Sauron, former ruler of Mordor, grants us an exclusive interview in which he confesses what he thinks of the teachings of Jesus.
Sauron draws on his cigarette and inhales deeply. He looks tired and aged in the autumn sun. Watching as his nicotine-stained fingers grasp the cigarette butt and he unconsciously adjusts his stretched-out cardigan, it is hard to believe that he once spread terror in Middle-earth. When asked about the past, he responds: “I’ve put it behind me.”
It comes as no surprise to me that Sauron doesn’t want to talk about the War of the Ring, nor about the “big liar”, as he refers to J. R. R. Tolkien – I’d heard that from other reporters who’d been sent away empty-handed. He only perks up when I tell him that I’ve come to ask what he thinks about other great figures in the history of the world, and that I’d like to start with Jesus Christ. “That weakling?” he grunts angrily. “Couldn’t it be about Caesar? Hernán Cortés? Hitl…?”
At this point, I interrupt him, saying firmly that today I’d like to talk about Jesus (uttering this phrase, I feel like a street evangelizer from an American meme). To my surprise, Sauron quietens down. All those years, when – in the words of Gandalf the White – he became “a mere spirit of malice that gnaws itself in the shadows, but cannot again grow or take shape”, have blunted his insolence. He lights another cigarette and says apologetically: “I’m addicted.”
“Przekrój”: What do you think of the teachings of Jesus?
Sauron: Unfortunately, his madness spread like a plague. Do you remember when the guards were attacking them, and that servant of his… Which one was it?
His name was Peter. And actually, he was a disciple.
A disciple?! Don’t make me laugh. I had many disciples in Mordor too, hehe! So this servant of his cut off the guard’s ear – a good servant, he defended his master! A solid blow! He didn’t kill him, that’s true, but mutilation is always a good start, in my opinion. And what does that weakling Jesus do? He rebukes the servant, heals the ear – everything’s just turned on its head. But what can you expect from the madman who told people [Sauron grimaces with contempt] to turn the other cheek? Well, what can you expect from him?
I don’t know.
That was a rhetorical question: nothing good! After all, this level of insanity surpasses the madness of Fingolfin, the stupidity of Ar-Pharazôn the Golden! If I had turned the other cheek…
Since we’re on the subject – what do you think about the concept of loving thy neighbour?
Pfft! Complete madness! You know who talks about love? Someone who’s afraid to stand up for themselves, because if they weren’t afraid, they’d be fighting, not yapping on about love! [He lights up again.] And who is this ‘neighbour’? Were the Gondorians my neighbours? Or the Elves? They came to Middle-earth and look what happened! Those mores, those stupid songs! [Sauron mimics the Elves, singing in an artificially high voice.] Gilthoniel, gilthoniel… All that jabbering! And people agreed to it, because the lembas tasted good! They loved the lembas and they lost the cultural war! But I said from the beginning: even if the lembas is tasty, where will it end? Separate zones with Elven law! And come on, Lórien, Rivendell – people were scared to go there without the Balrogs! Stupidity, madness!
I’d like to get back to Jesus.
What more can I say? A weakling, full stop! Take that story about the adulterous woman. He has a group of people with him: brave, principled, ready to fight, these people have stones, that’s the beginnings of an army right there. This army will do whatever he tells them, they call him ‘teacher’, and what does he say? [Sauron mimics Jesus, chirping in an artificially high voice.] “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone”… Madness! Madness! How can you win battles without throwing stones? Boulders? The heads of your dead enemies? So he came out with stuff like that, and what did he achieve? They all put down their stones and off they went, they didn’t even kill her!
Is there anything about Jesus that you approve of?
Hmm, no, nothing. But some of his successors certainly deserve praise. They achieved military successes… Throughout history… Even today, in fact – I really support what some of the bishops in Poland have said! Very much so! The fact that they’re battling this [Sauron pulls a face] LGBT, for example – this is courage, this is wisdom! It’s against nature! I had an army of millions of Orcs and not a single one of those Orcs was gay! And if there had been any, I myself would have thrown him out of the army, I myself. I mean, it’s… [searches for the word] immoral! Yes, immoral! And those colours of theirs, that bright rainbow! Just like the Elves! Rather than tasteful blacks and greys… That’s why I agree with those bishops who say it’s necessary to fight the rainbow plague, I totally agree. I’m also glad that the Church in Poland often wants to influence the authorities. And it doesn’t just want to – it actually does! It has influence! It has a clear influence! That’s something I understand – a powerful force that rules the people! That’s the goal!
What you’re saying reminds me of the speech of Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor…
Really? I haven’t read it. Dostoyevsky bores me. I prefer literature with wars and battle scenes. Ludlum, Clancy, Kraszewski – that kind of thing. Some sort of fight or battle. Not just prattling on and on about the suffering of the soul. Wretched fools!
I see. Are there any other modern Christianity movements you like?
There’s a movement called ‘Christians with guns’, I think it started in America. I like this trend very much because I like weapons. Especially close combat ones – swords, maces – though I must admit, firearms are much more effective. If I’d had a few machine guns, it would all have been different, I’d have shot them like ducks… [He breaks off, growing sad again. After a moment, he snaps out of it.] So, Christians with guns are very, very interesting, I support them. But again: would that fool Jesus have liked it? Sounds like another rhetorical question, haha! [His laughter turns into a cough; Sauron wraps up tighter in his cardigan, reaches for another cigarette, and lights up.] Khh, khh!!! Madness, harmful madness, and so many people followed him… Why?… [He starts muttering to himself, quieter and faster, as if he’s forgotten that I’m still in the room.] Such influence… If I’d had machine guns… But they can hold power, they can… Weakling…
Thank you for talking to us. Goodbye.
Translated from the Polish by Kate Webster