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*[[:Category:Images of Sauron|Images of Sauron]]
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*[ A Name for the Dark Lord] by [[Helge Fauskanger]]==
*[ A Name for the Dark Lord] by [[Helge Fauskanger]]==

Revision as of 15:30, 16 December 2019

Alaïs - Annatar.jpg
"Annatar" by Alaïs
Biographical Information
Other namesAnnatar[1]
The Dark Lord
Lord Of Earth[2]
Gorthaur the Cruel[3]
The Shadow
The Enemy
The Terrible
Zigûr (A)[5]
Dol Guldur
LanguageBlack Speech
BirthBefore the Music of the Ainur
Death25 March T.A. 3019 (Physical death)
Notable forLieutenant to Morgoth
Deceived the Elves into forging the Rings of Power;
Created the One Ring;
Brought about the Downfall of Númenor;
Nearly conquered the whole of Middle-earth
Physical Description
HeightSee below
Hair colorSee below
ClothingSee below
WeaponryThe One Ring
GalleryImages of Sauron
"Sauron [...] was only less evil than his master in that for long he served another and not himself."
J.R.R. Tolkien[3]

Sauron (Quenya, pronounced [ˈsaʊron]) was the greatest and most trusted servant of Morgoth before and during the First Age. Originally a Maia of Aulë named "Mairon", he was ensnared by Melkor and as "Gorthaur" he became Morgoth's lieutenant in his Wars of Beleriand. From his base of Tol-in-Gaurhoth, Sauron was directly responsible for the death of Barahir and later the Noldorin king Finrod during the Quest for the Silmaril. He demonstrated the ability to take the form of a wolf, a serpent, and a vampire.

After the downfall of his master, he continually strove to conquer Middle-earth throughout the Second and Third Ages. In the Second Age, under the guise of Annatar, he deceived the Elves of Eregion, who under his guidance had created the Rings of Power, whilst he secretly forged the One Ring in Mount Doom. Thus Sauron became "The Lord of the Rings". Failing to corrupt the Elves, he assaulted the Westlands, beginning a period called the Dark Years, when first time he became known as a Dark Lord. His influence corrupted the Númenóreans - leading to the destruction of Númenor - which led to Elendil founding the Realms in Exile of Arnor and Gondor. Elves and the Dúnedain, the descendants of the Númenóreans, formed the Last Alliance and, in S.A. 3441, Elendil and Elven High King Gil-galad died destroying Sauron's body. Following Sauron's defeat, Elendil's son Isildur took the One Ring.

In the Third Age, Sauron returned to Middle-earth and, as the Necromancer, took the hill of Amon Lanc as his fortress of Dol Guldur; his chief servant, the Witch-king, formed the realm of Angmar in the north of Eriador. Following an attack by the White Council in T.A. 2941, Sauron returned to his fortress of Barad-dûr in Mordor. By T.A. 3018 Frodo Baggins was in possession of the Ring, and he was led by Gandalf as a member of the Fellowship of the Ring in the Quest of the Ring. Whilst Sauron waged the War of the Ring against the Free peoples of Middle-earth, Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee and now Gollum (who had lost the Ring to Frodo's cousin Bilbo) reached Mount Doom. On 25 March T.A. 3019, they reached Mount Doom and the Ring was destroyed. The breaking of the Ring caused Sauron's ultimate fall and resulted in the start of the Fourth Age and the Dominion of Men.




As one of the Maiar, Sauron was created by Ilúvatar before the Music of the Ainur.[6] At the beginning of Time, he was amongst the Ainur who entered into .[3] Here he became one of the Maiar of Aulë,[3] and was known as Mairon.[4]

Mairon's virtue was his love for order, planning and coordination, disliking confusion and chaos. But his obsession to order gradually overshadowed his love for the other intelligent beings of Arda, who would benefit from his planning; it became the sole object of his will, the end in itself. He started admiring Melkor's power to realize his designs quickly and masterfully.[7]

Early on (perhaps from the First War) he was ensnared by Melkor, becoming his greatest and most trusted servant.[1] Unlike his master, he didn't object to the existence of the World, as long as he could do what he wanted with it.[7] Thus he came to be known as Gorthaur by the Sindar of Beleriand and Sauron by others.[2]

