We have detected that cookies are not enabled on your browser. Please enable cookies to ensure the proper experience.
Page 2 of 5 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 110
  1. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Pakistan
    Posts
    17
    While I dont have the book with me this is what i think (Keep in mind it has been quite some time that I discussed this or read the book so i may be wrong). Saruman did indeed send a small army to Edoras (which makes sense since according to his original strategy that is where the King Theoden would be present, He had not yet known that Gandalf had arrived or that he had cured Thoeden) and it was Eowyn that defended the halls in Theodens place and earned the title of shieldmaiden. After all in 10,000 riders they would only keep only 1000 in Edoras their capital?

    Also Sauron and Saruman were not allies. They only joined hands a couple of times when their interests coincided but in they were enemies each trying to usurp the other and gain absolute power Alone.

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Cookie Land
    Posts
    1,617
    Saruman’s main mistake was choosing the side of evil and naughtiness, in a story that was written from the viewpoint of; good and niceness shall prevail.

  3. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,034
    Quote Originally Posted by RKL View Post
    Saruman’s main mistake was choosing the side of evil and naughtiness, in a story that was written from the viewpoint of; good and niceness shall prevail.
    That and his incredible bad skills as a tactician.

  4. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Cookie Land
    Posts
    1,617
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    That and his incredible bad skills as a tactician.
    Saruman just doesn’t seem to ever catch a break.

    Then again: if you can’t have good tactical skills, the second best thing might be to have bad tactical skills that are incredible.
    Last edited by RKL; Dec 18 2013 at 08:25 AM.

  5. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by AtalKh View Post
    While I dont have the book with me this is what i think (Keep in mind it has been quite some time that I discussed this or read the book so i may be wrong). Saruman did indeed send a small army to Edoras (which makes sense since according to his original strategy that is where the King Theoden would be present, He had not yet known that Gandalf had arrived or that he had cured Thoeden) and it was Eowyn that defended the halls in Theodens place and earned the title of shieldmaiden. After all in 10,000 riders they would only keep only 1000 in Edoras their capital?
    This doesn't line up with my interpretation of events at all... Yes, Eowyn was left in charge of Edoras as Theoden and Eomer departed, but under direction to evacuate the people to Dunharrow. There is no mention I can find of Saruman attacking Edoras simultaneous to the Battle of the Hornburg. And Eowyn earned her title of Lady of the Shield-arm after slaying the Witch King, not defending Edoras.

  6. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by GarethB View Post
    You mean the army of Mordor orcs that was actually marching towards Rohan and forced Theoden and his army to travel thrugh Druadan forest on their way to fight at Minas Tirith?

    The cavalry of Rohan was fully assembled and on the move to aid Gondor, 10,000 riders, and they saw an army of Mordor orcs coming towards them, an army large enough that they gave up on the idea of using the main road between Rohan and Gondor and used a long forgotten road through a forest instead. An army or orcs large enough that attempting to fight them head on would delay Theoden and his calavry for too long and suffer too many losses before they arrived at Minas Tirith.

    Was that the army you were talking about?
    Well, I just meant they should have set out a wee bit earlier if they wanted to join the party at Hems Deep

    (Which i don´t think they did want)

  7. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Erebor
    Posts
    27
    In my opinion, Saruman then when he learned that Rohan march to Helm's Deep to send troops to the fortress, not scouts then when Theoden looked to the large armies surrounding fortresses to be frightened and had no where to escape

  8. #33
    To introduce my response I dug up a couple of posts from a thread back in 2011 when the Saruman raid was being introduced. The posts are addressing the question of why Saruman chose this particular moment to attack Theoden when he knew (or should have know) that Sauron was about to assault Gondor. The OP was questioning why Saruman risked expending his strength rather then waiting for Rohan to expend its strength aiding Gondor against Sauron (or else acting as a buffer against Sauron after Sauron conquers Gondor). I know that is not the question at hand, but I think some of the discussion points are relevant.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mad_Bombardier View Post
    Correct that Saruman's been busy for a long time. That still doesn't explain the timing of his attack. Even bad guys need strategic motivation. At this time, he is in communication with Sauron and should (or at the very least could) know of the impending attack against Minas Tirith. And yet, he goes to war prematurely. It makes no sense for him to be the first to strike in the War of the Ring. I failed to mention above, but perhaps he wants to use the momentum of his two skirmish victories at the Battles of the Fords of Isen.

    We also know that prior to the attacks, Gandalf and the Three Hunters aid Theoden and Grima is banished from Edoras. I am unsure of the dates, but perhaps the missing piece of puzzle is Grima's arrival and news of Theoden being aided. That leans towards the now or never line of Saruman's motivation and works with the above victory momentum.

