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gloriousbattle
31-07-2010, 16:26
My last thread got me thinking about this. Sorry, it's a stream of consciousness thing. Blame Joyce.

Anyway, from Merriam Webster Online:

Main Entry: nec·ro·man·cy
Pronunciation: \ˈne-krə-ˌman(t)-sē\
Function: noun
Etymology: alteration of Middle English nigromancie, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin nigromantia, by folk etymology from Late Latin necromantia, from Late Greek nekromanteia, from Greek nekr- + -manteia -mancy
Date: 1522
1 : conjuration of the spirits of the dead for purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course of events
2 : magic, sorcery

— nec·ro·man·cer \-sər\ noun

— nec·ro·man·tic \ˌne-krə-ˈman-tik\ adjective

— nec·ro·man·ti·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Now, if a Necromancer is a magician who conjures the dead, can this lead us to believe that Sauron conjured the dead in some way?

This might seem obvious, considering his nine best buddies, but remember that the Nazgul's status as undead is kinda questionable. After all, they are not ghosts in the way that the Dead Men of Dunharrow are. Did they ever really die, or just continue without gaining more life?

Is there any indication in the books that Sauron uses necromancy?

Tuscuttar
31-07-2010, 20:35
I havent read the books in a fair while but from what I remember there wasn't any indication that he did, however I may be wrong. If I am, then I am

The Marshel
01-08-2010, 02:05
i think you could just take the second definition and leave it at that.

gloriousbattle
01-08-2010, 14:44
i think you could just take the second definition and leave it at that.

Probably, but I'm one of those anal retentive fanboys who loves poring through the text for some mislaid phrase, so I can pull it out and say, "See? SEE! I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!!!" :chrome:

Suicide Messiah
01-08-2010, 17:31
I reckon Tolien used the name for flavour knowing full well its link to the dead. Using it to conjure images of dark sorceries and unspeakable deeds. Whether or not he actually raised the dead is up to you.

gloriousbattle
01-08-2010, 21:18
I reckon Tolien used the name for flavour knowing full well its link to the dead. Using it to conjure images of dark sorceries and unspeakable deeds. Whether or not he actually raised the dead is up to you.

He was definitely a master word-smith.

Whitwort Stormbringer
02-08-2010, 02:06
I do feel like Tolkien wrote somewhere about Dol Goldur being inhabited by spirits, or something to that effect, though. Whether that's why he chose to give Sauron the title "Necromancer" during that time period, or the spirits came about as an afterthought, is beyond me.

In the meantime, I'll look for a reference.

destroyerlord
02-08-2010, 02:48
Well the Witch-King summoned the spirits of the dead and had them possess the kings of Arnor's bodies as barrow wights (I think thats it), so he is a necromancer by the first definition. I guess that makes it reasonable to assume that Sauron had similar powers.

gloriousbattle
02-08-2010, 12:22
Well the Witch-King summoned the spirits of the dead and had them possess the kings of Arnor's bodies as barrow wights (I think thats it), so he is a necromancer by the first definition. I guess that makes it reasonable to assume that Sauron had similar powers.

Is that an extrapolation, or actually out of Tolkien's writings?

Thanks

Kroot Lord
02-08-2010, 20:26
Is that an extrapolation, or actually out of Tolkien's writings?

Thanks

The corpses of Dunedain, lying in the barrows, were "reanimated", if you could call it that, by the Witch King to protect the region from Dunedain, if they were ever to return in strength to Arnor/Cardelan.

Nuada
02-08-2010, 22:05
from Late Greek nekromanteia, from Greek nekr- + -manteia -mancy

I'm not sure necromancer would mean Sauron was summoning the dead.

As you've correctly said Nekros is from the Greek word meaning dead body.
But Manteia means divination.

So, i think necromancer would mean someone that can communicate with the dead, not necessarily summon the dead.
Sauron communicates with the Nazgûl

Tuscuttar
02-08-2010, 23:37
Although the Nazgul are not truely 'dead' ;)

gloriousbattle
03-08-2010, 00:05
The corpses of Dunedain, lying in the barrows, were "reanimated", if you could call it that, by the Witch King to protect the region from Dunedain, if they were ever to return in strength to Arnor/Cardelan.