Years of the Trees

After Melkor made his great fortress of Angband in the north-west of Middle-earth, he appointed Sauron to be its commander.[8] When the Valar captured Melkor at the Siege of Utumno, they stormed and searched Utumno and Angband; they, however, failed to find Sauron.[8]

First Age

Maureval - Mairon
Sauron was become now a sorcerer of dreadful power, master of shadows and of phantoms, foul in wisdom, cruel in strength, misshaping what he touched, twisting what he ruled, lord of werewolves; his dominion was torment.
J.R.R. Tolkien[9]

With the unchaining of Morgoth and his subsequent destruction of the Two Trees of Valinor, the Sun first rose and ushered in the awakening of Men. Leaving Sauron in command of the war, Morgoth left Angband in secret to find the second-born kindred of the Children of Ilúvatar and to corrupt them to his will.[10]

After the fall of Fingolfin, Sauron launched an attack on Tol Sirion. Utter fear descended upon Orodreth and those who defended the isle. Sauron assailed Minas Tirith and turned it into a watch tower for Morgoth. Therein Sauron sat and Tol Sirion the fair became Tol-in-Gaurhoth, the Isle of Werewolves.[9]

Upon hearing of the deeds of Barahir and his companions, Morgoth ordered Sauron to find and kill them. Gorlim, one of Barahir's companions, was captured and brought before Sauron. There Sauron promised that he would free Gorlim and his wife Eilinel in return for information. Under the terror of Sauron's eyes, Gorlim revealed everything he knew and thus the hiding place of Barahir was betrayed to the enemy. Subsequently, Sauron revealed Eilinel was dead and had Gorlim put to death.[11]

Beren, son of Barahir, promised to avenge his father's death. He wandered Dorthonion as an outlaw and achieved great deeds that were heard far and wide. Thus Morgoth set a high price on his head and Sauron, commanding a great army of werewolves and fell beasts, sought for Beren.[11]

Later, Finrod Felagund, Beren, and their ten companions left Nargothrond in search of the Silmarils. Despite their being disguised as Orcs, Sauron espied them as they entered into the vale between Ered Wethrin and Taur-nu-Fuin and was suspicious as Orcs passing were supposed to report to him. He had them captured and they were brought to him. There Finrod and Sauron fought in songs of power; the strength of both was great, but Sauron was more powerful. He then stripped them of their Orc disguise but failed to discern who they were. He had them thrown into a dark pit where one by one they were devoured by a werewolf. Withstanding this horror, they refused to betray one another.[11]

Ted Nasmith - Huan Subdues Sauron

When all of their companions were dead, Finrod and Beren were the last who remained alive in Sauron's pit. When a werewolf went to attack Beren, Finrod Felegund used all his power to defeat it. In this he was successful. However, he was critically wounded and soon passed away. In that dark moment, Lúthien came to the bridge of Tol-in-Gaurhoth and sang. From his tower of Minas Tirith, Sauron saw Lúthien and knew that it was the famous daughter of Melian and Thingol. He desired to capture her and hand her over to Morgoth. Therefore he sent a wolf to the bridge, but it was quickly and silently slain by Huan. He sent many more and each one Huan killed. Finally, he sent Draugluin, sire of the werewolves of Angband. The fight between Huan and Draugluin was fierce. Eventually Draugluin fled and, before dying, he told his master that Huan was there. Therefore Sauron took the form of a werewolf, the greatest the world had ever seen, and went towards the bridge. So great was the terror of his approach that even Huan momentarily recoiled. Sauron leaped to attack Lúthien, but she drew her magic veil over his eyes afflicting him with fatigue and blindness, then Huan sprang upon Sauron and there they fought. The force of Sauron's malice alone left Lúthien weak and nearly unconscious, and the fighting was brutal and prolonged; however, he could not subdue the hound of Valinor. He was trapped within Huan's jaws and could not break free, even when he took the form of a serpent and finally his own shape. Rather than leave his physical form, he yielded to Lúthien, giving her control of the isle in return for his release. He then took the form of a vampire and fled to Taur-nu-Fuin, filling the forest with horror.[11]

