A popular meme depict Galadriel and Frodo admitting that Sauron is "weirdly sexy," a humorous allusion to The Rings of Power’s Halbrand. The show's controversial revelation of Halbrand as Sauron highlights the differences between Tolkien’s construction of Second and Third Age Sauron as an attractive or admirable leader compared to Peter Jackson’s portrayal of him as a monster or disembodied fiery eyeball. This, in turn, has implications for the geopolitical order of Middle-earth in which many people legitimately might wish to be on Sauron’s side. Acknowledging Sauron's "sexiness" may allow us to see Tolkien's world system in a new light.


Paper presented on April 5, 2023, at a session on “Tolkien Fandom and Adaptations,” organized by Robin Anne Reid, Popular Culture Association conference, San Antonio, Texas.



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