Thread: The Eye of Sauron ????
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According to Tolkien Sauron had a body in the Third Age; and as for the Eye, I include the possibilities of: a metaphor, and emblem, and a vision, depending upon the quote.
And Sauron had physical eyes too!
I had a little trouble with the movie version of the Eye of Sauron, but mostly because it seemed too much and too fantastic even for him. He had great power yes, but a lot of his power was his cunning and ability to get others to follow him. However it was a great cinematic stroke of genius I suppose and that is how it is. Brego I have missed you and everyone so much. I still take as much as an hour to make a comment since that wierd day everything turned white and then black. had my computer checked and it is fine and does not do that on any other site. then i bought a laptop and to my sorrow it does exactly the same thing but only on this site. oh well, it is worth sitting here for a long time just to be part of this great place and the awesome people who share and bring such beauty and information here.
Thanks Lee Lee, Missed you too! Hope all is well with you...
Re Saurons Eye, I dont have a problem of the concept of the imagery, more the actual look of the concept. I thought it looked a little cartoonish. I expect that the portrayal of the eye of Sauron would have been fiendish to display on film. Wish it had been a little more felt than scene. I guess thats the only way I can expain how I envisioned it the first time I read the book.
I agree with LeeLee it was a little to big for him but PJ had to represent it someway that catch the watchers eye. Although its not the purist way of displaying it, it was the next best thing.
But did we really need an eye atop the tower like this? Portraying the eye as a vision, or something seen in Galadriel's mirror is one thing, but placing it atop the tower is another.
I see nothing about film as film that demanded it -- it's a personal choice; and one that I disagree with.
Do not get me wrong I do not agree with PJs representation, yet how else would he have represent the eye to people who had never read the Lord of the Rings. I do not want this to be an argument I'm just saying if you had never read the trilogy would you know what the eye was if it showed a window?
But even in the films Jackson showed the Eye aside from being atop the Dark Tower.
Tolkien's Sauron had a body in the Third Age, but we still have the eye in the books, and so the Eye can be in the films too, and was. I don't see why we needed a huge eye atop Barad-dur however...
... and as I say, it appears that even some Jackson fans don't like this choice.
I agree with you Galin it was uncalled for and unneeded. I am a little bit of a PJ fan and i don't always agree with him.
I think that fans of the book often forget the simplistic nature of film making. It was after all filmed for the masses and nothing says power on screen than something big bright and flashy, so that's exactly what we got. Also they made reference to the all seeing eye, the problem is that I know and you know Sauron and the eldar dont need eyes to see afar but does the average person? I think that the moment when the ring is put on and the eye darts towards the mountain of doom could not have been portrayed without having a physical object to work from and the whole point is that Sauron is not physical.
It might be Jackson's point that Sauron wasn't physical, but if he thinks that's problematic with respect to some section of the films, that's his own doing in any case, as Tolkien's Sauron was physical.
Well I know that Sauron was physical but I thought that he couldnt take physical form without the ring in both the Book and the film or am I wrong in this?
According to JRRT Sauron was physical at this point. Gollum describes Sauron's hand for example, and there are a number of other citations from Tolkien's letters. Sauron needed the One to exist to rebuild his body, but he didn't need to possess it to self-incarnate again.
And by the way, welcome to Planet Tolkien!
Thank you for your welcome Galin,
I didn't remember the reference to Saurons hand and I have never read tolkiens letters, But seeing just how much people quote from them I am thinking I will need to do this in order to keep up.
Tolkien's letters are very interesting, but also a bit tricky sometimes, since JRRT was not against changing his mind over the years, generally speaking. However with respect to Sauron's body I find (what I think is) a notable consistency. This example gives the reader the context of the Third Age:
(...) In the contest with the Palantír Aragorn was the rightful owner. Also the contest took place at a distance, and in a tale which allows the incarnation of great spirits in a physical and destructible form their power must be far greater when actually physically present. Sauron should be thought of as very terrible. The form that he took was that of a man of more than human stature, but not gigantic. (...''
