Since the time Halbrand was introduced in the 2nd episode of “The Rings of Power,” there has been speculation about him being Sauron. There were a lot of similarities that were seen between his behavior and that of Sauron. Finally, in the last episode of Season 1, his identity was revealed, and the King of the Southlands actually turned out to be the Dark Lord. Sauron was deemed to be an excellent manipulator, and we saw in the end how he had tricked each and everybody he met and made his way to Eregion to meet with Celebrimbor and corrupt his creation. So, let’s scrutinize each and every action of Halbrand and look through his intentions. Let’s try to break his motivations into fragments and ascertain how he planned each and every move. There was a purpose behind whatever Halbrand did. He had been able to disguise his desires and had made people believe that he was a king whose kingdom had met a tragic fate, but whatever he did, somewhere, helped in the furtherance of his evil plans.
When we saw Halbrand for the very first time in the series “The Rings of Power,” we knew that there was something mysterious about this person. The way he looked at Galadriel, it felt like there was something sinister going on in his mind. His stare told you that he was constantly scheming and plotting his next move. He was a shrewd conspirator who was always a step ahead of his opponents. Halbrand had met Galadriel in the Sundering Seas, and it felt like a coincidence. But it could be possible that Halbrand would have strategically planned it too. The worm, a gigantic sea monster, was on the prowl, and it attacked the raft on which Halbrand and Galadriel were floating, but somehow both of them were able to save their lives. Galadriel noticed a locket that he was wearing. Halbrand very consciously puts it inside his vest as if he wanted to hide it. This mere action created a lot of curiosity inside Galadriel. Maybe Sauron was well-versed in the psychology of all living beings. A simple gesture of hiding the locket somehow made Galadriel feel that maybe he was the King of the Southlands, but he was hiding it due to guilt, humility, and benevolence. He makes Galadriel believe that he had to leave his homeland because the orcs had attacked. The irony of the situation was that he was portrayed as the victim of his own doings.
Now Galadriel had no reason to mistrust him or his story, which he was totally fabricating. There was nothing to gain there. Nobody could imagine, in that situation, that he intended to do such evil things. He looked like a normal man, and that somehow helped him camouflage his real identity. What Galadriel had forgotten was that Sauron was not looking for instant gratification but rather the fulfillment of a long-term goal. That was the biggest advantage that he had, as he kept his foes guessing as they couldn’t establish a link between his activity and whatever evil was happening around them. So, Galadriel might have suspected that he might not be telling the complete truth, but she couldn’t ever assume that he could be Sauron, because he had covered his paths so well. Galadriel asked him directly if he was the King of the Southlands, and then gave him an offer to reclaim his lost kingdom. At this moment, Halbrand knew that she had already made up her mind that he was the King of the Southlands. Halbrand made her feel as if she wouldn’t be able to help his cause. He made Galadriel feel that he didn’t want anything from her. But under his deceitful skin, he was doing everything to use her as a pawn to fulfill his dark desires.
Halbrand was able to enter Numenor, and there he started manipulating Pharazon and Galadriel both. Queen Regent was not listening to Galadriel, and Halbrand gave her some advice that proved that he understood the intricacies of human behavior so well that he was always a step ahead of anyone he was talking to at a particular point in time. He tells Galadriel that she should first learn about what her opponent fears the most. He asked her to go and meet Tar-Palantir, as he knew that it was Queen Regent’s soft spot. Galadriel told the Queen that she could help her overcome her fears, as she was advised to do by Halbrand.
He had said that by doing so, Galadriel could allure the Queen into doing anything she wanted. The Queen agreed to send her ships to the Southlands and, in fact, accompanied Galadriel herself. Halbrand had won Galadriel’s trust. He went to war with Galadriel and once again proved his allegiance, but little did people know that he had done so because Adar was his enemy too. Adar had gone against Sauron as he didn’t like the way he treated the orcs. Adar considered the orcs his own children, and he believed that they deserved to be treated properly. Galadriel didn’t know that, in a way, she was helping Sauron by waging war against Adar.
Post-war, Galadriel became even more certain about the fact that Halbrand was not there to spread darkness. Queen Miriel introduced him as the “King who was promised” to the people of Southlands. We don’t know for sure if Halbrand got injured on purpose, as he knew that Galadriel would be forced to take him to Eregion, or if it was a case of sheer luck, where coincidentally Galadriel ended up taking him there. But Sauron did reach Eregion at last. He gave a suggestion to Celebrimbor, which helped him remove the roadblock and, in turn, create the rings of power. The way he went and influenced Celebrimbor and had a conversation with him showed how strong his manipulative skills were. Halbrand also started working with him. During the time he was there, he was able to corrupt the rings. After he was gone, Galadriel realized that she had been tricked all along. She told Celebrimbor to make 3 more rings, which would be pure as they would be made without Sauron’s influence. But by that time, Sauron had already achieved what he wanted and had already left for Mordor.
Why Did Sauron Go To Mordor?
Because of Adar’s efforts, Mordor had become a place where evil could thrive. He had inserted the hilt into the slot, which had conjured some dark powers and transformed Southlands into Mordor. Great mystery lay in the core of Mount Doom, and Sauron wanted to conjure all that he could and create the One Ring. He knew that only there he could create the master ring, which would be superior to all the other rings. He wanted to destroy the elves and become the one true King of Middle Earth. Also, Mordor was strategically a very safe and sound place. Sauron might have thought about it and would have realized that if he made his fortress there (which he did), the geography of the place would favor him, as the mountains formed a natural defense from 3 sides. That is why Barad-dur was considered to be impenetrable, and we saw in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy that Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins were likely the only two people to do it and still be alive.
Probably in Season 2 of “The Rings of Power,” we will get to witness how Sauron forged the One Ring and then led his army into the War of the Last Alliance. He didn’t know that a young navy cadet with whom he was aboard the Numenorean ship would become the reason for his downfall. Isildur and Sauron were on the same ship when they were going to the Southlands from Numenor. Sauron, being one of the greatest Maia, had a sort of feeling that their fates were connected. He stared at Isildur as if something was making their destinies diverge at one point. But Sauron couldn’t know for sure. It was Isildur, son of Elendil, who had cut his fingers and separated the one Ring from the Dark Lord. Isildur should have destroyed it. But as it is said, the hearts of men are often corrupted, and that is why Isildur, instead of throwing it into the lava of the volcano, kept it for himself. Even after losing a physical form, the essence of Sauron was somewhat kept alive in Mordor. The Dark Lord waited patiently once again to get an opportunity to gain power and fulfill his dream of becoming the ruler of Middle Earth.