The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Middle-earth TV Series Discussion:
Annatar



Marmoon
The Shire


Mar 9 2019, 5:41pm


Views: 2001
Annatar

Who is this mysterious Dark Lord that haunts from the shadows in the Third Age? What is this about forging a master Ring long ago? The principle threat is Sauron regaining it, whereby he might return. Return to what? What is the extent of his power? These questions can be explored in the Second Age. His fair-form of Annatar could be great for emotional performances and developing him as a real character.

In the films, Sauron is a thin character who mostly appears in the background or ancient past: menacingly posing in full body armor and taking a little action on the battlefield, mumbling black speech from the One Ring, a flaming eye piercing Frodo through the wraith-world with scanty dialogue (“I see you!”) and overseeing the Plateau of Gorgoroth at the climax, and a wispy Necromancer with more black speech for good measure. The only direct threat he poses is enslaving the mind of the ring-bearers - not exactly evocative of world domination - and the closet thing to a physical performance is a dilating, forlorn-looking Eye as Barad-dûr crumbles. Peter Jackson rightly avoided the temptation to bring Sauron to life to engage in mortal combat with Aragorn at the Black Gate, but we can understand his desire for a payoff with the trilogy’s arch-villain. When it comes to film, characters need to be personified in a way that books can circumvent, such as with inner dialogue or psychological tension. Jackson did not even have substantial flashbacks of Sauron to harken back to for the final moments. For audiences returning to the films after the series, Sauron looming and his Ring rediscovered will carry much higher stakes and the emotional weight of his demise at the end will be more impactful if he is given a proper story and character development.


Mari D.
Rivendell


Mar 9 2019, 7:44pm


Views: 1869
Good point .. looking forward to this effect :-) /

 


MoreMorgoth
Rivendell

Mar 9 2019, 10:40pm


Views: 1826
appearance????

So the Sauron / Annatar of the Second Age is not the black battle armor wearing giant that we saw in the other films - so what should he look like? Should he be knock down gorgeous or what? Tall - how tall? What about the clothes he wears? Should he be armed?

Anybody with ideas on this?


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 9 2019, 11:36pm


Views: 1808
When he's Annatar

He should look like an Elf, fair and beautiful. I've always imagined him with honey-blonde hair, somewhat androgynous, tall, and very imposing, with a voice that is destructively persuasive.
He does also go to Numenor, later, and I'd expect that there he takes the form of a man - it doesn't say specifically in the book itself, but that's the implication I take away: when in Numenor, I imagine him as a handsome, broad-shouldered man who looks about thirty, with shoulder-length brown hair, dark eyes, and an air of mystery: he is a prisoner in Numenor, but he knows that no cage can hold him, so he is confident, always smiling, very cordial and friendly (until he wins over the King), and just all around charming: and a very magnetic personality.

"We are Kree"


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Mar 10 2019, 12:04am


Views: 1799
Wonder who should play him then.

That would be a challenging part.


Marmoon
The Shire


Mar 10 2019, 12:21am


Views: 1785
Multiple guises

Yes, I agree. I imagine he took appearances that his hosts were likely to accept and not question his belonging amongst them. Descriptions of him being "fair" may have been subjective, varying to the standards of the people he sought to win over. I also wonder if he had many guises for each race - backups in case his cover was blown, or had been blown before, or if he was running multiple schemes at one time.


Marmoon
The Shire


Mar 10 2019, 12:32am


Views: 1781
Difficulty

A tall, versatile, conventionally attractive actor, I would think. If taking different guises for Elves and Men, his versatility will be put to the test. The audience will need to be convinced, to explain why everyone falls for his tricks. This might be the most difficult role to cast.


Mari D.
Rivendell


Mar 10 2019, 1:33am


Views: 1765
I wouldn't mind

if he were acting so cleverly that even the viewers don't get his true identity or strategies sometimes ... I certainly hope for a convincing villain - I was rather disappointed with Fantastics Beasts II's Grindelwald ... not charming enough by far, and why do they so often have to make villains look weird or ugly?

With Annatar, I'm hoping he'll be so convincingly good-looking and smart, fooling the Elves so shrewdly that as a viewer you sometimes actually get close to wishing to trust him as well. Or at least, you would really like to like him. And the only thing keeping you from it is in some moments, well ... that you know he's the bad guy from LotR.

Not sure if this could be pulled off but if so, I think he'd be an even creepier villain than those crude, ugly-looking, dislikemeatonce examples ... because what's more subtle is harder to discern, guard, and fight against ... and so can feel even more umsettling.


(This post was edited by Mari D. on Mar 10 2019, 1:45am)


Mari D.
Rivendell


Mar 10 2019, 1:57am


Views: 1753
Yes


In Reply To
He should look like an Elf, fair and beautiful. I've always imagined him with honey-blonde hair, somewhat androgynous

This part of your description fits what I'd imagine perfectly.
I'd add lordly and some measure of dignified, which is more a matter of posture and movement though, maybe.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 10 2019, 2:22am


Views: 1745
Definitely

And very graceful, I'd imagine, someone who walks quietly.

"We are Kree"


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 10 2019, 2:25am


Views: 1747
I agree with this completely

Annatar should charm, and be a very likable personality, even after we watch him do horrible things. None of the "kick the dog" moments that are so overused - for instance, you mentioned Grindelwald, who really did not need the useless scenes where he killed his pet, or a baby, etc. Annatar/Sauron should be someone you understand, and whose actions are done apparently by necessity. He wouldn't hesitate to kill, but the audience should still feel reluctantly willing to forgive him for all of his evil deeds.

