Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Mouth of Sauron

Mouth of Sauron

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Mouth of Sauron'
Start a new discussion about 'Mouth of Sauron'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Mouth of Sauron is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien
J. R. R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College,...

's Middle-earth
Middle-earth
Middle-earth is the fictional setting of the majority of author J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy writings. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place entirely in Middle-earth, as does much of The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales....

 legendarium
Legendarium
Legendary may refer to:*A hagiography, or study of the lives of saints and other religious figures**The South English Legendary, a Middle English legendary*A legend-Entertainment:*Legendary, an album by Kaysha*Legendary...

. He appears in The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit , but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in...

— specifically in the chapter "The Black Gate Opens" in the third volume, The Return of the King
The Return of the King
The Return of the King is the third and final volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, following The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers.-Title:...

— as the chief emissary of Sauron
Sauron
Sauron is the primary antagonist and titular character of the epic fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.In the same work, he is revealed to be the same character as "the Necromancer" from Tolkien's earlier novel The Hobbit...

.

He belonged to the race of the Black Númenóreans
Black Númenóreans
In author J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional world of Arda, the Black Númenóreans are mentioned briefly at several points in both his published and unpublished writings, as one of many peoples and races inhabiting his Middle-Earth setting....

 and briefly appeared in person when he haggled with the Army of the West in front of the Black Gate (Morannon in Elvish), trying to convince Aragorn
Aragorn
Aragorn II is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, one of the main protagonists of The Lord of the Rings. He is first introduced by the name Strider, which the hobbits continue to call him...

 and Gandalf
Gandalf
Gandalf is a character in J. R. R. Tolkien's novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In these stories, Gandalf appears as a wizard, member and later the head of the order known as the Istari, as well as leader of the Fellowship of the Ring and the army of the West...

 to give up and let Sauron win the war for Middle-earth. When Gandalf turned his proposal down, the Mouth of Sauron set all the armies of Mordor
Mordor
In J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional universe of Middle-earth, Mordor or Morhdorh was the dwelling place of Sauron, in the southeast of northwestern Middle-earth to the East of Anduin, the great river. Orodruin, a volcano in Mordor, was the destination of the Fellowship of the Ring in the quest to...

 to attack
Battle of the Morannon
In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, the Battle of the Morannon or Battle of the Black Gate is a fictional event that took place at the end of the War of the Ring...

 them.

Also known as the Lieutenant of Barad-dûr, he had served Sauron for much of his life, learning great sorcery but forgetting his own name. As the Mouth of Sauron, "he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again". There is some dispute over the length of time this implies. If it refers to Sauron's most recent return to Mordor, the Mouth of Sauron would have served Sauron for some 68 years when he encountered Aragorn and Gandalf. But some have theorized that since Mordor "first rose again" during Sauron's return shortly after the destruction of Númenor
Akallabêth
Akallabêth is the fourth part of the fantasy work The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien. It is relatively short, consisting of about thirty pages.-Synopsis:...

, the Mouth of Sauron may be well over 3000 years old. This is unlikely since no mortal could live that long, and Tolkien says explicitly that he was a living man and not a wraith.

The Mouth uses Sauron's name although Aragorn states earlier in the second volume, The Two Towers
The Two Towers
The Two Towers is the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's high fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. It is preceded by The Fellowship of the Ring and followed by The Return of the King.-Title:...

, that Sauron does not "use his right name, nor permit it to be spelt or spoken". (Similarly, in "The Council of Elrond", Glóin describes a messenger who speaks of "Sauron the Great".) Christopher Tolkien
Christopher Tolkien
Christopher Reuel Tolkien is the third and youngest son of the author J. R. R. Tolkien , and is best known as the editor of much of his father's posthumously published work. He drew the original maps for his father's The Lord of the Rings, which he signed C. J. R. T. The J...

 conjectured that this inconsistency can be understood in terms of Aragorn's information being out of date, relating to Sauron's previously hidden identity.

Concept and creation


The appearance and the specific arrogance of the Mouth of Sauron before the Army of the West has been described as showing Biblical influences. The character matches the description of Satan
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

 in the Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

, speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and is reminiscent of Saint Paul's comments in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians
Second Epistle to the Corinthians
The second epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as Second Corinthians , is the eighth book of the New Testament of the Bible...

 where he describes his public humiliation by the enemy.

War and analogies to World War II in particular are another theme that has been identified in the Mouth of Sauron. Gandalf's refusal to negotiate with the Mouth, a mere emissary of Sauron, has been seen as an echo of Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

's position in World War II while the Mouth's offer of a peace in slavery has been compared to Vichy France
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 under German occupation.

In adaptations


The Mouth of Sauron is featured in the 1980 animated version of The Return of the King
The Return of the King (1980 film)
The Return of the King, also known as The Return of the King: A Story of the Hobbits, is a 1980 animated television special created by Rankin/Bass and Topcraft. The film is an adaptation of the third volume in The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R...

produced by Rankin/Bass
Rankin/Bass
Rankin/Bass Productions, Inc. , also known as Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment, was an American production company, known for its seasonal television specials, particularly its work in stop-motion animation. The pre-1974 library is currently owned by Classic Media,while the post-1974 library is...

 and was voiced by Don Messick
Don Messick
Donald Earl "Don" Messick was an American voice actor best known for his work for Hanna-Barbera. Perhaps his most well-known voice creations include Scooby-Doo, Papa Smurf, and Dr. Benton Quest....

. He rides out briefly with a single companion and makes no mention of Frodo's capture.