After the War of Wrath, with the downfall of Morgoth and the destruction of Thangorodrim, Sauron adopted a fair form and repented his evil deeds in fear of the wrath of the Valar. Eönwë then ordered Sauron to return to Valinor in order to receive the judgement of Manwë. Sauron was not willing to suffer such humiliation and so he fled and hid himself in Middle-earth.[1]

Second Age

Angel Falto - Annatar

Although Sauron long knew that Men were easier to sway, he sought to bring the Elves into his service, as they were far more powerful. So, about a thousand years after the War of Wrath, Sauron decided that the Valar had forgotten about Middle-earth and he once again turned to evil.[12]

After lying hidden and increasing his power in secret, Sauron put on a fair visage, calling himself Annatar, the Lord of Gifts, and in S.A. 1200 he befriended the Elvish smiths of Eregion, counselling them in arts and magic.[13] He was never welcome in Lindon as Elrond and Gil-galad did not trust him and refused to treat with him (which included Galadriel too), although they never realised who he truly was. Elsewhere he was gladly received, especially in Eregion where the Elvish smiths learned much from him as their thirst for knowledge was great.[14]

Under Sauron's tutelage the Gwaith-i-Mírdain, under the leadership of Celebrimbor, grandson of Fëanor, became more skilled than anyone else, save for Fëanor himself. In the year S.A. 1500, when they reached the very height of their power, the Elves began the forging of the Rings of Power, but Sauron knew all their secrets and in S.A. 1600 - ten years after the completion of the Rings of Power - Sauron created The One Ring to control the bearers of the other Rings.[13] For this he invested most of his own power into the Ring as he forged it.

But the Elves were not so easily ensnared, and as soon as Sauron put on the One Ring they and Celebrimbor were aware of him, and realised they were betrayed.[14] They hid their Rings from Sauron and did not use them. Sauron demanded that the other Rings be given to him, for they would not have been made without his knowledge. The Elves refused, and the War was inevitable.[12]

In this time Sauron became known as the Dark Lord of Mordor. He raised Barad-dûr, the Dark Tower, near Mount Doom; constructed the Black Gate of Mordor to prevent invasion; and raised massive armies of Orcs, Trolls, and Men, chiefly Easterlings and Southrons. Sauron's power reached its zenith 700 years after Mordor's creation, in the 17th century of the Second Age.

The War of the Elves and Sauron was a bloody conflict which destroyed Eregion and devastated much of Eriador. Celebrimbor was slain and his body impaled on a spike paraded at the head of Sauron's legions. The Elves were pushed back almost to the Blue Mountains, while their Dwarf allies (who had also rejected Sauron) retreated behind the walls of Moria where Sauron could not assail them. Sauron was master of almost all of Middle-earth beyond the coasts, but the Númenóreans, the powerful Men descended from the line of Beren and Lúthien, who lived on the island of Númenor in the sea between Middle-earth and Valinor, responded to the Elves' call for aid and sent a relief force. The combined armies rallied and were able to defeat Sauron's armies in Eriador after heavy fighting, and the Dark Lord fled back to Mordor with little more than his own bodyguard and a handful of orcs.

Ted Nasmith - The Forging of the One

As the Elves had failed him, he had decided to distribute the Rings of Power to Men and Dwarves. The Dwarves also failed him, as they proved too hardy and resistant to their corruptive power; however the nine Men were corrupted and eventually faded, being turned into the Nazgûl (Ringwraiths), his chief servants.

Nonetheless, while Sauron's subsequent power never quite matched the height it had during the War with the elves, many of his most powerful enemies' homelands had been devastated. Relative to his enemies, Sauron was actually in a stronger position than previously. His empire continued to expand to dominate barbarian Men to the far south and east. Throughout this, Sauron remained faithful in his old allegiance, building temples to the worship of Morgoth, where human sacrifice was practised. Because of this, towards the end of the Second Age, Sauron assumed the titles of Lord of the Earth and King of Men.

