The Eye of Sauron of the Lord of the Rings, explained by the abridged legend of Middle-earth

When you think of Lord of the Rings‘The bad guy Sauron is likely to think of a huge, burning eyeball. why not? The Eye of Sauron is one of the most iconic symbols associated with the JRR Tolkien trilogy-it is even posted on the cover of several editions of the book. The Great Eye also occupies an important place in Peter Jackson’s blockbuster big-screen adaptation, which is a vigilant burning sphere on top of a huge stone obelisk.

2021 is the 20th anniversary of the release of the “Lord of the Rings” movie, and we can’t imagine exploring the trilogy with just one story. Therefore, every Wednesday throughout the year, we will go there and come back again to study how and why these films can become modern classics. This year is Polygon’s Year of the Ring.

So, when ordinary Middle-earth fans think of Sauron, it makes sense that they think he is a great peeper made of fire-but this is not Tolkien’s original intention.JacksonAnd his collaborators made some major changes to Sauron in the “Lord of the Rings” movies, they have portrayed the Dark Lord of Mordor for us since then.

The Eye of Sauron is a metaphor

If Sauron is not just the evil eye that ends all the evil eyes portrayed in Jackson movies, then what exactly is he? Did Tolkien describe Sauron’s appearance in the book? Where did Big Eye enter from? Like many legends of Middle-earth, it is complicated.

Tolkien made it clear that when Isildu cut the ring from the Dark Lord, only his body died. His soul continues to exist, and (according to the nuanced timeline of Middle-earth) he has been recovering for the next thousand years or so until he can manifest a new form. From now on, Sauron is actually the shadow of his former self, but most importantly, he is also absolutely human.

Of course, Tolkien infused a lot of lyrics Lord of the Rings, And have Sauron’s allusion in the form of huge eyes in the book.A special paragraph Return of the King Show that there really is Yes A burning eye perched on the top of the Barad-dûr tower, at least temporarily.

However, just because Sauron occasionally enters the full “Eye of Fire” mode, this does not mean that the giant eye is the only form of the Dark Lord-and it is certainly not the only form he can take.exist Two towersGollum even recalled seeing Sauron’s four-fingered hand, which had broken the whole “just an eyeball” argument.

So how did the “Eye of Sauron” become so important? Think of it as Middle-earth marketing. The giant eye is the image that the Dark Lord uses to brand himself and his army, projecting a halo of omniscience. As a propaganda, the Eye of Sauron is the most powerful symbol of Middle-earth-its effectiveness is based on the true power of Sauron’s gaze, whether in words or otherwise. But in the end, it’s just: a symbol.

Who needs iconism?


Picture: New Line Cinema

This also does not apply to the Lord of the Rings movie. Here, Jackson almost completely portrays Sauron as a burning eyeball (except for the strange second-century flashback), without any metaphor.

In Jackson Ring Fellowship, Saruman declared that Sauron was totally unable to take physical form (even if it was dark, finger-defective). This statement alone makes it very clear that Jackson believes that the best thing Sauron can do for the body is a quasi ethereal eyeball, and he cleared any remaining doubts from the comments included in the extended home edition. There, Jackson talked publicly about his literal interpretation of the Eye of Sauron, lamenting that Tolkien had confused him as a filmmaker with a villain.”[who] It is a huge eye and cannot really participate in the story. “

However, this misunderstanding of Sauron’s true nature did not have much impact on Jackson’s films. As Weta Digital realized, the Eye of Sauron still exudes the level of threat Tolkien described. Just look at the cruel cat-eye pupil surrounded by flames and crackling, you know that you are facing a dangerous demonic existence. If nothing else, compared with the dark figures described by Tolkien in the book, the big eyes are more unique and less universal “Dark Lord” visual effects (And appeared in Jackson’s later Hobbit movies)-Not to mention a more memorable one.

Jackson’s view of Sauron does have its shortcomings. The most notorious of these is the “Lighthouse Sauron” effect described by disgruntled fans: Return of the King The Eye of Sauron cast a beam of light, scanning the Mordor Plain far below. It… looks silly. Even if the beam finally fell on Frodo and Sam, they still managed to escape!

Turning the legendary villain into an ineffective spotlight should be enough to sink the entire Jackson trilogy. However, many fans of the movie-even those who thoroughly understand the original work-seem to be very cool about the director’s inaccurate rotation of Sauron, the lighthouse, etc.

So how did Jackson completely deviate from Tolkien’s text?

With Sauron, it’s not just a bright spot


Picture: New Line Cinema

In the end, it doesn’t matter what form Sauron takes Lord of the Rings, As long as the Dark Lord effectively plays his role in the story. Whether Sauron is a dark ghost, a burning eyeball, or something completely different, his function is the same: to provide an overall threat to advance the narrative. In a sense, he is McGuffin just like One Ring itself.

As far as the story is concerned, Sauron is not suitable for our heroes to face directly (although this almost happened in the previous version of the movie), even if his true form means they can actually. On the contrary, he is an eternal and ominous existence in every scene.As a villain, his threat mainly lies in the dangers he may face Posture-him Can Recovering his power through a ring and becoming unstoppable-this is something that a fiery eyeball can easily show, perhaps even better than a sinister shadow.

For the explanation of Jackson’s Sauron as an eyeball, all we need is to believe in the threat that Sauron’s relentless pursuit of the Lord of the Rings poses. We did this for most of the running time of the trilogy; for most of us, even the embarrassing halfway search work of the Dark Lord late in the game can easily be overlooked.Whether flawed or not, Jackson’s Sauron’s unique aesthetic is irresistible, his fiery eyes jumping around on ebony pillars in other media-including imitation South Park with Lego Batman Movie -It proves that it is deeply ingrained in our collective pop culture consciousness.

Tolkien purists might argue that the changes Jackson made to Sauron made the original story unjust, no matter how successful these films were and are. But the beauty of being part of a Middle-earth fan is that not everyone has to agree.