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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Middle-earth TV Series Discussion:
Random theory about Sauron

AshNazg
Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.


Apr 6, 10:01pm

Post #1 of 6 (394 views)
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Random theory about Sauron Can't Post

I assume this series will revolve around the rise of Sauron? How he used his fair form to deceive the elves and create the rings.

Sorry if this is a bit random for a whole thread, but I just have a really strong feeling that Sauron is going to be female in this series. It just seems to make sense to me. What do you think?

They’re going to struggle to surprise the audience. So what better way than introduce a strong, charismatic female whom everyone loves and then mid-season she ‘removes her mask’.

I’m also interested if anyone else has any wild theories or hopes of what we might see or how this thing will play out. Any ideas?


squire
Asgardian


Apr 6, 10:32pm

Post #2 of 6 (379 views)
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How hard will it be to 'deceive' the audience that Annatar is the bad guy? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not sure I buy the idea that a female Annatar character will surprise the audience better than a male one. What I really wonder is how it's possible to write a show like this and actually surprise anyone that Annatar is a villain in disguise.

In this regard Tolkien wrote a real potboiler of a plot, drawing on conventional evil overlord tropes without much concern for how real the story might be if it was ever written out in detail. I note that in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the only character who is said to surprise anyone with a 'seems fair but turns foul' appearance is Saruman, strictly in Gandalf's retelling at The Council of Elrond. And even in that retelling Gandalf admits he was fooled because he was fooled, because he was fooled. That is, the deception is not very realistic. All the actual clues that Saruman had turned evil, such as the appearance of Isengard as a factory-fortress manned by evil-looking henchmen, and rumors of his aggressive policies towards Rohan, were left out of Gandalf's account even though we learn about them later.

Annatar is far harder to pull off, given all the language in Tolkien's brief text that anyone with their head screwed on straight mistrusted him from the start. The exceptions were the Elven ring-smiths, and they come off as a bit evil themselves -- being completely clueless about the ethics of Rings that function via the compulsion of free wills.

Are there good examples in popular film or literature where a generic evil overlord genuinely pulls off a deceptive 'good' appearance, such that the revelation of his betrayal stuns and shocks the reader or viewer? And if there are, are they models for this project to follow? (ignoring, of course, the even bigger problem that the plot is well known to very many serious Tolkien fans, if not to the casual New Line film-oriented audience this project is presumably targeting.)



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MerlinEngine
Mutant


Apr 7, 7:46am

Post #3 of 6 (338 views)
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Gender swapping characters [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think there is a particularly good reason to swap Sauron's gender, let alone that having any sort of surprising effect on the audience. The boos, however, I am sure, would be deafening. And that's the last thing poor Jeff wants. And nor do I, since I'd be quite happy to see the series succeed.

Though I am not entirely against gender swapping when it comes to minor characters. Take, for instance, some of the Nazgul (not the Witch-king and Khamul, obviously) who could very well be female, or my favourite example for harmless gender swapping, Narvi. Or perhaps even assign gender to those who have none, such as Sauron's lone servant with whom he escaped back to Mordor after the defeat he suffered in Eriador in 1700. As long as you don't go around swapping main characters' gender for its own sake, you have my blessing (for what it's worth).

My wild theory is what I call "multitasking Sauron" and plays with his ability to take different forms. Sauron appears as Annatar, a fair, elf-like, enchanting and, dare I say, white, being to the Elves in Eriador and attempts to sway them. But my theory goes that's not the only place he's been doing that. We only know about the events in Eregion because the stories we read are Noldor-centric. He may well have been doing the same thing with other peoples in Middle-earth, deep down in the south or far in the east. There, he would appear to those peoples not as Annatar we know from Eriador, but as something those peoples perceive as an ideal of beauty. This allows the show's creators to diversify Sauron as much as they like, make him as swarthy as swarthy goes, without fear of insulting anyone who feels race is a sensitive issue and dreads to see established characters portrayed in any way different to how they imagined them. And the best part about this theory is, the audience stays oblivious to these different "Annatars" being the same guy, with a single agenda – until the big reveal. That's what I call a surprise.


(This post was edited by MerlinEngine on Apr 7, 7:47am)


InTheChair
Fantastic Four

Apr 7, 10:30pm

Post #4 of 6 (274 views)
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As far as wild theories, or let's say thought experiments go [In reply to] Can't Post

They could try to deceive the viewer by telling parts or the whole of their story completely from Saurons point of view, and make him the side you want to associate with.

They're not going to do it, but it might be the most effective way to deceive everyone waiting for Annatar to turn evil


I don't think they will gender swap any of the established characters. I'd guess they're not even allowed to.

