LotR, Sauron, and “evil cannot comprehend good”

So, yesterday I was reading through TV Tropes (probably the biggest time sink on the Internet — I love it. :) ), when, in the Lord of the Rings (hmm, haven’t read that in a while… note to self…) entry, there was this:

Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The whole plan hinges on the fact that Sauron can’t even conceive of someone trying to destroy the Ring and get rid of that kind of power.

  • In all fairness, he was right. At the moment of truth, instead of throwing the One Ring into Mount Doom, Frodo claimed it for his own. The Ring was only destroyed when Gollum tried to steal it back, succeeded, and fell into the lava still clutching his “preciousssss”.

Mount DoomI may edit the page on TV Tropes later, but as that’s not the place for a discussion (you’re supposed to edit mistakes out, not reply to them, unless both points deserve being made), I wanted to comment on that here. What do you (right, as if I have readers a couple of hours after creating the blog…) think about the reply (the part that begins with “In all fairness”)?

Me, I disagree. I think that Sauron was “wrong” about the question referred to by the trope; the trick here is to understand what the actual question really is. Think about it. Sauron’s belief wasn’t that nobody could, at the end, do the final step to destroy the Ring. Nope. Instead, Sauron couldn’t even imagine that someone could even want to destroy the Ring. That someone would ever try — renouncing, thus, the greatest source of power in the world.

That’s why Sauron didn’t assign a single orc to guard Mount Doom — the thought that someone would even try to destroy the Ring instead of using it never even entered his mind until Frodo succumbed to the Ring and wore it inside Mount Doom. Sauron’s thought then wasn’t “they got that far?”, but instead “they’re trying to do what?”.

Sauron wasn’t afraid that they’d destroy the Ring, since that possibility never even entered his mind. His fear — and that’s why he rushed the entire War of the Ring — was that, at any time, a Galadriel, or an Elrond, or a Gandalf or a Saruman would show up at his doorstep, wearing the Ring, and with an army behind them. Yes, it would still suck for the entire world (there would simply be a new Dark Lord, as bad as Sauron), but do you think Sauron cared about that?

So, the trope is correctly applied; it’s the reply that misses its point. Something to edit later…