With the upcoming Amazon Lord of the Rings series taking place during the Second Age, chances are we’ll see the self-proclaimed “Lord of the Rings” on screen. This would be a substantial moment for fans of the books and movies as previous films have always taken place after his infamous defeat at the hands of Isildur. With the potential we may see the Dark Lord at the height of his power, let’s get into his backstory.
Like beings such as Gandalf, Sauron was a divine spirit called a Maia. These spirits were created by Eru Iluvatar, God of the LOTR universe, having the purpose of helping shape the world which resulted in them being powerful beings by nature. His original name was also Mairon, which meant “the admirable.” His personality was one that was overly focused on order and coordination, essentially being a perfectionist. These traits would eventually be used to manipulate him which results in him becoming a servant of evil. Melker, also known as the first Dark Lord Morgoth, seduced Sauron into joining his side as his second-in-command.
According to J.R.R. Tolkein, “In my story Sauron represents as near an approach to the wholly evil will as is possible. He had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to order all things according to his own wisdom he still at first considered the (economic) well-being of other inhabitants of the Earth. But he went further than human tyrants in pride and the lust for domination, being in origin an immortal (angelic) spirit. Sauron desired to be a God-King, and was held to be this by his servants, by a triple treachery: 1. Because of his admiration of Strength he had become a follower of Morgoth and fell with him down into the depths of evil, becoming his chief agent in Middle-earth. 2. when Morgoth was defeated by the Valar finally he forsook his allegiance; but out of fear only; he did not present himself to the Valar or sue for pardon, and remained in Middle-earth. 3. When he found how greatly his knowledge was admired by all other rational creatures and how easy it was to influence them, his pride became boundless.”
From this moment, Sauron went on to lead Morgoth’s forces when at war against the Elves. During this time, he became greatly feared, with J.R.R. Tolkein writing, “Sauron was become now a sorcerer of dreadful power, master of shadows and of phantoms, foul in wisdom, cruel in strength, misshaping what he touched, twisting what he ruled, lord of werewolves; his dominion was torment.”
During the Second Age, Sauron began growing his new army which primarily included orcs and trolls. At this time, he also began corrupting men while tricking several elves into forging the Rings of Power. He himself forged the One Ring which had sway over the other Rings of Power. Sauron then used this new power to begin a campaign of conquering Middle-Earth, however, he was opposed by the Last Alliance. Weakened by a previous defeat during the final battle between him and the Elves, Sauron retreated to the east trying to regain his strength. However, during the final battle, the One Ring was cut of his finger which resulted in his body being destroyed due to the dark magic he used inserting his power and being into the ring.