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Sauron’s Identity Fully Explained: All Your Questions Answered

Sauron’s identity has finally been exposed in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – here are the biggest questions answered. As J.R.R. Tolkien’s story goes, Sauron disappeared for a few centuries after his master, Morgoth, was defeated by the Valar. When he returned, the Dark Lord did so in disguise, and this is a point Amazon’s The Rings of Power has delighted in playing with. The Stranger, Halbrand, the Dweller, Celebrimbor, Adar – all were suspects to varying degrees, and The Rings of Power deliberately fed into the speculation with red herrings, dead-end clues, and knowing teases.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

The Rings of Power episode 8 (“Alloyed”) reveals Sauron, as many predicted, has been hiding in plain sight all along. Also as many predicted, Sauron is actually Halbrand. The supposed Southlander Galadriel met on the Sundering Seas was Morgoth’s missing right-hand man all along. Naturally, The Rings of Power‘s Halbrand reveal leaves a host of questions, some of which have answers, and some of which currently do not…

Related: The History Of Mordor & Mount Doom In Lord Of The Rings


Is Halbrand REALLY Sauron?

Yes, Halbrand is the real-deal Sauron. Of that, The Rings of Power‘s season 1 finale leaves no doubt. In the Second Age, Sauron possessed the ability to shape-shift, and disguising himself as a mortal man evidently suited his purposes at this point in his comeback. Now that Halbrand’s secret is out, Sauron could take different forms as The Rings of Power continues.

What Was Sauron Doing Before Galadriel Found Him?

The Rings of Power‘s season 1 finale strangely glosses over Sauron’s status and whereabouts prior to meeting Galadriel at sea. Thanks to Adar, we know Sauron began an Orc science project after Morgoth lost the War of Wrath, and the Moriondor believed he’d assassinated the Dark Lord. That was never likely to be true, but what happened to Sauron between that angry Adar altercation and greeting Galadriel?

Although The Rings of Power doesn’t provide a crystal clear explanation, Sauron likely would’ve needed to recoup his power following the death of his physical form. At some point prior to The Rings of Power, Sauron seized the crest of the Southlands from its last known king (who died 1000 years prior to the TV show’s timeline) and assumed the identity “Halbrand.” Based on what the Dweller and her friends tell the Stranger elsewhere in The Rings of Power season 1’s finale, Sauron possibly spent his time away in Rhûn – a land of Men to the far-east of Middle-earth. This would certainly explain his human choice of disguise, and broadly fits with Tolkien’s mythology.

How Much Of Halbrand’s Arc Was Sauron’s Plan?

While hiding under the pseudonym of Halbrand, Sauron managed to encounter Galadriel, stoke trouble in Númenor, hunt down the follower who betrayed him, accidentally help create Mordor, then influence the Elves into crafting the Rings of Power. That cannot be pure dumb luck. On some level, Sauron must’ve plotted his journey in The Rings of Power with the ultimate intention of finding himself in Eregion with Celebrimbor ready to help craft the Rings. Saving Galadriel was likely all part of gaining her trust. The excursion to Númenor allowed Sauron to widen the island’s political divide. Riding to the Southlands brought him revenge on Adar, and “accidentally” chasing the wrong sword hilt resulted in Mordor’s creation. Halbrand then miraculously appeared with a near-mortal injury that only the Elves could heal, giving Galadriel the perfect excuse to take him to Eregion.

Does Sauron Truly Repent For His Former Sins?

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of The Rings of Power‘s Halbrand revelation is that Sauron seems genuinely convinced he’s a changed man (or Maia). Speaking with Galadriel, he decries Morgoth and expresses a desire to “heal” Middle-earth and fix the damage his master created. While Sauron certainly could’ve soured on his former master over those centuries spent in exile, his interpretation of fixing Middle-earth is the classic villain trope of believing tyranny and order brings peace and prosperity. Sauron’s version of “healing” involves him ruling supreme over all races – a desire he admits openly to Galadriel. Moreover, the very fact Sauron is already enacting his One Ring plan means he seeks to control Middle-earth through force – the “mastery over flesh” motto he impresses upon Celebrimbor before forging the Elven Rings.

How Powerful Is Sauron Right Now?

When the Dweller, Nomad and Ascetic are still under the impression their mysterious Stranger is Sauron, they believe his powers haven’t fully returned. While they’ve picked the wrong man, does that rule still apply to Halbrand? The answer isn’t made clear in The Rings of Power episode 8, but if Sauron isn’t at full-strength, he’s certainly on his way. Galadriel’s attack is effortlessly blocked, and Sauron magically enchants the Elf into her own mind. Celebrimbor falls under his spell almost instantaneously too, meaning Sauron isn’t short of gas in The Rings of Power. Nevertheless, his reliance upon manipulating others might indicate the artist formerly known as Halbrand isn’t yet at the peak strength he enjoyed before Morgoth’s downfall.

Why Does Sauron Help Celebrimbor Save The Elves?

Sauron doesn’t merely instruct Celebrimbor in the art of making Rings of Power, he suggests the very idea of using rings of the vessel instead of a crown. This will apparently save the entire Elven race by preventing their light from dimming in Middle-earth. While the Elves might now look upon Halbrand as a savior, his true intentions are revealed by The Lord of the Rings. By inspiring Celebrimbor to craft the Elves’ three Rings of Power, he sets into motion a chain of events that ultimately allow him to dominate Middle-earth by forging the One Ring.

What About Annatar? Is Halbrand Him Too?

Annatar’s role in The Rings of Power looks uncertain after season 1’s finale. Traditionally, Sauron appears to the Elves as “Annatar” and guides them toward making all nineteen Rings of Power. Only after this mysterious stranger leaves and Sauron slips on the One Ring do the Elves realize the truth. In The Rings of Power, Halbrand essentially takes Annatar’s place, and the villain’s “gift” line to Celebrimbor represents a clear nod to Annatar, whose name means “the Lord of Gifts.” It’s possible, therefore, that Halbrand has taken Annatar’s place in The Rings of Power‘s alternate Middle-earth history.

On the other hand, there’s still sixteen Rings of Power yet to be crafted – those that’ll be given to Dwarves and Men. Additionally, Galadriel has already warned her fellow Elves that Halbrand isn’t to be trusted, and in the final moments of The Rings of Power episode 8, Elrond appears to have deduced why. In order to finish his plan, Sauron may need to return to Eregion under a different guise – perhaps leading to Annatar in The Rings of Power season 2.

Does Sauron Really Love Galadriel?

One of The Rings of Power‘s biggest swings is the implication of Sauron and Galadriel as lovers. After finding out Halbrand’s secret, Galadriel wholeheartedly rejects any chance of romance between the pair. On Sauron’s part, however, his feelings appear genuine. His offer to let Galadriel rule alongside him as Queen of Middle-earth is no mere ploy, but an earnest offer that the Dark Lord desperately wants her to accept. Sauron doesn’t necessarily need an Elf to help him dominance Middle-earth, so one can only assume his feelings are true.

What Next For Sauron In Mordor?

The Rings of Power season 1 ends with Sauron’s appearance in Mordor. He’ll first need to settle the score with Adar, who was last seen thinking of a name for this new Orc-realm, and establish himself not as “King of the Southlands” but as the undisputed Lord of Mordor. If The Rings of Power pulls from Tolkien lore, season 2 will also see the beginnings of Barad-dûr – Sauron’s famous dark tower from The Lord of the Rings – and the forging of the One Ring.

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