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Mouth of Sauron

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Monokuma giving an announcement (below) and the mastermind controlling him (above).

"Metatron acts as the voice of God. Any documented occasion when some yahoo claims that 'God' has spoken to them, they're speakin' to me. Or they're talking to themselves."
Metatron, Dogma

A character may be strictly He Who Must Not Be Seen, but they need to transmit orders to their subordinates and intimidate their enemies.

The solution? Hire this guy. His job (although sometimes not his only job) is to talk for (and sometimes even impersonate) the real He Who Must Not Be Seen, who often is standing somewhere in the background.

The Mouth of Sauron often serves as The Dragon and/or Number Two, and can sometimes be a villainous counterpart to a Supporting Leader: when the real villain is in the background pulling strings, he needs someone to go out and lead his Evil Army against the forces of good.

Sometimes, the Mouth of Sauron is set up to be the Big Bad and is even believed to be so by everyone except the real Big Bad's most trusted advisers. In this case, it overlaps with The Man Behind the Man.

While many examples and the Trope Namer are villainous, this is not necessarily an "evil-only" trope: any heroic Mysterious Employer is likely to have one. Christianity has two famous examples: The Metatron (in older stories) and the Archangel Gabriel (in the most famous one) who speak for the big guy himself.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Death Note:
    • The unseen "Kira" at first only attracts a widely scattered cult following, but as his influence grows and he becomes a Villain with Good Publicity, it becomes necessary for Kira to select an official representative. The position is filled first by Hitoshi Demegawa, and then more successfully by Kiyomi Takada, who also passes secret messages between Light and Mikami and is actually entrusted with the killings for a while.
    • Watari is this for L who speaks via a laptop before agreeing to meet the police.
    • As is Lind L. Tailor, as L's plan hinges on everyone being convinced that Tailor is L.
  • One would say the Secretary Ship Nagato serves in this capacity for the Admiral in the anime adaptation of KanColle, relaying deployment orders and instructions to the rest of the fleet girls.
  • In Naruto, Pain is considered the unseen "God", and Konan is his "messenger angel". Doubled down on by the fact that Pain is The Heavy for Akatsuki, with Tobi being the one truly in charge.
  • In One Piece, it becomes clear that Ms. All-Sunday, a.k.a. Nico Robin, was serving as one when the top Baroque Works agents were finally brought together to meet the leader of the organization. They were all stunned to find that their leader was none other than the well-known and popular hero of Arabasta, Sir Crocodile, who was also one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, the Big Bad's Stand serves as his Mouth Of Sauron during his initial appearance, as the Big Bad himself remains He Who Must Not Be Seen and stays hidden in the shadows; the Stand is the one whose lips are moving. Since said Stand can only move a metre or so away from the Big Bad at best, however, its usage as his Mouth Of Sauron is limited and later dropped entirely once his identity is revealed. Due to Split Personality, Doppio can also function as one.

    Comic Books 
  • Bone: The Hooded One/Briar Harvester is this for the Lord Of Locusts; she’s a Revenant Zombie reanimated to serve as his mouthpiece, as well as to deal with all the nuts and bolts details of the Evil Plan that he can’t personally handle, on account of being a nigh-incomprehensible cosmic horror who’s sealed off from the mortal world.
  • Daredevil: In The Kingpin's mob, the second most feared man is James Wesley, a lawyer who is responsible for receiving and carrying out the Kingpin's last-minute and secret orders for him. This can include orders to have people killed or acquiring the services of supervillains for his boss.
  • Fantastic Four: The Silver Surfer was introduced this way in his role as Herald of Galactus, announcing to Earth that his master was coming to devour the planet. In works that really want to play up how high Galactus is on a cosmic scale, he never communicates directly with characters, instead having one of his Heralds speak for him. He's fully capable of communicating, mind you, but as he once put it, "Would you converse with ants and germs?"
  • The Mighty Thor: In Fear Itself, the Serpent has his "Mouth", a lizard-like representative with a huge tongue sent to recruit Hela.
  • New Gods: During Final Crisis, obscure Justice League of America villain Libra was retooled to serve this role to Darkseid. More traditionally, a character named Glorious Godfrey has served as Darkseid's mouthpiece.
  • V for Vendetta: Lewis Prothero is the Voice of Fate, the person who speaks on behalf of the government. The general population are led to believe that the Voice of Fate is the supercomputer Fate itself, rather than a spokesman, and the first serious hit the government takes is when V exposes the ruse as a side effect of driving Prothero mad.
  • X-Men:
    • During the '90s Exodus served this role to Magneto, even outright calling himself the "Voice of Magneto".
    • Also introduced in the '90s was Ozymandias, a character created to serve this role for Apocalypse. As is typical for servants of Apocalypse, he eventually ended up betraying his master (which makes more sense when one remembers he was originally an official in Ancient Egypt who was "blessed" with immortality by Apocalypse so that he could be Big Blue's slave forever).
    • In the Age of Apocalypse the External Candra served this role to Apocalypse. This being the Age of Apocalypse, it didn't take long for someone to kill her off in pursuit of the ever-coveted Klingon Promotion.

