‘The Rings Of Power’ Season 1: Ending, Explained – Is The Stranger, Gandalf? Why Did Halbrand Travel To Mount Doom?


The stage was set. Identities were going to be revealed, and reality was going to be unveiled. No matter how much the elves tried, they knew that they couldn’t change what was destined to happen. They had to accept it and find ways to mitigate the circumstances now. Middle Earth was burning, and nobody could do anything about it. It all came down to one thing: if they were still able to find and stop Sauron, they would be able to evade the doom. But nobody knew where the dark lord was hiding. Galadriel, Celebrimbor, and Elrond still believed that they could save Middle Earth, but they needed some special power to get an edge over the dark lord. They had been trying to forge that power for quite some time now, but they weren’t successful up until now. The eighth and final episode of “The Rings of Power,” titled “Alloyed,” takes us through the period of change, where the dark shadows were trying to envelope the entire Middle Earth. So, let’s see what the season finale has in store for us and how the events have an effect on the dynamics of power between light and darkness.

Spoilers Ahead

Has Pharazon Taken Charge Of Numenor?

In the eighth episode of “The Rings of Power,” we witness that in the absence of Queen Regent Miriel and Elendil, Pharazon had taken over Numenor, and he had started making preparations for Tar-Palantir’s death. He said that Draftsmen from across Numenor had been called, and they had been told to sketch Tar-Palantir’s face and capture his expressions so that a design could be proposed for forging a tomb. He said the old king would be granted immortality in stone. He told Earien, daughter of Elendil, that of all the apprentices, she had also been chosen to propose a design. Pharazon said that soon black flags will be hoisted all across Numenor’s harbor. Earien and others were granted one hour with the king to capture his visage. When it was Earien’s turn, something unforeseen happened. The king gained consciousness and suddenly held Earien’s hand. He said that he knew what was happening in the darkness of the night when all eyes were shut. Clearly, Tar-Palantir was referring to someone else. Someone who had used their time in Numenor quite efficiently to gain leverage. He calls Earien “young Miriel” and informs her that there is still some time left for her to rectify the mistake made by Numenor. There was an element of ambiguity in the words he spoke. For a moment, you feel that maybe he was hallucinating, and he thought that Earien was young Miriel. But then, the very next moment, you feel that maybe he was stating something that he knew would happen in the future, considering he had a reputation for seeing things before they happened. The old king once again reiterates the prophecy. Earien knew nothing about it up until then. He said that if the old ways are not restored, then Numenor will fall. By “old ways,” he meant restoring the Numenorean-Elven bonds and adhering to the terms and conditions outlined in the Ban of Valar. Tar-Palantir led Earien to the chamber where Palantir was kept. Earien unveiled the Palantir and most likely saw the doom of Numenor through her own eyes.

Queen Miriel and Elendil reached Numenor with their fleet of ships. Elendil saw the black flags, and he somewhat sensed what would have transpired in their absence. Black flags signified darkness and death as envisaged by Tar-Palantir. Black signified doom. Miriel had lost her vision, and now it seemed like Pharazon had already taken over the place and sworn allegiance to the dark lord. It could have been a result of all the manipulation and brainwashing that Pharazon had been subjected to. Halbrand had left no stone unturned during his stay at Numenor. He had seized every opportunity he got and instilled a lot of doubts in Pharazon’s mind. We see Pharazon standing next to the old king in his chambers and keenly observing him while he lies there with his eyes closed. Maybe Tar-Palantir had passed away, and Pharazon had already taken over the throne. Pharazon was the last and probably the most imprudent king of Numenor. It was just a matter of time before his greed for immortal life would bring the doom of Numenor.

Is The Stranger Gandalf The Gray In Reality? Why Did He Need To Go To The Lands Of Rhun? 

