at least possible) only Tolkiens hairdresser knows for sure. ;-p
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