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Old 12-29-2013, 05:40 PM   #1
Ancalagon
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Sauron's name

I read somewhere recently, not sure of the source, that before Sauron became evil as such, he had the name of Mairon, does anybody know if this is the case?
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Old 12-29-2013, 06:50 PM   #2
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I'm not aware of any canonical reference to that name. The name Sauron, "The Abhorred", was given by the Elves obviously after his allegiance to Morgoth, and if they had a name for him in his unfallen state, I haven't seen it.

Edit: Wikipedia does cite this source for the Mairon name, said to mean "The Admirable", but again, I'm not cognizant of a canonical citation.
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Old 12-29-2013, 06:59 PM   #3
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The Lord of the Rings wikia says that the name was in Tolkien's notes, but never in any of his published works.

I can't find a source stating that it was actually found in his notes. I would imagine that Christopher Tolkien would have included it somewhere in the later publishings. Oh, well.
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:03 PM   #4
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I read somewhere recently, not sure of the source, that before Sauron became evil as such, he had the name of Mairon, does anybody know if this is the case?
I've been familiar with this for a few years now since it was indeed apparently revealed in some of Professor Tolkien's notes, although given the nature of their publication I can't verify it with absolute certainty. It's supposed to be in issue 17 of Parma Eldalamberon if anyone has access to it.

I've always quite liked the idea that Sauron went from being "Admirable" to "Abomination."
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:09 PM   #5
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Tolkien Gateway has a larger article about the issue of the journal in question. I belief we can be certain it's written by Tolkien himself, and I think we can assume it's written after the LotR first came out, seeing those notes are material to study the becoming of the second edition. But I'm not sure either where to place it in the hierarchy of the canon. Good reading material when I've got enough time on my hands.
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:14 PM   #6
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I can't find a source stating that it was actually found in his notes. I would imagine that Christopher Tolkien would have included it somewhere in the later publishings. Oh, well.
If Tolkien did have it somewhere in notes, I still wouldn't put much stock in it. Other things in "notes" were to have Bilbo be the main character in LOTR, and for Legolas and Gimli to leave the Fellowship and head home after Boromir's death.
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:20 PM   #7
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If Tolkien did have it somewhere in notes, I still wouldn't put much stock in it. Other things in "notes" were to have Bilbo be the main character in LOTR, and for Legolas and Gimli to leave the Fellowship and head home after Boromir's death.
Oh I don't know, if it's not contradicted by anything written later I'm willing to give it the time of day personally. I mean, it's not like trying to say Sauron was also Tevildo the Cat-Lord or something, is it? Or even that his name was Thû.
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:42 PM   #8
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Oh I don't know, if it's not contradicted by anything written later I'm willing to give it the time of day personally. I mean, it's not like trying to say Sauron was also Tevildo the Cat-Lord or something, is it? Or even that his name was Thû.
Thû for Sauron at least appears in published work as collected by Christopher Tolkien, and I'm unaware that the same could be said for Mairon.
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:57 AM   #9
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I'm not sure why JRRT notes in Parma should be considered of lesser canonical "rank" than similar notes published by CT, any more than we should disparage the Rateliff, Flieger, and Hammond/Scull publications of his papers.

I would place "Mairon", if I had to, alongside the elf-lord Argon.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:10 AM   #10
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I'm not sure why JRRT notes in Parma should be considered of lesser canonical "rank" than similar notes published by CT, any more than we should disparage the Rateliff, Flieger, and Hammond/Scull publications of his papers.

I would place "Mairon", if I had to, alongside the elf-lord Argon.
I guess my main issue is the question of whether The Maia Soon To Be Known As Sauron would have been well-known enough to the Elves before his following of Melkor, to have been given a name meaning "the admirable". It's possible I suppose, since he was originally a follower of Aulë, and the Noldor were close to that Vala. So I guess the answer to the original question of this thread is "maybe".
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Old 12-30-2013, 09:22 AM   #11
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Included in the work "Words, phrases and passages", (PE17) a compilation for TLOTR greater than that published once in "A Tolkien Compass".
Under the root SAWA-, disgusting, foul, vile.... (for the name Sauron), the professor ends with the paragraph: " Sauron's original name was Mairon, but this was altered after he was suborned by Melkor. But he continued to call himself Mairon The Admirable, or Tar-mairon (King Excellent) until after the downfall of Numenor."
So in my opinion its absolutely canonical, and really defined as his "extraoficial" real name.

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Old 12-30-2013, 12:26 PM   #12
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Included in the work "Words, phrases and passages", (PE17) a compilation for TLOTR greater than that published once in "A Tolkien Compass".
Under the root SAWA-, disgusting, foul, vile.... (for the name Sauron), the professor ends with the paragraph: " Sauron's original name was Mairon, but this was altered after he was suborned by Melkor. But he continued to call himself Mairon The Admirable, or Tar-mairon (King Excellent) until after the downfall of Numenor."
So in my opinion its absolutely canonical, and really defined as his "extraoficial" real name.
Well, there it is then.

