Who Would Win in a Fight? Sauron's Ring vs. Night King's Army of the Dead

Who Would Win in a Fight? Sauron's Ring vs. Night King's Army of the Dead
Image credit: New Line Cinema, HBO

Internet debates on who can beat whom among characters and factions from various fictional universes are almost as old as Internet itself.

Sometimes people get incredibly invested in them, employing frame-by-frame analysis of movies, complex scientific calculations – and tortured rationalizations to explain away inconsistencies in feats and powers, which are common in fiction.

Thankfully, one debate which is popular this season, thanks to release of House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power, requires none of that. Who would win a fight between the Night King from Game of Thrones and the movie incarnation of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies?

As for Sauron's guise of Halbrand in The Rings of Power, there is no question, with abilities demonstrated so far, he stands no chance.

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But the movie Sauron too is likely to lose.

One-on-one Sauron is going to dominate the fight. Both characters have demonstrated superhuman strength, but Sauron has more of it, being able to send a dozen warriors flying like ragdolls with a single swing of his mace, and, as his weakened, incorporeal form's appearance in The Hobbit evidenced, he also possesses powerful telekinesis.

But the Night King has an ace up his sleeve – it is unclear whether he can be killed by anything, except weapons of Valyrian steel.

Even his undead minions ignore injuries from normal weapons, and fire, which is their weakness, did nothing to him, even when he was bathed in dragon's breath. Sauron might be able to shatter the Night King's body, like you can dismember one of the Night King's wight minions with brute physical force, and then take his time forging some Valyrian steel equivalent (Sauron is a master smith, after all), but there is no guarantee to that.

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And while the Night King often leads from the front – a pretty bad habit, when you're an existential keystone of your entire army – so Sauron has a good shot at engaging him in personal combat, Sauron likely only has one shot at that. Because the Night King's army is so much better.

Sauron can grow his orcs at extremely unnatural rates in the movies, but otherwise orcs are still creatures of flesh and blood, with the same limitations – they need food, they need rest, they feel fear, they die just as easily as men.

Not only the Night King's host is a swarm of tireless, perfectly obedient, difficult-to-kill undead – every living creature slain by them replenishes their ranks as soon as the Night King bothers to employ his necromantic power. There is no way for any relatively "normal" army to prevail against that.

That said, while the Night King is the favorite in this matchup, Sauron still stands a decent chance – the people who actually killed the Night King had worse odds.