Many wiki entries, as well as many other sources about Shagrat (one of the Orc captains who captured Frodo outside Shelob's lair) say he was killed by Sauron shortly after Frodo's escape.

In the text, we hear Shagrat and Gorbag griping about their bosses, and reminiscing about old times. A little later, we learn that shortly after this conversation, Shagrat killed his old buddy Gorbag for trying to steal Frodo's stuff, and that is the last we hear about either of them.

According to the wikis, however, Shagrat took Frodo's mithril shirt and some other possessions to Barad-Dur, turned them over to Sauron, and was immediately killed for letting the prisoner escape. This would obviously explain how the Mouth of Sauron obtained these items, which he later presented to the Captains of the West in front of the Black Gate.

But I can't find any direct quotes from Tolkien himself on this subject. It certainly isn't surprising that Sauron, who isn't a very nice guy even on his best day, would kill his servants for allowing a supposed "spy" to escape. In fact, it almost seems inevitable that Sauron would have killed him for his perceived failure. But I want to know what Tolkien himself had to say about it.

So did Tolkien himself ever discuss Shagrat's ultimate fate?

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    Not as far as I can tell. He simply walks out of the scene and isn't mentioned again, nor did Tolkien mention him in his letters or supplementary stories; lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Shagrat. In the film he also suffers a similar fate, just basically forgotten. – Valorum May 28 '15 at 22:39
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    @Richard I know the wikis list The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion as their source, and that book is very highly regarded. I wonder where the authors got their information. Google "Sauron slays Shagrat" - you'll get tons of results. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica May 28 '15 at 22:43
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    @Richard Google that phrase without quotes around it, and you'll get 283,000 results. Not saying they're all relevant, I just think that's what Wad meant. – Nerrolken May 28 '15 at 22:54
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    @Nerrolken - Yes, I used the quotation marks to show which words to google, I didn't mean Richard should include them in the search terms. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica May 28 '15 at 22:56
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    Almost certainly. See the comments after this answer. For info, user8719 is a deleted account for a Tolkien expert. I have not seen the document he references, so I cannot be 100% sure, but I would be very surprised if he were to be wrong about this. – Ian Thompson May 28 '15 at 23:12


He wrote this in a time scheme, a device used to keep track of when events are happening relative to each other. The Tolkien Society of St. Petersburg hosts a picture of one page of the scheme:

Tolkien has horrible handwriting

In the circled cell, Tolkien appears to write:

Shagrat delivers [possibly "brings"] the Mithril coat and other [indecipherable; possibly "spoils"] to Barad-dûr, but is slain by Sauron.

The original document is most probably in the Marquette University collection, in Milwuakee, Wisconsin; either MSS-4 Box 2 Folder 17: "Time Schemes" or Folder 18: "Synoptic Time-Scheme and related mss.". Any SFF users in Wisconsin who are able to visit and see the original and confirm/improve my (shaky) transcription will have my eternal gratitude. BMWurm led an initiative to do so based on this image, so you can head over there if you're curious about the rest of the text.

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    For the record, this is most likely the "synoptic time scheme" referenced by Darth Melkor (user8719) in his comment, which was mentioned by Ian Thompson in a comment on the question – Jason Baker May 28 '15 at 23:17
  • +1 and many thanks. I believe the indecipherable portion of the text is "other ------s". The second word is puzzling, because it seems to end with "ils" or "its". I would have thought that the second word was "objects", but the tittle is out of place. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica May 28 '15 at 23:23
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    "Shagrat brings the Mithril Coat and other -----s [specials?] to Barad-Dur, but is slain by Sauron". Aside from the indecipherable word, possibly "specials", I am certain that this is what the box says. It is actually very legible, compared to Tolkien's normal handwriting. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica May 28 '15 at 23:54
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    The box directly below the one we're discussing is interesting too - "Rohirrim destroy the Easterlings on the North Road; Sauron withdraws all his forces and makes new plans". This lends credence to my belief that Sauron's plans were thrown into chaos when Aragorn used the Palantir. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica May 29 '15 at 0:22

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