Power of the Númenóreans

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Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Lorient Avandi on Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:32 am

Ok so there's this guy on another forum I'm a part of who thinks that Numenor had absolutely no reason to fear Sauron. He thinks that the Numenoriens of middle earth such as Gondor and arnor could have taken Sauron, anytime. I think this is crazy but I wanted to know your take on this.
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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Eldorion on Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:06 am

Sauron's own armies abandoned him when Ar-Pharazon decided to go to war against Mordor, and Sauron surrendered and debased himself in order to destroy Numenor through subterfuge because even he realized that he would lose a war between the two superpowers of the late Second Age. The Akallabeth (appended to The Silmarillion) goes into some detail about this and I can go dig up some quotes later if anyone is interested. Wink

That said, I don't know what the context of the original discussion was, so a link would be helpful before commenting further. Smile
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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:27 am

For a long time the two sides never really came into direct contact I don't think- during the period when Numenor was just raiding the coasts and ammassing wealth. And they had already estabilished ports and settlements and the like before Sauron really comes onto their radar.

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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Eldorion on Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:35 am

Never mind, I found the original thread. MEC, huh? I remember a couple of their members coming over to another forum I used to be active at. Laughing Little ponds always make the fish think they're so big, and their standards don't seem to have improved much. Razz But I digress... I assume this is the post that prompted you to comment here:

Yams in a can wrote:The thing about the Numenorians was that they, without any doubt, could have taken on the Last Alliance without a problem. Now I don't believe the host assembled by the Numenorians to take down Sauron was their full power.

Alright can we agree that the location of Gondor was not folly? Gondor was set up there because the original colonies of the Numenorians were there, and the Numenorians had no reason to fear Sauron.

Not to mention, Anarion with the Armies of Gondor was able to hold of Sauron while the Last Alliance gathered their army.

As well, with the fiefdoms, I believe that Gondor could have held off Sauron's massive assault on Minas Tirith without any help. They did not have access to the full power of the Fiefdoms during the original battle because the Corsairs were attacking the Fiefdoms and they had to defend their lands. This was actually a key part in Sauron's plan.

For most of Gondor's history, Gondor certainly had the power to repel Sauron.

For convenience's sake, I'll also quote your response from that thread.

Lorient Avandi wrote:I strongly disagree. As much as I love Gondor, the location was definitely folly. It was almost their downfall. The only ally that shared a border with them was Rohan, all other sides were enemies. Mordor, harad, umbar, they were constantly fearing attack. They almost lost Minas Tirith during the war of the ring because of that fear. Now Yams, if Numenor and Gondor had no reason to fear Sauron, then why did they fear him so much?
Rohan's location was much more sensible, they had allies or neutrals on all sides. Their only real enemies were dunland, which was nothing, and isengard, which didn't come in until the war of the ring.

If one is talking about the Numenoreans then I stand by my original post. If, however, one is talking about the Gondorians, then it is a more complicated matter. Bear in mind that Gondor grew up around Numenorean colonies that had survived for hundreds if not thousands of years during the Dark Years. At that point Sauron controlled almost all of the north-west portion of Middle-earth, but the power of the Numenoreans was sufficient to allow their coastal enclaves to survive more or less unmolested (and even before their expansionist phase kicked off they were still able to deliver a crushing defeat to Sauron at the end of his war with the Elves). Furthermore, as far anyone knew during the founding of Gondor, Sauron had died during the Downfal, so they really had no reason to worry about Mordor being nearby.

By bringing up Harad and Umbar as well, you are basically criticizing the founders of Gondor for not foreseeing the strategic situation thousands of years in the future. Umbar was, during the founding of Gondor, a powerful Numenorean colony, and the tribes of Harad were not a real threat. They might have been allied with Sauron at one point, but they had abandoned him when Ar-Pharazon's armada arrived to challenge Sauron. Besides, nations are not founded based purely on military positioning. Gondor was well-positioned for trade, being around the lower Anduin, and as noted was already the location of old Numenorean settlements. Expecting rulers (even fictional ones) to pack up and move their entire kingdom because of the location of "allies or neutrals" betrays a gamer mentality more than anything else.