You know, that brings another question. The Elves named Melkor, "He who arises in might", and Mairon, "The Admirable". Those two were later the prime enemies of Eldar and Edain in Arda. Did elven flattery in the names feed their pride and tip them toward greater evil?
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:31 PM   #13
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Those Elves... always labeling stuff.
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Old 12-30-2013, 02:17 PM   #14
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I don't like so much to speculate things not written by the professor, we have what we have as a mythology. In this case we have to note that both Melkor/Morgoth and Mairon/Sauron had turn to evil long ago (in the case of Sauron is speculative) the Elves awake. So we can say what we want, for example that the other Valar describe both as mighty and admirable before their fall. But Melko(r) did exist as a developed character in the original conception and Sauron as Sauron (not Tevildo or Thû) was developed as character in TLOTR. So Tolkien had to create a "past" for him.

But, as I said before, is speculate in a mythology as it stands, being from the point of view of the Elves (earlier), or mannish (later).

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Old 12-30-2013, 03:59 PM   #15
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But that still doesn't help resolve the Mouth of Sauron problem--- set up by Aragorn's observation at Amon Hen that the dead Orcs bearing a white S-rune must be Saruman's because Sauron neither used white nor permitted "his true name" to be used.

(second continuity error- Gorbag's Orcs from Minas Morgul did in fact use white)
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:03 PM   #16
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Note- "Words, Phrases and Passages" aka "Nomenclature" aka "Guide to the Names" etc. ought to be considered 'published' and thus canonical, as Tolkien provided a copy to A&U so that they in turn could give copies to foreign translators.
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:12 PM   #17
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But that still doesn't help resolve the Mouth of Sauron problem--- set up by Aragorn's observation at Amon Hen that the dead Orcs bearing a white S-rune must be Saruman's because Sauron neither used white nor permitted "his true name" to be used.
My opinion is that Sauron allowed the mouth to use "Sauron" in the parley at the Morannon for the sake of simplicity. Saying "I am the Mouth of that-great-leader-whom-you-already-know-cos-he-did-all-sorts-of-cool-stuff-and-brought-down-Númenor-and-made-rings" just seems melodramatic.

A general ban on his troops and slaves saying that name could have stemmed from a "Big Brother" like attempt to be an impersonal, unapproachable, godlike Force rather than a creature with possible faults.

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(second continuity error- Gorbag's Orcs from Minas Morgul did in fact use white)
Well, maybe old Strider just didn't know everything. Perhaps he was thinking on;y of the Red Eye as a badge, and didn't know different assignments for Orcs might have carried other devices.
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:27 PM   #18
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Or bonus Homerus dormitat. I suspect that T's thought when he wrote Aragorn's statement was that the epithet the Elves considered his "true" (i.e. their) name - Sauron/Gorthaur "the detestable" - was an insult that the Dark Lord naturally would have resented and never used, just like nobody I'm sure ever called the Duke of Normandy "William the Bastard" in his presence, or for that matter Grima ever called himself Wormtongue.

But then in the later chapter T simply forgot. For both simplicity and the requisite awesomeness, far better for the line to have been "I am the Mouth of the King of Kings" or "the Lord of Middle-earth" or even just "the Dark Lord."
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:16 PM   #19
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Well, maybe not "The King of Kings". I doubt Tolkien would EVER feel right about using that title for Sauron, even in the mouth of the wicked.

Personally given his old personal title translated to "The Excellent King" I might go with something along the lines of "The Lord/Master of All" (technically he isn't that either, but I'm sure Sauron's ego would love for his servant to think of him as the equal or even superior, of Illuvitar). Actually The Mouth could simply call himself something like "The Voice of Darkness" and those he spoke to would probably know who he was speaking for.
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:22 PM   #20
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Melkor, “he who arises in might” > Morgoth, “black enemy”, was given to the evil Vala by Fëanor in his grief and anguish.

Fëanor was the chief of the Lambengolmor, “Loremasters of Tongues”, a Noldorin school of study he founded. (Rúmil and Pengolod would presumably have been members of this group of scholars.) The shift Melkor > Morgoth, (Q: Morikotto) both consonates and alliterates, particularly in Quenya. It is a not-so-subtle intellectual insult, and with a little effort, we could probably come up with a short list of real-world names similarly and deliberately mangled. In any case, it might be “a low philological jest”, which as David Salo (a better Tolkien scholar than I) has recently suggested “is not at all untypical of Tolkien’s linguistic work.

Elves were particularly fond of language. If we grant for a moment (even in an imaginative stretch) that Mairon was the Sindarin version of Sauron’s original name in Valarin, and that he used it in dealing with the Elves in Middle-earth, the shift Mairon, “Admirable” > Þauron “Abominable” > Sauron both alliterates and rhymes. “Regular elvish trick,” as Gorbag might have put it. That might also explain why there was an older name for Sauron in Sindarin, Gorthaur, “abominable fear”. Perhaps the gor- was simply dropped, or maybe the Eldar in Middle-earth punned his preferred name.