"We are Kree"


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 10 2019, 2:29am


Views: 1747
Well, if it's various guises, as I hope,

I wonder if it could be several actors? You could even do something almost like Dr Who. I like the idea of a group of people playing Sauron, though it would be difficult - with Dr Who, the character's personality changes with every new iteration, but with Sauron he'd have to still be recognizably Sauron, and each actor would have to be giving it his all (or her all, I suppose: could Sauron take a female form at some point? I'm getting ahead of myself now)

"We are Kree"


Felagund
Lorien


Mar 10 2019, 1:12pm


Views: 1679
Sauron the Deceiver or Sauron's failed redemption?

If the writers choose to bring Sauron out of the shadow of ambiguity, they'll have options as to how to develop him. With a bit of elision, the Annatar phase of Sauron's 'career' could be construed as him still having some vestigial 'good', and his subsequent betrayal of the Elves being the definitive end of his shot at 'redemption'. I explored this theme a few years back; link below if there's interest:

http://newboards.theonering.net/forum/gforum/perl/gforum.cgi?post=308970;guest=224976234#308970

Or the writers could just go for: 'Sauron was out to deceive and ensnare the Elves from the start'.

And because Sauron's other alias with the Elves at the time barely gets mentioned, here's a shout out for Aulendil! The name's translation ('Devoted to the service of Aulë') is just as pertinent to what Sauron is doing in this period.

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Marmoon
The Shire


Mar 10 2019, 1:23pm


Views: 1678
Murderous impulses

The show may be written such that the (casual) audience doesn't know about his murderous impulses - remember, Annatar was close with Elves of Eregion for around 400 years. I think it would make sense if he kept his evil deeds to a minimum, lest word get out about terrors and deaths only when he was not around. The wise elves might connect the dots. If we are introduced to him during this period and the show follows him for a while as a humble, generous, sympathetic character, it will make his true reveal more shocking and the audiences' feelings more ambiguous.


Asger
Rivendell


Mar 10 2019, 9:07pm


Views: 1614
Annatar - Lord of Gifts

Isn’t that Santa Claus? Make him fat and jolly! Everybodys favourite uncle Nicholas <:-)

"Don't take life seriously, it ain't nohow permanent!" Pogo
www.willy-centret.dk


Archestratie
Rivendell

Mar 11 2019, 1:53pm


Views: 1562
PJ did it


In Reply To
So the Sauron / Annatar of the Second Age is not the black battle armor wearing giant that we saw in the other films - so what should he look like? Should he be knock down gorgeous or what? Tall - how tall? What about the clothes he wears? Should he be armed?

Anybody with ideas on this?


Jackson did cast an actor as Anatar/Sauron for the LotR movies. Here's what he looked like in his appearance toward the end of RotK at the battle of the Black Gate:

https://i.pinimg.com/...060bd448fc1e8055.png

That's what he should look like.


(This post was edited by Ataahua on Mar 11 2019, 5:56pm)


Helcaraxe
The Shire


Mar 11 2019, 3:59pm


Views: 1536
Annatar


In Reply To

In Reply To
So the Sauron / Annatar of the Second Age is not the black battle armor wearing giant that we saw in the other films - so what should he look like? Should he be knock down gorgeous or what? Tall - how tall? What about the clothes he wears? Should he be armed?

Anybody with ideas on this?


Jackson did cast an actor as Anatar/Sauron for the LotR movies. Here's what he looked like in his appearance toward the end of RotK at the battle of the Black Gate:

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/df/fa/51/dffa51baba2f15d1060bd448fc1e8055.png

That's what he should look like.


A touch of the Bill Skarsgard about that!! Wonder what he would look like in a blond wig??
Smile

"Don't Touch Me!!" - Thomas Covenent


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Mar 11 2019, 5:09pm


Views: 1511
WOW!

That is a stunning example of "looks fair but feels foul"!

And that is what I think Annatar needs to encapsulate- that opposite to Aragorn, who looks foul but feels fair. Frodo's speaking, in part, I think from the ring- that sudden innermost awareness that the ring proffered him, when he says that a servant of the Enemy would look fairer and feel fouler.

Annatar needs to look gorgeous, but at the same time have *just* enough of an air about him- an unseen look, a sideways glance, a strange cold light (not starlight, not the "flame of westernesse", not the flame imperishable, not the light of the trees, etc like elves would have) in his eyes that belies his beauty to reveal his innermost black heart, BUT that can be mistaken for elves as starlight just the same. The elves cannot see those subtle hints, at least the majority (we know that Gil-galad didn't trust him, for example, so there needs to be enough of a hint that he could "feel" it or see it, or a comment as to such), but in moments where Annatar is not looking at the elves or they're not looking at him, we could see just that tiniest flash, that slight eye-twitch, that slight look, that indicates that he is not what he seems.

That he looks fair, but feels foul.

I think this image you shared captures this in spades! I know LOTR was eons ago in the film world (as far as actor aging, etc), but I wonder if this actor was young enough (unless it was completely digital?) that he could reprise his role as Annatar for the series without being too aged to do so? I think he would be a fantastic choice, whoever he is, because he's got that look down perfectly!

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MoreMorgoth
Rivendell

Mar 11 2019, 5:49pm


Views: 1491
Annatar in movies

That actor is one good looking guy. I get the idea you and others have described. I would be supportive of that.

I see him in very flowing robes that are at first plain but become more intricate and colorful over time as he gains influence.


Eldy
Gondor


Mar 11 2019, 5:50pm


Views: 1491
While I think Jackson's Annatar is a good look...

...and I certainly wouldn't mind seeing it in the series, I kinda want Annatar to be a redhead since that's how Sauron (Mairon) is often depicted in First Age fanart. Tongue He was able to shift form easily enough in the First Age to suppose he might not have ever worn a particularly fair form in front of his enemies, so it wouldn't necessarily give away his identity, though this is just speculation/headcanon rather than something with a rigorous Lore justification.