In any event, Sauron hadn't died and Gondor was in a serious life-or-death struggle during the War of the Last Alliance, but that's because they were only a century (perhaps a generation or two in Numenorean time) away from losing 90+% of their civilization and people and were trying to rebuild on a new continent with very little to start from. On the other hand, they did win through military might in the end, so despite being the victims of apocalyptic vengeance they were still one of the strongest military powers on the continent. Also note that Gondor had Mordor surrounded by fortifications for centuries after the War of the Last Alliance. It was not until millennia of decline and neglect had taken their toll (by the time of LOTR) that Gondor was near-helpless, though as Boromir said, even at the end of its strength Gondor was very strong.


Last edited by Eldorion on Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Eldorion on Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:45 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:For a long time the two sides never really came into direct contact I don't think- during the period when Numenor was just raiding the coasts and ammassing wealth. And they had already estabilished ports and settlements and the like before Sauron really comes onto their radar.

That's not entirely true, Petty. The Numenoreans ruled the seas and the coasts during the later half of the Second Age while Sauron kept to the inland, but part of the reason Sauron gave them their space was because he had already had an experience with the Numenoreans. One of their first imperial ventures (as the Numenoreans were still just beginning to expand from the home island) was to send an army to intervene in the War of the Elves and Sauron, which was able to completely defeat Sauron's forces in Eriador.
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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Lorient Avandi on Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:02 pm

Ok, I can see where you are coming from. I didn't say that it was folly at the founding. It was actuually pretty smart, it just ended up being bad for them.
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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Eldorion on Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:17 am

Lorient Avandi wrote:it just ended up being bad for them.

That is true, though I still think it's unfair to call it folly, since I think that implies that the founders of Gondor were at fault. Wink
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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Lancebloke on Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:11 pm

Was gondor not officially founded around the same time as arnor? As is said, gondor was founded amoungst various older settlements of Numenor and at that time shared a border with arnor (rohan did not exist) and men in the lands of rhovannion who were also allies layer on (helped with the wainriders). So at the time of it's founding there was a relative peace with several other friendly nations/lands around?

Numenor itself I think was only ever second in military strength to the armies of the valar during the war of wrath... Possibly outstripping the power of the elder of beleriand in the the first age.
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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by halfwise on Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:41 pm

Nice to see old threads I missed resurrected.

Nothing more to add on the point in question, but as far as I know Tolkien is the only author to bring in the idea that the earth was once flat, but was made round to contain men within it's bounds...only the Elves can sail by the old straight road. It's strikingly original and poetic. To me it's the most beautiful image in all the legendarium.

Tolkien was a consumate borrower - can anyone think of other ideas that were purely his own?

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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:50 am

Not sure I'd say that example was oroginal Halfwise- its sort of borrowed from old Catholiscm- that the earth was flat when the bible describes it has having 'four corners'. Although the way Tolkien worked the idea that it being flat and round are both true is lovely.

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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Eldorion on Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:03 am

I'm pretty sure that the Bible doesn't describe the Earth being transformed from a flat form to a round form, which I believe is what Halfwise was calling original. study
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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by halfwise on Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:07 am

That's what I was talking about, the blending of the two cosmologies.

I have realized something that might be original with Tolkien but is now taken for granted: did dragons ever talk before him? I get the feeling they were never before viewed as intelligent beings. He did it several times: the Hobbit, Farmer Giles of Ham, and Glaurung in the Silmarillion.

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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:14 am

Mmm now you mention not sure Halfwise. Certainly in folklore there are lots of talking magical ceatures so I dont see why dragons would not have fallen into that category. But then medievel dragons, St George, King Arthur myths etc dont seem to have been talking ones, cant think of any dragons inbetween them and Tolkien!

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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by halfwise on Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:32 am

I wouldn't call hobbits all that original because there were all sorts of wee folk in myth and legend. But to take such an archetype as dragons and transform them was a nice touch. Perhaps the Ents are transformative enough to qualify.