Elsewhere Tolkien noted that Sauron was always de-bodied when vanquished, or explained that after the Last Alliance it took Sauron longer to rebuild his physical form than it had after the fall of Numenor.
So longer, yes, but accomplished without the One. I once rounded up a number of citations regarding Sauron's incarnation in the Third Age -- into one post somewhere -- but I can't locate it at the moment.
Wow thats great information thanks Galin. If you find that post be sure to post it on this discussion I would love to see that.
We all forget sometimes that most viewers of the film probably have not read the books. If we were not all as knowledgeable regarding Tolkien's world how would we portray The Eye, really its a powerful feeling, a presence of evil, an all knowing (or at least self thought) power watching over its realm. Its incredibly difficult because all readers imagine something different in their Tolkien experience. I consider myself semi learned in the Tolkien universe and if I had to make a movie regarding any of the Middle Earth histories I know full well that most JRRT fans would not be happy with my visual representation of these stories. It is the same with any book. Has anyone read Gone With The Wind or The Wizard of Oz or any of Shakespere's works, and then saw the film?
Tolkien described the Eye quite well in Galadriel's mirror...
'The Eye was rimmed with fire, but was itself glazed, yellow as a cat's, watchful and intent, and the black slit of its pupil opened on a pit, a window into nothing.'
If I was making a film I would use that -- because as a filmmaker I would have access to the books of course, even knowing that many in my audience won't have read them.
True Galin, however that description was used in the films was it not? It was the use of this image which we are all arguing about. If you were to portray this image, how would you make it threatening and powerful? An actual eye looking out a window on top of Barad Dur, or looking into a Palantir, or an invisible power? All of these things would weaken Sauron on film, not portray him as a true threat to the free peoples...
True Galin, however that description was used in the films was it not?
Yes it was, or close (I can't recall exactly now), but you asked how would one portray the Eye, and in a visual medium like films we have a pretty detailed visual description to start with, and I thought 'portray' included the visual impact of the Eye itself, not simply how it was used.
It was the use of this image which we are all arguing about. If you were to portray this image, how would you make it threatening and powerful? An actual eye looking out a window on top of Barad Dur, or looking into a Palantir, or an invisible power? All of these things would weaken Sauron on film, not portray him as a true threat to the free peoples...
The image itself is already threatening in my opinion, and to my mind this is what CGI is for (rather than Elves surfing on shields or Oliphaunt trunks) -- add the right score -- which in films can make rather ordinary moments seem quite alarming -- and it's perfectly threatening for a film I think. Would you argue that Jackson's use of the Eye wasn't threatening anywhere in the films except when it was a large 'searchlight' atop the Dark Tower?
I disagree that Frodo having a vision of the Eye from a window in the Dark Tower is somehow less threatening than a huge, searchlight-like eyeball atop the tower, and that it would weaken Sauron in the eyes of the film audience. Especially if a director used the (again rather menacing) image sparingly so that it has more impact here.
Silliness would seem to diminish Sauron however, and although this is subjective, it seems I'm not alone in that opinion.
But I would have liked to see how Tolkien would have drawn him.
Tolkien depicted Sauron for his cover illustration to The Return of the King -- which illustration wasn't used in the 1950s however.
He has a body there too -- although some might argue it's not meant to be a depiction of an actual body I guess. In any case it's not an Eye, but head, arm, hand, if I recall correctly.
By the way Brego, I mixed up one of your statements earlier (when quoting it), but it was corrected before I posted this.
true true, however Galin you cant have an objective conversation about this because you cannot separate book and film. I love both, probably book more than film, however I can detach myself from my passion for the written word and enjoy the sillyness in the films. The films had to be dumbed down slightly so non readers would understand it. Its simple if you dont like the films dont watch them. I respect you for your passion in regards to the professors work, you obviously know a great deal regarding the cannon and law of Middle Earth. I just cant be bothered worrying about every fine detail regarding one persons (or three peoples) version of this great tale.
true true, however Galin you cant have an objective conversation about this because you cannot separate book and film.
I certainly can. I don't think these films are that great simply as films by the way. In any case you noted the window of the Dark Tower, and the Palantir -- things from the books -- so I responded that I think these things could have worked fine in a film.
