The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Each of the entities given this title dated back to the making of Middle-earth, and in Sauron's case to a time even before that
Caradhras lay in the central Misty Mountains; Sauron dwelt in the far North during the First Age, but later established himself in Mordor
Sauron was a corrupted ancient spirit, and conceivably this was also true to some extent of Caradhras1
Sauron was one of the Ainur
Sauron originated as one of the Maiar of Aulë
Caradhras stood above Khazad-dûm; Sauron settled in various places across history, but was most associated with Barad-dûr in Mordor
Title of


About this entry:

  • Updated 13 December 2020
  • Updates planned: 1

The Cruel

A title of Caradhras, and of Sauron

An ancient title granted to Caradhras in the Misty Mountains, and also used of Sauron.

Caradhras One of the three Mountains of Moria, known to Men as the Redhorn and Dwarves as Barazinbar. Over the shoulder of Caradhras ran a high pass, one of the very few to lead through the Misty Mountains from west to east, but this Redhorn Pass was notoriously treacherous, giving rise to the title of Caradhras the Cruel. It is even hinted that the mountain might have been, in some mysterious way, intentionally cruel to those using the pass (at least in the case of the Fellowship of the Ring).
Sauron It is perhaps unsurprising to find the title of 'the Cruel' associated with the name of the Dark Lord Sauron, though it is in fact specifically associated with the Sindarin version of his name, Gorthaur. We have several examples from the First Age of Sauron imprisoning and torturing his enemies, so it is understandable that those enemies would have come to know him as Gorthaur the Cruel.



It's suggested that Caradhras was more than a mere mountain, and possessed some kind of malevolent will of its own. In reference to the mountain, Aragorn observed that, 'There are many evil and unfriendly things in the world that have ... purposes of their own.' (The Fellowship of the Ring II 3, The Ring Goes South). If Caradhras did indeed house an essence like this (which is certainly not established beyond doubt) then we're told almost nothing to explain how it might have originated.

Continuing his comments quoted above, Aragorn said that 'Some have been in this world longer than [Sauron].' Sauron entered the world soon after its making, so we might take these words to imply that Caradhras' 'spirit' - if it existed at all - was of a different order from that of Sauron. The implication here seems to be that Caradhras was an original part of the world, while Sauron came into Arda from beyond.

See also...



About this entry:

  • Updated 13 December 2020
  • Updates planned: 1

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