ignoblebard (ignoblebard) wrote,

Most Fascinating

Title: Most Fascinating
Pairings: Aragorn/Various, Legolas/Gimli, Sauron/Melkor
Rating: Mature
Genre: Humor, Interview
Summary: Barbara Walters interviews the Most Fascinating People of the Ring War.

Written for Elfscribe for the 2016 My Slashy Valentine Swap

Announcer: Welcome to “The Most Fascinating People of TA 3019." Here is your host, Barbara Walters.

Barbara (standing in a studio, dressed in a formal black dress with a string of pearls): Good evening. TA 3019 has been a watershed year for Men. The return of the king saw the lands of Arnor and Gondor reunited after more than a thousand years. Rohan lost a king and gained a king. Upheaval in the East freed the Men there of the oppressive rule of a Dark Lord. But Men were not the only benefactors of a year that saw apocalyptic changes on a global scale. Hobbits, Dwarves, and Elves also settled old scores and found common purpose in an unprecedented spirit of fellowship and cooperation.

Tonight, in a series of unedited, uncut interviews, I will be speaking with some of the most important figures to come out of this year: a Man who would be King, an Elf and Dwarf whose friendship broke all the rules and, finally, I will speak with the most fascinating person of the year. So stay tuned.



Galadriel in full photonegative as the earth shakes, thunder rumbles, waves crash, wind howls. She shouts in an unearthly voice, “In place of a Dark Lord you will have a Queen, beautiful and terrible as the dawn, treacherous as the sea, stronger than the foundations of the. . .”

Celeborn hands her a candy bar. “Eat some chocolate for Eru’s sake!”

Galadriel turns on him with a fierce fire in her eyes, her fingers curved into claws. “Why?”

“You get a little megalomaniacal when you’re hungry.”

Galadriel snatches the candy from him and bites into it. The wind subsides, the earth settles, the sea calms, the thunder and lightning cease. An ethereal glow surrounds her as birdsong lilts in the background.

“Better?” Celeborn asks.

“Better.” Galadriel smiles benevolently.

Voiceover: You’re not you when you’re hungry. Eat an Echuio bar.


Announcer: And now, back to Barbara Walters.

Barbara: Estel, Aragorn II, Thorongil, Strider. He has been known by many names, but King Elessar Telcontar is more than the sum of his various aliases. From a tragic childhood to King of Gondor, Elessar is a Middle-earth success story, but his victory did not come without cost. The king has taken time out of his very busy schedule to speak with me. Here is what he had to say.

Cut to Barbara in the throne room of Minas Tirith. Aragorn is seated upon the throne while Barbara sits in the Steward’s chair below.

Barbara: Good evening, King Elessar. The throne suits you.

Aragorn: Good evening, Barbara. Thank you.

Barbara: I’d like to start with your childhood, if I may. You had rather an unusual upbringing, which in this past year has become almost legendary. Your father was killed when you were an infant, after which you were taken to Rivendell where you grew up with the Elves. What was it like having Lord Elrond as a foster father?

Aragorn (shifts on his throne): It was a bit of a mixed blessing, Barbara. I knew my father had been slain but I was too young to remember him. My mother took me to Imladris, or Rivendell in the common tongue, for my protection. Lord Elrond took us in, fostered me. He had been fostered himself as a youngster by a couple of kinslayers. A fact he never let me forget whenever I played the “You don’t understand what it’s like” card as a teenager. Still, my childhood was a happy one. I had my mother, and Elrond’s sons were like brothers to me.

The Last Homely House was an exciting place for a kid. Elrond took in travelers and refugees from all over Middle-earth so there was always a lot going on. A lot of cultural activities. It was just a very healthy, wholesome place.

Barbara: So were you and your mother part of the community or did you keep to yourselves?

Aragorn: Oh, we were very much part of the community. I was raised by all the Elves, but two in particular were instrumental in my upbringing: Elrond’s advisors, Glorfindel and Erestor. Those two were nigh inseparable, and such opposites, with Erestor being slight and bookish whereas Glorfindel was tall and athletic. Erestor acted as my academic instructor but he was a bit dour, especially when Glorfindel was around. As an adolescent I worked off my energy outdoors in the fresh air, stripped to the waist, practicing sword drills or archery or wrestling with Glorfindel. He took a keen interest my physical instruction.

