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- NOTE: This article is about the version of Sauron from the Peter Jackson continuity. You may be looking for information on his mainstream counterpart, his Lord of the Rings: Conquest counterpart, or his Shadow of Mordor counterpart.
|“||You cannot hide. I see you. There is no life in the Void. Only… death.||„|
|~ Sauron taunting Frodo when he puts the One Ring on.|
Sauron is the main antagonist of Peter Jackson's Middle-earth live-action film saga.
Once the servant of Morgoth before taking up his role for himself, Sauron was the dark lord of Mordor and the great enemy of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. He forged the One Ring to Rule Them All in ages past in order to conquer all of Middle-earth. After losing the Ring and his physical form and being vanquished for an Age, he eventually regains much of his former power in the Third Age and once again wages war on the Free Peoples of Middle-earth, seeking to be reunited with the One Ring and thus rule Middle-earth. He is the archenemy of the Fellowship of the Ring, especially Aragorn.
He was portrayed by Sala Baker, who also played an adult Firefist in Deadpool 2 and voiced by the late Alan Howard in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In The Hobbit trilogy, he was portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, who also portrayed Smaug in the same trilogy, Dormammu in Doctor Strange, Strange Supreme in What If...?, Frankenstein's Monster and Victor Frankenstein on stage, Shere Khan in Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, The Grinch in the 2018 film of the same name, William Ford in 12 Years a Slave, and Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek: Into Darkness.
He serves as the overarching antagonist of The Hobbit trilogy and the titular main antagonist of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, specifically as the titular overarching antagonist of both The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, and the titular main antagonist of The Return of the King.
Sauron was once a servant of the first Dark Lord, Morgoth. Following the latter's defeat, Sauron took his master's place during the Second Age and became the Dark Lord of Mordor. He deceived the races of Elves, Men, and Dwarves with the Rings of Power, which they had believed would help them rule over each of the three races. Some of these included the Nine Kings of Men who would become the Nazgûl, as they took their Rings without questions due to being consumed by greed.
With all of them deceived, Sauron forged the One Ring of Power to Rule Them All in the fires of Mount Doom within the land of Mordor. He conquered many lands in Middle-earth using the Ring which resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocents. He also enslaved the Nazgûl and bound them to become undead slaves to his will, led by his chief servant and Lord of the Nazgûl, the Witch-king of Angmar. However, his dominion would not last forever, as the Last Alliance of Men and Elves fought against him on the slopes of Mount Doom. They defeated his army of orcs easily, but Sauron proved to be a bigger challenge. He slaughtered many of the Men and Elves and killed the Gondor King, Elendil, with a huge mace.
Elendil's son Isildur grabbed his father's sword, but Sauron stepped on it, breaking it, and reached out to strike. However, Isildur cut off Sauron's fingers, including the one with the One Ring on it with what was left of the blade, destroying Sauron's body. Despite this, Sauron survived as a spirit and fled to Dol Guldur, unable to die unless the One Ring was destroyed, which could only be done if it was thrown into the fires of Mount Doom where it was forged. There, Sauron disguised himself as a sorcerer known as the Necromancer, created a pact with the dragon Smaug, and had Azog and the Orcs and Goblins of Moria join him on his quest to reconquer Middle-earth.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Thousands of years later, Gandalf accompanied the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield and his band of kinsmen, as well as reluctant "burglar" Bilbo Baggins, on a quest to reclaim the kingdom of Erebor from Smaug. Unbeknownst to Thorin and company, Gandalf had an ulterior motive; he had come to suspect that Sauron had returned, and wanted to destroy Smaug to prevent Sauron from using him as a weapon.
Meanwhile, Radagast the Brown discovered Dol Guldur, and the Witch-king attacked him and vanished. Radagast then saw Sauron in shadow and fled. He told Gandalf about the encounter, and Gandalf eventually told the White Council; the other members reacted with skepticism, except for Lady Galadriel, who sent Gandalf on a quest to confirm that this Necromancer was indeed Sauron returned.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
After Gandalf, Bilbo, and the Dwarf company escaped a pack of Orcs led by Azog the Defiler, Gandalf parted ways with them and traveled with Radagast to Dol Guldur to discover the truth. Gandalf sent Radagast back to send a message to Galadriel, while he went in alone. After unsuccessfully trying to convince the evil inside to reveal itself, he was ambushed by Azog and several Orcs. After defeating and escaping them, Gandalf fled deeper into the ruined fortress, where he encountered the Necromancer and confirmed his worst fear: that this mysterious sorcerer was indeed the Dark Lord returned.