This offended the arrogant Númenóreans who had already started to fall under the Shadow. The proud Númenóreans came to Middle-earth with great force of arms, and Sauron's forces fled. Realising he could not defeat the Numenoreans with military strength, Sauron allowed himself to be taken as a hostage to Númenor by King Ar-Pharazôn. There, he quickly grew from captive to adviser and was known as Tar-Mairon; he converted many Númenóreans to the worship of Morgoth, becoming High Priest of the Cult of Melkor. He had the White Tree cut down and in its place raised a great temple in which he performed human sacrifices, persecuting those who were still Faithful. Finally, he convinced the king to rebel against the Valar and attack Valinor itself, claiming they would gain immortality. Eru, the supreme god, then directly intervened: Númenor was drowned under the sea, and the great navy of Númenor was destroyed.

Sauron was on Númenor in the Temple of Melkor and was caught in the ensuing flood. However his spirit survived, although severely weakened by the destruction, and (presumably carrying the One Ring) fled back to Middle-earth.

Sauron's spirit returned to Mordor, where he slowly rebuilt his strength during the time known as the Dark Years, and he was unable to assume a fair shape. From this point on he started to rule through terror and force, largely filling the fearsome role left vacant by his former master.

Meanwhile, a few faithful Númenóreans, led by Elendil, were saved from the flood, and they founded Gondor and Arnor in Middle-earth. Sauron still considered them his hated enemies and he launched a pre-emptive attack on Gondor in S.A. 3429. These Men, led by Elendil and his sons, formed the Last Alliance with the Elves of Lindon under the Elven-king Gil-galad, and together they fought Sauron in the War of the Last Alliance. The Alliance advanced against Mordor and defeated Sauron's forces in the Battle of Dagorlad and finally laid siege before Barad-dûr.

The siege lasted for seven years until S.A. 3441, when Sauron left his fortress engaging in direct combat. Elendil and Gil-galad fought Sauron and vanquished him, but both were killed. Isildur, son of Elendil, cut the One Ring from Sauron's finger and claimed it. Later, the Ring betrayed him and was lost for more than two thousand years. After his defeat in the War of the Last Alliance, Sauron had lost his ability to form a physical body for a great while.

Third Age

Sauron's defeat released his subjects, like the Easterlings, from his tyranny, but they fell into chaos. Their tribes and kingdoms battled against each other and some withdrew to the hated west.[15] Weakened by his defeat and the loss of the One Ring, it is thought that he fled to the far east to regain his power and strength before returning.

It was not until c. T.A. 1000 that Sauron could again begin to take shape. Worried by this prospect, the Valar sent five Maiar from the West to assist the peoples of Middle-earth against Sauron.[16]

Sauron's Return

In 1050 his power was enough that he began again to throw a shadow across portions of Middle-earth. Around this time he first began to inhabit southern Greenwood the Great, choosing the hill of Amon Lanc as a place to build the fortress of Dol Guldur. At first, the Wise thought that it was one of the Nazgûl who had returned and taken up residence in southern Greenwood.

In the following centuries, his subjects in Angmar, the East and the South once more concentrated against the Realms of his ancient enemies. Kings Araphant of Arnor and Ondoher of Gondor realised that a single force was co-ordinating the attacks on both of their kingdoms and that they should work together to combat this evil. However Angmar was successful in destroying Arnor; When Angmar was also destroyed, by Gondor and the Elves, the Nazgûl gathered back in Mordor and subsequently captured Minas Ithil, now renamed Minas Morgul; Sauron's final success was ending the royal line of Gondor.

The Watchful Peace

The Wise feared that their enemy is active in Dol Guldur, and when Gandalf entered the fortress in 2063 the power in Dol Guldur fled before him thus beginning the Watchful Peace.[17] Leaving Khamûl in his place, Sauron fled once more to the East, corrupting the Easterlings and forging a strong alliance between their tribes, so that when he returned he was more powerful and had many Men in his service.

The Shadow on Mirkwood had lessened, but the Nazgûl had used this period to prepare for Sauron's return and the Uruk-hai, a new race of Orcs was bred in Minas Morgul.