Barbara: I imagine there weren’t many young women your age there. Was that hard for you?

Aragorn (thoughtfully): You know, I never really considered it but looking back it seems strange how few women lived in Imladris. The valley was well protected so you would think women of all races would have flocked there but, strangely, they didn’t. I do remember a few Elf women, and with dwarves there’s no telling really, but the women mostly lived in pairs by themselves. Pursuing feminine interests I suppose. They took no notice of me. Even my mother had a special friend who lived with us in our apartments. They would often shut the door so they could do their sewing in private and I would hear a lot of giggling and breathless whispers. My mother enjoyed sewing so much. I wish I had at least a few of her works to remember her by, but I don’t think she ever actually finished anything.

Barbara (smiling wanly): Let’s talk about the Elves. It sounds like you got along well with them but was it difficult too? After all, Elrond is over three thousand years old.

Aragorn: Yes, well, of course the Elves are different from us in many ways. Immortality being the main thing, as you said. They tend to treat mortals with kid gloves. There was tension at times.

Barbara: It is said “Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes”. Did you find this to be the case?

Aragorn: Well, yes and no. (laughs) Sure, Elves live a long time, and of course are very wise. However, wisdom and practicality are two very different things. Look, as far as advice goes they try not to give too much away, that’s all. Some of them have the gift of foresight but that tends to be a bit of a double edged sword, so they like to play things close to the vest.

Barbara: So would you say Lord Elrond was a bit cold toward you and your mother? Stand-offish perhaps?

Aragorn: Oh no, nothing like that. He’s a good man, and fair. I think if you were to ask anyone to describe him the word fair would be in there somewhere. He was especially good to me when I was very young, but with circumstances being what they were he had to maintain a bit of distance. When I turned twenty-one. . . I remember I had just come home from a trip with my brothers. We were laughing and joking around and Elrond pulled me aside. He explained my heritage then, told me about my father and why they all called me Estel. It was difficult, finding out that way. I mean, he hands me a sack of sword pieces and a ring. What am I supposed to do with that? So I went off into the wild, to let it all kind of sink in. (pauses, clears throat) Yeah, that was a difficult time.

Barbara: You traveled extensively in your youth, serving as a captain to two kings, routing Corsairs in Umbar, learning of the “plots and devices of Sauron” as you once put it. That must have been quite an education.

Aragorn (relaxing back a bit): It was, Barbara, it was. I learned a lot during those adventures. I became more confident in myself, more sure of my powers. I saw corruption first hand. The things men can do to each other. It wasn’t pretty. But I also saw good in Men, what could be accomplished with mutual cooperation and fellowship. It gave me a valuable perspective.

Barbara (leaning forward, eyes glinting): I’m sure you know of the rumors that surrounded you during those times, a young man taken into the courts of Thengel and Ecthelion II, rising so quickly through the ranks. There were rumors of favoritism. Some even said your relationships with these men were sexual in nature. How do you answer those people?

Aragorn (stiffly): People are going to believe what they want, I suppose. A young man, an outsider eager to prove his mettle, that’s always going to raise eyebrows. Look, I was able to help both the King of Rohan and the Steward of Gondor see the need for a strong defense, showed them things they could do to weaken Sauron’s allies. And if that resulted in some late nights with them in their chambers, giving and receiving counsel, well. . . Maybe it generated some talk, but there was nothing inappropriate.

Barbara (nods sagely): You also spent a great deal of time with the Dúnedain Rangers and developed a special relationship with Halbarad. Tell me a little about that friendship.

Aragorn (guarded): Halbarad was a great man. He was a kinsman of mine, though I’m not exactly sure how we were supposed to have been related. We spent a lot of time together in the wild, mainly guarding the Shire, but other lands too. Nights are very cold and dark in the North and we were just constantly uncomfortable, so we’d share a bedroll now and then. You know, for warmth. Being exposed to the elements as we were makes a man feel very vulnerable but we kept each others spirits up.

