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How powerful is Sauron?

Úlairi

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I have come up against quite a many arguments as to how powerful Sauron actually is. So people have your say. We know that Sauron was a Maia, making him quite powerful already. Not to mention that he was of the top order of the Maia of Aule. Also, when Sauron was under the service of Morgoth, he was given even more power. He was responsible for the downfall of Numenor, the demise of Elendil, Gil-galad, and Felagund and nearly Beren, Luthien and Huan (the hound of the valar). He had enough power to return from the depths of the sea, to come back after being defeated and to make a ring powerful enough to corrupt other Maia. So, how powerful is Sauron? What, more powerful than Eonwe, Melian or Osse?
Fair answers people. And just because Sauron's a bad guy, do not let that affect your answers.
 

Beleg Strongbow

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Originally posted by Ulairi
I have come up against quite a many arguments as to how powerful Sauron actually is. So people have your say. We know that Sauron was a Maia, making him quite powerful already. Not to mention that he was of the top order of the Maia of Aule. Also, when Sauron was under the service of Morgoth, he was given even more power. He was responsible for the downfall of Numenor, the demise of Elendil, Gil-galad, and Felagund and nearly Beren, Luthien and Huan (the hound of the valar). He had enough power to return from the depths of the sea, to come back after being defeated and to make a ring powerful enough to corrupt other Maia. So, how powerful is Sauron? What, more powerful than Eonwe, Melian or Osse?
Fair answers people. And just because Sauron's a bad guy, do not let that affect your answers.

Yes well how do YOU define power as for osse, eonwe and melian. I think not. Sauron at his height couldn't get into doriath. He wasn't strong enouth. Sorry but i'm busy post later.
 

Lantarion

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Sauron was powerful among the Maiar, but it clearly states in the Silmarillion that Eönwë was the most powerful of the Maiar, and the greatest in might of arms. Ossë was a Vala, so she was most definately more powerufl than Sauron. Melian was less powerful than Eönwë, of course, but she was probably the most powerful Maia in Middle-Earth at the time of the War of the Jewels.
Sauron was more powerful than, say, the Istari. But I personally think the Istari could have killed Sauron, if at least three (and even better with all 5) of them would have come up against him and fried his noodle. But this was not possible at the time of the WR (War of the Ring), because of Saruman's treachery and Radagast's lack of powers and love of nature.
 

Eonwe

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also the Istari were forbidden to match power against power, if you allow quotes from the Sil and UT.

Sauron's might was probably greater than Eonwe, Melian and Osse in creating devices, and in his ability to persuade with words. But his inherent power, and other facets of his power (like the ability of Melian to shield Doriath from Morgoth, and the ability of Eonwe to fight) were less than other Maia. He is like Saruman (another great Maia of Aule) who can rig up explosives, siege engines, make a ring that has inherent power, and these things Eonwe and Melian and Osse would never be capable of.

So its hard to compare bad apples to oranges, if you get my drift.
 

Rohirim

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i have to admit that Sauron was the one who created 'the one ring', which was "one ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them". this was when he was in his original form, although if it weren't for saruman he would not have had such a big army, "build me an army worth of mordor".
 

Lantarion

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"Build me an army worthy of Mordor" is a quote from one of the films, not from the book (unless I'm quite mistaken), so I woulodn't use that as backup. ;)
But you're partly right, Saruman did contribute to Sauron's conquest of Middle-earth, though Sauron only actually used Saruman as a puppet and captain, not as an ally.
Also, Sauron's creation of the One Ring is something I believe all Maiar could do, in principle. Sauron (calling himself Annatar) learned the art of smithying originally from Aulë, I would guess, but he also gained probably vital knowledge from the Gwaith-i-Mírdain of Eregion. This Elven/Maian skill in the technical side, in addition to his Maian 'powers' of controlling energy etc. together were what enabled him to craft the unique artefact that stored in it a part of Sauron's own spirit.
 

Narsil

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A lot of Sauron's power was bound up in the ring itself. That's why it was so vital to him that he get it back and so vital to Middle Earth that he not get it. I don't think he was nearly as powerful as he could've been had he once again regained possession of the ring.

And much of the strength and will of Sauron passed into that One Ring
So the fact that he didn't have it at all proved to be a big advantage. When he possessed the ring Sauron was quite powerful..

He took up again the great Ring and clothed himself in power; and the malice of the Eye of Sauron few even of the great among Elves and Men could endure.
When Sauron did have the ring during the Second Age it took the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, a siege that lasted 7 years and the deaths of Gil-galad and Elendil to finally bring Sauron down. It's safe to assume that had the ring not been cut from his hand and lost he would've been much stronger and wreaked even more havoc during the Third Age.

When the ring was indeed destroyed at the end of the Third Age it was enough to destroy Sauron...

Then Sauron failed, and he was utterly vanquished and passed away like a shadow of malice; and the towers of Barad-dur crumbled in ruin
For all this though he wasn't close to being as strong as his master, Morgoth. It took an incredible army of Valar, Elves and Men and destruction of Middle Earth to bring Morgoth down. I don't think this was as necessary with Sauron..but I do think things could've been a lot bloodier if Sauron had indeed had his ring, especially since there wasn't a great alliance of Elves and men and there had been a marked decline in the strength of men during the Third Age.
 

Aglarband

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I don't think how powerful Sauron was mattered. It seems his cheif weapon was FEAR, as shown through the Nazgul and his tactics with his Mouth. How powerful Sauron was by the time of LOTR didn't matter that much. Sure he had a vastly superior number of forces, but as we all know Orcs are pretty stupid and not very good fighters. Fear is possibly the best way to measure Sauron's power.

