What is Sauron doing?

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
That sounds more like the catch-and-release program than Thû, but yes, there may be an opportunity to use that if we have a storyline where Sauron needs to get ahold of a particular elf for some reason.

Having other people do things for you is a result of being in a management position rather than entry level. It's still work, but you've gotta learn to delegate....

Leaders are, perforce, at the top of the chain of command, not the bottom. They ought to act like it.

So, I think the real question is, *what* do you dislike about someone having someone else do their fighting for them? Is it that they are 'only' winning because they've hired a strong fighter to do their dirty work? Or is the real issue that once that hired gun is inevitably defeated...they turn out to be helpless and trapped, unable to confront the hero under their own power? Because if it's *that* reaction you want to avoid, I think that's easy - we just have Sauron not show any fear when he's alone with elves. He's not concerned.

If you can pinpoint the concern, we can take steps to avoid it, but we can't have Sauron work out-of-character just to meet some generic villain characterization.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
That sounds more like the catch-and-release program than Thû, but yes, there may be an opportunity to use that if we have a storyline where Sauron needs to get ahold of a particular elf for some reason.

Having other people do things for you is a result of being in a management position rather than entry level. It's still work, but you've gotta learn to delegate....

Leaders are, perforce, at the top of the chain of command, not the bottom. They ought to act like it.

So, I think the real question is, *what* do you dislike about someone having someone else do their fighting for them? Is it that they are 'only' winning because they've hired a strong fighter to do their dirty work? Or is the real issue that once that hired gun is inevitably defeated...they turn out to be helpless and trapped, unable to confront the hero under their own power? Because if it's *that* reaction you want to avoid, I think that's easy - we just have Sauron not show any fear when he's alone with elves. He's not concerned.

If you can pinpoint the concern, we can take steps to avoid it, but we can't have Sauron work out-of-character just to meet some generic villain characterization.
I think that it’s a combination of both, that someone who relies on someone else to do their fighting for them typically winds up helpless when the hero catches them alone without their more capable backup.

Examples of “only getting so far because of the people you have”:
  • Morton from Once Upon a Time in the West is mainly a threat because he’s hired a vicious, psychopathic gunman named Frank (Henry Fonda). Frank even eclipses Morton as the main villain.
  • Being physically weak, stupid, and dangerously impulsive, Joffrey from Game of Thrones wouldn’t be much of a threat if not for three people: his bodyguard Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, his uncle Tyrion, and his grandfather Tywin. If not for them, Joffrey would be dead and his head stuck on a spike.
  • (Spoilers for Star Trek: Into Darkness): Admiral Marcus is able to be a threat because Khan Noonien Singh made him an advanced prototype ship that can attack while a ship is at warp. When Khan (who has been working against Marcus during the film) gets up close, Marcus is quickly killed.
  • From Russia With Love: Rosa Klebb is technically working for Blofeld, but a lot of the villainous actions are done by her henchman “Red” Grant, with little prompting from Klebb. Klebb goes to take the Lektor at the end of the film, but isn’t up to snuff with Bond easily pinning her to the wall with a chair before Tanya shoots her.
The theory of getting taken out because your more physically capable flunky happens a couple times in James Bond films:
  • In The Spy who Loved Me, Bond infiltrates Karl Stromberg’s fortress Atlantis and without Stromberg’s indestructible henchman Jaws nearby, Bond dodges Stromberg’s attempt to shoot him under the table, puts his own gun to the barrel and shoots Stromberg in the groin. Jaws, who dogs Bond throughout the film, survives every attempt Bond makes to kill him and appears in the next installment.
  • Tomorrow Never Dies: Bond finds Elliot Carver alone towards the end of the film and kills him easily by placing him in front of his giant shredder, then programming it to move forward. All Carver does is scream “NO!” Until he’s shredded. By contrast his henchmen Stamper and Gupta do most of the computer work (Gupta) and killings to make headlines for Carver to manipulate (Stamper); Carver kills Gupta and Stamper gets the big fight with Bond and nearly taking him out by making sure they both die.
I guess you could call it a personal bias.
 
Last edited:

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I think that it’s a combination of both, that someone who relies on someone else to do their fighting for them typically winds up helpless when the hero catches them alone without their more capable backup.

