We don’t just crave Mordor. Have you heard of Hot Sauron on rings of power and how everyone ships it and…well…you’ll see. While other fandoms fight over whether it’s appropriate to like a villain, TOO fans are quietly falling in love with one of literature’s greatest villains. Spoilers for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power to come, certainly for season 1 and maybe also for some seasons to come.
Sauron’s heat is hot.
While the series has condensed the canon and events of Middle-earth history as presented in JRR Tolkien’s books, stories, and appendices, one thing we do know is this: Sauron was a hottie. That’s something even the most rigid Tolkien fans can’t deny. In Tolkien’s biblical text on Middle-earth The SilmarillionAt the beginning of a chapter titled “Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age”, Tolkien says this:
When Thangorodrim was shattered and Morgoth overthrown, Sauron resumed his fair hue and paid homage to Eönwë, the herald of Manwë, and recanted all his evil deeds. And some argue that it was not done wrongly at first, but that Sauron did in truth repent, if only out of fear.
(I know the chapter talks about the Third Age, but I believe this passage describes the events of the Second Age leading up to it.) Appendices to The Silmarillion also clarify that ‘Annatar’, the name Sauron uses when he is the ‘Lord of the Gifts’ and the titular Rings of Power are in production, has taken on ‘Equitable Form’. Beauty is only temporary, however. When Numenor finally falls and Sauron creates the One Ring, The Silmarillion Remarks:
In the heart of the Land of Mordor [Sauron] had fashioned the Ruling Ring. There now it brooded in darkness, until it had forged a new form; and it was terrible, for his good looks were gone forever when he was cast into the abyss in the drowning of Númenor.
Running the page on screen was always a surprise.
So we knew Sauron would be fun to watch in power rings and we knew it would be attractive somehow. It was how he gained the trust of elves, dwarves, and men before stabbing them all in the proverbial back with the one ring. That said, I don’t know about all of you, but I assumed that Annatar – or whatever it’s called – would be one for the Legolas girls, aka hot in the elven way. I didn’t expect him to be warm in the way of a rough, unwashed Aragorn. RIP me I guess.
Enter Halbrand, played by Australian actor Charlie Vickers, who we now know was (sing it with me) Sauron all along. Ho, my boy. Beautiful and sad and dark and smirk at a storm. Galadriel meets him on a raft in the sea. She is on a quest to find and defeat Sauron after he murders his brother in the service of Morgoth, the great villain before him, and ends up not only befriending him, but also by paving the way for his return. Oops!
Shortly after they meet, Galadriel makes an expensive assumption and projects a backstory onto him that appeals to both her and the fans immensely: a reluctant hero and heir to the Southlands – an exiled king, just like Aragorn, never is this not ? Bad! Halbrand will technically rule the Southlands, but only because this region of Middle-earth is destined to become Mordor. Still, the hero’s journey that Gal and unsuspecting viewers were sold on made us look at Halbrand and the things he did in a particular way.
Sauron has manipulated Galadriel, but is also at a crossroads.
One of Tolkien’s letters which likely inspired Vickers’ take on the character states that “when Morgoth was finally defeated by the Valar [Sauron] abandoned his allegiance; but out of fear only; he did not report to the Valar or ask forgiveness, and remained in Middle-earth. When he discovered how his knowledge was admired by all other rational creatures and how easy it was to influence him, he grew proud.
Technically, power rings can’t fit directly The Silmarillion for legal reasons, these letters are therefore important. Vickers also hinted at using Tolkien’s letters as inspiration in an SDCC interview with ScreenJunkies ahead of the Big Sauron Reveal.
This passage alludes to Sauron attempting a normal life, and perhaps even feeling private remorse before finally embarking on the path to becoming not just Morgoth’s servant, but his second coming. This makes it complicated. And complicated characters are very, very, very hot, especially when tempted by a dark side.
Passing out in front of a hot villain isn’t exactly a new concept.
Anakin Skywalker, Kylo Ren, Loki, Killmonger, Draco, Harley Quinn, the Darkling, the Goblin King, Regina Mills…should I continue? We know they’re bad, but they’re not real. We don’t owe our loyalty to fictional heroes. They can’t see us. In fact, one can even encourage the hero while being attracted to the villain. Fans contain multitudes!
As long as you don’t bully others into not sharing your opinions or headcannons, or start using fictional characters to justify your actions or the actions of the attackers IRL, that’s cool. Stories, especially in fantasy and science fiction, help us overcome our fears, anxieties, and dreams in a safe space.
He even survived a shower – which I know doesn’t seem right, but fans weren’t happy when the Aragon ball of fat washed off and fell apart Return of the King. Think Steve Rogers shaves End of Gamebut so bad it made us root against basic hygiene.
We know he’s the bad guy even though he doesn’t necessarily realize it.
If you were less familiar with Hot Sauron as a concept before power ringsit might make you see Peter Jackson movies in a whole new light.
What really made Halbrand aka Sauron cringe, though, was dispatching him with Galadriel, played on power rings by Morfydd Clark. The two flirted, in that intense but chaste way we expect to the Lord of the Rings, and he basically asked her to be his queen in the finale. There were arms touching. There were stares. Is this wrong? Absolutely. There are dozens of red flags. He is the former and future Dark Lord. He becomes the embodiment of evil. Galadriel is also married, although in Season 1 she believes herself to be a widow. I ask you this: And ????
We know for a fact that this “ship is not the end game”.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun, appreciate the time they had, or maybe move on to an AU in the meantime. Galadriel can have fun too. Strong, confident, zealous, and intelligent female characters like Galadriel in power rings are boring like Entmoots if not allowed to make mistakes. Bring the shipping manifests, fics, Tumblr posts, gifsets and lots of fancams about Taylor Swift songs.
Let’s be very clear: I want someone to look at me like that. I do not I want to be tricked by the Dark Lord and under the control of the One Ring he made behind my back and won’t even let me wear it in our engagement photos. I’m actually not want to to see Galadriel become a dark elf queen alongside Sauron, but I want to see her think about it and wrestle with her feelings and/or Halbrand. When Celeborn comes back, I want him to be part of a love triangle. There is a difference !
Too disgusted by the inevitable fiery eyeball of it all to be drawn to Sauron? It is your prerogative. To be fair, there’s a lot of hotties on rings of power. But Hot Sauron is not in competition with Hot Elrond, Gilgadaddy or ElenDILF as far as I’m concerned. I love them all. More the merrier, the merrier! I’ll be right here with the other dark twisted devotees.
(photo: Amazon Studios)
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