Saturday, November 9, 2013

"Found" MC: The Voice of Saruman

I'm still rereading The Lord of the Rings, going at an intentionally leisurely pace, taking it like a stroll through the Shire...and Lothlorien...and of course, eventually, Mordor. But it's still a stroll. Anyway, I was kind of surprised when I got to the "Voice of Saruman" chapter to realize I'd forgotten Saruman was an expert at mind control. I'd known it once upon a time, but it had been ages since I'd read the books, and his MC powers weren't obvious in the movie. But here they are, plain as day, in Tolkien's text:

The window closed. They waited. Suddenly another voice spoke, low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment. Those who listened unwarily to that voice could seldom report the words that they heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves. When others spoke they seemed harsh and uncouth by contrast; and if they gainsaid the voice, anger was kindled in the hearts of those under the spell. For some the spell lasted only while the voice spoke to them, and when it spoke to another they smiled, as men do who see through a juggler's trick while others gape at it. For many the sound of the voice alone was enough to hold them enthralled; but for those whom it conquered the spell endured when they were far away, and ever they heard that soft voice whispering and urging them. But none were unmoved; none rejected its pleas and its commands without an effort of mind and will, so long as its master had control of it.

Now let me invite you to play a game that might make this passage even more enjoyable for you. Tolkien describes the voice as nothing but a voice until the very last sentence, when he mentions its "master." Until then, we could just as easily assume a woman was speaking. So why not Galadriel? Remember the scene where Frodo offers her the Ring? What if she'd taken it? The words in that passage would remain just the same, only now we would see them as prediction rather than temptation. Read it that way now, and tell yourself something I half believe to be true: If she cared to do it, Galadriel could control minds just as easily as Saruman, without or without the Ring. But if she accepted it from Frodo and put it on, she could use the power of her voice to make this fantasy a reality:

For many long years I have pondered what I might do, should the Great Ring come into my hands, and behold! it was brought within my grasp....You will give me the Ring freely! In place the Dark Lord you would set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!"

Can you see them groveling around her? Picture the mithril collars around their necks, and the leashes of hithlain. Picture even the mightiest of the Elves kneeling before her with their naked, sweat-sheened flesh reflecting the lamps of Lothlorien. See them twining around Galadriel's ankles and begging her to draw them upwards, just a little, just under the hem of her gown....


Chewtoy said...

Oooh, nice.

Galadriel's disturbing seductive dream, possibly inspired by nearness to the One Ring, of what such a world would be like... would make a pretty good story by itself, wouldn't it?

thrall said...

It'd be a great story for Middle-Urth, wouldn't it? I don't know where Iago is these days, but maybe Tabico will feel inspired. ;-)