The three sorceresses (the Nomad, the Ascetic, and the Dweller), who had burnt down the whole settlement of the Harfoots in the 7th episode of the “The Rings of Power,” were finally able to locate the Stranger, a.k.a. The Meteor Man. They found him before Nori, Sadoc, and others could. But they didn’t harm him. Instead, they bowed down in front of him and told him that they had come to serve him. In a shocking turn of events, we get to know through the witches that he was the dark lord Sauron, for whom they had been waiting, all this time. But how could that gentle giant be Sauron? Something didn’t match up. The Stranger himself was shocked when he got to know from them what he was expected to do and what all he had done in the past. The Ascetic told the Stranger that he would slowly remember all his powers and would know how to control them. They told him that a veil had been put over his mind by those who were responsible for his fall. Everything added up except the fact that life thrived in and around him. The trees that were burnt by the lava that fell from Mount Doom were once again able to bear fruit because of his power. And more importantly, an innocent Harfoot trusted him more than her life. Nori had told him that he was not a bad man. She had told him that he was sent to help the Harfoots. Had it not been for him, Nori and the whole Brandyfoot family would have gone off trail. How could such innocence not see the evilness if The Stranger was Sauron, as the witches were claiming. The Ascetic told him that the constellation that he had been searching for was called the “Hermit’s Hat,” and it was only visible from a far-off land in the east. It was called the Lands of Rhun, and the three sorceresses told him that he would learn to command each and every element of the universe once he went there. They told him that every being who walked on Middle Earth would be his slave. It was said that the elves who didn’t embark on the Great Journey and remained in Rhun were called Avari. These Avari were not considered Eldar, and it was believed that they were corrupted by Melkor.

Nori, Sadoc, Marigold, and Poppy found their beloved Stranger and tried to go near him without being spotted by the witches. But the cunning witches who kept an eye on him, caught all four of them. The Stranger stood against them as soon as he saw that his little friend was in danger. The witches kept reminding him of his identity and told him to calm down. Finally, the Dweller, who had a scepter, brought him under control and put the whole area on fire. The Stranger lay unconscious on the floor. Nori woke him up and gave him the scepter, which she had somehow managed to take without anyone noticing. She told the Stranger that they needed him. He was still in a dilemma. He didn’t know whether he was evil, as they had shown him, or good, as Nori had told him. Nori might have been young, but she knew that her friend was not an evil man. She told him that only he could show who he was and that nobody else had the power to tell him about it. Those words struck a chord with him. He got up from the ground and roared so loudly that the night sky shuddered. Suddenly, the fire was smothered magically. The witches had forgotten that fire was his ally. He told the witches that he was not Sauron. The witches also realized that he was, in fact, the Istari, who had come to fight the dark lord and save Middle Earth. He used the scepter and sent the witches back to the shadows from where they had come.

The Harfoots were reunited, but sadly, Sadoc succumbed to his injuries. Sadoc just wanted to see the sun come up. With the Istari by their side, he was hopeful that no matter how strong the shadows grew, one day, the light would overpower it. The Istari still didn’t know a lot of things about his identity and about his purpose on Middle Earth. He wanted to go to Rhun, as he hoped that he would get some answers there. Nori knew that she had to part ways with her friend, but her father had something else in mind. He knew that she was now a part of something bigger, and it would be unfair to not let her go with the Istari. Nori bid adieu to her dear ones and got ready to embark on a journey with her friend. Just when they were about to start treading on unknown paths, Istari said something that somewhere gave us a hint about his identity. He told Nori that whenever one is in doubt, they should follow their nose. These same lines were spoken by Gandalf to Meriadoc Brandybuck when they had lost their way. So, based on these hints, it could be said the Stranger was Gandalf in reality. Though according to the accounts of J.R.R. Tolkien, Gandalf didn’t come before the third age, the makers have altered that bit and decided to introduce the wizard in the second age itself.

‘The Rings Of Power’ Season 1: Ending, Explained: Why Did Halbrand/Sauron Travel To Mount Doom?

