View Full Version : Ghrond and Anduril, what were their powers?

14-07-2010, 04:53
Greetings all.
As I read over the silmarillion I was curious on the properties of Morgoths mace, Ghrond. Was this weapon of any magical heritage, or envoke any unnatural powers i.e divine powers channeled through Morgoth? Or was it more of a masterly crafted weapon?

Also of Anduril I know that it shone with the light of the sun and could set enemies ablaze when struck, but did it have any other properties? I.e what was the reason for GW giving anduril the ability to always wound on 4+, essentially ignoring armou?. Is their something I missed or was this just GW add on?


14-07-2010, 06:27
Was this weapon of any magical heritage, or envoke any unnatural powers i.e divine powers channeled through Morgoth? Or was it more of a masterly crafted weapon?

Keep in mind that in middle earth master crafted meant magical. There is no distinction between extensive knowledge of a subject and magical ability. The elves made things like elven cloaks and rope "magical" simply because they new how to craft extremely fine, well made items.

Unlike other fantasy settings you don't "enchant" a normal item into being magical you just use your extensive knowledge of swordmaking, for example, to make a weapon that is very sharp, very durable, glows in the presence of orcs, and can inspire others to acts of courage and bravery, or whatever.

It makes magic in middle earth very believable, and also very hard to define what exactly a "magic item" actually does. I have been trying to figure out what exactly the ring would allow you to do for years now.

So, to answer your question, yes, those weapons would have had properties we would consider magical and super-natural. What they were though, I have no idea.

14-07-2010, 17:14
I have been trying to figure out what exactly the ring would allow you to do for years now.

From Wikipedia; On the One Ring

The Ring's primary power was control of the other Rings of Power, including "mastery over [their] powers" and domination of the wills of their users. By extension, the Ring also conferred the power to dominate the wills of other beings whether they were wearing Rings or not. However, this is its least accessible power since it granted this ability in proportion to the user's natural capacity. In the same way, it amplified any inherent power its owner possessed.

A mortal wearing the Ring was made effectively invisible except to those able to perceive the non-physical world, with only a thin, shaky shadow discernible in the brightest sunlight. Whether immortals would be made invisible by it is unknown. The only direct example given is Tom Bombadil, over whom the Ring seemed to have no power. The Ring would also extend a mortal possessor's life indefinitely by preventing natural ageing. Gandalf explained that it does not "grant new life", but that the possessor merely "continues" until life becomes unbearably wearisome. However, the Ring could not protect its bearer from immediate death or destruction; Gollum perished in the Crack of Doom while in possession of the Ring, and even Sauron himself (as the only one who could truly control the full power of the Ring) could not preserve his body from destruction during the downfall of Númenor. Likewise, the Ring could not protect its bearer from physical harm; Frodo (while bearing the Ring) was seriously injured by the Witch King on Weathertop. In the same way, Frodo and Sauron each lost a finger while actually wearing the ring. Like the Nine Rings, the One Ring also has the effect of physically corrupting mortals who wore it for extended periods of time, eventually transforming them into wraiths. Hobbits prove to be somewhat resistant to this process, as proved by Gollum.

It might have also given its wielder the ability to read minds, as Galadriel suggested to Frodo when he asked if he could learn to communicate telepathically as she did. On at least one occasion, the Ring sharpened its wearer's hearing at the expense of his visual acuity, and it may at that time have granted understanding of unknown languages.

Within the land of Mordor where it was forged, the Ring's powers increased so tangibly that even without wearing it, its wielders could draw upon its powers. Seemingly, the Ring actually in some way inspired or caused its wielders to access its powers. One power the Ring could give was an aura of terrible power which would emanate from the Ring and onto its wielder. When Sam encountered an orc in the Tower of Cirith Ungol and held the Ring, he appeared to the orc as a powerful warrior cloaked in shadow "[holding] some nameless menace of power and doom." The orc was so terrified of this vision of the otherwise unintimidating Sam that it fled. Similarly at Mount Doom, when Frodo and Sam were attacked by Gollum, Frodo grabbed the Ring and appeared as "a figure robed in white... [and] it held a wheel of fire." In this scene, Frodo also accessed a second power of the Ring. Frodo told Gollum "in a commanding voice" that "If you touch me ever again, you shall be cast yourself into the Fire of Doom," a statement fulfilled when Gollum fell into Mount Doom with the Ring. Although the Ring was certainly invoked with this statement, it is unclear whether Frodo was prophesying a fate of Gollum (Frodo previously had less sinister visions while in possession of the Ring), or if Frodo was laying a curse upon Gollum.

As it contained a large part of Sauron's native power, it was endowed with a malevolent sentience of sorts. While separated from Sauron, the Ring would strive to return to him, both by impelling its bearer to yield to Sauron or his servants, and by abandoning its possessor at key moments.[5] For example, it slipped from Isildur's finger during the ambush at Gladden Fields; moments later he was killed by Orcs. It also slipped off of Gollum's finger when the time was right for it to be brought back into the world at large. Frodo carried it on a chain, having been warned by Bilbo that it tended to slip away if it were not attended to otherwise.

