Dragons in the Train of Gil-galad
#1
Someone on Quora, answering a question about whether dragons fought on the side of Sauron at the Battle of the Last Alliance (hoo hoo hoo, I thought; everyone knows that Sauron doesn't command dragons!) cited this:

"From Imladris they crossed the Misty Mountains by many passes and marched down the River Anduin, and so came at last upon the host of Sauron on Dagorlad, the Battle Plain, which lies before the gate of the Black Land. All living things were divided in that day, and some of every kind, even of beasts and birds, were found in either host, save the Elves only. They alone were undivided and followed Gil-galad. Of the Dwarves few fought upon either side; but the kindred of Durin of Moria fought against Sauron."

If taken literally, this says that Sauron had not only dragons in his service, but Evil Ents.  And that the Last Alliance had a few friendly trolls and pet dragons.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
Reply
#2
Perhaps  the all living things should not be interpreted literally.
Did army ants fight for Sauron? Smile
Reply
#3
I agree with gzhindra. I wouldn't take the "all living things" literally, either.

If you do that, then it means sheep (and ants) were divided and fighting each other on behalf of Sauron or his enemies. The Great Marshes might have been the battleground for various species of frog, but that's really a ridiculous interpretation.

I'd say there were some non-humanoid animals involved in the war, but I would exclude most animal species.
Reply
#4
Sounds a bit like Narnia.
Don't insult the precious, my precious!:book:
Reply
#5
Actually, I can't see that participation by Ents, esp. if you count Huorns, on Sauron's side can be ruled out. Remember Treebeard's warnings about "black-hearted" Ents to Merry and Pippin. IIRC JRRT mused about the possibility the Entwives ended up dragooned into working Sauron's plantations after they were driven out of the Brown Lands, but that's not the same as actually marching in his hosts.

I think indeed this was another example of JRRT (or the Red Book 'sources' the translator Prof. Tolkien supposedly quoted, if you prefer) exaggerating using absolute and superlative language where it arguably wasn't necessarily warranted, even given the fictional 'secondary world' setting he himself sub-created.

Certain critters were inherently evil and therefore not likely to be represented with the "good guys". No Balrogs, as such, participated. We can be sure no Trolls were to be found in Gil-Galad's host, either. Orcs are similarly unlikely (unless one wants to fanficishly suppose a tiny cadre of free "reformed' Orcs existed, who fought all the harder in order to prove themselves)

There actually don't seem to be any Dragons in the lands inhabited by Elves or Men of the West. If they were actually reptiloid products of genetic manipulation possessed by lesser Maiar, one would hardly expect any "good" dragons to exist. Of course Gil-Galad could have found a Dragon to be very useful in his train, as a firedrake would be just the ticket to jump-start a cold steam locomotive!

Even the possibility of Elves serving Sauron doesn't seem inherently impossible, as surely corrupt Avari might have been persuaded to join up. I assume that just like Troll-golems, Orcs, and Dragons possessed by demons didn't really count as potential soldiers of Gil-Galad and Elendil, neither would Elves under some powerful compulsion geas doing Sauron's bidding! I seem to recall hearing of one, but according to his chronicler he didn't march in Sauron's host in the WLA, as he was 'tied up'!
Many Defeats & Many Fruitless Victories Memoirs Gateway
For I was talking aloud to myself...the old...choose the wisest person present to speak to...
Reply
#6
The text say that Elves were unified and fought under Gil Galad. I think evil ents is a possibility, but i don't think that any orcs, trolls and dragons fought for Gil Galad. What about Tom Bombadil?
It seems that Tom was "neutral" so i don't think he participated, but i suppose it would be possible.
Reply
#7
Creatures that would have fought on both sides (or served in some capacity) could include:
  • horses
  • birds
  • dogs
  • beasts of burden

Can't really think of anything else off the top of my head. I don't think Tolkien's point was that the world was divided across all species (although in some vague way he could have meant that). I think he meant that the war was so severe and widespread that immense forces were at work.

