Stature or Form of Sauron in 3rd Age

Discussion in 'The Hall of Fire' started by pgt, Jan 7, 2002.

  1. Elanor2

    Elanor2 Registered User

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    I tend to go more in the other direction. I think that the Great Eye is more the visualisation of Sauron's mind, searching and looking into other people's minds, as Frodo, Galadriel and Pippin (through the Palantir) perceive it. I think that his physical form was more or less human, with 4 fingers, as Gollum describes.

    But I also think that without the Ring, he could not be completely formed, so his projections are a bit ghostly, like the smoke hand at the end, and so on.
     
  2. Cian

    Cian sylvan madman

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    "I note your remarks about Sauron. He was always de-bodied when vanquished." JRRT 1957

    I must disagree (respectfully :)) that without the Ring Sauron could not be fully formed. My reasons are culled from the following quote (among others) posted below for reference.

    In the following Tolkien somewhat explains the 'real' nature of the self-incarnate ("physical actuality" not vision & etc, "destructible like other physical organisms", and so forth) ... he goes on to say that Sauron took a long while to "rebuild" after the LA, thus the implication would seem to be that he simply rebuilt, but that it took a long time.

    The Prof. adds that it took longer (after the LA), than it had after Númenor's fall. And if I say a 2nd batch of cookies took longer than the first, for example, or a second set of tennis took longer, the natural reaction to this info is that the 2nd X was completed, albeit one may naturally ask "why longer"? Tolkien goes, or attempts to go, into that within the parenthetical digression that immediately follows, with "each building-up ..." and so on. Nothing about the loss of the Ring affecting Saurons ultimate ability to "reform" though, and the One gets mention next in this "mythological" (not scientific) explanation ~ JRRT saying that the impossibility of re-building after the destruction of the Ring is sufficiently clear. Indeed, if it were impossible to rebuild after the Rings loss, then JRRT's opening statement that Sauron was always "de-bodied" when vanquished would be awkward, considering the end of LotR.

    Tolkien's literary Sauron is quite a different thing: a shadowy figure yes, a master stroke to greatly evoke terror in the minds eye of the reader. But despite the vagueness, the wonderful use of "the Eye", I think that Sauron (ultimately) can be as "physical" as he was against Gilgalad and Elendil, the self-incarnate Third Age counterpart to the physical Morgoth, who himself could be wounded and go lame of foot as a result.

    Tolkien's choice of terminology, if not overly-detailed (as one would expect to this) speaks to a physical being, an "incarnate" daemon of a Mythic Age, no longer able to rebuild his form as history passes on to the dominion of Men, waning by degrees away from the Mythic.

     

  3. Walter

    Walter Flamekeeper

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    I feel tempted to say that this is - just another - excellent posting of Cian, but of course I will refrain from it, because s/he would - again - just reply that this was an easy task and about every Tom, Dick and Harry would come up with such a posting if they had only so much as sticked their nose into any one of Tolkien's books for a little while... ;)
     
  4. Cian

    Cian sylvan madman

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    LoL & Cheers Walter! Just my cookie-inspired opinion.

    he-Kian :)
     

  5. Urylia

    Urylia so so lonely

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    What is Sauron?

    What species is Suron...was he an elf, a man, a wizard, a hobbit, what was he?
    My friend is betting on a wizard, me i'm just confused.
     
  6. Gothmog

    Gothmog Lord of Balrogs Staff Member

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    Sauron is a Maia. one of the Ainur who were before the creation of Arda who then come down into it. The Valar and the Maiar are both Ainur but of greater or lesser power.

    The Istari or Wizards are also Maia, but they were enemies of Sauron.

    So your friend is on the right lines. Both the Istari and Sauron were of the same order of being.

    In order of being (or power)
    Valar
    Maiar
    Elf
    Mortal(Man, Dwarf, Hobbit etc.)

    hope that is of some help.
     
  7. Urylia

    Urylia so so lonely

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    ok...thank you very much...i understand now
    I have some serious reading to do before i post any more stupid questions...
     
