But--and there always is one--watching the movies reminded me of some of the things that had confused me the first time.
Aside from my inability to understand why the Fellowship wasn't entirely made up of Elves (the Mary-Sue race of Middle Earth), or why the Dwarf Lords and Elves didn't have any problems with their rings, I also have to admit I don't really understand Sauron's motivation.
Sure, I've always loved the idea of Evil for Evil's Sake villains. Some people just want to see others suffer, and plotwise I'm totally down with that.
But, what's the point of making your enemies suffer if you're just going to kill them all? As far as I gleaned from the three movies, Sauron wanted to kill "all Men" [i.e., sexist for Humans] in Middle Earth and conquer everything. (And then share it all with his BFF Saurumon, because how could you not love a homie with such great hair and a similar name?).
Okay, sure. Except, once all the men were gone
leaving the women, who would Sauron rule with his iron fists and giant, spastic eyeball? The Elves were already blowing the Middle Earth Popsicle stand ASAP, and the Humans would be dead, so that would leave...Hobbits. Hobbits, Orcs, Uruk-hai and Trolls. And maybe Ents, until they were all chopped down or went extinct after misplacing their wives.
Personally, I love Hobbits. They're adorable, brave, love food and are actually shorter than I am. But I'm not sure how awesome they'd be as the unwilling subjects of pure evil. And Orcs and Uruk-hai are kind of stupid and they smell bad. I'm not sure Sauron had a nose after his ring finger got chopped off and he melted, but I'm sure he'd be able to tell. I guess the Ring Wraiths would be around too, but they don't seem very good with conversation.
I also think that constant death and destruction would get boring after a while, but that may just be me. There's also the issue of the economy crashing without anyone to sustain it. Maybe Sauron was going to rule over the people from the Southern and Eastern lands he forced (in my mind he totally forced) to serve him. But that still leaves the economy problem because once the shadow of Mordor expanded to encompass everything, agriculture would become problematic. And all-male subjects can't really have babies.
Not that I'm planning this anytime soon, but if I were to take over a continent out of pure malice, I'd probably want to keep some of the Humans alive so I'd always have someone to gibber in terror or be sent to the mines (at some point they always get sent to the mines). Otherwise it'd be like singing in the shower: sure, your voice might be fantastic, but who else will ever know?
Maybe Sauron didn't entirely think things through, when he realized the Ring was still available and he could pull the greatest comeback in history before being upstaged by a returning king. Or maybe he just really likes Orcs. He had Saurumon make enough of them.
Of course, they do clean up rather nicely.