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Topic: Sauron

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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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Date: Oct 6, 2006
Sauron

I've never seen this question before so I thought I would pose it here. Why is Sauron called by this name throughout the LoTR and most references to him in the Silmarillion as well.

The name is from Noldorin Quenya, which is banned by King Thingol in Beleriand in response to the Kinslaying. Sindarin then becomes the common language of the Sindar and Noldor. So why isnt the Lord of the Rings rendered to us as Gorthaur in the text since it seems that most other names are given in there Sindarin form. Even Morgoth is given to us in its Sindarin form. Why not Sauron?

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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Since the earliest versions of the Silmarillion legendarium as detailed in the History of Middle-earth series, Sauron had undergone many changes. The prototype of this character was Tevildo, Prince of Cats, who played the role later taken by Sauron in the earliest version of the story of Beren and Lúthien in The Book of Lost Tales. Tevildo later was transformed into Thû, the Necromancer. The name was then changed to Gorthû, Sûr, and finally to Sauron. Gorthû, in the form Gorthaur remained in The Silmarillion.

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Hmm are you saying that Thu is Sauron The Might?

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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read the post.
if you can't understand read it again.

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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After reading again I realised you did not say Thu was Sauron. I originally thought you did thats all.

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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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Regardless of the development of the character, I am concerned about the consistency of the finished work. The only other Quenya name that I know of that is preserved is Finwe (Ingwe, Elwe, and Olwe as well?). Not that its terribly important, but rather it is just an oddity that Sauron would be used instead of Gorthaur since that is what the Elves would have called him.

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Soldier of the East - Rank 4
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Date: Oct 7, 2006

I had thought this too. I didn't really think to post it, but I would like to know.


Thanks for clearing it up TM.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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yes, but still Celethil is right here.
could it be that Tolkien had a specific reason to use Quenya instead of Sindarin when refering to Sauron/Gorthaur?
I do not know.

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Peoples of Beleriand - Rank 1
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One has to bear in mind that although Sindarin was adopted as the satus quo within the elven kind, Quenya is still the mother tongue and the one used by the Valar in the west. The Eldar are the speaking people and to Tolkien their original language would have held a place in his heart.

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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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I will agree that Noldorin Quenya or "the High Speech" is the mother tongue of the Noldor, but its use would have been considered in poor taste for lack of a better description.

I suppose there were several houses of the Noldor that took offense at their language being banned, though they would have complied to make amends for the kinslaying. Still Gorthaur would have been the common Elvish name for Sauron. Forgive me for not looking it up, but I am not sure if Annatar is Noldorin or Sindarin in origin. Either way it confuses the issue even more.

If its Noldorin, then again why would it not be changed to its Sindarin counterpart. If its Sindarin, then why would Sauron be given to us instead of Gorthaur.

I guess I need to do more research.

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Black Numenorean - Rank 3
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we have to condider that the sil is a translated piece of work, done by bilbo, a trained scholer in langages. He did this piece of work in Rivendale, a primary outpost for the noldor. Now, i would think that they would use their natual toung (quena) when talking about events. especially the war of the Ring. therefore, bilbo could've put down sauron in the early texts as a reminder of what he would later do in later ages. possibly.



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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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I did not know that it was meant to be Bilbo in Rivendell that constructed the Silmarillion.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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that still makes no sense
if he used Sindarin for all other names, why use Quenya for Sauron?
why not Gorthaur as Celethil suggested?


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Black Numenorean - Rank 3
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that was just my reason for it. nothing more, nothing less. 

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Remember guys - The Elves only spoke the language Tolkien told them to speak. If Thingol or whoever decided that they did not want to use Gorthaur then thats Tolkien's preference not there's.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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still the question remains.

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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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I did not understand the reference to Bilbo or the Tolkien reference. The Noldor in Rivendell would have openly used Sindarin as their language though they might use their native tongue among themselves.

As for Tolkien, I believe there is a note in one of the appendices that states that the English that we are reading is translated from Westron, the common speech in Middle-Earth. Since Tolkien was so detail oriented, it is just an oddity that he would have overlooked something like this.

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Samwise Gamgee - rank 9
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"But at length, after the fall of Fingolfin, Sauron, greatest and most terrible of the servants of Morgoth, who in the Sindarin tongue was named Gorthaur, came against Orodreth, the warden of the tower upon Tol Sirion."
The Silmarillion


I am a little confused what the big deal is... Here we are told explicitly that the Sindar named Sauron Gorthaur the Cruel. The only reason why Tolkien might have shown them using 'Sauron' was to make it easier on the reader - there are enough names as it is without having to complicate things further.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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so if the Sindar called himd Gorthaur
and if almost all the names in the Sil are taken from Sindarin
why is Sauron from all names one that is usually not used in Sindarin?