I love both, probably book more than film, however I can detach myself from my passion for the written word and enjoy the sillyness in the films.
The films had to be dumbed down slightly so non readers would understand it. Its simple if you dont like the films dont watch them.
I'm well aware that I don't have to watch the films, but this is a discussion board for discussing both the books and the films. And my problems with these films go beyond dumbing them down, incidentally.
I respect you for your passion in regards to the professors work, you obviously know a great deal regarding the cannon and law of Middle Earth. I just cant be bothered worrying about every fine detail regarding one persons (or three peoples) version of this great tale.
I'm not 'worrying' about 'fine details' but rather discussing the matter of the Eye, in the main anyway.
It doesnt seem that way.... You seem to be taking anyone who has any respect for anything in the films with scant regard. Chill man, theres room for both.
Im dreading the release of the Hobbit, it simply wont have a chance! lol Peace!
That may be how it seems to you, but I don't need to chill as I'm simply expressing my opinions on a discussion board. Perhaps you are reading a tone that isn't there, and when you say:
You seem to be taking anyone who has any respect for anything in the films with scant regard.
There's nothing wrong with civil, polite disagreement in a discussion, so if you're implying I have posted otherwise (to anyone) by 'scant regard' I must disagree again.
lol. i think the presence of "evil" was well depicted in the movie. i saw the movie first, fell in love with LOTR immediatley, "love at first sight". there was always this presence of a "boogie man" somewhere, like no one trusted no one. always paranoid about the ring, characters motives, distrust of one another, anger, fear. Im not sure what would have been the best way to depict Sauron. Its tuff without a actual picture. Can we bring Tolkien back to life to ask him? I read the books after i saw the first movie. I think it kind of spoiled the movies. Because i knew what was going to happen. But they wer awesome anyways. what i really loved about the films was the music. it was done so well. they ued some famous music producer for it, and some enya too, which sounded good.
True Spodo, a whole new generation has been turned on to JRRT's world and message. I for one am glad.
yes i love the movies. i had a tough time with the books because i found myself imaging the characters from the movie in the book. so that was a little bit of a spoiler. but a lot of cool stuff was in the books that was'nt in the movie. so when i read the books it was cool to see all the stuff that was not in the movies. cant wait for the hobbit.
I would add that The Lord of the Rings already sold well to new generations before Jackson's films appeared -- Tom Shippey notes that the book has been a staple of book-of-the-century lists since before the films showed up, and is perhaps the best selling work of fiction of its time.
And there's another element, as David Bratman notes: 'And the number of people who will read Tolkien because of Jackson is surely smaller than the number of people who will see Jackson and think wrongly, that they therefore know Tolkien's work.'
This seems unprovable as a certain fact, but I think David's point here is more to raise the question.
Brego hit the nail on the head- "too cartoonish". I think this basically, and unfortunately, describes the movies for me.
They seemed much more intent on creating a typical Hollywood-feel modern movie than telling the story of the LOTR. The evil never seemed evil enough, world never real enough, and Galadriel was more zombie than graceful.
Just very dry, without a breath of intimacy. That said, I thought the actors were well chosen- Viggo and Ian in particular.
Hmm, I remember you quoting this before Brego, so I guess my same response will do
I disagree that the initial sentence (as Brego began the edited quote above) refers to the Eye. The fuller context reveals that for a moment the mantling clouds drew aside, and Frodo saw...
'... and then he saw, rising black, blacker and darker than the vast shades amid which it stood, the cruel pinnacles and iron crown of the topmost tower of Barad-dur. One moment only it stared out, but as from some great window immeasurably high there stabbed northward a flame of red, the flicker of a piercing Eye; and then the shadows were furled again and the terrible vision removed.'
The tower itself is said to 'stare' out of the clouds, for a moment (I note the repetition of this word with respect to the clouds) -- but -- as from some window, Frodo also 'sees' a stabbing flame (arguably which he perceives to be the flicker of an Eye), before the terrible 'vision' is removed.