With those two or three original ideas that's about it - JRRT hasn't the inventiveness of a Larry Niven, but singular craft and a strong sense for where the deep rivers lie.

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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:41 am

I see hobbits, and elves, as being more of a restoration job. He saved them from the twee doom of Victorian fancy and restored the little people and the elves to their former statures in the old tales.

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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Tinuviel on Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:40 am

well, the name "hobbit" is very original! Unless it actually comes from something else...?

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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by halfwise on Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:12 am

We are all of course familiar with the origin story of "in a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit" as just appearing out of nowhere in Tolkien's mind when he wrote it down. According to Wikipedia he may have been influenced the Denham Tracts which appeared around 1850 and listed a number of hobgoblin like creatures including hobbits, and which in turn was based on an earlier list from the 1500's. It's very possible Tolkien had read one these sources, did not recall doing so, but with his mind for words that particular one may have stuck in his head.

But nobody knows, and Tolkien himself admitted it may have been derivative though he clearly remembers it appearing out of the blue in his mind. The term 'hol-bytla' is supposed to come from 'hole builder' in old English, but the sources I see quote Tolkien on this, and nothing else. If so, given his propensity with temporal changes of language it very likely could have been an unconscious derivation of hole builder that just appeared in his mind as though independent.

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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Elthir on Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:07 am

Fafnir the Dragon speaks (Volsung Saga) for example, transformed though he was in the accounts I can recall at the moment.



Holbytla was a purposed invention to help support the conceit surrounding the word Hobbit -- since 'Hobbit' itself became an invented translation (when the conceit of translation itself arose), Tolkien decided to 'explain' its 'English' form.

Very inventive!


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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by halfwise on Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:29 pm

Ah yes, one of Tolkien's main sources! Serves me right for never having sat through the whole 15 hours of the Ring of the Nibelung.

I did see an obscure reference to Tolkien having made up the Old English, but I didn't quite understand it. Thanks for clarifying.

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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Elthir on Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:38 pm

I'll add that Old English hol 'cave, hole, den...' is attested, and bytla is noted as only or mainly occurring in poetical texts, and said to '= bylda' which is explained as 'builder? Householder?' (Clark Hall, A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary), along with bytlan, bytlian (or gebytlian) 'to build', erect.'


But the clue for Holbytla is found in Appendix F ('if that name...'): '... and Hobbit provides a word that might well be a worn down form of holbytla, if that name had occured in our own ancient language.' This is intended to mirror the real words used back then: kuduk (translated 'Hobbit'), noted as seemingly likely to be a worn down form of kud-dukan (translated 'Holbytla').

I assume then, that no ancient English text has surfaced with the compound holbytla... yet Wink
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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Lancebloke on Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:11 pm

Halfwise - you managed to completely turn the tide of the conversation.... and everyone ignored my post.

If there was a proper crying (not the cutting an onion one) or suicide emoticon it would be being used right now.
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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Mrs Figg on Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:24 pm

He does that Lance. The trick is to tie his feet up in a knot, he falls over and you spring into action with your typing finger. Cool

btw does Hobgoblin mean Little Goblin?

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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:43 pm

Hob is an old shortened form of Robert or Robin. The original hob-goblin was supposed to be associated to the devil- whose name you should not say so this creature went under the disguised name Robin Goodfellow. Which in turn got cut down to hobgoblin.
Shakespeare has Robin Goodfellow in a play under his other name, Puck.

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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Elthir on Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:21 pm

Mrs Figg wrote: btw does Hobgoblin mean Little Goblin?

In Tolkien's world 'Hobgoblin' refers to a larger kind of goblin, although JRRT himself once stated (in a letter): '... the statement that hobgoblins were 'a larger kind' [of goblins] is the reverse of the original truth.'

Very Happy
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Re: Power of the Númenóreans

Post by Mrs Figg on Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:51 pm

Embarassed squeaks. Cool! Embarassed ((( first Loremaster reply post cheers))))

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