Did Sauron have a body during the events of 'The Lord of the Rings'


New Member
I know that his beautiful form was destroyed with Numenor but it's just said that he couldn't take that guise again. Did he reclaim a physical body at some point? Was the necromancer doing anything with raising bodies for Sauron's use? When he took up his throne back in Mordor do we have any evidence that he wasn't just a spirit, similar to a Ring Wraith, perhaps?

Ray Burns

Active Member
We're told that Sauron could never assume his fair form again, it having been destroyed in Numenor. He must have had some physical form because Isildir is said to have cut the Ring from his finger. And Gollum does say that Sauron only has nine fingers. Does this mean that he had other forms lying in wait for him in Mordor? Were they like meat suits that his spirit could throw on when the need presented itself? So the fair form was destroyed, but he had the Dark Lord form hanging in his necro-closet and when his spirit returned to Middle Earth, he slipped on the Dark Lord form to continue his work in Middle Earth.

I know that I'm being slightly tongue in cheek here, but it appears that the destruction of the physical form in a monumental catastrophe such as the destruction of the Two Trees or the Downfall of Numenor , seems to remove that form forever from being used by the spirit of the Maia or Vala, while a mere physical death in that form allows that form to be reconstituted. Thus, when Sauron is defeated/killed by the Last Alliance, he was able to flee that form and then use it again later, albeit with some of wear and tear still embodied (no pun intended).

Although, it raises the question why Sauron was able to reconstitute himself in another form after 'death' while Durin's Bane and Gandalf (and Saruman) were not able to without permission. But that's for another thread....


Active Member
There are clear implications in the text that the Istari are somehow restricted. Probably this was a deliberate strategy by the Valar to prevent more rogue 'Dark Lords' from being created. Notice how there is some sort of vague popular awareness that a staff in the hands of a 'wizard' is something more than a mere piece of wood. Hama is reluctant to allow Gandalf to keep it when he enters Edoras. And when Gandalf deliberately breaks Saruman's staff, this is done with a very formal declaration, and Saruman clearly takes it as a crushing blow.

The balrog wouldn't have had time to form a new body within the story. This does seem to take a while after being defeated, even for a powerful Maia like Sauron. It was more than a hundred years after the fall of Numenor when he attacked the newly established kingdoms of the West. While he probably didn't re-appear in Mordor the next day after the end of Numenor and order an attack, it also seems unlikely that he re-appeared just before the attack on the survivors in Middle-earth. At least some time would have been required to marshal his forces. Something like several decades must have been necessary to form a body, and then he still acted too quickly because he was angry, setting off a war he could not win.

We really don't know what happened to Saruman's 'unhoused spirit' after the events of LotR. Given the implied limitations put on the Istari, he probably did not just form a new body and continue as before.
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Rachel Port

Well-Known Member
Somehow I picture Sauron's spirit crouching somewhere and gradually, over decades or even centuries, beginning to grow a form around itself. I don't think of him as putting on a form so much as building one, almost like a spider spinning a web, first creating the silk from within and then weaving it into a shape. The main thing is that as a Maia he needs a body to be able to act in Arda, and it takes time to recover from the violent destruction of one body before being able to construct another. The Maiar can't just pcick a body off the rack. Also, time for them is different from time in Middle-earth, and we are measuring in Middle-earth years.

What happens to Gandalf is different, since the relationship of the Istari to their bodies is different. Gandalf's spirit is sent back to reanimate his body; he does not take on a new body. I would imagine Saruman's spirit diffuses and can no longer take physical form, but that's just a guess. And Sauron's destruction at the end of LOTR leaves his spirit unable to create a new body, and therefore unable to act in the world.

Anthony Lawther

Well-Known Member
I also think that Saruman's spirit diffuses, with some help
To the dismay of those that stood by, about the body of Saruman a grey mist gathered, and rising slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire, as a pale shrouded figure it loomed over the Hill. For a moment it wavered, looking to the West; but out of the West came a cold wind, and it bent away, and with a sigh dissolved into nothing.
I see three options for the Valar with respect to Saruman's spirit:
1. Bring it to the West for healing and forgiveness, and assumption of a new form as required.
2. Prevent it's movement West, but allow it to remain coherent such that it might slowly grow a new form in Middle-Earth
3. Actively disperse it to delay or even prevent formation of a new form

The third option prevents further betrayal by Saruman, but relies on Manwe deciding that some spirits (not just Melkor) are beyond redemption.
This option also seems to have been taken with the spirit of Sauron:
And as the Captains gazed south to the Land of Mordor, it seemed to them that, black against the pall of cloud, there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable, lightning-crowned, filling all the sky. Enormous it reared above the world, and stretched out towards them a vast threatening hand, terrible but impotent: for even as it leaned over them, a great wind took it, and it was all blown away, and passed; and then a hush fell.