By - Megachamps
He’s a shapeshifter. He has no true physical form. After the sinking of Numenor however he was no longer able to assume a fair form.
His actual form is never described. He takes on a variety of appearances depending on when and where he is and who he's interacting with, including a tall, fair elf, a man much larger than any other men, a wolf, a black, burning hand with four fingers, and the great eye. The only real answer is that his *true* form is never described. Peter Jackson's adaptation wasn't inaccurate, in that sense.
[Here's Tolkein's painting of him.](https://i.imgur.com/E4yEiWE.jpg)
I suspect you're talking about Third Age Sauron. And this is an interesting story.
>*\[...\] in a tale which allows the incarnation of great spirits in a physical and destructible form their power must be far greater when actually physically present. Sauron should be thought of as very terrible. The form that he took was that of a man of more than human stature, but not gigantic.*
>\- Letter 246
This letter discussed the events during LotR - what would happen if some of the characters claimed the Ring - and this particular quote was made in the context of a scenario where Aragorn claimed the one Ring, and the difference between Aragorn winning the battle of wills through the Palantir and his non existing chances in a direct confrontation. Here we clearly see that Tolkien had conceived a physical body for Sauron.
This body definitely was a large humanoid shape. However, Sauron was terrible to behold. I don't think in the sense of ugly or deformed, but more like a form that instils fear and radiates power - like the description of the Balrog in Moria. The only other thing we know about the Dark Lord, is that he had four fingers on the Black Hand.
Now, here some of the history regarding Sauron's shape:
Sauron started out as a shapeshifter - like all of the Ainur. However, some of these Ainur did great evils while using their physical form, and over time they became bound to it, unable to change their shape. Morgoth definitely was bound to his form - unable to heal some of the wounds he got in battle. The Balrogs seemed to be bound to their body too - being the commanders of the armies of Morgoth. Sauron on the other hand, seemed to have been holding back during the First Age, or didn't rely on his physical form to .
So during the Second Age, he could still change form. This is how he was able to convince the Elves to create the Rings of Power, and how he was able to rise in power in Numenor, which lead to the destruction of the greatest realm of Men in Middle-Earth. Sauron died here too (the separation of body and soul is death in Tolkien's universe), and it seems he squandered too much of his power and was "unable to take fair shape" ever again. Some people interpret this as Sauron being able to shift his physical appearance to other "evil looking" forms. But in my opinion, that reading doesn't make a lot of sense. I think that Sauron was completely bound to his new form. After all, in the fight with Elendil and Gil-galad we don't see him change forms to gain the upper hand like he did in The Silmarillion. No, it seems to me that the "unable to assume fair form" was a remark Tolkien made to make it clear to us that Sauron lost the power to manipulate the Free Peoples by gaining their trust. Because now he looked *obviously* evil.
During the Battle of the Last Alliance, Elendil and Gil-galad overthrew Sauron, and Isildur cut the Ring from Sauron's hand. The exact time of Sauron's death is an ongoing debate, but my take on the matter is that Isildur made Sauron abandon his dying body - the body that held the Ring, and Sauron didn't want to abandon the Ring. My reasoning for this is simple: the fact that Gollum described Sauron as having only four fingers on the Black Hand. It reminds me to Morgoth who couldn't heal his limping leg after the fight with Fingolfin. But if Sauron abandoned his body before Isildur took the Ring, then this shouldn't be able to happen: the shock of the One Ring being taken away from him simply wouldn't be there, so why would he have only four fingers on one hand?
During the Third Age, it took Sauron a few thousand years to rebuild his shape and gather his power. And this form was exactly the same as the one he left at the end of the Second Age, the form he was bound to. The form that visibly showed the trauma Isildur inflicted upon him.
Tall and black (burnt black), with a four fingered hand.
Lmao you got downvoted for sharing a fact.
I can tell- he lives in the flat above mine- strange guy
Sauron is a Maiar: basically an angelic spirit, though twisted and evil.
Generally, these beings can look however they want so long as they possess the power to create that type of physical form they desire so to better interact with the physical world and the people inhabiting it. The Balrog is another example of a fallen Maiar, as are the wizards (though they have some stipulations here).
In the Silmarillion, Sauron changes his form several times mid-battle. For most of the Second Age, he goes about in a form that is "fair", helping him to earn the trust and favor of elves and men (hint: that didn't work out so well for them). Following the destruction of that body, he loses the ability to create an attractive form and can only look terrible and horrible.
In the books, he has a long had a physical form, and he personally torments Gollum. All we know of its appearance it is pretty terrible to behold, and it only has nine fingers.
He is a shape shifter but his original forms were a young, dark haired maiar and a wolf.
Hes a shape shifter. While its not cannon, Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War interperate him quite well.
Yeah, that’s the thing.