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Updated on September 12, 2014

The Dark Lord Sauron

Sauron is the major villain in the Lord of the Rings trilogy who must be defeated. The only way to do that is to destroy the One Ring, and the only way to destroy the One Ring is to throw it into Mount Doom where it was forged. Unfortunately Mount Doom happens to be in Mordor, Sauron's base of operations.

In the movies, Sauron appears as a giant flaming eyeball. I suppose anyone who's basically a flaming eyeball would be a little grumpy.

Was Sauron Really a Flaming Eyeball?

Peter Jackson's film depicts Sauron as a giant flaming eyeball, surveying his domain from the tallest tower in Mordor. Which is impressive, except Sauron doesn't have any appendages. We don't see the eyeball shoot death rays either. How did Sauron the Flaming Eyeball convince a bunch of orcs to do his dirty work for him?

This is just an example of misinterpretation. In the book, the Eye of Sauron is symbolic. However, Peter Jackson wouldn't be the first to take the eyeball-thing literally.


The Early Days of Sauron

Sauron is a thing of evil, but he didn't start out that way. He was corrupted by a more powerful spirit called Melkor. It is easiest to think of both Sauron and Melkor as fallen angels.

Sauron's greatest virtue was his love for order. He admired strength, a quality he saw in Melkor. Sauron did not seek glory for himself at first, and instead worked to accomplish Melkor's goals and schemes (sort of like Darth Vader working for the Emperor). After Melkor was banished to the Outer Void, Sauron began seeking his own power.

Sauron was a master of disguise; he could take on shapes that were pleasing to look upon. For a time, he even seemed like a decent lord who was generous towards all who served him.

And so, Sauron befriended the elves and helped them make Rings of Power. But in secret, he created the One Ring that he would use to dominate the other Ring Bearers. He had to infuse most of his power into it. This meant that if the One Ring were ever destroyed, Sauron would be powerless forever.

Sauron Says...

There is no life in the Void.

Only death.

The Forging of the One Ring

The One Ring is a simple gold band unadorned by any jewels. The only markings it has appear in flaming red letters when it is cast into a fire:

Sauron was stronger because now he could dominate mortal minds and bend them to his will, and because he could never truly die so long as the Ring existed. The Ring couldn't be destroyed unless it was thrown into the volcanic Mount Doom where it was forged.

But Sauron was also weaker, because if he didn't have the Ring, he was crippled. When Isildur cut the Ring from his hand, Sauron was unable to take a physical shape for well over 2,000 years.

The Power and Personality of the Ring

Because the Ring is infused with Sauron's power, it practically has a mind of its own. None save the Dark Lord can dominate it. Sooner or later, it corrupts anyone who uses it. The Ring can also change its size, a trick it often uses to escape from whoever is wearing it.

Only a very powerful person can use the Ring to its full potential. Although the Ring can corrupt a man or a hobbit over time, it is extremely limited in what it can do through them. However, if someone like the wizard Gandalf were to use the Ring, it could unleash terrible power.

One of the side effects of wearing the Ring is that it makes the wearer invisible to the eyes of men, elves, orcs, and other creatures. However, the Ring makes the wearer highly visible to spirit creatures like the Nazgul, Sauron's servants. Wearing the Ring partly transports the wearer to the spiritual world.

Sauron's Temporary Defeat

While Sauron was forging the One Ring, the elves got wind of his plan and removed their rings so that he wouldn't be able control them. This was unacceptable, since Sauron wanted to rule all of Middle Earth. He gathered his armies and attacked those who resisted.

The Last Alliance of Elves and Men fought Sauron and his armies. Sauron killed Elendil, the King of Men, as well as his son Anárion. Elendil's remaining son, Isildur, took up Elendil's broken sword Narsil and cut the Ring from Sauron's hand. Sauron's spirit fled from his body, defeated... temporarily.

Although the elves Elrond and Círdan urged Isildur to destroy the Ring, Isildur decided to keep the Ring for himself.

Men can't use the Ring's power to its full potential, but the Ring can make them invisible. Isildur wore the Ring and tried to flee from an attacking band of orcs. But the Ring slipped from his finger, betraying him to his death.

Sauron's Return

It took nearly two thousand years, but Sauron recovered enough to begin his search for the One Ring. He started building armies of orcs.

