¨ SAURON ¨
At the end of the Appendix - The Rings of Power - it was pointed out that Sauron - the Dark Lord of Mordor - was predominantly associated with Fire. Indeed, it might be hypothesized that he was a 'fire spirit' [see discussion, The Rings of Power.]
The name Sauron means 'The Abhorred' or 'The Abominable'. The Appendix to The Silmarillion states the source of the name as: thaur - 'abominable, abhorrent' in Sauron (from Thauron), [Sindarin] Gorthaur. The Etymologies broadens this reference; the entry THUS- yields the Quenya saura foul, evil-smelling, putrid; it appears to relate to THU- puff, blow, breath. THU-, however, is mostly associated with Manwë, also known as Súlimo, God of the 'winds'; it also appears to relate to THUR- fence, hedge in, secrete.
This etymology is similar to the abomination that maketh desolate [the 'beast'] of the Bible's Book of Mathew, chapter 24. The Greek word used for 'abomination' is bdelugma, implying 'idolatry'; it derives from a stem bdeo - to stink.
The Sindarin rendering of the name is 'Gorthaur', which incorporates thaur; the Appendix to The Silmarillion says of the first element: gor - 'horror, dread', from The Etymologies NGOROTH- horror, deadly fear.
J.R.R. Tolkien offers no other information about Sauron, his origins or how he became corrupt. In various places it is mentioned that Sauron was a 'powerful wizard' and that Morgoth recruited him 'in Valinor' prior to his setting up his kingdom in Middle-earth. One early name given for Sauron in Tolkien's writings was Gorsodh; we have already analysed gor- as 'deadly fear' or 'horror'; the origin of the last element is not clear, but may realte to TATA- Noldorin tâd two, tadol double [The Etymologies].
Sauron assumed various names during his sojourn in Middle-earth, but mostly for the purpose of deceit. Early in the Second Age, before he emerged in his terrible form of conqueror, he appeared in fair form as Annatar - Lord of Gifts - to the Elven smiths of Eregion; his purpose was to initiate his ambush of the Rings of Power. About this time he is said to have also used Artano - High Smith - and Aulendil - devoted to the Vala Aulë, the lord of crafts.
Sauron first appears in the First Age as a lieutenant of Morgoth, a commander put in charge of the fortress Angband, later of Minas Tirith on an island in the upper waters of the great river Sirion in Beleriand. The pits of Angband contained the fires where Morgoth forged his weapons and engines of war. Nothing in the tales of this period prepares the peoples of Middle-earth to recognise Sauron as the consuming evil power of the following two ages.
Yet we know that Sauron and Morgoth had intercourse in the early years in Valinor. We also know that Sauron was of the Maiar, a rank less than the Valar, but apparently possessed of many levels of power and responsibilities. Since the Balrogs of Middle-earth are presumed to be fallen Maiar 'fire spirits', and the one of Moria late in the Third Age appears subject to Sauron, it must be presumed that Sauron enjoyed a much higher rank among the Maiar in Valinor than the spirits that became Balrogs.
The name Sauron was reportedly given to him by Melian, a Maia herself, and wife of the Elven King, Elu Thingol, in Beleriand early in the First Age.
In those distant primordial years in the Eternal West, was Sauron's name 'Abominable'? It does not seem likely. If not, what was his name originally?
The Etymologies - and other sources - may help provide a clue. For example, see SAY- know, understand ... saira- wise, sairon wizard. We know this description to be valid.
If we presume Sauron to have originated as a 'fire spirit', his original name may have related to NAR¹- flame, fire .... Quenya nár, Noldorin naur flame. From this we might propose a name such as Nauron or Naron. This author likes Narond - the Arch of Fire, as the original essence of this 'spirit' may have been to bridge various principles with the 'fire' of passion, be that the passion of love, or dedication or anger.
When the many Ainur gathered in the presence of Ilúvatar to sing the 'Song of Making' - the Ainulindalë - which began to form the material world, the 'lesser Ainur' [Maia] undoubtedly had the mission of reconciling various universal principles inherent in the Valar, and melding them into various useful forms. Sauron - Narond - as a spirit that wielded the fire of love and passion, may have been the 'arch' that spanned various principles both noble and otherwise.
By the same token, all we know of Morgoth, originally known as Melkor [He that Rises in Might], is that his was a cold calculating nature. All of his time in Middle-earth was spent in the cold frozen north. It does not seem unreasonable to suppose that what Morgoth most lacked was what Sauron could best provide: heat. Presumably Sauron could tap the hot fires that lay under the earth, could fire the passions necessary for the perverse unions that Morgoth conceived that resulted in Orcs and other evil creatures.
When Sauron comes into his own we associate him mostly with Mordor, a scorched unlovely land and home of Mount Doom, where volcanic fires and ash pollute the land and the water.
From the burning pits of Angband to the fiery forges of Eregion to the surging magma of Mount Doom, fire seems to be Sauron's constant companion.
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