|The Necromancer of Dol Guldur by DJO|
However, despite his bad reputation, nobody in The Hobbit (at least at first) seems to have any idea who the Necromancer really is, or what his plans are . . . besides making Mirkwood a pretty bad neighborhood.
As an example of just how powerful the Necromancer is, consider this: when Thorin finds out from Gandalf that his father was tortured in the dungeons of Dol Guldur, he begins to muse on how he and the other Longbeards might get revenge on the Necromancer. Gandalf, however, cautions Thorin and suggests that the Dwarfs would be better off forgetting about the Necromancer and instead focus their energy on defeating Smaug:
“We have long ago paid the goblins of Moria,” said Thorin; “we must give a thought to the Necromancer.”“Don’t be absurd! He is an enemy quite beyond the powers of all the dwarves put together, if they could all be collected again from the four corners of the world.”
-The Hobbit; Ch. 1: An Unexpected PartyMore powerful than all of the dwarves? This Necromancer dude sounds serious. Read on past the break to find out just who he is and where he comes from!
All right, here comes the big reveal: the Necromancer is . . . Sauron! Ba-baam! Huge surprise, eh? Well at least it would be for those of you who've never read FOTR, which (considering my audience) is probably 1% of you. However, despite the fact that the Necromancer's identity may not be the best kept secret in the world, I think this is a good opportunity to dust off the Silmarillion and LOTR and shed a little light on Sauron's past and (maybe) make some predictions about what his motives/plans are during the events of The Hobbit.
A History Lesson
|Morgoth and Fingolfin by John Howe|
Never heard of Morgoth? Originally named Melkor, he is the Enemy of the High Elves that lived in Middle Earth. Aided by Sauron, Balrogs, dragons and legions of Orcs, Morgoth made war on the Elves and their allies for thousands of years before finally being defeated and cast out into the Void. His underling, Sauron, barely escaped the same fate.
|Sauron during the First Age by Vezz801|
|Luthien and Huan face Sauron by Justin Gerard|
|Annatar by Vezz801|
Shortly after Sauron established his seat of power in Morder he appeared in Eregion to a group of High Elves that had survived the ruin of Beleriand. Sauron came to these elves in disguise and called himself Annatar, or Lord of Gifts. He taught the Elves many things, including how to create rings of power.
In the beginning the disguised Sauron and the Elves worked together, creating the Nine Rings for men and the Seven Rings for the Dwarves. However, both the Elves and Sauron had tricks up their sleeves. In Mordor, Sauron forged the One Ring to rule the others, and in secret the Elves forged the Three Elven Rings. As soon as the elves put their rings on they were aware of Sauron, his lies and the One Ring. Immediately they removed their rings, thwarting Sauron's plan to control them, and in his wrath the Dark Lord launched an attack on the Elves.
In the ensuing war, Eregion was destroyed and Sauron was nearing victory, when out of the West the Men of Numenor appeared. Sauron fled to the east where he began building up power in those far countries, but several centuries later he was again confronted by an even mightier force from Numenor. Those forces of Numenor were so overwhelming that Sauron surrendered and was taken captive back to the island kingdom of Numenor.
In Numenor, Sauron was originally kept a prisoner; but soon, through a combination of lies and flattery, he became the advisor of the King of Numenor. Corrupted by Sauron, the King forbade the High Elves of the West to visit Numenor, banished any Elf-Friends from the capitol, and eventually launched an attack on the Undying Lands. Obviously, this didn't end well.
|The Destruction of Numenor by Darrell K. Sweet|
The forces of the king of Numenor were completely destroyed and the island of Numenor sunk beneath the waves. Sauron underestimated the wrath and power of the Valar, and his physical body was destroyed when the island sank beneath the waves.
Sauron's spirit fled back to Mordor where he began gathering his creatures and servants once more. Eventually he was ready for war again, but this time he was opposed by an alliance of both Elves and Men (the survivors of Numenor).
Now we're getting to the part of Sauron's history that more people are familiar with, because it ties directly into the events seen in the opening scenes of the FOTR movie. Sauron's forces were beaten back to Mordor. A huge battle was fought at the gates of Mordor (the site would eventually become the Dead Marshes as seen in TTT), and the Elves and Men broke past the gates and drove Sauron's armies to the very slopes of Mount Doom. And it's there that we see Sauron in his last physical manifestation:
|Sauron, The Lord of the Rings|
Everything we just reviewed is ancient history when the Hobbit begins. In fact, no one has seen or heard from Sauron for almost 3000 years! There has, however, been spreading rumors of the Necromancer . . . a shadowy evil that had crept into Mirkwood and built the fortress of Dol Guldur 2000 years before Bilbo begins his quest. It was Gandalf who first explored Dol Guldur and reported to the White Council that the Necromancer was none other than Sauron.
It is this revelation that sets up a lot of Gandalf's actions in the Hobbit. You'll notice in the book that everyone's favorite wizard is constantly disappearing and reappearing. Well, it turns out that whenever Gandalf isn't helping Bilbo and the dwarves along, he's actually conferring with the White Council, trying to determine how best to deal with the threat of the Necromancer.
I'll stop their with the history lesson, because I don't want to give away any spoilers. Suffice it to say that the Sauron the Necromancer actually plays a much larger role in The Hobbit than people might first assume. In fact, I've read quite a few complaints lately from people who are upset that Mr. Jackson is dragging Sauron into too much of The Hobbit. They feel like in the Hobbit, the Ring and Sauron are only a side note and should not be a focus of the movies.
I however, have to disagree. The main goal of Bilbo and the dwarves is to defeat Smaug.The only reason they are able to defeat Smaug is because Bilbo spotted a weak point in the dragon's armor (oops . . . so much for no spoilers). The only reason our hobbit hero can get close enough to Smaug to see the weak spot is because he's wearing the Ring. The only reason he's wearing the Ring is because the Ring abandoned Gollum and Bilbo happened to find it. Clearly, without the Ring Bilbo's adventure would have ended in disaster. Now, doesn't it seem like an awfully large coincidence that the Ring would slip of Gollum's finger right when the White Council is noticing the growing power of the Necromancer? I don't think so. Sauron was influencing the Ring, the Ring was responding to the call of its Master, and then Bilbo found the Ring and was miraculously able to help defeat the Dragon.
I think it seems pretty clear that whether he meant to or not, Sauron's actions play a crucial role in the Hobbit. So I gotta be honest and say that including the Necromancer a bit more in the Hobbit movies doesn't really bother me.
Well . . . let me know what you all thing! Should the Necromancer play a larger role in the movies or not?
Later . . .