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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Deciphering the Necromancer
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Black Breathalizer
Rohan


Mar 10 2012, 3:51pm

Post #1 of 207 (9540 views)
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Deciphering the Necromancer Can't Post

As a self-proclaimed LOTR geek, the most intriguing aspect of the two new Hobbit films is the Necromancer subplot. I'm awfully curious how the screenwriters are approaching the portrayal of the Necromancer. There are a lot of unknowns about this subplot that raise all sorts of questions.

Based on a few offhand comments from GDT when he was still involved in the project, I suspect one of the aspects of the LOTR films that Peter Jackson never felt totally good about was the way he depicted Sauron. By focusing too much attention on "the eye" after FOTR, PJ removed too much of the 'humanity' (for lack of a better word) of the character. But given that Sauron does not have a physical form, he certainly didn't have much to work with.

Until recently, I assumed that TH1 & 2 would be more of the same. Based on Tolkien's books, and Jackson's own LOTR films, my assumption was that Sauron would work though a lieutenant because he cannot yet take physical form. Yet recently we heard that Benedict Cumberbatch would be providing voice AND motion capture for both Smaug AND the Necromancer. Base on these news tidbits, it would appear that Jackson is viewing his depiction of the Necromancer as a chance to 'clean up' his film version of Sauron leading into the LOTR.

So given the LOTR films, how is the Necromancer's physical form going to be explained? And what will he look like?

How will the threat of the Necromancer be portrayed? What was Gandalf doing snooping around Sauron's backyard? What will create the urgency of the White Council's call to action?

What will be the Necromancer's connection to the quest of the dwarves? How will the attack on Dol Guldur have any relevance to the main story? The film can't just throw in the Necromancer subplot without it having SOME relevance to the dragon, Smaug. What will be that link? How will that storyline unfold?


These are awfully intriguing questions. What are your thoughts?

I will offer some of mine later.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Mar 10 2012, 3:55pm

Post #2 of 207 (3978 views)
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Good questions! [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't really have any answers, but I'm intrigued to see what the filmmakers answers will be.

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

www.arda-reconstructed.com


DanielLB
Immortal


Mar 10 2012, 5:16pm

Post #3 of 207 (3829 views)
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That's assuming... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Yet recently we heard that Benedict Cumberbatch would be providing voice AND motion capture for both Smaug AND the Necromancer.

the "nameless character" is actually the Necromancer: http://newboards.theonering.net/...t_time;so=DESC;mh=25;


Black Breathalizer
Rohan


Mar 10 2012, 5:28pm

Post #4 of 207 (3629 views)
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A "human" face for the Necromancer [In reply to] Can't Post

In FOTR, PJ depicted Sauron as a flaming cat-like eye. Then in TTT and ROTK, Sauron's look evolved into a bright flaming human eye as the Dark Lord continued to grow in strength and power. Given this, I assumed last year that if the Necromancer was shown on screen at all, he would be depicted as a flaming ball that has yet to evolve into an eye of any kind. Now that we know the Necromancer will have enough of a screen presence to allow a real actor to do motion capture animation for the character, I'm thinking my 'flaming ball' idea isn't going to cut it.

So what will Jackson, Alan Lee, and John Howe do with the Necromancer? And how will the look they've developed for the Hobbit tie into what happens later in the LOTR films?

Here's my take: I'm guessing the Necromancer will be depicted as a human face (or maybe even a complete person) composed entirely of dark, sooty-looking vapors and swirling smoke. This depiction will allow the film makers to make Sauron a more traditional antagonist with facial features that can give the audience a better insight into his evil, villainous nature and "humanize" him in a way the LOTR films couldn't.

But I'm not ready to give up on my flaming ball idea entirely. Smile

My new theory is that Sauron's 'power' will be visually depicted by a small little flame where his right eye should be.

This approach would be an easy, short-hand way for the film makers to communicate to the audience that Sauron's power is still fledging and very weak. But over the course of the two films, we'll see the small flame in his right eye continue to grow and expand. In this fashion, it won't be a stretch for the audience to understand that by the time of the FOTR, Sauron's flaming power had grown to completely overwhelm and replace his smoke-shrouded Necromancer form.

Anyway, it's one approach the film makers might have come up with that would: a) humanize the character; and b) still tie nicely into Jackson's existing LOTR film canon.


(This post was edited by Black Breathalizer on Mar 10 2012, 5:32pm)


Black Breathalizer
Rohan


Mar 10 2012, 5:37pm

Post #5 of 207 (3919 views)
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Think big [In reply to] Can't Post

BB wrote: I'm guessing the Necromancer will be depicted as a human face...composed entirely of dark, sooty-looking vapors and swirling smoke.

Think of the huge hologram face of the Emperor giving instructions to Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back.



DanielLB
Immortal


Mar 10 2012, 5:41pm

Post #6 of 207 (3912 views)
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My thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In FOTR, PJ depicted Sauron as a flaming cat-like eye. Then in TTT and ROTK, Sauron's look evolved into a bright flaming human eye as the Dark Lord continued to grow in strength and power. Given this, I assumed last year that if the Necromancer was shown on screen at all, he would be depicted as a flaming ball that has yet to evolve into an eye of any kind. Now that we know the Necromancer will have enough of a screen presence to allow a real actor to do motion capture animation for the character, I'm thinking my 'flaming ball' idea isn't going to cut it.



Have I missed something? How did the eye change during the three films, as if it did, I have never noticed. Are you refering to the different shots of the eyes, see two pictures below:

http://www.google.co.uk/...QXpyqG6DQ&zoom=1

http://www.google.co.uk/...&tx=73&ty=69

Is that what you meant?


Quote
Here's my take: I'm guessing the Necromancer will be depicted as a human face (or maybe even a complete person) composed entirely of dark, sooty-looking vapors and swirling smoke. This depiction will allow the film makers to make Sauron a more traditional antagonist with facial features that can give the audience a better insight into his evil, villainous nature and "humanize" him in a way the LOTR films couldn't.



This I like, and is what I have always imagined too. Sounds good to me, and I would be happy with that sort of prescence.



Quote

But I'm not ready to give up on my flaming ball idea entirely. Smile

My new theory is that Sauron's 'power' will be visually depicted by a small little flame where his right eye should be.

This approach would be an easy, short-hand way for the film makers to communicate to the audience that Sauron's power is still fledging and very weak. But over the course of the two films, we'll see the small flame in his right eye continue to grow and expand. In this fashion, it won't be a stretch for the audience to understand that by the time of the FOTR, Sauron's flaming power had grown to completely overwhelm and replace his smoke-shrouded Necromancer form.

Anyway, it's one approach the film makers might have come up with that would: a) humanize the character; and b) still tie nicely into Jackson's existing LOTR film canon.



This I don't like. Just sounds a bit naff. But seeing how I don't have any other alternative explanation/theory, well done for thinking up of it! And why would it have to be the right eye?

We may not even be given an explanation of why we have a humanized Necromancer, and a floating-eye Sauron. Could be left as a mystery to the character?


Black Breathalizer
Rohan


Mar 10 2012, 5:53pm

Post #7 of 207 (3610 views)
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Right or left [In reply to] Can't Post

DanielLB wrote: Have I missed something? How did the eye change during the three films, as if it did, I have never noticed.

Trust me, Daniel. I'm not making this stuff up. There was quite a bit of discussion by fans after TTT was released--and later, by the film makers, themselves--about the eye evolving from a more animalistic (cat-like) depiction to a more human one.

DanielLB wrote:
And why would it have to be the right eye?

There was absolutely no reason for saying the right eye. Smile

If the Necromancer is depicted as a complete, humanoid character, the flame could be where his heart is. But since the flame has always been depicted as "The Eye," it just seems more logical that it'll be located in one of the eye socket holes..........(right or left.) Wink



Bombadil
Half-elven


Mar 10 2012, 6:35pm

Post #8 of 207 (3719 views)
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I'm sure we are ALL kinda curious? [In reply to] Can't Post

But I personally don't want to speculate..
I want him to be a surPRIZE EVIL , like
No one has ever seen before.

He is probably The Art Department's Biggest Challenge, and so let them STUN us!

For litl' ol' Bombadil...just WAIT to see what Alan& John & Richard & Weta Designers ..ETC.
come up with...
since THEY are WORKING Full-Time on it...

