How does magic work in Tolkiens universe

Good point about Tolkien's opposition to industrialization. That's something left out of the movies, but it was a major emphasis. The good guys were 'green'; the Elves and Dwarves were advanced but highlighted the natural beauty of their environments, where the bad guys ripped trees down and poisoned the earth.

Another answer about lack of technology is the "Mad Max" post-apocalypse concept.

Mad Max has barren, post-nuclear wastelands, and the people are way behind us in tech.

Tolkien's world has evidence of even more powerful destruction-
the defeat of Morgoth to end the First Age didn't leave a lifeless desert, it resulted in the complete physical destruction of Beleriand. All the lands the Elves lived in are now literally gone, including mountain ranges; and the sea now covers it. Imagine the amount of force expended to blast the western US to the point that the Pacific coast is now the East Bank of the Mississippi River... mind-boggling.
The First Age "tech"- Earandil fought the dragons in the skies with his ships... so concievably flight once capable, but lost to those left behind in Middle Earth after that war. There were other mentions of Elvish wonders, that Men couldn't comprehend and labelled Elvish Magic, but Tolkien interestingly stated wasn't magic, but simply great skill and craftsmanship.

They never went into detail with everything Numenor had built, but they made advancements in lifespan to hundreds of years, and "the might of Numenor" made Sauron with the Ring surrender without a fight. He did have a plan to corrupt from within, but Tolkien did emphasize that the battle would have been a decisive victory, had it been fought.
And again, Numenor was lost, blasted off the face of Middle Earth, with only relics of unconceived power left behind.

The Last Alliance that defeated Sauron at the end of the Second Age left the Emyn Muil (the barren, razor sharp rocks that Gimli describes), and the Dead Marshes, lifeless muck. That's over a thousand years ago, and it's still lifeless and barren... that suggests that FAR more force and destruction was inflicted on those sites than on any real battleground (we're less than 100 years removed from WW2, and if not for monuments, you'd never know what happened at battlegrounds in Europe, or at ground zero in Japan). As Tolkien states, these wars ended Ages.

In history, we see the loss of technology in far less violent manner; look at how much time we lost after the fall of the Roman Empire.

If you wanted to, you could take a hard SF approach to Middle Earth, and it would work. You have multiple competing races (not just factions like Earth) striving to dominate the planet, and every bit of tech is focused on eradicating the threat to your continued existence as a species. In the end, mankind wins, they integrate the dwarves and hobbits, and the Elves leave the planet. The orcs and trolls die out. But it would involve several arms races getting to about where we are, followed by nuclear battles, reboots of society almost back to the Stone Age, before the final conclusion is reached. And to do so, you would have far advanced beings involved- the Valar and wizards, 'not of this earth' and trying not to break things, and Morgoth and Sauron, same outside species, but actively setting up shop and trying to create a planet empire. Removing Morgoth took a war that destroyed half a continent, the 'good guys' didn't want to go do that again against Sauron, so they did it with aide and assistance instead. You finally get rid of them at the end.


re: In tolkiens universe is it ever explained why Sauron doesn't notice the ringPosted by Scoob on 3/7/17 at 10:55 am to TheTideMustRoll