Sauron returned from the east in 2460 and again took up residence in Dol Guldur as the Necromancer. His return coincided with the One Ring revealing itself and Sméagol claimed it three years later. Feeling the danger, the Wise formed the White Council.[17]

Sauron had captured the Dwarf King Thráin II and taken one of the Seven Dwarf rings from him. After centuries of pressing the White Council to take action against the Necromancer, Gandalf entered Dol Guldur in secret in 2850 and learned that the Necromancer was Sauron. In 2851, the White Council were informed of this, and Gandalf urged an immediate attack upon the fortress, but Saruman the White had learned of the presence of the Ruling Ring near the Gladden Fields; he thought best to allow Sauron to build up his strength in order to reveal its location so that Saruman could seize it himself. Following his strategy, Saruman opposed Gandalf.[17]

By 90 years later, Sauron had his minions look around Anduin for the One Ring and Saruman, always wanting it for himself, was worrying about it. In 2941 Gandalf finally prevailed upon the White Council to attack Dol Guldur, and even Saruman agreed to drive Sauron out. By that time Gondor's forces around Mordor had weakened so much, and the Nazgûl had been preparing Barad-dûr for him, so it was easy for Sauron to flee and return to his ancient stronghold. The Dark Tower was reconstructed, and Sauron declared himself openly in T.A. 2951. Following this, the White Council met for one last time to discuss the whereabouts of the Rings.[17]

From then on Sauron stayed in Barad-dûr from where he conducted his war on the Free peoples. Saruman, who was residing in Orthanc, had secretly found and used the Orthanc-stone. Through the Ithil-stone away in Barad-dûr, Sauron linked with and subjugated his mind, and by T.A. 3000 he had totally deceived and corrupted him.[17]

The War of the Ring

Sauron bred immense armies of Orcs and allied with or enslaved Men from the east and south. He adopted the symbol of a lidless eye, and he was able at that time to send out his will over Middle-earth, so that the Eye of Sauron was a symbol of power and fear.

After torturing Gollum, he learned that the One Ring had been found by Bilbo Baggins. He sent his deadliest servants, the Nazgûl, to the Shire, only to find that both Bilbo and his nephew, Frodo, had departed. Unbeknownst to Sauron, Frodo had, at the behest of Gandalf, joined the Fellowship of the Ring on a quest to destroy the Ring. He rallied his vast armies to conquer the resistance's strongholds, and sent the Ringwraiths to find and kill Frodo. At about this time, he also learned that Aragorn, Isildur's heir, had also joined the Fellowship, and was rallying armies to defeat his.

When Saruman's army was defeated at Isengard, Pippin looked into the Palantir of Orthanc and saw Sauron, who thought the Hobbit was a prisoner of Saruman. Later Aragorn used the Palantir to reveal himself to Sauron. Sauron made the premature conclusion that Aragorn had the Ring, and sent an army commanded by his strongest servant, the Witch-King of Angmar, to overthrow Minas Tirith. This battle would become known as the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

Although Sauron lost the Battle of Pelennor Fields, the free forces of the West were greatly weakened, and Sauron still had sufficient armies in reserve to ensure military victory. He was outwitted, however, by the strategy of Gandalf, who urged the captains of the Free peoples to march against Sauron, thus diverting the Dark Lord's eye from the real threat of Frodo, the Ring Bearer, who was nearing the end of his quest to destroy the One Ring.

Frodo, however, failed at the last moment, unable to resist the power of the Ring at the place of its birth. Sauron saw Frodo as he put on the ring and, realising he had been tricked, sent the Nazgul to Mount Doom. But Gollum inadvertently saved Frodo by recovering the Ring in a desperate attempt to possess it, and then falling with it into the fire. Thus Sauron's power was unmade, and his corporeal power in Middle-earth came to an end. His spirit towered above Mordor like a black cloud, but was blown away by a powerful wind from the West. Sauron was now permanently crippled, never to rise again, following his ancient lord Morgoth into the Void. [3] Saruman would suffer a similar fate.


