Why didn't the Rangers plunder the Barrow-mounds?
#1
I know, I know, they were the graves of the Rangers' ancestors.  But they had become defiled by the entry of evil spirits out of Angmar (the Men of Carn Dum).  Not to mention dangerous to hobbits, who the Rangers had tasked themselves to protect.  Tom Bombadil didn't seem to quibble about whose graves they were, once he had rescued the hobbits; he carried all the treasure out into the sunlight and doled some of it out to the hobbits - and himself.

Why didn't the Ranger do this?  Could they have been unaware of the threat?  Or did they not have have the strength?  Or...was there some prophecy among them saying that it was not their place to do this?
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
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#2
The best argument I see is that the ordinary value of such "plunder" is quite irrelevant to the Rangers and to Tom Bombadil both, as well as to any Noldo from Imladris. The Rangers have sufficient wealth to keep themselves in the wilderness, especially if their womenfolk are guesting in Rivendell. Presumably the Rangers have access to weapons as good as the Barrow daggers, High Elves like Glorfindel certainly do. Tom Bombadil doesn't need or want them.

The only hobbits the mounds are dangerous to are the ones who venture there in spite of a perfectly good Road and in deliberate lack of heed to the scary tales about them. Come to think of it, the most likely candidates to have started those tales are the Rangers themselves, to keep hobbits and Bree-folk from going where they would need chancy rescue.
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#3
Might it also not be out of respect for the tombs of their forefathers? It does not seem quite like the Dunedain to raid and plunder old burial sites, even if they are infested with whights.
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#4
(November 16th, 2019, 12:43 PM)Mordomin Wrote: Why didn't the Ranger do this?  Could they have been unaware of the threat?  Or did they not have have the strength? 
Did not have the strength.
In times of King Araval, the Dunedain who then still had the numbers to hold Fornost and the forts of North Downs tried to resettle Barrow-downs.
They retreated in defeat from Barrow-wights.

If they could have dislodged Barrow-Wights by just cleaning up the graves defiled by the Wights, possibly respectfully reburying their ancestors´ bones in new and clean graves, they would have done so.
And if King Araval did not have the strength, then the Rangers who were after all, the same men King Araval had and far fewer of them, did not stand a chance.
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#5
(November 16th, 2019, 12:43 PM)Mordomin Wrote: I know, I know, they were the graves of the Rangers' ancestors.  But they had become defiled by the entry of evil spirits out of Angmar (the Men of Carn Dum).  Not to mention dangerous to hobbits, who the Rangers had tasked themselves to protect.  Tom Bombadil didn't seem to quibble about whose graves they were, once he had rescued the hobbits; he carried all the treasure out into the sunlight and doled some of it out to the hobbits - and himself.

Why didn't the Ranger do this?  Could they have been unaware of the threat?  Or did they not have have the strength?  Or...was there some prophecy among them saying that it was not their place to do this?


I guess an even better question would be why did the Men of Arnor bury nifty Witch-King killing weapons in the Mounds in the first place.  There was no way they could have known that thousands of years later  a quasi-omnipotent being would open one of the mounds and hand out the weapons.  If there were Witch-King killing daggers wouldn't there also be Witch-King killing swords?   A Witch-King killing sword would have made an extremely useful weapon over the years and would have been a better weapon for Aragorn to carry around than a broken sword.
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#6
(November 27th, 2019, 02:57 AM)Travis Stephens Wrote: I guess an even better question would be why did the Men of Arnor bury nifty Witch-King killing weapons in the Mounds in the first place.  There was no way they could have known that thousands of years later  a quasi-omnipotent being would open one of the mounds and hand out the weapons.  If there were Witch-King killing daggers wouldn't there also be Witch-King killing swords?   A Witch-King killing sword would have made an extremely useful weapon over the years and would have been a better weapon for Aragorn to carry around than a broken sword.

Oakeshott rule.
A sword lasts four centuries or four battles, whichever comes first.
I suggest that Arvedui and his men had other Witch-king killing swords, which they used - to no special effect because Witch-king did not get within sword length of them and against Orcs, Witch-king killing swords were no better than non-Witch-king killing swords.
After Witch-king was gone to Minas Morgul, Arvedui´s sons hauled their remaining Witch-king killing swords around for a few centuries, wore them out in battles against orcs and wolves, and replaced them with new, non-Witch-king killing swords.
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#7
(November 27th, 2019, 08:48 AM)Jaak Wrote: Oakeshott rule.
A sword lasts four centuries or four battles, whichever comes first.
I suggest that Arvedui and his men had other Witch-king killing swords, which they used - to no special effect because Witch-king did not get within sword length of them and against Orcs, Witch-king killing swords were no better than non-Witch-king killing swords.
After Witch-king was gone to Minas Morgul, Arvedui´s sons hauled their remaining Witch-king killing swords around for a few centuries, wore them out in battles against orcs and wolves, and replaced them with new, non-Witch-king killing swords.
I like this rule; it seems quite sensible.  However, applying it to the Barrow swords that Bombadil gives to the hobbits would have him giving them sheaths full of dust, not Witch-king killers, as those swords were over a thousand years old at the time of the story.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
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#8
Maybe the 'Ringwraithicide' also preserved the swords and knives while they lay in tombs.

