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Topic: Physical Form & The Eye

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Peoples of Beleriand - Rank 1
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Posts: 26
Date: Sep 11, 2011
Physical Form & The Eye

In "The Lord of the Rings", Tolkien did not go into great detail when explaining Sauron's form and his many devices. (other than his ring of course)

 

So, during the "War of the Ring" was Sauron a physical being or merely a spirit. Did he need the One Ring to regain his physical form.

 

And what kind of device was "The Eye"?  Did it have any relation to "The Palantir"?

 

I'm sure Tolkien discussed these topics in more detail in other works, although I have not yet read them.

 

I would greatly appreciate any quotes from Tolkiens works on these subjects.biggrin



-- Edited by FirstBorn on Sunday 11th of September 2011 09:44:43 PM



-- Edited by FirstBorn on Sunday 11th of September 2011 09:45:54 PM

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Tom Bombadil
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Date: Sep 12, 2011
Have you read the Silmarillion? It would help with many of the above questions.

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Peoples of Beleriand - Rank 1
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Date: Sep 12, 2011

It's been years since I read The Silmarillion, and I don't own a copy of it.

 

I really do need to read it again.

 

Anyway, I'm most interested in Sauron during the Third Age, so The Silmarillion wont be much help.



-- Edited by FirstBorn on Monday 12th of September 2011 12:20:16 AM



-- Edited by FirstBorn on Monday 12th of September 2011 12:20:32 AM

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"Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring." - Samwise Gamgee

Tom Bombadil
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Date: Sep 12, 2011
After he was defeated in the Dagorlad, he was a spirit. He needs the ring to take on Physical form. What better body part then an eye could you imagine to see at what your enemies and servants were doing?
What are your thoughts on this?

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Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, Jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!

Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Date: Sep 12, 2011

I would say that Sauron was ultimately physical in the Third Age, and did not need the One to rebuild his body, but needed the One to exist.

 

There is Gollum's description of Sauron's hand or fingers in The Lord of the Rings, and  there's a variety of comments from JRRT in his letters -- which include the explanations: that Sauron was always de-bodied when vanquished, or that it took Sauron longer to rebuild his form after the Last Alliance than it had after the fall of Númenor -- and that it was impossible for Sauron to rebuild after the destruction of the Ring (destruction, not loss).


And in letter 246 (to quote another reference) Tolkien notes: 'Sauron should be thought of as very terrible. The form that he took was that of a man of more than human stature, but not gigantic.'

 

But also note the context with respect to the time period (same letter):


'In the contest with the Palantír Aragorn was the rightful owner. Also the contest took place at a distance, and in a tale which allows the incarnation of great spirits in a physical and destructible form their power must be far greater when actually physically present. Sauron should be thought of as very terrible. The form that he took was that of a man of more than human stature but not gigantic.'



-- Edited by Galin on Monday 12th of September 2011 01:03:51 PM

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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Very interesting Galin, I must invest in the letters of JRR Tolkien, seeing as how much information is in them

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Date: Sep 12, 2011

Tolkien's letters are very interesting and well worth the read Huan. Since they are spread out over many years, they too can sometimes represent changing conceptions -- but in this case (Sauron's body), I find JRRT to be quite consistent.



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Tower Guard of Minas Tirith - Rank 4
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Are there cases in the letters where Tolkien gives two ideas about the same concept? As in, letter 240 may contradict letter 17 because Tolkien changed his mind?

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But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom,nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor;
Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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Many believe the 'Eye' is meant as a metaphor for the will of Sauron 'searching' in his Palantir. Though if my memory serves I don't think you subscribe to that idea Galin?

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Date: Sep 13, 2011
Huan the great hound wrote: Are there cases in the letters where Tolkien gives two ideas about the same concept? As in, letter 240 may contradict letter 17 because Tolkien changed his mind?

 

At the moment I can't remember an exact letter contradicting another letter (which doesn't mean there isn't any instances of this), but certainly there are letters that contradict other texts merely because Tolkien had changed his mind about something. What I do recall at the moment is that all of JRRT's letters seem (to me) to be consistent about Sauron.

 

As for the Eye of Sauron I think (in an old thread here) I included the possibilities of: metaphor, emblem, and vision -- depending upon the quote -- that is, the 'Eye of Sauron' is a fluid description, or can be.

 

But one thing I don't think it ever refers to is a physical eye independent of Sauron. It's physical as an emblem of course, as that's a physical thing, such as a painted badge upon a shield.



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Being lies with Eru - Rank 1
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confuseWow Galin, You really know your stuff... Thanks for the clarification. biggrin



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