He was by no means even close to Morgoth. Morgoth had Balrogs and Dragons, heck Morgoth created (more or less) Trolls and Orcs, the major part of Sauron's forces. But Sauron was easily greater than the men of the West. No two ways about it.
 

Ishtoffor

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I'd have to agree: fear.

Sauron's power was in the ability to corrupt, to make people think that they could achieve/deserve more. That basic lust is what drew Orcs, trolls, evil Men, etc. To him. The fear of facing destruction by these forces made Sauron powerful.

Also (eg Aragorn II) the fear of being corrupted. I think there's a slight isolationism theme going on here. The uncanny power Sauron had to take your will (Frodo, Boromir, Wormtongue via Saruman, etc.)
???
 

Snaga

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To debate this issue is to accept a basic calculus of power, as being expressed as the ability to wage war. But others have power. The power of counsel, the power of friendship, the power to create. In these things Sauron lost much of the power he would have had before turning to evil.

But if you want to consider the power of Sauron as his ability to gain dominion over others, then this is a relative thing: his power is relative to those who would contest it. In this case, his power seemed strongest at the end of the Third Age, where strength of arms could not prevail as they did at the end of the Second Age. At this point we know his power was stronger than all the other Maia in Middle Earth, and to measure him against the maia of the west is futile, since they were not contesting with him.
 

Nazgul Officer

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I have to agree with the fact that FEAR was Sauron's advantage. As i stated in the section on 'how powerful the ring is'? I said that the ring is just a psychological power that when brought into the hands of anyone, such as men, it has a psychological affect upon that person. Answering the question of this section, it is quite hard to say...can we just say that evil is weaker than the good.
 

scotsboyuk

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@Nazgul Officer

One could interpret what you are saying as meaning that Sauron is really only as powerful as people perceive him to be. If people are in fear of him then they impart power to him, they give him authority over themselves by allowing him to dominate them. However, if one stands against Sauron and dispells that fear, he is much diminsished in his power.

Of course this theory is more practical at certain points than at others, but I believe the essence of it to be fundamentally true. Fear, it would seem to me, is the greatest enemy throughout Tolkien's works. It is fear that the Dark Lords use to dominate others and ultimately they are fearful creatures themselves.
 
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Meselyn

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Sauron was powerful. Though only to an extent. I mean, if he couldn't defeat Gondor, and Rohan. Then he wasn't really powerful.
 

Manwe

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But the main reason Saurons armies were defeated on Pelennor was that the orcs became afraid of the men not the men being afraid of the orcs, this took away the power they had gained by catapulting the heads of the men and Grond. Sauron could defeat Rohan and Gondor and he was about to when they were fighting at the Gate, the only reason the men of Gondor and Rohan were not defeated was because the Ring was destroyed. If there is any weak part of Sauron it is that he put too much of his power into the Ring and therefore gave his enemies a chance to destroy him through its destruction.
 

Meselyn

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Yeah that's true. Sauron tied his power to the ring. So I guess the closer it got to mordor. The more powerful it got.
 

Nazgul Officer

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It shows also that Sauron must not have been at all that powerful because of his use in Saruman. Would Sauron have been able to dominate Middle Earth without Saruman...maybe Sauron was not just going to use Saruman as his puppet but use him as an ally. It does show that Sauron cannot dominate middle earth without help of others, this could have been because he could not take physical form during the third age. What you all think? :confused:
 

Ceorl

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With any of the Ainur I like to think of their power as skill points from an RPG, that you earn when you level, only for the Ainur, these points are inherent, and they aer able to assign these power points to different things. Morgoth, it is said in the Sil, spent alot of his power on instilling fear in his servants and enemies, and as such lost alot of power, whereas wiser Valie might have spent there's in more productive ways, such as Aule using them on crafting and such.

However in UT there is a section which tells alot about relative powers. When selecting those who would be the Istari, Manwe said:

'For they must be mighty, peers of Sauron'
which tells us that they were originally(before clothed in bodies of men) if not as powerful, then nearly as powerful as Sauron. Gandalf concedes that he was not as powerful as Saruman, thus we can assume that if the dilution of power was equal, that Olorin was less powerful than Curumo.

However when Manwe asked Olorin to go as the third Istari it is said:

'But Olorin declared that he was too weak for such a task, and that he feared Sauron.'
Therefore Olorin was weaker than Curumo as well as Sauron, although Manwe had said that he would send only peers of Sauron, which means that Olorin could only have been slightly less powerful than Sauron, So it is perfectly conceivable that Curumo was as powerful, originally, as Sauron. This could explain a little of Saruman's desire to confront Sauron directly against his original orders.
 

Grond

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Snaga said:
To debate this issue is to accept a basic calculus of power, as being expressed as the ability to wage war. But others have power. The power of counsel, the power of friendship, the power to create. In these things Sauron lost much of the power he would have had before turning to evil.

But if you want to consider the power of Sauron as his ability to gain dominion over others, then this is a relative thing: his power is relative to those who would contest it. In this case, his power seemed strongest at the end of the Third Age, where strength of arms could not prevail as they did at the end of the Second Age. At this point we know his power was stronger than all the other Maia in Middle Earth, and to measure him against the maia of the west is futile, since they were not contesting with him.
Well, my books (and e-books) are at home in Louisiana. I am now living in Dallas (at a new job) and haven't looked in here for quite a while. I do seem to remember that The Silmarillion very clearly states that Sauron (even being but a Maiar) came to be the most powerful being in Arda (save for his dark master). I doubt that any other Maiar save for Saruman (another vassal of Aule) would have been able to directly vie with Sauron even had they been free to do so. I'll look up my books when I get home and do a better job of addressing this.

Cheers,

grond
 

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