Sauron had a body

Lord of the Rings: 20 Weirdest Things About Sauron's Forms

A notable aspect of J.R.R. TolkienLord of the Ringsis that its main antagonist, Sauron, doesn't show up too often. The villain, deprived of his main source of power, the One Ring, must feel his presence as a shadowy evil force emerging from his dark realm, Mordor. Other than that, it's largely left to his monstrous army of orcs, trolls, and other creatures - not to mention its ally, the wizard Saruman - to terrorize the people of Middle-earth for him.

That is not to say that Sauron does not have the option of placing himself elsewhere in Tolkien's writings. For starters, he is briefly mentioned when he captured Gandalf the GrayThe Hobbitunder the guise of “The Necromancer” - something that greatly expands Peter Jackson's large screen customization. Then there is his prominent role inThe Silmarillionwho established Sauron not only as a Maia spirit (essentially an angel) who broke evil, but also narrates his evil deeds dating back to the dawn of time.

Along the way, Tolkien not only reveals Sauron's character more - basically he's spoiled by his obsession with order - but provides additional detail regarding his physical traits. Now we don't learn much more than what has been coveredLord of the RingsBut it is enough to give us a general sense of the various forms it took and the powers available to it.

Some of these facts are remarkably interesting, which is why we make this list of the20 weirdest things about Sauron's shapes.

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20 He was originally a shapeshifter

An important aspect of Sauron's physiology that is often overlooked is that he was once a consummate shape-shifter. Long before he was the main antagonist in Tolkien's mythology - back when he was just a servant of the original great evil, Morgoth - shape-shifting was indeed a key weapon in Sauron's arsenal.

This is pure guesswork on our part, but we can imagine that at least some of Sauron's talent for changing shape stems from his origins as an angelic craftsman. This creative inclination - coupled with his innate supernatural powers - would explain how not only could he take on a myriad of humanoid forms, but also depict pretty much any animal one could think of.

19 His eyes were always mighty

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The Eye of Sauron, a cat-like student enveloped in flames, is one of the most iconic images in Tolkien's novels and their cinematic counterparts. Adorning the armor of Sauron's orc hordes - not to mention serving as a substitute for his actual name, which he forbade others to say aloud - the eye appears during the Third Age, whenLord of the Ringsoccur.

Even before that time, Sauron's eyes were perceived as frightening, even terrifying.

That's right: even when the Dark Lord pretended to be on the angels' side, the intensity of his gaze (and presumably the spiritual “eye” behind it) was unmistakably grim.

18 He lost the ability to take his righteous form

Sauron is described as less pleasant in Tolkien's writings at various times. Peter Jackson's film adaptations also present him as a menacing black knight. Even if he's an unrepentant villain, you may still be wondering: If the guy is so powerful, why doesn't he give himself a physical makeover? Well, the answer is, “Because he can't”.

When the island kingdom of Númenor sank to the bottom of the ocean in the Second Age, Sauron went down with it. Though he survived, it cost him the ability to take on his angelic disguise (sometimes known as "Annatar") that robbed the Dark Lord of his most powerful weapon against men and elves.

17 He became an Uglier when he joined Morgoth

As we mentioned earlier, Sauron is essentially an angelic presence - he belongs to the order of heavenly beings of the second degree known as Maiar. When he first stepped into the physical world, his standard appearance was reasonably attractive, although it didn't last long.

Once Sauron became the right man of Morgoth - one of the senior Valar and pretty much the devil of Tolkien's mythology - he began to give off a subtly creepier vibe. True, he could still pretend to be a benevolent figure, but more attentive individuals could still tell through his general aura that something is not thereallright about him.

16 He wasn't just a flaming eyeball

It's fair to say that of Peter JacksonLord of the ringsThe trilogy had a monumental impact on the understanding of the hostile fans of the Middle-earth canon. This has created some popular misconceptions about Tolkien's mythology - for example, the idea that Sauron could only manifest as a big, big, flaming eyeball.

The books are not 100% clear as to whether the eye is to be understood as Sauron's literal form, a metaphor, or both.

However, they make it clear that he could also appear as a shadowy, humanoid figure. In fact, the Tolkien scholars were likely somewhat appeased to have this incarnation of the Dark Lord briefly seen during Jackson's follow-upHobbitTrilogy.