Though actually, I really like Elena Kukanova's depiction of Sauron as the high priest of Melkor which Althoun posted yesterday. Depending on your definition of fair it might be stretching that definition, but I think he's attractive in a more ... starting to show through the seams way, as the whole human sacrifice thing picks up. Works for me, anyway. I'd imagine him putting an effort into looking a little less strange at the start, but slipping back into a role to some extent as things go on. Gotta play up the part if you're regularly sacrificing innocents in front of a crowd, y'know?



Follow-up image here, which is a bit NSFW due to blood (you'll have to be signed in or verify your age on DA to view it).


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 11 2019, 6:44pm


Views: 1478
This image is pretty cool

I love the golden mask: so creepy, and it really has that stylistic flair I would expect from Numenor.

"We are Kree"


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Mar 11 2019, 10:34pm


Views: 1442
Don't forget the beast Sauron

The form he was in whilst in charge of Mordor before Numenor defeated him in battle. Now in the past I would think that they would put a man in a suit to show this, but today I suspect that would be done by CGI. Maybe an actor could show his face.


squire
Half-elven


Mar 11 2019, 11:07pm


Views: 1426
How beastly

I missed that! What was his Second Age beast-form while ruling Mordor, and where does it say he took that form?

I agree that it's very hard to do convincing man-beast characters.



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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Mar 11 2019, 11:31pm


Views: 1420
I'm curious too!

Off the top of my head, the only beast-form that I recall Sauron taking was when he took the form of the greatest werewolf ever to live in order to try to defeat Huan (unsuccessfully, as it turned out). But that was in the First Age, not the Second, and long before he was ruling Mordor.

I look forward to learning more!

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 12 2019, 1:16am


Views: 1400
Beast Sauron? I don't remember that one

Is this in Unfinished Tales? I don't have a copy of that, so I might be forgetting details from it.

(I should really get a copy of it, now that the show seems to be using material from it so extensively: and besides, the Tale of Aldarion & Erendis is just so great, and I love reading of Galadriel & Celeborn, etc).

"We are Kree"


Althoun
Lorien

Mar 12 2019, 1:43am


Views: 1163
Annatar is the single most important casting call....

And the character who could prove the trickiest for the screenwriters to convincingly portray.

He is the "Lord of the Rings" after all, the eponymous namesake for the entire saga.

I concur with Mari D and Thor'n'Oakenshield about the need for Sauron to be depicted as a layered antagonist, with motives (originally "fair" ones, like his guise of Annatar, let's remember Tolkien wrote in his latter stage of reflection) that we may, if grudgingly, sympathise initially - as did the Elves of Eregion whom he won to his cause of forging the rings of power, for the ostensible purpose of rejuvenating the scarred and neglected lands of Middle-Earth, which the Valar had simply abandoned to the dominion of Men whilst they halled themselves up in the forbidden lands of Aman.

Tolkien's description in his letters of Sauron as an aspiring "reformer" who had been given a chance by the Valar to repent after the War of Wrath and only slowly descended back into outright villainy, and at the last developed an impulse to dominate the world, is definitive for me. It must be abided by. There is something of the horribly flawed idealist in Mairon (Sauron's original name in Valinor), as he becomes more and more debased by his overwhelming lust for order, until he loses sight entirely of the welfare of the subjects he'd originally sought to succour, and instead becomes sociopathically obsessed with his own will and that one idea of ordering everything according to it.


For that reason, I'd hate for him to be given an evil or mischievous glint in his eye behind the backs of the Eregion elves. His 'cover' should be perfect, as befits a divine entity: utterly trustworthy and genteel in bearing.

My 'models' for comparing Annatar-Sauron have long been the historical Jacobin leader Maximillien Robespierre of French revolutionary fame and John Milton's tantalizing portrayal of Satan in his epic 17th century poem Paradise Lost.

Robespierre started out as an idealistic French lawyer from Arras. Under the repressive Ancien Regime, he stood up against capital punishment, for criminal justice reform, the rights of the poor to social welfare and against both slavery and wars of expansion. He dreamed of a day when this terrible monarchical regime would fall, to make way for a republic of virtue and fraternity. What's not to love?

Mirabeau once said of Robespierre during the French Revolution, "This young man is dangerous. He believes everything he says."


After the execution of the king, and his wife Marie-Antoinette, Robespierre was swept to power and immediately set about protecting the revolution from the "enemies of the people". He declared: “There are only two parties in France: the people and its enemies. We must exterminate those miserable villains who are eternally conspiring against the rights of man. . . . [W]e must exterminate all our enemies.”

This list of enemies started with the aristocrats. Our young lawyer encouraged the mobs of dispossessed people outside in the streets to take down the nobility through acts of extra-judicial justice. He incited them to action whenever political expediency called for it.

One historian notes that, "The justification of the massacres was that those killed were enemies of the republic, counterrevolutionaries who had conspired against that equality, justice, and reason whose realization would “establish the felicity of perhaps the entire human race.”".

Stanley Loomis writes that, in these September massacres, “the bloody work went on for five . . . days and nights...Cannibalism, disembowelment and acts of indescribable ferocity took place here. . . . . It has been loosely assumed . . . that most of the victims were aristocrats—an assumption that for some curious reason is often supposed to mitigate these crimes. Very few victims were, in fact, of the former nobility—less than thirty out of the fifteen hundred who were killed.”

Having secured the capital, Robespierre appointed commissioners to enforce the Revolution outside the capital and deal with the ever growing list of enemies. Norman Hampson notes in his biography of Robespierre that “the revolutionary tribunal . . . had become an undiscriminating murder machine. . . . Imaginary . . . plots and absurd charges were everyday events.”


