47

Sauron is the Dark Lord, and he dwells in a dark land with foul creatures and horrible smells. But does he really hope to be a hopelessly Evil Dark Lord sitting on an ugly throne above just a big wreck, with nothing really satisfying to have power over other than a bunch of orcs and dying slaves? Really, wouldn't that all lose its fun after a while? Did he ever think that it might not be as great as all that, with no one to fight and win against anymore, and no more happy lands to blissfully destroy, now that all of them were already destroyed?

So, what did Sauron really hope to be after taking all of Middle Earth?

8
  • 3
    For your interest: The Secret Diary of Sauron, fan-fic. Alternative version. Oct 21 '21 at 0:09
  • 2
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s paradise to Sauron; the elves — not twisted into some profane abomination — are the ugly ones to him. Oct 21 '21 at 0:29
  • 7
    Don't confuse the northwest corner of Mordor with the rest of the lands he controlled. (And don't fall for that "Age of the Orcs" nonsense spouted in the movies.)
    – chepner
    Oct 21 '21 at 20:31
  • 3
    Also somewhat related: The Last Ringbearer
    – Brian B
    Oct 22 '21 at 14:58
  • 3
    @BrianB That's stretching the word "somewhat" quite a bit.
    – chepner
    Oct 22 '21 at 16:15
69

Sauron was actually about bringing order to the world, after a fashion, and that necessitated him being in absolute control, with an extra dash of hatred for those who had gotten in his way in the past.

And there is Sauron. In the Silmarillion and Tales of the First Age Sauron was a being of Valinor perverted to the service of the Enemy and becoming his chief captain and servant. He repents in fear when the First Enemy is utterly defeated, but in the end does not do as was commanded, return to the judgement of the gods. He lingers in Middle-earth. Very slowly, beginning with fair motives: the reorganising and rehabilitation of the ruin of Middle-earth, ‘neglected by the gods', he becomes a reincarnation of Evil, and a thing lusting for Complete Power- and so consumed ever more fiercely with hate (especially of gods and Elves).

-- Letters

or

But many of the Elves listened to Sauron. He was still fair in that early time, and his motives and those of the Elves seemed to go partly together: the healing of the desolate lands. Sauron found their weak point in suggesting that, helping one another, they could make Western Middle-earth as beautiful as Valinor. It was really a veiled attack on the gods, an incitement to try and make a separate independent paradise.

-- Letters

or

In my story Sauron represents as near an approach to the wholly evil will as is possible. He had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to order all things according to his own wisdom he still at first considered the (economic) well-being of other inhabitants of the Earth. But he went further than human tyrants in pride and the lust for domination, being in origin an immortal (angelic) spirit.

-- Letters

or

Sauron had never reached this stage of nihilistic madness. He did not object to the existence of the world, so long as he could do what he liked with it. He still had the relics of positive purposes, that descended from the good of the nature in which he began: it had been his virtue (and therefore also the cause of his fall, and of his relapse) that he loved order and coordination, and disliked all confusion and wasteful friction. (It was the apparent will and power of Melkor to effect his designs quickly and masterfully that had first attracted Sauron to him.) Sauron had, in fact, been very like Saruman, and so still understood him quickly and could guess what he would be likely to think and do, even without the aid of palantiri or of spies; whereas Gandalf eluded and puzzled him. But like all minds of this cast, Sauron's love (originally) or (later) mere understanding of other individual intelligences was correspondingly weaker; and though the only real good in, or rational motive for, all this ordering and planning and organization was the good of all inhabitants of Arda (even admitting Sauron's right to be their supreme lord), his 'plans', the idea coming from his own isolated mind, became the sole object of his will, and an end, the End, in itself.[...] Sauron (unlike Morgoth) would have been content for the Numenoreans to exist, as his own subjects, and indeed he used a great many of them that he corrupted to his allegiance.

-- The History of Middle-earth vol. 10, "Morgoth's Ring"

Of course, Sauron's view of order seems to involve an industrialized theocratic dictatorship. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea. He evidently dreamed of Mordor and the parts of the East he controlled extended over the whole earth.

He probably also did not envision reducing the world to only Orcs - Sauron had plenty of Men in his service, and Men who worshipped him. They might, as Tolkien says even of real people, have become spiritual Orcs, though.

4
  • Sauron's view of the world and origin reminds me of Asmodeus, and he is pretty much an archetype of a lich. As you state, Order per se is nothing good, a world can work perfectly with good-intended anarchy
    – clockw0rk
    Oct 22 '21 at 9:43
  • 1
    By "Letters" do you mean The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien? It would be better to cite specific letters if you can.
    – OrangeDog
    Oct 26 '21 at 23:09
  • Indeed, most Men were under Sauron's dominion, as were at least some Dwarves, possibly the whole of the four Eastern Houses.
    – OrangeDog
    Oct 26 '21 at 23:18
  • @clockw0rk They didn't say order in itself wasn't good. They said that order that involves an industrialized theocratic dictatorship wasn't every one's cup of tea. Just clarifying.
    – user145366
    Nov 21 '21 at 16:01

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