Warning! This List Contains Major Spoilers For The Season Finale of The Rings of Power!
Sauron has arrived at Mordor, the Stranger is an old friend, and the heroes of Middle-Earth have forged a path towards a dark destiny – all this and more were shown in the exciting season finale of The Rings of Power. After years of anticipation and only eight episodes, the grand fantasy series has finished season 1 amidst the chaotic and contentious response from viewers.
While some claim The Rings of Power is a bastardization of Tolkien’s lore and even the previous films, many others celebrate the series for its stunning visuals, compelling characters, and dedication to the wider stories of Middle-Earth. From the premiere onward, fans had long speculated and theorized how the season would progress and who is who. Now, the finale has answered some of those questions, while presenting others. Quickly, Twitter erupted like Mount Doom with insightful and humorous reactions to the final episode, and these are some of the best.
10/10 The Stunning Visuals Impressed Many Rings Of Power Fans
Despite negative comments and concerns over the condensed timeline, there is one thing that can’t be nitpicked – the incredible visual effects throughout The Rings of Power. From the opening sequence of Valinor and the War of Wrath to the arrival of the Stranger, the series premiere was celebrated on Twitter for the visuals, and the finale got the same reaction. That incredible budget clearly went to good use to be able to create moments like this (where Halbrand finally reveals himself to be Sauron to Galadriel).
Another deliciously enticing shot was when the mithril was added to the melted silver and gold – the mystical ore instantly made the image look like Sauron’s Eye. Tolkien’s work is incredibly descriptive, and in addition to paying devoted attention to the lore, The Rings of Power ensured that overall, the show would honor his language by creating a feast for the eyes.
9/10 I Got That!
With all the names, locations, and vast millenniums that Tolkien created, his work can be quite daunting and confusing to even the most devoted fans. The Rings of Power is similar in a way, but it benefits from the popularity of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, and the knowledge they provide (those familiar with the books will have recognized some incredibly pivotal moments throughout the finale).
Nearly every moment with Halbrand, Celebrimbor, and Galadriel was full of breadcrumbs – building on from the trail first established in episode two – leading to his fateful reveal. They created the three rings for the Elves and even the Stranger got a new walking stick. As such, many viewers might’ve been doing the Leo pointing meme themselves at their own televisions.
8/10 Meet Your Dark Lord
Of course, the most important moment came when Galadriel confronted Halbrand about who he really is, confused by strange behavior and language as he meets with Celebrimbor. He is not the King of the Southlands – though as he said, he never was – but instead the Dark Lord Sauron. Throughout the seasons, there were plenty of theories as to who Sauron could be, but Halbrand was always the best case.
While the reveal was epic and interesting to watch, many fans weren’t surprised in the end (though some had convinced themselves that all the clues were just red herrings and the Stranger would be Sauron). Nevertheless, Twitter is now alive with funny tweets like this declaring their loyalty to their new hot Dark Lord. Season 2 can’t come soon enough to see more of him in his fair form before all that’s left of him is his noncorporeal essence.
7/10 Things Got Awkward Really Fast When Galadriel Found Out Halbrand Was Sauron
This was a pretty embarrassing moment for Galadriel, especially since she unknowingly proves High King Gil-Galad right. He said that were she to stay in Middle Earth, she would inadvertently prolong that darkness plagues them. Her chance encounter with Halbrand on the Sundering Seas and their subsequent adventures together reawakened his dormant evil (and while he might’ve truly wanted to start anew, she didn’t let him).
This moment was not only incredible to watch for the intricate visual effects, but the stellar performance by Morfydd Clark made it really come alive. As the series’ most central figure, she provided a strong and reliable foundation. Although some have complained about her characterization, The Rings of Power truthfully enhances her to be a far more multi-faceted and emotionally complicated character.
6/10 Galadriel And Halbrand Would Have Made An Interesting Power Couple On Rings Of Power
While they laid the hints on pretty consistently throughout the seasons, they developed Galadriel and Halbrand into quite an unlikely duo, even possibly hinting at a romantic situation. The idea of Galadriel and Sauron being linked together beyond her possessing one of the eponymous rings is a remarkable and groundbreaking development for the lore and the series. It’s certainly a funny thing to see fans ship them together, but that’s what’s happening online.
Surely, their paths will cross again soon, though it’s interesting to think about whether she will return to the hunt or if he will find her and try to seduce her again. Other fans noted that this moment and the language Halbrand uses is reminiscent of when Galadriel is presented with the One Ring by Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring. Had she become his Dark Queen, the Time of the Orcs would certainly have come to pass.
5/10 Hello Old Friend
They do make a point not to actually say his name – not even Annatar which is what he went by when working with Celebrimbor in the novels – but he’s not alone there. The Stranger’s identity is also revealed in the finale, putting all the theories, like of him being Sauron, a Balrog, or the Man in the Moon, to rest. He is one of the Istari, a wizard, and he has finally broken free of the shadows that clouded his mind.
While which Istari he is was not officially revealed, there are several obvious clues practically guaranteeing him to be Gandalf the Grey. Most poignantly, he says something familiar – “follow your nose” – which viewers should remember from when the Fellowship is lost in Moria, and he finds the way out based on smell. That basically sealed the deal for most, but they’ll have to wait till season two to be completely certain. Saruman or a Blue Wizard are still possibilities since they are known to spend time in the East, but right now Gandalf is the clear choice.
4/10 Good Luck With This One Waldreg
While the Stranger and Nori venture to Rhûn, Halbrand aka Sauron has made his way to the newly-christened Mordor. This puts him directly in conflict with Adar and his legion of Orcs who are likely aiming to claim more land for their dark kingdom. It will be interesting to see how Sauron deals with a foe like this and whether the show will continue to present him as a protagonist like Galadriel.
Waldreg will also have a difficult decision ahead of him. He was obviously loyal to Sauron, thinking Adar to be the Dark Lord, but upon learning that not to be the case, he swore his allegiance to the fallen elf. However, the question now is whether he will switch sides or not – he gives off vibe of a turncoat, so that seems highly probable.
3/10 Rings Of Power Fans Want To Know Where Isildur Is?
Amidst all the glorious reveals and monumental moments, there was nothing of other important characters like Durin IV, Bronwyn, or Isildur. The Dwarves’ and the former Southlanders’ narratives were both tied up neatly but the last viewers saw of Isildur he was being crushed by burning rubble. Of course, he can’t die here. He has to defeat Sauron. However, his death might still come in the final moments of the series though.
His horse, Berek, was released to go and find him in the previous episode, so it’s strange that they didn’t at least show him free from the danger in one of the season’s final moments. That means fans will have to wait two years likely to see what has happened to him and where he went.
2/10 This Doesn’t Bode Well
The Rings of Power couldn’t progress much further without the eponymous rings and the finale finally delivered three. Narya, Nenya, and Vilya are all here, so now only the seven rings for the Dwarf-Lord and the nine for the mortal men remain. While Galadriel inadvertently brought Sauron to Eregion to forge his weapon, Elrond, unfortunately, might continue the pace toward impending war due to his loyalty and friendship with Prince Durin.
This is a very interesting notion to think about because throughout The Lord of the Rings and the related material the Elves are held up as the most superior beings of Middle-earth. Of course, they’re far from flawless, but this would have them be the central instigators of their own doom.
1/10 Rings Of Power Fans Are Not Happy That They Have To Wait 2 Years Until The Next Season
The finale of The Rings of Power got fans exceptionally excited for more. Unfortunately, due to the constraints and norms of filming schedules, visual effects, and the industry as a whole, season 2 won’t be coming for some time. Two years is less than a mere blink in the life of an elf, but mortal men that time can be long and ardrous.
This is something shared with House of the Dragon, which is also approaching its season finale and will also probably not return until 2024. While the wait might be long, thankfully, there is no shortage of quality fantasy and/or science-fiction content to partake in whether in movie theaters or from the comforts of one’s own home. Thanks to season 1 of The Rings of Power, it’s a fantastic time for epic stories like this.
NEXT: Rings of Power – 10 Fantasy Tropes Made Famous By Lord Of The Rings & JRR Tolkein