Physical Form

J.R.R. Tolkien - Sauron (unfinished sketch apparently showing him just after the destruction of the Ring)

At first Sauron appeared as a royal and commanding figure in a strong body. He was also able to veil his power and change his shape. Later however he could take only a terrible form, of a stature slightly greater than a Man's,[18] "an image of malice and hatred made visible; and the Eye of Sauron the Terrible few could endure."[19] Isildur recounted that at the Siege of Barad-dûr, Sauron's hand was black with a deadly burning touch.[14]

Eye of Sauron

The Eye of Sauron, called by various names, was the symbol of Sauron the Dark Lord following the loss of the One Ring. This symbol was adopted to show his unceasing vigilance and piercing perception, and was displayed on the weaponry of his servants, or at least the orcs.

Sauron's Eye as Frodo sees it in the Mirror of Galadriel is the only feature of his later form described in detail. It is yellow and rimmed with fire, with a slit pupil, "a window into nothing."[20] The colour is compared to that of a cat's eye, but because of the references to Sauron's Lidless Eye, it may also resemble that of a snake, such as an adder. Readers differ as to whether Sauron's eyes were literally lidless and resembled what Frodo saw, or instead the Eye was only a symbol that Frodo saw in the Mirror in an elaborate form.


Tengwar, Quenya mode

Sauron (pron. [ˈsaʊron])[note 1] is a Quenya name, said to mean "the Abhorred".[21]

Several accounts of the origin of the name Sauron were suggested in different linguistic manuscripts:

  • deriving from Quenya saura ("foul, evil-smelling, putrid", from the root THUS).[22]
  • deriving from Quenya saura ("foul, vile"; from root SAWA). The manuscript continues saying that Sauron "could be a genuine Sindarin formation from saur; but is probably from Quenya". However, this origin appears to have been rejected, as it is followed by the comment "No. THAW-, cruel. Saura, cruel" in the manuscript.[23]
  • deriving from the Primitive Quendian form Øaurond- (formed from the adjective Øaurā "detestable", from root THAW).[24]
  • deriving from Thauron, which includes the Sindarin element thaur ("abominable, abhorrent"; also found in Gorthaur).[25]

Other names and titles

Gorthaur (Sindarin, pron. [ˈɡorθaʊr]) was a name used of Sauron by the Sindar during the First Age,[26][27] meaning "Terrible Dread".

In some of Tolkien's notes from the 1950s, it is said that Sauron's original name was Mairon, "the admirable" (Q, pron. [ˈmaɪron]), "but this was altered after he was suborned by Melkor. But he continued to call himself Mairon the Admirable, or Tar-mairon 'King Excellent', until after Númenor's downfall."[4]

Among his many titles were the Necromancer, the Abhorred Dread, the Nameless Enemy, the Cruel,[28] the Dark Lord of Mordor and the Lord of the Rings. The Dúnedain called him Sauron the Deceiver due to his role in the downfall of Númenor and the Forging of the Rings of Power.

In the earlier Legendarium, Thû was a name for Sauron used by Tolkien in some of earlier periods, particularly the Lay of Leithian[29], where Thû replaced Tevildo the Cat[30].

Other versions of the Legendarium

Prior to the publication of The Silmarillion Sauron's origins and true identity were unclear to those without full access to Tolkien's notes. In early editions of the Guide to Middle Earth, Sauron is described as "probably of the Eldar elves."

Since the earliest versions of the Silmarillion legendarium as detailed in the History of Middle-earth series, Sauron has undergone many changes. The prototype of this character was Tevildo, lord of the cats, who played the role later taken by Sauron in the earliest version of the story of Beren and Lúthien in The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, The Tale of Tinúviel. Tevildo later (but still in the Book of Lost Tales period) was transformed into Thû, the Necromancer. The name was then changed to Gorthû, Sûr, and finally to Sauron. Gorthû, in the form Gorthaur remained in The Silmarillion.

