The power of Morgoth versus Sauron.

Discussion in 'Books' started by Rob Darken, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. Rob Darken

    Rob Darken New Member

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    Which one of the two wielded the most power?
    Master or understudy?
    There seems to be different schools of thought on this.

    for example from 'Morgoth's Ring', Myth's Transformed', Essay #7, Page 394:

    'Sauron was 'greater', effectively, in the Second Age, than Morgoth at the end of the First. Why? Because, though he was far smaller by stature, he had not fallen so low. Eventually, he also squandered his power (of being) in the endeavour to control others. But he was not obliged to expend so much of himself To gain domination over Arda, Morgoth had to let most of his being pass into the physical constituents of the earth...'

    Therefore, the term, 'Morgoth's Ring'. The earth, Arda, was Morgoth's Ring in which Morgoth had poured his power, just as Sauron poured his power into his Ring.
    And, just like Sauron, Morgoth's power was no longer in himself. But unlike Sauron, Morgoth could never recover his Ring and slip it back on his finger......


    Furthermore, we have this to add to the debate:

    Morgoth could no longer change shape. He had lost that ability at the time of the slaying of the Two Trees, yet Sauron could and often did change shape up until going down in the Drowning of Numenor.
    Morgoth no longer had the strength to fight Ungoliant because of 'the power that had gone out of him' The Silmarillion says he had to rely on his Balrogs to rescue him - And 'Myths Transformed' #8, Page 410 says 'Morgoth had corrupted many spirits - some great, as Sauron, some less so, as Balrogs.', so the Balrogs had not the might of Sauron even, although 7 of them were together that saved Morgoth from Ungoliant.
    Also, Morgoth, a Vala, no longer had the power to asail Arien, the Maia that carried the Sun.
    Finally, Morgoth even feared to fight Fingolfin, whereas Sauron took out Finrod in Minas Tirith....

    If we look, we have only one instance of Morgoth using magic in the First Age: When he binds Hurin to the chair by magical force and makes him see through his own eyes for 27 years. Powerful indeed I must admit.

    Meanwhile, Sauron, as Morgoth's first Lieutenant, in a limited role along with the Balrogs, Glaurung, the werewolves & orcs, is seen creating a phantom of a dead wife to ensnare one of Barahir's 11 companions, defeating the mighty Elf Finrod in a song of power, fighting the mighty hound of the Valar Huan as a werewolf (albeit in a losing cause) and shifting shapes constantly.
    After this, we see him deceive the Elves into making the Rings of Power, then gain control over the Nazgul with Nine of them, set up as his own Dark Lord & conquer most of Middle-earth and then encompass the Fall of Numenor through guile...

    Makes for an interesting discussion.
     
  2. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    I think the debate starts much earlier, at the start of The Silmarillion, where Melkor introduces discord into the music of Ainur, even contending with Iluvatar for a time. Iluvatar himself says "Mighty are the Ainur and mightiest among them is Melkor.."

    So in terms of power Melkor wins hands down. He was only brought low at the end, having successfully wiped out all the major elven kingdoms, when Eärendil successfully pleaded for the Valar to intervene whereas Sauron was defeated by the alliance of elves and men ~ with and without the one-ring. Even his victory over Finrod (a 'mere' elf) was in no small part due to the curse of Feanor).
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  3. ShadowDragon

    ShadowDragon Slave of Duty/Son of Hell

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    Have you also considered the possibility that Sauron seems more powerful because, at the time of LOTR, most of the Free Peoples had fallen into decline and had become much weaker then in the past, while he had grown more powerful?
     
  4. Rob Darken

    Rob Darken New Member

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    No to be honest I hadnt thought of that. And it is a very good point.
     
  5. Ser Land

    Ser Land New Member

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    Even at his lowest, Melkor Morgoth was always more powerful than Sauron.
     
  6. Rob Darken

    Rob Darken New Member

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    Melkor/Morgoth was a true dark lord, Sauron was his mere shadow.
    If Comparisons are made in a point form, we get this;
    -Morgoth was a Valar, Sauron was a Maia.
    -Morgoth was battling other Valar, Sauron was fighting mortal men and elves.
    -Morgoth was ruling almost half of Arda, Sauron had Mordor.
    -Morgoth created orcs, dragons, and corrupted other Maia, Sauron improved orcs, and corrupted humans.
    -Morgoth destroyed Gondolin, the hidden, greatest city of Elves, Sauron couldn't find Lothlorien after all his years on Middle Earth.
    -Morgoth stole the Silmarills, Sauron stole mitril.

    And at the end of the day they had to place Morgoth outside the walls of the world. They had to throw a ring (albeit powerful) into a volcano to get rid of Sauron.
     
  7. Threebeards

    Threebeards New Member

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    Tolkien repeatedly said in the Silmarillion that the unaided war of the elves upon Morgoth without the help of the Valar was without hope, at one point the Valar even told Feanor (the most powerful Elf that ever was) that he could never defeat Morgoth even "were you made thrice as great as thou art".
    He spent a lot of time talking about Orders.....the general impression I got was that Eru (for all intensive purposes, God) set up the system whereby you fell into a certain rank.....Valar, Maia, Elf, Man. The Maia were lesser spirits from the get go and fundamentally inferior aka the impresssion is that a Maia could never destroy a Vala no matter how powerful, it just isn't possible.

    That's my take on the matter. Regardless if you think about it, Sauron for all his Dark Lordishness really had some huge gaping weaknesses....merely cutting off his index finger by a lucky swipe of a blade more or less vanquished him for centuries, and later dropping a piece of jewelry into a pit wiped him out entirely. Morgoth had none of these achilles heels: It took the big guys to put him out of business, and even then he had to be chained and watched for eternity......whereas a couple little hobbits more or less single handedly utterly wiped out Sauron in the end, any way you look at it.
     
  8. Ruls

    Ruls New Member

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    If it had been Morgoth instead of Sauron in the LotR, Morgoth by himself could have wiped them all out without any help. Keep in mind Morgoth raised the Misty mountains to slow down Orome.
     
  9. DefyTheOdds

    DefyTheOdds Member

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    This is all very interesting and I'm glad I read it. I was always on the Morgoth more powerful side of things, and still am for that matter, but it was an interesting take in the first post of this thread.
     
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