Two examples of the former:
  • Morton from Once Upon a Time in the West is mainly a threat because he’s hired a vicious, psychopathic gunman named Frank (Henry Fonda).
  • Being physically weak, stupid, and dangerously impulsive, Joffrey from Game of Thrones wouldn’t be much of a threat if not for three people: his bodyguard Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, his uncle Tyrion, and his grandfather Tywin. If not for them, Joffrey would be dead and his head stuck on a spike.
The latter example happens a couple times in James Bond films:
  • In The Spy who Loved Me, Bond infiltrates Karl Stromberg’s fortress Atlantis and without Stromberg’s indestructible henchman Jaws nearby, Bond dodges Stromberg’s attempt to shoot him under the table, puts his own gun to the barrel and shoots Stromberg in the groin. Jaws, who dogs Bond throughout the film, survives every attempt Bond makes to kill him and appears in the next installment.
  • Tomorrow Never Dies: Bond finds Elliot Carver alone towards the end of the film and kills him easily by placing him in front of his giant shredder, then programming it to move forward. All Carver does is scream “NO!” Until he’s shredded. By contrast his henchmen Stamper and Gupta do most of the computer work (Gupta) and killings to make headlines for Carver to manipulate (Stamper); Carver kills Gupta and Stamper gets the big fight with Bond and nearly taking him out by making sure they both die.
And of course, we know that isn't what happens with Sauron. Sure, he gets overpowered by Huan, but he has overpowered everyone else who has come within striking range of him. The spiders, Maedhros, the captives in Angband... We're probably going to have to incorporate his assault on Minas Tirith into Dagor Bragollach so that it doesn't happen offscreen/so close to it's destruction by Luthien as to be rendered meaningless.

It is during the 2nd Age that Sauron is really going to earn his stripes though.
 

MithLuin

Well-Known Member
Also, it's probably worth keeping in mind that we're allowing Maiar and Valar to be at a larger (giant) scale compared to the Elves. So, Sauron can be very physically imposing if we want him to be, even if he doesn't fight very often.


I would argue that Tywin Lannister actually made Joffrey weaker, from a cinematic viewpoint. Joffrey was always 'all talk' in the sense that he was a very young and inexperienced boaster and braggart. He never had the skills or abilities to back up his words. But...he did have power, and he wielded it. He was able to get people executed at his say-so, for instance. And the Hound listened to him. So, Season 1 Joffrey was a threat, even if definitely not a warrior. Once Tywin Lannister set foot in Kings Landing, Joffrey was incidental. It became crystal clear that his word was no longer law...unless his grandfather backed him. No one was going to cross Tywin Lannister, and so Joffrey became a much more incidental villain. By the time he died on camera, he was no longer the threat he had been.

The way you avoid having a character look like Joffrey Baratheon is by avoiding these things - do not make him younger than everyone he is facing. Do not make the words that come out of his mouth sound naive/foolish. Do not let him brag about feats he cannot physically accomplish. Do not have him order his underlings to do things that he is clearly afraid to do or physically incapable of doing. Do not have him show his susceptibility to being mocked, where he clearly feels the need to 'prove himself.' Do not make him a sore loser. Do not have him hide behind the security of the armies at his command and be brave only when he is safe.

I mean, you can do all of those things and more - but not if you are trying to portray someone as a competent, experienced leader. I would say the people behind The Tudors set out to portray Henry VIII in this way. He very successfully gets people executed and gets his way, but he is not an admirable ruler and is quite susceptible to flattery, losing his temper at the least provocation and behaving in a way that is deserving of mockery.

Henry VIII behaves very childishly:

The issue is not that a leader has underlings, nor is the issue that in most cases, the underlings do the grunt work. It's the dynamic that demonstrates the leader's incompetence that becomes the issue. If the leader seems not to care how difficult a task he just assigned to his underlings, because he himself doesn't even know how to do it...that looks bad. But if he seems to understand very well what is going on and only issues an order because that is the exact right thing to do in that situation...he demonstrates his competence. There are different styles of leadership, and we can show some negative ones, but I don't think we're in danger of making Sauron a weakling or a fool any time soon.


Speaking of different styles of wielding power, here's an example from The Dark Crystal. The Chamberlain is all talk. He worms his way into places and convinces people to go along with his version of events. But the General is all about might via fighting. That dichotomy is very much what we are setting up with Sauron and Gothmog.

Here's the Chamberlain from the 1982 film:

Here's the General vs Chamberlain conflict from the new TV show:

So, yes, it would be very easy to conclude that the whimpering Chamberlain is a weakling. But he's no fool, as he demonstrates again and again (though he's not quite as clever as he thinks he is). And he does have a habit of bouncing back when he's struck down. He's also clearly the most interesting of the Skeksis. So, it's not necessarily a bad thing to have a villain like this. (Though of course we're not going to have Sauron whimper under any circumstances.)
 
Last edited:

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
So, yes, it would be very easy to conclude that the whimpering Chamberlain is a weakling. But he's no fool, as he demonstrates again and again. And he does have a habit of bouncing back when he's struck down. He's also clearly the most interesting of the Skeksis. So, it's not necessarily a bad thing to have a villain like this. (Though of course we're not going to have Sauron whimper under any circumstances.)
He might whimper when Huan has hold of him. ;)
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
Also, it's probably worth keeping in mind that we're allowing Maiar and Valar to be at a larger (giant) scale compared to the Elves. So, Sauron can be very physically imposing if we want him to be, even if he doesn't fight very often.