Okay, but is that something out of GW Fluff, or actual Tolkien? I don't remember reading in LOTR that the Witch King had anything to do with hexing the barrow wights.

Thanks

Kroot Lord
03-08-2010, 08:28
Actual Tolkien fluff, presumably Unfinished Tales or Children of Hurin, but definitely not the Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit.

gloriousbattle
03-08-2010, 12:55
Actual Tolkien fluff, presumably Unfinished Tales or Children of Hurin, but definitely not the Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit.

Cool. I really have to get around to reading those.

kardar233
03-08-2010, 15:39
I feel obliged to point out that reading The Children of Hurin won't shed any light on the Witch-king/Barrow-wight issue as those came about a whole age later.

I'd heartily advise buying it anyway however, as it's IMO Tolkien's best story.

Simon Sez
05-08-2010, 14:45
Didn't Sauron trick one of, I think Berens, followers by promising he would be reunited with his family, only for it to be revealed to be only their spirits, at which point the traitor was murdered?

Wyrmwood
07-08-2010, 00:46
The Children of Hurin is excellent, but it's not for you if you desire a story that ends on a high! In Peake style, I think Tolkien probably chose the word 'Necromancer' for it's negative connotations of black arts and evil - that said, like others have suggested, I think it's safe to assume that, like the Witch King of Angmar, Sauron did have power over the dead. I too recall reading that Dol Guldur is/was inhabited by spirits - it may have been said in the Silmarillion, actually.

Verm1s
13-08-2010, 13:07
Actual Tolkien fluff, presumably Unfinished Tales...

Yarp. UT, The Hunt For The Ring:


The Witch-King now had a clearer understanding of the matter. He had known something of the country long ago, in his wars with the Dúnedain, and especially of the Tyrn Gorthad of Cardolan, now the Barrow-downs, whose evil wights had been put there by himself.*

...

But the Black Captain established a camp at Andrath, where the Greenway passed in a defile between the Barrow-downs and the South Downs; and from there some others were sent to watch and patrol the eastern borders, while he himself visited the Barrow-downs. In notes on the movements of the Black Riders at that time it is said that the Black Captain stayed there for some days, and the Barrow-wights were roused, and all things of evil spirit, hostile to Elves and Men, were on the watch with malice in the Old Forest and on the Barrow-downs.

* Cf. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A (I, iii, The North-kingdom and the Dúnedain): 'It was at this time [during the Great Plague that reached Gondor in 1636] that an end came to the Dúnedain of Cardolan, and evil spirits out of Angmar and Rhudaur entered into the deserted mounds and dwelt there.'

gloriousbattle
15-08-2010, 00:32
Yarp. UT, The Hunt For The Ring:

Thanks for this!

Ordo Dakka
19-08-2010, 11:59
There's no mention of this in the books.

He was a scientist, originally named Mairon. He gained the name Sauron after joining Melkor in the first age.

The idea that he was a necromancer comes from the fact that he was able to seemingly conjure vast armies at will. The truth is a little more sci-fi, he created were-beasts and the like and served as an advisor. After Melkor was captured he went to hiding and thats how he learned of the breeding habits of orcs (and brought his scientific knowledge to bear, making them presumably more intelligent and powerful).

gloriousbattle
19-08-2010, 13:45
Scientist? That seems kind of outside the Tolkien way of thinking.

CaptainoftheWest
19-08-2010, 23:45
I think and hope Ordo Dakka was joking. Sauron was of course one of the Maia a lesser order of gods/angles.

Verm1s
20-08-2010, 17:08
Well... the word 'scientist' probably wouldn't have cropped up much in Tolkien's notes. But Sauron was originally a Maia under Aulë before his fall, one fixed on order and efficiency, and given Tolkien's views on industrial progress and tinkering with things you aught'n't, it's not a million miles away.

gloriousbattle
22-08-2010, 16:45
Just sounds a bit more like Moorcock with his Gran Bretanian sorcerer-scientists.

Iverald
31-08-2010, 21:25
I think Verm1a is spot on on the mater.

As for the question of scientific over-curiosity, just look what it did to Saruman and Gollum or Ted Sandyman for that matter. I know that someone will mention prof. Barthes and his darned essay, but Tolkien hmself was a critic of industry, unimpeded, or possibly undirected progress and it is reflected in his work.