Barbara: Halbarad was with the Grey Company when they came to deliver the message that you should take the Paths of the Dead. He brought the standard Arwen made for you. Did it feel at that time like you were being pulled in two directions?

Aragorn (taken aback): How did you know about that? (clears throat) Yes, well, for a little while it did. Of course I knew when I became king things would have to change between us but that was a kick in the gut. He was there; he was holding Arwen’s hand-sewn banner. You get the picture.

Barbara (speaking softly, sympathetically): Yet you never had to make that choice, did you? Halbarad fell at the Pelennor fields. Were you there when he died?

Aragorn (pauses, tears up): I was. I saw him go down but I couldn’t get to him. (pauses, swallows hard, wipes at his eyes with his sleeve) In some ways it was the most meaningful relationship I ever had. I. . . (trails off, a long moment passes as he composes himself) Sorry. You can cut this, right?

Barbara (waits until Aragorn gets himself together, shuffles her notes): The war took its toll in many ways, but it must have been especially difficult for you. You became the leader of the Fellowship after Gandalf’s fall, and then the group broke up when Frodo struck out on his own. Was that your darkest hour?

Aragorn (knits his brow and strokes his beard): There were a lot of dark days during the war, Barbara. Yet at every turn we seemed to run into the most fortunate series of circumstances, almost too incredible to believe. Gandalf died and we despaired, but darned if he didn’t show up again even more powerful than before. That was so random and unexpected. Things looked really dark at Helm’s Deep, we were losing, beaten. We despaired. Then Gandalf showed up with Erkenbrand and we won the day. Saruman had turned traitor. How could we possibly stand against him? Well, we didn’t have to because the Ents showed up at Orthanc and defeated him handily before we ever set foot in the place.

Then when Gondor was under attack I took the Paths of the Dead and told those long deceased soldiers they needed to fulfill their oath. So they helped us get control of the Corsair ships and we were able to show up in Gondor in time to break the siege. How lucky was it that all those years ago they double crossed Isildur, got cursed, and were still available? I mean, I might have called them up for some border skirmish years earlier had I known about them. I must have passed that cursed mountain a dozen times and never thought of exploring it to see if there were any dead soldiers in there beholden to me. And even at the very end when we were hopelessly outnumbered, Frodo decided to keep the ring but Gollum got hold of it and promptly killed himself with happiness, destroying the ring in the process. So yes, there were dark times but, strangely, it all just kind of fell into place. The more I think about it, the weirder it all seems. (ponders, shrugs, smiles and throws up his hands) What can I say? Destiny.

Barbara: Once you gained the crown you wasted no time marrying Arwen, your betrothed of many years. How did you two meet?

Aragorn (brightening): That’s an interesting story, Barbara. Would you believe when I first saw her I thought she was my age? Thousands of years old and she didn’t look a day over twenty. Truly, I thought I had strayed into a dream.

Barbara: But you didn’t get together right away.

Aragorn: No, I’m afraid I made a poor impression. I called her by another woman’s name. (winces at the memory) She was gracious about it but it was pretty embarrassing.

Barbara (smiles): So how did you win her over?

Aragorn: I happened to be traveling through Lothlórien. I was weary and all I wanted was a hot meal and a warm bed. I smelled terrible, I looked terrible. If Arwen had seen me then the deal would have been off for sure. But Galadriel, she’s my mother-in-law now, she told me to clean up. She sent me to a barber, gave me a new set of clothes. All white. I looked like a waiter. (laughs) But I indulged her. She’s not the type of woman who takes no for an answer.

I think she knew what was going to happen, she usually does. So, Arwen happened to be in Lothlórien too, though I didn’t know it. She spent a lot of time there visiting her grandparents through the years. Imladris, as I said, could be a bit boisterous and she’s so low-key.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I saw her and went over to say hello. She turned around and saw me coming toward her and I’ll never forget the look on her face. (laughs) I had grown up a lot since the last time she saw me. I squared my shoulders — I had a tendency to slouch back then — and tried not to look so grim. (grins broadly) And it must have worked because we’ve been together ever since. Off and on. You know, what with my travels and having to win the war and all that. But it was worth the wait.

Barbara (slyly): And in all that time away from her you stayed pure?