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Peoples of Beleriand - Rank 1
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I would have made sense for him to use the Sindarin, but perhaps he wanted to emphasize a particular trait in Sauron.

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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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MoS - the point, as you clearly illustrated, is that Gorthaur is Sindarin; which would be the commonly used name by the Elves. The ban on Noldorin Quenya lasted long after the death of Thingol.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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'Still Gorthaur would have been the common Elvish name for Sauron. Forgive me for not looking it up, but I am not sure if Annatar is Noldorin or Sindarin in origin. Either way it confuses the issue even more.'

I don't know if you have looked it up by now... wink

... but anyway, Annatar is Quenya ('Gift-lord'). I don't think this necessarily needs to confuse the issue more anyway, as it was implied that Sauron chose this name for himself (Of The Rings Of Power And The Third Age).

With respect to the thread in general, we do now have an interesting note written after The Lord of the Rings was published: 'SAWA-, disgusting, foul, vile: [Q saura, fould, vile, whence name Sauron.]* (...)

*this name is also used in late 3[rd] age Sindarin and could be a genuine Sindarin formation from saur; but is probably from Quenya. The ancient Sindarin name for Sauron was Gorthaur, of quite distinct origin (...)'

If I read things correctly, that's pretty interesting, for whether a genuine Sindarin formation, or probably from Quenya, the name was seemingly used in Third Age Sindarin, and the 'ancient' Sindarin name for Sauron was Gorthaur.

Well, even if attested it isn't that easy, as Tolkien changed his mind again and imagined the base here was really THAW- 'detestable' (not SAWA- 'disgusting, foul'). However when he re-imagined Q. Sauron as a changed form from older Q. *Thauron(do), I don't remember another explanation of a scenario with respect to the languages of the Third Age.

With the new root, my guess would be that a Sindarin *Thauron is still quite possible (-on as a masculine seems to be found in both Sindarin and Quenya names), and so we are pretty close to Quenya here in any case.

Perhaps something like the explanation under SAWA- could do? Just a guess!



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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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Very interesting, Galin (as always with your answers.)

Where is that note taken from? I don't particularly remember it, although it would be much to claim I remember everything about etymologies (which is my weak point in Tolkien's legendarium)...

Anyhow, I looked up the issue in HoMe V "The Lost Road and other Writings" and in the conclusion of the 1937 Quenta Silmarillion we have the following passage:

"Some say also that Morgoth himself has at times crept back, secretly as a cloud that cannot be seen, and yet is venomous, surmounting the Walls, and visiting the world to encourage his servants and set on foot evil when all seems fair. But others say that this is the black shadow of Sauron, whom the Gnomes named Gorthû, who served Morgoth even in Valinor and came with him, and was the greatest and most evil of his underlings ..."

Christopher Tolkien comments:

"Gorthû: thus the name Thû, compounded Gorthû, reappears as the name of Sauron in the Noldorin tongue."

In the Etymologies, there is the stem THUS-, with forms in Qenia: saura foul, evil-smelling; and Noldorin thaw corrupt, rotten; and thû stench, also the proper name of Morgoth's chief servant, whom in Qenia was called Sauro or Sauron.

In the Lhammas, it is readily apparent that Quenia at that time was unrelated with the languages spoken by the Noldor or the Ilkorindi, because the former derives from Valinorian, while the latter are Quendian and therefore Oromian in origin. Therefore in this earlier development, there is nothing wrong with choosing to use 'Sauron', because this name is from neither of the main languages concerned. At least this is how I see it.

Regarding later developments when Noldorin actually became Sindarin, I cannot find a solution as to the keeping of Sauron, unless Tolkien was carrying on what had earlier been said without noticing it.

I don't know... I might have got it wrong, but it seems to make some sense.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Welcome John!

Ach, it seems I forgot to source my citation (once again). That partial quote is from Tolkien's Words, Phrases And Passages (or WPP) published in Parma Eldalamberon 17.

As John references, the languages that appear in Etymologies (Lost Road), and their historical relationships to one another, are really part of the old model.

WPP concerns the new model, the history that Tolkien landed on and published in part in The Lord of the Rings -- however even after 1955 and the Appendix on languages, Tolkien can still play and tinker, and one is left to wonder what might have 'survived' from the WPP quote once SAWA- became arguably superseded by a later derivation.

To be clear I have no idea what, if anything, survived from the SAWA- entry. In WPP Tolkien only made the shortest of notes to himself rejecting this derivation, and what there is of the THAW- 'detestable' derivation comes from a letter if I recall correctly.

The name Mairon hails from this 'rejected' entry too, but since it doesn't hail from SAWA- it has become a new-ish part of Sauron threads on the interweb (not that it shouldn't necessarily).

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