    Edit: Found the dates. Grima was banished on the same day as Saruman's victory at the Second Battle; 2 March. Helm's Deep is midway between Isengard and Edoras, meaning both groups could arrive on 3 March. But, it's not enough time for Grima to get to Isengard and for Saruman to launch the attack on the same day. So, that's out. Saruman knew nothing of Aragorn or Theoden's release. Which brings us back to a premature assault...
    Quote Originally Posted by Vilnas View Post
    Saruman intended to set himself up as a "power" against the might of Sauron. To do so he needed either to control Rohan or remove it as a threat. By the time of the events described in LotR, Sauron was beginning to make his move and Saruman could no longer afford to wait. He chose to begin his assault while Rohan was in disarray due to the voodoo hex Grima managed to put on Theoden. This led to the First Battle of the Ford of Isen. According to Unfinished Tales, Saruman's specific goal appeared to be to slay Theodred, which had the intended effect of compounding the leadership vacuum and exacerbating Theoden's mental breakdown. Simultaneously, Grima managed to estrange Theoden from Eomer. With Theodred dead, Eomer discredited and Theoden all but incapacitated, Saruman's victory would have been swift and complete were it not for Gandalf's intervention.

    With respect to your point that Saruman should have known that Sauron's attack on Minas Tirith was imminent, I don't think that is the case. It is true that Saruman knew that Sauron was beginning to unleash his armies (the WK having previously assaulted Osgiliath with a trial force), and indeed I take that as part of Saruman's motivations for making his own move. However, I think LotR makes it clear that Sauron hit Gondor sooner and harder than expected as a direct result of Aragorn confronting Sauron in the palantir. This happened after Saruman's all-out attack on Rohan.

    I think the other factor to consider (which I believe is discussed either in the appendices or in Unfinished Tales), is that Saruman was caught in a bind due to his failed treacheries against Sauron - first with the capture of Gandalf, and later with the capture of Merry and Pippen. It is stated that the nazgul captured Grima on their way on their way north seeking the Shire, and thus became aware that Saruman had Gandalf. However, when they came to Isengard to claim him Gandalf had already escaped (which Saruman has difficulty explaining). Sauron now suspects Saruman of working against him. Later when Merry and Pippen are captured by the joint forces from Isengard and Mordor, the White Hand orcs prevail and the hobbits are taken to Isengard (They are taking the hobbits to Isengard, to Isengard, to Isengard, they're taking, they're taking, they're taking the hobbits to Isengard, to Isengard, to Isengard). Once this happens, Sauron knows that Saruman has betrayed him. The hobbits were captured at Amon Hen the day after Theodred was slain at the Fords. I think it is not unreasonable to conclude that both of these events were set into motion at the same time, and that Saruman the Wise did so knowing that his attempt to sieze the Ring would be the point of no return in his alliance with Sauron.

    I think at that point he had two options: (1) sit back, fortify Isengard and allow Sauron to weaken himself by assaulting Gondor and then Rohan, or (2) take pre-emptive action to remove Rohan and expand his own power base.

    I am guessing that Saruman also had another key consideration, which is that he knew he had no hope of final victory against Sauron unless he seized the Ring. Saruman may have thought that if the attack at Amon Hen failed to achieve this goal, he would need a free hand to send his armies across Rohan and down into Gondor in an effort to find and capture the Fellowship before they reached the safety of Minas Tirith (which would have been a disaster for Saruman). Like Sauron, it almost certainly would not have occurred to Saruman that the true plan was to destroy the Ring in Mt. Doom, but even if he did that would not have altered the tactical necessity of sending his armies unimpeded across Rohan in order to intercept the Fellowship.
    Here is the relevant timeline (from Encylopedia of Arda):
    25 February Death of Théodred at the First Battle of the Fords of Isen.

    29 February Uglúk's Orc-band is destroyed by the Rohirrim. Merry and Pippin escape into Fangorn Forest.

    30 February In Fangorn Forest, the Entmoot begins.

    2 March The Rohirrim are defeated at the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen.

    2 March Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli arrive at Edoras, and Gandalf cures Théoden of Saruman's influence.

    2 March The Entmoot ends with the Ents resolved to confront Saruman. They set out for Isengard, reaching it at nightfall.

    3 March Destruction of Isengard by the Ents.

    3 March The Battle of the Hornburg begins.

    4 March The Battle of the Hornburg is won, and the siege of Helm's Deep relieved. Théoden, Gandalf and their companions set out for Isengard.


    So as I understand it (without having Unfinished Tales at hand to reference Tolkien's side piece on the Battles of the Fords of Isen), Saruman committed to his full assault on Rohan while Theoden was still under Wormtongue's spell. Tolkien makes it clear that Saruman's chief purpose at the 1st Battle of the Fords was the to achieve the death of Theodred.

    On February 28, Saruman is sitting pretty. Theodred is dead, Eomer is discredited and Theoden is spellbound, leaving Rohan with a leadership vacuum and in severe disarray. Even better, Saruman's Uruk-hai are legging it across the plains toward Isengard with hobbit prisoners. After that everything unravels for Saruman. On February 29 the Uruk-hai raiders are wiped out and the hobbits escape. The fate of the Ring that the hobbits presumably carried is unknown.
    On March 2, Saruman forces sieze the crossing of the Isen in 2nd Battle of the Fords, opening the way for his all out assault on Rohan. I do not believe there is ever any explicit linkage in the text, but I like to think that Saruman actions are in some way connected to the disappearance of the hobbits and the "loss" of the Ring.

    Also on the March 2, and unknown to Saruman, Gandalf reappears from beyond death and rehabilitates Theoden. Theoden immediately marshals his forces and sets out for the Westfold. I need to check, but as I recall, I don't think Theoden immediately heads for Helm's Deep. I think he originally intends to support the forces at the Fords but heads for the Hornburg after messengers come with word that the Fords were taken.

