Sauron vs. Morgoth: Who Would Win & Why?

Sauron Vs. Morgoth: Who Would Win & Why?

Sauron and Morgoth are some of the strongest beings in Tolkien’s universe of Middle-earth, but between those two main villains, who was stronger? In an epic stand-off, who would win, Morgoth or Sauron?

Morgoth was a stronger being than Sauron, but not by so much as people would assume.

The answer isn’t so simple. Sauron vs. Morgoth fight wouldn’t be as straightforward as most people assume. That’s why we’ve done our research and by analyzing the abilities of each of our respective villains, we bring you the most detailed answer ever. So let’s go.

Saurons weapons and powers

Sauron was among the mightiest of the Maiar. Originally of Aulë’s people, he acquired great “scientific” knowledge of the world’s substances and how to use them. He would retain this knowledge throughout his tenure as the Dark Lord in Middle-earth, using it to forge the One Ring and construct his fortress of Barad-dûr. Sauron also seemed primarily linked to the use of fire, and as Morgoth’s chief lieutenant, his ability to tap into the fires in the Earth was of great value.

Among Sauron’s chief powers were deception and disguise: In the First Age Sauron took on many forms. His battle against Luthien and Huan in The Silmarillion has him taking on no less than four separate shapes: his “normal” shape, presumed to be that of some kind of terrible dark sorcerer, a great wolf, a serpent, and finally a vampire “dripping blood from his throat upon the trees” (“Of Beren and Lúthien,” The Silmarillion). At the end of the First Age, Sauron took on a fair form to appeal to the Captain of the Hosts of the Valar and ask for pardon.

In the Second Age, Sauron took up that fair form again and used it under the alias “Annatar” to deceive the Elves into creating the Rings of Power. The level of deception required to fool the Elves of Eregion must have gone beyond simply taking on a fair form.

RELATED: What Happened to Sauron After the Ring Was Destroyed?

Sauron was literally instructing the Elves to make artifacts that while capable of great good, were ultimately purposed for his own domination and were imbued with the power to arrest the natural order of the world. The Elves were unaware of who they were dealing with until the eleventh hour, and only narrowly escaped his trap.

Centuries later, Sauron was able to deceive the Númenóreans and steer them directly to their own destruction under promises of eternal life. Such destruction is a testament to Sauron’s manipulative nature and the ability to twist the perceptions of his enemies.

An interesting dichotomy is set up between his deceptive nature and his symbol. While rarely appearing personally and deceiving all but the wariest, he represented himself as an all-seeing eye that could pierce all disguises. He himself was able to disguise himself by changing shape and taking a fair form.

RELATED: How & Why Did Sauron Die When the Ring Was Cut Off?

But, after the Fall of Númenor, he was incapable of taking physical form for many years, and then later became a horrific Dark Lord. After losing the Ring, it took even longer for him to regain physical form, although, by the War of the Ring, he had regained it.

The extent, nature, and specifics of Sauron’s power are largely left to the imagination. Like Morgoth, he was capable of altering the physical substance of the world around him by a mere effort of will.

Morgoth’s powers and abilities

Melkor in his time was the strongest being of Arda, second only to Eru Iluvatar himself. Initially significantly stronger than the combined power of Manwë and all of the Valar, Melkor was mightier than and ruled over Sauron and the Balrogs. In his prime, he spilled enormous oceans and destroyed mountain ranges. Even while greatly weakened, Melkor could create massive firestorms and huge craters, and curse his foes to sorrow and death (e.g. the family of Húrin).

Was Sauron Stronger Than Morgoth In The Tolkien’s Universe?

Even thou many would immediately say no, Sauron was not stronger than Morgoth, and they would be right, it is not that simple, and not that big of a difference between those two iconic villains.

Morgoth’s power far outstripped that of Sauron, at least at the beginning. Morgoth was the mightiest of the Ainur, his original name Melkor meaning “He who arises in might”. He had abilities and skills similar to most of the Valar and was able to manipulate Arda on a physical level. He raised the Misty Mountains up to hinder Orome.

He spread his power throughout Arda so that everything contained the capacity for evil (Tolkien said that Sauron was only able to create the One Ring because gold, in particular, had special properties derived from Morgoth that lent it the capacity for enhancing evil).

RELATED: The Story of Lúthien and Morgoth

He created countless evil creatures like orcs, goblins, trolls, and dragons. It took a Vala, Tulkas, to overpower him (although Fingolfin was later able to hurt him by that point, Morgoth had lost much of his power by spreading it into others and also by taking on physical form for so long and also because he alone was actually afraid).

Although the Elves and Edain were able to keep Morgoth contained in Beleriand for several hundred years (thus sparing the rest of Middle Earth), eventually he overpowered them and destroyed all their kingdoms, partly through his own evil but to be fair the Oath of Feanor and the Curse of Mandos also led to the downfall of Elves and Men.

Sauron on the other hand was challenged by Finrod and nearly bested. He lost in combat with Huan. He later lost in combat with Gil-Galad and Elendil. Sauron did not have anywhere near the power to conquer Middle Earth in the Second Age, that was why he tricked the Elves into helping him.

Even when he had the One Ring, he was not able to fully defeat the Elves and once the Numenoreans joined in he was pushed out of Eriador. When Ar-Pharazon challenged him, his army abandoned him. When the Last Alliance arose, he lost again.

RELATED: What Are the Powers of the One Ring?

It was only once Arnor was gone and Gondor waning and the Elves fading in the Third Age that he had a chance of conquering Middle Earth (and even then he had help from Saruman’s treachery). Sauron also did not really create new evil beings in the way Morgoth did.

He did have great skill in corrupting the work of others though. Because Celebrimbor used his help, he was able to pervert the Rings of Power. He captured a Palantir and made all of them dangerous to use whilst he held one. He turned the Watchers in Cirith Ungol from serving Gondor to serving him.

Gandalf even says that Sauron is not the true evil, only its emissary. Still, without Gandalf’s help and Eru’s interventions, Sauron would have defeated the West, the Elves would have abandoned Middle Earth and all would have fallen to Sauron’s rule which would probably have continued forever.

Whereas Morgoth, according to Tolkien, would probably have gone into a nihilist rage and destroyed anything and everything. Tolkien does say that Morgoth fell and lost a lot of power over time so that by the end, he was in a sense weaker than Sauron.

Morgoth lost the ability to shed his physical form and was trapped in the shape of a tall, giant Dark Lord. Sauron too lost some powers but as long as the One Ring existed, he could never really be killed. If he had regained the Ring, he would have been unbeatable.

RELATED: Celebrimbor: Who Is He, What Corrupts Him, How Did He Die, the Forging of The Rings & More

Conclusion

So, as you can see from all this, Morgoth was much stronger than Sauron in his beginnings, but his power diminished by his end, and in that time, Sauron was probably stronger than Morgoth.

Also, if Sauron regained the One Ring, he would be unstoppable.

Still, our bet is on Morgoth, and if we take his first, real form Melkor in the equation, then we don’t even have anything to speak about here. Melkor is in our opinion the third most powerful character in Middle-earth.

  • Robert is the co-owner of Fiction Horizon and a lifelong fan of movies, TV shows, comics, and video games. Especially fascinated by Marvel, he enjoys every aspect of the franchise.