    Fan Works 
  • An Impractical Guide to Godhood: Prince Triton speaks for his father Poseidon while the god of the oceans is in exile as penance for impregnating Sally Jackson. He also makes sure to get in some barbs about how Zeus has erred far more grievously than Poseidon, but has refused to undertake a similar penance.
  • The Moon's Apprentice: Twilight Sparkle takes this role when recruiting allies to help her and Nightmare Moon.
  • Nightmare Lulamoon: Trixie takes this role for Nightmare Moon, because Nightmare Moon is little more than her Enemy Within due to being hit with the Elements of Harmony.
  • Percy Jackson: Spirits: At one point, Vaatu possesses a small dark spirit to communicate with Amarok. The poor spirit can barely contain his power, but his presence is still easily potent enough to cow the Hungerer.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: The Bloodline King has an emissary he uses to communicate with the outside world on his behalf. Considering the man can teleport, it's no surprise he was chosen for the job.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse: The main villains of Nightmares Yet to Come are a group of cultists whose leader speaks through them to issue instructions. One chapter has Duke Greengrass insist on seeing the boss pony when they attack him. He gets his wish, but, when he recognises the pony, they make it clear the conversation has stopped being one he'll walk away from.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Mouth of Sauron from the The Lord of the Rings books only appears in the Extended Edition of the film adaptation of The Return of the King. The character design plays up the word "mouth" for all it's worth.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • The Dark Knight: While the Joker is normally quite fine with speaking for himself (as Gordon notes, "He can't resist showing us his face"), he does use GCN's Mike Engel as his mouthpiece after kidnapping a bus full of citizens from Gotham General Hospital late in the film, though he can be heard guiding Engel along in the background as he lets the pages of his script fly away in the wind.
  • A Deleted Scene from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice reveals that General Steppenwolf has been communicating with Lex Luthor, presumably on behalf of Darkseid, whose coming Lex proclaims.
    • In Zack Snyder's Justice League Desaad serves this purpose, talking to Steppenwolf on Darkseid's behalf - until the General reveals he's found the Anti-Life Equation, at which the God of Evil speaks for himself.
  • Metatron shows up as one of the central characters of Dogma.
  • With FATE not appearing in the film, in V for Vendetta, Lewis Prothero plays this role for Adam Sutler.
  • In Equilibrium, Libria dictator "Father" is all over the television, but almost no one meets him personally. Vice-Council DuPont is explicitly described as "Father's Voice." Turns out to be a subversion: the real Father died years before, and DuPont is actually running things while pretending to be the Mouth of Sauron.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: When The Brethren Court convenes and all of the Pirate Lords are in-attendance, Sumbhajee Angria the Pirate Lord of the Indian Ocean remains silent in the meetings while his First Mate Askay does all of the talking for him. It's revealed at the meetings conclusion its' because Sumbhajee actually has a high-pitched voice.
  • Benji is this unwillingly in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, when Lane kidnapps him and places him with a time-delay bomb strapped to him at a local in London. He's forced to repeat the words Lane tells him via headset to Ethan.
  • Billy the Creepy Doll in the Saw films, who speaks for Jigsaw to his victims. What makes him an interesting example is he's not actually alive, yet is easily the most iconic character in the series, to the point where he "outlives" his master after the third film and becomes the default face of the Jigsaw identity.
  • Cold Turkey: Colonel Galloway repeatedly visits Eagle Rock to convey the blatantly self-interested but not really malicious requests of President Nixon and the Pentagon regarding whether they will open another government base in the town.
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader, in addition to serving as The Dragon, performs this duty for Emperor Palpatine. It's not obvious at first glance, but notice that Vader has frequent contact with Imperial commanders, to whom he frequently gives commands. Palpatine is never shown speaking to any of his other underlings except Vader in the original trilogy, with the sole exception of "Fire at will, commander!" which of course happened when Vader was too busy helping Palpatine try and turn Luke to be doing any commanding.
  • "Mr. Kobayashi" serves as the voice and agent for Keyser Soze in The Usual Suspects. It turns out that this person is one of the few factual elements from Verbal's story. Well, his existence is factual, at any rate; anything Kint said about his involvement is open for debate.
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum: The Adjudicant acts as an extension of the High Table's will, and will order assassins to eliminate anyone that defies the rules or shows resistance.

