Isildur is the one who separated the Dark Lord from his One Ring of power, the One Ring to rule them all. He managed to cut off Sauron’s finger using nothing but a broken blade, albeit Sauron was already weakened. So, who would win if Isildur and Sauron ever fought, and why?
Sauron would win in a fight against Isildur almost every time. When Isildur cut off his finger, Sauron was already weakened but still managed to kill Elendil and Gil-Galad. In his true Dark Lord form, there’s no singular being who could defeat Sauron, let alone a single man.
To defeat Sauron, you need an army, and even with an army ten times as big as the Dark Lord’s, you can’t kill him unless you can destroy the One Ring, and you can’t destroy the One Ring unless you reach the fires of Mount Doom. Sauron is too powerful for wizards, let alone humans. Still, Isildur already beat him once. Let’s see if he could potentially do it again.
Isildur Vs. Sauron At The Battle Of The Black Gate
Isildur and Sauron met face to face during the War of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. The Dark forces were losing to Elendil and his armies. The Alliance had torn down the Black Gate, and the siege of Barad-Dur lasted for seven years.
In desperation, Sauron left Barad-Dur and fought Elendil and Gil-Galad. The two brought Sauron down and hurt him immensely, but the Ring’s power kept him standing, whereas the two got killed in the process.
That’s where Isildur stepped in. Seeing his father’s blade shattered into pieces and Elendil dying, Isildur rushed in, grabbed a shard of the broken sword, and cut off the Ring from Sauron’s hand. Keep in mind Sauron was already losing the fight and was brought down. Still, Isildur was the one to finish the job, separating him from the One Ring.
That completely shattered Sauron, who disappeared after the loss of his Ring, weakened, barely alive, but slowly recovering. As for the Ring, instead of throwing it into the Orodruin’s fire “at hand where it was made,” as Elrond and Cirdan advised, Isildur kept the Ring for himself, unable to fight its horrible evil influence.
Therefore, Isildur might’ve defeated Sauron in that particular battle with huge help from Elendil and Gil-Galad, as well as a ton of luck. But, the Dark Lord had the last say, as the Ring corrupted Isildur, got lost in the river, and eventually led Isildur to his death.
After that, Sauron put one of the Nine Rings on his finger, keeping him alive but torturing Isildur until his spirit was broken and he turned into a Nazgul.
On paper, Isildur defeated Sauron in that particular battle, but in the great scheme of things, I think the Dark Lord came out as the winner.
What Would Happen If Sauron Killed Isildur?
Now, I love speculating with what-if scenarios, especially in the high fantasy genre, as it’s almost always a what-if scenario itself. So, what if Sauron killed Isildur right that night when Isildur somehow cut off the Ring from his finger?
Well, seeing that Elendil and Gil-Galad already perished, only three possible scenarios could emerge from Isildur’s death.
First, Sauron might’ve fled to recover and regroup within the walls of Barad-Dur. Seeing that Men were left without their leader and his son, it would be easier for Sauron to regroup and live to fight another day. He’d also heal much faster, as he would still have his One Ring.
Second, Sauron might’ve continued the fight right there. He would have to go through Elrond and Cirdan. However, seeing that he would still have the Ring – and the Alliance was already severely weakened by the deaths of Gil-Galad, Elendil, and Isildur – his chances of winning would drastically increase. It could’ve been the final victory for the Dark Lord.
However, had he continued to fight and lost, it would leave Elrond and Cirdan to decide what to do with the One Ring. Elrond stated multiple times that he would’ve thrown the Ring into the fire and destroyed it, just like he advised Isildur to do.
However, he might be delusional regarding that. In numerous J.R.R. Tolkien letters, the writer stated that nobody from Middle-earth could summon the strength to destroy the Ring. It would corrupt even the strongest minds, which would mean Elrond would probably do the same thing that Isildur had done.
Elrond and Cirdan would likely fight over the Ring, leading to one of them being corrupted by its power. Seeing they are immoral Elves, it’s unknown what would happen to them, but the corruption would possibly lead to one of them becoming the new Dark Lord.
Isildur Vs. Sauron In A One-On-One Fight
Now, we know that Isildur defeated Sauron using only a shard of a broken sword. However, the circumstances are important. It wasn’t just a random blade – it was Narsil, Elendil’s mighty blade, broken in battle. Also, one has to ask, did Isildur really defeat Sauron, or was he already destroyed?
Although Narsil broke, Elendil and Gil-Galad died, but not before Sauron was overthrown and slain himself. In the letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, particularly letter 131, Tolkien states:
“I beheld the last combat on the slopes of Orodruin, where Gil-galad died, and Elendil fell, and Narsil broke beneath him; but Sauron himself was overthrown, and Isildur cut the Ring from his hand with the hilt-shard of his father’s sword and took it for his own.” (Elrond, at the Council of Elrond).
That means Isildur didn’t kill Sauron – he was merely there to scavenge and separate a fallen Sauron from the Ring. Had he not done it, Sauron might’ve recovered way sooner, but in terms of defeating the Dark Lord, Isildur had very little to do with it.
Now, if there were a one-on-one fight between Sauron and Isildur, the man would stand no chance against the Dark Lord. He is simply too powerful. Next to Isildur, Sauron is like a god (or the devil, whatever you see fit).
Isildur Vs. Sauron: Who Wins?
Finally, who wins the battle between Isildur and Sauron?
There’s only one answer – the Dark Lord wins almost every time. He is simply too powerful for an army or Men to defeat, let alone a single Man. Now, I said Sauron wins almost every time because Isildur might win under the right circumstances.
For instance, Elendil and Gil-Galand might do all the work and die slaying Sauron, only for Isildur to come, cut off the Ring, take it for himself, and get all the credit for defeating the Dark Lord. I mean, it happened before, right?
Jokes aside, Isildur stands no chance against such a powerful, dark force that is Sauron. The one time it is believed that Isildur defeated Sauron, he was merely there to take the Ring and eventually lose it in a river.