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The Tower of the Cunning Mind  by Larner 6 Review(s)
Eirinn LeighReviewed Chapter: 4 on 9/1/2015
This chapter is heartbreaking both in the news it delivers, and the brevity of unconcern in which it is delivered. Smeagols whole family, slaughtered. And without even information on how long after he left and how long before he briefly returned that this was found. When Gollum went into his family hole and stood before the door to the tomb but did not open it- Sarumon's men had already come and gone by then correct?

Author Reply: I am sorry it has taken so long to respond--I managed to miss this one. I suspect that Saruman's people found this smial perhaps only a few years before Bilbo's arrival at his lake stirred him to seek after the Thief who had Gollum's Ring in his pocket. The family Smeagol had known would undoubtedly be centuries dead themselves, but their descendants would have been easily slaughtered by Saruman's agents. I'll have to look again at when it was that it says in the Tale of Years that Saruman began to have the banks of the Anduin scoured in the region where Isildur was known to have died, but it would have been at that point the final slaughter of Smeagol's kin would have happened.

Raksha The DemonReviewed Chapter: 4 on 2/19/2012
How sad, the final fate of Isildur's bones; to be found and most likely discarded by Saruman and his agents. One hates to think of Saruman hoarding the crown of Elendil and his son; but at least, at long last, it returned to Isildur's heir.

Excellent piece that shows Saruman's villainy...

AndreaReviewed Chapter: 4 on 7/15/2011
Oh yes, I remember your story about Gollum's family and how he came back to find his former home destroyed and empty. So, it was Saruman who sent the murderers? I'm not surprised about that!

But I'm surprised about his conclusions regarding the prism experiment. It should be obvious that White is composed of all other colours. And therefore changing of single colours can never be a replacement for White.

That's what Gandalf told him later, but I fear he never understood.

Author Reply: According to Unfinished Tales, Saruman sent agents to the Gladden Fields to search for the Ring, but instead they returned with the original Elendilmir and the locket in which Isildur carried the Ring, and these were found hidden in Orthanc by Aragorn and Gimli at some time between the end of the War and the visit to the Brandywine Bridge when Elanor was fifteen, at which time Aragorn gave one of the Elendilmirs to Sam.

I'd read a few stories in which Smeagol's grandmother has Isildur's body and/or possessions, so decided to do my own take on it, although I couldn't imagine the good hobbitess drinking from Isildur's skull as one person did. That was how I came to write "No Going Back." So in my-verse, these agents were responsible for the massacre of Gollum's relatives who'd lived along the unnamed tributary to the Anduin, perhaps as they tried to force whoever was family head at the time to tell them what might have become of the Ring Itself.

But you certainly right about Saruman and his conceits regarding himself as somehow superior due to his ability to break white light into other colors. No, he never understood what Gandalf was trying to tell him.

Thanks so, Andrea!

ArmarielReviewed Chapter: 4 on 7/14/2011
Oh my. Did I miss something? What is this Elendilmir, and how were hobbits slaughtered? Brrrrr!

Author Reply: Ah, Armariel, the Elendilmir, also known as the Star of Elendil, is one of my favorite artifacts within Middle Earth.

Actually, there were two, which led to me beginning "Stirring Rings," which I swear I will return to once I'm done with my Big Bang project, which as usual has taken on a life of its own.

In the "Tall Ships" lore poem, it says there were nine ships, seven stars, and seven stones that Elendil and his sons brought to Middle Earth from Numenor. The seven stars, as I understand them, were the jeweled diadems worn by princes of the Royal House in Numenor, and indicated that there were seven princes who came in the ships of the Faithful, of whom Elendil, Isildur, and Anarion were apparently three, with Elendil being the most senior and highest ranking one present. I suspect that the ancestor of Imrazor the Numenorean, whose descendants became the Princes of Dol Amroth, was one of those princes as well.

