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thoughts & musings :: CCC

Saturday, 20 December 2003

Dear Mr. Sauron,

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not read the book, Lord of the Rings, or seen the film, and do not wish to find out any details of the plot then do not read on...

Dear Mr. Sauron,

I recently read an account by the historian Tolkien concerning the spot of bother you've been having in trying to reclaim a piece of jewellery that you seem to have misplaced.

Having read about the unfortunate set of circumstances, I would like to suggest a few pointers as to how you might prevent any such thing repeating in the future.

1. A Ring?
Now this was your first mistake. We all now how easy it is to lose rings; they fall down the back of the sofa, slip off from soapy fingers. Putting a vat-load of your evil power into a ring was very foolish, you may as well have gone all the way and created 'the one contact lens.' Obviously using a single contact lens presents another problem, but we'll gloss over that.

Also, and I expect your mother warned you about doing this as you were halfway out the door, you decided to wear your nice new shiny ring out onto the battlefield. You were bound to lose it. You should have kept it behind in a nice box and waited until you went out to dinner or a show or something.

If you put your power into a big hat or, hey, maybe a sword, then it would be a lot harder to lose and might be useful in battle.

2. Eagles
You want to watch out for these creatures. They never get that mixed up in other people's affairs, but they are waiting, in the wings, as it were, until victory is almost assured and then they swoop in to steal the show.

They are the Middle Earth goal-hangers. But do not think these vain glory-grabbers are entirely neutral. They are very much close acquaintances with Gandalf and so any precarious seemingly-impossible situation involving heights is going to be like a red rag to a bull. They're going to rush there and tip off the tabloid press to ensure that the heroic photographs make the frown pages of The Middle Earth Mirror.

With all this in mind, you might want to have a chat with your friend Saruman who oversees that mobile phone mast of yours over at Orthanc. Capturing Gandalf - excellent move. Sticking him on top of the tower's highest point, unguarded, and in the open on a high platform - what was he thinking?

Even a bit of netting suspended across the top would have been a slight visual deterrent.

Why not just paint a big 'E' in a circle on the platform and make it an eagle landing pad?

3. Orc relationship management.
You need to drum home the message to them that they are all on the same side. A few weekends away with group forming activities. Orcs of the same breed seem to be okay together (mainly thanks to the hugely popular 'I'm Uruk-hai, you're Uruk-hai,' series) but when different Orcs meet, there does seem to be some tension.

The Orcs lay hold of Merry and Pippin at Rauros falls. Okay, so there's a looming moment of 'these are not the hobbits you are looking for,' but it's a success none the less. Let's give credit where it's due. However, in-fighting between the various Orc clans weakens them and enables the hobbits to wander off freely. Admittedly the Rohan fox hunt that they bump into doesn't help, but if they fought as a tightly-knit unit then they might have got away with it.

Much later, Frodo himself is nabbed by Orcs at the tower of Cirith Ungol. Okay, so he doesn't have the Ring on him at that point, but he is certainly prime bait for the hobbit who does. This is it, end game in sight... but what happens? The Orcs start fighting amongst themselves once more and Sam marches in and walks out with Frodo.

A bit of squabbling would have been bad enough, but their internal jealousies led to all but a handful of them being slaughtered. All this occurs as they are arguing over who gets Frodo's shiny coat.

Later, Sam and Frodo get mistaken for Orcs due to the way they are dressed (let's just let that one go past without comment) and they end up integrated into an Orc company and marched off to war.

As this group reaches the convergence of three roads at the gate to Udun, several other groups arrive here at the same time and an Orc pile-up ensues, enabling the two hobbits to wander off once again. This was completely unnecessary. All that was needed was a mini-roundabout whacked in the middle with a 'give way to Orc patrols to the right' sign at each junction.

4. Mount Doom
You made the ring, you knew all about its pros and cons. Here is the one place in all of Middle Earth where the ring can be destroyed and it is unguarded. Not even a fence or a 'keep out,' sign to put off curious trespassers.

And as for the fiery Crack of Doom itself. Where do I begin? Health and safety would have a field day in there. For a start, there isn't even any safety barriers near the edge. What will it take before you sort this out? An accident maybe? Sooner or later, some idiot is going to fall in...
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