I've read up to chapter ten, Strider, in The Fellowship of the Ring, on a quest to re-read LOTR. I haven't read the trilogy and The Hobbit since I was a kid, so I haven't gotten to any parts featuring Sauron yet.

But I would like to know: How big is the eye of Sauron? I'd prefer a LOTR canon-based answer; however, for purposes of this question, I'd definitely also consider a serious answer based on the eye of Sauron as he appears in the LOTR movies.


Sauron's eyes were probably slightly larger than human eyes. From Tolkien's letters #246:

Sauron should be thought of as very terrible. The form that he took was that of a man of more than human stature, but not gigantic.

The eye is generally used as a metaphor for Sauron's power and vigilance, with the ring he was able to see into the hearts and minds of the other ringbearers. The eye is also used as the emblem for the armies of Mordor.

Although the Eye as depicted in the movie is a complete fiction, there are a few references in the books that could support the movie's adaptation. In ROTK Frodo and Sam catch a glimpse of the eye in the uppermost reaches of Barad Dur:

One moment only it stared out, but as from some great window, immeasurably high there stabbed northward a flame of red, the flicker of a piercing Eye

  • 34
    This is a sketch of The Eye done by Tolkien himself. Apr 7 '12 at 22:43
  • Great answer -- thanks! :) Apr 26 '12 at 15:16
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    "Although the Eye as depicted in the movie is a complete fiction". As opposed, of course, to the books' "based on a true story" fiction. ;-)
    – Zano
    Apr 3 '15 at 11:53
  • I have read LOTR so many times and always seen "the Eye" as something like how Peter Jackson later showed it. Interesting!
    – Johan
    Jun 24 '19 at 10:46
  • @GabeWillard - Pretty sure that linked image was not drawn by Tolkien. It's not found in any of the lists of his known artwork, and there's absolutely no mention of it in any of the bibliographies for that edition.
    – ibid
    Nov 15 at 14:44

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