15 Its physical form was first destroyed before the end of the Second Age

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Sauron loses his physical form after being defeated in battle at the end of the Second Age - but this isn't the first time this has happened! No, it originally happened many years earlier when the kingdom of Númenor was destroyed and the Dark Lord's body with it.

The difference here was that Sauron was not separated from the One Ring at the time.

That made contracting a new body much easier than the second time. Sure, this new body was less pleasing to the eye - but it was still more than capable of doing the job on the battlefield.

14 His shadow shape was still missing a finger

As fans of the books will already know when Gollum is tormented in Mordor - a scene that only appears inThe community of the ringFilm - Sauron is present in person. Instead of exposing himself as the big fiery eyeball that dominates the big screen version of the story, according to Gollum, the apparition he encountered was a more subtle, shadowy creature.

Interestingly, Gollum remembers seeing Sauron's black hand and notices that the finger split by Lord Isildur is still missing after the Dark Lord is defeated. This serves as a subliminal illustration that Sauron has not yet regained his full strength. Presumably, Sauron could regrow a lost number at peak performance.

13 He could burn his victims with his touch

From the fiery Great Eye to the volcanic eruptions of Mount Doom, much of the images associated with Sauron are associated with fire. Well, it turns out it goes further: Sauron's body is itself a source of prodigious heat! This is first mentioned in Isildur's Notes and inThe community of the ringtelling his firsthand experience of Sauron's touch,which “burned like fire.

It's a detail that almost made it into Peter Jackson's adaptation of Fellowship of the Ring.

In the prologue, Sauron could be seen setting the immortal Elven King Gil-Galad on fire with his handle, but the moment was cut short due to time constraints.

12 His most monstrous form came after the fall of Númenor

We mentioned that Sauron was once a formidable shapeshifter and that he only limited himself to stereotypical “evil Dark Lord” masks after his physical form was first destroyed. While this was a tremendously helpful development from the perspective of the Forces for Good - they would no longer be staring at Sauron's "divine gift-bearers" - it also made their enemy much more frightening.

This was especially the case after the Dark Lord had rebuilt his physical form and had just escaped the fall of Númenor.

At the time, Sauron's appearance was downright monstrous - malice and hatred personified, no less - before he managed to choose it back a little.

11 It wasn't gigantic

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When you think of Sauron - a quasi-demonic presence of immense physical and unearthly power - it's not difficult to imagine a formidable figure of Godzilla-like proportions. But that's explicitly not what Tolkien had in mind when he created the character. On the contrary, he repeatedly describes Sauron's humanoid body as larger than that of a human, but not by much.

It seems Sauron's size is one of the things that Peter Jackson's big screen adaptation ofLord of the Ringstotally nailed. He may have always been a little shorter than Jackson portrayed himThe community of the ringbut let's not argue!

10 He once became the greatest werewolf of all time

Back in his days as a shapeshifter, Sauron was able to transform himself into some pretty insane creatures. Perhaps the most spectacular (and certainly the most hyperbolic) was its werewolf shape, which was supposedly the largest ever seen in Middle-earth history. Aside from the obvious benefits of becoming a giant, man-eating dog, Sauron's reasoning for going this form was pretty shrewd.

See, his opponent at the time was an oversized dog, Huan, who, according to prophecy, would have died fighting the greatest werewolf of all time - so the Dark Lord determined that his victory was assured. The problem was, the prophecy actually pointed to an even more powerful, as-yet-unborn werewolf who turned Sauron's shrewd plan into the opposite.

9 He really had given hands

It's easy to overlook Sauron's creative genius - after all, he spends a lot of itLord of the ringstry to wipe out the Free Peoples of Middle-earth and everything they built. Even his crowning achievement, the One Ring, is a fairly simple business compared to the Rings of Power created by the elves. Nonetheless, how gifted a craftsman Sauron was cannot be overestimated.

Put a hammer in his hands and he'll cut a stunning work of art on the spot.

What else would one expect from a madly powerful Maia spirit who learned his trade directly from Aulë, the demigod associated with craftsmanship in Tolkien's mythology?

8 He was a supernaturally good singer

When you think "bad dark gentleman" the first thing that comes to mind isn't necessarily "great singer" - and that is exactly what Sauron was. If you scratch your head as you do this, remember that the myth of the creation of Middle-earth is inThe Silmarillionincludes a choir of quasi-angels who literally sing the world into being.

