Since he is a powerful being who is seemingly supernatural, could he be considered a god of some type?

  • 2
    Perhaps you could tell us a bit more about what you mean by a "god". You're pretty clearly not using the Judaeo-Christian definition.
    – Mark Olson
    Jan 16, 2019 at 1:57
  • No, I don't mean an all-powerful, indestructible being. Here is the definition of "god". en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/god Jan 16, 2019 at 2:10
  • 2
    Two points: First, There's actually more than one definition in your reference. It would help the clarity of your question of you took your preferred definition and added it to the question. Secondly, you really ought to judge creatures in Tolkien's universe by his rules (as best we can discern them) and not by the rules of some other book or game or culture.
    – Mark Olson
    Jan 16, 2019 at 2:14
  • 2
    Heh. If it makes it hard for you who are asking the question, how much harder is it for people answering it? (Also, in one of his letters, Tolkien explicitly says that Gandalf (and the other Istari) are angels. This would suggest that Sauron is one also, though at the start of the book it would appear that he is an angel in the process of falling (as is Saruman) and not one yet wholly fallen.)
    – Mark Olson
    Jan 16, 2019 at 2:25
  • 1
    What makes you believe they have "ranks" of any sort (beyond "mortal/immortal")? Jan 16, 2019 at 17:49

2 Answers 2


To borrow from another answer, the TL;DR answer is (emphasis mine)


Sauron wasn't always evil. He began his life as a Maia, essentially an angel, and of the same class as Gandalf and the other wizards. He was eventually corrupted by Morgoth, and became his most powerful lieutenant, but he never really had the same motives as Morgoth. Morgoth was one of the Valar (demigods or Archangels), and was far more powerful than Sauron; in fact, Morgoth was the second most powerful entity in the universe after Eru Ilúvatar (who is basically analogous to the Judeo-Christian god). While Morgoth was still around, Sauron seems to have served him very faithfully, but after Morgoth's defeat and exile into the void, Sauron showed himself to be somewhat different from his former master.

So to sum it up, you have on the power charts

  1. Eru Ilúvatar (God)
  2. Morgoth
  3. Sauron

Sauron wants to be God, he just never gets there

  • I know he wasn't the most powerful. However, what keeps from making him a god? He had power over other evil forces in Middle-Earth e.g. orcs and Olog-hai. Jan 16, 2019 at 1:49
  • @nuggetsnack What stopped him was most of Middle-Earth showing up on his front doorstep and fighting a war that destroyed him. The One Ring is simply his bank-shot to try and regain power someday
    – Machavity
    Jan 16, 2019 at 1:51
  • 1
    @nuggetsnack: If by a "god" you mean "a powerful being" then sure. But a "god" that is defeated at least three times that we know of by humans and elves is a pretty miserable excuse for a god.
    – Mark Olson
    Jan 16, 2019 at 1:55
  • 1
    "do not all" but some do. My point: some people out there still worship this figure. Jan 16, 2019 at 2:08
  • 1
    Your list implies that Sauron was the third most powerful being in the universe; that is far from true.
    – chepner
    Jan 25, 2019 at 16:12

In The Silmarillion, we see the origin of many of the most important beings in Tolkien's Legendarium. Amongst the spiritual beings collectively referred to as Ainur, there were two orders of beings relevant to the discussion: the Valar and the Maiar.

The Valar were greatly more powerful than the Maiar, and many (or maybe all) Maiar served one of the Valar. The Valar are equivalent to a pantheon of gods, albeit subservient to a yet greater and more abstract creator being referred to as Eru Ilúvatar. The Maiar, on the other hand, are more like what most people in a European-based culture would think of as "angels".

So now I can answer your question:

Sauron was a Maiar, as were the wizards Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast and a couple of others. This made him much less powerful than the Valar; in fact, he served the Vala called Morgoth.

That he seemed more powerful than the wizards had to do with the condition that the wizards did not take over and interfere with the lands of Middle-earth.

  • Some angels are considered as "gods" by many people around the world. Personally, I consider Sauron to be a demon; an evil spirit. I guess it all depends on how one defines a god. Jan 16, 2019 at 1:52
  • 3
    @nuggetsnack You seem to be saying that you had already decided in advance what Answer you want; if there is no confusion in your mind then why did you ask the question? I've given the reason why Sauron is not a God: because there is an order of beings greater than him, who constitute a Tolkeinian Pantheon, and one of whom is Sauron's master.
    – cryptarch
    Jan 16, 2019 at 1:54
  • 2
    @nuggetsnack If you would like to dictate artificial definitions as a constraint on what answers you will accept, you should make it clear in your Question.
    – cryptarch
    Jan 16, 2019 at 2:01
  • 2
    @nuggetsnack If you pick a definition for "god" that does not describe Sauron, then Sauron is not a god. If you pick a definition for "god" that does describe Sauron, then Sauron is a god. You should specify the definition in your question, and a link to a page with multiple definitions does not really help.
    – Tashus
    Jan 16, 2019 at 19:09
  • 2
    Sauron would be considered the equivalent of, say the classical Greek demigod. Capable of miraculous feats, far beyond those of mortals, with special powers and abilities, and might very well be worshiped as a god by mortals, but a clear level below the Valar, who would be equivalent to the Greek gods, and certainly beneath Eru Ilúvatar, who would be the equivalent of the omnipotent modern monotheistic conception of a god. Jan 16, 2019 at 21:19

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.