In the Vendéan massacre, recounts Schama, “Every atrocity the time could imagine was meted out to the defenseless population. Women were routinely raped, children killed, both mutilated. . . . At Gonnord . . . two hundred old people, along with mothers and children, [were forced] to kneel in front of a large pit they had dug; they were then shot so as to tumble into their own grave. . . . Thirty children and two women were buried alive when earth was shoveled onto the pit."


Robespierre was the exact type of reformer Tolkien had modelled Sauron on, as described in that September 1954 letter and elsewhere:


Quote

"The form that he took was that of a man of more than human stature, but not gigantic. In his earlier incarnation he was able to veil his power (as Gandalf did) and could appear as a commanding figure of great strength of body and supremely royal demeanour and countenance. At the beginning of the Second Age he [Sauron] was still beautiful to look at, or could still assume a beautiful visible shape –and was not indeed wholly evil, not unless all 'reformers' who want to hurry up with 'reconstruction' and 'reorganization' are wholly evil, even before pride and the lust to exert their will eat them up.

But many Elves listened to Sauron. He was still fair in that early time, and his motives and those of the Elves seemed to go partly together: the healing of the desolate lands. Sauron found their weak point in suggesting that, helping one another, they could make Western Middle-earth as beautiful as Valinor. It was really a veiled attack on the gods, an incitement to try and make a separate independent paradise.

He had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to order all things according to his own wisdom he still at first considered the (economic) well-being of other inhabitants of the Earth. But he went further than human tyrants in pride and the lust for domination, being in origin an immortal (angelic) spirit.’...

Though the only real good in, or rational motive for, all this ordering and planning and organization was the good of all inhabitants of Arda (even admitting Sauron's right to be their supreme lord), his 'plans', the idea coming from his own isolated mind, became the sole object of his will, and an end, the End, in itself. ... [H]is capability of corrupting other minds, and even engaging their service, was a residue from the fact that his original desire for 'order' had really envisaged the good estate (especially physical well-being) of his 'subjects'.





Likewise, Robespierre was a man so incapable of compromising on his cherished ideal of a revolutionary republic of virtue, democracy, social equality and the popular will of the nebulously defined 'French People' that he intended to help, that he actually instituted a Reign of Terror in which thousands of innocent people were guillotined, in an attempt to bring about "progress". See:



http://people.loyno.edu/...1983-4/mcletchie.htm



Quote
Maximilien Robespierre, known to his contemporaries as "the Incorruptible," is one of the most controversial figures of the French Revolution. His name has become symbolic for that period of the Revolution known as the Reign of Terror; certainly he was a man who wielded great influence and power over the course of events of the French Republic between 1792 and 1794; yet different people in different eras had differing opinions of the man and his power. Some, especially his English and Austrian contemporaries, saw him as the Devil incarnate...Some see in him the origins of twentieth century dictatorship along the lines of Stalin or Hitler. Most agree that, for a time, he was the most important man in the Revolution...

Robespierre's failure can be viewed as that of a man so narrow-minded in his views that eventually he cannot conceive of anything outside of them, a man so firmly convinced of his own absolute rightness that he cannot see the glaring errors he makes. It had grown inconceivable to him that anyone should oppose him successfully, and when someone did, the blow numbed him into inaction for a while. Although he started out with the best of motives, it came to the point where protection of the ideals for which he stood was everything to him, whereas protection of the people whom the ideals were originally to protect meant nothing.





In terms of how Sauron should look, I've always felt that in his Annatar guise he would have been an almost impossibly beautiful and androgynous, shape-shifting being; strong, tall, charismatic in speech and imposing in form but with a subtle touch of the feminine and a certain felinity about him. By the latter, I mean to pay homage to his genesis in Tolkien's earlier legends as "Tevildo, Prince of Cats" from the Book of Lost Tales.


I'm sorry to say that I've always seen Annatar as a blonde. I take his description of being "fair" as meaning not simply handsome but quite literally fair-haired and fair of complexion as well. We should remember that when Celebrimbor first espies Annatar, he and his colleagues mistake him for one of "the Vanyar, the fairest race of Elves". In the HoME series we learn that the Vanyar had blonde hair, while the Noldor had dark hair. So that settles it for me as far as his appearance in the canon is concerned: Annatar is blonde.


I see him as kind of like this guy:





Only with the charismatic charm of a Tom Hiddleston.




(This post was edited by Althoun on Mar 12 2019, 1:48am)


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 12 2019, 1:49am


Views: 1153
Agreed on all points - including about Tom Hiddleston!

Hiddleston is one of my top choices to play Annatar. But I think I might assemble an entire list.

"We are Kree"


Marmoon
The Shire


Mar 12 2019, 2:17am


Views: 1141
Spot-on!


Quote
Tolkien's description in his letters of Sauron as an aspiring “reformer” who had been given a chance by the Valar to repent after the War of Wrath and only slowly descended back into outright villainy, and at the last developed an impulse to dominate the world, is definitive for me.


This would provide some fantastic character development. I wonder if the writers could push the boundaries a little and have him seriously consider repentance, thereby reducing the Elves' blame for overlooking him in their midst (not that they stood a chance against the illusion of a Maia), until some event pushes him back to the dark side and in need of instituting order in the world. The end result would be the same, but his initial deception would be less egregious and it would keep the (casual) audience hooked and hoping that he finds his way back to redemption.


Quote
John Milton's tantalizing portrayal of Satan in his epic 17th century poem Paradise Lost.


Paradise Lost is an unrivaled achievement and Milton’s Satan is the closest approximation to Annatar for me. He is not good in the classic sense but Miltion humanized him so skillfully that you cannot help but sympathize and take pity on the devil. I would not want Annatar to be played so closely to the fallen angel, for various reasons, but similarly force the audience to question "What is good? Why don't I hate him?" The audience should love and despise Annatar.


squire
Half-elven


Mar 12 2019, 2:42am


Views: 1131
How many viewers are going to say, Oh God, it's just Anakin Skywalker - AGAIN.

