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Thread: Sauron's Motivation

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    Chapter Master Gutlord Grom's Avatar
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    Sauron's Motivation

    So why does Sauron want to conquer Middle Earth? Because all he seems to do with his armies is burn places down, kill people, despoil their lands and enslave the survivors. But there doesn't seem to be a reason to do this. I mean why rule over a bunch of burned out hell holes with minions who are about as disciplined as a herd of cats. Just seems kinda pointless to me. I mean sure, its high fantasy, but that's just kinda pointless.

    What does the One Ring do, exactly? It makes you invisible, and that may be all well and good, but apparently Sauron homes in on this thing whenever someone wears it( though when no one does, he can't see it). Does it grant magical power? Or is it just the ultimate bling of Middle Earth?

    Why does Sauron even forge the One Ring? I mean if it gets cut off, he loses his corporeal form. And apparently it contains all his cunning, malice and power (though I'm not sure why he needs in on an easily removable gold band), and this allows him to bind the other rings of power, yet this doesn't seem to affect the Dwarven and Elven wearers of the rings.
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    Librarian VeriNasti's Avatar
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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    Sauron has no control over the Elf rings as they made them thereselves - Celebrimbor made them. The dwarf rings were bound by the one ring yet they did not wear them very often.

    Sauron also happens to be the lieutanent of Morgoth the uber god of evil and he wants to kind of get revenge for him since the elves kind of killed him (don't quote me on this)

    The one ring contains the majority of saurons life force and makes him effectively invulnaerbale to all attacks to his body bar his little ring finger.

    Hope this helps

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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    The One Ring is a Force Multiplier, vested with a portion of Sauon's being, and probably needs to feed off the life essence of the Bearer in order to activate, which is why it can only really affect the environment if worn.

    It might be able to suck energy from life that is in close proximity and be able to manipulate events in a minor way.

    As to whether it has sentience, I'd say yes, in the way a PC with a specific and highly sophisticated program has sentience.

    The Ring allows the Wielder to impose his will on the other Ring Bearers, or at least with the Elven versions, once localized, to know their minds.I haven't seen any evidence of great magical power, but I believe that the Ring also helped in constructing the foundations of Sauron's fortress.

    As to Sauron's motivations, it might be similar to Kim Jong Il's - survival of himself and his regime; independence from interference of the Gods.

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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    Wikipedia can usually turn up a lot of answers, though just reading through Tolkein's stuff can be a much more pleasant way to learn.

    1) Part of Tolkein's Middle-Earth philosophy includes the idea that evil is largely a parasite of good, drawing from Augustinian and subsequently Roman Catholic theology. Sauron's only "goal" is to be the most powerful ruler and lord over all things. Whatever he can bend to his will shall be ruled, and whatever refuses shall be destroyed. It's ultimately the ego and pride of the Miltonic satan. Tolkien, I believe, has pretty masterfully shown his view that evil, like you mentioned, is conclusively absurd.

    2) The ring has certain properties, but it's main "magical" property is to allow the wearer to exert his influence over others, basically allowing him/her to forcefully coerce others to do their will (at least as far as I know). The full usefulness of the ring depends on the wearer, however, as a Hobbit with the One Ring can really only turn invisible and see the spirit world, though Gandalf or Saruman wearing the One Ring would possibly be able to overthrow Sauron himself. I'm not sure if the ring would allow you to throw fire around and shoot lightning out of your fingers or anything like that, but it's basically a ring of dominance. In Middle Earth, evil power is largely in the ability to corrupt and bend people to your will. In the end, all of Sauron's forces were just on different levels of dissipation and corruption. The orcs were tortured and corrupted of old, as were some of the Maiar and other beasts. Saruman, the fallen kingdoms, and the ringwraiths are all good examples of what Sauron and the Ring are likely to do given time.

    3) Someone with more Tolkien lore will probably be able to answer why he crafted the ring itself. For one, I think gold was specially tainted by Morgoth himself to instill greed and avarice in man, but Sauron making the ring may have been to give him greater corporeal power? I'm not sure...someone correct me on this...

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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    Quote Originally Posted by VeriNasti View Post
    The one ring contains the majority of Sauron's life force and makes him effectively invulnerable to all attacks to his body bar his little ring finger.
    That is actually inaccurate. The ring does not confer any form of protection in the corporeal sense.

    Tolkien's history of the Second Age and the Last Alliance make it very clear that Gil-Galad and Elendil defeated Sauron in normal combat, at the cost of both their lives. It was only then, when Sauron was lying in the dirt, that Isildur came and cut the ring from his body.


