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Thread: Where do Evil Spirits Go?

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So where do the evil spirits of the Mair, Orcs, Balrogs, etc, go when they die in Arda? The halls of Mandos?

Welcome to PT, Beren viii.

And considering your question: I would assume so, since Mandos is the one, who passes judgment to all who are dead.

But, I'm not the most suitable person to talk about these kind of things, since my knowledge of Tolkien and his works is not that great.

But I'd still say that in my opinion, even spirits of those creatures deserve some peace. Evil or not, they were still living beings.

Maybe Galin or Brego would like to speak out about this. Smile Smilie

(They'll probably just end up to cast their spirits through The Doors of Night).

Welcome to PT Beren! Waving Hello Smilie


I would agree with what oerath has said. Good or evil, these spirits were after all indirectly the creation of Eru and I would supposed animated by the flame imperishable! If they had no place in the halls of Mandos then that would mean that evil man/evles/dwarves would all likely hood find the same sentence passed for them!


And lets not forget that most of Morgoth's Abominations originated from ruining and marring the work of his peers, so again indirectly Erus own creations.

Hail Friends. All agreed so far. I think however that regarding the Maia ( whatever rank or power) and what happens to them we need to remember that not all Maia inhabit a flesh body and they don't die. The Bodies, inhabited by Maia,can however be killed/destroyed. I think the best written example of this is the death of Saruman. After his horrible end his spirit leaves his body, rises into the air like a grey mist, looks to the West and is dispersed by a westerly breeze. I choose to believe that the Maia are a constant, and therefore an immortal force which does not die. I think that the ultimate doom of a Maia depends on the Valar to whom they have adhered to on ages past. It would be to Sauron, whom the Evil or Dark Maia would return to,and perhaps to wander the Earth with, in various states of strength for ever. Or atleast until the re fashioning of the Earth after the last battle, which is still to come. The Valar seem to keep their own Maia in check and seem somewhat responsible for their actions.

I don't think JRRT had all the answers in this matter, granting that he never finished his legendarium in any event.

It seems to be the case in general that the Maiar, like the Valar (whether they self-incarnate or not), are bound to the world and its time, but yet (in a letter) Tolkien specifically noted that Gandalf had died and passed out of time, and that it was the One who sent him back, not the Valar. Tolkien was not against exceptions, but anyway Gandalf seems to have escaped the world and its time when he was slain.


The Balrogs were corrupted Maiar and so I would guess that when slain their spirits would still be bound to the world. Did they go to Mandos? One might wonder about that, but elsewhere Tolkien states that the Elvish fea or 'spirit' was not bound to pass to Mandos necessarily (for example) -- meaning an Elvish fea could refuse to do so and remain in Middle-earth. Could Balrog spirits likewise refuse to go to Mandos?

Sauron was one of the Maiar, with the ability to self-incarnate more than once after being slain (in later days he self-incarnated without the One, when it still existed), and I take it that he was not bound to go to Mandos and remain there upon physical death. And there's a text that contains an interesting comment regarding Orc-formed Maiar who would dwindle in force upon being slain...


'In any case is it likely or possible that even the least of the Maiar would become Orcs? Yes: both outside Arda and in it, before the fall of Utumno. Melkor had corrupted many spirits — some great, as Sauron, or less so, as Balrogs. The least could have been primitive (and much more powerful and perilous) Orcs; but by practising when embodied procreation they would (cf. Melian) [become] more and more earthbound, unable to return to spirit-state (even demon-form), until released by death (killing), and they would dwindle in force. When released they would, of course, like Sauron, be 'damned': i.e. reduced to impotence, infinitely recessive: still hating but unable more and more to make it effective physically (or would not a very dwindled dead Orc-state be a poltergeist?)'.
JRRT, Myths Transformed, Morgoth's Ring



Tolkien had a bit of trouble deciding what orcs were in origin, and one comment concerning this in which Mandos is involved (one that I can recall at the moment anyway) comes from a general phase of writing in which Tolkien was imagining various sorts of origins for his orcs. Tolkien noted about Orcs in general...

'Their nature and origin require more thought. They are not easy to work into the theory and system.'


In one text (the same as the one about the Maiar-orcs cited above) JRRT 'concluded' that Orcs were beasts of humanized shape, and thus had no fear or 'spirits' -- but he also added at one point, that along with these beast-orcs: 'It remains therefore terribly possible there was an Elvish strain in the Orcs. These may then even have been mated with beasts (sterile!) -- and later Men. Their life-span would be diminished. And dying they would go to Mandos and be held in prison till the End.'


So within this conception (not necessarily Tokien's 'final' idea incidentally) the fate of at least some beings is noted with respect to Mandos specifically, but one might wonder about the after death conception when Orcs created from Men are being considered, as the spirits of Men are not bound to the world, and their physical lives much briefer than Elves.

In the essay in which Men are the source for Orcs Tolkien noted a bit about their natural life spans, but (as far as I remember) he didn't comment about their fate after death.


JRRT had some work to do I think, if he ultimately intended to answer these questions that is. 