In both cases we can see alliteration. In Quenya, second similarities can be found at the beginnings of the syllables (consonation), while in Sindarin the second similarities are shifted to the ends of syllables (rhymes). That would fit Tolkien’s style of differentiation between the parent and daughter languages, Quenya and Sindarin: similar forms, but not quite the same. It would at the same time highlight the close relationship between the thought processes of the Calaquendi and the Sindar, the Amanyar and Úmanyar.
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:27 PM   #21
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But that still doesn't help resolve the Mouth of Sauron problem--- set up by Aragorn's observation at Amon Hen that the dead Orcs bearing a white S-rune must be Saruman's because Sauron neither used white nor permitted "his true name" to be used.

(second continuity error- Gorbag's Orcs from Minas Morgul did in fact use white)
Actually, that second one never struck me as a continuity error.

Quote:
And he does not use white. The Orcs in service of Barad-dûr use the sign of the Red Eye.
I see the emphasized remark as an important specification. They were talking about the S-rune and the possibility that it would stand for Sauron. This would imply that those Orcs would be under Sauron's direct command, or at least as close as it could be, and thus in service of Barad-dûr. I think one should view the lands conquered by Sauron not as one big realm, but divided into different areas which were ruled by his vassals, comparable to the fiefs of Gondor. For this reason I don't view the armies from Morgul as Sauron's "personal" armies, but as the Witch-Kings armies. After all, their has to be a good reason the Morgul-Orcs carried a different emblem. In this light, the remark of Aragorn makes sense.

Don't have much to say about the other error though.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:31 PM   #22
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That might also explain why there was an older name for Sauron in Sindarin, Gorthaur, “abominable fear”. Perhaps the gor- was simply dropped, or maybe the Eldar in Middle-earth punned his preferred name.
Was Gorthaur in fact older? It may be the case; I don't know. It is possible that the Sindar had grim experience of Mairon/Gorthaur during the Chaining of Melkor, long before the Noldorin exiles appeared on the scene. But then again, there is no reason to think that the Eldar of Valinor had ever encountered Sauron, since he explicitly was Melkor's deputy and the Lieutenant of Angband before the Chaining and thus was gone from Valinor long before the Great Journey. (So how would they know his 'true' name?)

It would appear that Q. Sauron would have to be an Exilic name adapted from Sindarin (with no intermediate theta-form, Feanor's revanchism no longer being an issue). The Gor- element might just have been an 'optional' intensifier,* used commonly in the Sindarin version to distinguish the name from the common noun. The question arises, though, why the Quenya form became (apparently) dominant despite the adoption of Sindarin by the Exiles**; it perhaps might reflect the fact that Sauron was not a matter of general concern for the Elves until ca 1000 SA or later, and it took a long time to identify 'Annatar' with Morgoth's XO; by the time Dark Lord Jr. became a matter for discussion it was an issue for the Wise (+/- Celebrimbor), whom we might suppose to have spoken Quenya among themselves.

-------------------
*As was, I think, certainly the case back in the days of Thu/Gorthu

**In external reality, of course Gorthaur had been his his 'Noldorin' name
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:34 AM   #23
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His name is mairon the admirable,but after he join morgoth he became sauron/gorthaur the cruel.
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Old 04-17-2014, 06:54 AM   #24
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Note- "Words, Phrases and Passages" aka "Nomenclature" aka "Guide to the Names" etc. ought to be considered 'published' and thus canonical, as Tolkien provided a copy to A&U so that they in turn could give copies to foreign translators.
Well, since someone revived the thread...

... Nomenclature/Guide to the Names I do consider to be 'nearly published' by the author and thus high on the canonical shelving, but Words Phrases And Passages[WPP] is a different animal, no? Did Tolkien provide copies of WPP too? It doesn't seem very ready for that, at least in all parts.

Anyway I note how in WPP Tolkien changes his mind about the derivation of Sauron, for example:

Quote:
SAWA-, disgusting, foul, vile: [Q saura, foul, vile, whence name Sauron]* prefix Q sau- as in saucare, doing or making a thing very badly. Not used in Sindarin as prefix; but the adjective saur occurs in the sense 'bad' of food etc., putrid, also substantive saw, filth, putrescence

also Q soa, filth (sawá). [added in left margin]

*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: from ÑGOR- 'terror' and THUS- evil mist, fog, Darkness: ñgor(o)-thúsó > Gorthu 'Mist of Fear'; cf. thû, horrible darkness, black mist < thúsé.

Sauron's original name was Mairon, but this was altered after he was suborned by Melkor. But he continued to call himself Mairon the Admirable, or Tar-mairon 'King excellent' until after the downfall of Númenor. The Quenya form equivalent to Gorthu was: ñorthus, ñorsus, stem ñorsur-.

'No THAW-, cruel. Saura, cruel. Gorthaur'

SAWA 'bad, unhealthy, ill, wretched'
Just a simple 'no' then a new base THAW- appears.

Did Tolkien mean 'No' for everything he had just written, including the digression on Mairon? Mairon doesn't hail from the base SAWA- in any case, so I would say...

... maybe, yes... or simply 'no'
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Old 04-17-2014, 07:48 AM   #25
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Sauron's original name was Myron. Being a Myron, he was of course a bit nerdy and was bullied incessantly in the band hall at the Ainulindalë School of the Musically Gifted. This certainly played a part in his later psychopathic behavior.
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