    Were Saruman and his lieutenants aware when the White Hand forces set out that Theoden was headed for Helm's Deep? How fluid was the situation after they won the Fords of Isen? In any case, I don't think we can make definitive assumptions about what orders Saruman gave his commanders on March 2. Remember that Merry and Pippen (with Treebeard and the ents) watch Saruman's armies march out of Isengard. Shortly thereafter they assault Orthanc, and we can imagine that Saruman is thereafter preoccupied and has limited contact with his army in the field. I think that the White Hand forces pursued the survivors of the Fords as they fled to Helm's Deep and probably were not aware of Theoden's relief force until the White Hand forces drew near to Helm's Deep. Even if they were aware, they may have been trying to reach it first in order to cut Theoden off, which would have been disastrous for Theoden. Even with perfect information, I think that it would have been reasonable for the field commanders to decide that the best course of action would be to engage and destroy Theoden's forces rather than to divert to Edoras and leave Theoden in a strong position at their back. As it played out, it was very nearly the right decision. The White Hand forces defeated Theoden at Helm's Deep. But for the highly improbable arrival of Gandalf (an Istari) with a relief force that included Eomer and the other scattered survivors of the Fords, Theoden was doomed. Actually, even with the arrival of Gandalf's relief force, I believe that the White Hand would have prevailed at Helm's Deep but for the completely unimaginable arrival of a hostile huorn tree army during the night.

    Lastly, I want to return to the point I made in the old post excerpted above. At this point Saruman was in a terrible position vis a vis Sauron. Saruman's only true hope of victory was to sieze the Ring first. There were two possibilities. Either Merry and Pippen had possessed it, in which case it was lost somewhere in the vicinity of Fangorn and he needed a free hand to search for it. Saruman might also reasonably conclude that on or about March 1 there was a risk that the Ring was in the hands of a champion of Rohan. If so - if Theoden or Eomer had the Ring - he had to kill them before they learned how to use it. The other alternative is that the Ring was still somewhere in the vicinity of the Anduin and headed for Minas Tirith. In that scenario he needed a free hand to hunt for the Ring bearer all the way on the far side of Rohan. I don't think Saruman would have felt that he could afford to leave Theoden and an army of Rohirrim at Helm's Deep. I think Saruman had no choice but to play for an immediate crushing victory. In the grand scheme things, Saruman's victory over Rohan would be meaningless if the Ring escaped him. He could never hope to defeat Sauron's forces without it. I think Saruman made a sound decision both tactically and strategically, but was undone by a few unlikely twists of fate.

    He wasn't the only one. I don't think Sauron made bad choices. If Eowyn doesn't kill the Witch King, Gondor falls and Sauron wins. If Aragorn doesn't walk the Paths of the Dead and rally the Oathbreakers, Gondor falls and Sauron wins. If a hobbit and his servant don't walk alone into the most inhospitable and heavily guarded place in Middle Earth, all the way to Mt. Doom while evading capture, starvation, etc., Sauron wins. If Sam doesn't go into full Terminator mode and defeat Shelob, Sauron wins. Even with all of that, Frodo actually fails. At the final test, he can't find the strength of will to destroy the Ring.

    Ultimately, it is only by the grace of Illuvatar that the light prevails and Sauron is defeated. That is not to denigrate the role of the heroes of the story. Their courage and sacrifice are in a sense the vehicles through which the grace of Illuvatar is made manifest. Without Frodo's very nearly indomitable will, he does not make it to the precipice for his encounter with Gollum. Without Frodo's pity, Gollum does not survive to the encounter. But for Faramir's wisdom, Frodo does not leave Ithilien with the Ring. But for actions of Aragorn and Eowyn, Gondor is defeated and Sauron is not distracted at the critical moment.

    All of which is a very long winded way of saying that I disagree that Saruman made a foolish tactical decision to assault Helm's Deep.

  9. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Vilnas View Post
    Here is the relevant timeline (from Encylopedia of Arda):
    25 February Death of Théodred at the First Battle of the Fords of Isen.

    29 February Uglúk's Orc-band is destroyed by the Rohirrim. Merry and Pippin escape into Fangorn Forest.

    30 February In Fangorn Forest, the Entmoot begins.

    2 March The Rohirrim are defeated at the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen.

    2 March Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli arrive at Edoras, and Gandalf cures Théoden of Saruman's influence.

    2 March The Entmoot ends with the Ents resolved to confront Saruman. They set out for Isengard, reaching it at nightfall.

    3 March Destruction of Isengard by the Ents.

    3 March The Battle of the Hornburg begins.

    4 March The Battle of the Hornburg is won, and the siege of Helm's Deep relieved. Théoden, Gandalf and their companions set out for Isengard.


    So as I understand it (without having Unfinished Tales at hand to reference Tolkien's side piece on the Battles of the Fords of Isen), Saruman committed to his full assault on Rohan while Theoden was still under Wormtongue's spell. Tolkien makes it clear that Saruman's chief purpose at the 1st Battle of the Fords was the to achieve the death of Theodred.

