The Eye of Sauron: Book and Movie Version

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3RingsforEGG 11/Dec/2006 at 10:50 PM
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In the books, it appears that Sauron’s eye is more his will, so does this mean that his spirit actually travels from one place to another.  If he does not, how does he know how things transpire in ME?  Spies?  Palantir?

In the movie, it’s more of like a scanner ... and Elrond himself states that the power of the elves cannot hide the ring there as the elves do not have the power to fight mordor and isengard at the same time (was he speaking for Lorien as well?).

And I thought Galadriel somehow "closed the door" to Sauron; does that apply to Rivendell as well?

Thanks

Morgil 12/Dec/2006 at 12:48 AM
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Memory might be failing me here, but I don’t believe Sauron travelled in spirit. He certainly made use of both many spies and his palantir to collect information throughout Middle-earth. Peter "The Butcher of Middle-earth" Jackson’s and crew’s idiotic portrayal of the eye should be disregarded. Regarding Elrond’s statement, that’s primarily more of PJ’s butchery. At the time of LotR, if the entire power of Mordor was thrown against the elves, they would have been destroyed. It is open to debate as to whether or not any elven realm could have resisted the lesser might of Isengard.
Vugar 12/Dec/2006 at 11:37 AM
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I would say that the Eye is most certainly a manifestation of Sauron’s will.  This concept did appear earlier in the history of Middle-earth (chronologically).

"...Morgoth held the Orcs in dire thraldom; for in their corruption they had lost almost all possibility of resisting the domination of his will. So great indeed did its pressure upon them become ere Angband fell that, if he turned his thought towards them, they were conscious of his ’eye’ wherever they might be." (Myths Transformed Text X, HoMe X: Morgoth’s Ring)

I shall have to look into your last question, although I do know which passage is it to which you refer.

KingODuckingham 12/Dec/2006 at 03:46 PM
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There is the passage upon Amon Hen, where Frodo is wearing the Ring, and feels the presence of an eye coming closer and closer, searching for him. The imagery of the eye is certainly used, but it is metaphorical for Sauron’s will as he focuses in on the call of the Ring and attempts to find its location. This we know from Gandalf’s point of view, because he talks of the contest of wills he had: he does not speak of his own eye nor Sauron’s; it was entirely a struggle of wills.
Qtpie 12/Dec/2006 at 09:28 PM
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Here is the quote that 3Rings was referring to:

’And he gropes ever to see me and my thought. But still the door is closed!’ FoTR: The Mirror of Galadriel

I always thought it was Galadriel with the use of her Ring that is ’closing the door to Sauron’. Rivendell was certainly safe and all, but I don’t know if Sauron’s ever tries to see his thoughts. Elrond has never brought up this subject before.
Endril 12/Dec/2006 at 09:48 PM
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Well, I can say that in the books there is no eye hanging in a tower but the eye is more simbolical. It manifests inside the mind of those who interact or which are affected by the dark forces of Sauron. Frodo feels the eye at certain times. Yet in the books there’s no eye hanging in Barad Dur.
Erzed 13/Dec/2006 at 01:36 AM
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I too agree that the Eye of Sauron was more a spiritual interaction between sauron and those affected by the One ring. In the movie version the Eye of Sauron was much too literal and especially in the third wovie where it looked like a spotlight.On the contrary in the books the Eye represents the will, the spirit of Sauron and definitely it does not have a semi-corporal form like in the movies
Phil_d_one 13/Dec/2006 at 06:15 AM
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Sauron did not have a semi-corporeal form, no. But he did have a completely corporeal form.

Gollum says that he has four fingers on his hand, which means that Gollum saw Sauron’s hand, which means that Sauron had a hand, which means that Sauron was corporeal.
Denethor says that Sauron will come to Minas Tirith ’to triumph over me, when all is lost’, again implying a corporeal form.

Sauron rebuilt a corporeal form after his death in the War of the Last Alliance. It took him far longer than after the fall of Numenor, and it wasn’t a new body, merely a continuation of that which he had at the end of the Second Age (unless Sauron deliberately chose not to rebuild the finger he had lost, which doesn’t tally well with what we know about Sauron and his character), but he did indeed have a body. So no, he didn’t travel around in spirit, because he was bound to a body. His collecting of news was done via his spies and servants, and the Palantir, no more.

Oh, and welcome to the Plaza, Ezred

Qtpie 13/Dec/2006 at 10:05 PM
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Welcome to the lore fora Erzed! Here’s a quote of what Phil is talking about and to prove that Sauron had a corporeal form.

