Spoilers ahead for the most recent episode of The Rings of Power, titled “Udûn.”
It’s a good time to be a fantasy fan, as both House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power are currently airing their premiere seasons. The latter project (which initially got review bombed) is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings. And it has plenty of references and connections J.R.R. Tolkein’s original beloved universe. Rings of Power is also seemingly setting up Sauron’s appearance, so could one of the following characters be the iconic villain?
Amazon’s The Rings of Power is set thousands of years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, and is in a period where Sauron (who was seen in the trailer) was presumed to be dead. But his eventual arrival into the series has been hinted at, and there are four characters that seem like logical choices to become the Dark Lord. Let’s talk it all out.
The Stranger, played by Daniel Weyman, made a huge entrance in the first episode of The Rings of Power, falling from the sky like a meteor and being found by the Hobbit Nori Brand (Markella Kavenagh). He’s slowly learning to communicate, and his identity is a total mystery. But one thing is known about this mysterious character: he’s got wild magical powers. But he also struggles to control it, which makes him especially dangerous.
There are plenty of fan theories about exactly who The Stranger is within the larger Lord of the Rings universe. Sauron seems like a very real possibility, given his massive stature and great power. Some fans are also debating whether he might actually be the beloved hero Gandalf, but that would mean that the Wizard lived a seriously long life– and he’s not even an elf. We’ll just have to be patient to see how it all shakes out; The Stranger isn’t in every episode of the massively expensive series.
This one is a complicated discussion, especially given the events of Episode 6 “Udûn”. For the first two episodes, Joseph Mawle’s Adar seemed like the most obvious choice to eventually become Sauron. After all, he’s been the show’s primary villain and is already the leader of the Orcs. Although when Waldreg referred to Adar as Sauron back in Episode 5, the character definitely had a strange reaction to the title.
Things got more complicated in the following episode, where he was captured and interrogated by Galadriel. He gave his mysterious backstory, claiming to be a Moriondor aka a corrupted Elf. What’s more, Adar claimed to have killed Sauron himself. Should this story be believed or is simply a ruse by Sauron himself? Only time will tell; the episode’s cliffhanger ending proved that he might be down, but he’s definitely not out.
Another unnamed character who fans are theorizing might be Sauron is known only as The Dweller. Played by actress Bridie Sisson, this character has so far only been seen in one episode of The Rings of Power. In Episode 5 they made an intriguing entrance, investigating the site where The Stranger crashed in Middle Earth.
Unfortunately, almost nothing is known about The Dweller. And it’s perhaps for this reason why fans are wondering whether or not Bridie Sisson’s is actually Sauron in disguise. Perhaps they need the power of The Stranger to transform into the villain Lord of the Rings fans grew up with. Although it’s also possible that the plot line has nothing to do with Sauron at all.
Halbrand is perhaps the least likely of these four Rings of Power characters to end up being Sauron. Still, fans have been wondering about his motivations, as Charlie Vickers’ character didn’t exist in the franchise’s canon ahead of the Amazon series. While he was recently named King of the Southlands, is this character just Sauron looking for power?
One of the biggest reasons why fans doubt that Halbrand could be Sauron is because he’s seemingly human. But Sauron is also an extremely powerful magical being, so perhaps he could simply be donning this appearance as a disguise. After all, the chances of Halbrand even encountering Galadriel on the ocean when he did seems like more than coincidence. And since fans can’t reference the character in the original books, Halbrand will likely remain a suspect until Sauron eventually shows up in The Rings of Power.
The Rings of Power airs new episodes Fridays on Amazon Prime Video. In the meantime, check out the fall premiere list to plan your next binge watch.
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Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.