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  1. #1
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    Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    From the Angmar thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by oldbadgerbrock View Post
    That is incorrect. The Ring had to be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom because that is where it was forged.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dorothir View Post
    No, it had to be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom because that was the only volcano and so the only place that had access to the subterranean fire.

    This is an interesting line of thinking - was Mt. Doom special because it was where the ring was forged, or because it was the only known volcano? Or both?

    What would have happened to the ring if someone had plopped it in another volcano? Even if it wasn't destroyed, methinks that would put it forever beyond the reach of Sauron. Lava is a bit difficult to go digging around in, after all.
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  2. #2

    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    It had to be destroyed because that was where the ring was forged. If you remember, 4 of the dwarven rings were destroyed by dragon fire, so the one ring could've just been destroyed the same way if there were no special aspects of its destruction.

  3. #3
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    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rancamund View Post
    It had to be destroyed because that was where the ring was forged. If you remember, 4 of the dwarven rings were destroyed by dragon fire, so the one ring could've just been destroyed the same way if there were no special aspects of its destruction.
    True, but The Wise merely doubted that Dragon fire would be hot enough to melt the the Master Ring. This lends credibility to the thought that another volcano might have worked...

    Except for the issue of finding another one; were there any others?
    Last edited by sir-rinthian; Sep 02 2011 at 01:42 AM.
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  4. #4

    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Read Tolkien's own words:

    The Ring was unbreakable by any smithcraft less than his own. It was indissoluble in any fire, save the undying subterranean fire where it was made--and that was unapproachable, in Mordor.
    Source: Carpenter, Humphrey (editor). '131 To Milton Wladman.' The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.
    Faërie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold. – J.R.R. Tolkien, ‘On Fairy-Stories’.

  5. #5
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    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldbadgerbrock View Post
    Read Tolkien's own words:


    Source: Carpenter, Humphrey (editor). '131 To Milton Wladman.' The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.
    good stuff to know. i always kinda wondered though, all things a side, what if frodo did theoretically decide mt doom was too far but some other molten lava flow nearer was to be his journey. but given the above i suppose the answer is it may have just flowed with the lava as if it were water til it made its way back in to someones possession.
    Really good leaders can lead without anyone even realizing the fact. And the elite few that make their grip on power known, exert their power in such a way that no one really cares they are being manipulated.

  6. #6
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    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rancamund View Post
    It had to be destroyed because that was where the ring was forged. If you remember, 4 of the dwarven rings were destroyed by dragon fire, so the one ring could've just been destroyed the same way if there were no special aspects of its destruction.
    If Ancalagon the Black was still alive , greatest and most powerfull of all dragons. His fire would be hot enough to melt one ring. But im not sure if this is correct.

  7. #7
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    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    The Ring was unbreakable by any smithcraft less than his own. It was indissoluble in any fire, save the undying subterranean fire where it was made--and that was unapproachable, in Mordor.
    This quote shows that it could have been any volcano that was connected to the 'undying subterranean fire' so long as the Ring was thrown into the lava.

    It also shows that the only access point to the subterranean fire, which would be a volcano or any other form of volcanic activity, was in Mordor meaning that the only volcano that was around was in Mordor.

    There is only one way: to find the Cracks of Doom in the depths of Orodruin, the Fire-mountain, and cast the Ring in there..."
    This quote shows Mount Doom being labelled as 'the Fire-mountain'. This would only be suitable to name it such if there were no other volcanoes to be called 'fire-mountains'.

    I'm pretty sure, had there been a volcano elsewhere, the Wise would have tried their luck there. Walk all the way to Mordor and risk Sauron getting the Ring or head north for a bit and drop it in a volcano there?

  8. #8

    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hinia View Post
    If Ancalagon the Black was still alive , greatest and most powerfull of all dragons. His fire would be hot enough to melt one ring. But im not sure if this is correct.
    It says that his fire would not have been capable of melting the One Ring.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Assuming for a moment that there were other volcanic options available, all that would be achieved would be the disposal of the Ring from Saurons immediate grasp. However the problem would still have remained of Sauron having a vastly numerically superior force to call upon, along with the declining forces of the Elves. Eventually Sauron would have won the war, had the Ring not been utterly destroyed.