    Edit: As to why Sauron would be willing to bind a great part of his native power into a single object, it may be that this was an unexpected outcome of the rings creation. The Great Rings (The Three, Seven and Nine) were supposedly very powerful indeed. As stated in the Lore, the object that controls them would need to be one of surpassing power, Sauron must have stretched his knowledge and powers to the very limit in its creation, which may have led to the unexpected outcome. This is mere speculation of course, as I too have always wondered at the logic of placing so much of his innate power into so small an object.
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    Chapter Master Dr Death's Avatar
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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    In HoME 10 'Morgoth's Ring' is an essay written by Tolkien entitled 'Notes on motives in the Silmarillion' and this spells out the philosophical differences between Morgoth and his servant Sauron.

    Morgoth was a nihilist- he was so envious of the power of creation held by Tolkien's 'God' figure: Eru, that he denied that his own power 'subcreation' was dependant on Eru to grant. Where the Dwarves were an act of subcreation done out of love and so invested with independant life by Eru, Morgoth out of envy and spite dedicated himself to undoing creation, beleiving that the energy and lifeforce he possessed was limitless. In doing so he diminished himself and became much as Sauron without the Ring, only instead of a single item, 'Morgoth's Ring' was the whole of Middle-earth, marred by the investment of his malice in it and leaving Melkor reduced in being because of it. Morgoth's goal was chaos- to undo, to subvert, to deny that he was dependant on any force other than his own.

    Sauron in many ways was the opposite. Sauron was a maiar of Aule, the Valar who's act of subcreation made the dwarves. Sauron's desires were for creation but this 'good' desire was slowly turned into a desire for control, the creation and maintain of order, of systems, of submission to his will. Morgoth, though philosphically opposite to Sauron's aims was a way to obtain the power Sauron desired. When Morgoth was thrust beyond the circles of the world into the Void, Sauron was left with the tools Morgoth had fashioned in pursuit of his aims- a hostile world, the servants of evil, orcs and trolls and he turned these to his own aims, not of destroying the world but of enslaving it. Sauron was not an aetheist- he knew and beleived in the creative powers of Eru, however after the defeat of Morgoth, and after the downfall of Numenor where the world was broken and the undying lands removed from the map Sauron became convinced that Eru and the Valar had grown bored of Arda and abandoned it. This power vacuum of Lord and Master of Arda was what he aimed to fill.

    The Ring was one tool of domination Sauron made himself. Through it his powers of manipulation grew, or perhaps more accurately were concentrated. Those Rings that Sauron had been involved in making (the Seven and the Nine) were open avenues for the corruption of their bearers by Sauron using the One. The Elven Rings were not intrinsically evil- Celebrimbor had made them solely and Sauron had no hand in them. Nevertheless they were tied by the means of creation to the One and seem to have played on the elvish desire for stasis- the maintainance of an 'ideal' state which would not evolve. The 'dream-like' quality of Rivendell and Lothlorien was maintained by the power of the elven rings borne by Elrond and Galadriel. Both were 'bubbles' in which was formed a likeness to the state of harmony of Valinor. With the destruction of the Ring the ability to replicate such a likeness would be gone, and could only be found again by travelling to Valinor itself.

    The One had powers beyond it's manipulation of other Rings though. Since it contained a large portion of Sauron's 'being' it was in many ways sentient. It's effect was dependant on the level of will the 'borrower' could exert (Sauron, being it's creator was in perfect harmony with it and so could get the most from it). With those who were either too weak and good intentioned to contend or were already seduced by it (hobbits and men such as Isildur) it would grant invisibility but at the cost of wasting the individual, sapping their sense of identity as in the case of Gollum. Those with sufficient will and desire to contend with Sauron could use the inherent 'power of being' Sauron had invested in it. Sauron's will though would corrupt their intentions- the power the Ring gave them would become addictive. "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

    So yes, that's a basic summary of it all. Tolkien puts it far better though and so whatever anyone tells you it's always worth going back to the sources for a good read .

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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    I like to think that, in a similar way to Morgoth losing more and more of his power as he warped new and evil creatures, Sauron expended himself while making the ring. And being only a Maiar and not one of the Valar, that was all he could accomplish.

    Interestingly enough, I think he made the One Ring before the downfall of Numenor. I'm sure in Akallabeth, it details of how he fled to Mordor and once again took up his One Ring. Or something to that effect.