It is the same character, after all.

Yes, I know Milton came first, and Tolkien came second, and Lucas came third (if you leave out all the others in a fundamental mythical trope of mankind).

But the fact is, Star Wars got there first in the environment of multi-episode high-effects fantasy epics.

How should Annatar be presented to keep him from looking like a rip-off to the average jaded viewer's bored eyes?



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Eldy
Gondor


Mar 12 2019, 4:11pm


Views: 1087
"I have seen a security hologram of Mairon sacrificing Elendili" //

 


(This post was edited by Eldy on Mar 12 2019, 4:11pm)


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 12 2019, 4:18pm


Views: 1101
Can't say I see a connection, honestly, between the two

And Anakin Skywalker was sixteen years ago, so I'm not sure if many people would draw a connection. Could just be me, but apart from the similarity between the two names, I don't think they have any similarities at all? I mean, evil - but...evil is something pretty universal in fantasy/sci-fi.

"We are Kree"


Archestratie
Rivendell

Mar 12 2019, 4:22pm


Views: 1099
Nah


In Reply To
It is the same character, after all.

Yes, I know Milton came first, and Tolkien came second, and Lucas came third (if you leave out all the others in a fundamental mythical trope of mankind).

But the fact is, Star Wars got there first in the environment of multi-episode high-effects fantasy epics.

How should Annatar be presented to keep him from looking like a rip-off to the average jaded viewer's bored eyes?


Anakin wasn't clever though. He was just a stupid idiot who got tricked into joining the Dark Side. I can't imagine they'd portray anyone as a clueless screwup.


Marmoon
The Shire


Mar 12 2019, 5:17pm


Views: 1085
Annatar v. Anakin

Sauron’s fall occurred long ago (as Mairon, a wee Maia affiliated with Aulë), so the idea of a return or renewed commitment to evil would be different than Anakin Skywalker’s first surrender to the dark stuff. Sauron is not being groomed for evil in the Second Age and he is not a puppet of Melkor. As long as Annatar is played with some gravitas, dignity, and deep wisdom (he is an ancient deity, after all), albeit traits with a corrupt slant, and not an angsty teenager with an unbelievable courtship that ends in broken hearts, then there should be no difficulty distinguishing him from Anakin. I suppose the writers could invent a love story for Annatar to motivate his behaviors and actions, but that would indeed be too formulaic for me (Amazon: please do not do this). I do not have any alternatives at this time but surely a room full of the best writers money can buy will yield an original motivation for his character.


Archestratie
Rivendell

Mar 12 2019, 5:27pm


Views: 1082
Nope!


In Reply To
I suppose the writers could invent a love story for Annatar to motivate his behaviors and actions, but that would indeed be too formulaic for me


That would end the show before it began.


Marmoon
The Shire


Mar 12 2019, 5:32pm


Views: 1075
Ha!

Rioting in the streets, burning effigies of Bezos.


Archestratie
Rivendell

Mar 12 2019, 6:00pm


Views: 1065
LOL


In Reply To
Rioting in the streets, burning effigies of Bezos.


At the very least!


squire
Half-elven


Mar 12 2019, 7:52pm


Views: 1047
'Sauron in Love'

That works for me on a lot of levels, especially the commercial ones.

Granted, it has nothing to do with Tolkien, but we've already seen that adaptations of his far more popular books are well received with changes of a similar order. No one - except us in this room and our friends in other similar rooms - has read the Akallabeth, History of Middle-earth, or even the detailed appendices in the back of The Lord of the Rings. This Second Age thing, if in fact it's a real focus of this new series, is effectively a blank slate for the writers.

And love ... well, love makes the world go round. Not to mention the famous wrath of a woman scorned (I'm looking at you, Ungoliant) and morally corrupting effect of a quest for revenge on the slayer of a loved one (Gorlim, bro, let her go now, before it's too late), if we're looking for other well-used story themes that work commercially and also for our favorite professorial scribe.

  • "Young Sauron"

  • "Sauron in Love"

  • "Sauron's Ring of Endearment"

  • "Sauron: Tempted by Beauty"

  • "Sauron's Gift: A New and Better Ring"

  • "Sauron Divorced"

  • "Sauron's Revenge"

  • "Sauron Alone"

  • "Sauron Shoots Up"

  • "Sauron Against the World"

  • Wow, this cool show practically writes itself. And that's before the whole world is destroyed in a mind-blowing apocalyptic ending - that isn't an ending!



    squire online:
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    Felagund
    Lorien


    Mar 12 2019, 10:01pm


    Views: 1010
    Sauron, thrice-fallen

    Is one of my favourite themes. Mairon, seduced by Melkor after the Ainulindalë; Sauron considering and then spurning Eönwë's command to return to Valinor for trial after the War of Wrath; and then, arisen again in Middle-earth early in the Second Age, apparently considering how to 'heal' the hurts of the world, before lapsing into tyrant mode.

    Apart from the sources you've cited, HoMe X: Morgoth's Ring, "Myths Transformed" is a rich vein for Sauron 'motive' hunting. For example:

    "Sauron had never reached this stage of [Morgoth's] nihilistic madness. He did not object to the existence of the world, so long as he could do what he liked with it. He still had the relics of positive purposes, that descended from the good of the nature in which he began: it had been his virtue (and therefore also the cause of his fall, and of his relapse) that he loved order and coordination, and disliked wasteful friction."

    Welcome to the Mordorfone network, where we put the 'hai' back into Uruk


    Eldy
    Gondor


    Mar 12 2019, 10:09pm


    Views: 1005
    Sauron falling back into evil

    I think the idea of Sauron becoming evil because of a doomed romance is one we can address out of hand (not that you were necessarily suggesting it as a plausible outcome). Perhaps I'm overly optimistic, but I'd like to think that a team who put as much thought into the maps (even if they weren't perfect) would be sensible enough not to do something so ridiculous. Tongue I don't really expect them to spend much time on the early Third Age (much before Sauron's appearance as Annatar), so I dunno that they'll depict his becoming evil one way or another. Depends in part on how they reshuffle the timeline, I suppose. I'll admit I've always liked Michael Martinez's tongue-in-cheek description of Sauron's first five hundred years post-service to Morgoth.


    Quote
    For the next five or six hundred years, Sauron vanished from history. It is unlikely that Sauron “slept” in the sense that the Balrog seems to have curled up under a conveniently huge mountain and dreamed of past debaucheries for the next several thousand years. More likely, Sauron retreated into far eastern Middle-earth and there he could have done anything, such as plant a garden or found a monastery to teach ancient Elves, Dwarves, and Men the Way of Peace. Whatever he did, after a few hundred years Sauron realized he wasn’t going to accomplish much — or else that he could probably get away with doing whatever he wanted, so he launched a new initiative.


    Flashback to Sauron's time as a yoga instructor, please!


    Mari D.
    Rivendell


    Mar 13 2019, 2:24am


    Views: 980
    Wow, this is so fitting for me to read these days ...

    ... because I've been putting an emphasis on getting my life in order recently; trying to get old tasks done, declutter rooms. Also, for a while now, I've been observing processes around me and I usually try to remove friction and improve order and efficiancy!

    Why? Actively increasing order has a calming effect on me. Logic, things making sense, might be an intellectual type of order. So I want processes to be logical, functional, without friction. And, you know, won't we all be better off if there's more order? And wouldn't ordering things differently, better, be good for a world marred in so many ways?

    What can I say? Yes, it feels good to see your smart plans put into action ... to see good effects for you and others, to reap the benefits. It feels nice if your reform ideas are respected, implemented, maybe applauded afterwards. You think that you should implement more of your ideas, shouldn't you ... and you begin hoping nobody will ever stand in the way of these beautiful and important ideas, as that would be such a shame. And then you secretly wonder how you'd in fact react if someone did.

    Now, I haven't gone off being a dictator. But I sometimes indeed charmed people into helping me with my goals of order and reform - without really considering if it's good for them also to help me right now.
    I trust that people in my life or God would tell me if my zeal for reform went too far; and then I'd stop. And maybe this has already happened in a subtle way.

    A nagging, growing sense that my attitude is not wholly right. That this order thing is becoming an end in itself sometimes. That I lost my awareness of what it's meant to be good for.
    And now, these quotes about reformers you and the others posted, and about them becoming enarmoured with their wise ideas and unquestionable goals... they help me finally pinpoint what is wrong about my attitude. Where it could lead a man, in the worst of cases. If certain ends start justifying means be default, if love for everyone involved is no longer what measures are checked against.

    I copied some of the quotes that capture all this so perfectly and put them into a text file. I hope they'll help me refocus. Amazing, what you can learn by reading about a fictional character. Thank you all for the quotes, history lesson and fitting comments.


    (This post was edited by Mari D. on Mar 13 2019, 2:37am)


    Archestratie
    Rivendell

    Mar 13 2019, 12:06pm


    Views: 945
    Yeah


    In Reply To
    Is one of my favourite themes. Mairon, seduced by Melkor after the Ainulindalë; Sauron considering and then spurning Eönwë's command to return to Valinor for trial after the War of Wrath; and then, arisen again in Middle-earth early in the Second Age, apparently considering how to 'heal' the hurts of the world, before lapsing into tyrant mode.

    Apart from the sources you've cited, HoMe X: Morgoth's Ring, "Myths Transformed" is a rich vein for Sauron 'motive' hunting. For example:

    "Sauron had never reached this stage of [Morgoth's] nihilistic madness. He did not object to the existence of the world, so long as he could do what he liked with it. He still had the relics of positive purposes, that descended from the good of the nature in which he began: it had been his virtue (and therefore also the cause of his fall, and of his relapse) that he loved order and coordination, and disliked wasteful friction."


    Morgoth's Ring and The War of the Jewels are the two best HoME books out there. I recommend any Tolkien fan find a copy if they can.


    Thor 'n' Oakenshield
    Rohan


    Mar 13 2019, 3:36pm


    Views: 930
    I've read both but don't own them

    Now is the time to fill out the gaps in my collection, now that I'm going to need to do clue-hunting and page-scouring in preparation for this show. I wouldn't be surprised if there's an uptick in sales of HoME, UT, etc.

    "We are Kree"


    Cirashala
    Tol Eressea


    Mar 13 2019, 3:38pm


    Views: 928
    I found Morgoth's Ring!

    On Amazon (paperback-I can't afford hardcover) for $17.70 with Prime shipping. It is going to arrive tomorrow Smile

    My writing and novels:

    My Hobbit Fanfiction

    My historical novel print and kindle version

    My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

    You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

    Happy reading everyone!


    Archestratie
    Rivendell

    Mar 13 2019, 4:18pm


    Views: 918
    Nice


    In Reply To
    On Amazon (paperback-I can't afford hardcover) for $17.70 with Prime shipping. It is going to arrive tomorrow Smile

    You won't regret your purchase. I love my copy. :)


    Althoun
    Lorien

    Mar 13 2019, 9:41pm


    Views: 893
    Anakin Skywalker? Pah, PULEEZ! Lucas should be so lucky......