    This is not to mention a situation similar to the one Elrond described in which you might throw the Ring into a deep ocean, but eventually it would find its way back.

  10. #10

    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sindiwen View Post
    good stuff to know. i always kinda wondered though, all things a side, what if frodo did theoretically decide mt doom was too far but some other molten lava flow nearer was to be his journey. but given the above i suppose the answer is it may have just flowed with the lava as if it were water til it made its way back in to someones possession.
    It's not like Middle Earth had volcanos all over the place. There's Frodo, with the ring, and he decides "Mt Doom is too far to travel, let's take the ring to Mt Kinda Scary and drop it in there, it's closer". Will the other fellowship members like Gandalf, Aragorn and probably Legolas agree that going to a different volcano is a brilliant idea, or will they say "No, we're taking the ring to Mt Doom, that other volcano isn't the right place". What's Frodo going to do about that?
    Last edited by GarethB; Sep 02 2011 at 12:21 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    I still think the Frodo->Mt Doom travel was the most irresponsible decision ever in the history of Middle Earth. OK, it can only be destroyed there. OK, very few people can bear it. But how on Middle-Earth can someone think that 2 untrained hobbits (or join them half decent dudes) will be able to travel deep into Mordor and do it. The possibilities that the ring will be handed over to Sauron were endless. The Council left Middle Earth for Sauron to rule. Fortunately for them the Valar pulled all the strings and even more to guarantee that those two minions walked all the way there.

    Any other non-Mordor volcano in Middle Earth with connection to the fire thing would be much more easier to walk to, but it's reasonable to assume Mt Doom was THE place.

  12. #12

    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorothir View Post
    It also shows that the only access point to the subterranean fire, which would be a volcano or any other form of volcanic activity, was in Mordor meaning that the only volcano that was around was in Mordor.
    No, it doesn't show that at all. Tolkien stipulates "where it was made." There is no comment, suggestion, or implication that Mt. Doom was the only volcano in Arda.

    Arda is our own world in an imaginary time. Tolkien stated in one of his published letters written in 1958 that the Ringbearers departure was about 6000 years prior to the present time. If you know anything about the planet we live on, you probably know that there are many volcanoes on it. This isn't any more true today than it was 6000 years ago.

    To address the OP directly, "Why was Mt. Doom so special?", that can be answered at least in part by a short passage from the chapter 'Mount Doom':

    Sam came to the gaping mouth and peered in. It was dark and hot, and a deep rumbling shook the air. 'Frodo! Master!' he called. There was no answer. For a moment he stood, his heart beating with wild fears, and then he plunged in. A shadow followed him.

    At first he could see nothing. In his great need he drew out once more the phial of Galadriel, but it was pale and cold in his trembling hand and threw no light into that stifling dark. He was come to the heart of the realm of Sauron and the forges of his ancient might, greatest in Middle-earth; all other powers here were subdued.
    Source: Tolkien, J.R. 'Mount Doom.' The Return of the King, volume III of The Lord of the Rings.

    The Sammath Naur ('chamber of fire') was not just any place in a volcano. It was the place where Sauron's power was at its greatest.
    Faërie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold. – J.R.R. Tolkien, ‘On Fairy-Stories’.

  13. #13

    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleg-Of-Doriath View Post
    It says that his fire would not have been capable of melting the One Ring.

    Indeed:

    It has been said that dragon-fire could melt and consume the Rings of Power, but there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough; nor was there ever any dragon, not even Ancalagon the Black, who could have harmed the One Ring, the Ruling Ring, for that was made by Sauron himself.

