During the discussion between Saruman, Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel in Rivendell, Gandalf says Radagast the Brown saw the necromancer on Dol Guldur, and that he appeared to have summoned the dead.

Is the Necromancer who summoned the dead actually Sauron?

Were there any plot details in the film that I might have missed which confirm the existence of Sauron?

  • 1
    This question, however, is more suited to Sci-Fi and Fantasy SE, because it has nothing to do with the film adaptation.
    – theUg
    Feb 17, 2013 at 15:45
  • 3
    @theUg - it would be a good question for SciFi.se, but its a fine question here too. The fact that they are creating original scenes based on tenuously documented storylines in appendices etc is interesting to movie people too.
    – iandotkelly
    Feb 17, 2013 at 16:05
  • @theUg You SciFi.se guys are just jealous cause we got better questions.
    – Reactgular
    Feb 17, 2013 at 21:21
  • 1
    We only really migrate to SFF.SE if it only has to do with the written works, or something based on items that were never mentioned in a movie. As it stands, this question is asking specifically within the movie, making it perfectly suitable for here.
    – Tablemaker
    Feb 18, 2013 at 16:35
  • @TylerShads, I can agree to a point, especially given that movie is more specific about Sauron than the book was, as we had found out (again, I have to re-watch to confirm).
    – theUg
    Feb 19, 2013 at 0:29

2 Answers 2


A lot of this is original dialog written for The Hobbit movie intended to link it with The Lord of the Rings, and to give them enough story to expand the short novel to three movies. The novel has no such scene in it, however information about The Necromancer who inhabits Dol Guldur can be found in TLOTR.

At the time of The Hobbit, it is presumed that Sauron's defeat when the ring is cut from his hand and lost 'forever' was final. We know from TLOTR that this is not true, and by the time that Bilbo relinquishes the ring and we are first made aware of him in the story, Sauron has re-inhabited Barad Dur in Mordor and is rebuilding his army openly. The movies of the Hobbit are going to try to bridge that gap.

It is revealed in the backstory of the novel of TLOTR that the Necromancer of Dol Guldur is Sauron, who has chosen that location because it is close to the Gladden Fields where he believes the ring was lost. Relatively weak he has not revealed who he is, but his influence has changed Greenwood the Great, and is has become a more dangerous place renamed Mirkwood. Gandalf sets out and discovers that the Necromancer is Sauron, and carries that information back to the White Council.

You have not missed anything yet in the story. I suspect we will see all of the above story, and what the White Council chooses to do with that information in Parts II and III of the movies.

  • Yep - this is the official explanation - which also demotes Sauron to a sort of 'Voldemort'.
    – Nobby
    Feb 17, 2013 at 15:35
  • How come in the The Hobbit he takes the form of a shadow, but in TLOTR he takes the form of an eye?
    – Reactgular
    Feb 17, 2013 at 15:39
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    You could make this another question.
    – Nobby
    Feb 17, 2013 at 15:41
  • I think I will later :)
    – Reactgular
    Feb 17, 2013 at 21:19
  • @ThinkingMedia While it looks like an eye and is called 'The Eye of Sauron', it is actually a portal of sorts that Sauron is attempting to return through, IIRC.
    – SGR
    Dec 16, 2016 at 10:26

The Necromancer is indeed Sauron himself, but from what I gather, he was never mentioned by name in The Hobbit.

In chapter seven of the book — “Queer Lodgings” — Gandalf is about to leave the party, and explains the route the rest must take. When Bilbo inquires if there was some safer indirect way, Gandalf says “There are no safe paths in this part of the world”, and proceeds to enumerate the dangers, one of which being the Necromancer:

Before you could get round it [Mirkwood] in the South, you would get into the land of the Necromancer; and even you, Bilbo, won’t need me to tell you tales of that black sorcerer. I don’t advise you to go anywhere near the places overlooked by his dark tower!

In The Hobbit edition annotated by Douglas A. Andersen there is a respective note on page 188:

The reintroduction of the Necromancer here was originally quite casual; his function, as Tolkien wrote in a letter to Christopher Bretherton on July 16, 1964, was “hardly more than to provide a reason for Gandalf going away and leaving Bilbo and the Dwarves to fend for themselves, which was necessary for the tale”.

And on page 57 (chapter one), in the note about Thorin’s father being imprisoned by the Necromancer:

In The Lord of the Rings, we learn that the Necromancer of The Hobbit is also the Dark Lord, or Sauron…

Thus, in the book, the Necromancer is mentioned grand total of two times, and the name Sauron never appears. I suppose, for the film adaptation they deliberately made it more obvious to better connect with the subsequent trilogy for those who are not well versed in the LotR universe, including myself. Ironically, I had missed that connection in the film (going to have to pay attention when I re-watch it), and only caught on to this, because of the marvelous book I have.

  • 2
    @PriestVallon, I do not think the spoilers are that necessary. It answers the question, and if someone reading the question would continue to read the answers, I do not think they would be concerned about it. Besides, if someone is interested in the question, before the trilogy is concluded, who even cares?
    – theUg
    Feb 19, 2013 at 0:52
  • In the book, the identity of the Necromancer was already known at this point (Gandalf discovered it by himself years previously, on the occasion when he acquired the map and key from the dying Thrain). I have no idea why they changed that for the film.
    – TRiG
    Jan 6, 2014 at 23:00

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