  8. Beleg Strongbow

    Beleg Strongbow Superior Elf

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    You should read the sil!!!:D :)
     
  9. Lantarion

    Lantarion no house

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    Yes, please do, Urylia. It is extremely informative on the matters of Middle-Earth, and indeed the rest of the World (Arda), as well as being the most incredible piece of beautiful mythology you have ever encompassed. Forget the Kalevala, the Eddas and the fairy stories of old; The Silmariliion is the lord of all myhtology. Compared to thr Sil, the plot of the LotR is soap opera! (Ok, not quite, but you see I'm serious.)
    Anyway, welcome to the forum! :)
     
  10. Diabless

    Diabless New Member

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    Yes, But was Sauron at the time of Frodo and Sam. Was he a feasible red Eye, a spiritual one, was he a shadow?
     
  11. Grond

    Grond Melkor's Mallet

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    In LotR, Gollum speaks of Sauron with only nine fingers. That would indicate to me that Sauron had again taken a physical form (else how would Gollum have known he had only nine finger?) How could he wield his powers and use that Palantar without some form of physical existence?

    The books (from LotR - Sil - Unfinsished Tales - Histories of Middle-earth) make it clear that Sauron could still assume a physical form, just never one that was again fair in appearance. (He appeared in fair form to the Elves of Eregion when seducing them into forging the Rings of Power in the Second Age.)

    He is symbolized by a red, lidless eye. All seeing, never sleeping, always searching.
     
  12. Brent

    Brent Registered User

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    I recall from my distant readings that Isildur cut the ring from Sauron's finger BUT that it was Gil-galad and Elendil who overcame him. It was not Isildur who slew Sauron.
     
  13. Lantarion

    Lantarion no house

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    But I think Sauron was vanquished when the Ring was wrenched from his hand by the shards of Narsil, because the schock of losing so much power and strength in a hundredth of a second must have some kind of an effect on the wielder (who had probably had it on his finger for hundreds of years!). When you say 'Gil-galad and Elendil overcame him', I agree, but they simply sort of wounded him or something, so Isildur had the chance to smite him. And I'm not sure if Sauron could be killed simply by slashing at him with a dirty great sword. Ah, but his body might.. Oh well. :rolleyes:
    :)
     
  14. Wood Elf

    Wood Elf Registered User

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    Cool thread, I just read and pick up all this information by you really smart people who know all this stuff. :)
     
  15. Erestor Arcamen

    Erestor Arcamen Archivist Staff Member

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  16. Alcuin

    Alcuin Registered User

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    Way back in this thread, in January 2002, Cian quotes Letters of JRR Tolkien describing Aragorn’s mental, spiritual, and psychological struggle with Sauron over control of the palantír of Orthanc: “in a tale which allows the incarnation of great spirits in a physical and destructible form their power must be far greater when actually physically present.”

    The very next two sentences in Letter 246 read,
    Sauron should be thought of as very terrible. The form that he took was that of a man of more than human stature, but not gigantic.
    Sauron once more took on the form of one of the Incarnates – Elves and Men – as had most of the Valar and Maiar who entered Arda. (Huan the Hound and Oromë’s horse, Nahar, may be exceptions; or there may be many more: we are not told.)

    Cian also quotes Letter 200 in discussing the motivation behind the Ainur (the Valar and Maiar together are Ainur: think of them as “angelic powers”, with the Valar the more powerful or “archangels”) taking incarnate form, the consequences of doing that, and the impossibility of Sauron’s incarnating himself a third time after the destruction of the Ring.

