2.1 The Power of Image


All the basic features of Nazi stage-management were present at the Nüremberg rally in the summer of 1927. The leader and his speeches, the open-air demonstration and the large indoor meeting; the flags, the insignia, the songs, the Heil greetings. These were by no means brand-new techniques of political agitation; what was new, however, was the intensive and calculated use that was made of them.

Zeman, Nazi Propaganda, 15


After watching the films, all those considering The Lord of the Rings as a condemn of Nazism may have widely opened their eyes in astonishment when confirming their suspicions. Unfortunately for them, it was nothing but a delusion, as we are much more familiar with audiovisual language than we are with literary language, for the former has 'visually' illustrated us about happenings which at the end have sometimes become too common in our culture. Thousands of documentaries and pictures about Nationalsocialist Rallies have become a part of cultural memory, and it is because of them why everybody teams/links Nazism with sectarism, fanatism, teatrality, rhetorics, and a great load of terms related to political demagogy. When Saruman, in Peter Jackson's film, appears at the balcony of Orthanc and addresses the massive armies of orcs and Uruk to order them the capture of the Halfling, the accumulation of standards and banners as well as the perfect alignment of the armies of the White Hand automatically drives the audience back to Nuremberg Rallies.


This image belongs to one of the promotional posters for The Two Towers, and depicts Saruman at the balcony of Orthanc commanding the armies of Mordor.


Saruman and Grima Wormtongue contemplate an army worthy of Mordor


Hitler himself contemplating his ability to gather masses at rallies.


The masses in perfect formation at Nuremberg


This is another still from the film, in which the armies of the White Hand and Mordor are summoned.


This is an actual picture from one of the Nazi Rallies during the 1930's, originally taken from the propagandistic film The Triumph of the Will


Orcs AREN'T Nazis, as Nazis were not Roman Centurions. Fascist iconography, and to start with the term itself which alluded to the ultra-conservative political trend, was the heritage from the great Caesars in Imperial Rome. Of course Tolkien would find it easier to create Saruman and his White Hand through historical models of tyrants. So more than condemning Nazism, Tolkien condemned, by chance because of the coincidence with historical context, that after hundreds or thousands of years later we would still believe windbag tyrants and there was still the possibility to sacrifice human lives for machiavellic manipulations and an insatiable thirst for power. In case it had been his main intention, Tolkien would have done nothing but a lirical demonstration of what the world of the 20th century had turned into. What he really intended was to describe the world from ancient times, his vision on the Bible and the creation of an English mythology.


Both Saruman and Hitler approach their soldiers to encourage them, very firmly, with a serious face, but making them feel useful and powerful.



© 1996-2006, Universitat de València Press

© Ignacio Pascual Mondéjar, 2006

© a.r.e.a. & Dr.Vicente Forés