For other uses, see Sauron (disambiguation).


Sauron is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth universe. He is the titular Lord of the Rings against whom the protagonists of that series struggle.

His name is pronounced "sour-ron" (sour as in not sweet), or in IPA as: . He also appears as Dark Lord Morgoth's abominable lieutenant in The Silmarillion.

Template:Infobox LOTR


Sauron in the First Age

In the earliest of days, before the Valar entered Arda, Sauron was in origin an "angelic" spirit called a Maia in Tolkien's invented mythology. He was at first a powerful servant of Aulë, the Smith, a greater angelic spirit, one of the Valar, or ruling powers of the world. However, Sauron was soon subverted by the Dark Lord Melkor (later known as Morgoth, an evil Vala), and Sauron himself turned to evil. 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 Men to worship Morgoth as 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.

During the First Age, the Ñoldorin 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, enchanted gems that glowed with light, from them. In that war, Sauron served as Morgoth's Chief lieutenant, surpassing all others in rank. 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), and after his master was defeated and cast out by the Valar, 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.

Sauron in the Second Age

Missing image
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, investing most of his own power into the Ring as he forged it. By doing so, he became more powerful than his master Morgoth at the end of the First Age, whose fëa ("soul" or "spirit"), while stronger, was dispersed into the matter of Arda. 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, might have defeated them.

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; constructed the Black Gate of Mordor to prevent invasion; 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 of Beren and Lúthien, who 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 the king of Númenor to rebel against the Valar and attack Valinor itself. Eru, the supreme 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.

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, and the Ring was lost for centuries.

Sauron in the Third Age

Missing image
Peter Jackson's Eye of Sauron (in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy)

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 known as the Necromancer, and the Elves did not realize at first that he was actually Sauron returned. Gandalf the wizard stole into Dol Guldur and discovered the truth; eventually the White Council of Wizards and Elves put forth their might and drove Sauron out. But the White Council was led by Saruman, who wanted the Ring for himself. Sauron simply moved back to Mordor and raised again Barad-dûr. He fortified Mordor and prepared for war against Gondor and the Elves, with Saruman now his servant.

Sauron bred immense armies of Orcs. He 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.

But he was defeated when his One Ring, found by Bilbo Baggins the Hobbit, was cast into the Crack of Doom in Mordor where it had been made. The Ring-bearer, Frodo Baggins, actually failed at the last moment, unable to resist the power of the Ring at the place of its birth; but an earlier bearer of the Ring, Gollum, saved him by recovering the Ring in a desperate attempt to possess it and then falling in himself. Thus, it was ultimately Frodo and Bilbo's pity in sparing Gollum's life that led to the Dark Lord's defeat. Then Sauron's power was unmade, and his corporeal power in Middle-earth came to an end. 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. (Saruman was soon to suffer a lesser version of this fate.)

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. His two 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.

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, 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. 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.

Sauron's genealogy

      Ilúvatar  Melkor corrupts sauron's early spirit (many names for stages)
           |                                  1
         Melkor                            Sauron

External links

  • Sauron ( at the Encyclopedia of Arda

Ainur of Middle-earth
Ainulindalë (Music of the Ainur)
Lords of the ValarManwë | Aulë | Oromë | Irmo (Lórien) | Námo (Mandos) | Tulkas | Ulmo
Queens of the ValarVarda | Yavanna | Vána | Estë | Vairë | Nessa | Nienna
The Enemy:  Morgoth (a.k.a. Melkor)
MaiarEönwë | Ilmarë | Ossë | Uinen | Salmar | Sauron | Melian | Arien | Tilion | Gothmog
Curumo (Saruman) | Olórin (Gandalf) | Aiwendil (Radagast) | Alatar and Pallando | Durin's Bane
de:Figuren aus Mittelerde

es:Sauron fr:Sauron it:Sauron nl:Sauron ja:サウロン no:Sauron pl:Sauron pt:Sauron fi:Sauron sv:Sauron zh:索倫


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