Who Or What Is Sauron?
If you're like me, then you've not just read The Hobbit, you've also read the Lord Of The Rings trilogy several times, and seen every cartoon and Peter Jackson film made about it all. You know who Sauron is, Sauron is the number one antagonist in The Lord of The Rings, in fact, he IS the LORD of the rings, right? Well, yes, Sauron is definitely the arch-enemy of Tolkien's Middle Earth, and he is also definitely "the lord of the rings."
What Sauron is not, is an analogous character to "the devil," Satan, Lucifer; he's nothing like that at all. If one reads all of Tolkien's Middle Earth legendarium, then one comes to know Sauron as being more a secondary devil. He wasn't the first big force of darkness and doom within it all.
Why would people not know who exactly Sauron really is in the work of Tolkien?
Simply put, if one has only read The Hobbit, and/or The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, then they've only read the history of Tolkien's Middle Earth in its third age. If someone has only seen the Peter Jackson films, well, that person is really going to have things wrong due to Jackson having taken some huge liberties with the plots of the original Tolkien books.
So who is Sauron, Really? What is Sauron?
Sauron is a sort of lesser god in the world Tolkien created. In Tolkien's world, there is the one true God, and then there are many greater and lesser spirits that are somewhat like Biblical angels or demons. If someone wants to compare Tolkien's world to the Hebrew scriptures, then Sauron would be something like Appolyon, the destroyer, said to be the chief demon of the abyss. Sauron is certainly not analogous to the Biblical Satan in the work of Tolkien, that character would absolutely have to be Melkor, who later became known as Morgoth. According to Elrond, one of the chief elves of Middle Earth (despite being truly only half elf, one-quarter human, and one quarter...a lesser god),
"Nothing is evil in the beginning. Even Sauron was not so."
The cosmological mythology of the Tolkien world includes many forms of angelic or demonic beings, but there is no need at all for viewing any of it in from Hebrew scriptural contexts, the Tolkien world can and is seen in equally valid ways from European pagan interpretations. In order to learn about and read the Tolkien creation mythology for Middle Earth, one must read The Silmarillion.
Sauron, In The First Age
Sauron In The First And Second Age Of Middle Earth
In the beginning, when Eru (or "God") created the world, he also created many other great god-like spirits. These spirits had the opportunity to enter into the world, or not. The Valar were the greatest of these spirits, and behind them, the Maiar, of which Sauron was one of the greatest. The Maiar spirits were clothed in flesh, and though their spirits were, of course, eternal, their bodies could be killed. Other Maiar the readers of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy would be familiar with are the wizards, such as Gandalf and Saruman, also, the balrogs.
So Sauron was the greatest of the minor gods known as the Maiar. The greatest of the Valar, who were a higher level of minor gods, was Melkor, who became corrupted, and became known as Morgoth, and Sauron served him as his chief servant. Morgoth and Sauron both were masters of science, and knew how to create things beyond any other beings in the world of Middle Earth. In this time Sauron could appear wise and fair, somewhat like an elf or a man, but he could also change shapes at will, transforming himself into frightening things. He was known for a time as Lord Marion. Many wars were fought, and after a time, the first age of Middle Earth ended with Morgoth being removed entirely from the world by the other gods, but Sauron begged forgiveness, and hid in Middle Earth.
In the second age of Middle Earth, Sauron pretended to be repentant for having ever sided with evil, and he used all his skills to create great things, and great gifts for elves, men, and dwarves. He even called himself "Lord of the gifts," and was thought to be an entirely good being for many long years by almost all living things. In the second age, the elves started the making of the rings of power, and many rings were created, three for elves, seven for dwarves, and nine for men, but in secret Sauron, who was more crafty and skilled than any other beings in Middle Earth, created his one ring in secret, and his ring gave him power over all others who wore rings of power. The elves perceived this, and rallied an alliance of men and elves to fight against Sauron.
The Last Alliance, And The Ending Of The Second Age
As shown in the video. the opening scene of The Fellowship Of The Ring, Sauron lost the one ring of power at the ending of the second age, when it was cut from his hand by the shards of the sword known as Narsil. This is how the spirit Sauron came to lose his physical form, and how he came to be a great eye, wreathed in flame. Sauron's life force was bound to this ring of power he'd made, and so long as that ring existed, his spirit endured as a potent and evil thing. When the ring was destroyed, he was left as nothing but a shadow of malice drifting in the forests. To find out more, simply become one of the many throughout time who've read what is perhaps the greatest work of literature to exist in this world, the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.