Funny the Barrow-wights seemed to ignore them, right there in their dwellings with them. Then again Wights don't seem to be the sharpest tool in the grave-mound anyway; we're told in "The Hunt for the Ring" in UT that the Witch King on arrival in Eriador had gone to the Barrows and stirred the Wights up. Yet the one who hosted the Hobbits' party, and played its pervy little strip them then dress them in baby-doll gowns game with three of them, acted as if it had no clue that the thing its master wanted most of all had fallen right into its cold bony hands!

Of course in the movie since Bombadil had been excised (Robin Williams wanted too much $$$$$?) it appeared that Aragorn must indeed have plundered a mound to get the Ringwraithicide-treated knives!
Many Defeats & Many Fruitless Victories Memoirs Gateway
For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
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#9
(November 28th, 2019, 10:24 PM)Alvin Eriol Wrote: Maybe the 'Ringwraithicide' also preserved the swords and knives while they lay in tombs.
The author does suggest that the 'Wraith-B-Gone' coating was also a preservative:  "Whether by some virtue in these sheaths or because of the spell that lay on the mound, the blades seemed untouched by time, unrusted, sharp, glittering in the sun."

Tolkien, J.R.R.. The Lord of the Rings: One Volume (p. 146). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition. 
(November 28th, 2019, 10:24 PM)Alvin Eriol Wrote: Funny the Barrow-wights seemed to ignore them, right there in their dwellings with them. Then again Wights don't seem to be the sharpest tool in the grave-mound anyway; we're told in "The Hunt for the Ring" in UT that the Witch King on arrival in Eriador had gone to the Barrows and stirred the Wights up. Yet the one who hosted the Hobbits' party, and played its pervy little strip them then dress them in baby-doll gowns game with three of them, acted as if it had no clue that the thing its master wanted most of all had fallen right into its cold bony hands!

Of course in the movie since Bombadil had been excised (Robin Williams wanted too much $$$$$?) it appeared that Aragorn must indeed have plundered a mound to get the Ringwraithicide-treated knives!
Well, Rob Bombawilliams may have taken the wraith-stickers from the barrows earlier, and given them to the Rangers.  Off-stage, as it were.  But without the capture of the hobbits and subsequent costume-party (do Wights celebrate Halloween?), it is hard to see what his motive for doing so would have been.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
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#10
(November 28th, 2019, 10:24 PM)Alvin Eriol Wrote:  the thing its master wanted most of all had fallen right into its cold bony hands!


I don't know if there is a consensus, but I've always thought no one  on Sauron's side knew there was even such a thing as the One Ring except the Ringwraiths.  The others Sauron sent out to look for it had no idea what they were seeking.
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#11
(November 29th, 2019, 09:39 PM)Travis Stephens Wrote:
(November 28th, 2019, 10:24 PM)Alvin Eriol Wrote:  the thing its master wanted most of all had fallen right into its cold bony hands!


I don't know if there is a consensus, but I've always thought no one  on Sauron's side knew there was even such a thing as the One Ring except the Ringwraiths.  The others Sauron sent out to look for it had no idea what they were seeking.

JRRT made a note to that effect in writings that became part of "The Hunt for the Ring" published in Unfinished Tales, but that was set as of the time just after the War of the Last Alliance, with respect to the ignorance of the Orcs who fiercely and recklessly attacked Isildur's party, their ferocity being attributed to the influence of the Ring's presence.

However it would appear that by the time of the last War of the Ring, Sauron decided to widen the "need to know" circle a little bit. The Mouth of Sauron almost certainly knew, and it is broadly hinted even Grishnakh (whom I often refer to as "Grishiepoo") had been let in on the secret so that he could help search for it among other Orcs and such who might get it. Otherwise, why would Pippin's impressions of Gollum and Merry's teasing mean anything to him?
Many Defeats & Many Fruitless Victories Memoirs Gateway
For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
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#12
(November 30th, 2019, 07:46 PM)Alvin Eriol Wrote:
(November 29th, 2019, 09:39 PM)Travis Stephens Wrote:
(November 28th, 2019, 10:24 PM)Alvin Eriol Wrote:  the thing its master wanted most of all had fallen right into its cold bony hands!