Sauron's mental control over his slaves would surely have included many lower animals to ensure their compliance with his needs.

It's conceivable the elves would have found allies among animals, too. Tolkien occasionally includes animals in the narrative. Remember the fox that stopped to wonder what hobbits were doing abroad in the Shire at night. Maybe that was just an author's flourish intended for a young audience before the story became so serious and adult-oriented. But maybe it was the author suggesting that there is more to Middle-earth than meets the eye.
Reply
#8
(June 13th, 2021, 11:41 AM)gzhindra Wrote: Perhaps  the all living things should not be interpreted literally.
Did army ants fight for Sauron? Smile
Judging (only) by the state of my garden I find that highly likely.  LOL!

What I do interpret 'literally' is the author's statement: "All living things were divided in that day, and some of every kind, even of beasts and birds, were found in either host, save the Elves only."

It doesn't mention ants, and interestingly, in regard to Ents, it doesn't mention 'flora', or 'hroa' (I think?). 

Also, insects are not mentioned, so I suppose that they are exempt - my previous remarks about my garden notwithstanding!

Standing as proof that the statement "all living things" should not be taken too literally, I present to you -

:::ta da!:::

No less a person than Tom Bombadil!

While there is massive disagreement about many of his particulars, I think that all can agree that he qualifies as a "living being" in Middle-earth within the sense of the quoted text.  There is no indication that I know of that says that he took part in the War of the Last Alliance.  But even if, en arguendo, he did, he could hardly have been on both sides at once.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
Reply
#9
I suppose we should also consider coercion. Sauron could, in fact, have coerced some of his enemies into serving him during the War of the Last Alliance.

It brings to question the matter of the Ent-wives. Who killed them? Did they all die? Were they changed by the war (thus explaining why they never reconnected with the Ents)?
Reply
#10
(July 18th, 2021, 01:08 PM)Michael Wrote: I suppose we should also consider coercion. Sauron could, in fact, have coerced some of his enemies into serving him during the War of the Last Alliance?
An excellent point!  For the text says that 'all things were divided', but it is silent as to whether this was due to coercion or loyalty to a cause.  I have always taken it to mean the latter, but I realize now that 'coercion' could have been a real force.  That's exactly Sauron's game, so to speak.
"Never ask an Elf for advice, for he will say both 'Yes' and 'No'." - Frodo Baggins to Gildor Inglorion
Reply

MYCode Guide

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Gil-galad, son of... Mordomin 8 1,032 February 23rd, 2019, 04:46 PM
Last Post: Mordomin
  Was Gil-galad born in Middle-earth or Eldamar? Alcuin 24 1,456 April 21st, 2018, 11:44 PM
Last Post: Bacchus
  So, What are Dragons, anyway? Mordomin 5 361 March 23rd, 2018, 12:39 AM
Last Post: Michael
  New Mordomin story "Destroyer of Dragons" now posted Mordomin 0 434 February 20th, 2018, 08:51 AM
Last Post: Mordomin
  Where are all the dragons and what happened to all them? badlands 8 499 October 31st, 2017, 12:08 AM
Last Post: Michael
  The Spear of Gil-galad Mordomin 18 1,467 November 7th, 2015, 01:58 PM
Last Post: Mordomin
  Tolkien's dragons Tanith 44 3,752 March 5th, 2010, 10:20 AM
Last Post: Paul Goode
  Was Gil-Galad Too Young to Die in the Nirnaeth? Alvin Eriol 7 2,457 April 25th, 2009, 02:47 PM
Last Post: Alvin Eriol
  The Tomb of Gil-galad Mordomin 34 3,361 November 30th, 2007, 08:40 PM
Last Post: Elenmir
  HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS coming to film Michael 4 1,091 June 28th, 2007, 02:58 PM
Last Post: RobRoy

Forum Jump: