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Thread: The Mouth of Sauron

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Lord Aragorn sent me a Private Message yesterday which has prompted me to start this thread about the Mouth of Sauron. Actually, I'm surprised we haven't got a thread about him already, as he's one of my favourite characters from the book. Tolkien tells us so little about him, and yet what he does tell us just leaves you begging to know more.

PM from Lord Aragorn reproduced with his permission

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Hey Val!

Hope u're doing ok! Actually, a few days back, my friend and I were discussing LOTR and we hit the subject of Mouth of Sauron. I think I read somewhere that u like the character. My friend had a theory about who MoS (Mouth of Sauron) can be. He says that when Earnur was challenged by the Witch-king and he went into Minas Morgul, he was captured and corrupted into being the MoS. Since the book doesn't say whether Earnur was killed or not, it only says that he was "lost". I think that the theory is very sound. And if u're even wondering y am I writing this to u, I'm just giving u a little "food for thought". So wat do u think?


My reply to Aragorn was....

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Hi Lord Aragorn,

Thanks for taking time to write. Yes, the Mouth of Sauron is one of those characters who really fascinates me. There is so little mentioned about him, even his name, and yet his history seems quite unique and interesting. It's a nice theory you have, but piecing together what we do know of MoS, I think he was of a different race to Earnur.
In Chapter 10 of Book 5, it says of him,

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But it is told he was a renegade, who came of the race of those that are named the Black Numenorians; for they established their dwellings in Middle Earth during the years of Sauron's domination, and they worshipped him, being enarmoured of evil knowledge. And he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again....


Interestingly, having just written the above quote, my original arguement was just blown out of the water. Until I wrote it down, I had always read that piece as meaning he had joined the service of Sauron when he had first rose again. That would have meant he predated Earnur by at least a thousand years. However, as it says when the Dark Tower rose again, which was TA 2951, the time frame could fit. To me, however, this whole perspective seems strange. If he only came into service in TA 2951 (eg. just 68 years before the War of the Ring) he need not be old at all. It just doesn't fit with the rest of his history.

Foster's Complete guide of Middle Earth says of him...

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In the Third Age ( and perhaps the Second as well) he served Sauron, rising in his sevice because of his cunning and evil.


Foster certainly believes him to be ancient , therefore. I have always had this opinion myself. In fact in the short story I wrote, I had him as a priest on Numenor during the time of Sauron's inprisonment.

Likewise, HOME is only vaguely more informative. It seems the Black Gate Opens was a chapter Tolkien toyed with quite a lot, and the story was in the beginning tied in very closely with the Paths of the Dead storyline. When it eventually became a chapter in its own right, initially it was the Witchking who brought forth the mithril shirt (obviously this version predated the storyline where he has already been killed by Eowyn). Later versions had the messenger being one of the other Nazgul (flinging off his garments he vanishes...)

As the storyline evolved, so too did MoS.

i) It is told that he was a living man, who being captured as a youth became a servant of the Dark Tower, and because of his cunning he grew high in the Lord's favour...

ii) This was later ammended to " But it was said he was a renegade, son of a house of wise and noble men in Gondor, who becoming enarmoured of evil knowledge entered the service of the Dark Tower....."

iii) the final draft being "But it is told he was a renegade, who came of the race of those that are named the Black Numenorians...

Funny enough, most of these versions speak of him joining the service of the Dark Tower, but in all of them you have the feeling of age. It seems to me "Dark Tower" is a pseudonom for Sauron's forces rather than Barad-dur itself. Following this course of logic, MoS would have come into sevice with the rise of Sauron, back in TA 1100.

Tolkien is great for this sort of thing though, because there are characters who offer us this mystery. I'm not dismissing your theory at all, because it is the first one which actually places a name on MoS, but personally I feel he predates Earnur.


Anyone else have any views on this character, or for that matter his mount....

