Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Middle Earth Challenge, Day 19

Least Favourite Character
Well... let me see now. The problem with choosing a least favourite Tolkien character, is that most of his baddies tend to be at least somewhat sympathetic. Now, before anyone brings up Melkor, or the Dark Lord Sauron, or the Orcs, let me explain that I am referring to actual, living, breathing characters. There are plenty of archetypal villains in Tolkien's work, and personifications of evil, but those are not strictly characters. They are more the backdrop against which the characters play out their stories. 

Tolkien's actual character are more complex than that. His good characters are not always so good as they ought to be. Just take a look at... well, just about everybody involved in the events leading up to the Battle of Five Armies at the end of The Hobbit. His bad characters don't start off bad; something usually tips them over the edge, which means that, even though there are characters I dislike quite heartily, there is usually a bit of compassion mixed in with it as well. So, I run through my list, looking for someone for whom my dislike is stronger than my compassion. The usual suspects must go. Denethor is a horrible old man, but he is insane. Grima likewise gets marked off, for all his creepiness, for he is under the extremely overwhelming influence of Sauruman. Sauruman himself I discarded reluctantly. He is such a brilliant bad guy, and he came to such a terrible end, that truly do feel sorry for him at the end. I nearly settled on the Master of Laketown, from The Hobbit, because he is too oily and smooth, a horrible, sneaky, money-grubbing coward. I have finally settled on the Mouth of Sauron.

Mouth Of Sauron by Andy-Butnariu
Mouth of Sauron by Andy-Butnariu, Deviantart

Here is what The Return of the King says about him:

The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr he was, and his name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it, and he said: ‘I am the Mouth of Sauron.’ But it is told that he was a renegade, who came of the race of those that are named the BlackNúmenóreans; for they established their dwellings in Middle-earth during the years of Sauron’s domination, and they worshipped him, being enamoured of evil knowledge. And he entered the service of the DarkTower when it first rose again, and because of his cunning he grew ever higher in the Lord’s favour; and he learned great sorcery, and knew much of the mind of Sauron; and he was more cruel than any Orc.

And he is clever in his cruelty. He knows just how to play on the nerves and sentiments of Gandalf, and the remaining members of the Fellowship, who had ridden to war with the Men of the West.

"I have tokens I was bidden to show to thee - to thee in especial, if thou shouldst dare to come." He signed to one of the guards who came forward bearing a bundle, swathed in black cloths....

...."Dwarf-coat, elf-cloak, blade of the downfallen West, and a spy from the little rat-land of the Shire - Nay, do not start! We know it well - here are the marks of a conspiracy. Now maybe he that bore these things is a creature you would not grieve to lose, and maybe otherwise....

.... "Good, good," he said, "He was dear to you I see. Or his errand  was one that you did not wish to fail? It has. And now he shall endure the slow torment of years, as long and as slow as our arts in the Great Tower can contrive, and never be released, unless maybe when he is changed and broken so that you may come to see what you have done..."

It goes on like that for several pages. He is lying in his teeth as he taunts them, for Frodo and Sam had already escaped Barad Dur, disguised as orcs. It is a bluff, but he takes a savage pleasure in tormenting the company before him. In the movie, Aragorn cuts off his head, but in the book, it is made clear that he is the messenger, and no man may lay a hand upon him, so they are forced to listen to his endless jibes, and thinking all the while that Frodo is lying captive, in bitter torment - that the quest has failed, and that this battle at the Black Gate with be the last stand of men against the darkness.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Middle Earth Challenge, click here.

No comments: