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Around the beginning of his rule, Tar-Calion the Golden was a dear friend to Amandil the Lord of Andúnië, despite Amandil being leader of the Faithful, and he let him be a member of the Council of Númenor. Obviously, at the beginning of his rule Tar-Calion has been more tolerant towards the Faithful than the Kings from Tar-Herunúmen to Tar-Telemnar.

In 3261, he captured Sauron who eventually grew to influence in Númenor and persuaded Tar-Calion to commit human sacrifices for Melkor, to hate the elves and Faithful even more than his predecessors and eventually to attack Valinor.

Why and at what occasion did Tar-Calion listen to Sauron while he was still a mere prisoner of the King, and why did he let himself influence that much by Sauron's evil whispers? Shouldn't Tar-Calion have known better? Why didn't he just let Sauron be executed?

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  • Sauron was never a "mere prisoner" of the king. He got free transportation to the one place he could do the most damage.
    – Spencer
    May 2 at 15:16
  • @Spencer Why was the king so genereous to Sauron?
    – Wingfoot
    May 2 at 15:45
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    I can post a full answer this evening, but of course someone else may beat me to it.
    – Spencer
    May 2 at 15:55
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    Ar-Pharazôn forced his cousin to marry him so he could steal her crown and resume the persecution of the faithful that his uncle Tar-Palantir had ended. The only thing unexpected about his behavior is that he was friends with Amandil. Everything else about his character suggests he was easy prey for Sauron.
    – chepner
    May 2 at 16:12
  • @chepner It is somewhat disputed whether Calion forced Míriel to marry him or she actually had feelings for him. Calion didn't "steal" her crown. She became queen and Calion became king as her husband (and he was also grandson of Tar-Telemnar which means he was in the line of succession anyway). However, the law has forbidden cousins to marry each other, that's why he is still regarded as an ursurper.
    – Wingfoot
    May 2 at 16:17

1 Answer 1

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There are two reasons behind Ar-Pharazon's initial decision to take Sauron prisoner (the Adunaic name is used more widely than the Quenya (Tar-Calion), so I'll use the former). The first is pride. Ar-Pharazon wanted to be the most powerful king, and also desired that Sauron should see this.

... his heart was filled with the desire of power unbounded and the sole dominion of his will. ... the title of King of Men he would himself claim, and [he] would compel Sauron to become his vassal and his servant...

The second reason was that Ar-Pharazon wanted to keep Sauron's servants under control. When Sauron came forth from Barad-dur

... Ar-Pharazon was not yet deceived, and it came into his mind that, for the better keeping of Sauron and of his oaths of fealty, he should be brought to Numenor, there to dwell as a hostage for himself and all his servants in Middle-earth.

Once Sauron was in Numenor, he was able to exploit the corruption that aready existed. The king wanted power, and ultimately eternal life. Sauron seemed to have much to offer.

knowledge he had of many things yet unrevealed to Men.

According to the Akallabeth (source of all three quotes above), it took Sauron less than three years to gain influence over the king.

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    Right, the word "vassal" here is important. OP is picturing Sauron as a prisoner in a dungeon, when his captivity was really more analogous to being a French aristocrat compelled to live at Versailles where the king could keep an eye on him.
    – tbrookside
    May 5 at 11:00

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