The Necromancer

In The Hobbit the Necromancer is an obscure villainous entity mentioned fleetingly by Gandalf as one of the dangers of the wider world. He is peripheral to the plot of the book: explaining why the company takes the dangerous road though Mirkwood rather than going around, and providing a reason for Gandalf's absence for that section of the journey. Thematically the Necromancer, a truly 'terrible' force beyond the power of the main protagonists, gives the world of The Hobbit a greater level of reality which Tolkien felt was necessary for a 'fairy-tale' to ring true.[31]

Despite the alias it would appear that the Necromancer was always intended to stand for Sauron, a figure from the very earliest phases of his Legendarium (as Tevildo in The Tale of Tinúviel). Shortly after the publication of The Hobbit Tolkien wrote:

Mr Baggins began as a comic tale among conventional and inconsistent Grimm's fairy-tale dwarves, and got drawn into the edge of it – so that even Sauron the terrible peeped over the edge.
J.R.R. Tolkien[32]

Indeed, in the Lay of Leithian, Thû is called a "necromancer" who "held his hosts of phantoms and of wandering ghosts" (l. 2075) in Tol-in-Gaurhoth.[33]

However, as The Hobbit was not originally intended to be integrated with Tolkien's wider mythology the Necromancer did not necessarily need to be consistent with his First Age counterpart Sauron, rather the two were loosely linked to add an 'impression of depth' to the narrative of The Hobbit. With Tolkien's decision to merge the two 'worlds' and make Sauron the central antagonist Lord of the Rings came the need to reconcile the two figures and account for his whereabouts in the millennia between the end of the First Age and his dwelling in Bilbo's Mirkwood. This was largely achieved in the Tale of Years, with Sauron becoming a much greater figure after the fall of his master, one who arguably drove the history of the entire Second and Third Ages of Middle-earth.

Fans have noted that the alias "Necromancer" for Sauron is obscure, as in the context of neither The Hobbit nor The Lord of the Rings Sauron is ever specifically mentioned to use necromancy, i.e. controlling the spirits of the dead.[34]

A later essay mentions the practice of necromancy concerning the fear of the Unbodied Elves, mentioning that Sauron possibly did so and also taught his followers[35] although this reference isn't given in context of the story.

Minions and allies

Portrayal in adaptations

Sauron in Adaptations
The Necromancer in the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game  
The Necromancer in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey  


1978: The Lord of the Rings (1978 film):=

Sauron is briefly shown in the prologue sequence as a shadowy figure in a horned helmet.

2001-03: The Lord of the Rings (film series):

Sauron is played by Sala Baker and voiced by the late Alan Howard. In these films, he is depicted as a tall armored warlord wielding a huge mace (similar to how his master Morgoth is described in The Silmarillion). In the first film, he is depicted killing Gil-galad (offscreen) and then Elendil before being defeated by Isildur using his father's broken sword to cut off the finger wearing the One Ring, as well as three others on the same hand. This strangely causes his body to explode, producing a shockwave that knocks everyone on the battlefield off their feet.
Later on, Saruman implies to Gandalf that Sauron was unable to retain his physical form and that the Eye was his astral form, a detail which is never brought up in the novel. It is unknown if Saruman was truthful with this statement, or if he was either misinformed or lying (since he was already plotting to ally with Sauron at that point).

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game):

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (video game):

2003: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (video game):

2012-14: The Hobbit (film series):

Sauron is played and voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, under his assumed identity as the Necromancer. In these films, it is stated that the White Council does not discover he is Sauron until much later, during the events of these films, previously believing him to be a human with skills in magic. In these films, Sauron initially appears as a shadowy figure before assuming his armoured form from the previous films and projects the Eye of Sauron around his body.

Radio series

1955: The Lord of the Rings (1955 radio series):=

The voice of Sauron is provided by Felix Felton.[36]

1968: The Hobbit (1968 radio series):

Sauron is mentioned only very briefly at the end; Gandalf and Elrond discuss how the "Necromancer" had been driven from his abode in the south of Mirkwood.

1981: The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series):

1979: The Hobbit (1979 radio series):

1979: The Lord of the Rings (1979 radio series):

Video games

1985: Lord of the Rings: Game One:=

1988: J.R.R. Tolkien's War in Middle Earth

1990: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I (1990 video game):

Sauron is mentioned by Gandalf in the beginning of the game.

1993: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. II: The Two Towers:

Sauron is mentioned in the beginning of the game, when Gandalf explains the history of the One Ring.

2003: The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring:

2003: The Hobbit (2003 video game):

Sauron and the events of the south of Mirkwood are left unmentioned. However, whilst in Mirkwood, Bilbo has to defeat creatures that he calls "Minions of the Necromancer".