    In many ways, Sauron is a more complex and more interesting character than Morgoth. But, there is a sadness in that, his actions in the 2nd and 3rd age, were merely the after effects of Morgoth's dominance over him, almost as if conquering and enslaving is all he knows.
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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    2) The ring has certain properties, but it's main "magical" property is to allow the wearer to exert his influence over others, basically allowing him/her to forcefully coerce others to do their will (at least as far as I know). The full usefulness of the ring depends on the wearer, however, as a Hobbit with the One Ring can really only turn invisible and see the spirit world, though Gandalf or Saruman wearing the One Ring would possibly be able to overthrow Sauron himself. I'm not sure if the ring would allow you to throw fire around and shoot lightning out of your fingers or anything like that, but it's basically a ring of dominance. In Middle Earth, evil power is largely in the ability to corrupt and bend people to your will. In the end, all of Sauron's forces were just on different levels of dissipation and corruption. The orcs were tortured and corrupted of old, as were some of the Maiar and other beasts. Saruman, the fallen kingdoms, and the ringwraiths are all good examples of what Sauron and the Ring are likely to do given time.
    Even Frodo realizes that he could don the ring and command Gollum to leap to his death - and Gollum would do so.

    So yes, the chief power of the ring is in its ability to dominate the will of others.

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    Chapter Master Brandir's Avatar
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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    If one wishes to know Sauron's innermost thoughts and perhaps understand why he did what he did, I would recommend reading his blog:

    http://kunochan.com/sauron/
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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    Gollum Acceptance Speech

    Everyone has an opinion.

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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    Maybe he's lonely.

    Did anyone stop and think about that?

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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Death View Post
    Morgoth was a nihilist- he was so envious of the power of creation held by Tolkien's 'God' figure: Eru, that he denied that his own power 'subcreation' was dependant on Eru to grant. Where the Dwarves were an act of subcreation done out of love and so invested with independant life by Eru, Morgoth out of envy and spite dedicated himself to undoing creation, beleiving that the energy and lifeforce he possessed was limitless. In doing so he diminished himself and became much as Sauron without the Ring, only instead of a single item, 'Morgoth's Ring' was the whole of Middle-earth, marred by the investment of his malice in it and leaving Melkor reduced in being because of it. Morgoth's goal was chaos- to undo, to subvert, to deny that he was dependant on any force other than his own.
    A key difference between Morgoth and the other Valar, one which Tolkien spells out, is that Morgoth wanted all of creation to be of his own thought, rather than accepting that he had only a partial share in it along with the other Valar. Whereas the other Valar could still love and make use of a creation that had a component of Morgoth in it, Morgoth could not accept any creation that had any other entity's share and role in it. That is why Tolkien wrote that Morgoth's goal was ultimately futile. Even if nobody had opposed him, Morgoth would have raged and destroyed the world, but then still ultimately have been unable to totally unmake it. It would still have been a world in potential, and one in which he still would have had only a partial share in shaping.

    Sauron in many ways was the opposite. Sauron was a maiar of Aule, the Valar who's act of subcreation made the dwarves. Sauron's desires were for creation but this 'good' desire was slowly turned into a desire for control, the creation and maintain of order, of systems, of submission to his will. Morgoth, though philosphically opposite to Sauron's aims was a way to obtain the power Sauron desired. When Morgoth was thrust beyond the circles of the world into the Void, Sauron was left with the tools Morgoth had fashioned in pursuit of his aims- a hostile world, the servants of evil, orcs and trolls and he turned these to his own aims, not of destroying the world but of enslaving it. Sauron was not an aetheist- he knew and beleived in the creative powers of Eru, however after the defeat of Morgoth, and after the downfall of Numenor where the world was broken and the undying lands removed from the map Sauron became convinced that Eru and the Valar had grown bored of Arda and abandoned it. This power vacuum of Lord and Master of Arda was what he aimed to fill.
    One "what if?" question which I don't think Tolkien answered specifically, was what Sauron would do if he had theoretically accomplished his goal of dominating Middle Earth? Attack the Valar? Sit in his tower til the end of time? Unlike Morgoth, Sauron did not want to unmake the world.

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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    Quote Originally Posted by Iracundus View Post
    One "what if?" question which I don't think Tolkien answered specifically, was what Sauron would do if he had theoretically accomplished his goal of dominating Middle Earth? Attack the Valar? Sit in his tower til the end of time? Unlike Morgoth, Sauron did not want to unmake the world.
    I still come up with North Korea as a model.

    Once Sauron felt strong enough, he may have been tempted to extend his empire westwards.

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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    One "what if?" question which I don't think Tolkien answered specifically, was what Sauron would do if he had theoretically accomplished his goal of dominating Middle Earth? Attack the Valar? Sit in his tower til the end of time? Unlike Morgoth, Sauron did not want to unmake the world.
    Well Sauron could no more return to Valinor than any other unworthy. Even if he could, he had fled the Valar at the end of the War of Wrath to escape judgement and, not being a true Aetheist like Morgoth, could not deny that the Valar were eminently more powerful than him. Sauron's ambitions were all founded on the Valar's absence- the beleif that after the War of Wrath and even moreso after the Downfall of Numenor, they had abandoned Middle-earth to it's fate. In Middle-earth Sauron, being now the one surviving active Maiar (the Istari had not arrived and the others such as the Balrogs had fled and hidden themselves) was now in a perfect position to make its inhabitants his thralls.