Aragorn (sincerely): I never had another woman.

Barbara (raises eyebrows, lets it slide): And now there’s a child on the way. Are you excited about becoming a father?

Aragorn (beaming): Yes, very excited. We couldn’t be happier.

Barbara: Have you two given any thought to names?

Aragorn: We’re thinking of Eldarion if it’s a boy. We haven’t picked out girl names yet.

Barbara: Well that is terrific news, King Elessar. I’m sure the viewers join me in wishing you and your lovely queen all the best. One last thing. It is said the hands of the King are the hands of a healer. I have a little bursitis in my shoulder, would you mind. . .?

Aragorn (standing and laying his hand on her shoulder): Not at all. (chants softly)

Barbara (rolling her shoulder experimentally): Very good. That did the trick. Thank you again for your time, your majesty.

Aragorn: You’re most welcome.

Cut back to Barbara in the studio: Next up I will be talking to one of the most unlikely couples to come out of the war. One is an Elf of the woodland realm and the other a Dwarf of Erebor. Stay tuned for their story.



A Gondorian King of old is looking into a palantír. He speaks softly. “Yeah, I'm married. Does it matter? You'd do that for me? I'd like that.”

His Queen walks up behind him. “Who are you talking to at three in the morning?”

“Fuinur from Barad-dûr.”

Queen pushes husband aside and looks into palantír. “What's that you're wearing, (sarcastically) Fuinur from Barad Dur?

Voice from palantír: “Uh, armor.”

Queen to husband: “She looks hideous.”

“Well, she’s a Black Númenórean, so. . .”

Voiceover: Savings, even at 3 a.m. That’s State of Dread Insurance.


Announcer: Once again, Barbara Walters.

Barbara (in studio): Probably the most unusual friendship of this or any Age is the one between our next two guests. Legolas Greenleaf is a Prince of the great forest formerly known as Mirkwood, recently renamed Eryn Lasgalen. Gimli son of Glóin is a Dwarf of the noble house of Durin. For two Ages enmity between their respective races ran high. Though there were periods of trade and cooperation, the overall relationship between Elves and Dwarves has been a prickly one. Yet Legolas and Gimli put all this aside when they joined the Fellowship of the Ring. Since the war they have spent a lot of time together. Though their current itinerary is unstructured, I managed to catch up with them in Fangorn Forest.

Cut to Barbara sitting on a red and white checked blanket under a gnarled oak, the remains of an impromptu picnic spread out in front of her: chicken, lembas, an open bottle of wine. Legolas is sitting with his back against the tree trunk, one knee pulled up, and Gimli is standing, leaning on his axe, which puts them about at the same height.

Barbara: You two were difficult to track down. You’ve been traveling together since the war, first visiting the Glittering Caves in Rohan and now here in Fangorn Forest. Why are you traveling together and what else do you plan to see?

Legolas: We became fast friends during the course of the quest. I like forests and Gimli likes caves so we decided, if we survived, we would visit the places we like together.

Gimli: The caves were a marvel, the walls glitter like many jewels. Even this one (jerking his thumb at Legolas) was impressed.

Legolas (smiling): It was all right.

Gimli (fuming): All right? All right? You were on your knees in awe half the time we were there.

Legolas (chuckles): You wish. (to Barbara) We’re not sure where we want to go next. Perhaps into the East. Aragorn is opening trade with the Easterlings soon and it would be nice to go sightseeing before they start taking tour groups. I hear they have amazing, exotic forests of these really skinny trees, and bears that aren’t really bears at all.

Barbara: Like Beornings?

Legolas: I think they’re related to raccoons.

Gimli (grinning, stroking his beard): Legolas likes bears.

Legolas (throwing a chicken bone playfully at Gimli’s head): And Gimli likes chicken.

Gimli (snorting): In your dreams, laddie.

Barbara: It seems you get along well now, but how did you overcome your differences on the journey?

(they exchange looks, grinning)

Legolas (shrugs): It’s all a matter of finding common ground.

Gimli (nodding): Yes, we discovered an admiration for each other's unique talents and abilities.

Barbara: So what do you two have in common?

Legolas: We both like to kill orcs, run together with the wind in our hair, ride the same horse.

