The first season of The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power has come to an end and fans finally got to see the reveal of the Dark Lord himself: Sauron. It turned out that the King Of The Southlands known as Halbrand was actually the future King Of Mordor.
Throughout the series there were lot of clues of his identity, but the twists and turns also kept audience members doubting and questioning themselves. The mysterious Halbrand was introduced as a layered and complex character, whom many thought may eventually be the Witch King. It turned out he was hiding a much darker secret.
10/10 A Brand New Character For The Show
There are several original characters in The Rings Of Power such as Arondir and Princess Disa, but most of them are side characters. Whereas Halbrand was presented as a new character for the franchise but put right at the front of this new story alongside Galadriel.
It’s common for filmmakers and showrunners to introduce a famous character in the form of a seemingly new character in an attempt to hide a surprise reveal. The Dark Knight Rises did this with Talia Al Ghul hidden as Miranda Tate as well as Star Trek Into Darkness that introduced Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison, later revealing him to be the superhuman Khan.
9/10 Always Kept His Backstory Vague
From beginning to end, Halbrand was never 100% honest about his backstory. He admitted that he was from the Southlands, but he never claimed to be its heir or its king. That was all thrust upon him by the iconic elf Galadriel, and he kept every answer about who he was vague.
Halbrand was actually quite clever because he never actually lied when he spoke, keeping himself free of lies that he would have to maintain. Instead, Sauron kept himself at a distance yet close enough to get what he wanted without making himself suspicious.
8/10 A Silvertongue
Something that Sauron is famous for is his ability to manipulate others into doing what he wants without using any force but his words, similar to the likes of Lord Voldemort, who was inspired by Sauron,. In The Rings Of Power, mere words from Halbrand caused Galadriel and Lady Miriel to clash with each other, and it was Halbrand who planted the idea of the Southlands in Galadriel’s head.
He was able to play people by amplifying his seemingly tragic backstory and humbling himself by pretending that he had no interest in returning to Middle-Earth. Even in the season finale, Sauron nearly tempted Galadriel into ruling Middle-Earth at his side.
7/10 Tells Galadriel To Control People Through Fear
For the most part as Halbrand, Sauron was able to hide his true nature by acting as a scruffy rogue. Occasionally, however, a bit of Sauron’s evil would protrude from his charade such as when he gives Galadriel advice about controlling others.
Halbrand talked about giving others the means to control their fears; controlling the fear of others is the same as controlling them. That seemed far too sinister to be the words of a rogue warrior and smith.
6/10 Tried To Kill Adar Out Of Rage
Another red flag about Halbrand came when Numenor rode into the Southlands to fend off the orc forces; Halbrand became a bit obsessed with chasing down their leader Adar. When he finally brought down Adar to the ground, he was ready to immediately kill him with fury in his eyes.
At first, it may come off as Halbrand has a personal vendetta against the orcs that have ravaged the Southlands. However, with the fact that he’s Sauron, his anger makes more sense since Adar claims to have killed Sauron long ago. Perhaps Sauron was merely ready to kill a traitor.
5/10 Conveniently Needed Elven Medicine
After the eruption of Mount Doom, Halbrand seemed to receive a wound that Galadriel claimed needed the treatment of Elves. It was never shown how Halbrand received his wound and he didn’t hesitate to leave the people of the Southlands behind, even though he was now their King.
Sauron could have easily given himself the wound since he needed to get to Eregion in order to find Celebrimbor, who forges the many Rings of Power in Eregion and begins his quest to forge the One Ring.
When Galadriel met Halbrand, he was on a raft with several other survivors in the sea. The instant that the wyrm attacked them in the sea, Halbrand did not hesitate to untie his section of the raft from the others and leave them to die.
There was the argument that it was a choice between life and death in that situation. However, it was a bit too heartless for what was supposed to be a protagonist of this story, especially since he did not seem to care or show any empathy for their deaths.
3/10 The Stranger Was An Obvious Red Herring
Throughout the first season, the audience also followed the mystery of the man that fell from the sky and is befriended by the Harfoots. The identity of this character has had fans speculating characters such as Gandalf, one of the Blue Wizards, and Sauron.
The idea of the Stranger being Sauron comes from the bits of dark abilities that he has displayed and his height. However, the possible hints that the Stranger was Sauron seemed too obvious; a ruse to trick viewers into dropping their suspicions of Halbrand. After the finale of the first season, it seems more obvious that the Stranger is most likely the ever quotable Gandalf The Gray.
2/10 Halbrand’s Brutality
From the beginning, Halbrand always came off as a man who could handle himself in a fight. However, he never displayed this until workers of Numenor harassed him to the point that he snapped and fought to defend himself.
However, Halbrand embraced his dark side and did more than defend himself. He broke bones and brutalized the men in a display of violence that was out of the norm of the way Halbrand had acted so far, and he did not seem regretful of his actions. This moment may have given audience members pause, as we saw a character that by now many liked acting so violently, but his smooth words made this moment seem far more innocuous than it actually was.
1/10 Obsessed With Smithing
Once Galadriel and Halbrand reached Numenor, only one thing was on Halbrand’s mind the whole time: smithing. Even when Galadriel asked him to join her on her quest to the Southlands, he only wanted to remain a blacksmith. He even said that he wanted to craft something unlike anything else in the world.
Some might have thought armor or a weapon, but this was a hint to him wanting to forge The One Ring until Galadriel convinced him to return to Middle-Earth, which was merely his way of going to find another forge, which turned out to be the forges of Celebrimbor in Eregion.