Sauron revealed to Gandalf that he was gathering all his forces and regaining his strength, enough to prepare for war. He planned to first take over Erebor, and then reclaim the kingdom of Angmar, and on and on until he once again controlled all of Middle-earth.
Gandalf tried to fight off the Dark Lord, and although he accomplished repelling him a few times, he eventually proved to be no match for Sauron. After defeating Gandalf, destroying his staff, and imprisoning him, Sauron sent his minions to Erebor to find Thorin and his company inside the mountain, where they were currently facing a conflict with Smaug the Dragon, who was on his way to destroy the nearby town of Esgaroth.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Galadriel, Saruman and Elrond entered Dol Guldur to save Gandalf. Elrond and Saruman battled the spirits of the Nazgûl, while Gandalf escaped with the help of Radagast the Brown.
Sauron once again took the form of the Eye and appeared before the group and foretold the fall of the East and the rise of the ancient Kingdom of Angmar. He declared that "the time of the Elves is over, the Age of the Orc has begun." He attempted to corrupt Galadriel, who nonetheless resisted and used all of her power to banish Sauron's spirit out of Dol Guldur. Moments later, Saruman said that he would deal with Sauron personally, foreshadowing their alliance.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
After the One Ring was found by Gollum, and later taken by Bilbo Baggins, Sauron himself became obsessed with finding the ring. Over the 15 years, after Bilbo gave the ring to Frodo, Sauron regained much of his former strength, though unable to take physical form, he existed as an eye, called the Eye of Sauron, shown as a real manifestation on top of Barad-dûr. Saruman also went over to his side and he sent the Ringwraiths after Frodo to kill him and take the One Ring back. They morally wounded Frodo, but failed to reclaim the Ring and Frodo would begin his journey to Mordor, accompanied by the Fellowship of the Ring, to cast the ring into the fires of Mount Doom. Sauron would confront Frodo mentally several times, when Frodo put the Ring on.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Sauron's servant, Saruman, sent an army of 10,000 Uruk-hai to invade Rohan, but eventually, they were defeated when Gandalf, the Rohirrim, and the Ents of Fangorn Forest arrived. Saruman himself was killed by Gríma Wormtongue at Isengard and Wormtongue was killed by Legolas. Sauron's defeat at Helm's Deep showed him that the men were still able to resist him.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
After the defeat at Helm's Deep, he decided to attack Gondor with another powerful army of orcs, led by the hideous orc Gothmog and the Witch-king of Angmar. The men of Gondor and Rohan fought against them, but it wasn't until Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli showed up with the Army of the Dead that Sauron's army was defeated. In the battle, the Witch-king was killed by Éowyn, and Gothmog was killed by Aragorn and Gimli.
In the meantime, Frodo and Sam were making their way into Mordor with the One Ring to destroy it. Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Éomer, Merry, Pippin, and what remained of the men of Gondor and Rohan went to the Black Gates to draw Sauron's army out and his attention away from the two hobbits after a meeting with the Mouth of Sauron. Gollum attacked Frodo and Sam as they made their way up Mount Doom. In the end, Frodo decided to keep the ring for himself, and put it on, thus attracting the attention of Sauron and the eight remaining Nazgûl.
Before anything else could happen, however, Gollum bit Frodo's finger off and took the ring back. Frodo fought Gollum, resulting in them both falling over the cliff. Frodo held onto the edge and survived and he and Sam escaped, but Gollum fell into the lava with the One Ring. With the ring destroyed, Sauron could no longer survive. Barad-dûr collapsed, and Sauron was destroyed in a shock wave of energy that collapsed the foundations of Mordor and in the process, the majority of the Orcs were all destroyed whereas the surviving Orcs run away, never able to form such great armies again, while the eight remaining Nazgûl were all destroyed by the fires of Mount Doom, therefore freeing Middle-earth from slavery and destroying the ancient threat to Elves and Men.
