The sixth episode of “The Rings of Power,” titled “Udun,” once again takes us to the Southlands, where the army of shadows was going to clash with the flag bearers of light. The Numenoreans were on their way, while Arondir and Bronwyn were trying their best to hold back Adar and his army. The war sequence of “The Rings of Power” takes me back to the battle of Helm’s Deep, shown in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Though I really admired the direction of the action sequences, I was somehow let down by the details themselves. The battle sequence, for me, lacked the buildup and the symbolic approach that were characteristic features of the films. It kept you engrossed and made you feel that it was not just about winning or losing, but everything was a part of a bigger plan. In “The Rings of Power,” there are moments that are exhilarating, but they are so fragmented and brief that they fail to rise to a crescendo. So, let’s see what Episode 6 has to offer and what it tells us about the intentions of the evil powers at play.
Arondir And Bronwyn Face Adar’s Wrath
The army of the orcs was ready to wreak havoc on the Southlands under the leadership of Adar. It was not common for the orcs to treat someone with such reverence. Adar was trying to inculcate emotions and feelings inside the heartless, evil creatures. He was trying to make them understand the meaning of words like honor, respect, and brotherhood. He didn’t want them to just mindlessly destroy Middle Earth. He wanted them to do it with a feeling of vengeance. He called them his children and urged them to find a purpose behind their actions, something which the orcs were not used to doing. He had named each and every orc that was a part of his army. It was evidence of the fact that he didn’t treat them like unnamed slaves but as his own kin. Adar didn’t just want to destroy the light, but he wanted the darkness to thrive. He wanted to give his children a permanent residence and freedom from their suffering. In Adar’s narrative, the orcs were the victims. According to him, they deserved to be treated fairly as they had endured oppression for a very long time at the hands of Sauron.
The army of the orcs marched towards the tower of Ostirith, where Arondir, Bronwyn, and all the other men and women of the Southlands had taken shelter. Arondir knew that they were few in number and, in order to successfully combat Adar and his army, they would have to strategize each and every move and use the geography of the place to their advantage. As soon as the orcs enter the premises, Arondir makes the tower fall over them. Many orcs were crushed beneath the rubble. It provided some time to the villagers to prepare for their next face-off. They went to a nearby village named Tirharad and started making all the arrangements. Theo, Bronwyn’s son, was petrified and didn’t know if they would see the light of the day, but Bronwyn assured him that the shadow was just a passing thing and that the light would prevail forever. Arondir planted the seeds of Alfirin, as it was an Elvian tradition to do so before any battle. It was a symbolic act in defiance of death.
Arondir’s plan was to trap the orcs from all four sides by fire and then overpower them as their movement would be restricted. But Adar was a shrewd conspirator. He knew that Arondir would have a plan in mind. So instead of sending the orcs, he sent men dressed like them. Arondir managed to kill them all, but then realized that they were not orcs but humans instead. Before Arondir could grasp what had happened exactly, the real army of orcs arrived at the scene. They caught the villagers off guard and broke into their safe house. Adar asked Arondir to give him the Hilt. He threatened to kill everybody if he didn’t get it. But Arondir didn’t flinch. He stayed true to his cause. He was ready to sacrifice everything for the greater good. But Theo couldn’t see his mother being tortured in front of his own eyes. He told Adar where the Hilt was hidden. Adar took the Hilt in his hand and felt that his endeavors would now be accomplished. But just then, the earth started to rumble. One could feel the vibrations on the surface. The Numenoreans had arrived to save the people of Southlands. Galadriel and her men rode as fast as they could and arrived in Tirharad just in time. Adar tried to escape but was eventually caught by Galadriel and Halbrand. Seeing the golden-haired “Commander of the Northern Armies” once again rekindled hope inside Arondir and Bronwyn. Theo told Arondir that whenever he held the Hilt in his hand, he felt powerful. Arondir was well aware that such evil entities could overwhelm any living being. He told Theo that it was not the kind of power he would want to possess in the long run. Arondir asked him to hand over the Hilt to the Numenoreans and get rid of evil once and for all.