’For coming out of the wastes of the East he took up his abode in the south of the forest, and slowly he grew and took shape there again;’ The Silmarillion: Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
Mithrandír 14/Dec/2006 at 04:12 AM
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In the movie, it’s more of like a scanner ... and Elrond himself states that the power of the elves cannot hide the ring there as the elves do not have the power to fight mordor and isengard at the same time (was he speaking for Lorien as well?).

i dont think so,3ringsforEGG. you quoted that the Ring was a scanner. In the MOVIES it was. not in the books. As far as im thinking, i dont think that there really was such a thing as the Eye Of Sauron in that context. If im wrong( wich i am quite alot of the time) sorry.

NineFingered 16/Dec/2006 at 10:21 AM
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Can you explain this quote from Saruman:

"A red eye, lidless, wreathed in flame... from his fortress in Barad Dur the Dark Lord sees all. His gaze pierces (something, can’t remember)... and flesh"

Tuna 16/Dec/2006 at 02:09 PM
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NF- Unless I’m greatly mistaken, that "quote" only occurs in the movies and not in the books. As such, it accurately describes PJs light-house version of Sauron, but not what Tolkien wrote about.
Battlehamster 16/Dec/2006 at 02:42 PM
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I certainly can’t remember that from the book.  And even that quote could still refer to his will: he can "see" through to people’s wants or beliefs or thoughts or whatever.  Although literally taken it sounds like Sauron the Great X-ray machine.

Personally, I think that PJ’s version of Sauron is absurd and the Eye is a metaphor, but that’s me.

Qtpie 16/Dec/2006 at 10:12 PM
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Moreover Sauron already had taken a shape, so the Eye couldn’t represent him since Sauron already had a corporeal form. Unless Sauron has two separate bodies, this isn’t possible. The Eye just represented his ever vigilant watch and malice.

’There now he brooded in the dark, until he had wrought for himself a new shape; and it was terrible, for his fair semblance had departed for ever when he was cast into the abyss at the drowning of Numenor. He took up again the great Ring and clothed himself in power; and the malice of the Eye of Sauron few even of the great among Elves and Men could endure.’ The Silmarillion: Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
Arvellas 19/Dec/2006 at 06:55 PM
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Whenever Tolkien referred to " the Eye of Sauron," I took it to refer to Sauron’s watchfulness, trying to seek out the Ring and his enemies, but of course that does not mean that Sauron was a big eye suspended in his tower--we know he was not.  PJ’s poisonous concoction was almost certainly the result of a lack of understanding on his part, perhaps coupled with a bad attempt to show the affects felt by Frodo on Amon Hen.
Battlehamster 19/Dec/2006 at 08:37 PM
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i just can’t understand how one could misinterpret the Eye metaphor.  It could just be a bad attempt on PJ’s part to show the metaphor.  Like when people try to make a movie of a book that uses lots of symbolism and think they need to have the symbol be really obvious.  It did make the Eye’s attempts to talk rather amusing, though...
Mirkwoodworker 19/Dec/2006 at 10:24 PM
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Frodo saw an eye in the Mirror of Galadriel:

. . . . Frodo looked into emptiness. In the black abyss there appeared a single Eye that slowly grew, until it filled nearly all the Mirror. . . . The Eye was rimmed with fire, but was itself glazed, yellow as a cat’s, watchful and intent, and the black slit of its pupil opened on a pit, a window into nothing. . . . Then the Eye began to rove, searching this way and that; and Frodo knew with certainty and horror that among the many things that it sought he himself was one.   --"The Mirror of Galadriel," FOTR