In any case, readers will be well aware of the image of the Eye from the books, yet nowhere in the books is the Eye presented as some sort of huge 'searchlight' atop the Dark Tower, a fairly absurd image in my opinion, when presented consistently in this way...
... with the more important point being: it is objectively presented in this way in the films -- that is, the film audience consistently sees a large 'electric' Eye atop Barad-dur as if it is really there, as opposed to being seen through one of the characters, or as a vision in Galadriel's mirror, or a seeing-stone, for example.
And along with the incorrect notion that Sauron was bodiless in the Third Age, the impression could easily be that Sauron is a large eye, or possibly projects such an image atop his tower to physically see in some way.
Yes it seems that it's all in "The Eye" of the beholder Galin.
Noting that you don't really commit as to what your interpretation actually is, with respect to...
I suppose it's up to the reader to imagine whether the eye was visible only to Frodo or to those who owned or handled rings of power.
... by the way, assuming Frodo even saw an eye according to this passage. For a description of the Eye, see the passage that concerns Galadriel's mirror for example, already in the thread.
I still think that the device used by PJ was a little cartoonish. However my view has softened since re reading this chapter. I think PJ had to over visualise the eye to manifest Frodo's ability to feel the power of Saurons constant searching eye.
I'm not sure what 'over visualize' is supposed to mean exactly: show the same image too many times? or does it relate somehow to the way cartoons overdo images?
Anyway here you argue for 'over visualization' -- but whatever that means it could have been done through the subjective lens of Frodo himself, as Jackson did elsewhere in the films, so it is not even his opinion that this can't work on film.
Thus even if one were to agree that Jackson had to over visualize the Eye, what is the reason he had to make his electric lighthouse an objective reality in order to (as you say) 'manifest' Frodo's ability to feel the power of a searching Sauron?
Why isn't Frodo the perfect lens to manifest something about Frodo?
Honestly Galin do you simply mine over previous threads and copy great slabs paste & whine about? Cant you accept that others may actually enjoy parts of a film that you hate? Im not even defending "The Eye", I simply added a quote to a thread which was started by someone asking a question. I dont need to justify my feelings to you regarding likes and dislikes of Tolkien. Honestly to quote Tolkien, you must sit like a carrion bird just waiting to swoop down and pick at the bones of the posts you dont like. I used to actually enjoy reading your posts, but to be honest they are getting really old and dogmatic. Im just worried that other contributors must be scared to dare post anything positive about the books as they may be jumped on like an old English teacher...
FYI, my last post was a joke!!
Brego "the fictitious borrowed horse of movie Aragorn'!
I am rather inclined to think that our professor would not only agree with Galin but add some very stern and specific stuff his own self. The films are just that films, but to say they are anything remotely like the books is to be on something, in my opinion. I like the movies just as adventure movies, but despise them for pretending to show the world anything of the genius and heart of the man who spent over a decade creating a subworld so fantastic and complete it boggles the imagination. Even moving one little detail or adding or subtracting or jazzing up one line of the canon is truly an insult to the man and his beloved life's work. period. That is the problem trying to compare them, you cannot in my opinion compare anything since you are comparing two different things and thinking on them as one. Impossible.
Honestly Galin do you simply mine over previous threads and copy great slabs paste & whine about?
What I do is discuss Tolkien on the web
Cant you accept that others may actually enjoy parts of a film that you hate?
Of course I can accept such a thing (although I don't remember ever using the word 'hate' with respect to the films in any case). Enjoy as you like. And?
And do you come to the interweb, or any social discussion really, and expect to be agreed with every time you post -- especially when your comments are based on edited citations?
Im not even defending "The Eye", I simply added a quote to a thread which was started by someone asking a question.
You did not simply add a quote to a thread Brego. You added what is, in my opinion, a misleadingly edited quote (I'm not saying you meant to mislead, but as this was the second time actually, why not include the fuller context to avoid this being noted yet again), in support of and along with...
However my view has softened since re reading this chapter. I think PJ had to over visualise the eye to manifest Frodo's ability to feel the power of Saurons constant searching eye ..
... and posting an opinion of why Jackson 'had' to do something isn't defending him in any sense?