I would argue that Tywin Lannister actually made Joffrey weaker, from a cinematic viewpoint. Joffrey was always 'all talk' in the sense that he was a very young and inexperienced boaster and braggart. He never had the skills or abilities to back up his words. But...he did have power, and he wielded it. He was able to get people executed at his say-so, for instance. And the Hound listened to him. So, Season 1 Joffrey was a threat, even if definitely not a warrior. Once Tywin Lannister set foot in Kings Landing, Joffrey was incidental. It became crystal clear that his word was no longer law...unless his grandfather backed him. No one was going to cross Tywin Lannister, and so Joffrey became a much more incidental villain. By the time he died on camera, he was no longer the threat he had been.

The way you avoid having a character look like Joffrey Baratheon is by avoiding these things - do not make him younger than everyone he is facing. Do not make the words that come out of his mouth sound naive/foolish. Do not let him brag about feats he cannot physically accomplish. Do not have him order his underlings to do things that he is clearly afraid to do or physically incapable of doing. Do not have him show his susceptibility to being mocked, where he clearly feels the need to 'prove himself.' Do not make him a sore loser. Do not have him hide behind the security of the armies at his command and be brave only when he is safe.

I mean, you can do all of those things and more - but not if you are trying to portray someone as a competent, experienced leader. I would say the people behind The Tudors set out to portray Henry VIII in this way. He very successfully gets people executed and gets his way, but he is not an admirable ruler and is quite susceptible to flattery, losing his temper at the least provocation and behaving in a way that is deserving of mockery.


The issue is not that a leader has underlings, nor is the issue that in most cases, the underlings do the grunt work. It's the dynamic that demonstrates the leader's incompetence that becomes the issue. If the leader seems not to care how difficult a task he just assigned to his underlings, because he himself doesn't even know how to do it...that looks bad. But if he seems to understand very well what is going on and only issues an order because that is the exact right thing to do in that situation...he demonstrates his competence. There are different styles of leadership, and we can show some negative ones, but I don't think we're in danger of making Sauron a weakling or a fool any time soon.


Speaking of different styles of wielding power, here's an example from The Dark Crystal. The Chamberlain is all talk. He worms his way into places and convinces people to go along with his version of events. But the General is all about might via fighting. That dichotomy is very much what we are setting up with Sauron and Gothmog.

Here's the Chamberlain from the 1982 film:

Here's the General vs Chamberlain conflict from the new TV show:

So, yes, it would be very easy to conclude that the whimpering Chamberlain is a weakling. But he's no fool, as he demonstrates again and again. And he does have a habit of bouncing back when he's struck down. He's also clearly the most interesting of the Skeksis. So, it's not necessarily a bad thing to have a villain like this. (Though of course we're not going to have Sauron whimper under any circumstances.)
Right, Sauron is not toothless. He can and does back up his scheming with power. He was kidnapping elves back in S02, so he doesn't need to be personally doing so in S05 to prove his cred.

I know there's a desire to portray
https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AuthorityEqualsAsskicking and https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AsskickingEqualsAuthority and there will be opportunities to do so. But it isn't the primary way Sauron is doing business at this point in our story.
 
Last edited:

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Also, it's probably worth keeping in mind that we're allowing Maiar and Valar to be at a larger (giant) scale compared to the Elves. So, Sauron can be very physically imposing if we want him to be, even if he doesn't fight very often.


I would argue that Tywin Lannister actually made Joffrey weaker, from a cinematic viewpoint. Joffrey was always 'all talk' in the sense that he was a very young and inexperienced boaster and braggart. He never had the skills or abilities to back up his words. But...he did have power, and he wielded it. He was able to get people executed at his say-so, for instance. And the Hound listened to him. So, Season 1 Joffrey was a threat, even if definitely not a warrior. Once Tywin Lannister set foot in Kings Landing, Joffrey was incidental. It became crystal clear that his word was no longer law...unless his grandfather backed him. No one was going to cross Tywin Lannister, and so Joffrey became a much more incidental villain. By the time he died on camera, he was no longer the threat he had been.

The way you avoid having a character look like Joffrey Baratheon is by avoiding these things - do not make him younger than everyone he is facing. Do not make the words that come out of his mouth sound naive/foolish. Do not let him brag about feats he cannot physically accomplish. Do not have him order his underlings to do things that he is clearly afraid to do or physically incapable of doing. Do not have him show his susceptibility to being mocked, where he clearly feels the need to 'prove himself.' Do not make him a sore loser. Do not have him hide behind the security of the armies at his command and be brave only when he is safe.

I mean, you can do all of those things and more - but not if you are trying to portray someone as a competent, experienced leader. I would say the people behind The Tudors set out to portray Henry VIII in this way. He very successfully gets people executed and gets his way, but he is not an admirable ruler and is quite susceptible to flattery, losing his temper at the least provocation and behaving in a way that is deserving of mockery.

