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Post by halfwise Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:57 pm

I don't really buy this.  When we meet orcs they always seem to be more in it for themselves, and quite capable of criticizing their leaders even to the top, rather than being enthralled by them.  Note the discussions of the orc trackers following Sam and Frodo, or the orcs that pick up Frodo: "take a few lads and set up on our own." Orcs fighting each other makes sense much more that killing themselves or creeping off to die. But that would still leave them as a problem for some time.  And in all the time Sauron was laying low after having the ring cut off there's no sign that the orcs managed to kill themselves off this way.  So I don't see GRRM's question as being irrelevant.


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Post by halfwise Wed Sep 30, 2020 1:44 pm

That video leads on to this one:


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Post by Elthir Sat Oct 03, 2020 6:44 pm

Good point Halfy, but I think we must accept (not that you haven't) that a good number of orks did indeed react as described when Sauron fell . . .

. . . since that's kanon too Smile

With respect to Morgoth, we are told that the greater part of his orks (as opposed to the number of "absorbed" orks), though under his orders and the shadow of fear, were only intermittently objects of his immediate thought, and while that was removed they relapsed into independence, became conscious of their hatred of him and his tyranny, and might neglect his orders and so on.

It's also noted that the number of the absorbed orks were always a small part of Morgoth's total. The absorbed were those who had dwelt long under the immediate attention of Morgoth's will, and when Morgoth was overthrown, they too "scattered helplessly, without purpose either to flee or fight, and soon died or slew themselves."

Myths Transformed, text X

It's said (same text) that Sauron achieved even greater control over his orks than Morgoth (though that's a simplification of the fuller description in the text), and it's also noted that the orks hated one another, and must be kept ever at war with some enemy to prevent them from slaying one another.

So with Sauron's fall, the orks who wandered witless and purposeless, and then feebly died, or slew themselves or fled to hide (and so on), appear to be "absorbed" orks, which although possibly great in number, in my opinion did not account for all the orks in the Dark Lord's service.

Not that the video necessarily said otherwise (I can't recall now), but I think in this way we can explain at least some of the orkish behaviour in certain scenes versus this ant-like reaction when Sauron falls.

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Post by Forest Shepherd Sat Oct 03, 2020 11:06 pm

I think GRRM's questions are irrelevant. The orcs only matter to the story in so much as they are foils for the fellowship, and minions to carry out Sauron's will. We may as well concern ourselves with whether the giants in A Song of Ice and Fire have a parliamentary system. It doesn't matter. We may as well ask whether the economy of Harry Potter makes sense, or why the eggs are green in the Dr. Seuss book.

Martin's authorial identity depends in no small part on readers seeing him as an epic fantasy writer, but more realistic than other authors like Tolkien. Martin's world has shades of gray and real diseases and a realistic economy and it just makes so much more sense than fuddy Tolkien with his Bombadils and hobbits and high fantasy moral reductionism blah blah blah...

This whole thing about orc babies is an attempt to humanize fantasy monsters and interpret these stories through a multi-cultural, relativist lens. It's happening in some corners of the tabletop rpg world as well, where overly-concerned individuals look at the projections of our nightmares that are monsters and ask, "Well, what about the monster's perspective? How do they feel?"

That's well and good. One may feel free to do so in one's own writing and one's own movies and one's own creative endeavours. What I object to is when people come after the things that I enjoy and start calling me names because I don't care to misinterpret these authors' works through these narrow, deconstructionist worldviews.

I have little patience for these discussions usually, although I am enjoying the novelty of questions like what Aragorn's tax policy was. In the end, of course, this question is irrelevant to the story, just as it would be if applied to the stories of King Arthur, or The Iliad, or... flippin' The Wind in the Willows. It's not the point. AND, to counter GRRM's lament that Tolkien inspired too many fantasy authors, it probably shouldn't be. Tax policy does not an entertaining tale make.

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Post by halfwise Sat Oct 03, 2020 11:31 pm

Laughing

Different writers have their own ways of getting readers to sink into the reality of a story. For Tolkien it's the natural world including individual human nature. For GRRM it's a hard nosed look at social structures and how they really operate. Don't look to either one of them for a mechanical description of a trebuchet that would get engineers nodding their heads in satisfaction. But such writers do exist (or at least they make a valiant effort).

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:37 am


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Post by halfwise Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:23 pm

the Tauriel pickup line description does make you wonder about the coven's love lives.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:00 pm

{{ I wonder a lot about the Coven's thinking in general. Also doesnt work if your a Scotshobbit, apart from the trouser thing, even if I adapt it to ,"there could be anything up there," the problem is there really could be anything up there! So its not so much a crude flirtation as a public health warning!  Shocked No }}

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Post by malickfan Sat Oct 24, 2020 12:49 pm


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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:26 am


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Post by halfwise Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:13 pm

Wait a minute, the war of Arnor with the Witch King occurred after the arrival of Gandalf?  Strange then that we never hear of his actions during that time.

Actually the Istari appear at a sort of random time: Sauron has not been active for a thousand years and even the Nazgul haven't appeared, Gondor and Arnor still has kings, only Dol Goldur seems to have shown occupation.  Doesn't seem to be great cause for worry.


