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Discussing: What Sauron and his agents knew of Aragorn pre-Fellowship

What Sauron and his agents knew of Aragorn pre-Fellowship

I just want to be sure that the Nazgul would not have known Aragorn's true identity as Heir of Isildur before Aragorn revealed himself to Sauron via palantir.  LOTR Appendix A does not mention any such knowledge, but I haven't checked all of LOTR. 

Aragorn does imply that he's met the Nazgul before Weathertop, but they could have been pursuing him as a Ranger, not knowing he was The Dunedain.....Thoughts?

RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: What Sauron and his agents knew of Aragorn pre-Fellowship

Hi Raksha,

Well, I personally think that Aragorn ran into the Nazgul when he was in Mordor (that's where he heads when he leaves Gondor IIRC), or perhaps in Harad where he had to travel at some point to "where the stars are strange".

At the Council of Elrond Boromir suggests strongly that the Gondorians did not know what exactly the Nazgul were which suggests to me that they had not left Minas Ithil before then. There are other passages as someone (Elrond?) points out at that council, but Gandalf, Gildor and just about everyone else seems surprised that they have "come forth". Which suggests to me that they were not bumming around the north before 3017. Which further suggests that Aragorn could not have met them pretty well anywhere west of the Anduin. Which *further* suggests that it would have to be in Mordor or Harad, because he says in Bree that he does know their number and seems to have some experience of how to treat their wounds.

But anyway, I think it's pretty clear that Aragorn revealing himself to Sauron has an affect. Not necessarily a desired one because it speeds up the war more than he had intended, but I can't see it having *any* affect if Sauron knew Isildur's heir was still bopping about. And if the Nazgul knew, I'm pretty sure Sauron would too within a reasonable amount of time.

Marta

 

 

Re: What Sauron and his agents knew of Aragorn pre-Fellowship

It seems to me that one of the main plot points of LotR is that Sauron did NOT know who Aragorn was, for certain, before the palantir contact at Helm's Deep.

In Fellowship he says: "The Enemy has set traps for me before now. " 

I suppose that could be read several ways. (I love JRRT!)

My personal reading is that Aragorn managed to remain 'below Sauron's radar' for most of his life. That *some* of the northern Dúnedain survived the intensified attacks that killed Arador and Arathorn must have been obvious.  Their strategy 'worked' to the extent that Aragorn must not have been known to have survived toddlerhood.  (Or why hide him at all?) You don't go looking for someone who is known to be dead.  That one, or more, of the remaining Dúnedain was still a strong and charismatic leader may have been eventually found out by Sauron's agents, who could then have set 'traps' for that person, without knowing that it was *Aragorn* they were persuing.

So, yes, I agree with you. 

 
Oh, one more bit of evidence:

"That alone he will find hard to endure. And he beheld me. Yes, Master Gimli, he saw me, but in other guise than you see me here. If that will aid him, then I have done ill. But I do not think so. To know that I lived and walked the earth was a blow to his heart, I deem; for he knew it not till now. The eyes in Orthanc did not see through the armour of Théoden; but Sauron has not forgotten Isildur and the sword of Elendil. Now in the very hour of his great designs the heir of Isildur and the Sword are revealed; for l showed the blade re-forged to him. He is not so mighty yet that he is above fear; nay, doubt ever gnaws him.'" 

   RotK

Gwynnyd 

 

 

Re: What Sauron and his agents knew of Aragorn pre-Fellowship

Which suggests to me that they were not bumming around the north before 3017. Which further suggests that Aragorn could not have met them pretty well anywhere west of the Anduin. Which *further* suggests that it would have to be in Mordor or Harad, because he says in Bree that he does know their number and seems to have some experience of how to treat their wounds.

Ah,  but they are the "messengers of Mordor".  It is strongly implied that the messenger to the Dwarves before the CoE is one of the Nazgul.

And there must have been SOME coming and going between Mordor/ Minas Morgul/Dol Guldur.

Aragorn could have met up with the Nazgul on one of those trips in that area.

(and dammit, I spent the day working on that idea... is there something in the air?) 