I don't know if there is a consensus, but I've always thought no one  on Sauron's side knew there was even such a thing as the One Ring except the Ringwraiths.  The others Sauron sent out to look for it had no idea what they were seeking.

JRRT made a note to that effect in writings that became part of "The Hunt for the Ring" published in Unfinished Tales, but that was set as of the time just after the War of the Last Alliance, with respect to the ignorance of the Orcs who fiercely and recklessly attacked Isildur's party, their ferocity being attributed to the influence of the Ring's presence.

However it would appear that by the time of the last War of the Ring, Sauron decided to widen the "need to know" circle a little bit. The Mouth of Sauron almost certainly knew, and it is broadly hinted even Grishnakh (whom I often refer to as "Grishiepoo") had been let in on the secret so that he could help search for it among other Orcs and such who might get it. Otherwise, why would Pippin's impressions of Gollum and Merry's teasing mean anything to him?

Grishnakh certainly appears to have known a great deal. Yet the orders given to Shagrat and Gorbag were quite vague. Perhaps Grishnakh, as commander of an expeditionary unit expected to encounter Saruman’s forces was given more of a briefing than the mere garrison soldiers on the border. Or maybe he had been present at Gollum’s interrogations?
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
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#13
Does anyone else here wonder whether the Ringwraiths were actually allowed to seize the Ruling Ring? The whole episode at Weathertop would have been a lot simpler if they were allowed to grab fallen-Frodo and leave.

The attack was designed around the Witchking using the Morgul blade from the get-go. We can only assume that it was completely intended for Frodo to turn wraith in between Weathertop and the Last Bridge.

But why? Why does Sauron care about Frodo at all? Snatch Frodo from the Company, take the Ring, dump Frodo off and run for Mordor seems so much simpler than waiting for days for Frodo to turn wraith enough to be biddable while carrying the Ring.

It makes very little sense unless we assume that the Ringwraiths and the Witch King in particular are under strict orders, compulsion even, not to touch the Ring.
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#14
(November 27th, 2019, 08:48 AM)Jaak Wrote: Oakeshott rule.
A sword lasts four centuries or four battles, whichever comes first.

This, of course, applies to Man-made swords.  I would state that Elven blades (Glamdring) and Dwarven blades (Narsil) do not fall underneath this rule.  However it is hard to determine if either passed the four battle criteria.  Perhaps a thread is needed to determine how battles each blade had been involved in.

We know that the Barrow contained (at least) 4 Witch-King killing daggers and perhaps 1 Witch-King killing sword in the sword that was laid across the hobbit's necks.  4 daggers would be more than 1 person would normally wear.  So either the daggers were more common than previously believed or multiple people were entombed in the Barrow.  

I would pose the theory that while The Kindom of Angmar was in existence the swords and daggers were not entombed but pass down through subsequent generations.  After the fall of Angmar and the disappearance of the Witch King, the blades were gathered and placed in the tomb since there was no infrastructure or secure place to store them.  The Prophecy of Glorfindel-  along with their failure to slay the Witch-King- would have rendered the blades useless in the eyes of the remaining Dunedain of Arnor.
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#15
(December 2nd, 2019, 03:51 PM)ChainSaint Wrote: Does anyone else here wonder whether the Ringwraiths were actually allowed to seize the Ruling Ring?     The whole episode at Weathertop would have been a lot simpler if they were allowed to grab fallen-Frodo and leave.    

The attack was designed around the Witchking using the Morgul blade from the get-go.   We can only assume that it was completely intended for Frodo to turn wraith in between Weathertop and the Last Bridge.

But why? Why does Sauron care about Frodo at all?   Snatch Frodo from the Company, take the Ring, dump Frodo off and run for Mordor seems so much simpler than waiting for days for Frodo to turn wraith enough to be biddable while carrying the Ring.

It makes very little sense unless we assume that the Ringwraiths and the Witch King in particular are under strict orders, compulsion even,  not to touch the Ring.
I think you’re close here, but slightly off target. The issue driving the Morgul blade gambit wasn’t an inability to handle the Ring, but rather an inability to physically abduct Frodo unless he was at least partially in the wraith world, either via wearing the Ring or the effects of the blade. Note that during Many Meetings, Gandalf comments that the Nazgul might have seized Frodo while he wore the Ring, which in particular made his decision to put it on under Weathertop almost fatally foolish. After taking the wound, Frodo removed the Ring before passing out. Had he not done so, the Nazgul probably would have seized him before retreating from Aragorn.
Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.

I don't have any humble opinions.
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#16
(November 30th, 2019, 07:46 PM)Alvin Eriol Wrote:
(November 29th, 2019, 09:39 PM)Travis Stephens Wrote:
(November 28th, 2019, 10:24 PM)Alvin Eriol Wrote:  the thing its master wanted most of all had fallen right into its cold bony hands!