  • The Mouth of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings, who serves as Evil Overlord Sauron's herald, and lieutenant of the Dark Tower. He comes out of the Black Gate to insult the Fellowship and try to persuade them Frodo is their captive, but Aragorn and Gandalf refuse to believe him. In the book version, Aragorn scares the Mouth off with a Death Glare as he speaks (which causes the Mouth to claim he's practically been assaulted), but in the film version, he marches right up and chops off the Mouth's head.
  • And Then There Were None: Amoral Attorney Morris deals with people on behalf of his client due to Mr. Owen being an Invented Individual whose creator can't afford to let anyone know who they are.
  • Boy's Life: Moorwood Thaxter owns most of the big businesses and mortgages in town, and his word can dictate town policy. Moorwood hasn't been seen in public in years, though, and his Crazy Sane son Vernon announces his wishes to the town, with Tom suspecting that Vernon frequently lies about whether his dad actually wants something done due to how much nicer and community-minded Moorwood's supposed orders have gotten since Vernon began delivering them.
  • In Coldfire Trilogy, this is exploited and inverted by the Hunter Gerald Tarrant. He makes frequent visits to places outside of the Forest pretending to be a mere servant of the Hunter. It helps that almost nobody knows what the Hunter actually looks like or if he's even human. He explains to Damien that it's more convenient this way — people don't mess with him out of fear of provoking his "master's" wrath. On the other hand, if he showed up as the Hunter, everyone would be trying to kill him in the hopes of getting in a lucky shot (it would have to be a very lucky shot, since he's a master of earth and dark fae who once easily defeated an army the Church sent into the Forest after him by himself).
  • In Consider Phlebas, Bora Horza Gobuchul, the primary protagonist who hates The Culture alleges that his Balveda is one of these for the Culture, in that while she (an attractive humanoid) presents herself to outsiders as its representative, the actual representative of the Culture is the knife-missile armed drone hovering next to her.
  • In The Dinosaur Lords, Violette becomes the voice of the horde's leader, as he's above talking to apes. He somehow beams his intent to her mind and she speaks for him even when he's present.
  • Metatron and Beelzebub, for God and Satan respectively, in Good Omens.
  • His Dark Materials is another example of Metatron in this role, with the twist that he's also The Starscream.
  • A heroic example in Horus Heresy. With the Emperor being locked up and warring beneath the Imperial Palace, Malcador — the only person with psychic contact with him — becomes his herald and regent, telling the Imperium its Emperor's will, and sometimes even turning into Willing Channeler.
  • The Invisible Detective: Private Detective Brandon Lake only ever talks to people besides his Baker Street Regulars from behind a silhouette-outlining curtain and recruits Charles, the Earl of Frotherington to be his representative in meeting people who want regular updates from a respectable adult about his cases. Charles is unaware that Lake is an Invented Individual, with one of "his" regulars (Art) providing the silhouette and voice while wearing oversized clothes, while another (Jonny) uses a fishing rod to send messages from the others down to Art whenever he doesn't know what to say to Lake's visitors.
  • E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman stories feature the Eddorian mouthpiece who always starts his speeches "Helmuth, speaking for Boskone". Helmuth himself doesn't know about the Eddorians, as there are several layers of Mouth between him and them; he's aware of the Eich and may suspect there's something above them (because he's not dumb), but he doesn't know anything for certain. On the other side of things, it's generally assumed by a lot of Boskonians (and by the Patrol when they first find out about him) that Helmuth uses "speaking for Boskone" as an affectation and that he's the real top dog of the organization.
  • Killing Time: The crusading Paul Masetti and later his "politician's politician" replacement Archer Danile talk to Tim on behalf of a reform movement that wants him to testify against the political machine, with the leaders of their group being mentioned but never seen.
  • The Obligators from Mistborn are basically a whole organization of these; the Lord Ruler is almost totally uninterested in the day-to-day running of his empire and almost never makes public appearances, so it's their job to keep everything running and keep the noble/skaa class system functional.
  • Much Ado About Grubstake: Charles Randall shows up in town to buy mining claims on behalf of an unnamed party who eventually comes to Grubstake himself once his identity as a Corrupt Corporate Executive is ferreted out.
  • Walker, from Simon R. Green's Nightside series is the Voice of the Authorities, the hidden rulers of the Nightside.
  • Parker: In Butcher's Moon, Frank Schroder, who handles the narcotics side of the local syndicate, remains The Ghost while letting a trusted subordinate represent him at a mob summit.
    Most of the time Quittner didn't even seem to exist; just every once in a while Frank Schroder wanted a representative somewhere, on something he considered very important, and here came Quittner, empowered to act on his own, to make Shroder's decisions for him, and then to fade out of the picture again.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • Palpatine's Grand Vizier, Sate Pestage, also has elements of this about him. Per some sources, he was originally created for Empire Strikes Back but was cut because having Vader take his orders from a flunky rather than the Emperor himself made him seem too weak.
    • Mas Amada fulfills this role for Palpatine as Emperor, to the point of often making public appearances for him as Palpatine became more and more secluded, so that some people in the galaxy thought that Amada was actually Palpatine.
    • In Legacy, Darth Wyyrlok (I, II and III), whenever Darth Krayt went into stasis, served as "Voice" of the Dark Lord of the Sith. This continued even after Wyyrlok III killed Krayt. At least until Krayt decided that was going too far, and killed Wyyrlok back.
    • In the New Jedi Order, Onimi will occasionally be used for this, transmitting orders that Shimrra sees as beneath him or doesn't want made public. Except it's actually the other way around, since Onimi controls Shimrra telepathically; as a member of the Shamed caste he could never rule the Yuuzhan Vong himself, but he can do it by using Shimrra as the face and spokesman for his rule with everyone else in the dark as to who's really calling the shots.
  • In The Wheel of Time series, Shaidar Haran (nicknamed "Superfade" by fans) acts as the mouth of the Dark One, never getting personally involved but giving direct orders (and threats) to the Forsaken. It's eventually revealed that Haran essentially is the Dark One, or at least a less powerful copy of his personality, and gets reabsorbed into him when the Dark One is able to affect the world enough that he doesn't need a mouthpiece anymore.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pius Thicknesse serves as the Mouth of Voldemort, in his role as puppet Minister for Magic after Voldemort takes over the Ministry.
