Also known as "the Black Lieutenant", the Mouth of Sauron is a Lieutenant
and apparently the one chosen by Sauron
to speak in his place. It's hinted that the Mouth of Sauron was a Black Numenorean
and a powerful sorcerer that used his magic to long preserve his life. He had been alive for so long, and he served Sauron for so long as his ambassador, that he had forgotten his own name.
The Mouth of Sauron makes an appearance in Return of the King
. The armies of Gondor
, lead by Aragorn
, move to assault Mordor, a feint meant to distract Sauron and buy Frodo
time, assuming Frodo was still alive and on his way to the Mount Doom
In what is a rather curious part of Lord of the Rings, Sauron sends his Black Lieutenant out to parlay
with Aragorn's army. He comes out from behind Mordor's Black Gate, riding a black horse, and wearing black armor and a black helm. He quickly gets all up in Aragorn's business to the point where he thinks Aragorn is going to slice him in half.
The Mouth of Sauron shows Aragorn and Gandalf Frodo's mithril
armor, Sam's sword, and other artifacts. He offers terms for Frodo's life. If accepted, Frodo will not die by the slowest, most horrible torture
Sauron can devise, probably something only a bit worse than having to watch a Superbowl halftime show for an eternity with the trailer park
half of your family that thinks the Superbowl halftime show is the height of dignified American culture ("Clovis, come quick, they got ZZ Top to play after 20 years of trying! Look at them lip synch!"
). You know what I'm talking about.
Sauron's terms are basically a forfeiture of lands and armies, although Sauron holds out an interesting carrot that some of the buffer states along Mordor
, while unarmed, would remain self governing. (It's an interesting parallel
Tolkien may or may not be making with the Nazi
terms of occupation given to several European nations like France
.) As well Isengard
would be rebuilt at the West's expense and be made ready for a servant of Sauron more capable than Saruman
. Gandalf reads between the lines and realizes the more capable servant earmarked for residency in Isengard would be the Mouth of Sauron himself. Cheeky monkey!
Gandalf, initially crushed by the possibility Frodo has been captured, realizes if this were the case, Sauron would have the ring and this parlay would be for naught. As well, they have Frodo's and Sam's items but the Mouth talks of only one hobbit. Clearly something isn't kosher
. Gandalf rallies and calls the Mouth of Sauron's bluff. The Mouth of Sauron is enraged and returns behind the Black Gate of Mordor and unleashes Sauron's army.
It's go time
In the third Lord of the Rings movie, the Mouth of Sauron is being played by Bruce Spence
, who is better known as the ultralight
pilot in The Road Warrior
. Oh yeah, him. This scene was cut from the theatrical release but appears in the DVD version.
Unfortunately, the scene lacks much of the emotion of the book: Gandalf's sense they're on the verge of defeat and then his rally when he figures out the chink
in the Mouth of Sauron's lie. It lacks the tantalizing
peace offer, the occupied Europe allegory. In the movie version, the Mouth of Sauron is a set of bad teeth that talk. It would seem if you need to cast a set of bad teeth, you get Bruce Spence. Hrmph. Worse, Aragorn actually cuts his head off in a fit of rage. Sure, it plays well for film viewers unfamiliar with the original work, but it destroys what Tolkien established in this scene. Aragorn is the ultimate man of honor. Even this worm must be accorded fair play
when under a flag of parlay.