Over-thinking villains: the LOTR edition

By my entirely official, possibly inaccurate count (which just happened moments ago, shortly after my Surface 2 had to restart half a dozen times for updates it’s been denied for too long), this is the 89th post in my Hundred Days of Blogging. Probably. It’s been more of an ordeal than I could have anticipated, but it’s pushed me to keep posting. Even on nights when all I want to do is sleep forever. Nights like these past couple nights, especially after experiencing the human equivalent of the world’s shittiest rental property. Ahem. It’s been a while since I’ve used my Surface 2 for any extended bits of writing (opting instead to use my laptop or desktop, both of which are out of commission presently while I’m still unpacking), so this is proving to be its own magical misadventure. More so as I try to log in to my Screen Robot account with no recollection of my password. I know, I know; for shame, forgetful writer. For shame.

Some exciting news, first, before we continue into tonight’s post. I had a short story accepted for publication in The Literary Hatchet, a publication created by PearTree Press. I’m quite excited, as it’s a story I really enjoyed writing. More on that as I can post it, of course. Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King is a little bit closer to being a real thing that exists in book form. I’ve worked with the terrific folks at Cary Press on tweaking the cover here and there, and I’m very happy with how it looks. A couple more weeks and I should be hearing more from them, which is very exciting as well.

This is a post I had the idea for about a week or two ago, but it never saw the light of day (nor the dark of night, I suppose) because I was in the middle of moving. Here are a few disclaimery bits: I am not, by any means, an authority on Lord of the Rings. I enjoyed the books and the movies, but some details have escaped me over the years (or never really made their way to my grasp). A lot of this is just silly speculation that rattled around in my brain the right ways to end up becoming a post.

There are a lot of interesting commentaries on Sauron, his Orcish minions, and the various dark and spooky critters who exist solely to make Middle Earth an entirely wretched place. Cracked, if memory serves, played Sauron up as the leader the Orcs needed to earn equality among the other races of Middle Earth, many of whom looked at the Orcs as filthy, disgusting lesser creatures who were only fit to be riddled with Elvish (Elfin? Whatever. Someone’s bound to correct me on this.) arrows.

What if Sauron was just a great, big bag of…er, evil? Try to stay with me here, because this is where the deep thinking (read as “no more so than a kiddy pool”) comes into play.

Sauron was the guy to be afraid of, what with the Ring of Power and all (One Ring to Rule Them All, and One Ring to Slaughter the Masses with on A Crazy-Damn Homicidal Rampage, or something like that). Then, if I remember correctly from seeing the movies about three or so times each, one lucky stroke of a busted-up sword ruined all of that. Sauron fell from power, the One Ring fell into the wrong hands, and, through a series of successive murders, fell into progressively more wrong hands. Sauron did what all epic (in the longer-than-long storytelling sense) villains did: he limped off to lick his wounds, build his army back up, and start up Operation: Evilfy Middle Earth again. Easy enough, right? Except for the part where I started wondering why all the Orcs, Uruk-hai, Ring Wraiths, etc. found themselves taking orders from what amounted to be a giant flaming eye high atop Barad-Dur.

A fair deal of sleep-deprived thinking later, I arrived at this conclusion: Sauron was the necessary evil glue holding the hordes of Orcs and so on together. Sure, the Orcs could have easily rebelled. They had numbers on their side, and all it would take is picking a leader to wield the power of a recovered One Ring against what was left of Sauron, right? Except that the Orcs are largely like herd animals, and they seemed pretty content in the place in the world overall, and that also ignores that Sauron apparently still wielded a near god-like power despite being reduced to whatever was hiding deep beneath the giant, flaming eye. The Witch King of Angmar and Saruman benefited from Sauron’s might, and the perceived might that would return one day.

That’s a kind of evil I can appreciate, even if all of that did go ass-over-elbows in the end.

I wanted to give this more attention, but I’m so fried from moving it’s painful. I may have to revisit this one day.

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