    On February 28, Saruman is sitting pretty. Theodred is dead, Eomer is discredited and Theoden is spellbound, leaving Rohan with a leadership vacuum and in severe disarray. Even better, Saruman's Uruk-hai are legging it across the plains toward Isengard with hobbit prisoners. After that everything unravels for Saruman. On February 29 the Uruk-hai raiders are wiped out and the hobbits escape. The fate of the Ring that the hobbits presumably carried is unknown.
    On March 2, Saruman forces sieze the crossing of the Isen in 2nd Battle of the Fords, opening the way for his all out assault on Rohan. I do not believe there is ever any explicit linkage in the text, but I like to think that Saruman actions are in some way connected to the disappearance of the hobbits and the "loss" of the Ring.
    The text does not say anything of the sort. But it is something I have always wondered as well. Saruman could have hoped that his armies would also find the hobbits.

    Also on the March 2, and unknown to Saruman, Gandalf reappears from beyond death and rehabilitates Theoden. Theoden immediately marshals his forces and sets out for the Westfold. I need to check, but as I recall, I don't think Theoden immediately heads for Helm's Deep. I think he originally intends to support the forces at the Fords but heads for the Hornburg after messengers come with word that the Fords were taken.
    Exactly. Theoden's first destination was the Fords of Isen to help with the battle there. But he is diverted to the Hornburg by Gandalf after they come across those fleeing from the battle at the Fords.

    Were Saruman and his lieutenants aware when the White Hand forces set out that Theoden was headed for Helm's Deep? How fluid was the situation after they won the Fords of Isen? In any case, I don't think we can make definitive assumptions about what orders Saruman gave his commanders on March 2. Remember that Merry and Pippen (with Treebeard and the ents) watch Saruman's armies march out of Isengard. Shortly thereafter they assault Orthanc, and we can imagine that Saruman is thereafter preoccupied and has limited contact with his army in the field. I think that the White Hand forces pursued the survivors of the Fords as they fled to Helm's Deep and probably were not aware of Theoden's relief force until the White Hand forces drew near to Helm's Deep. Even if they were aware, they may have been trying to reach it first in order to cut Theoden off, which would have been disastrous for Theoden. Even with perfect information, I think that it would have been reasonable for the field commanders to decide that the best course of action would be to engage and destroy Theoden's forces rather than to divert to Edoras and leave Theoden in a strong position at their back. As it played out, it was very nearly the right decision. The White Hand forces defeated Theoden at Helm's Deep. But for the highly improbable arrival of Gandalf (an Istari) with a relief force that included Eomer and the other scattered survivors of the Fords, Theoden was doomed. Actually, even with the arrival of Gandalf's relief force, I believe that the White Hand would have prevailed at Helm's Deep but for the completely unimaginable arrival of a hostile huorn tree army during the night.
    This, for me, is one of the biggest points and you did a good job expressing it. Battle then was not like it was now.If something happens in a battle even half way across the world the important people know about it almost instantly. This was simply not the case then. If a king was not at the battle he might not know what happened for hours, perhaps even days. And even if he was in one part of the battle it does not mean he did not know what was happening elsewhere. This is why kings gave their battlefield commanders a lot of power.

    At the time of the second battle at the Fords of Isen Saruman, I do not think, did not have the whole picture. There were still pieces missing. Nor did he know that Theoden had gone to the Hornburg, if he had perhaps things would have gone differently. Did Saruman release his army too soon? Perhaps. Maybe he though he saw a chance to destroy Rohan for good so he made a hasty stroke. But as Aragorn says the hasty stroke oft goes astray. In the end we cannot lay the blame completely on Saruman, much though we would like to. It rests with his commanders too. If they had held Helm's Deep under seige and focused on rounding up and killing those who fled from the Fords perhaps things would have ended differently?

    Lastly, I want to return to the point I made in the old post excerpted above. At this point Saruman was in a terrible position vis a vis Sauron. Saruman's only true hope of victory was to sieze the Ring first. There were two possibilities. Either Merry and Pippen had possessed it, in which case it was lost somewhere in the vicinity of Fangorn and he needed a free hand to search for it. Saruman might also reasonably conclude that on or about March 1 there was a risk that the Ring was in the hands of a champion of Rohan. If so - if Theoden or Eomer had the Ring - he had to kill them before they learned how to use it. The other alternative is that the Ring was still somewhere in the vicinity of the Anduin and headed for Minas Tirith. In that scenario he needed a free hand to hunt for the Ring bearer all the way on the far side of Rohan. I don't think Saruman would have felt that he could afford to leave Theoden and an army of Rohirrim at Helm's Deep. I think Saruman had no choice but to play for an immediate crushing victory. In the grand scheme things, Saruman's victory over Rohan would be meaningless if the Ring escaped him. He could never hope to defeat Sauron's forces without it. I think Saruman made a sound decision both tactically and strategically, but was undone by a few unlikely twists of fate.