To fully master all of these abilities, a wielder of the Ring would need an extremely disciplined and well-trained mind, a strong will, and a high degree of spiritual development. Those with weaker minds such as Hobbits and lesser Men, would have gained very little benefit from the Ring, let alone realized its full potential. Even for someone with the necessary prerequisites it would have taken time to master the Ring's powers to the point where he was strong enough to overthrow Sauron.[5] Yet in the end, the Ring's inherent corruption would have twisted its bearer into another Dark Lord as evil as Sauron was, or worse, regardless of his intentions at the outset. Ironically, this is the main appeal that the ring holds over all those who come in contact with it. It is seen as a symbol of hope for anyone strong enough to dominate it, that they would have the power to defeat Sauron and bring peace to the world.

Despite its powerful qualities, the Ring was not omnipotent, nor was its power over others absolute. Three times Sauron suffered military defeat with it in his possession, first by Gil-Galad in the War of Sauron and the Elves, again by Ar-Pharazôn when Númenórean power so overawed his armies that they deserted him, and again at the end of the Second Age with his personal defeat at the hands of Gil-galad and Elendil. Tolkien indicates that this would not have been possible during the waning years of the Third Age when the strength of the free peoples were greatly diminished. At that time there were no remaining heroes of the stature of Gil-galad, Elendil, or Isildur; the strength of the Elves was fading and they were departing to the Blessed Realm of Aman; the Dwarves had been driven out of Moria and would have been unwilling to concentrate their strength in any event; and the Númenórean kingdoms had either declined or been destroyed, and had few allies. In this environment, Sauron wielding the One Ring would have been able to conquer the entire continent.

On Narsil/Anduril
"Narsil (broken and reforged as Andúril) acts as a symbol of the kingship of Arnor and Gondor, and by extension, the stewardship of law over evil. As the Chieftain of the Rangers of the North, Aragorn is the heir to the fragments of the ancient sword. The reforging of the broken sword into Andúril prior to the Fellowship of the Ring leaving Rivendell is one of many important prophesied events leading up to the downfall of Sauron and the restoration of the line of Elendil as kings of Arnor and Gondor."

14-07-2010, 17:31
^^ Interesting stuff - nice to see it all condensed like that.

Intrepid Adventurer
14-07-2010, 17:44
I can't stop reading stuff like this. I just started reading the History of Middle Earth: endless extra Tolkien dorkiness. ;)

Whitwort Stormbringer
14-07-2010, 18:55
As Forgotten Lore points out, the exact properties of "magic" artefacts are often very vague in Tolkien's Middle-Earth. Valkyrie114's post does an excellent job of outlining many of the effects of the Ring, too, although in all likelihood only Sauron (if anyone) would have known the extent of its power and abilities, which appear to change somewhat depending on the bearer. We only get to see how the Ring affects Gollum (and a few others, less directly), and learn its powers as Frodo discovers them, and then we hear through Gandalf a few things that Isildur discovered about it.

Grond was such a massive weapon that it created huge pits in the ground wherever it fell, and similar to Anduril the targets of Morgoth's attacks would smolder or potentially even ignite (this based on Morgoth's duel with Fingolfin - ...and Grond rent a mighty pit in the earth, whence smoke and fire darted. - The Silmarillion, p. 148 of my edition). If you were looking to make up some game rules for Morgoth and Grond, I might consider giving him a very high strength, for starters, and perhaps saying that melee opponents are automatically "knocked down" if he wins a fight against them.

21-07-2010, 23:54
Problem was that after expending so much power in various schemes and being generally obsessed with self-preservation in a narcissistic villainous kind of way, Morgoth turned into a bit of a wimp who hid in the bowels of Utumno/Angband and let his vast hordes of balrogs, dragons, orcs, etc. etc. do all the fighting. The only time he took up arms himself was when one little elf ran up to his gates and called him out. Even then he thought twice, but he was afraid of looking cowardly in front of his minions.

So, yeah. Nothing stopping you making up rules and putting Morgoth on the tabletop, but the only fluffy situation would be a one-on-one duel with Fingolfin. Probably with Thorondor turning up as a Good reserve on a random turn.

As mentioned, the line between 'artifice' and 'magic' is pretty blurred in Middle-Earth, although some items are more easily interpreted as magical than others, and put down to transferred will or power. It's mostly a matter of personal viewpoints if you want to think about the finicky little details of why and how. Me, I'd imagine Ghrond as something like the One Ring, and an amalgam of all three power sources - a skilfully-made artifact imparted with some of it's master's power, but much more powerful in his own hand. (by virtue of his great strength, if nothing else...)

Whitwort Stormbringer
22-07-2010, 06:50
the only fluffy situation would be a one-on-one duel with Fingolfin. Probably with Thorondor turning up as a Good reserve on a random turn.

Eh, the same can generally be said of a lot of characters that only once (or in some cases, maybe never) really went out into battle. But for completion's sake, it's fun to have profiles of these sorts of major characters.

22-07-2010, 10:57
As mentioned in that bit of the sentence you cut out. :p

Also, edited: transferred will and power.

Whitwort Stormbringer
28-07-2010, 08:48
As mentioned in that bit of the sentence you cut out. :p

Sorry, didn't mean to "creatively edit" your post or quote out of context so that it looked like you meant something other than what you said. I just quoted the fluff argument and clipped out the rest because it was what I was addressing. Again, apologies!