Why? This is much more similar to Tolkien's description (from the Silmilarion, since he never appeared in the books except for a very brief moment in the end as a shadowy avatar right before dying). The design in Jackson's trilogy was somewhat rather similar to Melkor. Tolkien based Sauron and Melkor on the devil himself. So he intended to have spikes sticking out of the helmet to make it look more devious.
Well, yeah. Tolkien based Sauron on the devil himself. Since Tolkien was a Catholic and read the Bible a lot. He saw the devil as a tall being with horns. The movie version of him is somewhat similar to Morgoth's helmet.
I just wanted to let you know that I put this in an art feature in my group , in the article "Realms of Fantasy and Myth: Finale - Tokien's Legacy". You can find it here: realmsoffantasy-myth.deviantar… ^_^
I think it's brilliant. Great to see a depiction of Sauron that doesn't rely heavily on the films.
Also the use of fire. I had always believed this was how Sauron destroyed his enemies. None of this swinging of a mace in the middle of the enemy army. Sauron waited for the Last Alliance to enter Mordor, (nearly exhausting itself in the process), and then stood on Mount Doom and called forth the fire to sweep across Gorgoroth. Very similar to what his old master Melkor did to his enemies in two battles.
Indeed it is good to see a Sauron like that. It's good to allow fans to picture him for themselves since Sauron didn't really make a direct appearance in the books (except in the ending when his mountain-sized shadow tried to attack Aragon)
Is that the Witch-king in the background? This is such an epic pic. According to the books, the Last Alliance battle happened on the plains of Mordor, which the films got right, but apparently the mountain also played a significant part in spewing fire and worsening the whole situation. This looks like the fight is happening right on the slopes of the mountain, and it's fun to stay guessing whether some of the people who are set on fire are so because of the mountain's fireballs or because of either figures' mace being aflame. I'm gonna go with the latter. It's a damned beautiful pic, very detailed, and looks so realistic in showing the mace a little blurred for movement.