When Sauron is concerned, every story is quite interesting as the Dark Lord, despite being an antagonist, is one of the most interesting characters in the whole franchise. In this article, we are going to reveal to you where Sauron was during the events of The Hobbit.
Where was Sauron during The Hobbit?
In a separate article detailing Sauron’s connection to the Necromancer, we have already told you a part of his story. We know that after his defeat, Sauron went on to forge the Rings of Power, including the One Ring. The terror he unleashed upon Middle-earth was horrible, which resulted in the formation of the Last Alliance, which fought against Sauron. When Isildur cut off Sauron’s finger with the One Ring on it, he was finally able to defeat the Dark Lord, destroying his physical body, but not him. Not entirely. Isildur made the mistake of not destroying the One Ring, which enabled Sauron to return.
Due to the fact that he transferred most of his life energy into the One Ring, Sauron was able to survive as long as the One Ring was not destroyed. Seeing how that did not happen, Sauron, in a non-corporeal form, continued to exist for thousands of years, gathering his strengths for yet another return. This was foreshadowed in The Hobbit, with the appearance of the Necromancer of Dol Guldur. Thû, as the Necromancer was called, was a mysterious figure that inhabited the fortress of Dol Guldur; initially, neither the White Council nor anyone else knew who the Necromancer was, but the White Council, at the time, had their suspicions that Sauron was coming back, although they did not know how and where.
Gandalf the Grey deduced that the Necromancer could be heavily connected to Sauron, so he ventured to Dol Guldur so he could confirm his suspicions, only to find the fortress empty. Anticipating his arrival, the Necromancer had temporarily fled Dol Guldur in order to hide his true identity from Gandalf and the Council. When Gandalf left, he returned. The Necromancer became stronger with each passing day, so, after a while, Gandalf decided to infiltrate the fortress once again and the second time, he managed to confirm his suspicions that the Necromancer was, indeed, Sauron, who was slowly regaining his power.
We all know what happened next. Gandalf informed the White Council who, despite Saruman’s opposition, decided to attack Dol Guldur in order to eliminate Sauron. The Council was successful in their pursuit, but they were not able to destroy Sauron – who finally appeared before them in his full, non-corporeal form – only to banish him from Dol Guldur. From then on, Sauron found a new seat in Mordor.
Where was Sauron during The Lord of the Rings?
As for The Lord of the Rings, we know that Sauron is the dreaded main antagonist of the series, but we also know that – despite being overly present in the story – he never directly appears in the series. Where was he, then, and why did he not appear directly before the heroes of the story? We have the answers!
After fleeing Dol Guldur, Sauron took refuge in Mordor, finally revealing himself to the free peoples of Middle-earth in TA 2951. This event marked the beginning of the War of the Ring, as both Sauron and the free peoples started assembling their armies for the war. Sauron, who was not yet fully reborn, secluded himself in his stronghold, Barad-dûr, in Mordor, on top of which was his dreaded Eye, which could sense whenever someone put the One Ring on. Through Saruman, Sauron controlled a lot of the events and knew that was going on, as the two communicated via a Palantír.
Sauron’s presence was finally confirmed when Pippin, foolish as he was, took the Palantír after Saruman’s downfall, while the Fellowship was stationed there. Pippin had a terrible fit and several visions and after he was saved by Aragorn, with Gandalf’s help, he confessed to seeing the burning city of Minas Tirith, as well as Him, hearing His voice in a dreadful vision. Gandalf immediately knew that He was Sauron, which confirmed the suspicions that he had completely returned.
Sauron, on his part, thought that Pippin had been captured by Saruman, but when Aragorn used the Palantír, he knew that it was Saruman who had, in fact, been defeated, which is why he sped up his plans and attacked Minas Tirith.
For the rest of the movie, Sauron does not appear physically but we know that he is in his stronghold. He never intervened in the battle because he thought it unnecessary – he knew he could not die while the One Ring existed, so he just waited for it to appear (as it did, when Frodo put it on inside Mount Doom) – and that was nothing strange as Barad-dûr was under siege for seven years before Sauron intervened during the War of the Last Alliance.
Despite sending the Ringwariths towards Mount Doom, Sauron was too late, as Gollum fell into the fires and was killed while carrying the One Ring. This lead to the destruction of Mount Doom and Barad-dûr and, with it, Sauron, who perished along with his most treasured possession.
Does Sauron have a physical form in The Lord of the Rings?
We’ve established that Sauron never directly appears in The Lord of the Rings, despite being a practically omnipresent threat. Knowing how Sauron survived in a non-corporeal form, we have to wonder – did he even have a physical form in The Lord of the Rings to begin with? He did.
Although we never see him, there are two pieces of evidence that explicitly confirm that he was there physically. First is Pippin’s episode with the Palantír (see above), after which he confirmed that he had seen Sauron in his physical form, meaning that the Dark Lord had one. The second piece of evidence is Aragorn’s episode with the Palantír, whose importance in the plot we already explained above.
If you look closely at the clip from the movie, you can see that Sauron’s Eye appears in the Palantír for most of the time, but the Dark Lord himself shows himself to Aragorn for a brief moment. These two episodes confirm that Sauron did, indeed, have a physical form in The Lord of the Rings. Why did we not see him, then? The reasons for his absence have been explained in the previous section, so we won’t be repeating them here.
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