    He wasn't the only one. I don't think Sauron made bad choices. If Eowyn doesn't kill the Witch King, Gondor falls and Sauron wins. If Aragorn doesn't walk the Paths of the Dead and rally the Oathbreakers, Gondor falls and Sauron wins. If a hobbit and his servant don't walk alone into the most inhospitable and heavily guarded place in Middle Earth, all the way to Mt. Doom while evading capture, starvation, etc., Sauron wins. If Sam doesn't go into full Terminator mode and defeat Shelob, Sauron wins. Even with all of that, Frodo actually fails. At the final test, he can't find the strength of will to destroy the Ring.

    Ultimately, it is only by the grace of Illuvatar that the light prevails and Sauron is defeated. That is not to denigrate the role of the heroes of the story. Their courage and sacrifice are in a sense the vehicles through which the grace of Illuvatar is made manifest. Without Frodo's very nearly indomitable will, he does not make it to the precipice for his encounter with Gollum. Without Frodo's pity, Gollum does not survive to the encounter. But for Faramir's wisdom, Frodo does not leave Ithilien with the Ring. But for actions of Aragorn and Eowyn, Gondor is defeated and Sauron is not distracted at the critical moment.

    All of which is a very long winded way of saying that I disagree that Saruman made a foolish tactical decision to assault Helm's Deep.
    Yes, yes I agree completely. Saruman made the only throw open to him but fate, providence, wryd whatever you call it stepped in. Wyrd is never something can plan a sound strategy on, since you cannot predict it and often time by trying to achieve it you simply work against it. But when it does come... well as you see with Saruman, and even Sauron, it can undo the best laid plans in a heatbeat. The eucatastrophe was, in my own opinion at least, one of Tolkien's greatest ideas. And what happens with Saruman is a case study in it.

  10. #35
    For Vilnas,

    Thank you for a comprehensive and accurate analysis. There is, however, one small detail that has been overlooked (forgive me if some one else has mentioned this: I have parsed the thread but did not find any reference).

    According to Saruman's best information, at the time he issued orders to his armies to drive for Helm's Deep, Helm's Deep and the Hornburg could only be sparsely-manned: Saruman could not know the progress of the mobilization of Westfold, but knew that it had begun only very-recently, and that the main part of Westfold strength had been directed to defend the Fords of Isen; Saruman also had no knowledge of Théoden's cure, the reconciliation with Eomer, and the subsequent hasty-muster of available Eastfold riders and the King's household to ride to the relief of Erkenbrand.

    Indeed, when the King's company arrived at Helm's Deep they found exactly what Saruman had hoped (for his own army) to find: Gamling described the scant defenders as, mostly, "gammers who have seen too many winters" and lads "who have seen too few"; as these defenders were from the 'fyrd' of Westfold, not knights or soldiers but farmers and herdsmen, they were ill-equipped, in gear, experience and ability, to 'properly offer battle'; Gamling further owned that only Théoden's timely arrival has provided them even with enough manpower to (properly) man the dike. Remember, now, that the King arrived only a very-short time before Saruman's army.

    In short, Saruman had correctly discerned that Helm's Deep would be inadequately defended, and ripe to be seized by assault: the un(der)defended dike would be overrun at the very onset of the attack, and the Hornburg subsequently invested from all sides (and remember the instruments of blasting-fire with which these forces had been equipped); he had expected a quick, overwhelming, victory against surprised, unprepared and underequipped, defenders who were, themselves, of a kind ill-suited to 'properly offer battle'. With the Hornburg seized, Erkenbrand's army would have been cut-off from supply and reinforcement, and annihilated.

    The overall strategy had envisioned a 'one-two-three' punch to deliver all of Westfold to Saruman: the First Battle of the Fords drew manpower away from Helm's Deep, and the Second Battle of the Fords pinned those forces at the crossings of Isen, 'opening the door' to seize a lightly-defended Helm's Deep by assault; once Erkenbrand was cut off, Westfold would be finished.

    To Saruman's dismay, the words of real-life Graf von Moltke ("Moltke the Elder", a 19th-century German Field Marshall and internationally-acclaimed strategist/tactician of whom Tolkien may quite-likely have known) came to fruition: "No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy's main strength" or, "no plan [of battle] survives first contact [with the enemy]".

    HoG

    P.S. Saruman had despatched companies of wolf-riders to secure the eastern and southern flanks of the assault force bound for Helm's Deep; Théoden's company encountered one of these.

    HoG
    Last edited by Harper_of_Gondolin; Dec 31 2013 at 11:45 PM.

  11. #36
    I think that Gollums role should be emphazised a bit more than Illúvatars eventual role. Gollums love and hate for the thing

  12. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by EddieMuerto View Post
    I think that Gollums role should be emphazised a bit more than Illúvatars eventual role. Gollums love and hate for the thing
    Both should be emphasized in equal measures I think. Gollum played a very important part yes. If he had not been there and had not taken back the Ring Frodo would have kept it and things would have been completely different. If Illúvatar, fate wyrd whater you want to call it, had not stepped in things could also have been different. I would also add that providence, since that is a good translation for wyrd, is not simply a one time event with the Ring. Un the beginning of the Fellowship Gandalf says that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring and that Frodo too was meant to have it. Its there too, as we've been discussing, with Saruman and later with Sauron. Wyrd is in many real ways interwoven throughout the book.