As one of those quasi-angels, Sauron took part in this magical music production and proved that his singing skills are truly supernatural. This isn't the only time Sauron singsThe Silmarillion, either. Music and magic tend to go hand in hand in Middle-earth, and Sauron's spell during a showdown with elf rival Finrod Felagund also sees him erasing some sweet tunes.

7 He could create illusions

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Movie fans tend to focus on Sauron's raw, offensive power, as in the opening battle inThe community of the ringor his defeat by Gandalf inSmaug’s wasteland. Those who prefer Tolkien's novels to Peter Jackson's films should instead focus on the gifts of the Dark Lord. Something that both groups seldom refer to is Sauron's power of illusion.

Granted, it's one of his least-often-used talents - or at least the one that Tolkien is merely pointing out rather than detailing. Even so, it becomes clear that Sauron can indeed conjure up highly convincing, misleading visions that can ensnare weak or unsuspected victims.

6 The One Ring increased his physical strength

Sauron's plan for the Rings of Power was solid: make sure that influential figures among men, elves, and dwarves owned these magical rings and then corrupted them through an even more powerful, ruling ring.

The only way to make something more powerful than the other rings was to pour some of its own essence into it.

Basically, he's the architect of his own Achilles heel - something that bit him back when Isildur cut off his ring finger at the end of the Second Age! On the plus side, when Sauron wore the One Ring it actually augmented his existing powers, so it wasn't like there weren't any benefits.

5 He once wore the one ring with no physical shape

Long before the internet, fans had pointed out plot holes in popular fictional stories, and Middle-earth canon is no exception. For example, an astute reader once asked Tolkien how Sauron managed to keep the One Ring after his physical body was destroyed along with the rest of Númenor.

What is impressive is that instead of taking the easy route and responding that the Dark Lord left the ring behind when he was escorted to Númenor, the celebrated author held onto his weapons instead. According to Tolkien, Sauron definitely had the ring in his possession on that occasion, but his disembodied spirit managed to drive it away by willpower!

4 He can be physically overwhelmed by certain men and elves

If all you know about Sauron comes from Peter Jackson's large-format adaptations, you might imagine the Dark Lord is all but unbeatable in one-on-one combat. Take the opening fight inThe community of the ring.There Sauron can easily sweep away all newcomers until the One Ring is cut from his hand.

This is not exactly a true representation of Sauron's power levels in Tolkien's novels. Sauron is undeniably strong there, but men and elves of legendary accomplishments - such as Elendil and Gil-Gilad - could face him. In fact, these two literally wrestled with him and won even though it cost them their lives!

3 The eye of Sauron's pupil is actually a silhouette

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This post on the Eye of Sauron only applies to Peter Jackson's cinematic vision of Middle-earth, but it's a cool piece of quiz nonetheless. In the second installment of JacksonHobbitTrilogy,Smaug’s wasteland, the necromancer eventually reveals himself to be Sauron.

He first appears as a fiery incarnation of his armored form.

This initial manifestation transforms into a ball of fire with Sauron's humanoid silhouette right in the middle, forming the Big Eye! Not only is this a sharp piece of production design, but how the audience sees the eye when they look againLord of the RingsMovies.

2 He made his own armor

Here is another entry from theLord of the ringsFilms instead of books, this time based on the armor Sauron wears during the prologueThe community of the ring. As the design team at Weta Workshop mentioned in the specifics of the Extended Edition, this protective cover should showcase Sauron's exquisite craftsmanship.

With its spiky pauldrons, horse skull helmet, and acid-etched finish designed to show the effects of the incredible heat of the Dark Lord's body, the beauty of Sauron's armor is not immediately apparent. Take a closer look and you will notice its elaborate metalwork and the ornate, flowing patterns that adorn it.

1 Its other main forms include a giant snake and a vampire bat

It's hard to transform into the greatest werewolf in Middle-earth history, but Sauron deserves points to try. He's also transformed into a giant snake and a giant vampire bat that could no less overcome than a powerful dog like Huan.

Of course, we wonder why Sauron never tried to transform into a fire-breathing dragon or anything like that.

Perhaps even his remarkable shape-changing abilities were limited - it is entirely possible that there were physical limits that prevented him from expanding beyond a certain size.

What are other weird things about Sauron's shapes in?Lord of the Rings? Let us know in the comments!