Sauron is originally portrayed as a black armored knight carrying a huge black mace. He's represented there in human form when the Ring is forged and so until it loses the latter, then it is represented in the limited form of an eye dissociated from any type of body in the rest of history. Sauron loses this body after Isildur cuts his fingers with a piece of Narsil. In this version, the Dark Lord seems to be more or less unharmed until he loses his ring since, at that moment, his body disintegrates by exploding. After his defeat, he is represented in the form of an eye, acting as a body. Later in the first film, Saruman points out to Gandalf that Sauron cannot yet take physical form, implying that Sauron's fiery Eye is his bodiless mind. This eye dominates Barad-dûr.
Spreading nothing but darkness and suffering wherever he went, Sauron was nothing more than a cruel, power-hungry tyrant. All he desired was to rule all life, forging the One Ring in order to corrupt the ring bearers into mindless slaves, which succeeded with the Nazgûl, and waging wars against all the free peoples of Middle-earth for total conquest. He valued no one but himself, only using the Orcs in his army to win his conquests.
Sauron was extremely sadistic and enjoyed psychologically tormenting others, threatening Aragorn with Arwen's life whilst they confronted each other via the palantír, torturing Pippin when he refused to answer him, mentally agonizing Frodo whenever he saw him through the Ring and ordering the Mouth of Sauron to lie to the Fellowship about Frodo being dead and having endured great pain in order to break their spirits. He may have also been somewhat humorous due to "bidding them welcome" at the Black Gate.
Sauron despised the race of Men more than all others, wishing to destroy the world of Men by destroying the Kingdoms of Gondor and Rohan. He was completely merciless, desiring the extermination of the entire city of Minas Tirith, including the women and children. Due to his hatred of Men, Sauron feared and hated Aragorn, the rightful King of Gondor, more than any other being. Sauron was so fearful of Aragorn, he sought to destroy Minas Tirith itself to ensure he never becomes King.
He was highly intelligent and manipulative, deceiving kings of Men with the great Rings, appealing to their greed and then transforming them into loyal slaves, the Nazgûl. Yet he was also arrogant and prideful, mocking Gandalf and Galadriel for being incapable of defeating him and demanding Mordor, and therefore himself, have a worthy army. He looked down on all other beings as beneath him. Sauron thought so lowly of Hobbits that he couldn't even tell Frodo and Pippin apart. Ironically, it was two small Hobbits, Frodo and Sam, who were largely responsible for his final downfall.
Sauron was not a coward and was willing to stare down an entire army alone at the height of his power and engage in battle with them. He used fear and intimidation to his advantage during warfare.
Powers and Abilities
- Magic: Sauron possessed dark magical powers, which he used to craft the One Ring, which was capable of enslaving the Nazgûl, turning its wearer invisible and corrupting the mind of its bearer with desire and lust for it. He was immortal, with his spirit having existed for thousands of years.
- Shapeshifting: Sauron's spirit was capable of taking on numerous forms, be it a physical form, a fair form, the form of a flaming eye, or a form of dark shadow as the Necromancer.
- Endurance: Sauron was incredibly powerful in battle, in which he wielded a great mace, able to send entire legions of Men and Elves flying with the wind caused by a single swing.
- Umbrakinesis: Sauron could also control the weather of Mordor. He did this to spread fuming clouds to block out the Sun to keep his Orc armies strong during their march to war.
- Telepathy: Sauron was capable of communicating with others through telepathy and even inducing mental pain in those he came into contact with. When Saruman and Pippin communicated with Sauron via the Palantir, Sauron spoke to them in their minds and even mentally tortured Pippin after refusing to answer him.
- Necromancy: Being a Necromancer, Sauron could summon the spirits of the dead, which he used with the Nazgûl, summoning them to act his will.
- Pyrokinesis: Sauron was capable of emitting heat and fires and was capable of burning Gandalf's staff.
- Telekinesis: Sauron could use telekinesis, similar to Gandalf and Saruman, which he used to bash Gandalf against the wall after beating him in his Necromancer form.