  13. #38
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Fangorn Forest
    Posts
    340
    Quote Originally Posted by AtalKh View Post
    Also Sauron and Saruman were not allies. They only joined hands a couple of times when their interests coincided but in they were enemies each trying to usurp the other and gain absolute power Alone.
    While I've always felt that Saruman had convinced himself that he was acting for himself, Sauron certainly knew that Saruman was his puppet. Remember what Sauron told Pippen: Sauron was certain that he could send a Nazgul (well more than one in case they flew by Legolas) to "collect" them, and the One as well. He certainly wasn't worried in the slightest that the second greatest power had the ring.

  14. #39
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Fangorn Forest
    Posts
    340
    While I will admit that hammering a stronghold known for its defensive capabilities appears reckless, the only alternative would be to hunt down the scattered forces and kill/capture them. Normally, this would be the obvious course of action, but just how do you chase down the best light cavalry in Middle Earth? I don't remember a thing about Saruman having worgs, or even if uruk hai could ride them. I suspect Tolkien let his bias toward cavalry give the riders the advantages they needed to win this.

    Any idea of the size of the host in Helm's Deep? It still might have been better to meet 10,000 on the open ground than 1,000 in Helm's deep.

  15. #40
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1,864
    Quote Originally Posted by Meluihel View Post
    Both should be emphasized in equal measures I think. Gollum played a very important part yes. If he had not been there and had not taken back the Ring Frodo would have kept it and things would have been completely different. If Illúvatar, fate wyrd whater you want to call it, had not stepped in things could also have been different. I would also add that providence, since that is a good translation for wyrd, is not simply a one time event with the Ring. Un the beginning of the Fellowship Gandalf says that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring and that Frodo too was meant to have it. Its there too, as we've been discussing, with Saruman and later with Sauron. Wyrd is in many real ways interwoven throughout the book.
    That too, but Gollum would probably still be torn between his loyalty to the Ring and his loyalty to Frodo his master.

    Letter 246 also describes some of Gollums role and the "failed scenarios": http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Letter_246

  16. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Elrantiri View Post
    That too, but Gollum would probably still be torn between his loyalty to the Ring and his loyalty to Frodo his master.

    Letter 246 also describes some of Gollums role and the "failed scenarios": http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Letter_246
    Oh I could not agree more really. Frodo took the Ring to the end of his strength and endurance. He could, neither physically nor mentally, do no more. Nor did he have to. His, and Bilbo's, pity and mercy toward Gollum did the rest. So you are right I think he, Gollum, would have struggled with his loyalties. We do not however know which side would have won in the end. There was still some loyalty toward Frodo but he was also willing, even very eager, to lead Frodo to almost certain death in the pass of Cirith Ungol.

  17. #42
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,034
    Quote Originally Posted by Harper_of_Gondolin View Post
    For Vilnas,

    Thank you for a comprehensive and accurate analysis. There is, however, one small detail that has been overlooked (forgive me if some one else has mentioned this: I have parsed the thread but did not find any reference).

    According to Saruman's best information, at the time he issued orders to his armies to drive for Helm's Deep, Helm's Deep and the Hornburg could only be sparsely-manned: Saruman could not know the progress of the mobilization of Westfold, but knew that it had begun only very-recently, and that the main part of Westfold strength had been directed to defend the Fords of Isen; Saruman also had no knowledge of Théoden's cure, the reconciliation with Eomer, and the subsequent hasty-muster of available Eastfold riders and the King's household to ride to the relief of Erkenbrand.

    Indeed, when the King's company arrived at Helm's Deep they found exactly what Saruman had hoped (for his own army) to find: Gamling described the scant defenders as, mostly, "gammers who have seen too many winters" and lads "who have seen too few"; as these defenders were from the 'fyrd' of Westfold, not knights or soldiers but farmers and herdsmen, they were ill-equipped, in gear, experience and ability, to 'properly offer battle'; Gamling further owned that only Théoden's timely arrival has provided them even with enough manpower to (properly) man the dike. Remember, now, that the King arrived only a very-short time before Saruman's army.

    In short, Saruman had correctly discerned that Helm's Deep would be inadequately defended, and ripe to be seized by assault: the un(der)defended dike would be overrun at the very onset of the attack, and the Hornburg subsequently invested from all sides (and remember the instruments of blasting-fire with which these forces had been equipped); he had expected a quick, overwhelming, victory against surprised, unprepared and underequipped, defenders who were, themselves, of a kind ill-suited to 'properly offer battle'. With the Hornburg seized, Erkenbrand's army would have been cut-off from supply and reinforcement, and annihilated.

    The overall strategy had envisioned a 'one-two-three' punch to deliver all of Westfold to Saruman: the First Battle of the Fords drew manpower away from Helm's Deep, and the Second Battle of the Fords pinned those forces at the crossings of Isen, 'opening the door' to seize a lightly-defended Helm's Deep by assault; once Erkenbrand was cut off, Westfold would be finished.

    To Saruman's dismay, the words of real-life Graf von Moltke ("Moltke the Elder", a 19th-century German Field Marshall and internationally-acclaimed strategist/tactician of whom Tolkien may quite-likely have known) came to fruition: "No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy's main strength" or, "no plan [of battle] survives first contact [with the enemy]".

