[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 5, “Partings.”]
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Energy nonetheless hasn’t answered the query on everybody’s minds: Who’s Sauron? However let’s simply come out and say it: the Stranger (Daniel Weyman) being Sauron feels too apparent a selection now.
You possibly can argue Adar is the Large Unhealthy, given his place as a pacesetter of the orcs and his lust for energy. And whereas Adar (Joseph Mawle) could need the facility of a God, he was none too happy by Waldreg’s (Geoff Morrell) assumption that he’s the Darkish Lord in Episode 5. There are many Sauron theories floating across the web because the Prime Video sequence careens in direction of its remaining three episodes, and one in every of them holds extra weight after the fifth episode, streaming now. Is Halbrand Sauron? We’re leaning in direction of sure.
Halbrand is a personality created for the sequence. That alone could make J.R.R. Tolkien followers assume he couldn’t probably be Sauron, just because he doesn’t go by Sauron’s alias used within the Second Age, Annatar. However in the event you’ve centered a complete season across the reemergence of the fantasy world’s most well-known villain, which The Rings of Energy has, you’re clearly not going to name him by a recognizable identify if he’s lurking round in plain sight as early as Episode 2. To that finish, the Stranger is a good identify for a personality whose identification you’re not able to reveal. However the truth that Meteor Man grapples with hurting creatures in Episode 5 and Halbrand has not proven the identical regret, we’re extra inclined to consider the previous is nice and the latter is evil.
Let’s take a look at Halbrand’s suspicious conduct in Númenor:
- He’s desperate to turn into a smith the second he arrives, fashioning a blade that blows the thoughts of the Númenorean smiths
- He’s shockingly brutal in a combat — who may neglect about that arm break within the alley?!
- He has displayed suspicious manipulation abilities
Sauron seeks a smith to create the rings of energy (extra on that later). Let’s dive into Halbrand’s individuals abilities.
The way in which Halbrand manipulated Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle) from his jail cell might be linked to Sauron’s masterful manipulation. The recommendation he offers each of them is telling. Halbrand tells Galadriel, “Establish what it’s that your opponent most fears… and provides them a way of mastering it… in an effort to grasp them.” Sauron’s M.O. within the Second Age was to disguise himself as a pal to many races, pinpointing their wishes and making a path to seeing them realized. This led to him convincing leaders of the races to just accept the rings of energy he had made by Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards), with one ring to rule all of them.
When Galadriel breaks free from her cell, Halbrand whispers in Pharazôn’s ear that letting her go free isn’t unhealthy — she will be managed so long as you already know precisely the place she’s going. It’s arduous to consider this was carried out for Galadriel’s sake, as a result of Halbrand has instructed her, Pharazôn, and Queen Regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) now that he has no need to be positioned again on the throne of the Southlands. How would serving to her perform her plan, which incorporates bringing him to Center-earth, swimsuit his need to remain in Númenor? Until, in fact, that reluctance is a entrance.
This affect over Pharazôn ties to Sauron’s relationship with the final king of the isle within the books. In Episode 5, Pharazôn says Númenor inserting the King of the Southlands again on his throne would put that king of their debt and open up commerce between the kingdoms. Pondering he may management one other ruler is a show of power-hungry hubris that aligns with Pharazôn’s guide plot the place he tries to enslave Sauron (but once more in a disguised type) in Númenor.
As a result of Sauron is Sauron, he’s capable of twist this relationship in his favor and will get Pharazôn and his individuals to worship the darkness — that’s the place the Cult of Melkor (aka Morgoth) is available in (may these white-hooded “mystics” in Episode 5 be from that cult?). I’m taking Halbrand’s whisper to Pharazôn, paired with Pharazôn’s feedback in Episode 5, as a parallel to the connection between the final king of Númenor and Sauron.
Plus, there’s the problem of Halbrand’s face on the finish of “Partings.” Why does he look so completely satisfied when setting sail for Center-earth? He hasn’t wished to return this complete time. This might be the reluctant Aragorn vibe the place the rightful inheritor resists his future, however then why would it not take simply a few days in Númenor to vary his thoughts? The look on his face is a bit smug — the face of somebody who is aware of issues are going precisely in accordance with plan. May Galadriel and Míriel be hand-delivering Sauron to the Southlands, the place the place his mark map leads?
Plus, remember that Sauron was sly together with his return to Center-earth within the books. Just like the Istari wizards, mixing in was a part of his plan to construct belief and stay incognito as Annatar. Capturing down from the sky and crash touchdown into Center-earth isn’t precisely a delicate entrance. We nonetheless do not know what occurred to Halbrand that left him stranded on the Sundering Seas — he tells Galadriel he can be “solid out” if individuals knew the reality about him. Yeah, he would for positive not obtain a heat welcome if individuals knew he was Sauron. If he’s not the Large Unhealthy, this might simply be him once more expressing his disgrace over his household’s fealty to Morgoth within the struggle. And maybe the disgrace he feels has to do with the creation of that black sword hilt of Theo’s (Tyroe Muhafidin), which we now know is a device that helped oppress the individuals of the Southlands.
Last item to unpack: Why wouldn’t Galadriel clock Halbrand’s disguise, if he had been the Darkish Lord returned? In Tolkien’s writings, Galadriel is without doubt one of the few who suspects Annatar can’t be trusted when assembly him in Eregion. Annatar convinces the elves to show towards her, prompting her to depart the town.
Based mostly on that, The Rings of Energy‘s Galadriel coming in direct contact with Halbrand/Sauron and never seeing via his facade would appear off. However Prime Video was solely given entry to pick out items of the Tolkien property, requiring them to scrunch some timelines collectively. It could be the costliest present of all time, however even Amazon can’t afford to let the present run lengthy sufficient to span the hundreds of years of the Second Age.
Galadriel does sense one thing about Halbrand, although. She’s satisfied their destinies are linked in a robust means now that she believes he’s the inheritor of the Southlands. She may very properly be proper about their entwined fates, however what if she’s unsuitable about its good nature? I discover that chance relatively plausible, based mostly on how the present’s Galadriel is portrayed each in writing and Clark’s appearing decisions.
Within the first half of the sequence, it’s apparent Galadriel is true about Sauron rebuilding his forces and everybody else is unsuitable to doubt her intestine intuition. However how boring would it not be for a most important protagonist to be proper your complete time? A hero’s journey requires classes realized. Clark instructed TV Insider that her Galadriel will not be the identical omnipotent elf from the Third Age. She’s hundreds of years youthful right here, whereas nonetheless hundreds of years previous. How does one play somebody with extra knowledge than most, however nonetheless a lot to study?
As Clark stated: “I used to be exploring naivety and considering, ‘Effectively, an elf can’t actually be naive,’ after which it clicked in the future whereas I used to be studying concerning the elves within the First and Second Age that naivety I really feel for an elf can be vanity as a result of they haven’t but realized the boundaries of their very own understanding.” Galadriel’s hot-headed stubbornness clouding her judgment might be a artistic selection explaining why she didn’t sense Sauron when she met him. And suffice it to say that failure would educate her an incredible deal.
And for what it’s price, J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay have already taken a bunch of artistic liberties with this character. Galadriel will not be a warrior in Tolkien’s writing — that’s a story created for this sequence. Her character wants a climactic ending for the season finale, simply three episodes away. With the time we’ve left, it appears Galadriel and Workforce Númenor discovering Sauron’s identification in a Southlands battle may suffice. And if she escorts him straight to the land he sought? Oh, boy.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Energy, Fridays, Prime Video