- Illusions: He could also cast illusions, which he did over Dol Guldor, giving the impression that the fortress was abandoned and cloaking his armies, whilst also deceiving Thráin into believing there were serpent-like creatures present.
- Plauging: Sauron's witchcraft could also spread diseases and plagues that gave sickness to Mirkwood and killed many animals.
- Deceivery: Sauron was a master of deception, managing to fool the greedy kings of Men into taking the Rings of Power, only to bind them to his will. He would do the same to the Haradrim that joined him, using lies to bring them to his side. He was a masterful blacksmith, allowing him to craft the One Ring.
- Intimidation: One of his greatest abilities was his power to intimidate. His presence alone was enough to keep an entire army at bay, single-handedly.
- Emotional Torment: He could also emotionally torment his foes to his advantage, as shown by when he threatened Aragorn with Arwen's life and had the Mouth of Sauron inform the Fellowship that Frodo had died and suffered to break their spirits.
Sauron amassed vast armies of evil creatures and has numerous servants and followers.
- The Witch-king of Angmar - First lieutenant, Lord of the Nazgul, leader at the Battle of Pelennor Fields
- Azog - Commander of the legions of Dol Guldur, leader at the Battle of the Five Armies
- Bolg - Commander of the legions of Gundabad, second in command at the Battle of the Five Armies
- Khamûl - Second in command of the Nazgul, second Lord of the Nazgul
- Gothmog - Second in command at the Battle of Pelennor Fields
- Haradrim King
- Nazgûl - Most loyal slaves
- Mouth of Sauron - Messenger
- Torturer Of Dol Guldur
- Various changes were made for Sauron's role in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings 2001-2003. For example, Sauron did not take the form of an Eye in the book. Instead, he still had a physical form with his cut finger missing. The Eye atop Barad-dûr is exclusive to the film series and was done to give Sauron more of a presence.
- In the book, Sauron is inside the tower, spying through "the window of the Eye in his shadowy fortress." In Peter Jackson's movies, the humanoid form of Sauron appears one last time when Aragorn looks in the palantír in the Extended Edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and Pippin makes a brief and terrifying encounter with the Eye after looking into the palantír of Orthanc.
- Sauron was originally planned to take physical form and battle Aragorn at the Battle at the Black Gate in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, but it was cut and replaced with a troll.
- In the cut scene, Sauron also takes his fair form of Annatar.
- While his past before the Second Age is largely unknown, Galadriel refers to Sauron as a "servant of Morgoth", confirming that, like in the book, Sauron did once serve Morgoth. However, he no longer serves Morgoth as he now desires to dominate all life in Arda.
- Sauron's role in The Hobbit prequel trilogy was greatly expanded, with more focus on his role as the Necromancer of Dol Guldur, as well as showing that he desired the Lonely Mountain for its strategic position and that he initiated the Battle of the Five Armies. Although Sauron appears little throughout the story, his presence, like in The Lord of the Rings before it, is constantly felt, and he is an active threat in the story through his servant Azog. He never appears in the original The Hobbit novel and is only given mention as the Necromancer.
- Sauron is the only antagonist of Peter Jackson's Middle-earth film saga to appear in some form in every installment.
- Sauron's physical form is approximately 9'2 feet tall, towering over the Men and Elves opposing him.
- The only major characters Sauron was shown to have a direct interaction with were Gil-galad, Isildur, Radagast, Azog, Gandalf, Thráin, Galadriel, Frodo, Saruman, Pippin, and Aragorn.
- In The Hobbit trilogy, Sauron speaks almost entirely in Black Speech, and the only time he speaks English is when he says Radagast's name in An Unexpected Journey.
- In the movies, Sauron wears armor which was based on Morgoth from literature, but in the book, Sauron was never depicted as wearing armor in the Second and Third Ages of Middle-earth. Peter Jackson took the depiction of Morgoth's armor from The Silmarillion and made his version of Sauron more frightening compared to Tolkien's version of Sauron, who was depicted as a cryptic, shadowy, and mysterious entity in the Second and Third Ages of Tolkien's literature.