    "I know the nightingale mocks not the cuckoo's call; Though my song apes not yours, may I not sing at all?" - Angelus Silesius (1624-1677)


    As we both know, Tolkien conceived of creation as being the "Music of the Ainur", like a great symphony or orchestral piece with every distinct voice singing in harmony. Melkor was a disrupter of this music from the beginning, looking to sow discord. Sauron didn't join in this 'discord' because his great virtue was that he loved order and perfecting things. His later decision to join Melkor had to do with his reasoning that Melkor would get reconstruction achieved more quickly.

    Sauron's fall from grace was not the nihilistic desire for destruction, ruin and disorder represented by Morgoth. Rather, it stemmed from his great virtue itself and was its logical conclusion, if warped into becoming an end in itself. Tolkien's overriding moral being that the very things which make us great can be our undoing, if we lose sense of the fact that to "love" (in Catholic Thomist theology) is to 'will the good of the other'. Consider Shakespeare's Othello, in which the protagonist's much vaunted virtue throughout the play is his love for Desdemona. He loves her so much, that, when the duplicitous Iago convinces him she has been unfaithful with another man, he strangles her to death because he cannot bear the thought that she could be any other man's.

    In other words, Othello truly thought that he loved Desdemona and so did everyone else but, in fact, he strove to possess her as his own - not will what was good for her. Likewise, for Sauron according to Tolkien: "like all minds of this cast, Sauron's love (originally) or (later) mere understanding of other individual intelligences was correspondingly weaker; and though the only real good in, or rational motive for, all this ordering and planning and organization was the good of all inhabitants of Arda (even admitting Sauron's right to be their supreme lord), his 'plans', the idea coming from his own isolated mind, became the sole object of his will, and an end, the End, in itself."

    Unlike the great Music of the Ainur, with all its diversity, in which each of the divine beings was permitted by Eru to "weave their own thoughts and ideas into this Music" without breaking the unity, Sauron wanted everyone to sing his song and could not envision any other notion of "the Good" or "Perfect" outside of it. The original intention was pure but the absolutization of it as the "thee only" song, and the exclusion of all other 'songs' that might be equally valid and part of Eru's grand design, completely corrupted him. In this, he is so different from his arch-nemesis of the Second Age, the Lady Galadriel who Tolkien tells us did not share her husband Celeborn's disdain for the Dwarves but rather saw them as friends, because in Unfinished Tales it states: "Galadriel was more far-sighted in this than Celeborn; and she perceived from the beginning that Middle-earth could not be saved from "the residue of evil" that Morgoth had left behind him save by a union of all the peoples who were in their way and in their measure opposed to him". All the different voices, like the Music of the Ainur itself - weaving their own thoughts and ideas into the melody - a union of all the free peoples, as opposed to Sauron's will to enforce his thoughts and ideas upon all.

    Not a Star Wars fan, I have to admit (by a long shot), but even with the little that I do know about Darth Vader - I really think the comparison is far off the mark.

    For a start, there is no manichaen and almost juvenile notion of "dark side" in Tolkien's thought. Pious Catholic that he was, Tolkien understood evil to be the privation of being; not some kind of external 'force' in its own right, like in the Zoroastrian dualistic creation myth.

    In my story,” Tolkien unequivocally writes in one letter, “I do not deal in Absolute Evil. I do not think there is such a thing, since that is Zero. I do not think that at any rate any ‘rational being’ is wholly evil” (Letters, 243). Scott A. Davison points out agreement between St. Augustine and Tolkien that evil is ‘essentially parasitical on good... and is a lack of goodness... since existence itself is good'. Hence why Tolkien writes that, "Sauron was 'greater', effectively, in the Second Age than Morgoth at the end of the First. Why? Because, though he was far smaller by natural stature, he had not yet fallen so low. Eventually he also squandered his power of being in the endeavour to gain control of others."

    Annatar doesn't become 'bad' because he turns 'dark side' away from the 'force' after a run-in with unrequited love. His descent into evil was the direct outcome of his original pure desire for order and reconstruction becoming an absolute, uncompromising ideal, the obsession of his own narrow-minded will - as an end in itself, the brilliance of the idea taking precedence over the very people (the races of Middle-Earth) it had been intended to benefit.

    To be precise, Annatar doesn't "deviate" like Anakin from the path of good to the path of evil: from the "force" to the "dark side". Rather ,Tolkien explains that his "frightful evil arose from a good root, the desire to benefit the world and others – speedily and according to the benefactor’s own plans" (Tolkien, Letter to Milton Waldman in 1951). This is why I say that Annatar is like Robespierre or Vladimir Lenin.

    With Annatar, you have an idea that is in essence good becoming corrupted through his increasing single-minded obsession with its realization, until it gets absolutized as an end in itself, irrespective of its tangible world benefits for others. This is miles more compelling than Darth Vader. A better literary comparison, far more respectful to Tolkien, would be with his fellow 20th century Catholic novelist Graham Greene in his books The Quiet American and The Power and the Glory.

    The former is set during the Vietnam war and the eponymous namesake of the story is an idealistic young American soldier, Alden Pyle, who is very much on the side of ‘democracy’, purporting to support increased freedom and human rights for the Vietnamese people and he rabidly opposes what he sees as the colonialism of the French and the soul-destroying Communism of the Vietminh (not unlike Sauron's righteous anger at the Valar abandoning Middle-Earth to dereliction), suggesting that an American ‘Third Force’ is needed (i.e. think, rings of power are needed as a utopian solution to Arda's marring).

    As the novel develops it becomes ever more apparent that ‘hero’ Pyle is not as heroic and charming as he started out, and our perception of him changes. Like the Americans he represents, Pyle’s obsession with democracy turns out to be an end in itself rather than a means to an end. The idea of freedom, to both Pyle and his country, becomes more important than guaranteeing freedom for the people themselves.

