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In The Fellowship of the Ring, the council of Elrond plays with the idea that hiding the ring by sinking it to the bottom of the sea would make it safe.

'Not safe for ever,' said Gandalf. 'There are many things in the deep waters; and seas and lands may change. And it is not our part here to take thought only for a season, or for a few lives of Men, or for a passing age of the world. We should seek a final end of this menace, even if we do not hope to make one.'

Is this meant to be an enigma? Does Tolkien ever mention things in the sea in the Silmarillion or his other works? What does Gandalf even mean? Does it have to do with Numenor? Or does he mean Sea monsters? What are they like? The Watcher in the Water? Are they servants of Sauron? Are they crated by Morgoth like the dragons? Would they wield the ring or return it to Sauron? I'd love to know more about this!

marked as duplicate by Valorum, Möoz, Null, Meat Trademark, AncientSwordRage Oct 27 '15 at 22:50

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    Also bear in mind: one question per question. I count at least four separate questions here – Jason Baker Oct 27 '15 at 15:52
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    I don't really see extra questions, I really see examples phrased in the form of questions. They should be prefaced with; For example, are there blatherskites? – Escoce Oct 27 '15 at 16:18
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    And I don't think it's a duplicate question. Similar, but not the same. This one asked "what does gandalf mean by..." And the other asks, "are there sea creatures?" Which can really have different responses. One is subjective the other objective. – Escoce Oct 27 '15 at 16:20
  • @Escoce "Are there sea monsters and what are they like?", "What does Gandalf mean by this sentence?", "Are the sea monsters associated with Sauron?", "Were the sea monsters created by Morgoth?"; these are all separate questions, and one of them is a duplicate of the one I linked to; I initially VTC'd as a dupe because I believe the main question here is about the "sea creatures" Gandalf is referring to – Jason Baker Oct 27 '15 at 16:27
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    There are more than two or three "things" down there? – Lexible Oct 27 '15 at 16:35

It is hardly an enigma. Gandalf is just saying that a fish could eat the Ring and get caught, or that someday the sea-bottom might become land and the Ring found (considering that many lands had sunk to the bottom in his own memory, not unreasonable).

He is speaking against any kind of "put off to tomorrow" strategy. Gandalf wants the confrontation with Sauron now, before the situation gets any worse.


My answer is by no means meant to be canon, but more of a conjecture based on things we know about middle earth. Firstly, we should understand that Middle Earth is a high fantasy realm, it features several humanoid races, but also creatures unlike anything in reality that would be considered less real than myth. Creatures such as the majestic Smaug, Balrogs, giant Eagles and Wargs, as well as ghosts, undead and other ephemera. We know "the Watcher" is somewhat squid-like, perhaps modeled after a Kraken of earth mythology.

As we have in our real world, there must be a plethora of real water animals as we have which include everything from bacteria and virus, crustaceans and higher up the food and intelligence chain to copepods and cetaceans which we like to think are possibly as intelligent as us, and demonstrably at least as intelligent as a smart dog, as well as otters, seals and sea lions, which are also often likened to at least dog-like intelligence or better.

Since we know there is a layer of mythological ecology placed over our real world equivalence, there must be the same in the oceans. This part is at least evidenced by Gandalf's assertion that there are things in the deep waters.

There will likely be the water based equivalents of the ghosts and undead that haunt the lands, such as the ghosts of the Mountain Kings, and the Dead Marshes that almost took Frodo while Gollum was guiding them through.

Great battles of time past must have occurred over the oceans and there must be equivalent Revenants haunting those deeps. In the abyssal canyons, breed creatures as dread as Balrogs, or as massive as Oliphaunts.

And there might be creatures as mundane as mer-folk or some facsimile of them, who if the Ring were to come to one of them might become as corrupt as any land-based creature, and the Ring may return some day to its master.

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    -1: Sorry, this is pure speculation. – Binary Worrier Oct 28 '15 at 8:33
  • It is pure conjecture, that's true and I said so. – Escoce Oct 28 '15 at 12:56
  • Apologies, please let me clarify. Conjecture implies something awaiting a proof, and speculation is closer to a guess, then this is "pure guess work", sorry for not being clear the first time. – Binary Worrier Oct 29 '15 at 11:24
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    SciFi Exchange hates anything that's not canon or at least backed up with canon. You can't put words in Tolkien's mouth. He left it open to interpretation because it's not relevant to the story line. Simply put, it doesn't matter what's in the ocean either way. – John Bell Oct 30 '15 at 11:37

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