I don't know if there is a consensus, but I've always thought no one  on Sauron's side knew there was even such a thing as the One Ring except the Ringwraiths.  The others Sauron sent out to look for it had no idea what they were seeking.

The Mouth of Sauron almost certainly knew, and it is broadly hinted even Grishnakh (whom I often refer to as "Grishiepoo") had been let in on the secret so that he could help search for it among other Orcs and such who might get it. Otherwise, why would Pippin's impressions of Gollum and Merry's teasing mean anything to him?



Was the Mouth of Sauron the messenger that went to Dale and threatened King Brand and Dain Ironfoot?  Ordinarily I wouldn't think so but who else could Sauron send?

Grishnakh is an interesting case.  He certainly knew more than what was good for him.  Especially when you consider Aragorn's words about Orcs not being trustworthy.  Grishnakh -at the very least- had first hand info about Gollum's interrogation.  He immediately recognized what Merry and Pippin were doing and inferred that they had some relationship with Gollum.  No doubt he had earned  "trusted messenger" status and the Ringwraith he reported to had placed a great deal of faith in him.
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#17
I believe the Dale messenger was one of the Nazgul. They did speak, after all, and Gloin's story sounds more like a Nazgul spoke with Dain than the Mouth of Sauron.
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#18
I would agree but the Messenger being a Ringwraith muddies up the timeline somewhat.  Gloin says the Messenger game to Erebor about a year before the Council of Elrond.  I would place this in Sep/Oct 2018.  This makes sense as Gollum had been captured and interrogated and Sauron knew about Hobbits.  Gloin then says the messenger has returned twice and has threatened to return "soon"    The problem with the Messenger being a Nazgul is that after June the Nazgul were involved in the Hunt for the Ring.  

According to Gloin he was sent after the third visit by the Messenger to warn Bilbo.  If this visit wasn't prior to September it throw the timeline in the Hunt for the Ring out of order.  Actually it's straining the timeline to have a Nazgul visit Erebor.   One would have to cross/get ferried across the Anduin, go to Erebor, and make it back to their gathering point by mid-September.
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#19
It's not like Tolkien told a perfect story. The fact that we cannot say with certainty who the messenger was or when he visited Erebor shows that even Tolkien was unclear about some of the details.

He might say "some things are better left as mysteries" but it's probably a weak point in the story if it causes readers to ask questions that cannot be adequately answered.

I'd say this differs from the Bombadil question in that WHO or WHAT he was had nothing to do with the events unfolding in the narrative; whereas understanding the events in Erebor and Dale is hard because we don't have enough information to reconcile with what we're told.
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#20
(December 2nd, 2019, 04:31 PM)Travis Stephens Wrote: We know that the Barrow contained (at least) 4 Witch-King killing daggers and perhaps 1 Witch-King killing sword in the sword that was laid across the hobbit's necks.  4 daggers would be more than 1 person would normally wear.  So either the daggers were more common than previously believed or multiple people were entombed in the Barrow.  

I would pose the theory that while The Kindom of Angmar was in existence the swords and daggers were not entombed but pass down through subsequent generations.  After the fall of Angmar and the disappearance of the Witch King, the blades were gathered and placed in the tomb since there was no infrastructure or secure place to store them.  The Prophecy of Glorfindel-  along with their failure to slay the Witch-King- would have rendered the blades useless in the eyes of the remaining Dunedain of Arnor.

We have the theory that the tomb was that of the last prince of Cardolan, fallen in 1409. Presented as a theory, but no contradictory evidence.

The tomb could not have been in use after the plague, because then end came of Dunedain of Cardolan, and Wraiths came. Since the Wraiths were able to drive off attempted resettlement under Kingdom of Arthedain, reentering the tombs to bury the blades would have been hard.

The Prince of Cardolan could certainly afford to own more blades than he could wear. Nor is it unlikely that there are multiple people in his barrow. The last prince fell in war. While human sacrifices are attested as a heathen practice which princes of Cardolan were not, it would not be dishonourable to honour bodyguards fallen alongside their prince by being buried alongside the prince they died defending.

And issuing anti-Witch-King blades to Prince´s  bodyguard was a sensible move. Otherwise the invulnerable Witch-King might lead from the front, cut through Prince´s bodyguard and kill the Prince.

But once the blades had worked, once, with the result the Witch-king fled with an unpleasant but not mortal wound, the Witch-King would simply learn - stop leading from the front and send overwhelming numbers of men, orcs and trolls against Prince and his bodyguards. Against whom the anti-Witch-King blades were just ordinary steel blades.
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