I dont need to justify my feelings to you regarding likes and dislikes of Tolkien.
Well you can certainly like or dislike anything you want. In any event, did you simply post that you liked or disliked something about the films? And you don't have to justify anything to anyone. But again I'm afraid there are no forums (that I know of) where everyone must agree however, which is just a reflection of discussion in the 'real world' I guess.
Honestly to quote Tolkien, you must sit like a carrion bird just waiting to swoop down and pick at the bones of the posts you dont like.
I believe not everyone in Tolkien's own discussion groups agreed with each other. This can make for a lively an interesting debate.
I used to actually enjoy reading your posts, but to be honest they are getting really old and dogmatic. Im just worried that other contributors must be scared to dare post anything positive about the books as they may be jumped on like an old English teacher... FYI, my last post was a joke!!
I was aware that your last post was a joke: Eye of the beholder, very good! A joke about interpretation however, which raised my first of two points. Which were:
I challenged you to commit (or not) to the interpretation that you noted was open to the reader above. Why? If it's so compelling an interpretation, why don't you simply state it's your own?
And concerning your term 'over visualization' I made the point that even if true, Jackson need not have over visualized the Eye in an objective way, but subjectively through Frodo. You could have simply agreed with that, even silently, or if you disagreed noted why.
I don't see the point of frothing at the mouth regarding our treasured beloved histories of Arda.
But who is frothing at the mouth? I know I'm not, so why not simply stick to the discussion at hand, or move on?
Leelee wrote: I am rather inclined to think that our professor would not only agree with Galin but add some very stern and specific stuff his own self.
Thanks Leelee. And I think JRRT's 'Zimmerman letter' nicely illustrates Tolkien getting specific. Tolkien knew that the two mediums were still telling stories, and he saw plenty of unnecessary changes in the film treatment given him -- changes both 'large and small' in his opinion...
... noting that so far we only have part of his commentary in print here, as well.
Perhaps it is the day to day waiting to know the fate of my child that gives me this feeling , not knowing whether she will dwell in this world with me or be called away by Eru, but whatever, the thing i cherish is that no matter whether you two ever see eye to eye, you are talking. You are both here with me in Middle-Earth and I can see you in my mind and I love you both dearly. You are here now and able to converse and that is all that matters to me.
You are right Leelee, there is place for everyone. All of us have different opinions, likes and dislikes but we are all welcome here thankfully.
Well, related to those last posts I have to say something if you let me. I saw the film first and 10 years later I read the book and I truly prefer the book. Anyway, I think such a book with so many details and fantasy can be imagined in millions of different ways as every human being has an unique mind so they can imagine Tolkien world of many many many ways. That's the beautiful thing of this kind of books.
Apart from that, I would like to come back to this matter of the eye "meaning". For me, it's not so important how it was showed in the film but how it was described with the words of Frodo, Gandalf, etc. The feelings, specially terror that it caused. And my question is why had Tolkien chosen an eye? In my opinion, the sight or the eyes of a person show the state of mind of his owner. Sauron's eye had fire (=rage), desperation (when it was fixed in the ring bearer it could not look to anywhere else), it was extremely big and in the top of a tower (just for everyone else to see it). For me, Sauron's eye showed strength and fear. The only thing was that people of Middle Earth felt the terror of this great eye and the shadow it created. Only Gandalf could guess something else...
Well no one said we can't all have different interpretations, and certainly no one said we shouldn't share them. So why the digression? By all means share your interpretations good folk of PT, but again don't expect to be agreed with every time you post them. Not here or anywhere, especially in a world wide forum.
I've seen interpretations (with which I very much disagree) like Tolkien being a racist, or Elrond being in secret league with Sauron. Or for an arguably more minor example, that Tolkien's Hobbits have unusually large feet.
Or let's say Jackson puts a unicorn in Beorn's back yard. Can I interpret that there are unicorns in Rhovanion because I can prove that horses exist in Middle-Earth, along with beasts that are horned or antlered? How about blue unicorns since I can find the colour blue too?