Gwynnyd 

 

 

Re: What Sauron and his agents knew of Aragorn pre-Fellowship

My personal reading is that Aragorn managed to remain 'below Sauron's radar' for most of his life.

Yes, I agree, that is also my reading of the whole work.

"To know that I lived and walked the earth was a blow to his heart, I deem; for he knew it not till now."

And I think the narrator agrees with Aragorn's opinion that seeing him in the palantír was a major blow:

"The Dark Power was deep in thought, and the Eye turned inward, pondering tidings of doubt and danger: a bright sword, and a stern and kingly face it saw, and for a while it gave little thought to other things; and all its great stronghold, gate on gate, and tower on tower, was wrapped in a brooding gloom."

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 2, The Land of Shadow

Now, this was good for the Ringbearers, for Sauron was distracted by negative tidings (above all, existence of the Heir of Isildur, but also the Witch-king's death, loss of the Battle of the Pelennor, breaking of the Siege of Minas Tirith, approach of the Host of the West, not to mention escape of a great Elven warrior ;) and spy from the Tower of Cirith Ungol),and thus overlooked Frodo and Sam's miserable journey through Mordor....

- Barbara

 

 

Re: What Sauron and his agents knew of Aragorn pre-Fellowship

Ah, but they are the "messengers of Mordor". It is strongly implied that the messenger to the Dwarves before the CoE is one of the Nazgul.

Absolutely. Glóin's description at the Council of Elrond reminds me of the Black Breath, the Nazgûl weapon of terror.

And there must have been SOME coming and going between Mordor/ Minas Morgul/Dol Guldur.

Exactly. Both the Tale of Years and UT state that there were Nazgûl stationed at Dol Guldur, one being Khamûl, the second-in-command; the only disagreement was whether it was two or three.

But I believe that, until 3018, they had stayed on the eastern side of the Anduin. Sauron was in fact trying not to show his hand too much, but decided he needed to send them across once he learned (probably from Saruman via the palantír, since Sauron had been able to intimidate and manipulate him) that the Ring was in the Shire.

Sorry that I don't have quotes for these assertions. I'm *supposed* to be doing housework for my company who's coming in two days.... *sigh*

- Barbara

 

 

Re: What Sauron and his agents knew of Aragorn pre-Fellowship

Raksha:

Check "Unfinished Tales." I believe that in the part about the hunt for Gollum, it is explicitly said that Sauron did not know of Aragorn nor who he was, although his spies certainly knew that a Man had taken Gollum captive. My take on it has always been that Sauron feared an Heir of Isildur still lived (in the Tale of Years, it says that this is one of the things Gandalf learned when he went into Dol Guldur in disguise), but he had no hard evidence of it. No doubt his spies in the North, whenever and whoever they might be, would be looking for any sign of the survival of the Northern line. But apparently none ever found any hard information--or at least no such information ever got back to Sauron.

Also, Gandalf does some speculating about this. After the incident with the Palantir, he mentions to Pippin that he wonders if Saruman recognized an heir of Elendil "in the armor of Rohan" and seems to be expressing fear that the news would get back to Sauron that way. Later, in Minas Tirith, he realizes that Sauron is moving faster than he had planned, and wonders if Aragorn's actions had anything to do with this.

Aragorn's purpose in revealing himself when he does so is to draw Sauron's attention away from Frodo--not only by revealing his identity, but to make Sauron fear that he, Aragorn, now has the Ring and is prepared to wield it. It worked.

G.A. 

 

 

Re: What Sauron and his agents knew of Aragorn pre-Fellowship

Wow, thanx, everybody! I didn't expect so many answers so quickly!

I needed the info as background for a ficlet I posted a couple of hours ago in the September Birthday Cards forum (G.A., this one's for you), to make sure I wasn't omitting something that should have been in there. 

RAKSHA

 

 

Re: What Sauron and his agents knew of Aragorn pre-Fellowship

I'd just add that the Nazgul had been around since the Second Age, so knowledge of them would have been part of the lore of Rivendell, which Aragorn would have learned. So he could well have known what they were and how many of them there were, and possibly even how to deal with the wounds that they inflicted, even before actually meeting any of them.

 

 

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