He is the Biggest "Easter Egg?" we will be STUNNED to see, anyway
they design him....
I DON'T want to know...until I see these 2 Movies.

xoxoxGoldberry's Boy


Black Breathalizer
Rohan


Mar 10 2012, 6:51pm

Post #9 of 207 (3663 views)
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Speculation [In reply to] Can't Post

Bombadil wrote: I personally don't want to speculate.. I want him to be a surPRIZE EVIL

Fair enough. As the OP however, I want to point out that this thread is intended to be a speculation thread.

Unlike the Speculation on Azog thread where I was 99% sure that the speculation there will, in fact, be what we'll see in the films, I doubt this thread is going to spoil anything because it's all plain ol' guessing. Nevertheless, if any readers here are worried that contributors to this thread might actually "crack the code" of the screenwriters, you can consider everything from here on out a possible 'spoiler.'



Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Mar 10 2012, 6:55pm

Post #10 of 207 (3540 views)
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Trust me, I'm not making this stuff up. [In reply to] Can't Post

Documentation please. I see no such evolution of Sauron's eye.

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.
Photobucket



DanielLB
Immortal


Mar 10 2012, 6:55pm

Post #11 of 207 (3634 views)
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Is it like the two different pictures I suggested? [In reply to] Can't Post

As I have don't see any evolution? But as you say, if there was discussion, I am missing someting.


(This post was edited by DanielLB on Mar 10 2012, 6:56pm)


DanielLB
Immortal


Mar 10 2012, 6:56pm

Post #12 of 207 (3764 views)
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I'm glad I'm not the only one. / [In reply to] Can't Post

 


DanielLB
Immortal


Mar 10 2012, 6:58pm

Post #13 of 207 (3704 views)
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A sneak peek? [In reply to] Can't Post

If they released a sneek peek, or an entire image, or even if there was a leaked photo, would you look? I would - no self control me. I would probably do the same for Smaug, despite having said many times I want it to be a surprise!


Nightingale
Rohan


Mar 10 2012, 7:18pm

Post #14 of 207 (3598 views)
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I understand [In reply to] Can't Post

that the motion capture implies that we will be seeing a more 'human' form for the necromancer, but I don't really like this idea (not criticising you at all BB). Somehow, I never 'got' the idea of Sauron in human form as he was depicted in Lotr. For me, his evil power came across much better when he had no specific shape, almost like he wouldn't deign to take human form. Sauron was never really seen, but more 'a nameless fear' on the edge of events. This made everything more sinister for me.

Yes, I understand that Sauron would have had a human form once. (I think I'm just getting my head round the Annatar thing), but giving him a form will make him less scary for me.




"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me" - C. S. Lewis


WrathOfCaradhras
The Shire


Mar 10 2012, 7:45pm

Post #15 of 207 (3626 views)
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Necromancer Guesses [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know how likely this is to happen, but I will give the idea my brothers and I came up with when we learned about the Necromancer being in the films. If Cumberbatch is indeed doing mo-cap for the Necromancer, then he may look similar to the version of Sauron that we saw in the prologue of FOTR. Most likely he wouldn't be as strong or threatening looking, but he would still look similar enough that the general audience could look at him and remember who he was. He could also have elements or hints of the Eye included. The filmmakers could then decide to explore how he became the Eye that we saw in the trilogy. We came up with two possible solutions. The most logical was to have the Necromancer lose his rudimentary physical form and be reduced to the Great Eye when the White Council drives him out of Dol Guldur. Our other thought was based on a quote by Cumberbatch that seemed to imply that the Necromancer might show up at the Battle of Five Armies (which there is no solid proof of). In this was the case, he could be defeated and lose his physical form in the same way that I mentioned before with the White Council. I have a feeling that whatever they decide to do with him, we won't find out until the movie comes out because they want to keep him as a surprise.


Danielos
Rohan

Mar 10 2012, 8:35pm

Post #16 of 207 (3442 views)
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Problem with continuity [In reply to] Can't Post

Having Sauron as a humanoid presence and a prominent villain in The Hobbit is cool, but it will cause serious inconsistensies with LOTR. Wouldn´t an even more powerful Sauron here search for the Ring? And when Gandalf talked to Frodo at Bag End neither of them seem to be aware that Sauron was a powerful enemy 60 years ago. They merely seems to remember him being defeated in the battle of the Last Alliance.