Barbara: You seem very close.

Gimli: We are now, but it wasn’t always that way. Would you believe his father imprisoned my father just for trying to walk through his woods?

Legolas (frowning): There was a little more to it than that.

Gimli: What do you know? You weren’t even there.

Legolas: I might have been. Depends on who you ask.

Gimli (rolls his eyes): Anyway, I was not particularly pleased to be chosen for the quest when I found out he was going.

Legolas: Neither was I. We were wary of each other at first, but once we hit Lothlórien and he lost it over Galadriel I knew he’d made the leap from Elf-curious to Elf-friend. It was all smooth sailing after that.

Gimli (blushing): They call her the Lady of the Golden Wood. I thought it was her drag name.

Legolas (teasingly): Oh, just admit it. You like a little salt water with your taffy now and then.

Gimli (exasperated): What does that even mean?

Barbara (pressing on): So how did you resolve the question of whether the Dwarves or the Elves were responsible for the bad blood between your races?

Gimli: We haven’t resolved it so much as just agreed to disagree.

Legolas (grimaces): I hate that phrase “agree to disagree”. I never agreed to anything, disagreeing being the least of it.

Gimli: Save us from stiff-necked Elves!

Legolas: And stubborn Dwarves!

(they lock eyes and glare, the air charged with tension; then Gimli throws aside his axe and they fly together, locking lips in a kiss that goes on so long Barbara gets uncomfortable)

Barbara (bemused, shuffling her notes): Uh, I think we may have an exclusive. Are you two a couple?

(they jump apart and look at the camera with twin sheepish grins)

Legolas (gulps): We were planning to make the announcement to our fathers when we got back home. You can cut this, right?

Gimli (growls): She’d better, or it won’t be only orc necks I’ll be cleavin’.

(Barbara starts to respond when a man in a blue jacket and yellow boots dances into the clearing)

Tom (singing): Ring a dong dildo, my merry friends! Heigh ho for Old Man Willow, the fun never ends. He has thin springy switches for intimate play, and a taste of his bark takes the sting away.

(spies Barbara, stops and bows)

Barbara: Wait, aren’t you Tom Bombadil of the Old Forest?

Tom: Tom Bong. . . Er, Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo! Master of hill, water, and wind; master of oak and willow. When Gandalf came and spoke with me, just before he sailed, I realized the Old Forest was too confining so on Goldberry I bailed. I opened a resort here for like-minded gents, Elves and Dwarves, Hobbits, Men and Ents.

Barbara: Do you ever say anything that doesn’t rhyme?

Tom (laughing merrily): From time to time. (to Legolas) Come to the Entwash Bathhouse when you’ve finished up your chat. Two steams for the price of one, not even Imladris can beat that. The water is so wholesome it is sure to give you vigor, and it has the added benefit of making your little buddy bigger — I mean taller. He’ll get taller if he takes a steam at the Entwash. (winks at Barbara, who gives him a sour look)

Legolas: Thanks, Tom. We’ll come soon.

Tom: That’s what he said. (pirouettes and dances off singing) Ring a dong dillo, I’m off to bite my pillow.

Barbara (a bit disoriented): I think it’s time to wrap this up. One more question. If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you like to be?

Gimli (jerking his thumb at Legolas): I know what he’d be, a big ash.

Legolas: And you’d be a little beech.

(they glare then grapple into a passionate kiss)

Barbara (stands, walks aside, the camera follows until Legolas and Gimli are out of frame): Well, you saw it here first, folks. Next up I will speak to the most fascinating person of the year. Stay tuned.

(off camera)

Ouch, my ear!

Ouch, my beard!



A hobbit stands next to a beautiful woman with long silver hair who is wearing a flowing white gown. He gestures at the sky and she moves a star to the right.

Voiceover: At his request, Elbereth once moved a star that shone too brightly into his window.

Hobbit on the back of a hovering great eagle, picking plants from the side of a cliff.

Voiceover: Gwaihir once took him to pick herbs - for an eagle stew.

Hobbit puts on ring, disappears.

Voiceover: He once borrowed the One Ring from Sauron to sneak onto an attraction labeled “You must be this tall to ride.”