    In reference to a bomb which he himself personally set off in a crowded high street Pyle says: “...They were only war casualties...It was a pity... They died in the right cause...They died for democracy...” The word ‘only’ is pivotal. Pyle denigrates the Vietnamese people, innocents whom he murdered senselessly, as mere casualties of war, human fodder whose deaths are regrettable but wholly justified in the cause of democracy. He does not consider the fact that one of the women he killed could have been his mother, that a child he killed could have been his son, as Fowler, another character, explains to him: “...Would you have said the same if it had been your old nurse with the blueberry pie?...He ignored my facile point...” To Pyle, the idea of a free and democratic Vietnam is far more important than the human beings who are intended to enjoy this future of liberation, as is evidenced by the words, “they died for democracy”. Fowler on the other hand sees the brutal reality and ignorance of such an imperialist disregard for basic human rights. He understands the truth that people can never be viewed as subordinate to ideas. Fowler captures this dilemma when he states: “...How many dead colonels justify a child’s or a trishaw driver’s death when you are building a national democratic front?...”






    (This post was edited by Althoun on Mar 13 2019, 9:51pm)


    kzer_za
    Lorien

    Mar 13 2019, 9:46pm


    Views: 888
    HoME XII (Peoples of Middle Earth) is also very good //

     


    Mari D.
    Rivendell


    Mar 14 2019, 6:58pm


    Views: 842
    Blindly fighting for good

    Thanks for your interesting explanations!

    So, it's possible that when a plan is first conceived, it might be checked against what it means for the people, or even be conceived for the precise reason of benefitting the people. And the moral compass says: "Okay."
    But then, as things develop, it might turn out that the plan needs readjustment. Something turns out to have unexpected side-effects, circumstances change.

    IF the plan has become an end in itself, the person might chose to blindly pursue it anyway, and resistance can even entice them to fight harder for the cause. As a long time ago they decided it's a *good* plan, that question is already settled in their mind and not reexamined!

    IF, however, what the plan is supposed to be good *for* is still in view, then the person would have to say: "Uh-oh, my plan needs some readjustment."

    So in some cases, you could call the decline into evil a failure to readjust.

    (Or it could e.g. be a failure to weigh your goals against other goals from the start. Bad side-effects or resistance could then alert you to the fact that you may have missed some factors in the original plan that you should have taken into account.)

    But if you're so concinved that your plan is good that any resistance only causes you to fight *even harder* for it, calling everyone who's against it "stupid" or some other disqualifying word or name ...

    then we can get to where everyone is fighting VERY HARD for GOOD ... at the same time and against each other.

    ----

    Question thereto:

    In the times of Lord of the Rings, did Sauron still believe he was fighting for good?


    (This post was edited by Mari D. on Mar 14 2019, 7:02pm)


    Darkstone
    Immortal


    Mar 14 2019, 7:12pm


    Views: 832
    Yes.

    As von Moltke noted, no plan survives contact with the enemy, so any strategy must be a series of options.

    ******************************************
    Character is what we do on the internet when we think no one knows who we are.


    Mari D.
    Rivendell


    Mar 14 2019, 7:50pm


    Views: 826
    So that means, in the reformer's case ...

    ... contact with reality ...

    What a good idea. Hopefully I can keep that in mind when next trying to initate changes that involve other people.

    ... non-native English speaker, so if you reply to one of my posts feel free to help me improve by quoting + correcting the quote in CAPITAL letters :-)
    ... Thanks everyone for your kind answers to my many questions! It's a delight for me to read them.


    Hamfast Gamgee
    Grey Havens

    Mar 16 2019, 10:25am


    Views: 797
    Sauron in love????????

    Sorry, Squire, I'm afraid that thought makes me feel slightly ill Unsure I think we can leave all that lovvy dovvy stuff to soaps. Or Tolkien life-stories maybe. Sauron can possibly have a hot evil mistress in leather boots. That I think I can handle.!


    Thor 'n' Oakenshield
    Rohan


    Mar 16 2019, 1:56pm


    Views: 561
    AAAH, the horrifying mental imagery!


    In Reply To
    Sauron can possibly have a hot evil mistress in leather boots. That I think I can handle.!


    "We are Kree"


    kzer_za
    Lorien

    Mar 16 2019, 2:21pm


    Views: 556
    I understand that in one of the recent games...

    ...Sauron had an affair with a sexy humanoid version of Shelob. Let's hope Amazon doesn't take cues there!


    Thor 'n' Oakenshield
    Rohan


    Mar 16 2019, 6:22pm


    Views: 543
    That concept is so terrifying, I can't even

    If the Amazon screenwriters are on here right now, I'm begging them not to look to the video games for any inspiration.

    "We are Kree"


    Althoun
    Lorien

    Mar 16 2019, 7:09pm


    Views: 535
    I have arachnophobia, stop this!

    Crazy


    Cirashala
    Tol Eressea


    Mar 16 2019, 9:22pm


    Views: 516
    Gak!!!

    Brain bleach please!!!!!!!!! Pirate

    My writing and novels:

    My Hobbit Fanfiction

    My historical novel print and kindle version

    My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

    You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

    Happy reading everyone!


    Darkstone
    Immortal


    Mar 17 2019, 1:10am


    Views: 495
    Sauron in Love!!!!!!

    I can't keep up with what's been going down.
    I think my heart must just be slowing down.
    Among his evil schemes, deep in his conquest dreams,
    Am I the only one who hears the screams,
    And the strangled cries of...
    Sauron in love!!

    ******************************************
    Character is what we do on the internet when we think no one knows who we are.


    (This post was edited by Darkstone on Mar 17 2019, 1:12am)