Also, we would need to see ringwraiths and the Witchking in The Hobbit. Otherwise, everyone would wonder where those iconic enemies were doing.


DanielLB
Immortal


Mar 10 2012, 9:47pm

Post #17 of 207 (3566 views)
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This problem has come up among other threads [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To


Also, we would need to see ringwraiths and the Witchking in The Hobbit. Otherwise, everyone would wonder where those iconic enemies were doing.



And I don't think we need recurring characters in all 5 films. The general consensus though is that ME is a big enough place not to always have to see the same characters. As Quaking Troll nicely put:


Quote

They hint to the audience that there is plenty more to see in Middle-Earth than is included in LotR's narrative



I suggested:


Quote
As for bats appearing during the battle, and people wondering why they didn't appear during LotR, I don't think it's a major issue. Simply because people are so hung up about why the eagles just didn't fly the ring into Mordor, and other such trivial things. It's always going to happen.

People are always going to point out where was Beorn during Helm's Deep, or why Thranduil didn't help. They're just ridiculous statements made by people that can't be bothered to read the books and think they have come up with the greatest movie goof ever!



So do we really need to see the Ringwraiths? No, they could be somewhere else doing other things. Would I like them to be in it? Yes Wink


DanielLB
Immortal


Mar 10 2012, 9:48pm

Post #18 of 207 (3584 views)
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Sorry, meant to add [In reply to] Can't Post

Can be found in this thread:

http://newboards.theonering.net/...30046=View+Flat+Mode


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 10 2012, 10:09pm

Post #19 of 207 (3586 views)
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Speculations [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
So given the LOTR films, how is the Necromancer's physical form going to be explained? And what will he look like?



Wasn't it Saruman who claimed that Sauron could not assume a physical form? Either he lied, he was flat-out wrong, or the events of The Hobbit play into his lack of physical form in LotR. A man-like form seems the most suitable for the Necromancer's purposes, but a Wraith-like body is another possibility. Annatar should be off the table, but Peter Jackson did consider using that form before, so we can't rule it out.

How will the threat of the Necromancer be portrayed? What was Gandalf doing snooping around Sauron's backyard? What will create the urgency of the White Council's call to action?

I don't see much reason to portray it any differently than it was in the books. To Bilbo and Thorin, the Necromancer is a vague, poorly understood threat based in southern Mirkwood. To Gandalf and the Wise, he is an imminent threat to the entire North and potentially to the whole of the known world. Gandalf was 'snooping' precisely because he suspected the enormity of the danger--that the Necromancer was one of the Nine, if not Sauron himself. Perhaps Gandalf uses Thorin's quest as his own tool, pointing out that if Smaug is roused, Sauron may sieze that as his opportunity to strike at the North.

What will be the Necromancer's connection to the quest of the dwarves? How will the attack on Dol Guldur have any relevance to the main story? The film can't just throw in the Necromancer subplot without it having SOME relevance to the dragon, Smaug. What will be that link? How will that storyline unfold?

The connection may be no more than what I outlined above. It need not be any more than that. To say otherwise is opinion, not fact. I think that we will first see Gandalf broach his concerns to Elrond at Rivendell, that may lead to a flashback to the White Council meeting of 2851 as well as start to set up the Council's attack on Dol Guldur. From what we've seen, I think that Radagast will intersect the company at the eaves of Mirkwood; he and Gandalf will separate from the party and go south to rendevous with the rest of the Council. This might be the last we see of Gandalf until the second film, or we can see the Council debate and reach its decision while Bilbo and the dwarves are dealing with the Spiders and the Wood-elves. I believe that we will see attack on Dol Guldur during the first third of There and Back Again.

"Darkness beyond blackest pitch, deeper than the deepest night!
King of Darkness, who shines like gold upon the Sea of Chaos.
I call upon thee and swear myself to thee!
Let the fools who stand before me be destroyed by the power you and I possess!"


Elizabeth
Half-elven


Mar 10 2012, 10:10pm

Post #20 of 207 (3355 views)
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The unseen monster is always scarier than a visible monster. [In reply to] Can't Post

I could maybe tolerate a Necromancer that was very vaguely humanoid, along the lines of the Black Riders, but hope they don't get too explicit.