    HoG

    P.S. Saruman had despatched companies of wolf-riders to secure the eastern and southern flanks of the assault force bound for Helm's Deep; Théoden's company encountered one of these.

    HoG
    Thanks HoG liked the analysis you posted.

    I like how you put saruman military strategy by finding "inferior" their opponent, that for me is the classical mistake of the baddies, they deem anyone inferior, and that plays a role in war.

    Elf-Helm forces combined by Grimbol, Eomer's and Theoden's in the order the rohirrim prepared for war was excellent, King took control of the westfold and divided the authority in a way to muster quickly and trap the orcs of saruman. That combined with other factors aided the rohirrim in winning at helms deep.

  18. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    I like how you put saruman military strategy by finding "inferior" their opponent, that for me is the classical mistake of the baddies, they deem anyone inferior, and that plays a role in war.
    This motif has become a common theme in literature, true, but our author always has been much more subtle: the 'inferiority' did indeed exist, and Saruman's strategy was both comprehensive and 'air-tight'. Unfortunately for Saruman, events transpired that were not-only unforeseen, but 'unforsee-able':

    1. Théoden's miraculous recovery, and Eomer's reinstatement, facilitating the '11th-hour' muster at Edoras; this sent to Helm's Deep enough manpower to man the dike.
    2. the disastrously 'magical' sudden entry of Ents and huorns into the conflict that enabled Gandalf to drop an 'allied angry forest' behind the enemy.
    3. Gandalf's presence on the field, particularly his ability to rally the worsted Westfolders to regroup and launch a counter-attack against Saruman's assault force.
    4. all of the above happened precisely 'in the nick of time'.

    Saruman's strategy had been 'a lock': his soldiers would have swarmed over the undefended dike before the defenders even realized what was happening, then blast holes in the wall(s) of the Hornburg, and rush right into the very heart of the citadel itself to slaughter terrified old men and boys; Erkenbrand's surviving forces, cut-off from all hope of reinforcement or supply or even retreat, and with foes on all flanks, would have been swiftly and utterly annihilated.

    Through the serendipity of 'Fate', the undaunted courage of the heroes, and the hubris (overconfident pride) of the villain, this 'foolproof' scheme was undone by a stroke of lightning.

    HoG

  19. #44
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,034
    Quote Originally Posted by Harper_of_Gondolin View Post
    This motif has become a common theme in literature, true, but our author always has been much more subtle: the 'inferiority' did indeed exist, and Saruman's strategy was both comprehensive and 'air-tight'. Unfortunately for Saruman, events transpired that were not-only unforeseen, but 'unforsee-able':

    1. Théoden's miraculous recovery, and Eomer's reinstatement, facilitating the '11th-hour' muster at Edoras; this sent to Helm's Deep enough manpower to man the dike.
    2. the disastrously 'magical' sudden entry of Ents and huorns into the conflict that enabled Gandalf to drop an 'allied angry forest' behind the enemy.
    3. Gandalf's presence on the field, particularly his ability to rally the worsted Westfolders to regroup and launch a counter-attack against Saruman's assault force.
    4. all of the above happened precisely 'in the nick of time'.

    Saruman's strategy had been 'a lock': his soldiers would have swarmed over the undefended dike before the defenders even realized what was happening, then blast holes in the wall(s) of the Hornburg, and rush right into the very heart of the citadel itself to slaughter terrified old men and boys; Erkenbrand's surviving forces, cut-off from all hope of reinforcement or supply or even retreat, and with foes on all flanks, would have been swiftly and utterly annihilated.

    Through the serendipity of 'Fate', the undaunted courage of the heroes, and the hubris (overconfident pride) of the villain, this 'foolproof' scheme was undone by a stroke of lightning.

    HoG
    Well said, Im a believer of what you say.

    For the rest, an overconfident captain in the Sun Tzu the Art of war, will always face "miraculous" recovery of the enemy, and always end up in a position when his life is in peril, that of his men and his honor as a captain.

    Example:

    Even captains like Alexander the Great eventually end up in same position threatened by those around them and eventually dead.

  20. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Harper_of_Gondolin View Post
    This motif has become a common theme in literature, true, but our author always has been much more subtle: the 'inferiority' did indeed exist,
    Yes I agree completely both with that and with what Al said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    they deem anyone inferior, and that plays a role in war.
    Viewing his enemies as less then he was means that Saruman could not see or understand certain things, his high opinion of myself and his plans blinded him.


    Quote Originally Posted by Harper_of_Gondolin View Post
    Saruman's strategy was both comprehensive and 'air-tight'. Unfortunately for Saruman, events transpired that were not-only unforeseen, but 'unforsee-able':

    1. Théoden's miraculous recovery, and Eomer's reinstatement, facilitating the '11th-hour' muster at Edoras; this sent to Helm's Deep enough manpower to man the dike.
    2. the disastrously 'magical' sudden entry of Ents and huorns into the conflict that enabled Gandalf to drop an 'allied angry forest' behind the enemy.
    3. Gandalf's presence on the field, particularly his ability to rally the worsted Westfolders to regroup and launch a counter-attack against Saruman's assault force.
    4. all of the above happened precisely 'in the nick of time'.