Henry VIII behaves very childishly:

The issue is not that a leader has underlings, nor is the issue that in most cases, the underlings do the grunt work. It's the dynamic that demonstrates the leader's incompetence that becomes the issue. If the leader seems not to care how difficult a task he just assigned to his underlings, because he himself doesn't even know how to do it...that looks bad. But if he seems to understand very well what is going on and only issues an order because that is the exact right thing to do in that situation...he demonstrates his competence. There are different styles of leadership, and we can show some negative ones, but I don't think we're in danger of making Sauron a weakling or a fool any time soon.


Speaking of different styles of wielding power, here's an example from The Dark Crystal. The Chamberlain is all talk. He worms his way into places and convinces people to go along with his version of events. But the General is all about might via fighting. That dichotomy is very much what we are setting up with Sauron and Gothmog.

Here's the Chamberlain from the 1982 film:

Here's the General vs Chamberlain conflict from the new TV show:

So, yes, it would be very easy to conclude that the whimpering Chamberlain is a weakling. But he's no fool, as he demonstrates again and again (though he's not quite as clever as he thinks he is). And he does have a habit of bouncing back when he's struck down. He's also clearly the most interesting of the Skeksis. So, it's not necessarily a bad thing to have a villain like this. (Though of course we're not going to have Sauron whimper under any circumstances.)
I think I can get behind this. I’ll drop the issue.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Sounds like a loverboy...
Takes an interesting meaning since Sauron was a Maia of Aule, the smith of the Valar. When coupled with how he catches the Numenoreans when their faith in the Valar breaks...

“He’s your handyman;
He’s not the kind who uses pencil or rule,
He’s handy with the love and he’s no fool,
He fix(es) broken hearts, he knows he really can;”


“If your broken heart needs repair,
Then he’s the man to see;
He whispers sweet things, you tell all your friends,
And they’ll come running to [me]”

 
Last edited:

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure it's that different from what has already been done, but we should see how this next season develops.
I guess because how Arnold Friend persuades Connie to go with him reminds me a bit of Sauron. Maybe he persuades an Elf to abandon their post in advance of the taking of Tol Sirion? Less mind-control and mind-breaking (SoBD), more smooth talk (no pun intended). Or as an early cameo for Eilinel as he pretends to be an Elf (different from his form at the Mereth Aderthad) guiding them to safety and he persuades her to go only to lead her away and kill her offscreen. And then you realize “Wait, that was Sauron!”
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Even if we don't end up having a scene with Sauron that plays out exactly as the scene with Arnold Friend, thinking of how characters from other stories are like Sauron is a good way to define Sauron's character.
Sauron as the Deceiver does make me think of Arnold Friend; the words on Arnold Friend‘s car are “Man the flying saucers”, which is an anagram of “Lying Man, he uses craft.” Isn’t Sauron a crafty individual?

The James Taylor song “Handyman”, which is a central aspect of the 1985 film Smooth Talk (an adaptation of “Where are you going, where have you been?”), also makes me think of Sauron in the Second Age as the handyman promises relief from broken hearts, and the people of Eregion and Numenor feel something similar in the later half of their time, whereupon Sauron promises to fix their problems only to ensnare them.
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
Sauron as the Deceiver does make me think of Arnold Friend; the words on Arnold Friend‘s car are “Man the flying saucers”, which is an anagram of “Lying Man, he uses craft.” Isn’t Sauron a crafty individual?
True, although I don't think Sauron can be too clever about anagrams, given that he's fooled by Dungalef and Nereb. :)
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I guess because how Arnold Friend persuades Connie to go with him reminds me a bit of Sauron. Maybe he persuades an Elf to abandon their post in advance of the taking of Tol Sirion? Less mind-control and mind-breaking (SoBD), more smooth talk (no pun intended). Or as an early cameo for Eilinel as he pretends to be an Elf (different from his form at the Mereth Aderthad) guiding them to safety and he persuades her to go only to lead her away and kill her offscreen. And then you realize “Wait, that was Sauron!”
Is the emotional impact of this materially different from the note we hit in S04E06?
 

Rhiannon

Well-Known Member
I was going for methodically different, with the reveal that the unnamed Elf’s identity is not revealed until the next season.
Are you suggesting that this Arnold Friend scene happen in Season 4 and the reveal come in Season 5, or that it happen in Season 5 and the reveal come in Season 6?
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Are you suggesting that this Arnold Friend scene happen in Season 4 and the reveal come in Season 5, or that it happen in Season 5 and the reveal come in Season 6?
It would happen in Season 5, with the reveal coming in Season 6 when Sauron reveals that Eilinel is dead, if we hold course to having Beren and Luthien in Season 6.
 
Top