PM from Lord Aragorn reproduced with his permission
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....
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,
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...
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....
... 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.