I think that PJ used this as the basis for his version of the Eye of Sauron. Nonetheless, in the book the "Eye" was still meant as a metaphor, as everyone has been writing. Maybe the Mirror interpreted Sauron’s malice as an image of an eye and showed that to Frodo. Or maybe Frodo really saw one of Sauron’s eyes since Sauron did have a body, as people here have noted.
Oin 20/Dec/2006 at 05:09 PM
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Apparently, PJ decided to combine the red light that glowed up high in Barad-dur and the metaphor of Sauron as the Eye, and that is how the concept of Sauron as a Lighthouse developed. In the FotR EE commentary, Peter Jackson tells us that Tolkien made his villain into a great Eye, and there was nothing he could do about it... clearly, he had never read Letters.
Mirkwoodworker 20/Dec/2006 at 07:41 PM
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PJ couldn’t do "nothing about it." Ho ho ho. I love that. Watching the interviews with the bonus material and listening to the commentaries, did anyone ever get the feeling that the Big Three making the films spent a LOT of time defending themselves?
Brandywine74 21/Dec/2006 at 04:55 AM
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They are always defending themselves! Of course they must have been getting quite a lot of mail attacking them for all the stuff they left out or put in. They would have had a lot of criticism and they’d have to be aware of it as journalists would probably be asking them about it every time they did something to promote the movies. In the commentaries they are constantly justifying themslelves.
Battlehamster 21/Dec/2006 at 12:20 PM
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Although it does seem like sometimes they don’t even bother to justify themselves. Instead they say "We’re right and that’s the way it is." One site I went to said that PJ added the part where Frodo is corrupted/deceived by Gollum and sends Sam away because otherwise that part would have been boring--just Frodo and Sam walking through a tunnel.
Yep, walking through a long, dark tunnel, that they have continually heard hints of something horribly dangerous there when they see a gleam of eyes--that’d make anyone fall asleep.
It says one Wikipedia that they thought about having Kate Winslet be the Mouth of Sauron. I can’t believe it,has anyone else heard that?
Miriath 21/Dec/2006 at 01:56 PM
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Battlehamster - Kate Winslet being the Mouth of Sauron? Woah, I never heard that one before -- what Wikipedia article did you get that from? I wouldn’t trust anything that’s on Wikipedia unless I knew for fact (since anyone can just write on there). Though,  I’d be interested to read that; but that’s a rumour that I’ve never heard about it. But that would meant that they wanted the Mouth of Sauron to be female...which is an odd prospect to be sure...I’m sure that in the book the Mouth of Sauron is described as a he...
Arvellas 21/Dec/2006 at 06:25 PM
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See, this is why when I know that a movie is a film adaptation of a book, I’d rather just read the book.  So much has to be removed or changed because of time constraints--and in some cases, so much is added for no reason at all--that it’s never really the same story.  You get so much more out of books that could never be put on film.

Also, if it’s the Eye of Sauron, there has to be something else for the Eye to be of--suggesting a body.  Otherwise it would just be called "Sauron the Eye."

Battlehamster 22/Dec/2006 at 08:14 AM
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Yes, I also tend to mistrust Wikipedia, especially when what it says is so far-fetched sounding. It says that under the entry for the Mouth of Sauron and says that it came from the cast commentary on the extended version DVD of RotK.
Arvellas- I hadn’t thought of it that way, with the Eye of Sauron, but that does make a lot of sense.
Tin the wizard 23/Dec/2006 at 01:38 PM
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In the books they said that saruman  also watched and then trapped by sauron,so i was wery suprised that in the movie they didnt make saruman an eye on the top of orthanch
Tin the wizard 23/Dec/2006 at 01:39 PM
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And Sauron haved body because he was cast out of Dol Guldur and he ran,imagine an eye running
Oin 23/Dec/2006 at 06:45 PM
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Tin the wizard: What they mean by that is that Saruman used the palantir of Orthanc, the Orthanc-stone, to gaze into Mordor, and it was there that he accidentally became linked with the Ithil-stone, formerly of Minas Ithil but then in Barad-dur and controlled by Sauron. It was then that Saruman became ensnared by Sauron, and eventually Sauron brought him into an uneasy alliance with him (I would say corrupted, but Saruman had already corrupted himself by that point).

Arvellas:

Battlehamster 23/Dec/2006 at 09:06 PM
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Tin the Wizard- I just had the mental picture of a flaming Eye with lots of spindly little legs fleeing for its life through Mirkwood.  Or I suppose it could have caught one of the giant spiders and ridden it there.  I really wonder why PJ decided to make Sauron a huge Eye.  I suppose we should be glad he wasn’t one during the Siege of Baradur.  How would one cut the finger off an Eye?