He is - the most interesting Hobbit in Middle-earth.

Hobbit sitting at a table with two buxom shield maidens.

“I don’t always drink ale, but when I do I prefer Green Dragon.” (holds up tankard in a toast as product logo appears) “Stay Tookish my friends.”


Announcer: Back to Barbara Walters.

Barbara (in studio): My final guest tonight was a controversial choice. From the fact that he is not technically a “person” to his attempt to cover all the word in shadow, many said the Dark Lord should not be included in this broadcast. But there is no denying Sauron, or Mairon as he was known in his younger days, is a fascinating character. First he was prohibited from taking fair form, now he is unable to take any form at all.

I sat down with Sauron so that he might, in his own words, explain how things went so tragically wrong. Because he is stuck between worlds, our cameras had to be adjusted so the viewers can see him. I wore special glasses that allow me to see into the wraith world in order to conduct the interview. Sauron met with me on Vingilot as he was being transported to the Gates of Night to serve his sentence of eternity in the Outer Void.

(Cut to Barbara in a ship’s stateroom, a pale greenish glow sits opposite her, faceless save for two red unblinking lights where eyes should be.)

Barbara: First, thank you for sitting down with me tonight.

Sauron (raspy whisper): To be frank, Manwë made me do this as part of my punishment. Otherwise I’d have nixed this puff piece.

Barbara (raises eyebrow): Very well. What I would like to do is to start at the beginning if I may. What made you decide to follow Melkor?

Sauron (heaving a breathless sigh): This is old news, Barbara. Ancient. But mortals have such short memories I guess I have to lay it all out again.

After the world was made and we all went into Arda and spruced it up with our own little touches — I added mosquitoes — I became friends with Aulë. He seemed to have it all together. Then we all took physical form and he had these super remarkable hands. He loved tinkering with things, I did too. So me and a few other Maia started working with him. Now we had a special relationship, he and I. We spent an aeon or two at the forges and it was just the best, most creative time. There was something new and exciting every day. The creativity. . . I just can’t tell you. Not many people know this but I helped him make the Dwarves, suggested the height so we’d look more impressive to them. Then Eru put the kibosh on that project, the arrogant puntl – excuse my Quenya.

But then Aulë and Yavanna got together and things weren’t the same after. He started coming in late, blowing off my suggestions. Eventually I had enough. Melkor was his complete opposite. So forceful and so devilishly handsome, even without corporeal form. He had real fire and passion. And, he an actual plan for everything. He wasn’t just farting around hoping it would all work out, he took an active interest.

Barbara: So you left Aulë to follow Melkor instead?

Sauron: Well, follow is a strong word. Yes, he wields greater power and yes I took my cues from him, especially early on, but I like to think I did pretty well for myself all told. I’d say I cast a larger shadow than he did these past couple of Ages, and that’s no mean feat. Anyway, he and I hit it off immediately and we took up residence in Arda together. He saw the potential of this little speck of a world. All he wanted was to tweak the original design a little. Give it some panache.

Barbara: And the others disagreed with his designs?

Sauron: The Valar are a bunch of isolationist fools. They only understand their one small corner of things, the one little piece revealed to them, but Melkor saw the big picture.

Barbara: And what is the big picture?

Sauron (rasps out a string of Valarin that causes Barbara to clap her hands over her ears and grit her teeth in pain): There, I just told you. Happy? You should know our designs are not for mortal ears.

Barbara (dourly): Perhaps I did overstep my bounds with the question, but that was a bit rude.

Sauron: I’ve done human sacrifice. I’ll allow rude.

Barbara (holding onto her professionalism by a thread): So you and Melkor moved into Utumno together. What was that situation like?

Sauron: Actually, Melkor had done quite a bit of poking around and fortress building before I got there but he welcomed my company. We traveled a lot. He was still looking for the Flame Imperishable, thinking Eru might have hidden it somewhere in Middle-earth, so we took a lot of road trips, kindling volcanoes to roast hot dogs, playing volleyball with mountains we’d reshaped. Occasionally we’d take a trip into the void to go antiquing.

Barbara: I thought Utumno was home to all sorts of Maiar and spirits.