When Elendil died in the final battle of the Last Alliance, Isildur took his father's diadem, the Elendilmir, and carried it with him, along with the shards of Narsil. He is said to have worn a locket in which he carried the Ring he'd taken from Sauron (he didn't wear It threaded on a chain as did Frodo and as was shown in the movies), and had the Elendilmir upon his person at the time of the attack at the Gladden Fields. He left behind the shards of Narsil, put on the Ring at his son Elendur's insisistence, and tried to elude capture while Elendur and his two next younger brothers and their men fought the orcs. But although he was invisible, he left a scent, and the orcs followed it and him to the Anduin. As he sought to swim to safety, the Ring expanded Itself and slipped from his finger, leaving him visible to the archers among the orcs, and one shot him in the back, killing him.

When Saruman decided to search for the Ring for himself, he told the rest of the White Council that the Ring had been carried to the Sea by the river and was lost in its depths, but he still sent agents to the area of the Gladden Fields to search for It. Instead they returned with the original Elendilmir, which he stored in a hidden closet within Orthanc.

Much of this is told in the Unfinished Tales.

The Rod of Annuminas was the sign of kingship in Arnor as the Winged Crown was in Gondor; but the Elendilmir was also one of the heirlooms from Numenor that indicated Elendil's royal descent and marked him as the High King within Middle Earth. Elrond had a replacement diadem crafted for Isildur's surviving son Valandil, who having been but a child when the war started had remained with his mother in Imladris when his father, grandfather, uncle, and older brothers went to Mordor.

It was this replacement Elendilmir that Aragorn wore as he joined the Battle of the Pelennor, and that he put off when the battle was over and he came into the city to begin the healing of those stricken with the Black Breath.

In the Appendices it is indicated that once things had quieted down, Aragorn returned to Orthanc with Gimli and others to do a survey of the tower, and that they found Saruman's hidden closet and in it both Isildur's locket and the Elendilmir, indicating that somehow Saruman's agents had managed to find Isildur's remains and with it these two relics.

When Aragorn came north to the finally rebuilt northern capital, he brought with him both Elendilmirs, and he removed one of the stones from one of them and gave it to Sam at the official greeting at the Brandywine Bridge, just before he took Sam, Merry, and Pippin and their families north with him to Annuminas. What Sam did with it I'm not certain, but I've seen tales written that he took it with him when he sailed to Tol Eressea himself.

I wrote of the finding of Isildur's remains in "No Going Back," which is in the "Neath Anor, Ithil, and Gil" collection. And in this I sort of expand upon some of the details in that other story.

Ah, now this response has grown in the telling! Aack! Beware tales about the Elendilmir--they have a tendency to expand!

TeresaReviewed Chapter: 4 on 7/14/2011 Saruman's investigations about the Ring led to the murder of Gollum's family. I remember Gollum saying that his grandmother had a beautiful treasure in her home. Will you tell us someday how the Elendimir got there? It looks as though Saruman's fall is progressing....sigh. If he's also using the palantir would Sauron be aware of him, and possibly influencing him? Then again, since he'd already decided to go for power Sauron might watch and be rather amused at what his old "friend" is up to. Many thanks for these vignettes! :)

Author Reply: I've already written how the Elendilmir came to be in a Hobbit smial along a tributary to the Anduin in "No Going Back," number 41 in the "Neath Anor, Ithil, and Gil" collection. I'm not certain yet whether or not he's been using the palantir, but he's definitely on a downhill slide now. And I suspect you're all to correct on Sauron's evaluation of his old comrade. And thank you for the comments!

eilujReviewed Chapter: 4 on 7/14/2011
The treasure unsought -- Yes, what irony.

And there's nothing worse than killing hobbits. [No, Saruman didn't do it himself, but he hired the sort of folk who did.]

Author Reply: Didn't find the Ring, but did find something else. And I can so easily imagine he chose to employ bully-boys from the start, leading to the loss of those families that returned to the Anduin valley. It was sort of cool to write something that works into my longer fic, "No Going Back" as this one managed to do.

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