They could give Sauron a female henchwoman though.


(This post was edited by InTheChair on Apr 7, 10:34pm)


Hasuwandil
Fantastic Four


Apr 8, 6:38am

Post #5 of 6 (238 views)
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Sauron's guises [In reply to] Can't Post

I would say the fact that you're speculating about Sauron appearing as a woman before a single frame of footage has been released to the public shows how pointless the idea is. There are always going to be people who can figure out what's going to happen later in a show. The only way to fool everyone is to do something that makes absolutely no sense. To spoil the show for everyone in an effort to avoid spoiling it for anyone. I hope the writers don't go that route.

I'd rather they do one of two things:

1) Tell the story from a limited point of view in which Sauron's identity (at least, in the form he appears in Eregion) is not revealed at first. It won't fool the fans, just as most Star Wars fans who watched the prequels already knew who Palpatine was. However, it may surprise some casual viewers.

2) Let the whole audience in on Sauron's identity. The Elves don't know, so that generates suspense.

Either way, I think they should focus on Sauron's ability to persuade. I see him at this point as something like Saruman. Nobody thought Saruman was a good guy after the attack on Helm's Deep, but he still had almost the same ability to persuade as before. In Sauron's case it should be easier since the Elves are unaware of his true identity most of the time. And even if the audience is not persuaded by him, they should be able to see how the Elves could be.

I'm not against the possibility of Sauron appearing as a woman. Obviously that's something he can do. However, I'm not sure I see the point of him appearing as a woman in the guise in which he normally appears to the Elves in Eregion.

Hêlâ Auriwandil, angilô berhtost,
oƀar Middangard mannum gisandid!


Felagund
Fantastic Four


Apr 9, 9:58pm

Post #6 of 6 (135 views)
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translating Sauron to screen [In reply to] Can't Post

A gender switch is an interesting idea and I wouldn’t be surprised if it hasn’t been considered by the writers and production team. Like others in this thread, I reckon there are other ways to make Sauron a compelling, fascinating presence on screen without casting Annatar as female. Not least, again as already covered, he is an insidious, beguiling presence who, even though he fails with Gil-galad and Galadriel, works out exactly which buttons to press with Celebrimbor and the Gwaith-i-Mírdain. So, a gender switch feels optional to me in terms of what I'm hoping will be a successful characterisation of the proto-Dark Lord. Androgynous would work just as well, as long as the essential character is well translated to screen.

I reckon the fact that he is, as written by Tolkien, capable of shifting his physical shape means there’s a chance that the TV show’s writers will want to play with this. Whether it’s with Sauron assuming a different gender or, indeed, even species. Lots of viewers loved watching Arya Stark don different faces in the television adaptation of Game of Thrones, so you can see the temptation. What I hope is also considered, if things go in this direction, is that when Tolkien wrote of Sauron shifting his shape, it was for very specific narrative purposes: to cheat the prophecy of Huan’s death; to escape the jaws of Huan when that cheeky plan goes horribly wrong; and to seduce the post-Beleriandic Noldorin leadership team, by “wearing the fairest form that he could contrive” (Unfinished Tales). If having Sauron swap between genders whilst wandering around the smithies of Ost-in-Edhil or prowling the hills of Eriador as a wolf is where things go, then I hope there’d be some kind of disciplined narrative purpose to it.

As for using the shapeshifting as a tool to engineer a genuine surprise, I agree with Hasuwandil. This feels unnecessary and not a great use of the material and the opportunities it presents. To expand on Hasuwandil’s remark, one of the few things that worked (in my opinion) in the Star Wars prequels is that plenty of viewers knew who Palpatine really was, and George Lucas played up to that. Such as when Palpatine tells us how he’s going to watch Anakin’s career with interest, tells everyone how much he loves democracy or barely keeps a straight face when he warns Anakin and Obi-wan that Count Dooku is a Sith Lord – all of this only really works at full potential because a chunk of the audience knows precisely just how diabolically and hilariously disingenuous Palpatine is being. And because we’re wondering just how long everyone else is going to fall for this.

I do like the idea, even though many in the audience will know who Annatar really is, of Annatar/Sauron behaving as relatable, if not momentarily likeable. His challenging relationship with Galadriel will be key to that, not least where Annatar bears Galadriel’s “scorn with outward patience and courtesy” (Unfinished Tales). Play up Galadriel’s (and Gil-galad and Celeborn’s) haughtiness sufficiently and I’m sure it won’t be that hard to feel a bit of sympathy for our poor, errant Maia just trying to heal the world.

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

 
 

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