Warning: This article contains spoilers for Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
The thing about most villains is that they are master manipulators. They bend and twist the truth in order to seem like the right choice, many of them believing it themselves. One of their master tricks is to pull the hero into their machinations, offering them a chance to join them in the future they are trying to build. Now, fans of the trope are trying to decide which villain had the best “join me” proposal.
In Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, episode eight, it was finally revealed that what many had suspected for some time was correct: Halbrand was Sauron in disguise. When Galadriel discovers this, she confronts him by the stream in Eregion. This leads to a battle of the minds with Sauron using many tactics to try and convince her to join him, to be his antithesis and create balance, him a being of darkness and her a being of light. This is the classic plea made by the villain to the protagonist (often when it is a male/female coupling), the “you bring out the best in me” and “only you can fix me” approach.
It’s a toxic trait not only found on screen but in real-life relationships, and let’s just say it’s a massive red flag. Sauron, go to therapy and work on yourself! The other side of that coin is the offer of power, the “together we can be the most powerful beings of all time, we can rule and make things better” plea, despite their history of atrocities and general villainy, they would have you believe their true goals are altruistic. In Sauron’s case, he offers to make her “stronger than the foundations of the Earth.” I mean it’s a generous offering, but when it comes with that many strings attached? Run girl, run.
Usually, these scenes also come with a fair bit of intimacy, closeness, and mild sexual tension — in the case of Sauron and Galadriel, he holds her face, looks deep into her eyes, and says “I alone can see your greatness. I alone can see your light” (yet another toxic red flag!) As the audience, you can’t help but be drawn in, especially when they pick a rather attractive actor to play the villain. Who among us hasn’t wanted to be looked at with such intensity and passion and told they are special, it preys on our desire to be seen and understood and wanted.
Now Twitter is debating which villain’s proposal was the most enticing and would have left them all but ready to sell their soul to join the darkness.
This user is hands down taking Sauron up on his offer.
That glimpse at the ultimate power couple we can become, yes please.
Many feel they wouldn’t have been as strong as Galadriel.
It seems that a lot of people missed the whole “he murdered hundreds of thousands of people, including her brother” thing, because they would love to see Galadriel take him up on his offer.
This user mentioned that in the Darkling’s case, he actually got very intimate with his heroine before showing his true colors and giving her his offer.
And some people have no care for the collateral damage that would come from heading into such a relationship.
Maybe we should all take a breath and cool down before making these deals with the devil.
At least in scenes such as the one between Sauron and Galadriel, we basically get a look at the guidebook of “how to manipulate people 101”. Hopefully, if we see these crop up in real life we can be as strong as Galadriel and scream in their face while refusing, even if they are extremely attractive.