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The History of Middle-earth (chibi version) - Part 203 - Batsignal

9th April 2015 (12:16)

Some more characters we've not seen for a long time!

For Sauron's song, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsIfeALyEnA (I hope after they made that video they fished those bottles out of the river again...)

Part 203: Batsignal

Next time: Part 204: Rescue mission

Chibis by tektek.org
Original story by and copyright to J R R Tolkien, ed. C Tolkien: Primarily based on the Silmarillion, but incorporating ideas from the 12-volume History of Middle Earth series.
Questions and comments welcome!


Posted by: (bumbleball)
Posted at: 11th April 2015 15:12 (UTC)

Part 2.

So, Sauron's pratical, smart, genre savvy and a ruthless pragmatist. Put those together and you've got the ingredients for a master of the Xanatos Gambit.

Just look at how he tricked Gorlim into giving away the location of Barahir's camp. If he'd been as clueless as you portray him, he'd never have come close. He must've been a brilliant judge of character to know exactly how that would pan out!

(BTW in the earliest versions of the Lay of Lethian, it was Morgoth who was responsible for the Gorlim gamibit, but Tolkien then changed it to the story we have today, confirming that Morgoth is the clueless cloudcuckoolander and Sauron is the practical, savvy one!)

In fact, it also throws a possible new light on the Lúthien incident. Once Sauron knows exactly what's happening, he must be able to quickly see that the best possible long term strategy is to let Beren take a Silmaril to Thingol, which would piss-off the Fëanorians and lead to more kinslaying and the fall of Doriath (though not necessarily in that order.) Far from being "bitch slapped" by a "mere Elf maiden", he's actually outwitting a Mary Sue in an improvised game of Xanatos Speed Chess! Not bad going.

(Yes, Morgoth probably would feel "scorn," but that just shows how clueless Morgoth really is. If he'd had any sense, he would've given Thingol a Silmaril before the Fëanorians showed up in Middle-Earth, just to encourage this in the first place. Also bear in mind that the "pet dog" was officially one of the toughest, most badass and hardest-to-beat creatures of all time, ever, and Sauron had been willing to go claw-to-claw in single combat against it anyway as long as no 'Sues got involved. Morgoth had been afraid and reluctant to duel a typical Elf lord. Remind me, which one is the coward?)

Now, I know what you're thinking. The theft of the Silmaril eventually led to Earendil's voyage and the War of Wrath. Good point. The whole of the second half of the Quenta Silmarillion is a massive Gambit Pileup in slow motion. (Glaurung manipulating Túrin, Morgoth manipulating Húrin, Ulmo manipulating everyone, etc..) And although the winner seems to be Ulmo, Sauron doesn't do too badly. He's left as the only Dark Lord in Middle-Earth, with no incompetent boss to hold him back. Again, not bad going.

(BTW it makes me wonder what would have happened if Ulmo's Earendil gambit had failed. Would Sauron eventually have moved against Morgoth anyway? After all, it's easy for affection to turn to hate. Perhaps Annatar would've shown up offering Rings to help in the fight against Morgoth. I wouldn't put it past him.)

Anyway, Sauron continued to be the best at manipulating people throughout the Second Age. Just look at the way he twisted Celebrimbor and Ar-Pharazôn around his finger. The only thing that stopped his plans was the direct intervention of God (who, being omniscient, is immune to Xanatos Gambits.)

While doing that God also rewrote the rule book, making the world less vengeance-based and more about redemption (foreshadowing the later switch to being totally redemption-based that would come when He begins the New Testament.) When he returned in the Third Age, Sauron was left playing by the old rules, making him Wrong Genre Savvy. Despite that he still came close to winning the War of Ring, and might've done so if God hadn't got involved again and sent Gandalf back after Khazad-Dûm.

Far from being a fool or a coward, Sauron is such a major league badass that the only way he's ever been truly defeated is by direct divine intervention from God Himself. How many other people in Middle-Earth can make that claim? None. Not even Morgoth.

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 11th April 2015 16:48 (UTC)

If he'd been as clueless as you portray him

I don't portray Sauron as clueless, though. I portray him as naive, over-enthusiastic and with a bad case of hero-worship, but also intelligent and competent at what he does, when Morgoth gives him a chance. (Which is rarely, because Morgoth is contemptuous of him. But Morgoth is contemptuous of everybody; increasingly so as time goes by.)

In effect, I'm depicting Sauron as immature. If these cartoons ever reach the Second Age, then you'd see a Sauron who has grown up, and asserted himself as someone independent of Morgoth.

the "pet dog" was officially one of the toughest, most badass and hardest-to-beat creatures of all time, ever, and Sauron had been willing to go claw-to-claw in single combat against it anyway

Yes, because he thought he had the cheat code. He knew how Huan could be beaten.

Posted by: erimthar (erimthar)
Posted at: 13th April 2015 01:56 (UTC)

I don't take issue with your portrayal of Sauron, BTW. I think it's kind of hilarious, and I know this project is part faithful adaptation and part comic strip. I just wondered where this portrayal came from because I didn't really get far into the HoME books. (I only made it up to the Books of Lost Tales.)

And honestly, my eyes kind of glazed over during the Silmarillion, too... full disclosure.

Edited at 2015-04-13 01:57 (UTC)

Posted by: StephenT (stormwreath)
Posted at: 13th April 2015 09:06 (UTC)

I try to always comment in the introduction if I'm using a story from HoMe or my own extrapolation; but I do definitely consider this a "retelling" rather than a straightforward adaptation of the Silmarillion into cartoon format.

For one thing, Tolkien himself often wrote multiple contradictory accounts of the same events and characters, so it's not like there's a single 'official' canon interpretation of many things.

I didn't really get far into the HoME books

I actually did similar to you: started with the Book of Lost Tales and got bogged down and gave it up. But later on I found that 'Morgoth's Ring' and the 'War of the Jewels' were more interesting to read; and after that, it gave me the motivation to go back to the earlier works.

I've not read the whole of HoMe straight through cover-to-cover, though. It's more something to dip into.

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