The True Villain of the Lord of the Rings

Discussion in '"The Lord of the Rings"' started by HLGStrider, Jun 12, 2005.

?

Who is the true villain?

  1. Sauron

    38.6%
  2. The Ring

    14.3%
  3. Evil as a force, or Melkor

    31.4%
  4. Other

    14.3%
  5. Saruman

    1.4%
  1. HLGStrider

    HLGStrider All Knowing Magic Cat

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    Every so often someone brings up a thread asking who the true hero of the Lord of the Rings is. Some vote Frodo, others Sam, others (YayGollum...) Gollum, and a few Gandalf or Aragorn. I was thinking tonight. . .who is the true villain of the Lord of the Rings?

    The obvious answer is Sauron, as he controls all the little villains. He is the force they are attempting to destroy. He is the one who will destroy everything if he gets the ring. . .

    but what about the ring itself? We never see Sauron (not really). We never hear him. He doesn't directly battle the protagonists. The ring, on the other hand, inflict physical harm upon Frodo, corrupts several characters, and compells other characters through greed to do harm. In the end it even turns Frodo against his quest in a way Sauron himself could not. The ring is the more personal villain.

    Or what about Melkor, or not Melkor directly, but the force of evil and corruption he introduced into Middle Earth? Could it not be said to be the root of all? That is a greater menace.

    Then we have all the little guys, but I think no Orc or even Sarumen could compete against the three I listed above.

    Which do you think it was? If anyone has another viable idea, I'll add it to the poll. Tell me what you think!
     
  2. Hammersmith

    Hammersmith Irresistible Ork Child

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    Just to be different, I'll say Saruman. Saruman is the villain with the most time in the book devoted to him. He is the fist at the end of Sauron's arm, and had he been successful in gaining the ring would have easily overthrown Sauron. He failed to the exact same degree that Sauron failed, no more and no less. Moreover, he was a traitor to the cause of the White Council. I personally consider a friend turned utterly and murderously treacherous to be a fouler and more dangerous evil than one who has always been a declared and known foe. In addition, of the main good characters killed, Saruman kills two thirds of them indirectly (Theodred, Boromir), while Sauron can only manage Theoden to his credit, and that through an already powerful minion.

    No, Saruman is the true puppet master, orchestrating a successful and bold campaign that failed only when he sought his Lebensraum and awoke the sleeping giant to his east (sound familiar?? :eek: ) when he aroused the wrath of Fangorn. I think that most of the interesting "what if" questions revolve around him, and how he could have easily triumphed.

    Saruman in a heartbeat.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2005

  3. ingolmo

    ingolmo The Voidroamer

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    I think it would be evil as a force. The effects of the evil that Melkor introduced into Middle-earth will always be in effect, even if it is only in memories. I think that the evil of Melkor, which in the third age, was active as a force, compelled Sauron to do evil deeds, and some other characters to make bad decisions and do bad things (Boromir, Denethor...)
    Even though I might be getting out of topic here, let me just relive a sentence, though not exactly as it was originally, from Star Wars. It was said by Yoda, the Jedi Master, for those who do not know: Fear leads to Anger, and Anger leads to going over to the Dark Side (evil). I completely believe this statement, though I would like to add the point that greed can also corrupt one to the dark side. I think that Melkor's anger and jealousy agains the Valar was the cause of his evil acts. Gollum's fear of losing the ring made him more and more introvert, and corrupted him to the dark side. The same thing happened to Frodo in Mt.Doom. Boromir, angry against Elrond and the council for not using the ring, got corrupted and he tried to take it by force. So completely, it was those factors, started and powered by the memories and thouhgts of Melkor's deeds in the first age, that were responsible for the tragedies in the second and third age.
     
  4. Ingwë

    Ingwë Creeping Death

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    I think the true Villain of the Lord of the Rings is Melkor, because he is the source of the Evil in the Middle earth. He was the Master of Sauron and he was his teacher. He created the orcs and the Balrogs.
    I would say I agree with ingolmo
     
    Jordan Thomas likes this.

  5. Thorondor_

    Thorondor_ Registered User

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    Evil isn't caused (primarily) by Melkor (nor Sauron or Saruman for that matter) but by Eru himself.
    I would still say Sauron is the most evil character. I would kind of exonerate Saruman, because the ring could somehow corrupt him, therefore anihilating his free will to a certain degree. I know, he didn't make direct contact with the ring, but, nevertheless...

    I believe that the ring's power itself (and Gollum's weakness towards evil temptations) corrupted him to the dark side, not his fear.
     
  6. Barliman Butterbur

    Barliman Butterbur Worthy Keeper/Bree Roué

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    It was Melkor. He was the original Bad Seed in this whole thing, starting from the very first few moments of the Music of Ilúvatar — just as Tolkien planned it! ;)

    Barley
     
  7. Greenwood

    Greenwood The Guild of Ost-in-Edhil

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    Your question was who is "the true villain of the Lord of the Rings"? To that question, I think the answer must be Sauron. Melkor/Morgoth does not appear in LOTR. He is not even mentioned, except indirectly. The Ring is merely an extension of Sauron. Saying the Ring is the villain is the same as saying Sauron is the villain. Saruman, the Nazgul, orcs, etc. are all merely puppets to one extent or another of Sauron. Saruman and Denethor are both corrupted by Sauron through their palantirs. We never meet Sauron directly, but he is the villain behind everything else.
     
