Sauron reveals himself in the finale of ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’

rings of power fans, it’s time. Sound the alarms, turn on the beacons, and get your fan theories ready, because we ultimately know who Sauron is.

The Dark Lord revealed himself in dramatic fashion in the Season 1 finale of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Powerwhich reveals Middle-earth’s big bad has been dressing up as none other than Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) this whole time.

Whether you were blindsided by the revelation or Halbrand was identified as Sauron early on, we can all agree that Sauron’s resurgence – and his actions in the finale – will have a major impact on power rings go forward.

How do you know that Halbrand is Sauron?

This conversation hits WAY differently now.
Credit: Prime Video

Halbrand has spent this entire season allied with Galadriel (Morfydd Clark). So what changes in the finale to make him see the light? (Or rather, darkness?)

To start, she takes him to Eregionwhere he meets other elves like Elrond (Robert Aramayo) and the master blacksmith Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards). Halbrand is immediately interested in Celebrimbor’s latest forge project: using what little mithril the elves have to create a crown that will preserve the light of the elves and prevent them from fading. Halbrand charms Celebrimbor, complimenting his legendary skills, then offers a solution. If even a small amount of Mithril was combined with other minerals, its powers could be magnified.

During a subsequent encounter between the elves, Galadriel notices that Celebrimbor is behaving strangely. Not only does he get lively with High King Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker), but he also portrays the crown in a sinister way. According to him, the crown would grant the wearer power over the flesh and the power of the Invisible World. Sound familiar? That’s because those are the exact words Adar (Joseph Mawle) used to describe the power Sauron sought after the fall of Morgoth.

Galadriel realizes that Celebrimbor only started talking this way after speak with Halbrand, and she’s quick to put two and two together. His suspicions are confirmed when a scroll from the archives of Eregion reveals that there really is no king of the Southlands. The line was broken thousands of years ago, which means one thing: Halbrand is a liar!

Except it’s not (aside from the “lying by omission” thing). As Halbrand points out when Galadriel confronts him, he never claimed he was the king – only that he stole the king’s symbol from a dead man. It was Galadriel who pushed him to take on the role of king, Galadriel who dragged him to Middle-earth, Galadriel who introduced him to Celebrimbor. She even told him to get rid of any evil he might have done before they met, thus absolving his worst enemy.

The effects that Halbrand-Sauron will have on Galadriel’s character arc will no doubt be fascinating. The revelation is a blow for her. She devoted her life to killing Sauron, but in her relentless quest to rid Middle-earth of darkness, she did what she feared most: she brought Sauron back. How will she be able to trust herself to move forward? How will she win back the trust of people like Elrond, who clearly senses something is wrong with her? The possibilities for angst are overwhelming, and I can’t wait to see how Galadriel comes out of it and tries to make up for her massive mistake.

Surprised as Galadriel was to discover that her closest ally was actually her worst enemy, power rings gives us several clues along the way that Halbrand is Sauron. For starters, his first words are literally “appearances can be deceiving”, which alters Sauron’s main manipulation tactic. He is also a strong man and violent combatant, as seen in his brawl on Númenor; he loves the forge; and he has beef with Adar, who claimed to have killed Sauron. Really, the only thing that derails the Halbrand-Sauron theory is the fact that Halbrand is a new character, and that Sauron’s journey in JRR Tolkien’s books is completely different.

How is power ringsIs Sauron different from JRR Tolkien’s work?

A man with shoulder-length brown hair raises a brown ceramic cup in a toast.

I see you, villain!
Credit: Matt Grace/Prime Video

Halbrand does not exist in Tolkien’s legendarium, but Sauron most certainly does. In The Silmarillion, he takes over Mordor and then goes to work swinging Middle-earth to his side. The easiest people to fool are humans, and the hardest are elves. To convince the elves, Sauron travels to Eregion disguised as Annatar, the Lord of Gifts. He helps Celebrimbor and the other smiths gain even higher mastery of their craftsmanship, but he leaves once they start crafting the Rings of Power. The Three Rings of the Elves are done last.

Of course, this all happens very differently in power rings. There is no Annatar; the Three Rings are made first, although they were originally envisioned as crowns; and Halbrand is only in Eregion for a few days instead of three centuries (the show runs on a very condensed timeline, so it’s not that surprising).

However, power rings gives a quick, but meaningful nod to Annatar in its finale. When advising Celebrimbor on how to use mithril, Halbrand says, “call it a gift.” The line is clearly a reference to Annatar’s title from “Lord of Gifts”, especially given the emphasis Vickers places on it.

A rights issue may be the reason why power rings could only allude to Annatar instead of representing him directly. Amazon has the right to The Lord of the Ringsincluding annexes, and The Hobbitbut he has no right to The Silmarillion. Annatar never comes in The Lord of the Rings or the Appendices, so it’s likely that showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay had to come up with a creative solution to bring Sauron to Eregion. This solution ? Halbrand.

As much as Halbrand being Sauron breaks Tolkien’s canon, I’m intrigued to see what he does next. Will he try to seduce dwarves and humans? Will he return to Numenor to sow more discord? Or will he stay in Mordor and crush his rivalry with Adar? Just like with Galadriel, Sauron’s future is wide open. And based on this latest shot of a smiling Sauron dressed in black walking towards Mount Doom, I have to say: I’m incredibly excited to see him embrace his evilness.

Season 1 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is now streaming on Prime Video.(opens in a new tab)

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