What, me evil?
I'm not kidding, this is actually an argument put forward by Cezary Jan Strusiewicz. One could argue that, since it's on Cracked.com, it shouldn't be taken too seriously - but then, every other "famous movie villain who was right all along" on the list had compelling, reasonable and logical arguments. So why shouldn't we believe the argument that Sauron was the victim of a terrible smear campaign was similarly made in all honesty? According to Strusiewicz, Sauron, the enemy of freedom, peace, love and anything good, was just misunderstood.
Just so you can understand the immensity of insanity, I'm going to post the segment in its entirety here, and address it.
Oh, come on. Sauron is like the archetypal evil overlord. He's got massive armies of monsters. He has a flaming eyeball. He has a helmet made of spikes, people, come on. And, he did... you know, he did all of those... things. And...
Hold on a minute there:
And what exactly? Please tell us, because throughout the entire 2000-hour run of the Jackson trilogy, we couldn't find a single reason why everyone demonized Sauron like he was a debt-collecting pedophile. Yes, he was building an army to advance on Middle Earth. But who was in that army? What were they fighting for?
This was a world where Orcs were used as target practice among elvish communities. The elves loved that shit. Sauron put a stop to that by offering all the underprivileged creatures a place in his non-race-exclusive army (the only nonsegregated force in Middle Earth other than the Fellowship), with promises of their own country in the future. After what he did for the orcs and the goblins, Sauron was just some towering, mace-wielding folk hero.
Of course the humans and elves couldn't have that, because if orcs moved-in next door to them, their houses' property value would go down. After all, these creatures are dark and smelly and have weird voices. They must be murdered on sight.
We hear a lot about freedom, and the free peoples of Middle Earth standing up to Mordor. What do we mean by "free?" They're certainly not fighting for Democracy -- each kingdom is a monarchy where the people have no say over what the leader does as long as that leader possesses the right genes. And overwhelmingly it seems like what those leaders like to do is shit on the Orcs, and the countless other minorities who Sauron was able to recruit onto his side.
What you were seeing in these films was not an unprovoked act of aggression, undertaken just for the hell of it. You were seeing generations of pent-up frustration by oppressed minorities, harnessed by a leader they could get behind. What Sauron did was nothing more than try to cut out a piece of that Middle Earth dream for himself and his followers, and find land that doesn't require them to live under a continuously erupting volcano.
His methods were violent and there were excesses -- as you see in every revolution. But if Middle Earth doesn't take a moment to understand why Sauron was able to draw tens of thousands of disenfranchised individuals to his cause, then they're destined to fight the same war all over again, as soon as the next Sauron shows up.
I. I got nothing, folks. I mean, is there any point in arguing that Tolkien explains exactly why everything he says is nonsense? But then, someone will argue that that's the books, that the film doesn't show Sauron doing anything evil. To which I would also call balderdash.
Please tell us, because throughout the entire 2000-hour run of the Jackson trilogy, we couldn't find a single reason why everyone demonized Sauron...
Well I can think of a few things. I'm going just by what happens in the films, mind:
Sauron - in disguise - created twenty rings of immense magical power which he gave to the most powerful people of Middle-earth. What he did not tell them is that those rings were mind-control devices, and that anyone wearing said rings would be under the power of the Master Ring - Sauron. Nine of these leaders, who were kings, were transformed into horrific undead ghosts, forever enslaved to his power. Deceiving and brainwashing people in a bid to take over the world isn't evil?
Once this happens, Sauron begins a conquest of Middle-earth ("one by one the free lands of Middle-earth fell before the power of the Ring") which was only halted by an alliance of the Elven kingdoms and Numenor. Sauron, like his master before him, uses his genetically engineered slave army against his foes. Armies which, following his destruction, devolved into chaos and anarchy, without a leader. Breeding an entire race as a slave army isn't evil?
Oh, and as if you couldn't guess, he brings up the "segregated army"silliness. Because apparently deceiving, extorting, conquering and outright enslaving non-whites peoples is morally superior to willing allies joining forces for a common good that just happen to be situated in a part of the world where most people are white. Because even if your army is multi-racial because they're slaves, that's still better than Mighty Whitey, right?
Overall, it's hard to get worked up about such an indescribably silly article. I mean, forget reading the books, anyone who's watched the first five minutes of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring knows the score. Crazy. Perhaps that's the idea, easy troll-bait from blustering Tolkien fans such as myself. I note there are over a thousand comments on the article: no doubt it all played into Strusiewicz's hands.
How does it feel to be a tool of the Establishment?ReplyDelete
Feeding the approved, party line to the masses. Denigrating and smearing a valiant freedom fighter struggling to free the oppressed.
I'm as critical of the Elessar regime as anyone, but this propaganda campaign from the offices of Minas Morgul cannot cover the truth!ReplyDelete
In fact, I support a third party candidate: Vote Bombadil for TA 2460!
Bombadil, that tree hugging ne'er do well!ReplyDelete
Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth is clearly the better man to lead this land to economic prosperity!
Party politics aside though, it is interesting that he never once mentioned the books but yet still attributed everything in the movies to Professor Tolkien.
Party politics aside though, it is interesting that he never once mentioned the books but yet still attributed everything in the movies to Professor Tolkien.ReplyDelete
I dunno, I just think it's crazy that he could've missed the first five minutes. That kinda rung a bell.
I mean I could understand if he had done one for say.. Megatron.. or Cobra Commander.. being misunderstood.. but not Sauron..ReplyDelete
People nowadays seems to FORGET that the book even exists. It's heartbreaking.ReplyDelete
Just like Conan (ecch)ReplyDelete
The Cracked article is now renamed and apparently expanded, but I must have read the original weeks ago.