Oin 23/Dec/2006 at 10:51 PM
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Battlehamster: The reason why PJ decided to make Sauron a huge Eye was because he actually well and truly believed that Tolkien wrote him that way. As I said in my post from Wednesday, in the FotR Extended Edition DVD in the Director’s commentary, right around the point in the movie where Frodo puts the One Ring on in Bree, Peter Jackson says that it was difficult to portray Sauron as the chief villain because Tolkien had created him as a giant Eye, and giant Eyes aren’t very good villains. Peter Jackson, of course, never read Letters (and apparently not LotR very well) and could not understand what a metaphor is, therefore it appeared to him that Sauron actually was the Lidless Eye. That is why he portrayed him as such in the movies.
Tin the wizard 24/Dec/2006 at 09:10 AM
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Amd Sauron wasnt an Eye becaouse in the Fotr Gandalf said that Sauron have long hands
Daywalker 24/Dec/2006 at 11:17 AM
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Tin - I believe that it was figure of speech, nothing else. I assume that Gandalf meant that he can reach far like in his words were in Caradhras that Sauron’s hand has grown tall if he can draw storm to Caradhras.  Sauron did had hands and it is said by Gollum (who was tortured in B-D) that he has four fingers in his Black Hand.
Arvellas 25/Dec/2006 at 07:19 PM
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I believe the instance Tin refers to is when Gandalf says something like "His arm has grown long indeed," and yes, that was nothing more than a figure of speech to describe Sauron’s ability to cause trouble even far away.

If PJ said that giant eyes don’t make good villains, well congrats to him on one true statement.  Now if only he could put one and one together and realize that that might have been one reason why Tolkien did not infact portray Sauron as an eye!

Oin 26/Dec/2006 at 01:04 PM
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My bad guys - it wasn’t when Frodo puts on the Ring in Bree - its when Saruman and Gandalf are around the palantir.

Most of the problems that Peter Jackson encountered in adapting the books are met with the fact that he didn’t read Letters. Phillipa Boyens showed some limited knowledge of the Eagles and why they couldn’t just fly the Ring to Mount Doom (Peter Jackson asked why they could not), but other than that the three screenwriters appeared to be clueless about anything Tolkien wrote outside LotR and some parts of the Silmarillion and Hobbit.

Aran Lepenque Sedai 31/Dec/2006 at 09:09 PM
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Have you forgotten in the Fellowship of the Ring, I remember Tolkien writing that Frodo saw a red light in the distance.  Could this mean the Eye of Sauron?  And Galadrial has said that Frodo has seen the eye before.  Could she be referring to this occasion?

’Every night, as the Moon waned again, it shone brighter and brighter.  Frodo could see it from his window, deep in the heavens, burning like a watchful eye that glared above the trees on the brink of the valley.’

It certainly seems to be the Eye of Sauron.  It was red, mind you.

Oin 31/Dec/2006 at 09:56 PM
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The Fifteen: That red light is not Sauron. There have been a number of different theories as to what Frodo saw - Mars glowing bright (a symbol of the coming War of the Ring), that it was one of the named stars shining brightly for some reason, or some other explanation. How could the Eye of Sauron be in the heavens? First of all, the Eye is a metaphor. Second off, even if one believes PJ’s (incorrect) interpretation of the Eye as being literal, it was located in Mordor, not in the heavens with the stars. Third, your quote says "burning like a watchful eye" meaning it is a metaphor. So it cannot be the Lidless Eye of Sauron.

As for Frodo seeing the Eye, the Mirror of Galadriel was the first time he saw it. Galadriel just says she knows Frodo saw the Eye in the Mirror, and that she has seen it also.

Boromir88 31/Dec/2006 at 11:33 PM
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To kind of expand off what Oin has posted, the ’Eye’ has most commonly been used as a symbol throughout history (and in literature).  Not that there ever really was literally an ’eye.’  The Eye symbolizes control, domination, and all-present.  For some examples:

In George Orwell’s book 1984, the symbol for the government head that is put on billboards, ads...etc is a giant eye.  The government that was Big Brother wasn’t run by a giant eyeball, but that was their symbol because it means control, dominance, and a sense of ’always watching.’  Which if one would read 1984 they would certainly say those descriptions fit Big Brother well.

The Freemasons used the ’Eye of Providence’ (or the Eye of God’) as one of their symbols to show that whatever they did was under the jurisdiction/watch of God.  And in Egyptian mythology the ’Eye of Horace’ symbolized power and protection.

None of these examples given means all these things were just giant eyeballs, they just go to symbolize a dominating presense.  Whether good - as in it serves to symbolize protection, or bad as it symbolizes a dominating control.  Obviously Jackson couldn’t pick the common literary (and historical) symbolization of the Eye and actually took it to mean that Sauron literally was an Eyeball.

