Sauron The Deceiver
Personal Data
Race Maiar
Other names Annatar, Artano, Gorthaur the Cruel, The Enemy, The Dark Power, The Great Eye (TA only), Necromancer, The Sorcerer, The Black Hand, The Nameless Enemy, Thauron, Thû
Date of birth Before the creation of Arda
Gender Male
Height 8 feet 11.1 inches (2.72 metres) (movie)
Hair color Black
Eye color Brown

"There is no life in the void, only death."
Sauron, after Frodo puts on the One Ring

Sauron (or Þauron; Quenya Tengwar: full spelling 3.E7Y5 or vowel-abbreviated spelling 3.7Y5; IPA: [ˈsaʊron] or Vanyarin [ˈθaʊron]) was the Dark Lord Morgoth's abominable lieutenant during the First Age. He was also the creator of the Rings of Power and the Dark Lord of Mordor, whom the Fellowship of the Ring sought to defeat. His name was formerly Thauron, and came from the elvish word "thaur" meaning "abominable" or "abhorrent".


Sauron in the First Age


Sauron in the First Age

In the earliest of days, before the Valar entered Arda, Sauron was a powerful Maia of Aulë the Smith, a Vala. However, Sauron was soon corrupted by the Dark Lord Morgoth ("The Great Enemy" in the tongue of men) (an evil Vala and Dark Enemy of Arda), and Sauron himself turned to evil. At first he was a spy for Morgoth, telling him the Valar's doings. Ever after, Sauron served Morgoth faithfully, and even in later days, after Morgoth was defeated and locked outside the confines of the world, Sauron encouraged and coerced some men to worship Morgoth as a god. However, while Morgoth wanted to either control or destroy the very matter of Arda itself, Sauron's desire was to dominate the minds and wills of its creatures, as well as establish himself as the ruler of Arda from his tower of Barad-dûr in Mordor. However, he originally dwelt in Angband in the Iron Mountains for a short period of time before Melkor came and claimed it again in the First Age.

During the First Age, the Noldorin elves left the Blessed Realm of Valinor in the Utter West (against the counsel of the Valar) in order to wage war on Morgoth, who had stolen the Silmarils of Fëanor, enchanted gems that glowed with light from the now- destroyed Trees of Valinor. In that war, Sauron served as Morgoth's Chief lieutenant, surpassing all others in rank save Gothmog, the Lord of Balrogs. Known as Gorthaur the Cruel, Sauron at that time was a master of illusions and changes of form, and werewolves were his servants, chief among them Draugluin, Sire of Werewolves, and Thuringwethil, his vampire Herald. When Morgoth left Angband to corrupt the newly awakened Atani (Men), Sauron directed the War against the Elves. He conquered the elvish isle of Tol Sirion, so that it became known as Tol-in-Gaurhoth, the Isle of Werewolves. Ten years later, Finrod Felagund, the king of Nargothrond and former lord of Tol Sirion died protecting Beren in captivity; soon afterward Lúthien and Huan the Wolfhound defeated Sauron in that place and rescued Beren from the dungeons into which Sauron had thrown him. After his defeat by Lúthien, Sauron played little part in the events of the First Age (possibly hiding from Morgoth's wrath), and after his master was defeated and taken to Valinor in chains, Sauron repented (apparently) and pleaded for mercy. But he was unwilling to return to the Utter West for judgment, and so he fled and hid.


Gorthaur' was the Sindarin name given to Sauron during the First and Second Age. This title was often followed by the appositive of "The Cruel".

Sauron in the Second Age


Annatar, Sauron the Fair (unused imagery from the Return of the King (movie) )

After lying hidden and dormant for about 1000 years, Sauron put on a fair visage in the Second Age, and calling himself Annatar, the "Lord of Gifts", he befriended the Elvish smiths of Eregion, and counseled them in arts and magic. Not all the Elves trusted him, particularly Lady Galadriel and Gil-galad, High King of the Ñoldor, but few listened to them. Then the Elves forged Rings of Power, but in secret Sauron forged the One Ring to rule the Elvish rings, upon this ring he scripted the words:
One Ring to Rule Them All, One Ring to Find Them, One Ring to Bring Them All, and in the Darkness Bind Them,
As he forged the One Ring, he invested into it most of his power, simultaneously making him both more powerful and more vulnerable. When Sauron put on the One Ring and tried to dominate the Elves, they resisted, and Sauron came upon them in the War of the Elves and Sauron and, had it not been for the intervention of Númenor, he might have defeated them.

