Are the Nazgul really that desperate?

Discussion in 'Questions for Narnion' started by Saxo Runesinger, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. Saxo Runesinger

    Saxo Runesinger New Member

    I want to challenge some comments in made in the last discussion (episode 91). There was some discussion of the 'desperation' of the Lord of the Nazgul as he and his comrades attempted to grab Frodo before he crossed the 'border' into Rivendell.

    I know that the Ford of Bruinen is also known as the Ford of Rivendell, and that Elrond controls the river, but keep in mind that there is still more than 20 miles* between the liminal zone of the Ford and the valley of Imladris. So, I might argue that saying that Frodo will be safe from pursuit once he crosses the river might reflect more about the barrier of the flowing river than it does of the Boundary of Rivendell/Faerie.

    Also, as I mentioned in a previous post about the strategy of the Witch King, even the safe arrival of the Ring at Rivendell is not necessarily disaster for Sauron and his forces. Yes, of course they would like to get the Ring sooner vs later, but they can afford to wait a day, a year, or an age to get it back in their possession. Even if a powerful claimant of the Ring can be found in Rivendell, the Forces necessary to win the physical war against Morder are not available, and (in the absence of the watery elimination of the Nazgul threat) the 9 still have the option of hemming in and posting a watch on the Ring and it's progress once it arrives in Imladris.

    Keep in mind, we are < 100 miles from the orc holds in the Misty Mountains, probably a similar distance from Mount Gundabad, and there may be some isolated orc holds in the ruins of Angmar. All of these resources would be available to the Witch King if he's remains in surveillance mode.

    So, in my mind, it's s stretch to say that he is desperate to stop Frodo at the Ford. Highly motivated? Certainly, but he is by no means out-of-options....or, so it would seem.

    *see this handy link for distances in Middle Earth:
    Lalaith likes this.
  2. Faelivrin

    Faelivrin Well-Known Member

    Hm... not arguing in favor of "desperation" particularly, just commenting.

    The river isn't a physical or spiritual barrier to the Nazgul, though in the story it's a symbolic barrier which they fail to cross. They can cross rivers, with or without distaste... they had to cross several to get from Mordor to the Shire. But this river is controlled by Elrond, as you say, and to me that indicates that Elrond's power to repel evil may simply extend all the way to the river. Even if his power is stronger in the valley itself.

    In Rivendell, the Ring is (from Sauron's perspective) in more danger than before. Sauron can't imagine that the great and powerful would refuse the Ring. He'll expect that Elrond, or Gandalf, will seize the Ring from Frodo and begin learning how to use it. While he has to prepare for other possibilities, his primary assumption will be that one of his mightier enemies will now become a new Ringlord, put down all others who want the Ring, and then go after Sauron. What he still has is time, because it takes time to learn to control the Ring and make everyone else obey the new Ringlord. Especially during that time, Sauron's larger armies are a huge advantage.

    It's kind of odd that we don't read about Sauron's forces hanging out near Rivendell, trying to get in or spying to find out if Elrond has the Ring.
    Lalaith likes this.
  3. amysrevenge

    amysrevenge Well-Known Member

    Yes I believe we get this explicitly (somewhere? I don't remember if it's in the main text), that Sauron extends himself toward Gondor just ever so slightly too soon - if he had waited just a few months longer, he'd have had enough to win no matter how many Dunedain came up on ships or Rohirrim came down on horses. But he felt obliged to hurry, because he could feel the clock ticking away as the new Ringlord (Aragorn perhaps?) was presumably consolidating his power.
    Lalaith likes this.
  4. Faelivrin

    Faelivrin Well-Known Member

    Yeah I was basically just restating something, I think that Gandalf says in Return of the King. (So don’t credit me.)
  5. Lalaith

    Lalaith New Member

    Really good topic for discussion!

    I agree that this is not a once-and-for all situation for the Nazgul, and that they have other options, but I also think it is important to remember how powerful Rivendell and the people therein are, and how big of a threat they pose to the Enemy.
    As Faelivrin and amysrevenge mentioned, Gandalf, Elrond, Aragorn, and others at Imladris are big problems for Sauron's plan, with or without the ring.

    I also wonder if the witch king remembers all too well the Siege of Rivendell and how successful the elves were at keeping him out of the valley. It must be a fortified safe haven, magically or otherwise, and Elrond must have forces at his disposal to contend with Gundabad, as he did in TA 1375. Otherwise Rivendell would have been destroyed long ago.
    The_Singing_Fox likes this.
  6. Saxo Runesinger

    Saxo Runesinger New Member

    That's a very interesting question....what forces are available to Elrond? I expect that there are some of Cirdan's people at Mithlond, some wondering elves in Eriador, and those that live in Rivendell itself, but we have to assume that the elven population has dwindled in the 1000 or so years since the end of Angmar, and I never imagined that Imladris had a particularly large population to begin with....I don't think that the size of the valley had really been sufficiently described to judge (or even estimate) such demographics...
    Faelivrin and Lalaith like this.

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