Given that it's Cracked, I am still bugged by the generalization of the Middle-earth polities as dictatorships. Sure, they're not democratic in the modern sense - the Shire and I think Bree come the closest to that, or at least farthest from being monarchies - but I think Tolkien just generally didn't go into much detail over local government and such.
as it is a cracked article, I would assume that he is going for humor. Just goes to show that you can make almost anything seem reasonable.ReplyDelete
I mean I could understand if he had done one for say.. Megatron.. or Cobra Commander.. being misunderstood.. but not Sauron...ReplyDelete
Indeed, at least one could argue those two were well-intentioned.
People nowadays seems to FORGET that the book even exists. It's heartbreaking.
No kidding. I have to love the many people saying "dur, he's talking about da MOOVEEZ, not da BOOKZ" - conveniently forgetting that da MOOVEEZ make a hash of the argument anyway.
The Cracked article is now renamed and apparently expanded, but I must have read the original weeks ago.
It was only published 12th January, but I wouldn't put it past them to repeat themselves on occassion.
as it is a cracked article, I would assume that he is going for humor. Just goes to show that you can make almost anything seem reasonable.
Or not, as it turns out...
Indeed, Al. I'm actually working on a Cobra Commander post.. which I hope to eventually expand into more posts on 80's cartoon villains.ReplyDelete
You guys are all missing the point. Is Sauron twisted? Yes. Is he evil? Probably. But WHY is he evil? What is it that motivated him to create these rings to dominate the people of Middle Earth? I believe that all good people are capable of turning bad... And all bad people are capable of turning good. The yin and yang idea. I'm just not sure the depths of Sauron's soul were revealed. If it were, it might show a capability for good. I haven't read the Silmarillion, but I believe that Sauron is descended from the same / a similar type of wizard as Gandalf. "Istari" I believe. Did he turn from a path of good long ago? Maybe... I'd like to hear that tale. Sauron seems a little underdeveloped. Like Tolkien was a propagandist against Mordor and Sauron. Like he ignored possibilities within the story. And for those who will say "Look, Sauron is like pure evil incarnate. He's like the devil" ... Well I say, look at a quote Mark Twain once had... “But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?” Maybe these mega-villains who get sh!t heaped on them are just misunderstood. Sure they've done horrible things and they've reaped what they've sown. But deeper than that, maybe there was a pivotal moment where someone disregarded Sauron at a key point in his life, and then he just got pi$$ed off and decided to let the world feel his wrath. Those key moments are crucial and help to explain what can turn a dude capable of good into a big dark magic wielding bada$$. Maybe there's a deeper story than what's given. Maybe deep down he was just misunderstood.ReplyDelete
That may all be true, Frank, and I do agree that there's more to Sauron than evil for the sake of evil. However, this article doesn't just claim Sauron is merely misunderstood, it claims that he was an alright guy being unfairly demonized. That's just silly.ReplyDelete
It's funny you mention that Twain quote, since when I was growing up, I frequently pondered Lucifer's sins, and even hoped that at some point, he would make amends. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a good redemption story.
You're right, it is kind of silly. I guess they were going more for humor, and not worried so much about accuracy. Slippery slope, but it is entertaining though and makes for good discussion.ReplyDelete
So I read up a little bit on Sauron, and came to find a few things. He was one of the Maiar, originally an immortal angelic spirit... Second in power only to the Valar. The Maiar were far more powerful than the Istari I spoke of above, which included Gandalf & Saruman.. Which was my mistake.
The original evil Maiar, Melkor, was the first to rebel against Eru, basically "God" of the Valar. Eru let his spirit children perform a great music. Built around a theme developed by Eru himself. But then Melkor started corrupting the music, trying to increase his own glory by weaving his own song which conflicted with the original theme. Other Maiar started to join with Melkor, although Sauron was NOT one of the originals to flock to Melkor. It's said Sauron probably knew more about the music than Melkor, whose mind had always been filled with his own plans and devices. Then the music started to take on the theme of good vs. evil. This ultimately created the world, where the drama of good and evil would play out. Eru allowed both good and evil spirits to enter into the new world and follow its history from inside. Sauron was one who chose to do so.
At first, Sauron was very prominent among the Maiar, Aule the Blacksmith, the great craftsman of the mighty Valar. Sauron emerged as "a great craftsman of the household of Aule." He was considered mighty and was originally known by the name "Mairon" (The Admirable).
But then came about his fall from grace. Sauron fell victim to Melkor's corrupting influence. As for his motives, Tolkien noted that "it had been his virtue (and therefore also the cause of his fall ...) that he loved order and coordination, and disliked all confusion and wasteful friction." Thus "it was the apparent will and power of Melkor to effect his designs quickly and masterfully that had first attracted Sauron to him." For a while, Sauron apparently kept up the pretence that he was a faithful servant of the Valar, all the while feeding Melkor information about their doings. Thus, when the Valar made Almaren as their first physical abode in the world, Melkor knew all about their plans.
Sauron then became Melkor's First Lieutenant.
So basically what I take from it was, Sauron was corrupted to evil out of his respect for Melkor's ability for order and coordination to execute his will.
The rest of the story from the Silmarillion starts to reveal Sauron as sort of a coward at times... Which I see as basically a smear campaign on the part of Tolkien to give readers a reason to hate him. So that you'll root for the heroes against him. Which I guess had to be done if you're going to make him the villain.
I too love a good redemption story though
^ and *learned* from Aule the Blacksmith, the great craftsman of the Valar*** Sorry, typos. That sentence didn't make sense when I proof read itReplyDelete