The Eye of Sauron on the tower of Barad-Dûr, as shown in Peter Jackson's The Lord of The Rings film trilogy.

In this time Sauron became the Dark Lord of Mordor. He raised Barad-dûr, the Dark Tower, near Mount Doom (where he had forged the One Ring), captured the Black Gate of Mordor from the weakened Gondorian Army, and raised massive armies of orcs, Trolls, and Men, chiefly Easterlings and Southrons. 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 Númenóreans, the powerful Men descended from those who had fought against Melkor in the War of Wrath some were the descendants, through Elros, of Beren and Lúthien. These Men lived on the island of Númenor in the sea between Middle-earth and Valinor. The Númenóreans, who were then proud, came to Middle-earth with astounding force of arms. Sauron's forces fled, and Sauron was taken as hostage to Númenor by King Ar-Pharazôn. There, he quickly grew from captive to advisor; he converted many Númenóreans to the worship of Morgoth, and raised a great temple in which he performed human sacrifices. Finally, he convinced Ar-Pharazôn to rebel against the Valar and attack Valinor itself. Eru (God) then directly intervened -- Númenor was drowned under the sea, and the great navy of Númenor was destroyed. The world was bent, so that thereafter only Elven-Ships could sail into the Utter West. Sauron was diminished in the flood of Númenor, and fled back to Mordor, where he slowly rebuilt his strength during the time known as the Dark Years.


Sauron wields the awesome power of The One Ring.


Sauron's destruction at the hands of Isildur.

From this point on he was unable to assume a fair shape, and ruled now through terror and force. A few faithful Númenóreans were saved from the flood, and they founded Gondor and Arnor in Middle-earth. These faithful Men, led by Elendil and his sons, allied with the Elven-king, Gil-galad, and together fought Sauron and, after long war, defeated him, although both Elendil and Gil-galad were slain. Isildur, son of Elendil, cut the One Ring from Sauron's finger and claimed it. But later the Ring betrayed him, so that Isildur was slain by orcs at Gladden Fields, and the Ring was lost for centuries.
LOTR78 Prologue

Sauron forging the One Ring.

Sauron in the Third Age

In the Third Age Sauron rose again, at first in a stronghold called Dol Guldur, the Hill of Sorcery, in southern Mirkwood. There he was disguised as a dark sorcerer called the Necromancer, and the Elves did not realize at first that he was actually Sauron returned. Gandalf the Grey stole into Dol Guldur and discovered the truth; eventually the White Council put forth their might and drove Sauron out. The Dark Lord, having ample time to prepare, simply returned to Mordor and rebuilt Barad-dûr. Here he prepared for the final war against the free people of Middle-Earth


The tower of Barad-Dûr, on top of which is the Eye of Sauron.

Sauron bred immense armies of orcs and allied with and enslaved Men from the east and south. He gathered his most terrifying servants, the Nazgûl, or Ringwraiths, each wearing one of the nine rings designed for mortal men. Sauron 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. Since he did not possess the One Ring, Sauron was unable to reassume a proper corporeal form.

After the One Ring fell into the Crack of Doom (or the Fires of Orodruin) in Mordor where it had been made, Sauron was utterly defeated. His spirit towered above Mordor like a malevolent black cloud, but was blown away by a powerful wind from the west, and Sauron was now permanently crippled, never to rise again. Apparently his consciousness survived, but only as a spirit of malice in the wilderness.

Weapons and Powers

Sauron was described as one of the strongest, if not the mightiest, of the Maiar. Originally of Aule's people, he acquired great "scientific" knowledge of the world: Of its substances and how to use them. He would retain this knowledge throughout his tenure as the Dark Lord in Middle-Earth, using it to forge the One Ring and construct his fortress of Barad-dur. Sauron seems primarily linked to the element of fire. The source of his power in the Third Age (and also a kind of familiar to him) was Mount Doom, a restless, violent volcano, which left Mordor a charred, blackened land. A flaming, lidless eye is often used as a representation of his will, and that eye is used as a symbol on all his armies' banners. As one of Morgoth's chief captains, his ability to tap into the fires in the earth would have been priceless. It seems reasonable to suggest that the forges of Angband had Sauron to thank, at least in part, for their effectiveness.