Oh I forgot to mention that there is another well written example of Maia hierarchy in the chapter of the Silmarillion which deals with the downfall of the First Dark Lord Melkor. After Morgoth's defeat and removal, Sauron must answer to Eonwe, a high ranking Maia. Sauron begs forgiveness from Eonwe, however it is stated that Eonwe does not have the power to exonerate Sauron and demands that Sauron travel back to the West where he should plead his case to Manwe and ask for forgiveness and possibly face Ages of penance. Of course as we know, Sauron remained in Arda and eventually grew in strength again and returned to his evil ways, hiding from the powers of light. I think that even in their weakest state Maia still live on and perhaps take time to build their strength and become hale again after suffering defeat in some way.

This whole area is to me rather muddled but I know that is not true. The idea that Sauron turned into a mist and blew around Middle-Earth if that is correct is disturbing, Although he no longer had the power to return, but build himself up again and all that, still his mind did not go anywhere and would it not be still filled with malice and could that not somehow be felt wherever he whisped  to as it were? And would that not be something that could be felt by such as Elves and sensitive creatures like infants and toddlers and Men and Hobbits more inclined to be somewhat Elven in thought and perception? Would it not cause dis ease and take away from the peace achieved in middle earth by Aragorn and co. And could the orcs sense his presence and communicate with the disembodied Sauron? I don't understand at all.

Galin and Brego's knowledge in this subject surpass my own - indeed it has been many years now since I last read the Silmarillion or the HoME books - so correct me if my memory is wrong in certain areas...

On the question of Maiar being sent to Mandos - I was of the understanding that only Men and Elves went there. It was even uncertain whether Dwarves would be allowed. I always thought that Maiar were essentially immortal, so their spirits would not go to the Halls of the Dead. Unless they had taken on a body, as for instance Melian, the Istari, Sauron etc, they were essentially spirit in form and could not die, just be severely weakened or bound. Those that took on a body of flesh seemed to become more "earthly" and their bodies could be killed, but again their spirits were immortal. In most cases I imagined that their spirits returned to Valinor to recover strength. Hence Sauron was able to recover following his defeat at the hands of Isildur. In this case his recovery would have been hastened by the presence of his ring which would have acted as a focus. With his ring destroyed at the end of the third age, his subsequent recovery would have been much slower than his previous one. If he was banned from entering Valinor by the Valar, this recover might take even longer. Nevertheless over thousands of years this would occur.

To answer the question of whether orcs would hear and respond to his dismembered spirit, I think at first he would be too weak to do anything but drift aimlessly with the breeze. Certainly within the lifespan of any orcs alive at the time of his downfall, he would be gone. Eventually, however, as his strength began to grow again, it would be weak-minded creatures like orcs that he would whisper his ideas to. At first it might just be their shamens or leaders who heard him, but has he grew in stature, his presence would become more noticeable and powerful. It would be much longer before he could summon the power to flesh himself. Also, with his ring destroyed, and a great deal of his power destroyed with it, he would never be as strong as he had been prior to its creation.

Talking of which, I have never thought about it until now, but when the One Ring was destroyed would the part of Sauron's spirit bound to it also be destroyed (as assumed) or would it become free to eventually find and join with the rest of his spirit?

This website is like reading a book and go on learning about Tolkien work. You have really taken all details into account, my memory doesn't keep those things with so much care!

I don't remember anything about the future of evil spirits, but I do remember Saruman's death. It was truly poetic. I would like to think that theses creatures after reaching their just end (being killed in a battle or among others of their own race), they died completely. That's to say, that their bodies remain in Arda and disappear after some time like other good races but their spirits flows somewhere, roaming until some other evil creature notices it and joins it for growing in power.

For example, Elves live in the woods and places linked with nature because they not only respect it but knew what it gave to them. Protection. They have the sight of an eagle, the ear of a fox (these are mere silly examples) but they lived being among nature and a part of it, so they got such gifts. So for bad creatures it might be similar. As they haven't a main source, they might look for some others like themselves to get united and create a huge power.

It's only an opinion....

Opinion is great Elbereth, no matter what the opinion is, this is why PT is so great as we all learn something when reading the thoughts of others.

Lee Lee, indeed all that you say is true.  It is disturbing, regarding spirits, good and bad (and in between). Its stated in the the Sil that even the High Elves of The West have cannot see, feel or sense a Maia, or Valar for that Matter, if they are not "clothed" in the fashion of the world.  We all need to remember that the natural state of these beings is not as they would have us see them, but is actually a form of energy which has the power to clothe his or her self as per their mood.  Gandalf or Olorin is singled out as wandering around the Gardens Of Lorien, invisible until he wants to be seen.  Same with Sauron and his Maia minions (I dont count the Orcs or Trolls in this group).  When Sauron returned after his defeat via the Last Alliance, his spirit returned in a very weakened state eventually to Dol Guldur, where somehow he was able to call on his Nazgul to return as well.  Over many years his strength returned.  Sound familiar,,,, Lord Voldermort

I hope they dont' go there,they would be kind of wrathful too the elves, a lot.cast them into the void,with that vala morgoth