    Saruman's strategy had been 'a lock': his soldiers would have swarmed over the undefended dike before the defenders even realized what was happening, then blast holes in the wall(s) of the Hornburg, and rush right into the very heart of the citadel itself to slaughter terrified old men and boys; Erkenbrand's surviving forces, cut-off from all hope of reinforcement or supply or even retreat, and with foes on all flanks, would have been swiftly and utterly annihilated.

    Through the serendipity of 'Fate', the undaunted courage of the heroes, and the hubris (overconfident pride) of the villain, this 'foolproof' scheme was undone by a stroke of lightning.

    HoG
    Here again I agree with what Al said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Elf-Helm forces combined by Grimbol, Eomer's and Theoden's in the order the rohirrim prepared for war was excellent, King took control of the westfold and divided the authority in a way to muster quickly and trap the orcs of saruman. That combined with other factors aided the rohirrim in winning at helms deep.
    But the "other factors" are more then just that. Had anything not gone as it did Saruman may well have won, or at least things would be very different. So Saruman's plans were indeed air-tight. The only things he did not account for are those things that no one would have expected him to account for. Gandalf's return, Theoden's healing all of your list Harper. Who in those days leading up to the Battle of Helm's Deep would have expected any one of those things to happen, let alone all of them?

    Was Saruman to blame? Of course. If he had staid true to the reason he was sent to Middle-Earth in the first place things would have been better. At the same time though what happened leading up to the battle and his downfall were in many ways, as Harper said, unforsee-able.

  21. #46
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,034
    Quote Originally Posted by Meluihel View Post

    But the "other factors" are more then just that. Had anything not gone as it did Saruman may well have won, or at least things would be very different. So Saruman's plans were indeed air-tight. The only things he did not account for are those things that no one would have expected him to account for. Gandalf's return, Theoden's healing all of your list Harper. Who in those days leading up to the Battle of Helm's Deep would have expected any one of those things to happen, let alone all of them?

    Was Saruman to blame? Of course. If he had staid true to the reason he was sent to Middle-Earth in the first place things would have been better. At the same time though what happened leading up to the battle and his downfall were in many ways, as Harper said, unforsee-able.
    You didn't understand then, unforseeable things happen to incompetent captains, Saruman knew of the defenses in the Ford and what did he do?

    Sent his forces spread across a big terrain, that combined with what HoG said made him loose the war.

    In Tolkien lore Saruman= Cursed by Fate, unlucky and Incompetent, but there is a saying "Fate is what you bring to yourself", so fate is subjective HoG is spiritual thinker and I recognized that but Saruman was also very incompentent and caused his demise himself, not by fate, himself is to blame.

  22. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    Well said, Im a believer of what you say.
    Make up your mind, you've gone to great pains to tell us what a terrible tactician Saruman was, at every point telling us how weak his strategy was, now you're agreeing with Hog's post saying how airtight his strategy was, and how the only mistakes he made involved things that he had no control over.

    No wonder your message so often comes across as confused and disjointed.

  23. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Al. View Post
    You didn't understand then, unforseeable things happen to incompetent captains, Saruman knew of the defenses in the Ford and what did he do?
    I agree. There are things that he should have seen but paid them no notice, the Ents being perhaps the biggest example. There is a difference though between what is unforeseen and what is unforeseeable. With the former you could have seen it but you did not. With the latter though no one can possible see it happening. A good example is Gandalf. When he falls in Moria no one expect him to come back until he is back. You can be judged for what is unforeseen, because you could have seen it. You cannot be judged for what is unforeseeable, because no one sees it until it has happned.

    In Tolkien lore Saruman= Cursed by Fate, unlucky and Incompetent, but there is a saying "Fate is what you bring to yourself", so fate is subjective HoG is spiritual thinker and I recognized that but Saruman was also very incompentent and caused his demise himself, not by fate, himself is to blame.
    I agree. Saruman was cursed by fate. The issue though is that "fate is what you bring to yourself" is a very modern definition of fate. When thinking of fate in the books you have to look to a far older way of thinking about fate, as Tolkien did. Fate in that sense was something you could bring upon yourself yes, and in that way Saruman's own choices were the reason he fell. But fate is also something "outside" something you have no control over. Meaning that even the best laid plans turn against you, as happened with Saruman.

    So which is it? Did Saruman's inability to see things and his own choices doom him? Or was it fate, in the second definition I gave, that did him in? In the end it was both.

  24. #49
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,034
    Quote Originally Posted by Langie View Post
    Make up your mind, you've gone to great pains to tell us what a terrible tactician Saruman was, at every point telling us how weak his strategy was, now you're agreeing with Hog's post saying how airtight his strategy was, and how the only mistakes he made involved things that he had no control over.

    No wonder your message so often comes across as confused and disjointed.
    Yes I apologize, to be honest I still think Saruman is a terrible tactician, HoG made me believe for a moment I was wrong, but yes Saruman was to blame, including the ents everything he did was for his eventual demise.

  25. #50
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    1,034
    HoG and Meluniel are baddies been bad.

    Saruman was a wizard and he didn't forsee ents would rebel against him, or theoden recovery or rophirrim mustering forces he knew they had....

    Saruman is the worst tactician along with Sauron.

 

 
Page 2 of 5 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

This form's session has expired. You need to reload the page.

Reload