Among Sauron's chief powers were deception and disguise: In the First Age Sauron took on many forms. His battle against Luthien and Huan in The Silmarillion has him taking on no less than four separate shapes: his "normal" shape, presumed to be that of some kind of dark sorcerer, a great wolf, a serpent, and finally a vampire "dripping blood from his throat upon the trees" ("Of Beren and Luthien," The Silmarillion). At the end of the First Age Sauron took on a fair form to appeal to the Captain of the Hosts of the Valar and ask for pardon. In the Second Age, Sauron took up that fair form again and used it under the alias "Annatar" to deceive the Elves into creating the Rings of Power. The level of deception required to fool the Elves of Eregion must have gone beyond simply taking on a fair form. Sauron was literally instructing the Elves to make artifacts that while capable of great good, were ultimately purposed for his own domination and were imbued with power to arrest the natural order of the world. The Elves were unaware of who they were dealing with until the eleventh hour, and only narrowly escaped his trap. Centuries later, Sauron was able to deceive the Númenóreans and steer them directly to their own destruction under promises of eternal life. Such destruction is a testament to Sauron's manipulative nature and ability to twist the perceptions of his enemies. The "Lord of the Rings" itself is illustrative of this: while the books are named after him, he makes no appearance, and rather pulls the strings from afar. An interesting dichotomy is set up between his deceptive nature and his symbol: While rarely appearing personally and deceiving all but the most wary, he represents himself as an all seeing eye that can pierce all disguises. Consistent with Tolkien's theme of evil being finite, wasteful, and self-destructive, Sauron's powers are gradually reduced as time goes on. After the Fall of Númenor, he is incapable of taking physical form for many years, and only then as a horrific Dark Lord, robbed of his fair form forever. After losing the ring it takes even longer for him to regain physical form, although by the War of the Ring he has regained it (the movies portray him as a physical eye, although the books make no such specific statement about his form).

In the movies, Sauron's weapon is a black mace used against the Last Alliance to kill both Gil-galad and Elendil. The mace is extremely powerful (or Sauron uses magic to strengthen his might), as it can blast back and kill entire battalions in one hit. Against powerful foes like Aragorn in Battle for Middle-earth II, Sauron only needs a few hits (2 or 3) to defeat them.

The extent, nature, and specifics of Sauron's power are largely left to the imagination. It is known that his mere presence can drive all but the greatest of Middle-Earth to madness, as described by The Lord of the Nazgûl to Eowyn at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, "He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye." (Return of the King) Like his master Morgoth, he is capable of altering the physical substance of the world around him by mere effort of will (albeit to a far lesser extent). He is also able to extend the natural life span of beings to almost infinite ends, the most prominent example being the Nazgûl, who were over three thousand years old by the time of the War of the Ring. This gives some legitimacy to his title "The Necromancer" used in "The Hobbit," although Tolkien retroactively applied to Sauron, and probably meant it more in the context of "Dark Sorcerer."

Sauron after the Third Age

To answer this question, one must fully understand the nature of Sauron and the One Ring.

When the Ring was cut from his hand, he lost his bodily form and remained so for a few thousand years. This is because Sauron diverted all of his power, hatred, cruelty and malice into the Ring. However, as Isildur failed to destroy the Ring, Sauron's power steadily grew. Being a Maia, though severely weakened in comparison to his former self, Sauron was able to create another body for himself. Gollum states in Lord of the Rings that Sauron "has only four (fingers) on the Black Hand", but it is unclear why Sauron was unable to restore the fifth. It is possible Gollum was simply in error, or speaking in symbols.

