There is only one episode left of Season 1 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. And that’s where we’re likely to learn who Sauron is in the Amazon series – a mystery the showrunners have kept us guessing at all season so far. One of the strongest theories: Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) is Sauron, after all, have already been several references to his shady character scattered.
Some fans are certain: it is obvious that Halbrand will turn out to be Sauron. Others – including the author of these lines – find it TOO obvious. But in episode 7 of “The Rings of Power” entitled “The Eye” there actually is the strongest indication so far that there could be something to the semi-random Sauron theory.
For besides mentions of Halbrand’s mysterious and violent past, ominous hints at his dubious character, his apparent conflict with Adar, and his statements like “looks can often be deceiving”, In fact, in one of the final scenes, Halbrand is literally taken down the path that Sauron takes in the books by JRR Tolkien…
Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) takes the injured Halbrand to the elves. This is not a matter of course, Galadriel first wants to ride alone to King Gil-Galad (Benjamin Walker) – but Halbrand’s wound requires Elvish care. And because the way to distant Lindon is too far, Halbrand will now probably end up exactly where Sauron will be in the story of the Second Age: namely with the Elves in Eregionwho are in the process of finding an antidote to their disappearance and have exactly a chunk of Silmaril-soaked mithril at their disposal…
Then the experienced blacksmith (!) Halbrand comes in handy, who could give his colleague Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) the tip: Make a ring out of it! King Gil-galad will be skeptical if the series follows Tolkien’s template closely and will not trust the guest who suggests ring forging. But he will be listened to by Celebrimbor – and not without reason, because Halbrand has already wormed his way into Galadriel’s trust, and she should vouch for him, which makes the whole story all the more tragic for the Elf.
And why is Halbrand not called Annatar now? In Tolkien it is Sauron in the guise of a handsome man named Annatar who insinuates himself among the Elves and has the rings of power forged there. Halbrand is beautiful – only it’s not called Annatar. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem. Because “Annatar” is not just a name, but has a meaning in the Elvish language Sindarin: Lord of Gifts.
So it’s very possible that Annatar just becomes a nickname of Halbrand given to him by the Elves, because he gives them a gift – whether it will be ring forging or something else for which the elves will be thankful (of course only at first…) remains to be seen.
Whether all this fits together with the course of time in the Second Age of Middle-earth is of course another question. But we already know that the showrunners have extremely condensed the events and probably juggle the order a bit. The mere fact that Mordor is not the home of Sauron directly, but first belongs to Adar (Joseph Mawle) and his orcs, is already a change that can also mess up other temporal processes.
The fact that Halbrand now has the trust of Elf Galadriel and is actually brought to the other Elves towards the season finale is the strongest indication so far that Halbrand turns out to be Sauron…
… which, however, the author of these lines and her colleague Julius Vietzen, a fantasy expert, would find a pity. In the DashFUN spoiler talk on YouTube for episodes 5 and 6 of “The Rings of Power” we have already talked about it in detail: The more exciting story would be to let Halbrand actually be king of the south lands first and later to make him a ring wraith, a Nazgûl.
This would also explain why a dark side was teased in Halbrand. And the “fall of a hero”, when Halbrand would later be seduced by Sauron with one of the rings of power, would be a strong story that could also make a big contribution to Galadriel’s character development if she loses a friend to the evil forces.
Also, here would be one of the gaps that the creators could use to tell their own stories outside of Tolkien’s canon: the origin story of most Nazgûl is not known.
Not only would making Halbrand into Sauron be a kind of cheap reveal and a missed opportunity for a new story, the makers would have to explain a lot afterwards as well. For example why the mighty Sauron as a semi-rim could get himself into such a predicament of being adrift on a raft in the middle of the sea and the encounter with Elf Galadriel that eventually led him down this whole path to Middle-earth and the Elves , doing this was a random one.
We’ll learn more about Halbrand and then maybe Sauron in the season finale of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” Experienced. Episode 8 comes to Amazon Prime Video on October 14, 2022 at 6am.