    -The Fellowship Of The Ring : The Shadow Of The Past
    The Rings of Power were made by Elves with Sauron's help, but not by Sauron himself, so they were more easily destroyed. The One Ring was made by Sauron alone and since he passed so much of his power into it so that it could subdue and rule the other Rings it was harder to unmake.
    Last edited by PenrodBarker; Sep 02 2011 at 01:30 PM.
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  14. #14

    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hinia View Post
    If Ancalagon the Black was still alive , greatest and most powerfull of all dragons. His fire would be hot enough to melt one ring. But im not sure if this is correct.
    No, that is not correct. Gandalf tells Frodo during a prolonged discussion about the Ring in Bag End:

    Your small fire, of course, would not melt even ordinary gold. This Ring has already passed through it unscathed, and even unheated. But there is no smith's forge in this Shire that could change it at all. Not even the anvils and furnaces of the Dwarves could do that. It has been said that dragon-fire could melt and consume the Rings of Power, but there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough; nor was there ever any dragon, not even Ancalagon the Black, who could have harmed the One Ring, the Ruling Ring, for that was made by Sauron himself.

    There is only one way: to find the Cracks of Doom in the depths of Orodruin, the Fire-mountain, and cast the Ring in there, if you really wish to destroy it, to put it beyond the grasp of the Enemy for ever.
    Source: Tolkien, J.R.R. 'The Shadow of the Past.' The Fellowship of the Ring, volume I of The Lord of the Rings.

    Gandalf's statement about fires and their varying degrees of hotness has confused some people into thinking that it only required an extremely hot fire to destroy the One Ring. Note the end of the last sentence: "for that was made by Sauron himself." In one of his published letters Tolkien stated:

    The Ring was unbreakable by any smithcraft less than his own. It was indissoluble in any fire, save the undying subterranean fire where it was made--and that was unapproachable, in Mordor.
    Source: Carpenter, Humphrey (editor). '131 To Milton Wladman.' The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

    The distinction "where it was made" is very important. The Cracks of Doom within the Sammath Naur ('chamber of fire') was the heart of Sauron's realm where his power was greatest. (See the quote from 'Mount Doom' in my previous post.) Tolkien, speaking both as himself and through Gandalf, tell us this is the only place where the One Ring could be destroyed.
    Last edited by oldbadgerbrock; Sep 02 2011 at 02:34 PM. Reason: correct typo
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  15. #15
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    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    As is made clear to us more than once, the wise didn't know everything and even those among them with foresight couldn't see all ends.
    It's always been my belief that the wise made their plans as best they could, without really knowing how it would all pan out. As has been said elsewhere in this thread it was always a desperate ploy to send, ultimately, two untrained hobbits into Mordor. I believe they didn't really know for certain whether the ring could actually be unmade, like everything else about their plan it was uncertain and desperate, but made with the best knowledge available to the greatest minds in Middle-earth.
    There were probably other volcanoes they could have tried, almost certainly they would have been closer, and definitely safer to approach than Mount Doom, obviously two great travelers like Aragorn and Gandalf would have known this if anyone would. But what if this didn't work, putting the One Ring out of Sauron's reach was not enough, he would have eventually conquered the world using "conventional means" anyway, this is made perfectly clear at the Council of Elrond.
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  16. #16
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    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldbadgerbrock View Post
    In one of his published letters Tolkien stated:

    The Ring was unbreakable by any smithcraft less than his own. It was indissoluble in any fire, save the undying subterranean fire where it was made--and that was unapproachable, in Mordor.
    Source: Carpenter, Humphrey (editor). '131 To Milton Wladman.' The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.
    Interesting thought - would the elves, at the height of their skill in Valinor, have been able to harm it?
    Last edited by sir-rinthian; Sep 02 2011 at 09:10 PM.
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  17. #17
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    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by sir-rinthian View Post
    Interesting thought - would the elves, at the height of their skill in Valinor, have been able to harm it?
    I'd have to say no. Even though Feanor is considered the greatest craftsman of all time, when it comes to destroying the work of a Maiar I dont think the Elves ever had the skill to do so. It would probably have required the intervention of the Valar to achieve anything.