  • Animal Farm: Squealer relays Napoleon's orders and dictates to the animals of the farm.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • The Fae Queen Mab temporarily speaks through a servant's voice during a time when she's so angry her own voice is a Brown Note to weaker beings. She uses the cat-like fae Grimalkin at first, then uses Harry's own fairy godmother to speak with him.
      "There are others yet who will pay for what they have done," Mab said in her own voice. It sounded hideous-not unmelodious, because it was rich and full and musical as it had ever been. But it was filled with such rage, such fury, such pain, and such hate that every clawed at my skin, and every consonant felt like someone taking a staple gun to my ears.
    • Changes: The ancient Vampire Monarch called the Red King has a human slave speak on his behalf as a Completely Unnecessary Translator while he glowers down from his seat of power. Exploited when he immediately reneges on a deal because he never promised anything.
  • The guardian of the forest from the Tais Teng book The Roots of the Forest is charged with ensuring that none of its inhabitants escape, but is likened to a "lap dog" whose only reward will be "scraps from his master's table". The Powers That Be that control him are never seen.
  • John Putnam Thatcher:
    • In the Back Story of By Hook or by Crook, Barney Olender was a benevolent version of this, buying rugs and handling business transactions for Paul Parajian while Paul worked a second job and then served in World War II. Paul hired Barney, a man with no contacts or experience in the rug trade, because he was using an assumed identity and couldn't risk being identified by any of the many rug merchants who knew the real Paul.
    • Murder Without Icing features another relatively mundane example. Victor Jowdy is a lawyer representing several unseen creditors of sports team co-owner Winthrop Holland. Jowdy's employers have tasked him with determining whether or not the sports team will make a good investment in place of Holland's debt. Because Jowdy is a representative and not an actual creditor, he avoids being murdered like another man Holland owes money to. Killing Jowdy would merely cause his employers to send another agent.
  • Discussed in Animorphs. The ruling body of the Yeerk Empire is the Council of Thirteen, who are led by the Emperor; however, which Council member is Emperor is kept secret, with only the rest of the Council knowing for sure, as a protection against assassination. During the Council's only on-page appearance in Visser, one of the Council members, Garoff, does almost all of the talking. Visser One is left to wonder if this means Garoff is himself the Emperor or if he's merely being used as a spokesman for a higher power. The question is ultimately never answered.
  • The Scholomance: The leaders of the Shanghai enclave don't appear in person (due to being adults who have already graduated from the Scholomance), with Zixuan and Yuyan voicing their views and positions to the POV character.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Edison Po is the only member of Centipede who speaks directly to their mysterious leader, The Clairvoyant, and passes on his orders. In "The Magical Place", the Clairvoyant kills him and replaces him with Raina. And after Raina's arrest, at the end of that episode Ian Quinn seems to have replaced her. As of his arrest in "T.R.A.C.K.S.", the Clairvoyant seems to have abandoned having a Mouth of Sauron in favor of a Brute, Deathlok.
  • In the first season of Alias, Mr. Sark served in this role for "The Man," who revealed their identity in the season finale. Afterward, he just became The Dragon and, often, The Heavy.
  • Angel:
    • Not being able to manifest in our reality themselves, the Senior Partners use their Wolfram and Hart employees this way on occasion. Holland Manners and Lilah Morgan act as this once each after their deaths and it's in this capacity that Holland gives his "The Reason You Suck" Speech. There's also the creature that lived in the White Room and looked like a Creepy Child, and its successor the Conduit. Eve and Marcus in Season Five are Children of the Senior Partners, created by them specifically to act as their agents. Marcus was also their Dragon, but the others were strictly there to talk.
    • Likewise, the Oracles and the Conduit served in a similar capacity to the Powers That Be.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Mr. Morden is the human mouthpiece of The Shadows. Sheridan tosses him into a holding cell and offers to torture him until he talks, but Delenn points out the Shadows will just kill Morden and replace him with another mouthpiece.
    • Later, in "Z'ha'dum", Sheridan meets another such mouthpiece who does a similar job but has a higher rank with the hierarchy the Shadows have set up.
    • The Lumati (appearing in "Acts of Sacrifice") also frequently engage in this during diplomatic functions since they are a highly isolationist and elitist race that refuses to deal with "inferior species" and when communicating with anyone they perceive as the latter, they will speak via proxy using a symbiotic mechanism. Once you gain their respect, however, they will simply speak with you directly.
  • Better Call Saul: In Season 4, when Gus Fring is recruiting structural engineers to oversee construction of a secret basement under a laundromat he's just purchased, the job interview process is structured so the candidate has no idea who the employer is, or for that matter where they are, if they are rejected. They are flown into Denver, hooded on the side of a road in the Rockies, and are driven by Mike and a driver to the laundromat in Albuquerque in a van. Mike then watches the candidate as they survey the project, while Gus watches from the shadows. The first candidate we see is rejected, with Mike being sent a phone call from across the room to receive the message. With Werner Ziegler on the other hand, his thoroughness and attention to detail impresses Gus enough to step out of the shadows and personally shake his hand.
  • Castle: In "Slice of Death", an infamous drug dealer who faked his own death visits lower-ranking dealers on behalf of his unseen employer Cavallo. The team initially thinks that the dealer is Cavallo and pretending to have a boss, but it turns out that he really is just The Dragon.
  • Samson acts as this for Management in Carnivàle.
  • Bosley from Charlie's Angels, for Charlie... though the phone is a more literal example.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • Wilson Fisk strongly insulates himself from his criminal activities by hiring others to do his dirty work for him. Just to further drive this home, most of those who do Fisk's dirty work never take their orders directly from Fisk. In season 1, they take their orders from James Wesley, at least, until Karen kills him. What ends up doing Fisk in is when Nelson & Murdock flip Carl Hoffman, a corrupt cop who was directly ordered by Fisk to kill his partner Christian Blake.