    Just to recapitulate:
    • Sauron, in his origins a Maia called “Mairon” (“Admirable”) in the following of Aulë, was a master of shapes: in his battle with Lúthien for mastery of the original tower called Minas Tirith on the island of Tol Sirion in Beleriand, he first took the shape of great werewolf, a shape in which he was defeated by Huan the Hound of Valinor. He shape-shifted to a serpent, perhaps to some other monstrous form, and then to his “own accustomed form,” but could not escape the grip of Huan. Lúthien threatened “that he should be stripped of his raiment of flesh, and his ghost be sent quaking back to Morgoth;” so Sauron yielded his fortress to her, took shape as a vampire bat, and fled.
    • While he took a terrifying form as Morgoth’s servant in the First Age, in the Second Age he took the most pleasing form he could fashion in the guise of “Annatar” (“Giver of Gifts”), a Maia in the following of Aulë, in order to seduce the Eldar of Middle-earth. Warned by Galadriel that there was no “Annatar” among Aulë’s Maiar in Valinor, Gil-galad and his steward Elrond refused him entry into Lindon; but Celebrimbor and his companions (probably followers of his grandfather Fëanor) in Eregion befriended Annatar and learned much from him: Sauron was truly “of the Maiar of Aulë, and he remained mighty in the lore of that people.” (Silmarillion, “Of the Enemies”)
    • Sauron’s original physical form, which he could change and shape as it pleased him, lasted from his entry into Arda to the Downfall of Númenor. This physical body was permanently destroyed in the Downfall of Númenor. (That is what Lúthien threatened to have Huan do to him at Tol Sirion.) He rescued his Ring and returned to Middle-earth, “‘a spirit of hatred borne on a dark wind’”, says Tolkien in Letter 211, to which he adds,
      “I do not think one need boggle at this spirit carrying off the One Ring, upon which his power of dominating minds now largely depended.”​
    • The “Tale of Years” says Sauron returned to Mordor the year after the Downfall of Númenor, the same year Elendil and his sons founded their Númenórean realms in Exile, Arnor and Gondor. (Arnor was the senior kingdom, btw.) 110 years after the Downfall of Númenor, Sauron launched a war upon Gondor. I think he was probably able to take incarnate form soon after his return to Middle-earth; but he was never again able to take a pleasing form: his form sounds in many ways reminiscent of a Balrog: “like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seemed to be in it and to go before it.” (FotR, “Bridge of Khazad-dûm”) And remember: Sauron still had the Ring! so he still had all his power, which he had placed into the Ring. This was his second incarnate form.
    • The War of the Last Alliance lasted about twelve years. Sauron, besieged in Barad-dûr, broke out in an attempt to get to Orodruin, where he had forged his Ring in the volcano. (I think he planned to use the volcano to destroy the allied armies of Elves and Númenóreans.) Elendil and Gil-galad, along with Círdan, Elrond, and Isildur, intercept him, stop him, and beat him senseless, but Elendil and Gil-galad are killed in the battle. Before Sauron can recover, Isildur cuts off his Ring. “Sauron ... was always de-bodied when vanquished,as Cian quotes from Letter 200. And to requote what Cian already cited from Tolkien, the Letter says,
    • Sauron’s spirit fled after Isildur “de-bodied” him. Some of the Eldar who had lived in Valinor could see into the shadow-world (Glorfindel, for instance; Gandalf told Frodo, “‘those who have dwelt in the Blessed Realm live at once in both worlds, and against both the Seen and the Unseen they have great power.’” (FotR, “Many Meetings”)), and I suppose they could still attack him. In any case, he needed to rebuild, and there was no chance of doing that in Mordor with all those Elves and Númenóreans around! He needed someplace quiet, somewhere out of the way, without pesky visitors or disturbances. It seems entirely reasonable that he would build up another physical manifestation much like the second, but it took longer: he had already lost much of his “inherent energy of the spirit,” and he no longer had the Ring in his possession to help him. He needed his Ring back: hence this wonderful story, The Lord of the Rings.
    And that would explain his nine fingers: he was unable to reconstruct another one. Nor was he some giant, disembodied eye suspended between two electric-like pillars atop Barad-dûr, as Peter Jackson depicted him. It is likely that he had two eyes: consider the phrase and symbol of “The Eye of Horus,” still famous to this day, 1600 years after anyone has worshipped the ancient Egyptian gods. No one suggests Horus was some one-eyed cyclopean creature, but a two-eyed creature with the keen vision of a falcon. So also Sauron: I am pretty sure “the eye of Sauron” is a phrase akin to “the eye of Horus”, meaning that whatever happens, he will notice and react to it. What a great way to terrify your subjects: pretend you’re God! Sauron did, and his adherents worshipped him as a god-king.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Finally, in his description of the Istari in Letter 156, Tolkien says much the same of Gandalf and the other wizards:
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
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