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Mouth of Sauron

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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

Origins

The Mouth of Sauron had served Sauron all his life; a Man of great stature, he was potentially the equal of the Dúnedain, but had fallen into darkness. 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"; this can be interpreted in two ways:

  • Referring to the power of Sauron rather than the construction of Barad-dûr, in which case, the tower first rose again some time after S.A. 3220. In that case he stayed alive long enough like a Ringwraith; perhaps he wore a Ring of Power, but a lesser one since he did not become a wrait.
  • Referring to the rebuilding of T.A. 2951; Umbar had been defeated by Gondor under "Thorongil" some years later, so the Mouth might have fled to Mordor then.

In any case, the Mouth had even forgotten his original name; either he was a small child when converted by Sauron, or had remained alive far more than 500 years (Gollum still remembered his name).

He had learned much sorcery during his time under Sauron, and knew many of the Dark Lord's plans. Being more cruel than an Orc and cunning, rose in power and favor.

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 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.

Identity

The Mouth of Sauron was an agent of Sauron and ambassador of Mordor might have been the same individual as other figures mentioned elsewhere. He could have been the horseman who asked Dáin II Ironfoot the location of "Baggins" a year before the War of the Ring[1]. He could also had been "the Questioner" of Mordor who would interrogate Merry and Pippin[2]

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.[3] Therefore it could be considered strange for a servant of Sauron to have a title that includes the word "Sauron".

Portrayal in Adaptations

1980: The Return of the King:

The Mouth of Sauron briefly appears at the Black Gate. He was here portrayed by Don Messick.

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.[4] 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.

2003: The Lord of the Rings: 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 Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Uruk-hai"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Departure of Boromir"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Michael Bakewell, Brian Sibley (eds.) The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series), "The Long Awaited Party"