Mouth of Sauron

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Mouth of Sauron
(True Name Unknown)
Tolkien's legendarium character
Aliases Lieutenant of Barad-dûr
Messenger of Mordor
Race Men (Black Númenóreans)
Book(s) The Return of the King

The Mouth of Sauron is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. He appears in The Lord of the Rings — specifically in the chapter "The Black Gate Opens" in the third volume, The Return of the King — as the chief emissary of Sauron.

He belonged to the race of the Black Númenóreans and briefly appeared in person when he haggled with the Army of the West in front of the Black Gate (Morannon in Elvish), trying to convince Aragorn and Gandalf to give up and let Sauron win the war for Middle-earth. When Gandalf turned his proposal down, the Mouth of Sauron sets all the armies of Mordor to attack them.

Also known as the Lieutenant of Barad-dûr, he had served Sauron for much of his life, learning great sorcery but forgetting his own name. As the Mouth of Sauron, "he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again". There is some dispute over the length of time this implies. If it refers to Sauron's most recent return to Mordor, the Mouth of Sauron would have served Sauron for some 68 years when he encountered Aragorn and Gandalf. But some have theorized[citation needed] that since Mordor "first rose again" during Sauron's return shortly after the destruction of Númenor, the Mouth of Sauron may be well over 3000 years old. This is unlikely since no mortal could live that long, and Tolkien says explicitly that he was a living man and not a wraith.

The Mouth uses Sauron's name although Aragorn states earlier in the second volume, The Two Towers, that Sauron does not "use his right name, nor permit it to be spelt or spoken".[1]

Concept and creation[edit]

The appearance and the arrogance of the Mouth of Sauron before the Army of the West has been described as showing Biblical influences. The character matches the description of the False Prophet in the Book of Revelation, speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and is reminiscent of Saint Paul's comments in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians where he describes his public humiliation by the enemy.[2]

War and analogies to World War II in particular are another theme that has been identified in the Mouth of Sauron. Gandalf's refusal to negotiate with the Mouth, a mere emissary of Sauron, has been seen as an echo of Churchill's position in World War II,[3] while the Mouth's offer of a peace in slavery has been compared to Vichy France under German occupation.[4]

In adaptations[edit]

The Mouth of Sauron as depicted in the 1980 animated film The Return of the King

The Mouth of Sauron is featured in the 1980 animated version of The Return of the King produced by Rankin/Bass and was voiced by Don Messick. He rides out briefly with a single companion and makes no mention of Frodo's capture.

The Mouth of Sauron as he appears in the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

In the 2001–03 The Lord of the Rings film trilogy by Peter Jackson, the Mouth of Sauron appears in the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and played by Bruce Spence. While Jackson originally planned Kate Winslet for the role to partially emphasize temptation, having omitted the Mouth from the theatrical version due to the scene's lack of effect, he chose to make Spence virtually unrecognizable by portraying the Mouth as diseased and disfigured priest-like emissary with a helmet covering his face from the mouth up. Spence's mouth is also disproportionally increased in size digitally with blacken cracked lips and rotting teeth.[5][6] Appearing before Aragon's forces, unlike the book where he claimed the hobbit was their captive to force their surrender, the Mouth attempts to instill despair in the Fellowship by claiming that Frodo died while tortured by their forces. In another departure from the book, where the Mouth claimed diplomatic immunity and safety returned to Mordor,[7] he is decapitated by Aragorn with Andúril when he attempts to break the man's resolve.

The Mouth is also featured in EA Games' The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King video game, and Warner Brothers' The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest as a boss character the player must defeat, in both games he appears in the level "The Black Gate". He is also a playable villain in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II, The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (GBA), The Lord of the Rings: Conquest, and Lego The Lord of the Rings: The Video Game.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954), The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), "The Departure of Boromir", ISBN 0-395-08254-4 
  2. ^ Morse, Robert E. (2002). Bilbo's Birthday and Frodo's Adventure of Faith. iUniverse. pp. 134–135. ISBN 0-595-21935-7. 
  3. ^ Timmons, Daniel (2006). Croft, Janet Brennan, ed. Tolkien and Shakespeare: essays on shared themes and language. McFarland & Co. p. 87. ISBN 0-7864-2827-9. 
  4. ^ Shippey, Tom (1983). The Road to Middle-earth. Houghton-Mifflin. p. 116. ISBN 0-395-33973-1. 
  5. ^ Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens (2004). Director/Writers' Special Extended Edition commentary (DVD). New Line Cinema.
  6. ^ Russell, Gary (2004). The Art Of The Lord Of The Rings. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-618-51083-2. 
  7. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R. (1955), The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), "The Black Gate Opens", ISBN 0-395-08256-0 

External links[edit]