    • In season 3, because Fisk is under house arrest, he can't give orders to any of his henchmen directly. His lawyers only do so much as Fisk is careful to minimize Ben Donovan's part in the operation, so most of the time, when Fisk needs to give orders, he goes to a secret room in his penthouse to hold conferences with Felix Manning, who has taken over most of Wesley's old duties.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Daleks cannot exposit for any length of time, due to their slow speech. (Just imagine a Dalek barking, "Have a nice cup of tea and sit down, this may take a while!") So, Davros was introduced as their humanoid creator. Of course, the gag with Davros is that he talks and acts exactly like a Dalek himself, breaking his words into syllables and screaming his lungs out, but he also spends a good deal of time chatting politely with the Doctor.
      Darren Mooney: One of the smarter touches of "The Magician's Apprentice" was to delineate the two. "I created the Daleks," Davros advises the Doctor. "I do not control them." So, if Davros is separated from the Daleks... then what exactly does he do? "The Witch's Familiar" suggests that the answer is quite simple. Davros does what Davros always does. Davros talks.
    • The Time Lords in the Classic Series would occasionally send someone to relay a message to the Doctor. In "Terror of the Autons", one travels 29,000 light years to warn the Third Doctor the Master has come to Earth, though his coordinates slipping means he appears in mid-air. In "Genesis of the Daleks", in a scene partially based on The Seventh Seal, a Time Lord appears to tell the Fourth Doctor he has been sent to Skaro to avert the creation of the Daleks.
    • In Big Finish Doctor Who, in the New Eighth Doctor Adventures and the first "Dark Eyes", Straxus takes this role.
  • In Falling Skies the aliens have to use one of these, as the Espheni are a purely telepathic race and the Skitters speak an incomprehensible language. They typically use a harnessed child, with Karen as one for the primary Espheni, eventually becoming The Dragon. And later still, a Dragon Ascendant.
  • In Season 4 of Justified Adam Arkin was unavailable to reprise his role as Detroit mob boss, Theo Tonin. Accordingly Mike O'Malley was brought in to play Nicky Augustine, one of Theo's top henchmen, who coordinates the hunt for Drew Thompson, speaks on his behalf, and represents his interests in Harlan County, Kentucky.
  • Kamen Rider Zero-One has a rare case of a villain having two mouthpieces, with the Ark employing both Horobi and As for this purpose. Horobi is the face of the organization and serves as the primary envoy of its will to see HumaGears exterminate and replace humanity as the masters of Earth. As, meanwhile, rarely appears even to other members of the group and is the envoy of the Ark's hidden agenda: to destroy everyone and everything, HumaGears included.
  • Lost:
    • This is effectively Richard Alpert's job: to act as a representative for Jacob so they don't have to interact with anyone directly.
    • Lennon also does this for Dogen in season 6 as well as act as a translator, although it's a less solid example, as Dogen is always present for these conversations and it's soon shown that he can understand English perfectly, he just doesn't often care to directly interact with people.
  • A Latino gang in an episode of NCIS is essentially being run by someone pretending to be this. Gibbs reveals this to some lower gang lieutenants, revealing that they and Gibbs' team were both played for fools, and that Gibbs has nothing he can stick on him, implying that the other gang members need to dispose of the Mouth of Sauron member for his duplicity.
  • Person of Interest: One of the rare non-villainous versions with the Machine and its "analogue interface", the Machine Worshipping Root. Normally Root just relays orders, but when things get serious, she can repeat what the Machine is telling her word for word as a mouthpiece. When its Evil Counterpart Samaritan appears on the scene, it chooses a child genius hacker called Gabriel to communicate in a similar manner, whereupon the trope is played straight.
  • Number Two in The Prisoner (1967) serves as public face and chief administrator on behalf of the Village's unseen authority, Number One.
  • Revenge (2011): The Americon Initiative communicates with the Graysons through their assassin the White Haired Man. After he is framed and killed in early season 2, a woman from the Initiative starts speaking to Conrad directly.
  • Jim Moriarty uses this strategy in first season finale of Sherlock, "The Great Game", to keep his distance from Sherlock. He takes hostages then wires them to repeat what he says or he'll detonate a bomb strapped to them unless Sherlock is able to unravel the mystery he challenges him with. For the most part, Sherlock is successful but an old woman unfortunately gets blown up, not because Sherlock failed, but because she began to describe Moriarty over the phone and he needed to keep her quiet. This also presents a flaw in using a hostage to be your mouth.
  • Silo: The Last minibus Robert Sims speaks with the other leaders of the Silo to let them know how his boss, the reclusive Judge Meadows, feels about things. Actually, Meadows is a frightened Puppet King, and Sims is actually speaking on behalf of Almighty Janitor Bernard.
  • In the Kromaggs' first appearance on Sliders, they stood in the shadows and telepathically communed with a human slave who spoke on their behalf. She explained that the xenophobic aliens refused to speak a human language. The ending revealed that they do speak English, and the supposed interpreter was only there to win the sliders' trust as a mole.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation two-parter "The Best of Both Worlds", Picard has his entire identity ripped away and his brain merged into a hostile cybernetic Hive Mind so he can be its spokesperson. Even his Borg designation, "Locutus", is Latin for "he who has spoken". Star Trek: First Contact retcons this so as to make Locutus's primary function that of a "counterpart" for the Borg Queen.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Weyoun serves as this for the Female Changeling. The Female Changeling, by extension, serves as the mouthpiece for all Changelings, and the Dominion as a whole.
    • The Vorta as a whole generally serve as this to the Founders, delivering the Founder's orders to subject races and the Jem'hadar, most of whom have never seen a Founder and, in the case of the former, really don't want to. One Dominion citizen descibes dealing with the Dominion as the Vorta show up on your world and tell you what to do, and then you do it immediately, or else you deal with the Jem'hadar.
  • Succession: Sandy Furness, the external Big Bad of the show, very rarely appears in person. It's up to Villain Protagonist Kendall's friend Stewy to communicate his wishes and orders and make deals on his behalf.
  • Supernatural: Very few of the angels have actually seen God, so their orders are passed on from the ones who have. Though later it's revealed that none of their orders come from him, they're actually from the corrupt higher-level angels and Joshua is the only one God actually speaks to. Metatron's job was to write down the Word of God, which can only be read by prophets. (See the Religion section.)

