The Great Eye

  • Thread starter Deleted member 207
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Deleted member 207

Hi all,

Is there any canonical period noted when Sauron begins to use the Great Eye as a symbol. I’m just interested in whether there are any specific references to it, particularly in the First Age. I’m wondering if, post Dagor Bragollach, as he takes over Tol-In-Gaurhoth, it would be conceivable that he began employing it as his personal branding style
Can't think of any precise account or quote...
Tolkien came up with the lidless eye during writing the lord of the rings, he probably noticed the similarity between the ring and an eye, also a lidless eye literally is an eye that is never closed, constantly watching and vigilant... that appears fitting for Sauron's totalitarian state as well as his use of the palantiri or seeing stones. The one single painting JRRT did of Sauron does show a shadowy flame figure with one eye...

When he (Sauron) started to use it? I do not know... in the lord of the rings they seem to act as if the eye has always been there, always known to be sauron's sign... but their (historic) knowledge was somewhat limited.

I don't recall the eye ever to be used in connection with sauron anywhere on the silmarillion or even lost tales.
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I found this in the children of hurin (v 2.0)

"Then tumult awoke, a tempest wild in rage roaring that rocked the walls; consuming madness seized on Morgoth, yet with lowered voice and leering mouth thus Thalion Erithamrod he threatened darkly: 'Thou hast said it! See how my swift purpose shall march to its mark unmarred of thee, nor thy aid be asked, overweening mortal mightless. I command thee gaze on my deeds of power dreadly proven. Yet if little they like thee, thou must look thereon helpless to hinder or thy hand to raise, and thy lidless eyes lit with anguish shall not shut for ever, shorn of slumber like the Gods shall gaze there grim, tearless, on the might of Morgoth and the meed he deals..."

And (lay of leithian)

"One fire in darkness still abode:
the lidless eyes of Morgoth glowed "

"His hosts he armed with spears of steel and brands of flame, and at their heel the wolf walked and the serpent crept with lidless eyes."

Glómund (Glaurung) too had lidless eyes... i guess all serpents and snakes do.

So he had used the idea of lidless eyes before...
"Sauron's daunting eye" (lay of leithian)

Not lidless or great, but this is the first time sauron's eye appears in singular, though probably purely a stylistic thing.Nevertheless the poetic rendering may have inspired the later symbolism, as we see JRRT already was playing around with lidless eyes... and he is known to recycle and come back to earlier ideas he liked.

"before her lay Glomund, and his eye was upon her. Dreadful was his eye, like to the eye of Morgoth his master who had made him" here it's Morgoth's singular eye... on other occassions it is the eagle's eye, Huan's eye, Glaurung's eye, the eye of Illuvatar... so it's clearly still poetic singular at this stage.
Very interesting. I suppose I hadn’t made some of those connections. Thank you