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Post by Lancebloke Mon Oct 26, 2020 8:03 pm

I would assume that there were things going on in that time. Sauron got the Numenoreans to attack Valinor and they must have assumed he would try something again... either domination of Middle Earth or try some way to find Valinor again.

1000 years is probably not long for those lot. Just enough time for someone to get settled and start causing trouble. Things must have been going on out in the East and I am not sure when Angmar was originally founded...?
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Post by halfwise Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:00 pm

Angmar founded 300 years after the Istari appear. Then the North Kingdom falls, the Kings of Gondor fail, Minas Ithal is captured; and through all of this we don't hear a peep out of the Istari until Gandalf helps the shire during the long winter and about the same time Saruman moves into Isengard. That's about 1700 years of sitting on their thumbs while things fall apart all around them. Doesn't quite make sense unless the idea is that they are only supposed to move against Sauron directly, and didn't identify him until right before the White Council drove him out of Dol Guldor.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:06 pm

{{ If memory serves only Gandalf was in the West, everyone else went into the East where they seemed to fear Sauron was most active in drumming up support (when was the Wainriders invasion?) so maybe they were busy, just not in the western side of ME. If Gandalf was largely on his own he'd be mainly getting a lie of the land, trying to get to know and gain support among the movers and shakers of the various races, and also worth noting as Olorin he didnt want to go at all because he was afraid of Sauron, so unlikely he'd be over keen right after arriving to take anyone on head to head. Also the Angmar thing, much as it might be weakening future defences against Sauron, would at the time looked a squabble among men mainly, so not really in his remit to intervene in. }}

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Post by halfwise Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:54 pm

1700 years getting the lay of the land? He only needs 3 generations to be a permanent part of living memory. Hell I only taught high school for 6 years and when I left students told me I was considered a permanent fixture so they couldn't comprehend me leaving. Multiple kingdoms rise and fall in 1700 years; there's no land to get the lay of.

I think Tolkien picked their arrival so it was long enough ago it would fade into the mists of time, but didn't really think about them at all other than that.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Oct 27, 2020 3:10 pm

{{ Yeah but 6 years is more than a third of a students entire life no wonder it seems a long time to them. Ive had hangovers last longer Mad
Plus Gandalf walked everywhere, thats got to take a while and he got different names with every race, so he must have spent a fair bit of time, more than one generation to have got given a special name and noted to be not really aging (he was mistaken for an elf due to his apparent longevity that must have taken some time) visiting those races for that to happen. And races were long lived in ME. Men having the shortest lifespan and even then longer than now.
As I said there'd be no real reason to see the collpase of the northern kingdoms as anything more than petty human squabbling, which doesnt seem to be either his concern or his job to interfere with. He'd not have been to happy about it but I dont think he'd have seen it has being his place to intervene either. And no one knew at the time the Witch-King was the head of the Nazgul rather than just a powerful human sorceror (in the same way the Necormancer was considered for years). And with the fall of Minas Ithil its put down to the watch by Gondor becoming lax and careless allowing fell things to retake it as opposed to it being a major move by Sauron, who was assumed vanquished at this point as the Istari believed the Ring to be lost forever to the sea. So again just more human foibles and wars not something for them to interfere directly in. And with Saruman and the Blue wizards spending most of their time after arriving off in the East they might not even have been aware of it, leaving Gandalf effectively on his own to mark those events as Radagast from the off seems to have got sidetracked with bird, beast and fauna. I doubt there was much he felt he could, or should do about those events on his own, especially given his reluctance to be there at all in the first place. }}

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Post by halfwise Tue Oct 27, 2020 3:18 pm

With no evidence of Sauron at work, why send the wizards at all when they did? It really doesn't make sense, but I repeat myself.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Oct 27, 2020 3:27 pm

{{ We dont know how much they knew, the Valar made the decision to send them, even nominating who to send, and they might not have revealed all their foreknowedge to the Istari in doing so as Gods move in mysterious ways and all that. They may well have known Sauron was going to rise again, that the Ring was not lost or destroyed, but either couldnt or didnt reveal so, but sent the Istari then to make sure they would be well embedded, and ideally had gained the trust of those who would matter, by the time he did reappear.}}

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Post by Lancebloke Tue Oct 27, 2020 4:55 pm

I assume they very well knew that Sauron was key in the attempted rebellion of the Numenoreans given the movements of the Elves between the various shores at that time.

One can only then assume either Eru told them that Sauron wasn't dead or that they didn't know either way and sent the Ishtari out to just see what was happening after they had given up their guardianship (albeit clearly not really).

Also, we don't really know what was going on out East. If Saruman and the blue dudes were traveling far and wide to lands unknown to seek any information while Gandalf was moving and learning from all of the cultures and races in the West until Gandalf came back? That would take a long time in itself, especially going from nobody knows you to most of the West letting you do as you please.

Who knows about Radaghast... as much as he seems to have played some useful part but not sure when he went from useful to not-so-much.

All assumption though and Tolkien maybe purposefully left that all a mystery or just didn't get around to fleshing it out.
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Post by halfwise Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:27 pm

They only laid down their guardianship for a short time to let Eru do his thing.

I think Tolkien was so happy making up history he forgot about the wizards.

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Post by halfwise Sat Oct 31, 2020 2:54 pm

I like having these as treats for when I finish some work. A couple more hours to go...

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