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Metatron, or the Voice of God: an archangel who Was Once a Man, the prophet Enoch, and served as an intermediary between God and mankind in Jewish theology. He is identified with the Pillar of Fire from the Book of Exodus. He does not explicitly appear in Christian canon, the only oblique reference being in Genesis: "Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away." (Every other human mentioned in the passage describing the lineage is said to have 'died'). He is sometimes used by theologians as an explanation for why God's judgment seems much harsher in the Old Testament than the New—in the Old Testament, God's interventions are actually Metatron acting on God's behalf and suffering from either Humans Are Bastards himself or, now being pure due to being raised to an archangel, is particularly disgusted by his own people and hard on them.
  • There's also a Christian (Catholic) version of this idea: In the works of Thomas Aquinas and St. Denis, angels are described as beings who transmit the words or will of God to human beings through a divine game of Chinese whispers. This was done mostly to reconcile Christianity with Neoplatonic idealism. Basically God tells the Seraphim and Cherubim, they tell the Dominions, Virtues and Powers, and they in turn tell the Principalities, Archangels and Angels. Only the Archangels and Angels interact directly with the world as we know it.
  • The prophets of most modern religions can also be considered this.
  • In most versions of Gnosticism, the highest God (or Monad) is just too pure to have anything at all to do with the physical universe; there are several layers of "emanations" below the Monad before reaching the Demiurge, who actually rules the physical universe and serves as the interface between it and the spiritual levels above. (In a subversion, though, the Demiurge is also frequently too ignorant about what he really is and thinks he's the actual God.)
  • The Twelfth Imam of the Shi‘ah vanished from public view when he was a young boy. Thereafter he communicated with his followers only through a series of spokesmen. This was the "Minor Occultation." Many years later, shortly before the last spokesman died, the Imam sent word that there would be no further spokesmen. That began the "Major Occultation," and no one has heard from the Imam ever since.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • This is a manager's primary role if the wrestler himself isn't a very good wordsmith. A prominent example for many years was Paul Heyman for Brock Lesnar.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Eberron, the Dreaming Dark — essentially a living nightmare of god-like proportions and the Genius Loci of the Dream Land note  — is one of the most powerful, evil threats facing the setting. However, it is so vast and incomprehensible that even its quori minions — nightmare spirits that themselves are somewhere between demons and Eldritch Abominations — cannot commune with it directly without being overwhelmed. Only one quori, the Devourer of Dreams, possesses sufficient power to talk to the Dark directly, and his job is to tell the other quori what their master/god/thing wants done.
  • Exalted: Due to endemic Chronic Backstabbing Disorder amongst the Deathlords they are rarely able to leave their seat of power for an extended time, necessitating the Abyssals to hold this position. Doubly so when the Deathlord in question has corruption of mortal societies as part of their agenda.
    • Particularly disturbing example is the Abyssal known as Weeping Raiton Cast Aside (or just 'Raiton'), who claims to serve the Neverborn directly, making her the Mouth in respect to the Deathlords.
    • Any character can be a Mouth of the Neverborn. Spend a long time in the Labyrinth and listen to their Whispers, and eventually their Will as well as their Secrets will become clear to you. Not for the faint of heart.
  • In the Back Story of In Nomine, Metatron holds his traditional role. Lucifer kills him, starting off the events of the Fall.
  • The Dabus in the Planescape setting serve as messengers and emissaries for the nigh-omnipotent Lady of Pain, who does not directly communicate with anyone else. Notably, the Dabus do not speak either - the jury's out on whether they're incapable of doing so or simply choose not to - but are fully capable of understanding speech and will at least communicate by causing symbols to materialize in the air around them. Since the Dabus are the Lady's chosen messengers and exist to carry out her orders throughout Sigil, they are generally seen as acting with her authority and, accordingly, virtually everyone does their best not to get in their way, regardless of their alignment, allegiance, or persuasion; obstructing or attacking them isn't a guaranteed death sentence, but it generally annoys the Lady, which tends to be bad for one's long-term health.
  • Shadowrun:
    • The main characters are technically criminals and mercenaries-for-hire, and most people who hire shadowrunners want to avoid publicly associating with them. Hence came the system of the "Mr. Johnson", a Mysterious Employer responsible for directly contacting, hiring and paying the shadowrunners without their bosses getting anywhere near them. In some rare cases the Johnson is the employer directly, but mostly they are just representing whoever wants the job done.
    • Also, dragons in the setting commonly had interpreters (when the dragons first awakened, they could only communicate telepathically and didn't speak English) who often made public appearances on their patron's behalf. Since dragons can shape-shift, some of them even exploit this by appearing as their own Mouth of Sauron (though given they're easier to kill in metahuman form, most don't).
    • Hestaby is known for not having a translator, instead using magic to project her voice magically.
  • Magic: The Gathering: After being compleated by New Phyrexians, now Atraxa fulfills this role as the Voice of the Praetors, although the latter have been shown and have their own cards. Appropriately, she's an angel.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Emperor of Mankind, being a decrepit corpse connected to the life support system known as the Golden Throne, is no longer able to speak. However, his Adeptus Custodes still receive his orders through occasional flashes of psychic activity, so on the few occasions they leave the Imperial Palace, it's tacitly understood it's at the Emperor's command.
    • One subgroup of the Custodes, the Emissaries Imperatus, serve this function even more than their brothers in the Custodes. When they speak, it's with the Emperor's voice. This is the reason why they take the role of delivering the information concerning the new Primaris Marines to the various beleaguered Space Marine chapters throughout the Imperium: they want to make it absolutely clear that the Primaris Marines are a gift from the Emperor... and you do not refuse a gift from the Emperor.
    • Averted in the case of the four Chaos Gods. Each of them have favoured servants who're the highest among their ranks (e.g. Skulltaker for Khorne, Doomrider for Slaneesh), but they aren't used as messengers, exactly. Their presence does, however, tell their mortal servants that the Gods are paying attention.

