What Race Is Sauron? Is It the Same as Gandalf?


Ever since The Lord of the Rings book and movies came out, we already knew that the big bad of the storyline was Sauron, who was the dark lord that ruled over Mordor and was looking to rule over Middle-Earth through the strength of the One Ring. He is also a lot more powerful than all of the other entities on Middle-Earth because he was a being that surpassed Elves and Men alike. So, what race is Sauron?

Sauron was an Ainur and was among the Maiar that worked under the great Vala known as Aulë. In that regard, like all of the other Ainur, Sauron was a divine spirit that had no true physical form until he came to Middle-Earth. The only other Ainur living on Middle-Earth were Gandalf and the Wizards.

It is worth mentioning that both the Valar and the Maiar form one and the same race, which is the Ainur. They are beings that are incredibly powerful and godlike in terms of their powers and abilities. This explains why Sauron is so powerful and was the strongest being in Middle-Earth during the height of his powers. Now, let’s talk more about what Sauron is.

What Race Is Sauron?

We learned way back when during the events of The Lord of the Rings that the big bad evil that the heroes in the storyline needed to vanquish from the world was Sauron. He was always the major antagonist in JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and the film adaptations of Peter Jackson. Of course, he is also the one that the heroes of The Rings of Power are looking for so that they can vanquish evil from Middle-Earth once and for all.

In that regard, we all know that Sauron is an incredibly powerful being that is capable of ensnaring the entire world in his darkness and corrupting different beings with his ability to deceive them. And during the events of The Lord of the Rings, he was almost unstoppable at the height of his powers and was only weakened when the One Ring was severed from his finger and was eventually destroyed.


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However, with the One Ring in his possession, Sauron was stronger than anyone on Middle-Earth and was able to surpass any Elf, Man, Dwarf, or Orc in both his skills and his might. So, what race did Sauron belong to, and why was he so powerful?

Unlike the physical beings that can be found in Middle-Earth, Sauron is an entirely different entity. That’s because he is a godlike spirit called an Ainur, which are divine entities that have existed since the dawn of time in the world that Tolkien created in his writings.

Thousands of years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, the supreme creator god of Tolkien’s Legendarium, Eru Ilúvatar, brought life to godlike beings that were incredibly powerful but were not as powerful as he was. These were called the Ainur, which were entities that helped him create the world during the Music of the Ainur.

Ainulindale by Alassea Earello

The Ainur are divided into two different subcategories: the Valar and the Maiar. While they may be fewer compared to the Maiar, the Valar are a lot more powerful than the Maiar amongst the Ainur and are the ones that govern the different elements of the world after Eru Ilúvatar gave the responsibility of looking after the world to them. Meanwhile, the Maiar are the Ainur that are associated with specific Valar and are still quite powerful but are not as powerful as their Valar counterparts.

For example, the chief of the Valar, Manwë, is associated with the winds and the birds. There are also other Maiar working under him that are associated with the winds and the birds but are not as strong as Manwë.

Sauron himself was an Ainur but was actually a Maia named Mairon. He was associated with the Vala named Aulë, who was the most skilled inventor and craftsman out of all of the Ainur. As such, Mairon learned a great deal about how to create all sorts of different objects while he was working under Aulë. That also explains why Sauron was skilled enough to craft the One Ring and other indestructible objects that are quite powerful as well.

Mairon by Maureval

Mairon, at the very beginning, was made to be pure and good by Eru Ilúvatar, whose only mistake was probably the Vala named Melkor, the dark lord that eventually became Morgoth. However, Mairon admired Melkor’s work because he was possessed with the order. And because he believed that Melkor could help him with his designs and his desire for order in the world, he began working under him as his chief lieutenant named Sauron.

The fact that Sauron was a divine spirit that had incredible powers is the reason why he is so much more powerful than all of the other races in the Middle-Earth. After all, Elves, Men, and Dwarves are powerless when confronting the might of a godlike being.


The Lord of the Rings: Was Sauron Originally an Elf?

In that regard, Sauron was a divine entity that only existed as a spirit. That is why, after the One Ring was severed from his hand, he still existed as a spirit but was too weak to manifest a true physical form on Middle-Earth. And when the One Ring was destroyed, he could no longer regain the power that he once poured into the One Ring, as he was forced to remain as a weak spirit.

Is Sauron The Same Race As Gandalf?

While Sauron may be an Ainur that dwelled on Middle-Earth, he wasn’t the only Maia that had a physical form. That’s because Morgoth was able to corrupt other Maiar as well, as these came in the form of the Balrogs. However, Sauron was always one of the strongest and most gifted out of all of the Maiar, and that’s why he was second only to Morgoth’s power and authority.

Of course, during the Third Age, Sauron was not alone as a Maia on Middle-Earth because Manwë and the other Valar sent Maiar in the form of the Wizards so that they could help and assist the people of Middle-Earth against the evil and darkness of Sauron. Of course, the most prominent and most popular out of all of the Wizards was Gandalf.


In that regard, Sauron is of the same race as Gandalf as they are both Ainur. Specifically, both Sauron and Gandalf are Maiar. That explains why Gandalf and all of the other Wizards are also quite powerful but not nearly as powerful as Sauron because the Valar forbade them from trying to equal or surpass Sauron in power. And even if they tried to become Sauron’s equal, Mairon was always one of the most powerful Maia that Eru Ilúvatar created.

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