  8. HLGStrider

    HLGStrider All Knowing Magic Cat

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    The idea of Melkor as an option isn't so much him as a person, but him as a force, as the first corruption in Middle Earth which continues to this day. Thorondor's theory is off topic, but it has been discussed elsewhere, that the cause of evil isn't Melkor but Eru, but I think the Melkor theory is stronger.

    Hammersmith makes a good case. Another option for the poll.
     
  9. Alatar

    Alatar The Blue Wizzard

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    But Evil powers him.
    Evil as a force, made the haradrim, the easterlings and gollum, fear and so to the dark side, Frodo is not on a quest to destroy sauron, but to destroy evil so that "those that come after may have clean earth to till.".
     
  10. Greenwood

    Greenwood The Guild of Ost-in-Edhil

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    Frodo's quest is to destroy the Ring and hence Sauron. All evil did not disappear from Middle Earth with the destruction of Sauron and it was not expected to. Sauron corrupted the Haradrim and the easterlings, neither he nor evil made them.
     
  11. Alatar

    Alatar The Blue Wizzard

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    The point of deatoying the ring is not to destroy sauron, gandalf could destroy sauron with the ring, they want to destroy sauron and the ring and so get rid of any dark lords.
     
  12. Arat Macar

    Arat Macar Registered User

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    There are some good arguments here but, as is often the case, I see two issues being argued as one and the clarification is in the definition of "villain" which is the word used in the initial question. If we define villain as "a scoundrel in a story or play" (webster's online) then the options are many from gollum to Sauron and our task is to rate them for "trueness" whatever that means. It is a different line of questioning all together to look for the ultimate source of true evil. It is fairly easy to say that "evil" is behind every villain and it influences our heros from time to time as well.

    In this light I choose to respond to who is the true scoundrel in the story TLOTR. Although I really like Hammersmith's argument, and because I believe, in the end it must come down to either Saruman or Sauron, I choose Sauron. Granted that he is not actually featured directly in the book much of the time, he is the one that is dreaded most and who caused most of the pain, sorrow, death, and unrest in Middle Earth. I credit Saruman's fall to the influence of true evil and to Sauron's influence on him as an entity. Don't forget how Sauron was working Saruman through the Palentir.

    Think about it this way, If Elrond, Gandalf, and Aragorn could have pushed a button and immediatly eliminated one enemy from the safety of Rivendell at the time of the counsel of Elrond, is there any doubt who's button they would push even if it ment they still had to campaign against Saruman, dodge orks, and destroy the ring.
     
  13. Barliman Butterbur

    Barliman Butterbur Worthy Keeper/Bree Roué

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    That may be true, but without Melkor, Sauron would never have been. But I am looking at LOTR as the continuation as it were, of The Silmarillion (with The Hobbit as the transitional segue). I see Sil/Hobbit/LOTR as one continuous saga, all interconnected. In fact, I believe you will see references in both The Hobbit and LOTR that connect with each other and with The Silmarillion. :)

    Barley
     
  14. YayGollum

    YayGollum Conscience of TTF

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    Dang. Lots of other have made points that I would have. Sure, Sauron is the obvious choice, which is not a good point for debating that he isn't the main villain. Other people have tossed all kinds of great points for why he is. The One Ring doesn't count, because, as someone has already pointed out, it is just another part of Sauron. Evil as a force or Mel is too boring.

    Same thing as calling Eru the main villain in that The Lord Of The Rings story. Sure, you could come up with all kinds of good points. Sure, all of these crazy Tolkien Middle Earthish stories go together, but this question is asking who the main villain is for this one story. Eru would have to be the ultimate evil in the entire series, though. An achingly evil and gigantic and bored and omnipotent crazy thing ---> "Garn. Am bored. Shall make puppets. Dance, puppets, dance! Hm. Look at what they're doing to each other. That's entertainment! Where's some popcorn?"

    Also, although the evil Saruman character is composed primarily of large gobs of pure evil (mostly due to his evil power of messing with other people's brain, just like the evil torturer Gandalf), I wouldn't call him the book's main villain. You could toss all kinds of achingly evil examples of achingly evil actions that the guy made, but the number and the intensity of the evil still can't make him the main villain. The focus of the story is what will do that.

    Anyways, for this The Lord Of The Rings story, the evil sam is the main villain. That vile character is stuck in the story pretty early on in the beginning. Do you wish to write about fear leading to anger, which is, according to Yoda and this ingolmo person, pure evil? The evil sam character had plenty of both, and all for the book's hero (Gollum)! *gasp!* What is wrong with becoming more introverted, by the way? Maybe that wasn't the point of that observation. oh well.

    Look at it from an objective point of view, crazy people. What is the goal of the story? Destroy the Ring. Gollum does that. Never even got any praise or forgiveness for it, did the poor guy? oh well. Poor Smeagol shows up to help the nasssty hobbitses. The evil sam, from the very beginning, mostly based on stories told to him by some senile as well as achingly crazy and morally corrupt old hobbit, closed his brain to the hero. Being pure evil to him during every chance that he had. A constant thorn in some uncomfortable spot on the body of the guy who was always the most obviously pure. Purity versus stupidity. That is a great conflict. The main focus of the story, in my opinion.
     
  15. Meselyn

    Meselyn Gondorian Warrior

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    I think the true evil force is the Ring. I mean they all say it's sauron because he's viewed as the dark lord, but who's the one who brings Middle-Earth into his grip before Isildur played his part? That's right, the ring. The ring is the true evil force.
     
  16. Hammersmith

    Hammersmith Irresistible Ork Child

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    Saruman? The villain? Nonsense! Some doddering old fool who can't keep his own slaves under control, incapable of abducting a pair of hobbits whose natural ability for getting into trouble should make them as easy to snare as some sort of fish in a cylindrical container of hoops and staves? Rubbish!
    Thanks for the vote of confidence, Elgee. But when people agree with my crazy ideas I feel I need to make up some new ones!


    The same goes for the rest of the poor options. Sauron? Please. The muppet doesn't even have depth perception, and we're supposed to fear him? Melkor? He's chilling in deep space with those three bad guys from the Superman movie. The ring? A lump of gold, a tool to be used by the true villain. Yet in this form, it is easily the best of a bad lot. Now although the ring has been seen to "act" intuitively, imagine how truly and purely evil it would be if its malice was made manifest. If it controlled a being with the same cold, gold brain as itself.

    It does.

    To find out who, we must depart from evil and study good. No matter who you are (unless you're Yaygollum), Gandalf is always seen amongst the top few good characters. Now who else could combat the greatest good except the greatest evil? The Witch King of Angmar. Now there's one evil dude. A slave to a ring that is the slave to the One Ring, he's as close as we can get to a character completely given over to that shiny little circlet. Where he strikes, he nearly dooms the Fellowship and the chance of good overcoming, with his evil blow against Frodo. He is not some impatient blaggard like Sauron, who sends his forces against his enemies without due preparation; the Witch King bides his time, shadowing the Fellowship and gaining the best chances of all in the books of destroying the hope of good.

    Saruman was killed by his own cowed servant. Sauron (technically) by Gollum, a shrivelled nobody. Melkor was defeated by some psychotic elves. So? So what? Not only was this chief of Nazgul taken down by one of the greatest heroes of the north, but she destroyed him as necessity, as he was indomitable against all men. Wow! By that logic, had the sadly interrupted duel with Gandalf been allowed to proceed, the WitchKing would have triumphed and, to quote the famous poet, "It's all over now".

    Now I can see that the argument is coming, "If he's so great, how come he was the servant of Sauron?" and it is a fair point. But naturally, to achieve this greatness he had to become enslaved by the rings. Which would you choose? To be free and a pathetic scruffy nobody, or serve beneath a benign master and rise to the pinnacle of success? Since he could not turn on Sauron, he had no reason to fear that Sauron would turn on him, being no threat to his lord's reign. Thus, his position was secure, and both his capacity (as has been explained) and opportunity (which is obvious!) for evil was in fact greater than his master's.
     
  17. Ingwë

    Ingwë Creeping Death

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    Hm, very interesting: 4:4:4:3 aty the poll. Which will win? :)

    Thorondor, Greenwood,
    I think the true villain in Middle earth and even in Ea is Melkor. He was the first Dark lord and then Sauron was only his servant. Melkor is the source of Evil. The Orcs were created by Morgoth (probably) and the Dragons and the Balrogs...
    Check the thread 'The worst deed of Melko' made by Ithy. There are interesting posts by Nóm. :)
     
  18. ingolmo

    ingolmo The Voidroamer

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    To the crazy Gollum-obsessed YayGollum person: Yuck! :eek: You think that the corrupted slave-villain Gollum is the main hero? :eek: May I remind you, that the corrupted slave-villain Gollum did not intend to destroy the Ring, but the greedy thing wanted to keep it for himself. He was dancing in joy when he got the ring, and he accidentaly fell over and the foul thing himself and the foul thing the Ring both got destroyed. (hehehe, giving him a taste of his own medicine.) :p
    But I still stand with my original statement that Melkor, as a force of evil, was the main villain, because he started and caused everything.
     
  19. Greenwood

    Greenwood The Guild of Ost-in-Edhil

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    Ingwë and ingolmo,

    Would a person who had only read LOTR have any idea who you were talking about when you say Melkor/Morgoth was the "true villain" of Lord of the Rings? They would think you were crazier than YayGollum for calling Gollum the true hero. At least Gollum is in LOTR. The question was not: "Who is the true (or ultimate) villain in Middle Earth?
     
  20. Barliman Butterbur

    Barliman Butterbur Worthy Keeper/Bree Roué

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    Hey, take it to the max — it was TOLKIEN! He wrote it all! :p

    Barley