Is Tolkien a good writer, or amateurish and dated? Join the discussion of Tolkien: A Cultural Phenomenon by Brian Rosebury, now playing in the Reading Room!

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


Delrond
Rohan


Mar 10 2012, 10:33pm

Post #21 of 207 (3362 views)
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I agree with this. [In reply to] Can't Post

Add in a great musical accompaniment and I'm on the edge of my seat.

Off topic a bit, but I wanted your opinion on the following, Elizabeth: In the LOTR movies, do the wearers of the 3 Elvish rings see the Black Riders as the wearer of the One does? The only eye contact any of them have is on Pelennor when Gandalf is scaring them off to protect the injured Faramir and perhaps in Morannon. But we don't see them through Gandalf's eyes. I have always wondered about this.

A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.


lurtz2010
Rohan

Mar 10 2012, 11:02pm

Post #22 of 207 (3389 views)
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how could you not notice the eye changing? [In reply to] Can't Post

I noticed it as soon as I saw TTT trailer for the first time. In FOTR it's a bright orange circle and you can see the layers of flame building up to the pupil then in TTT and ROTK it's just like a yellow fiery blob with a pupil in the middle.


imin
Valinor

Mar 10 2012, 11:39pm

Post #23 of 207 (3259 views)
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Sauron [In reply to] Can't Post

Sauron in the movies didnt have physical form but in the lord of the rings books he did. If PJ had atleast alluded to the fact he was more than a floating eyeball, it would make it easier to give him a humanoid shape in the hobbit.

Tolkien was extremely careful to not describe him in too much detail, rather to let our imagination take the idea of him where we want then like someone else has said, i wouldnt want to see exactly what he looks like in TH movies.

The fact, PJ went with Saruman saying he cannot yet take physical form is just wrong but something he cant do anything about now, it will be abit of a continuity error perhaps, but maybe in the attack on dol guldur they attack sauron himself and he loses his mortal body and his spirit flees to mordor, that way keeping inline with what saruman says in the LOTR movies but allowing people to catch a glimpse of him in TH?


Finrod
Rohan


Mar 11 2012, 12:28am

Post #24 of 207 (3246 views)
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can't get here from there [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
But given that Sauron does not have a physical form, he certainly didn't have much to work with.

A false premise leads only to a meaningless conclusion. Gollum knows how many fingers are on the Black Hand, and why. Too bad PJ screwed that one so bad, eh?

…all eyes looked upon the ring; for he held it now aloft, and the green jewels gleamed there that the Noldor had devised in Valinor. For this ring was like to twin serpents, whose eyes were emeralds, and their heads met beneath a crown of golden flowers, that the one upheld and the other devoured; that was the badge of Finarfin and his house.
The Silmarillion, pp 150-151
while Felagund laughs beneath the trees
in Valinor and comes no more
to this grey world of tears and war.
The Lays of Beleriand, p 311




Black Breathalizer
Rohan


Mar 11 2012, 1:32am

Post #25 of 207 (3295 views)
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A chat around the campfire... [In reply to] Can't Post

Otaku-sempai: Wasn't it Saruman who claimed that Sauron could not assume a physical form?

Yes, but there are a variety of approaches the film makers could take that would be visually striking without resorting to a physical body for Sauron.
One possibility, as I described previously, was to present him seen as humanoid face composed entirely of vapor.

Danielos: Having Sauron as a humanoid presence and a prominent villain in The Hobbit is cool, but it will cause serious inconsistensies with LOTR. Wouldn´t an even more powerful Sauron here search for the Ring?

My understanding of Tolkien is that the Dark Lord chose to inhabit Dol Guldur for exactly that reason: to conduct a search for the ring in the area around the Gladden Fields where the Ring was last seen when Isildur fell.

Danielos: when Gandalf talked to Frodo at Bag End neither of them seem to be aware that Sauron was a powerful enemy 60 years ago. They merely seems to remember him being defeated in the battle of the Last Alliance.

I see no potential inconsistencies here. In FOTR, it's true Frodo had no detailed knowledge of the Dark Lord's history before his "shadows of the past" discussion with Gandalf. But the old wizard certainly knew of Sauron's time as the Necromancer of Dol Guldur. However, since Sauron's time in southern Mirkwood had nothing to do with the Ring that was now in Frodo's possession, Gandalf had no reason at all to mention it in the film.

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