Say the name Sauron and most people will think of this armored character from The Lord of the Rings movies, or a giant burning eye. But in the books Tolkien never spoke of Sauron’s Third Age physical form except in abstracts, saying only that he was “not fair” which could mean anything.
So, inspired by the recent The Rings of Power series, I took my curiosity into the world of AI generated images to see what the hive mind consensus was. This is what I got from the prompt “The true face of Sauron.”
Sauron is a good boi and wants his snackies.
Obviously, I needed to refine my approach. So I went with the prompt “Sauron in a bathrobe” and the artist Alan Lee, who worked on the pictorial concepts for the Jackson movies. My line of thought was Sauron in a more intimate moment would surely show us his face, right?
Well, not really, but we’re close. There are hints of horror here especially in the one on left where he looks like he has five dark, beady eyes and either a long beard or dewlaps of flaccid, flappy skin that descend to his chest from where his nose would be. Somewhere in that mass might be a mouth. On the right he looks more conventionally Voldemortish, with a pale, almost featureless face and a toothless maw.
Next I used the prompt “Sauron in the shower” thinking, we’ll surely see him naked, right?
These are all delicately horrific, but again, only hints at his hideous form. The bottom right one is the most distinctive, revealing a Christ-like face with a beard.
Using John Howe, another Tolkien illustrator who worked on the movies, wasn’t any better, yielding only armored Saurons. So, I went further afield. SFF illustrator Michael Whelan as the artist prompt came up with this image of Sauron from the rear, his butt covered by his long dark hair. God knows what that golden sickle-thing is.
Changing the artist to Peter Paul Rubens, who was well known for his nude figures, wasn’t any better, so it was time to bring out the big guns. “Sauron in the shower” using as the artist Tom of Finland.
The bodies are more coherent (and good-looking) but again Sauron either kept his helmeted head, or is making some hideous face at us like the fellow to the right.
Perhaps the problem was with the media. Going with the last artist, and adding “colored pencil” got me this.
Hmm, not bad, Interestingly, all the drawings seem to show the same person. Could this be it?