At some point, Saruman the White Wizard communicated with Sauron and pretended to be the Dark Lord's ally. Saruman had other agendas and planned to take the Ring for himself, but either way, he betrayed his order and his purpose.

In any case, Sauron was more interested in getting his Ring back. When he learned that the creature Gollum had once possessed the Ring, he had Gollum captured. Sauron's minions tortured the wretched creature. From Gollem's screams, they learned that the Ring was now in the possession of a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins.

Sauron's servants, the Nazgul, were sent to the Shire to find the Ring. Their mission failed. The new ringbearer, Frodo Baggins, escaped to Rivendell with his companions.

Sauron expected that someone would try to use the Ring's power. He knew and understood the temptation of power. One thing that never crossed his mind was the staggering idea that someone would try to destroy the Ring. But perhaps we can forgive Sauron for his lapse, since destroying the Ring would be a nearly impossible task. It required taking the Ring back to Mordor and throwing it into Mount Doom, all without being detected by Sauron or his orc minions.

Yet that was exactly what the Fellowship of the Ring decided to do. A wizard, four hobbits, two men, an elf, and a dwarf committed themselves to the destruction of the Ring, whatever trials and obstacles they would face.

And thus began the War of the Ring at the end of the Third Age.

One Ring to rule them all,

One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all

and in the darkness bind them.

What do you think of the Dark Lord?

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Sauron VS Voldemort

Now on to the important questions! Who would win in a fight: Voldemort, or Sauron? This video shows us clearly...

Even giant flaming eyeballs need love. Be sure to tell Sauron how what an adoring fan/minion you are.

Leave Your Love Letters to Sauron Here!

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      hells yeah!!!!!!!!!

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      sauron is awesome but i cannot believe he was killed by a hobbit an elf or a wizard mabey but a HOBBIT A HOBBIT WHO CAN BARLEY EVAN KILL AN ORC and morgoth let him free who cares mabey tinkerbell will kill him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    • VictoriaNeely1 profile image

      VictoriaNeely1 8 years ago

      [in reply to Rmnos] Yes, I realize the Silmarillion is a parallel to the Bible, and Melkor is obviously meant to be Satan from the get-go. Darn upstart and his wacky nonconformist singing.

      Could you please point me to a source that shows Melkor invented the Black Speech? Everything else claims Sauron was responsible for it, including various Tolkien boards, websites, and wikis. Appendix F even says "It is said that the Black Speech was devised by Sauron in the Dark Years, and that he had desired to make it the language of all those that served him, but he failed in that purpose."

      However, Appendix F isn't firm on this. "It is SAID" rather than stating it as fact could imply a rumor that everyone in Middle Earth believes now.

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      Well... actually Melkor , in theTolkiens world, Satan himself!

      Originally he was a Valar - It's like an Archangel...

      Sauron was a lesser Valar, called maiar aswel as Gandalf and Saruman, but much higher in ranking, he can be counted as an Angel.

      Oh and by the way, as much as I know, the ancient dark laguage tha was used by Sauron, wasn't created by him, It was the original Melkors laguage...

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      [in reply to Joseph D]

      I totally agree with you concerning that "Sauron should have gotten another chance"-issue, since I think that deep inside he's not evil at all!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      About Sauron I thought Sauron should have got another chance.Melkor BLAH!Hate him!The evil wretch!GOLLY DAY


    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      You've done a terrific article on the Dark Lord Sauron. I've been a fan of The Rings series for many years and you've introduced information I was not familiar with.

      I do have to smile at yet another 'Which is better' comparison. I like both The Rings books and Harry Potter. They both co-exist in my DVD collection.

      "Why can't we just get along?!"

      They entertain me, give me things to think about and are great escapisms. Thanks to Tolkien and Rowling respectively.

      And thanks for sharing your personal insights.

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      anonymous 9 years ago

      This lens is a great "eye opener", bad pun sorry lol :O). Thanks for the informative and interesting article on Sauron, he is not really a character you hear a lot of detail about from the book or movies apart from obvious role with creating the ring.

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      ZachG LM 9 years ago

      Really great lens on Sauron. I'm an LOTR geek but I didn't know some of the stuff that's here until I found this lens! Five stars. Keep up the good work!