Tolkien Gateway

Mouth of Sauron

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Revision as of 22:31, 8 February 2010

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The Mouth of Sauron
Biographical Information
Other namesLieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr
DestroyedProbably T.A. 3019
RealmMordor
Physical Description
RaceBlack Númenóreans
GenderMale
AppearanceRode a black horse, wore a great helm

The Mouth of Sauron was the Dark Lord Sauron's servant and representative at the end of the Third Age. He had the title Lieutenant of Barad-dûr, since he was so strongly devoted to the Dark Lord. The Mouth of Sauron was one of the Black Númenóreans.

Contents

History

The Mouth of Sauron had served Sauron all his life, and had forgotten his own name. A Man of great stature, he was potentially the equal of the Dúnedain, but had fallen into darkness. He had learned much sorcery during his time under Sauron, and knew many of the Dark Lord's plans.

As a Black Númenórean he probably came from the Haven of Umbar, and it is stated that "he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again". The Dark Tower rose again when rebuilding began in the year 2951 of the Third Age, which means he entered Sauron's service shortly after that. Umbar had been defeated by Gondor under "Thorongil" (Aragorn's name in his youth) in 2980, so the Mouth might have fled to Mordor then.

If this mention of the second arising of the Dark Tower is taken literally (see below), then the Mouth of Sauron had been in the service of his master for 68 years by the time the Third Age ended. If his service began as a youth who was subsequently cowed, bewitched and indoctrinated by his new master, then the Mouth of Sauron could quite feasibly have no memory of his birth name.

During the Council of Elrond, the Dwarves of Erebor spoke of a Man who had come to tell them of the power of Mordor and persuade them to join its forces. Though the Man's identity is unknown, it is possible that he was the Mouth of Sauron.

The Mouth of Sauron briefly appeared in The Lord of the Rings when he haggled with the army of the west in front of the Morannon, trying to convince Aragorn and Gandalf to give up and let Sauron win the battle for Middle-earth. Though he came before Aragorn and his men as an ambassador, he used quite insolent speech when he dealt with them. He tried to intimidate the army into surrendering by showing them the mithril coat of Frodo Baggins to make them think that the Ringbearer had been captured. When Gandalf turned down his proposal, the Mouth of Sauron set all the armies of Barad-dûr upon them.

The Mouth's fate is nowhere recorded, and it is probable he died in the assault before the Morannon. If he had survived, it is likely that he would have been one of the leaders in the retreat of Sauron's evil servants after the fall of Barad-dûr.

The Mouth of Sauron's Age

It is possible to interpret the words 'arose again' to refer to the power of Sauron rather than the construction of his Tower. In this case, the rebuilding of the Barad-dûr in 2951 was actually its second arising. It first rose again some time after S.A. 3220, which means that, according to this interpretation, the Mouth of Sauron might have been at least 3200 years old at the time of the War of the Ring. Even for a Númenórean this was an exceptional age matched only by the Ringwraiths, and he therefore may have been a Ring-bearer, who by some magic of Sauron had not become a wraith himself. He may have worn a lesser ring, and not one of the great Rings of Power. Alternatively, he could have been granted one of the Seven Rings of the Dwarves, several of which Sauron had recaptured.

Support for this extreme old age is found in the statement that "his name is remembered in no tale, for he himself had forgotten it". Even Gollum still remembered his old name after 500 years.

Name

The name of the Mouth of Sauron itself poses a serious inconsistency in the narrative. Aragorn mentions that the name "Sauron" (meaning "Abominable") is the name used by his enemies, and according to Aragorn, Sauron himself did not permit it pronounced.[1] Therefore it could be considered strange for a servant of Sauron to have a title that includes the word "Sauron".

Portrayal in Adaptations

1980: Rankin/Bass' The Return of the King:

The Mouth of Sauron briefly appears at the Black Gate. No voice actor is specified for this role.

1981: BBC Radio's The Lord of the Rings:

The Mouth of Sauron's role is expanded. He is portrayed as the person who tortures Gollum into telling Sauron of "Baggins" and "Shire", though he is not named until the credits.[2] John Rye provided the voice of the Mouth of Sauron, as well as the Voice of Sauron, symbolising the function of the Lieutenant of Barad-dûr.

2001-3: Peter Jackson's The Return of the King

The Mouth of Sauron does not appear in the theatrical cut of the movie, but he does appear in the extended version, played by an unrecognizable Bruce Spence. His helmet, with the words "LAMMEN GORTHAUR" (Sindarin for "Voice of (Sauron) The Abominable") in Cirth written on it, covers his entire face except for his mouth, which is horribly diseased and disfigured by all the evil he has spoken, and disproportionately large, creating an unsettling effect. In fact, much of this spectacle is a result of CGI effects. Actually Jackson conceived this idea long after the footage had been shot and asked his special effects team to create the effect digitally.
The extended DVD cast commentary mentions that Jackson considered different depictions of the character, such as having Kate Winslet (who starred in Heavenly Creatures, another Jackson film) play the role, partially to emphasize the temptations Aragorn was facing.
In the story itself, Aragorn decapitates the Mouth of Sauron with his sword. This sequence is often criticized by purist and outsider alike; through human history it was considered a crime of war to execute messengers or heralds; specifically the book gives emphasis against the inhumanity of such a deed.

See Also

References

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Departure of Boromir"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael Bakewell, Brian Sibley (eds.) The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series), "The Long Awaited Party"