    Video Games 
  • Monokuma of the Danganronpa franchise, a series of bear-shaped robots whose job it is to speak to the students for the mastermind.
  • Thomas Macabee, the Necron Pariah in Dawn of War: Dark Crusade. Sort of. His master isn't this great unseen evil, in fact it's the Necron Lord of Kronus, your main Hero Unit in the campaign. It's just that regular Necrons can't speak, so the Pariah speaks in his stead.
  • The Speaker from Destiny is a rare heroic example. He speaks to the Traveler and conveys its decrees to the Guardians and other inhabitants of the City. Except not really. As he admits to Ghaul, the Traveler has never actually spoken to him; he just says what he believes it would've wanted him to.
  • There's no one else better in EarthBound (1994) to be the herald for the all-powerful but mindless Giygas than Ness's obnoxious neighbor Porky.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The Dark Brotherhood, an illegal organization of assassins whose membership mostly takes a sadistic glee in killing and who practice a Religion of Evil, has the Listener as the de-facto leader. The Listener is the only person who can speak to the Night Mother, the unholy matron who chooses which contracts the Brotherhood will accept. Without a Listener, they can't receive any contracts the normal way, which forces them to rely on word-of-mouth to hear if anyone has performed the Black Sacrament (the ritual prayer for an assassination heard by the Night Mother and spoken to the Listener).
    • Morrowind has this as part of the Great House Telvanni questline. Since the mage-lords who rule the House are too busy with their various magical experimentation and backstabbing, in order for anything to actually get done, they employ a council of personal servants actually called Mouths to attend to the day-to-day business and assign tasks to lower-ranking members to perform. As part of your advancement through the House, you have to first become a Mouth yourself to the House's most progressive Lord (his current one wants to retire) and then finally gain one yourself when you become one of those mage-lords. Interestingly enough, once you have a Mouth of your own, you can actually send him on quests for a couple of artifacts he think would be useful.
  • The Speaker in Emperor: Battle for Dune. It serves as a mouthpiece for the Executrix — all four of them.
  • In Evolve, Kala is an unwilling example. Due to the monster HNA overwhelming her own genetic code, if she experiences enough trauma the monster hivemind will overwhelm her and make her its mouthpiece. Suffice to say, the hivemind for a legion of perfect predators doesn't have the nicest things to say.
  • In Fallout 3, President Eden's Dragon, Colonel Autumn, acts as the Enclave's primary spokesperson and commander in the field, since Eden himself is an AI running on a ZAX supercomputer.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, Mr. House always communicates to the NCR and the Three Families via his robots, or, alternately, you.
  • Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII essentially is one for his mother Jenova, a cosmic entity that crash-landed on the world centuries ago and was used by Shinra Corp. scientists to engineer super-soldiers. He voices her desire to destroy the world and harvest its lifestream. Between the original game and its Compilation, it's unknown just how much Jenova's intentions are her own and not Sephiroth's, though.
  • The Fourth Age: Total War is notable for using the Trope Namer himself to play with this trope. Namely, He/It survived the fall of his master and Mordor and fled into the shadows, only to assume the mantle of Dark Lord and Big Bad and the name of Herumor for himself. He's spent the last several years orchestrating the enemy attacks from without and corruption from within the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Rohan that have brought it low and seriously weakened it. It gets to the point that the part of the realm secedes as the "Kingdom of Adunabar" in Ithilien and Mordor. Unfortunately, this kingdom and its' leader are in the thrall of Herumor and thus its' King is the Mouth of Sauron to the former trope namer. However, since Adunabar can choose its own destiny, this trope might wind up backfiring on the Shadow.
  • In Jade Empire Death's Hand appears to be abusing his position, with Emperor Sun Hai reduced to a figurehead- but it's eventually revealed that, rather than using his authority for his own advancement, Death's Hand is merely a tool of the Emperor himself, who's avoiding taking the blame for the various atrocities he's having committed.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • The Collector-General in Mass Effect 2 serves this role for Harbinger, though Shepard never sees him, either (unless you play Arrival before the final mission). We sure do hear him, tho- ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL.
  • In Radiant Historia, Hugo abuses his privileges as the 'mouthpiece' of Prophet Noah, who the Alistel citizens have complete and total faith in. They trust Noah, and by extension, trust whatever Hugo tells them to do, until the war goes bad and they demand to see Noah for themselves. They eventually break out in a panic when they see he has been Dead All Along.
  • RuneScape: During the quest Heart of Stone the player meets a group of talking stone heads which are the mouthpieces of the sleeping elder gods. When the player actually gets to meet the elder god Jas in person, she only speaks to the player indirectly by creating a creature out of sand called the Voice of Jas that only says a few words at a time before turning into sand again because Jas's real voice would kill the player.
  • The Secret World features a morally-ambiguous example in the form of Bong Cha, Voice of the Dragon. Because Dragon-allied players are forbidden from speaking to the Golden Child, they receive orders solely from Bong Cha, who also serves as their contact and handler while in the field. Issue #11 ends with her being unceremoniously fired, memory-wiped, and replaced with Daimon Kiyota.
    • In a much more straightforward example, the Black Signal (AKA John) is formally referred to as the messenger of the Dreamers - who at this point are still trapped in the Dreaming Prison and unable to speak to the players except through very rare psychic dreams. Accordingly, John spends most of his time communicating with players via his own unique Lore system, trying to usher in new converts to the worship of the Sleeping Ones. He's pretty amiable about it, too.
  • Serious Sam 4: Lord Achriman is not only one of the generals in service of Evil Overlord Mental, but also his lead philosopher and propagandist who speaks on his behalf. While his alien armies invade Earth and carry out Mental's genocidal crusade, Achriman tries to break what remains of humanity's spirit, using his propaganda drones to spread his nihilistic teachings across Europe and convince them to give up all resistance in favor of embracing eternal servitude under Mental.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Metatron also shows up in the series, holding his usual role. YHVH does actually speak for himself in some of the earlier games, but starting with Nocturne YHVH stopped taking direct action in the games' plots and now speaks exclusively through Metatron or one of his avatars.
    • Beelzebub also serves Lucifer in this capacity as well, though the big man himself is quite active.
  • Morris from Stardew Valley is the manager of the local Joja-Mart, a Predatory Business that wants to drive out local businesses and obtain the resources that Stardew Valley offers. He's the closest thing that this Simulation Game has to an antagonist.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Voice of the Emperor is this to the Sith Emperor. While the Dark Council handle the day-to-day running of the Empire and the war with the Republic, the role of the Voice is to inform them of the Emperor's wishes. In the Sith Warrior's storyline, Darth Baras usurps the role in order to become The Man Behind the Man, reasoning that since the Emperor only speaks through the Voice, anyone who becomes the Voice is basically the Emperor for all practical purposes. Unluckily for Baras, the Warrior succeeds in freeing the real Voice of the Emperor, who then names the Warrior the Emperor's Wrath and orders Baras' destruction. During the final confrontation with Baras, he attempts to order the other members of the Dark Council to help him by invoking his title of Voice of the Emperor, but the others point out that if both he as the Voice and the Warrior as the Emperor's Wrath claim to speak for the Emperor, then clearly the victor of their duel truly represents their Emperor.
  • In Tyranny, the protagonist is a Fatebinder, an agent of Tunon the Adjudicator whose role is to serve as a representative of Kyros and to sort out problems on the Court's behalf.
    The Fatebinder: Did you know that, legally speaking, my word is the same as Tunon's word unless the Archon contradicts my word as Fatebinder? Rhogalus says the legal term for that is Proxy Decisis. Calio says the legal term is "fuck you, I'm the law".
  • Kel'thuzad for the Lich King in Warcraft III. The dreadlords would like you to believe that they do the same job, but really they work for the Burning Legion and are there to control the Lich King, rather than serve him.
  • The World Ends with You has the Reaper games led by the Game Master who enacts the will and design of The Composer. While the Composer's influence is felt every step of the way, the players never actually see or hear him directly.
    • On top of which, the Composer has The Conductor, who is effectively his number-two and decides who will be the Game Master in the next week, acting as The Composer's "mouth" more directly.
  • XCOM 2 has the Speaker, who appears on the ADVENT Administration's broadcasts on behalf of the "Elders." He looks to be an improved version of the Thin Men who appeared in the previous game, as the only signs of his inhuman nature are the patches of scales around his collar and wrists, and the fact that he never removes his Sinister Shades.