    What his plans after the conquest might have been i dont know- bear in mind the 'map' we know is only a small part of the whole world, vast tracts of land doubtless populated by potential subjects existed south and east of it. Perhaps in the end Sauron's insanity would grow- with his conquest complete he might seek then to further hold sway over the wills of his subjects, tightening and tightening his grip on their lives until they had surrendered even the basic degree of free will. Perhaps he would even grow bored and repent in time, but the dominion he exerted would have done it's damage and freedom that comes out of boredom of the master is no freedom at all- he may well be chained in the Halls of Waiting like Melkor was after the wars of the powers that destroyed Utumno.

    So in short- no idea

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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    Eru didn't create the dwarves, it was one of the other gaiar, or something like that.
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    Chapter Master Dr Death's Avatar
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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    Aule conceived of them, he was the one that formed them, but when Eru found out about it, rather than have Aule destroy them for such unlisenced 'subcreation' Eru gave them life, free will and incorperated them into his scheme.

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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    I think the issue with analising motivation and concept like this is that its essentially a futility.

    We can all apply our phyche to help us interpret why things happened and why characters acted, but at the end of the day its just our own interpretation, and shaped purely by our own belief systems.

    A more literal way to interpret would be this:

    Why did sauron want to rule middle-earth?


    Because hes the bad guy, and thats what they do.

    Why did he bind his powers to a ring, enabling himself to be defeated?

    Bad guy syndrome. Its a miracle he didn't tie everyone up and carefully explain how to cut the ring off and melt it while he was at it... Or at least play with moon lazers.

    What powers did the ring have?

    Anything thats usefull for the story at any given point. Welcome to deus ex machina. If frodo had needed to cut through solid rock to get somewhere, I'm pretty sure the ring would have been able to.

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    Chapter Master Dr Death's Avatar
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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    But if you're going to invest in mythology or fiction Raven, you need something more than that. Any fiction writer has to create the laws of their world- whether they're doing fantasy fiction or realistic fiction if they want it to be plausible or perhaps a better word is meaningful. Tolkien was not alone but certainly unusual in the level of depth and personal investment he placed into making things have plausability, have meaning (not allegorical meaning but applicable meaning- meaning that the reader could draw from it).

    'Bad guy syndrome' as you put it is not sufficient. People criticise Tolkien for his characters either being either inexplicably and irredeemibly bad, or being unquestionably and universally good, but the fact is that is a crass and ignorant view of his creation. Tolkien did not do simple evil, he didnt really do simple good either, but i think Tolkien beleive's man's base nature is to do good and so showed them doing it rather than explaining why.

    His interest in corruption (a term used repeatedly in and about his works) is particularly notable. Tolkien was i think disturbed by people's capacity for evil- he needed for his own peace of mind and explaination for why people, real people, though he uses fictional people to display it, could and would do truly awful things such as those he had seen during WW1. Elrond says that even Sauron was not originally evil, and through later and disperate writings you find why he became evil, what motivated his fall. It's these writings that we, as fans of his work analyse to draw our conclusions.

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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    My point was more to emphasise the core aspect of literature:

    That each person would interpret reasoning differently if its not expressly stated.

    Sauron seems a good example of it.

    He's evil. We're told that. His motivation, however, isnt so clear cut.

    Does he want power?

    To rule?

    To destroy?

    Why?

    Each person has their theory. All we know in the end is that he, because of his literary creator, is identifiably and irredemably evil.

    The glory of a book is its ability to be molded by our mind. For us to fill in gaps with potent imagery of our own, to stimulate our own sence of awe, fear, etc.

    An interesting question - prior to watching the movies, who here didnt imagine gandalf to look something like their grandfather, or a similar kindly old figure they knew?

    In essence, what I'm saying, is that I dont believe you can pin any specific set of values to sauron (nor most other good villains). Most writers leave enough ambiguity in them that we can apply our own fears, dark desires, and horrors to them, to flesh them out into our own personal creation. I don't believe that anyone can draw the conclusions for anyone else. The sauron I read about, is a different sauron to the one you did.

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    Re: Sauron's Motivation

    There's no actual encounter with Sauron in LotR, though he gets a few mentions in The Silmarillion, where he's already corrupted. The encounters with the Ringwraiths are about as close as the characters and the reader get to the essence that is Sauron, and if he shaped them into pale imitations of himself, I'd say what he originally desired was the ability to control and shape his environment, and eventually, just control the world through corrupting it.

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