  18. #18
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    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gauddan View Post
    I'd have to say no. Even though Feanor is considered the greatest craftsman of all time, when it comes to destroying the work of a Maiar I dont think the Elves ever had the skill to do so. It would probably have required the intervention of the Valar to achieve anything.
    While I think I agree, I'd have to point out that Sauron wasn't all that impressive of a Maia at that point. His several "deaths" prior to crafting the ring had left him quite a bit weaker (unable to change form, etc.)
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  19. #19

    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    At a guess, Feanor at his forge in Valinor might have been able to unmake it, but that is probably it.

    Sauron being Maiar didn't make him invincible or invulnerable, we see 4 Maiar die in LOTRO alone. Just what happens to them after the death of their physical form is another matter.

  20. #20
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    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by sir-rinthian View Post
    While I think I agree, I'd have to point out that Sauron wasn't all that impressive of a Maia at that point. His several "deaths" prior to crafting the ring had left him quite a bit weaker (unable to change form, etc.)
    Surely the death that removed his form changing ability and others was after the ring crafting? At the time he made it he was still at the height of his powers, and unless I misread the Silmarrilion he never actually suffered a physical defeat that would reduce his power.

    Also I'm sure there were different levels of Maiar. Gandalf and Saruman were clearly not of the same level as Sauron, and neither were the Balrogs.

  21. #21
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    Re: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Here's one to mull over:

    If Sauron had taken the Ring to Numenor, how did he save it from the destruction of Numenor even though his own body was destroyed with it?

  22. #22

    AW: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Sauron crafted the ring before he lost the ability to assume a fair form as it was at the time he deceived Celebrimbor and the elves of Eregion to create the rings of power.
    Some time after he had forged the One Ring, the last King of Numenor laid siege to Mordor and Sauron gave himself up as hostage (still in fair form) but left the ring in Barad-Dur. After Numenor's fall Sauron's spirit fled back to Mordor and took up the ring again. That's likely why was able to take form so fast again (in contrast to all the time he needed after he was defeated by the last alliance).
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    Re: AW: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by West-northwestook View Post
    Sauron crafted the ring before he lost the ability to assume a fair form as it was at the time he deceived Celebrimbor and the elves of Eregion to create the rings of power.
    Some time after he had forged the One Ring, the last King of Numenor laid siege to Mordor and Sauron gave himself up as hostage (still in fair form) but left the ring in Barad-Dur. After Numenor's fall Sauron's spirit fled back to Mordor and took up the ring again. That's likely why was able to take form so fast again (in contrast to all the time he needed after he was defeated by the last alliance).
    Actually, Tolkien said that Sauron used the One Ring to help gain control over the Numenoreans, so it wasn't left in Barad-Dur. Doesn't make sense for him to willingly seperate himself from his only source of power and leave it right next to the only place with access to a volcano.

    The way the Ring made it back to Middle-earth was very lazy on Tolkien's part but let's see if anyone can come up with something better.

  24. #24

    AW: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Hmm, my edition of the Akallabeth says this (re-translated from german, so all mangling is strictliy mine):
    ...his spirit rose form the depth and flew like a shadow and black wind over the sea, back to Middle-Earth and his home in Mordor. He took up again his great ring in Barad-dur and dwelled there, silent and dark, until he had given himself a new form the unveiled picture of hate; and few withstood the eye of Sauron the Cruel.
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    Re: AW: Why was Mt. Doom so special?

    Quote Originally Posted by West-northwestook View Post
    Hmm, my edition of the Akallabeth says this (re-translated from german, so all mangling is strictliy mine):
    ...his spirit rose form the depth and flew like a shadow and black wind over the sea, back to Middle-Earth and his home in Mordor. He took up again his great ring in Barad-dur and dwelled there, silent and dark, until he had given himself a new form the unveiled picture of hate; and few withstood the eye of Sauron the Cruel.
    From one of his letters (not sure which):

    He naturally had the One Ring, and so very soon dominated the minds and wills of most of the Númenóreans.

 

 
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