So after the ring was destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom, Sauron was completely broken. Destruction of the Ring cost him his body, his strength and all of his old powerful self. Being a Maia, Sauron wasn't killed and continues to "live"; but with the destruction of the Ring, Sauron can only exist in spirit form and can never rebuild his strength. Take Barad-dûr as an example of Sauron and the Ring. The Men of Gondor had Barad-dûr taken to pieces at the end of the Second Age, but as the Ring continued to exist, the foundations of Barad-dûr could not truly ever be destroyed. When the Ring was destroyed, Barad-dûr completely collapsed into ruin and Sauron was permanently defeated. While evil will continue to exist, Sauron will never emerge as a Dark Lord again.

There is also an argument against this. The argument is that Sauron could not continue to live, as he was sucked into the Void from which there can be no return. Though, technically, he would be 'alive' in the Void. In addition, the film depicts Sauron (who does in this series seem to be the Eye) being destroyed along with the One Ring. Though that could have been the destruction of his physical form as well.

However, Sauron will arise during the Dagor Dagorath when Morgoth returns to Arda at the end of times, as he is with Morgoth in the Void.


In the books

In the movies

In the video games

Names and Titles

Sauron (originally Thauron) was Quenya, and can be translated as the Abhorred or the Abomination; in Sindarin he was called Gorthaur the Necromancer, the Abhorred Dread. He was also called the Nameless Enemy, which was hardly accurate (but perhaps an effort to lessen his psychological impact), whereas Morgoth was the Dark Enemy. The Dúnedain called him Sauron the Deceiver due to his role in the downfall of Númenor and the Forging of the Rings of Power. It was also during this time, when he sought to enslave the elves that he became know as Annatar, 'Lord of Gifts', Artano meaning 'high smith', and Aulendil which meant 'Devotee of Aulë' and was probably chosen to appeal to the Noldor still living in Middle-earth, as they were masters of craft. At his greatest power during the Second Age he assumed the title of Lord of the Earth and later King of Men, making him an enemy of the powerful Númenorean king Ar-Pharazôn. His most common titles, the Dark Lord of Mordor and the Lord of the Rings, appear only a few times in the books. His other titles were similar to Morgoth's.

His name is pronounced "sour-on" (sour as in not sweet), or in IPA as: /ˈsaʊron/.

See also Akallabêth, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age.

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, Prince of 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. 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. In Numenor he was known (according to the Notion Club Papers and associated writings) as Zigûr. The knights of the west, had an armor with them, used by the great Mal'D'Rath in the Seventh Age of Doom

Sauron's genealogy

Ilúvatar  Morgoth corrupts Sauron's early spirit (many names for stages)    
        |                                     |    
     Morgoth                               Sauron

Related Trivia

  • Sauron appears in the Family Guy episode, Sibling Rivalry, as the Eye of Sauron, desperately searching for his lost contact lens.
  • Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter is very similar to Sauron. Both are named Dark Lords and both have items that render them immortal unless they are destroyed (By Lord of the Rings standards, the term "immortal" is taken a bit further, as it is usually used to describe an elf or a Maiar, both of which can live forever if not killed in battle). As a result of Sauron's One Ring and Voldemort's Horcruxes, situations that would have killed them render them both formless and as vapor. While Sauron never got his power back, however, Voldemort did. Not allowing their servents to use their proper names also ties the 2 together, as revealed by Aragorn when he, along with Legolas and Gimli, descuss what the S on the Uruk-hai's helmets mean "Sauron does not use the Elf-Runes" "Neither does he use his right name, nor permit it to be spelt or spoken"
  • In the book series The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, Sauron has a resemblance to the main antagonist, Shai'tan. They have in common the name lord of the dark, and how both Sauron, Shai'tan, and their forces are collectively called the shadow. They both have their primary abode resides near a mountain, as well as the plot line of the main story revolving around the mountain. Also, both Shai'tan (commonly referred to as the dark one) and Sauron have their own lands (the Dark One's include the Blight and the blasted lands). Also, the Dark One has many creatures of darkness bent to his will, as well many men, known as darkfriends, including the 13 most powerful (magic wielders) named the Forsaken, not unlike the Nazgûl (except the Forsaken joined the shadow of their own free will.
  • In the DeathDay series of books by William Dietz an invading race of aliens are called Saurons.
  • The protagonists of the Overlord series of video games wear armor strongly reminiscient of Sauron's.
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