In painstakingly constructed armor made of styrofoam and satin
airbrushed into forbidding darkness, Sauron (Lord of the Ring and
full-time evil overlord of the Land of Mordor) obligingly posed for
pictures at the science fiction convention. Sauron towered over the
crowd, stark comparison with Frodo (part-time savior of the world,
complete with elven cloak and grubby feet). The speakers blared,
“Kids! Come have your pictures taken with Sauron, the Dark Lord!” A
constant stream of convention-goers talked to him briefly and then had
their pictures taken with him. Occasionally, Nazguls joined the scene.
To one side, a girl stood by, ready to adjust Sauron’s outfit for best
effect. She wore no costume, but had with her a small bag with tape
and pins. From time to time Sauron would bend down and exchange a few
words with her. I wondered if Tolkien’s Sauron ever had such an aide –
rushing forward to polish his mace or mend his cloak, asking him
periodically if he found his armor too hot or he’d like a glass of
water. I can’t imagine an orc being so attentive. It sucks to be a
real overlord, I suppose – an enormous army, sure, but no pampering.
The day was hot. Fortunately Sauron had the foresight to make his
costume jointed enough to sit in comfortably, and I saw him now remove
his helmet and enjoy the breeze. A shock of blond hair and pale skin
formed an incongruously friendly face that seemed to float above the
forbidding armor. His smile was not menacing or grim, but light and
almost goofy. He tucked his spiked helmet under his arm and leaned
back, stretching armored legs tired from a day of posing.