J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is a franchise that has given us a lot of answers but also a lot of questions. The history of Tolkien’s Middle-earth is simply astonishing and there are so many elements we could write about, some of which are better know, while others are completely obscure. In this article, we are going to talk about one such obscure character – Annatar – as we are going to reveal to you why the Elves initially believed him.
Annatar, the “Lord of Gifts”, was actually an alias of Sauron during the Second Age when he appeared in his fair form and deceived the Elves into creating the Rings of power. He successfully deceived most of the Elves, but as soon as he put on his Ring, the Elves sensed his treachery and hid theirs.
The rest of this article will further elaborate on the answer given, as we provide you with a more detailed look into the character of Annatar and his real identity, as well as the role of the Annatar persona in The Lord of the Rings franchise as written by Tolkien. We have collected all the information you need in one place so you can enjoy the article fully.
Who Was Annatar?
Annatar is a character that appeared during the Second Age, sometime around SA 1,500, although his origins begin even earlier. About five hundred years after the beginning of the Second Age, Sauron reappears as an admirer of his master and begins to mimic him. Little by little, he began to prepare himself. He becomes the reincarnation of evil and a being desirous of Full Power, eventually becoming the “God and Lord of Men”.
This is because he spent a lot of time in the east, which corrupted the men in his service. Sauron regarded Men, especially the lesser Men left behind in Middle-earth, as opposed to those of Númenor, as especially easy to corrupt. So he regarded the Elves as the greatest rivals in Middle-earth, therefore deciding that it was vital to defeat them first in order to gain complete dominance.
Thus, Sauron plans to seduce the Elves and put them at his service, and for this he takes the form of Annatar, “The Lord of Gifts”, and tries to enter Lindon, the greatest kingdom of the elves in Middle-earth, but the Elves do not trust him and do not let him enter, even though he declared himself envoy of the Valar to their aid, especially as envoy of Aulë, whom the Ñoldor in exile always held in great esteem for the love they had for him due to his blacksmithing and his ability to create beautiful objects.
So he goes to Eregion, also as an envoy of the Valar, and despite the opposition of Galadriel and Celeborn, Fëanor’s grandson Celebrimbor, who also lived there, lets him enter. Annatar befriends Celebrimbor and the Elven Smiths, a brotherhood known as the Gwaith-i-Mírdain. He earns their trust by giving them advice and assistance, and by teaching them magic and the arts of the forge, of which he was very knowledgeable as once the foremost Maia in Aulë’s service.
With the help of Annatar, the elven Smiths forged the Rings of Power, which bestowed great power on their wearers. Annatar then goes to Mount Doom, the great volcano of Mordor, and secretly forges the One Ring: “One Ring to Rule Them All”, whose power was to dominate the other rings and enslave their bearers to the will of only one – Sauron.
Was Annatar an Elf?
No, Annatar was not an Elf. The mere fact that it was just another form of Sauron’s makes it impossible for Annatar to be an Elf, since it was just Sauron in disguise and nothing else. Sauron was an Ainur and thus not an Elf. But, even in his Annatar form, he presented himself as an envoy of the Valar and not an Elf.
What Did the Elves Think Who Annatar Was?
Taking on his fair form and becoming Annatar, Sauron had to come up with a good story to deceive the Elves, which wasn’t easy, as the Elves were highly intelligent and skilled in detecting trickery. Annatar used his knowledge of the Elves and decided to introduce himself as an envoy of the Valar sent to bring gifts.
His first attempt was a failure as the Elves of Lindon did not trust him despite his appearance. His story seemed to be legitimate, but they still mistrusted him and would not let him into their Kingdom. Even Aulë was not enough for the Elves to be convinced, and Aulë was a characters that the Elves held in high regard.
It was only through the benevolence and naiveté of Celebrimbor that Sauron actually managed to infiltrate elvish society, although not all the Elves trusted him even then. There was a strong opposition among the more powerful and influential Elves, which ultimately proved to be correct, as Annatar and his Valar-related story turned out to be just a simple hoax by Sauron.
Long story short, the Elves though that Annatar was an envoy of the Valar but not all the Elves bought that story.
What Did Annatar Tell Celebrimbor Aabout the Rings of Power?
Annatar had a big part in the creation of the Rings of Power, although he never actually touched the three Elven Rings. It was Celebrimbor who forged these Rings but Annatar gave him the instructions and the necessary information to do so. He told him of the powers the Ring would have and, having already been deceived, Celebrimbor honestly believed that he and Annatar were forging something great.
It was only later, when he actually sensed that something might be off with Annatar, that he backed down and started doubting his “friend”. After Annatar’s identity had been revealed, it was Celebrimbor who hid the remaining Rings of Power, thereby angering Annatar, i.e., Sauron. Namely, as the Rings were very powerful, Sauron had to transfer a large part of his own power and being in order to create a Ring that would dominate them all.
As long as he wore the Ring, his power would be strengthened, but he would diminish if he did not wear it. Sauron’s plan would have succeeded if the elves had not detected his influence once the one Ring had been created and placed on Sauron’s finger. So the Elves saw Annatar’s nature as Sauron and knew that they had been deceived.
So the Rings were removed and they were not used while Sauron was in possession of the One. Angered, Sauron declared war occupying much of Middle-earth. The Three Rings of the Elves, however, had been forged by Celebrimbor himself without the direct help of Sauron, thus free from his evil, but bound to the One. Celebrimbor then hid the rings and decided to save them from Sauron, giving them to Gil-Galad, Círdan, and Galadriel.
Sauron then attacked Eregion to retrieve all the rings, getting the rings that had been forged with his help; the seven and the nine. However, he did not know the fate of the three and wanted to know their whereabouts. He tortured poor Celebrimbor to death where they were, also killing the rest of Gwaith-i-Mírdain and laying waste to Eregion.