Again why, in this thread, digress into these general and mutually agreed upon statements like 'everyone interprets things differently' and so on? If such statements attempt to imply that we must all agree with whatever anyone posts... then, well, I can't agree with that.
And speaking of the Eye, just the other day at another forum my claim that some of the Eye examples were metaphorical was challenged and disagreed with (in response to the same thing that I posted above concerning: metaphor, emblem, vision). I responded by posting the examples that led me to that opinion. That's just discussion. And I actually welcomed this challenge as I hadn't really looked at enough of the instances before that point.
Brego wrote: We all love the universe of JRRT in our own way and we should all share our feelings and visions with this special collection of Eru's children .
And I assume people that you characterize as acting like carrion birds are allowed to share their opinions as well.
I come to the web to have fun chatting Tolkien. Agreeing with like minded-folk is fun, and debating Tolkien is fun too. There is nothing mean about disagreeing with someone. How often did I disagree with Lord of All when he was here? Nothing personal or mean-spirited about it in any case.
I can refer you all to a thread (at another site) which currently has over one hundred posts about the distinction between Uruks and Uruk-hai. Pedantic? Arguably. Fun? It's still about Tolkien so in my book: yes. Were there a few 'heated' remarks now and again (not by me, and made well before I arrived in any case)? Yes. But it all worked out to be quite a good resource the next time the issue came up.
And due to the circumstances of on line chatting, if one doesn't care about whether or not Uruks are the same thing as Uruk-hai, one doesn't need to post in the thread, or even read it.
Brego wrote: I simply cant be bothered argueing about every Inaccuracy of PJ's work because in the end I have my own world of Arda in my mind forever and I'm sure it does not resemble, in every way anyone else's.
Yet, for example, as you can be bothered to defend Jackson now and again, by doing so you enter the conversation in some measure. And when someone disagrees with something you post, or even adds a point concerning something you may have said, or at least asks for a citation upon which an opinion is based, if your resulting responses are simply going to be something like 'it's my interpretation and we all see things differently' then so be it...
... however that much isn't very compelling in my opinion, and one could post the same for the assertion or interpretation that the Elves were 'spying' on the Hobbits of the Shire -- and yes that's another actual interpretation I have read on line, even supposedly backed up with text -- or claimed to be supported by text anyway.
Over the years I've seen very many interpretations about Tolkien or his work, all over the web, and they are not all compelling in my opinion -- or at least, not all equally compelling. And some are not only at least arguably tenuous, but I would suggest that some are even demonstrably wrong in the sense of 'untrue' according to the author himself -- like the idea of Sauron having no body in the Third Age, for example.
Can one interpret the tale in a way that certainly contradicts what the author intended? Can one interpret The Lord of the Ring in such a way that he or she thinks Sauron is bodiless in the Third Age, and in doing so, by implication, defend Peter Jackson on this point? Yes.
Expecting this to go unchallenged on a given Tolkien forum however...
On a wholly different note:
Leelee, I can't imagine how difficult this time must be for you, but I'm sure everyone's thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.
Brego, no I don't write fan fiction about Middle-earth (if that's what you mean). And incidentally, as golden eagles eat carrion, I'll assume that's what you had in mind earlier.
A picture says more than a thousand words: http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b382/Ehtiar/Amusing/SauronSauroff.jpg
One doubt? The Eye of Sauron can also mean the dark part of us? That's to say, we have the chance to do good and evil but good things seem always meaningless and evil things seem terrible, despite of the little harm sometimes.
The great Eye saw EVERYTHING. That can be our mind, our feeling of guilt. We fail or make a mistake and we use to blow events up out of proportion and punish ourselves with horrible remorses. We mustn't feel proud of them of course; but would take them as experiences from which we have something to learn.
Actually Elbereth to see everything one would have to be Eru the creator, not Sauron a mere created being no matter how powerful he was in relation to other created beings. He could not see everything or he would have been able to sweep that eye over all Middle-Earth and know and figure out what he needed to know in short order. Eru could see everything though, he always knew where the One ring was and worked all things out to accomplish his ultimate will concerning it and all beings on Middle-Earth.