‘The Rings of Power’ Episode 6: Ending Explained – Why Did Adar Want The Hilt? Why Were The Orcs Digging The Tunnels?
When Adar heard the earth rumbling, he knew that the Numenoreans were coming for him. He wanted to save the Hilt at any cost, and that is why he devised a plan at that very moment. He gave the Hilt to Waldreg while pretending that he still had it in his possession. Galadriel and Halbrand took the bait and followed him. Halbrand wanted to kill Adar there and then. Adar provoked him by asking if he had killed anyone dear to him. Galadriel urged Halbrand to control his anger as they needed to get some more information from Adar. Galadriel tells Adar that before meeting him, she had only heard stories about the elves that had been taken by Morgoth and transformed into evil. She called his race the Moriondor, the first of the orcs. It felt as if Adar felt a little disrespected about being called an orc. He immediately corrected her and said that he was an Uruk and not a mere orc. Adar then goes on to make a shocking revelation. He tells Galadriel and Halbrand that he has killed the dark lord, Sauron. He says that he “split him open.”
Soon after the fall of Morgoth, Sauron dedicated himself to healing Middle Earth and wanted to create something using the power of the unseen world. But no matter how much he tried, he couldn’t forge it. Adar said that he had sacrificed his own children to fuel the ambitions of the dark lord. There was a stark difference between the ideologies and “modus operandi” of Adar and Sauron. Sauron treated the orcs as the subjects of his experiment, but Adar treated them as his own kin. Galadriel couldn’t believe it. She knew that he couldn’t be the only master and that there had to be somebody above him. But Adar stuck to his point. He said that his children, the orcs, had no masters and were no slaves.
Queen Regent introduced Halbrand to the men and women of Southlands. She told them that he was the one who was destined to lead them in the battle against evil. They were celebrating their little victory, but little did they know that Adar had tricked them all. Theo found out that the weapon Galadriel and Halbrand had recovered from Adar was not the Hilt. Adar had given the real Hilt to Waldreg earlier and told him to secretly go to the tower of Ostirith and put it in the slot.
Towards the end of “The Rings of Power” Episode 6, Waldreg inserted the Hilt into the slot, and it initiated a series of mechanisms. It felt as if the tectonic plates beneath Ephel Duath had started moving. A nearby dam-like structure started to shift and allowed an enormous amount of water to flow through it. The water level in the river started rising, which eventually overflowed the tunnels that had been dug by the orcs since the very beginning of the “Rings of Power” Season 1. The labyrinth of tunnels led to a nearby volcano. All the water was channeled into the core of the volcano. As soon as the water from the river touched the base of the volcano, an eruption occurred. The lava from the volcano started falling from the sky. Queen Regent Miriel, Bronwyn, Arondir, and others were terrified to see what was happening. The Hilt had conjured up a dark power that was forged a long time ago during the reign of Morgoth. The purpose of the Hilt was to make the darkness last forever. In Peter Jackson’s trilogy, “The Lord of the Rings,” Southlands was the same place that was transformed into Mordor and was the fortress of the dark lord, Sauron. “Udun,” as the title itself, refers to the valley of Mordor. With Waldreg putting the Hilt in the slot, the transformation had already begun.
Galadriel was still not certain if Adar was telling the truth about killing Sauron. She knew that it was highly improbable that an Uruk like him, no matter how powerful he was, could kill the dark lord so easily. One thing that came out in their conversation was that Adar had a lot of bitterness towards Sauron because of what he had done in the past. He didn’t like the way he treated the orcs. Adar was also curious to know the real identity of Halbrand. He asked him a couple of times who he was, but he didn’t get any reply from him. Though we now know the real purpose of the Hilt and why the orcs were digging the tunnel in the first place, we are still ignorant about a lot of other things. In the upcoming episodes of “The Rings of Power,” we’ll get to know why Adar was claiming to have killed Sauron. It would be interesting to see what Galadriel planned to do next, as things were clearly not going in her favor, and she had realized that she was still miles away from uncovering the truth.