Sauron: It was, but I held special favor with Melkor. We took turns taking different forms to corrupt the plants and animals that were starting to make an appearance, so we’d prank each other. I’d become a raven, fly at his face and peck his eyes out and he’d shriek like a little girl. He’d become a serpent and wrap around my neck while I slept and I’d wake up outside my dead body. Just silly stuff to make each other laugh. One time he became this incredibly hideous putrescence and hid in my shower. I smelled so bad for millennia that even the Balrogs wouldn’t come near me. (chuckles, shakes his head) We got up to some stuff.

Barbara: But your “stuff” marred Arda. You brought evil into the world.

Sauron (condescending): Come now, Barbara, we’re both adults. Evil is such a subjective term. One might well say we improved it, kept the world from stagnating. Imagine how stale things would be by now if everything had gone according to the original plan. You do realize the world was flat, right? Just a big ol’ plate floating around in darkness. Until the sun and moon there wasn’t even proper illumination. How short sighted was that? Sure Melkor kept destroying their feeble constructs. How else could he make them see that track lighting is the only way to go?

Barbara: So you’re saying Melkor was trying to force the Valar to think things through?

Sauron: Exactly. Use some common sense for *bleep* sake. I mean, how are plants going to grow by lamplight? Well, maybe cannabis, but one can’t sit around toking up all day unless one is Olórin.

Barbara: Eventually the Valar stepped in though. They came and took Melkor away. Why didn’t you turn yourself in, explain things and support him?

Sauron (emotional): You think I didn’t want to? Of course I wanted to be by his side, but he had made me his commander and someone had to keep things running in his absence. It was what he wanted. I knew he’d come back.

Barbara: He did come back, but eventually the Valar intervened again and he was defeated again. After that second defeat how did you pick up the pieces and go on?

Sauron (the lights of his eyes lower and grow dim): It wasn’t easy. I knew I would have to find activities to keep me occupied. I started a few wars, founded some cults to Melkor in the East and eventually Númenor. I even took up arts and crafts in Ost-in-Edhil. But nothing ever filled the void in my heart. Back then. When I used to have a heart. Now, of course, it's all void, inside and out.

Barbara: It was more than just keeping yourself occupied though. You lied, you deceived. You killed to reach your goals. Do you have any remorse for that?

Sauron (indignantly): Of course not. I was in pain. Nobody ever gave a thought to what I was going through.

Barbara: It seems to me that you see yourself as a victim here. Who is your victimizer?

Sauron (croaks angrily): Everyone! Eru, the Valar, the Elves. Don’t get me started on Hobbits. They just might be the worst abusers of all. The whole world was eager to set armies against me but did anyone come around Angband with a basket of muffins or send a sympathy card when I lost Melkor?

Barbara: So you’re saying none of this would have happened if you had been shown just a little kindness?

Sauron (considers): Maybe some of the torture. The Orcs. The corruption of Ar-Pharazôn? Definitely. Forging the One Ring. . .? Yeah, that was a solid plan really. But everything else? No. No, it wouldn’t.

Barbara: Are you looking forward to your reunion with Melkor?

Sauron: Very much. I’m hoping we can pick up where we left off. I would love it if we could be just Melkor and Mairon again, like we used to be. You know, Melkor was the first to call me Mairon. That was his pet name for me. It’s the name I would prefer to be remembered by. Not that cursed Elvish title.

Barbara: What is it about the Elves that you dislike so particularly?

Sauron: What is there to like? They’re arrogant, vain, manipulative little shits. Men get a bad rap for lusting after power but all Men want is power over other Men. Elves want power over time and nature. Now which is more likely to lead to real corruption?

(Barbara pauses to consider her answer when the ship’s bell rings)

Barbara: We’re approaching the Gates of Night now. One last question before you disembark. If you could take fair form again, what would you look like?

Sauron: Zac Efron, no question.

Barbara: Thank you for your time.

Sauron: Burn in the hells of Thangorodrim, Barbara.

Barbara (in studio): From a closeted king to an openly gay couple enjoying their newfound freedom to a defeated but unrepentant Maia, this year has given us some of the most interesting personalities of this or any Age. This has been Barbara Walters. Good night.

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