This is more towards the representation of Sauron in the films. If one watches carefully, in BluRay to be specific, one can see the rich tapestry woven in Sauron's costume which closely resembles what we see in Elven costumes?

Considering Sauron and his army, which we see at the Black Gate there is a huge contrast between the orcs and the Urkhai who are all in rags and shambles so to speak.

Richard Taylor in one of the interviews on the Extended Edition disks says that the orcs made their armor with what they could gather from leftovers from war so the design follows that arc.

But what about Sauron's costume? Why did it have such a rich tapestry?

  • Sauron is closer to an Elf than an Orc. Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 13:14
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    I was just comparing the ones you mentioned in your answer if you want to compare throughout LOTR he is most related to Sauruman, Gandalf and Radagast above all else. Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 13:24
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    well they were all Maiar so yeah Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 13:36
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    Sauron was one of the Maiar. The istari or wizards were also Maiar. Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 13:36
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    A picture would be very helpful for those of us who don't have access to the BluRay version. Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 22:21

1 Answer 1


I do not think it is surprising that Sauron wore rich, intricate clothing. Before his corruption by Melkor, Sauron was called Mairon the Admirable and served the valar Aulë - the Smith and Craftsman of the Valar. He was known for a time as

"... a great craftsman of the household of Aulë" - Morgoth's Ring


"In his beginning he was of the Maiar of Aulë, and he remained mighty in the lore of that people." - The Silmarillion

Seeing as he was one of the greatest craftsmen in all of Valinor, this meant his work would be greater than that of even the Elves. This tremendous skill is what led to him being able to forge the One Ring.

It should be worth mentioning as well that Tolkien never explicitly describes Sauron's appearance, aside from broad generalizations. In Letter #246 we have

"... 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."

and prior to the downfall of Númenor (when he could still take a fair form):

"as a man, or one in man's shape, but greater than any even of the race of Númenor in stature... And it seemed to men that Sauron was great, though they feared the light of his eyes. To many he appeared fair, to others terrible; but to some evil." - The Lost Road and Other Writings

So some creative liberties were taken by Peter Jackson & Co.

  • Worth noting that after the fall of Numenor he was no longer allowed to take a pleasing form. Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 13:38
  • I always understood that by not allowing him to take on a fair Elven/Human appearance (akin to what he used in Eregion), but did not necessarily affect his clothing.
    – ssell
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 13:39
  • I agree, however I think it did affect his clothing slightly or perhaps he picked clothing more suited to his current image. Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 13:44
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    Tolkien also says that after Sauron lost the power to shapeshift and assume a pleasing form, he could no longer control people through deceit and from then on ruled through terror alone. So scary-looking armour would fit his storyline by the end of the Second Age.
    – Kaiser
    Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 6:24
  • @Kaiser Not that I doubt you at all, but do you have a source for that? It sounds very interesting and I seem to have missed it.
    – ssell
    Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 20:33

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