In the 2001-2003 The Lord of the Rings film trilogy
The Lord of the Rings film trilogy
The Lord of the Rings is an epic film trilogy consisting of three fantasy adventure films based on the three-volume book of the same name by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. The films are The Fellowship of the Ring , The Two Towers and The Return of the King .The films were directed by Peter...

 by Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson
Sir Peter Robert Jackson, KNZM is a New Zealand film director, producer, actor, and screenwriter, known for his The Lord of the Rings film trilogy , adapted from the novel by J. R. R...

, the Mouth of Sauron does not appear in the theatrical cut of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a 2003 epic fantasy-drama film directed by Peter Jackson that is based on the second and third volumes of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings...

, but he does appear in the extended version, riding out alone to meet Aragorn and his party. He is played by a virtually unrecognisable Bruce Spence
Bruce Spence
Bruce Spence, born September 17, 1945 is an actor, having spent most of his career performing in Australia. Bruce attended Henderson High School in West Auckland....

, with the words lammen gorthaur (Sindarin
Sindarin
Sindarin is a fictional language devised by J. R. R. Tolkien, and used in his secondary world, often called Middle-earth.Sindarin is one of the many languages spoken by the immortal Elves, called the Eledhrim or Edhellim in Sindarin....

 for "Voice of the Dread Abomination" i.e. "Voice of Sauron") in Cirth
Cirth
The Cirth are the letters of an semi-artificial script which was invented by J. R. R. Tolkien for the constructed languages he devised and used in his works. The initial C in Cirth is pronounced as a K, never as an S....

 runes written on his helmet. His helmet covers his entire face except for his mouth (which is inconsistent with the book, where Aragorn meets his gaze), which is horribly diseased and disfigured. His mouth is also disproportionately large, creating an unsettling effect. This change was made digitally, long after the footage had been shot. After Jackson rejected the idea of turning the mouth sideways to appear vertical on the face, the designers came up with the idea of rendering it twice as large as the original.

The extended DVD cast commentary mentions that Jackson considered different depictions of the character, such as having Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet
Kate Elizabeth Winslet is an English actress and occasional singer. She has received multiple awards and nominations. She was the youngest person to accrue six Academy Award nominations, and won the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Reader...

 (who starred in Heavenly Creatures
Heavenly Creatures
Heavenly Creatures is a 1994 film directed by Peter Jackson, from a screenplay he co-wrote with his wife Fran Walsh, about the notorious 1954 Parker-Hulme murder case in Christchurch, New Zealand. Filmed on location in Christchurch, it features Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet in their screen debuts...

,
another Jackson film) play the role, partially to emphasise the temptations Aragorn was facing. When discussing Bruce Spence's costuming in the final version, the design team explained that their interpretation of the Mouth of Sauron was that he was something of a high-ranking priest in the Morgoth-worshiping cult that Sauron promoted in his domain. Therefore, combined with his role as an ambassador and herald, he has an ornate costume consisting of priest-like robes and stylized helmet which covers his entire face - including his eyes - except for his mouth. The design team speculates that he is probably blind, but his role as Sauron's "mouthpiece" is so specialized that this does not concern him. Further, his lips are cracked and blackened, with rotting teeth, to hint that Sauron's very words are so evil that simply repeating them causes his mouth to decay.

In another departure from the text, Aragorn refuses to believe the emissary's insinuation that Sauron has recovered the Ring, and decapitates him with Andúril; whereas in the book, the Mouth of Sauron claims diplomatic immunity
Diplomatic immunity
Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity and a policy held between governments that ensures that diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country's laws...

, saying "I am a herald and ambassador and may not be assailed!" Gandalf observes pointedly that he has not been threatened.

Jackson said that he had cut the encounter from the theatrical version due to its lack of effect; he commented that in the book it was dramatic since the reader does not know Frodo Baggins
Frodo Baggins
Frodo Baggins is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium.He is the main protagonist of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. He was a hobbit of the Shire who inherited Sauron's Ring from Bilbo Baggins and undertook the quest to destroy it in the fires of Mount Doom...

' fate, but in the film the audience knows that both Frodo and Samwise Gamgee
Samwise Gamgee
Samwise Gamgee, later known as Samwise Gardner and commonly as Sam, is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. Samwise is one of the chief characters in Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings, in which he fills an archetypical role as the sidekick of the protagonist, Frodo...

 are alive. Once the Mouth is beheaded, his horse and body are not visible in the following shot as Sauron's armies of Orcs
Orc (Middle-earth)
In J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy writings, Orcs or Orks are a race of creatures who are used as soldiers and henchmen by both the greater and lesser villains of The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings — Morgoth, Sauron and Saruman...

 march through the Black Gate, even though Aragorn's sword is visibly stained with his blood.

He is also featured in EA Games' The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (video game)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is a 2003 cross-platform third-person hack and slash video game based on Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The game was published by EA Games and developed by EA Redwood Shores and...

video game, and Warner Brothers' The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest
The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest
The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest is a two player, third-person action adventure video game developed by Headstrong Games for Wii and TT Fusion for Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable. It is the first The Lord of the Rings game to be released by Warner Bros...

as a boss character the player must defeat, in both games he appears in the level 'The Black Gate. He is also a playable villain in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, abbreviated BFMEII, is a real-time strategy video game developed and published by Electronic Arts. It is based on the fantasy novels The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien and its live-action film trilogy adaptation...

, The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (GBA)
The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (GBA)
The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age is a turn-based tactics game for the Game Boy Advance. It was released in 2004 by EA Games. It should not be confused with the RPG of the same name, The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, released at the same time for GameCube, PS2, and Xbox...

and The Lord of the Rings: Conquest
The Lord of the Rings: Conquest
The Lord of the Rings: Conquest is an action game developed by Pandemic Studios and published by Electronic Arts. It is based on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and borrows many gameplay mechanics from Pandemic's Star Wars: Battlefront games...

.

External links