2004: The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age:

At the end of the game, Berethor and company (the playable characters) have to defeat the eye of Sauron by physically attacking him on top of Barad-dûr.

2004: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth:

2005: The Lord of the Rings: Tactics:

2006: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II:

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar:

2008: The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria:

2009: The Lord of the Rings: Conquest:

2010: The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest:

2011: The Lord of the Rings: War in the North

2012: Guardians of Middle-earth:

Sauron is a "guardian".[37]

2014: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor


1982-97: Middle-earth Role Playing:=

Sauron is treated as a Mage of level 180 (level 360 if using the One Ring). Among his items are the Elf-slaying Black Sword (S. Mormegil), the Gauntlet of Slaying ("Narsil's Bane"), and the Black Scale of dragonskin. Among his special powers are Domination (control over other players using the One Eye), resistance to normal weapons, and the ability to force anyone within his sight to resist fear (or otherwise becoming frozen).[38][39]

1995-8: Middle-earth Collectible Card Game:

The card "Sauron", appearing in the set The Balrog, is playable as a manifestation of the card "The Lidless Eye" (from the set The Lidless Eye), and can be used by players to enhance their general influence.[40]

See also

External links


  1. Sauron is pronounced "sour-on" (sour as in not sweet).


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Valaquenta: Account of the Valar and Maiar According to the Lore of the Eldar"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), p. 183
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Sauron Defeated, "The Drowning of Anadûnê"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Ainulindalë: The Music of the Ainur"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Five. Myths Transformed"
  8. 8.0 8.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  9. 9.0 9.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of Men into the West"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of Beren and Lúthien"
  12. 12.0 12.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  13. 13.0 13.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix B: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves"
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Istari"
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 246, (dated September 1963)
  19. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Mirror of Galadriel"
  21. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
  22. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", p. 393 (entry THUS-)
  23. J.R.R. Tolkien, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings", in Parma Eldalamberon XVII (edited by Christopher Gilson), pp. 183-4
  24. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 297, (dated August 1967), p. 380
  25. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names" (entry for thaur)
  26. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin"
  27. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The War of the Jewels, "Part Two. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin (Chapter 15)", p. 240
  28. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Valaquenta: Of the Enemies"
  29. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand, "III. The Lay of Leithian"
  30. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "I. The Tale of Tinúviel"
  31. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 17, (dated 15 October 1937)
  32. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 19, (dated 16 December 1937)
  33. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lays of Beleriand, "III. The Lay of Leithian: Canto VII (Beren and Felagund before Thû)"
  34. "Why is Sauron called the "Necromancer"?", Stackexchange (accessed 29 November 2021)
  35. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Three. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: (II) The Second Phase: Laws and Customs among the Eldar, Of Re-birth and Other Dooms of Those that go to Mandos"
  36. Radio Times, Volume 133, No. 1724, November 23, 1956
  37. "Guardians of Middle-earth: First Official Gameplay Trailer" dated 29 June 2012, YouTube (accessed 16 July 2012)
  38. Peter C. Fenlon, Terry K. Amthor, R. Mark Colborn (1986), Lords of Middle-earth Vol I: The Immortals (#8002), pp. 98-102
  39. Peter C. Fenlon, Jr. (1993), Valar and Maiar (#2006), pp. 97-105
  40. "Home page for the game Middle Earth", Trade Cards Online (accessed 5 January 2012)
Ring created
c. S.A. 16003441
Followed by:

Ring-bearers of the One Ring
Sauron (S.A. 1600 - 3441) · Isildur (S.A. 3441 - 25 September, T.A. 2) · Déagol (c. 2463) · Sméagol (c. 2463 - 2941) · Bilbo Baggins (2941 - 22 September, 3001) · Frodo Baggins (22 September, 3001 - 13 March, 3019) · Samwise Gamgee (13 March, 3019 - 14 March, 3019) · Frodo Baggins (14 March, 3019 - 25 March, 3019) · Gollum (25 March, T.A. 3019)
Also briefly held the Ring: Gandalf (13 April, T.A. 3018) · Tom Bombadil (27 September, T.A. 3018)