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I was watching the Fellowship of the Ring, during lunch time. In the Prologue scene, the armies of Men and Elves march against the armies of Mordor. When Sauron came to kill the armies of Men and Elves, Elendil comes by. Unfortunately, Elendil was killed by Sauron's mace. When Isildur got to his Father's dead body, he took up his Father's Sword (Narsil) in front of Sauron. But Sauron stepped on the Sword, thus breaking the Sword.

Why Sauron didn't just kill Isildur instead of breaking the sword?

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    “I was watching the Fellowship of the Ring, during lunch time.” I finished just in time for late dinner right before the kitchen closed! – Paul D. Waite Jul 13 '17 at 7:39
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Although I agree with the other answer that this is a Jackson change; that doesn't mean there isn't an in-universe justification for Sauron's actions.

When Sauron came to kill the armies of Men and Elves, Elendil comes by. Unfortunately, Elendil was killed by Sauron's mace

Why Sauron didn't just kill Isildur instead of breaking the sword?

Swords are considerably faster to wield than maces. A mace needs to build up kinetic energy before it can really hurt you, but a sword can stab and cut with considerably less energy put into it.

When swinging his mace, Sauron was open to being stabbed with the faster sword. So he therefore first tries to render Isildur incapable of fighting back.

You could argue that Sauron should feel (and act) invincible due to the One Ring (and therefore does not need to worry about a sword stabbing him); but then again, his fingers weren't protected by the Ring either, not even the finger on which he actually wore the Ring.
So that proves that Sauron is still vulnerable to physical harm, and it makes sense why he tries to avoid getting stabbed by Narsil.


Note: You can argue that Sauron is much more powerful than Isildur and can wield his mace faster than Isildur can wield his sword. However, I have no proof as to the exact strength of Sauron, so it's hard to make this claim.

  • Bare in mind this may be in the movie universe, but not in the actual legendarium. – Edlothiad Jul 12 '17 at 15:40
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    @Edlothiad: fair enough, but so is the basis for OP's question, since his question does not apply to the books. – Flater Jul 12 '17 at 16:00
  • It does apply to the books, as I have stated. The sword was also broken in the books, but not by Sauron. – Edlothiad Jul 12 '17 at 16:13
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    @Edlothiad: Thus defeating the question "why did Sauron break the sword first?", since he did not. – Flater Jul 12 '17 at 19:45
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Another example of Jackson adding some "Awesomeness" to the films

I say the above for in the books, the sword broke as Elendil fell on top of it.

I beheld the last combat on the slopes of Orodruin, where Gil-galad died, and Elendil fell, and Narsil broke beneath him; but Sauron himself was overthrown, and Isildur cut the Ring from his hand with the hilt-shard of his father’s sword, and took it for his own.

Therefore Jackson couldn't have Sauron kill Isildur, and needed the sword to break somehow. How much more awesome can it get than the big evil guy smashing the sword with his foot, and then having his finger chopped off by the broken sword. Let me tell you, not much more awesome.

In-universe

As TerranGaming has helpfully pointed out, the reason Sauron is vulnerable is because like with Gil-Galad, he attempts to burn Isildur.

More information can be found in the answer here and in fact the answer in the linked post answers this question fully.

  • “How much more awesome can it get than the big evil guy smashing the sword with his foot” — it’s also a bit more visually obvious, and quicker to show, than a sword breaking when a dead guy falls onto it. – Paul D. Waite Jul 13 '17 at 7:42
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    @PaulD.Waite true. but it's also more awesome. – Edlothiad Jul 13 '17 at 7:45
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    Interesting, i have a book that details the various armour and weapons battles etc in the lord of the rings, in it it is said that Gil-galad was picked up by sauron and then burst into flames when sauron held him aloft before him, afterwards sauron tried to lift isuldur up in the same way and thats why he tries to grab him. – TerranGaming Jul 13 '17 at 10:30
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    Yes I was going to make this edit and include the answer from Valorum. That is a minor detailed i'd forgotten which invalidates the other answer unfortunately. In fact I'd go as far as to say that this answer is indeed a duplicate of the aforementioned. – Edlothiad Jul 13 '17 at 10:38
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    Tolkien didn't give detailed account of what happened

  Relevant quote is bellow. Phrase "broke beneath him" should not be considered as Elendil falling on sword and breaking it (Narsil was not that shabby :) ) , it is more archaic description of Elendil being killed and his sword broken. Unlike Jackson's version, looks like Tolkien wanted to say that Sauron was overthrown before Isuldur cut the ring from his hand. Additional proof for this theory is sentence "for the Spear of Gil-galad and the Sword of Elendil, Aiglos and Narsil, none could withstand" - none meaning not even Sauron. So most likely Gil-galad and Elendil mortally wounded Sauron (mortally of course in relative sense, Sauron could not be killed) but they were killed in return. Isildur just came and cut the ring off.

  But as I said, this is just a speculation, Tolkien didn't provide detailed account. Therefore, Jackson's version is not entirely wrong.

`I was the herald of Gil-galad and marched with his host. I was at the Battle of Dagorlad before the Black Gate of Mordor, where we had the mastery: for the Spear of Gil-galad and the Sword of Elendil, Aiglos and Narsil, none could withstand. I beheld the last combat on the slopes of Orodruin, where Gil-galad died, and Elendil fell, and Narsil broke beneath him; but Sauron himself was overthrown, and Isildur cut the Ring from his hand with the hilt-shard of his father's sword, and took it for his own.'

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