Galadriel was riding to Eregion with Halbrand, as he needed to be cured by Elvish medicine. Elrond and Celebrimbor had no clue about the fact that Galadriel had not gone to the Undying Lands and had jumped midway into the sea. Galadriel reached Eregion and met both of them. Elrond told her that he would never trust her again in his life. He had seen the signs of the dark power rising, and then he had realized that whatever Galadriel spoke was not a mere figment of her imagination. As soon as Halbrand was in a state of moving and walking, he immediately went to the workshop of Celebrimbor. He pretended as if he had reached there by mistake and said that he was searching for Galadriel. But it was not true. Celebrimbor felt honored and, somewhere, flattered by the kind words that were showered on him by Halbrand. He told him that his mentor, Vala Aule, had told him about the great artist, and he felt honored to meet him in person. Celebrimbor didn’t know that Halbrand was an exceptional manipulator and that there was always an ulterior motive in whatever he did. Halbrand held the tiny piece of Mithril that had been given by Durin to Elrond in his hands and asked Celebrimbor about the ore. Celebrimbor hesitated for a bit, considering the secret of Khazad-dum was not to be revealed to any man, but then ended up saying that it was not enough to make whatever he wanted to. Halbrand gave him a piece of advice and said that he could try amalgamating it with some other ore, as, according to his experience, there could be some alloy that could possibly amplify the qualities of the ore. He tells Celebrimbor to consider the suggestion as a gift from his side. At this point, it becomes very clear that Halbrand is the dark lord Sauron.

Though Sauron is not disguised as Anantar (who, according to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, had given this suggestion to Celebrimbor), it is very clear that the makers have created a non-canonical character who also serves the same purpose. High King Gil-Galad was of the opinion that they needed to abandon Middle Earth as soon as possible. He told Celebrimbor and Elrond that he couldn’t give them more time as the doom was approaching faster than they had imagined. Elrond requested the High King Gil-Galad to let them give it a last try and if they were still unsuccessful, then surely, they would do what their king commanded. Celebrimbor started his work of mixing the ore and making that perfect alloy. Galadriel had somewhat grown suspicious of Halbrand. She had sent one of her men to dig out information about the lineage of the kings of Southlands. She had found out that there was no such king named Halbrand. The last king had died thousands of years back, and the line had been broken. Halbrand knew that the day would come when Galadriel would get to know that he was the man she had been searching for her entire life.

As soon as Galadriel confronted Sauron, he used his powers and entered into her mind. He started confusing and misleading her. In the psychic visions that imagined herself in, he told her that they were destined to be together and that he would make her the queen. He said that he would cease to be the dark lord if she was by his side. He told her that they were brought together to fulfill a purpose. Galadriel felt that she was drowning in her lucid vision, but just then, she was pulled out of the Glanduin by Elrond. No matter how powerful the elf might have been, she was no match for the powers of the dark lord. Galadriel rushed to the workshop of Celebrimbor and asked him to make three rings instead of two. She said that one will always be corrupt, and two will divide. And only with the creation of three rings, the balance would be restored. These three rings were made after Sauron had left, and so they were pure and uncorrupted. Celebrimbor said that the quality of ores that were being used in the alloy had to be far superior to what was available. He said that he would need the gold and silver from Valinor. He said that in order to create something this pure, he also needed to depend upon the power of sacrifice. Galadriel gave her the dagger, which belonged to her brother Finrod. It was dear to her and probably the only thing left of him. Elrond sacrificed the piece of Mithril that was given to him by Prince Durin and put it in the furnace, and Celebrimbor put the jewels of Feanor onto the rings. Finally, the three rings of power, Vilya, Nenya, and Narya, were created. There is something very spiritual about making a sacrifice, and maybe Celebrimbor wanted to conjure that kind of magic while he was forging the rings. It is as if you are getting noticed by some higher powers, considering you are willfully separating yourself from that one thing that you love the most.

Celebrimbor was happy to see his creation, but meanwhile, dreams and prophecies that had haunted the men and elves alike were on the verge of taking a definite shape and form. The dark Lord, Sauron, had reached the lands of Mordor. In his eyes, we could see the wrath that he was going to unleash in the days to come. Sauron had reached Mordor to forge the One Ring. One ring to rule them all. One ring to bind all of Middle Earth in darkness. One ring to allow the shadows to prevail forever. Sauron was going to forge it using the evil fire that lay in the core of Mount Doom. Sauron knew that he would need a ring that could overpower Celebrimbor’s creation. He knew that in order to rule Middle Earth, he needed the ring to be so powerful that nothing could stand against it. Sauron had made a fool out of everybody. He had used everybody to his advantage. He had manipulated Pharazon and even used Galadriel to fulfill his own vendettas. He was there in front of the great elves, but still, nobody could find out who he was. The damage had been done, the fate had already been sealed, and now it was upon the elves and men of Middle Earth to find a way to curb it. 

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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