    Web Original 
  • In The Adventure Zone: Balance, whenever Merle calls a Parley with the Hunger, the Hunger's representative is a well-dressed human man named John. The Hunger is a near-mindless force of nature that can't be negotiated with, but John is its creator/source/first victim, so he can explain where it comes from and what it wants.
  • Mahu: In "Second Chance", the Voice of the Empress fulfills this function in The Empire.
  • Even though the Emperor regained the ability to speak in If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, he still can't leave the Golden Throne, so it falls on the Captain-General of his Praetorian Guard, Kitten, to go out and spread the news. Downplayed in that the Emperor also delegates through Space Pope Decius, various scribes, and his son Magnus the Red, but only Kitten is seen as the Emperor's Word.

    Western Animation 
  • The Owl House: Emperor Belos repeatedly states that everything he does is for the will of the Titan, the gargantuan supposedly-dead being that the Boiling Isles rests upon. He claims that all the morally questionable methods of forcibly conscripting witches into the coven system and his oppressive rule are ultimately necessary to achieve the Titan's wish of eternal paradise for them. It's eventually confirmed that the entire thing is a complete lie meant to trick witches into helping Belos, in actuality a 17th century human witch hunter named Philip Wittebane, complete his ultimate goal of total genocide of the Boiling Isles.
  • Hammerhead from The Spectacular Spider-Man. Everyone knows that the Big Man of Crime is New York's most powerful ganglord, but because the Big Man keeps his true identity secret, he uses Hammerhead as his public face and voice of his organization. Later in the second season, the Big Man loses confidence in Hammerhead's competence and takes direct control of his empire; this leads the insulted Hammerhead to become The Starscream.
  • Steven Universe: "Legs From Here to Homeworld" introduces White Pearl, personal handmaiden to White Diamond. Since White Diamond doesn't leave her ship, she sends her Pearl out to speak to anyone outside like the other Diamonds, and she even takes White's place at the Era 3 Ball, including sitting on her throne. To hammer this home, White Pearl, instead of being voiced by Deedee Magno-Hall like the other Pearls, has the same voice as her mistress, Christine Ebersole. It's later revealed that White Pearl is merely a Meat Puppet of White Diamond, who is literally speaking through her.

    Real Life 
  • Joseph Goebbels was this to Adolf Hitler, in his role as Minister of Propaganda. Somewhat subverted in that Hitler did plenty of speaking on his own, usually at very great length. However, this became especially true after Stalingrad when Hitler began to isolate himself more.
  • Likewise, Vyacheslav Molotov to Josef Stalin, alongside Pravda serving as the main media organ of the government.


Video Example(s):


The Trope Namer

In the extended version of The Return of the King, the Mouth of Sauron comes out of the Black Gate to insult the Fellowship and try to persuade them Frodo is his master's captive.

How well does it match the trope?

4.97 (38 votes)

Example of:

Main / MouthOfSauron

Media sources: