Ar-Pharazon is one of the most crucial characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s vast universe. Whether Ar-Pharazon’s contribution to this more extensive history of the universe is patronizing or rather reprehensible is not yet apparent in the fourth episode of Amazon’s “The Rings of Power” series. But how did Tolkien’s history present him? Whether we are going to get him exactly like that in the series or whether the makers have something else going on in their minds, let’s find out through a small discussion. The last King of Numenor and a destructive ruler, Ar-Pharazon, was also known as Ar-Pharazon the Golden. He was a megalomaniac king with a hunger for immortality, who, usurping the scepter, sowed the seeds of his evils, which eventually culminated in the destruction of Numenor.
Ar-Pharazon was born in the year 3118 of the Second Age, the son of Gimilkhad, who was the brother of Inziladun, later known as Tar-Palantir. Ar-Pharazon was the grandson of Numenor’s King, Ar-Gimilzor. Gimilkhad was the chief of King’s Men, but on the other hand, while Inziladûn became King and received the name, Tar-Palantir, he ended up being the Elf-friend. He was loyal to the Eldar and led the Faithful. Pharazon, with his most reliable ally, Amandil, who belonged to the Faithful Numenoreans, was called the Captain of Numenoreans. As Pharazon was one of the proudest figures, his lust for power grew by leading the Numenoreans. He fought against the Men of Middle Earth, leading the Numenorean force. When he returned to Numenor upon hearing of his uncle’s death, the men of his homeland glorified his win and his great achievement. Till the Year 3255, he led those men in Numenor, but after his uncle, Tar-Palantir had died, he became insane towards the power. He forcefully married Tar-Miriel, daughter of Tar-Palantir, and became the possessor of the scepter. He became the King and took the name “Ar-Pharazon the Golden.”
Years later, Pharazon is seen, heralding the rise of Sauron. It is said that Sauron grew his force in Middle Earth by making armies of the Men of Middle Earth. Sauron’s name is pronounced there as Lord of the Men. But hubristic King Pharazon, thinking of war, wants to even enslave Sauron. Later, Pharazon invaded Middle Earth, intending to hunt Sauron down. But Sauron worked his tricks in another way, intent on ingratiating himself into Ar-Pharazon’s trust, knowing that this was the only way to expand his power. But the King is not duped so easily. He brought Sauron captive to Numenor for not trusting the trickster. However, just as Sauron strategizes, so does the flow of events. In a short time, Sauron went from being his prisoner to be his mentor. He tricked Pharazon into believing him and converted him to becoming Morgoth’s worshiper later. At Sauron’s advice, the King first began to worship Morgoth in secret, but later it became communal. At Sauron’s command, he proceeded step by step towards the destruction of Numenor. He began destroying temples and even uprooted Nimloth, the white tree, the soul of Numenor. As a result, Doom began to breathe down his neck. Then, when the dark clouds of infirmity darkened Pharazon’s skies, Sauron told him how to survive. He promised the King that if he attacked Valinor, he would be blessed with immortality. Pharazon, with his army, marched to Valinor, but Eru soon enraged at this injustice, created a natural disaster, and destroyed both the King and his kingdom with a raging flood. Pharazon and his host, Aman, were crushed to death under the collapsed mountains.
In the fourth episode of the series, “The Rings of Power,” while Galadriel is trapped among the Numenoreans, and the nightmares attack Queen Miriel’s subconscious to show the fall of their empire, there slowly emerges the evil entity, Ar-Pharazon. Here, despite King Tar-Palantir’s deathbed and the coronation of Queen Miriel, Pharazon has yet to make a move. As the story differs, he may not be marrying Miriel but is planning to play some trick to steal the throne on the occasion of her arrival with Galadriel in Middle Earth.
Ar-Pharazon was a gluttonous figure who, like his father, hated the elves from an early age and showed his kindness to the men of Numenor. In the history written by Tolkien, Ar-Pharazon was a nightmare himself, with an effortless evil mind that gave him a villainy appearance from the start. Whereas taking over his kingdom did not only satisfy him, he wanted to enslave Sauron as well. But the mightiest King is somewhat short-witted and easily manipulated. While he always got what he wanted, his boast of power reached the sky, and at one point, he cried out for immortality. At this point, Sauron took advantage of his weakness and pushed him to his death. The final King of Numenor, Pharazon’s ambitions and unwise decisions led him to his deterioration.
Therefore, Ar-Pharazon, introduced and rewritten in the series, comes out cunning. He does not imprison the queen like in the original story but instead sets his sights on the throne by enthroning the queen’s loyalties. He, in the market of Numenor, stops the tumult of the angry men in an instant because the Numenoreans trust him. He may want to create a situation in which men will accept him as the next King and give him a shout of victory. Most likely, he is going to accomplish this quite frankly by sending Queen Miriel to Middle Earth. We see the manipulative powers of Halbrand at the very moment when Pharazon frees Galadriel. Halbrand whispers some advice to Pharazon to let her leave, just like Sauron might do. Although the presentation of the scene is very silly, it could be a witness to a later mystery unfolding. Pharazon, the mightiest, lets Galadriel go, as he has greater thoughts in his mind, which is to seize Armenelos’ throne and dominate the Kingdom of Numenor.
Although history has changed, Pharazon will likely continue to be shown as an unchanging and indomitable king. Trystan Gravelle portrays this role brilliantly. Even though the appearance of the character is quite beautiful here, he has very little screen time. Hopefully, if the story comes to a more stable stage in the next episodes, we will be able to learn more about Ar-Pharazon.