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... mounted on a black horse, if horse it was; for it was huge and hideous, and its face was a frightful mask, more like a skull than a living head, and in the sockets of its eyes and in its nostrils there burned a flame.
His mount...What a terrible sight that must be to behold...I picture the mount as this enourmous horse, that looks a bit like a troll and warg hybrid....: Shudders: Scary....
And I imagine that the MoS is sitting on this huge saddle-like thing atop the "horse"....
Even though they say he was not a black rider, I cannot imagine the MoS anyway else....
Hmm...Any thoughts to help me out?
these mysterious histories are what makes LOTR so real.
Aiya:

I was reading all of what you all wrote, and a thought came into my mind. actually I have never paid too much attention on MoS, but after I read that I remember that my ancesters ( Aztecs) had the "Cihuacoatl"-( serpent woman). It was no x-mutant nor any teenage mutant ninja turtle. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie it was a man, who acted like a prime minister, because Aztecs admired the inteligence and subtleness of the snakes and the intelligence and capacity of women to control ( and to guard like snakes) the money. so the minister who had those characteristics renounced to his identity to become the Cihuacoatl.

now, i have noticed that there are too many similarities in tolkien´s political organizations in the middle earth and prehispanic cultures here in America, so...: could the mouth of Sauron be just a charge that passed from father to son, or master to student? that way it would always be the mouth of Sauron, no matter what date it is. Wink Smilie

see you all.
I think the Mouth of Sauron was a single eastern human who became Sauron's major domo when Sauron returned to Dol Guldur just before the White Council ran him off again. MoS then went with Saron to Bar-a-Dur and became the castillian there. Of course this is just conjecture.
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I think the Mouth of Sauron was a single eastern human who became Sauron's major domo when Sauron returned to Dol Guldur just before the White Council ran him off again. MoS then went with Saron to Bar-a-Dur and became the castillian there. Of course this is just conjecture.

He wasn't.

Quote from ROTK (chapter The Black Gate Opens):

" The rider was robed all in black, and black was his lofty helm; yet this was no Ringwraith but a living man. The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr he was, and his name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it, and he said: 'I am the Mouth of Sauron.' But it is told that he was a renegade, who came of the race of those that are named the Black Númenóreans; for they established their dwellings in Middle-earth during the years of Sauron's domination, and they worshipped him, being enamoured of evil knowledge. And he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again, and because of his cunning he grew ever higher in the Lord's favour; and he learned great sorcery, and knew much of the mind of Sauron; and he was more cruel than any orc. "
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and his name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it, and he said: 'I am the Mouth of Sauron.

wouldn't that itself prove it couldn't be Earnur?? Earnur's name is certainly NOT forgotten and is of course remembered in quite a few tales...
Even simpler, Eärnur wasn't a descendant of Black Numenoreans, he was a descendant of Elendil, who descended from the lords of Andunië.
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and his name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it


This is not only the reason the Mouth of Sauron is my favorite character, but it is my favorite line in the Lord of the Rings. It sums up the totality of Sauron's evil. Only the devil himself could demand the kind of devotion that would lead to a person to forget the name his mother gave him.
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Only the devil himself could demand the kind of devotion that would lead to a person to forget the name his mother gave him.


This may not have been entirely due to the devotion. I get the idea that the mouth of Sauron is a very ancient being and if he was given a different name in his Dark Tower service, it is quite concievable that he could have forgotten his name.

Also, I don't see what's wrong withe the idea of the Mouth of Sauron being a title - it is said the he came from the black numenoreans ages ago, but who says this? Could this not be simply popular rumor spread by the Mouth of Sauron himself to incite awe?

-Tasari
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Also, I don't see what's wrong withe the idea of the Mouth of Sauron being a title - it is said the he came from the black numenoreans ages ago, but who says this? Could this not be simply popular rumor spread by the Mouth of Sauron himself to incite awe?
Could be, after all he is a mouthpiece: another name for a lawyer (solicitor) and we all know they are so bad we didn't need one until after we got the first one. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie

(My appolgies to any attorneys in the membership; you can't help your public personification.)
After Grondy's post, attorneys should try to keep their heads on their shoulders : who knows what those LOTR moviefreaks would do in trying to mimic their hero, Barfagorn, aka Conan the Bushwhacker.