Tolkien first actually attributes the Eye metaphor to Morgoth and nobody thinks Morgoth was a flaming lidless Eye with a spotlight:
"It is true, of course, that Morgoth held the Orcs in dire thraldom, for in their corruption they had almost lost all possibility of resisting the domination of his will. So great indeed did the pressure on them become ere Angband fell that, if he turned his thought towards them, they were conscious of his ’eye’ wherever they might be....this servitude to a central will that reduced the Orcs to an almost ant-like life was seen even more plainly in the Second and Third Age under the tyranny of Sauron, Morgoth’s chief Lieutenant."~Home X: Morgoth’s Ring, Myths Transformed

Magradhaid 01/Jan/2007 at 12:34 AM
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Regarding the original post about Galadriel "closing the door" to Sauron’s will, it is helpful to have some knowledge of ósanwë (telepathy). JRRT wrote ’ "Openness" is the natural or simple state (indo) of a mind that is not otherwise engaged. In "Arda Unmarred" (that is, in ideal conditions free from evil) openness would be the normal state. Nonetheless any mind may be closed (pahta). This requires an act of conscious will: Unwill (avanir). It may be made against G[uest], against G[uest] and some others, or be a total retreat into "privacy" (aquapahtië). Though in "Arda Unmarred" openness is the normal state, every mind has, from its first making as an individual, the right to close; and it has absolute power to make this effective by will. Nothing can penetrate the barrier of Unwill.’ [VT39] This can be exemplified with Frodo on Amon Hen; his mind was open, so when he put on the Ring and Sauron strove to find him, Gandalf (because of affinity and urgency) was able to send a message directly into his thoughts as the Voice saying "Fool, take off the Ring!" Frodo’s mind was open at that point; he needed the strength of Unwill to shut it.
Wilibald Bumble 01/Jan/2007 at 03:56 PM
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It amuses me everytime I see the movies and see the "eye" of Sauron actually being a physical fiery object set like a beacon over Barad Dur and it is especially funny when Frodo is in Mordor and the Eye shines of him like some kind of a scanner. It looks like a freakin’ lighthouse! No, the eye is much more than that.

1) It is a metaphor for the watchfulness and malice of all of Sauron’s servents and the Palantir. "The Eye is ever watchful" is just a phrase for all the quiet watchfulness of Sauron’s sentinels. Peter Jackson using it as a scanner atop Barad-dur did make me laugh but then I decided to forgive him on that one as he knew that many of his viewers were not familiar with the book and therefore as in all of these epic movies you DO NEED TO SHOW THE VILLIAN as a physical object. So, PJ showed the physical eye.

2)The Lidless Eye, does not have a physical feature at all as being Lidless it simply means that Sauron’s servants and his malice never "blinks" or does not "sleep". It is always there.

3) Yes, people do say that Frodo saw the Eye in the books when he was upon Parth Galen but according to my opinion on that I just think he just saw the watchfulness of Sauron’s malice as he had the Ring on.
Oin 01/Jan/2007 at 08:20 PM
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Wilibald: There is some debate over whether or not the Eye represents the palantir, in this case, the Ithil-stone. Personally, I think it does not - for one thing, as Boromir’s excellent quote shows, it was when Sauron bent his will on someone that they felt the Eye, not when he gazed at them through the palantir. For another, when Pippin used the Orthanc-stone, he saw Sauron embodied, not Sauron’s Eye. And finally, nobody was entirely sure that Sauron had the palantir until Saruman got busted - it was only after the link between Orthanc and Barad-dur was discovered that it was known for certain that the Ithil-stone had survived the capture of Minas Ithil and been taken to Barad-dur.
Aran Lepenque Sedai 01/Jan/2007 at 09:09 PM
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I thought the eye was a physical object.  A TOOL which Sauron uses to see to all parts of the world, designed so that its gaze pierces everyone and everything.  Not Sauron.  His spirit is already strong enough to take a physical coporal form.  Why would he then need the eye.  Why, to find what he wants.
Arvellas 01/Jan/2007 at 11:45 PM
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When I read the book for the first time, I saw the Eye as being nothing more than one of Sauron’s eyes, a normal part of his corporate form, with no real special powers of its own.  I did not know much about symbolism at the time, but to me it was something like that saying "the Eyes are the windows of the soul," and the Eye was there to show Sauron’s intents, desires, etc., as well as the fact that he was always on guard.  Would it really have been so hard for PJ to have shown the eye as being part of something?  No.  The only thing PJ has accurately shown is his own lack of understanding.  If he had done any real research, he would have recognized his blunders and hopefully corrected them, but alas, he did not do that, and has given the public a load of bull.  His ability to interpret literature is frightfully low.