Was it Isildur who actually killed Sauron? I always thought it was Gil-Galad and Elendil who landed the death blow and Isildur cut the ring from the "corpse".
I doubt that the Ring would turn Sauron invisible--as noted before, it is not a ring of invisibility, the invisibility is a side-effect when someone who is not "present" in both worlds wears the Ring. Before he tied himself to a physical form, he could have been "invisible" at will--but he would have still been somewhat detectable by an Elf and certainly "visible" (if that has any meaning in the context) to another Power.
Historically, none of JRRT's major villains were great fighters, because physical combat is not something they would have call to engage in. Morgoth was not, Sauron is not when we see him at Tol Sirion... he shifts form in order to be able to fight better but still loses to Huan. After the Fall of Numenor, he can no longer change form. Most of JRRT's villains are actually physical cowards, because they fear Death and injury greatly, even though they know they cannot truly die. I would assume this to be true for Sauron as well as it was for Morgoth.
Sauron would certainly have been very dangerous.. but that is because of what he IS, rather than any combat skill on his part. Unlike a Balrog, neither Morgoth nor Sauron were front-line combatants.
I doubt that Sauron traveled back to Middle-earth from the wrack of Numenor very quickly. It may have actually taken days, weeks, months, years or even decades (not sure of the time frame) for him to gather his power sufficiently to actually move the Ring. I have no issue with his physical death causing a (by our standards) lengthy period of disability.
This begs the question to me: How did Sauron kill Gil-Galad and Elendil if he was such a bad fighter?
He was definitely not a bad fighter, but not up to the mark of Gil-Galad, and perhaps even Elendil. But he had the One Ring, which instantly put him miles ahead of any competition left in M-E when it came to physical combat.
Elendil is part elven and part Maia.
Had Sauron faced "mere mortals" he would likely have been victorious (we might also attribute the victory, in part, to Providence). As it was, the combined efforts of Gil-Galad and Elendil (as well as the others accompanying them, like Isildur) were enough to win through, at great cost.
when Sauron was taken to Numenor it was after he surrendered without a fight against Ar-Pharazon, so I always assumed he left the ring behind in Barad-dur, but I can´t remember reading the details about it anywhere.
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Ar-Pharazôn, as is told in the 'Downfall' or Akallabêth, conquered a terrified Sauron's subjects, not Sauron. Sauron's personal 'surrender' was voluntary and cunning: he got free transport to Numenor! He naturally had the One Ring, and so very soon dominated the minds and wills of most of the Númenóreans. (I do not think Ar-Pharazôn knew anything about the One Ring. The Elves kept the matter of the Rings very secret, as long as they could. In any case Ar-Pharazôn was not in communication with them.
- from a letter written in 1958
If there was any elven or maia makeup left in him, which I doubt, it would have been very diluted over so many generations. I believe that, like Aragorn in his time, Elendil was the best of the race of Man. True to Iluvatar and perhaps somewhat blessed as a result. Like you said it was the combined effort that brought Sauron down.
"You can't fight the Enemy with his own Ring without turning into an Enemy" - J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter # 81
The idea behind having Elves and Men interbreeding was to provide Men with exemplars of noble leadership and thus make the world a better place. One part of that was that once established, those traits of nobility never entirely went away - even though they might not be displayed by every king, they would still be passed down and could re-emerge later (hence Aragorn having the majesty of the kings of old). There was still a little hint of Elf and Maia in all of the scions of the Line of Kings, however well-hidden it might have been in some of them. That strong inheritance of those traits also underpins the idea of Legolas claiming to be able to see that Imrahil had Elvish ancestry, despite the passing of many generations since.
While the Kings ARE mortal--in that they have the Gift of Men--they are not the same as other Men in other respects. Elendil would likely have been at least as "powerful" as Aragorn (likely more so as he was closer to the source, genetically).
I think Tolkien left this, like other things (Bombadil, for instance), left for the imagination to work out. It may have been left as a nondescript "throwing down" because there seemed to be few witnesses of the struggle, that the actual mechanic by which Sauron was overthrown was never witnessed or recorded, or even mentioned at all by those who saw it because the event was too traumatic. In any case, the important thing is not the mechanic by which he was overthrown, but rather that he was in fact overthrown. Peter Jackson's interpretation is, of course, just an interpretation.
I do not believe that to be the case. They were visible while living men but over the eons their bodies eventually gave out and flesh withered, albeit very slowly, and they turned into wraiths (the Nazgul). After that to appear in the visible realm they had to wear clothing. I further believe that that is why, for the hobbits to turn invisible is a little less troubling. some might say; 'why did their clothes turn invisible but clothes on the ring-wraiths make them appear as though visible?' One must remember that while the nine wore rings of power, they were lesser rings and the ring that granted invisibility (and perhaps granted is not the right word as they did not seem to have a choice whether they vanished or not) to the hobbits was the One Ring, the ruling ring.
Ah, thank you. That has a ring of truth to it (no pun intended). can you tell me about where in Prof.T's writings that can be found? ie; appendices, LotR, etc.
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