‘The Rings Of Power’ Theory, Discussed: Is Sauron Disguised As Halbrand?

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Halbrand was introduced in the 2nd Episode of “The Rings of Power,” and we were left to speculate if he was the man he was pretending to be or if he was camouflaging his identity for a greater purpose. Galadriel jumped from the ship that was carrying her and other Elves to the Undying Lands of Valinor. She tried to close her eyes and tried to forget what she had noticed earlier. She tried to forget that she had seen a sigil that could possibly be linked to Sauron (which she found out in Episode 3 of “The Rings of Power” to be the map of the Southlands) and tried to believe in what Elrond and the High King Gil-galad had told her. But her conscience wouldn’t allow her to just leave Middle Earth to fend for itself. She swam in the Sundering Seas until she was rescued by a few mortals from Southlands. But the raft, on which they had come, couldn’t survive the attack of the worm, a deadly sea creature. The mortals were probably killed, but one of them survived. A man who called himself Halbrand found Galadriel, and both of them got onto that small raft. Galadriel notices in Episode 2 of “The Rings of Power” that Halbrand was wearing a locket around his neck, which had an emblem inscribed on it.

Later, in Episode 3 of “The Rings of Power,” Galadriel found out about the mark on his locket in the House of Lores, where she was taken by Elendil. The emblem belonged to the King of the Southlands, who once united the scattered people of the Southlands under one banner. Galadriel believed that Halbrand was the rightful heir to the kingdom of Southlands. She told him to once again help her wage war against the evil that was rising in Middle Earth. Galadriel knew that Sauron was back, and they had to join forces. She knew that only if men and Elves fought together would they have a chance to defeat the evil lord. In a mocking way, Halbrand says that he found the locket on a dead man, and just because he liked the pattern, he took it. Now Galadriel believed that Halbrand was being humble about everything, and in fact, he had camouflaged his identity under the rags of a commoner. But what if Halbrand was actually speaking the truth? What if he had actually stolen the locket from a dead man in order to disguise himself?

Galadriel believes that Halbrand is more than he claims, and we agree with her. The point of discussion is whether he is a positive force, as she reckons him to be, or if he is the evil one whom she is searching for. Halbrand could very well be Sauron himself, or maybe the makers just want us to believe in that fact so that we cannot ascertain their next move. A lot of characters in “The Rings of Power” are non-canonical, i.e., they were not created by J.R.R. Tolkien. So, even if we refer to the literary works of the author, we won’t be able to get a clear picture. The assumptions we are making is due to the many hints that we get in the course of the 3rd Episode of “The Rings of Power.” Firstly, as soon as Halbrand enters Numenor, he sees a blacksmith’s workshop, and it seems that his eyes are glued to it. Later, he meets the owner of that same workshop and asks him to give him work. He said that he was ready to work at any menial wage, and he would do it with proficiency. Now we realize that Halbrand was a very good craftsman, as he had the confidence that he would be able to make anything that the blacksmith asked him to. But the blacksmith told him that he needed the guild crest, a silver badge, for forging steel in Numenor. He goes to a bar and tries to hide his intention to steal the guild from a worker of Numenor. He is not able to do that, and the workers find that he was trying to steal it from them. Surprisingly, Halbrand had the strength and the might to overpower a group of 5 to 6 people. We realize that he was not an ordinary man. At first, Halbrand looked like a feeble individual, but when the time came, we realized that he possessed certain combat skills that were unmatched. So, either he was the heir to the King of the Southern Lands, as said by Galadriel, or maybe he was Sauron himself. Sauron was taught the craft of smithing by Aule. He was an excellent craftsman and far superior to anybody else who existed in that realm. The way Halbrand was acting, forced us to presume that he might have had some link to Sauron. Later, in Episode 3 of “The Rings of Power,” we see that Halbrand does not tell Galadriel what exactly had happened when he had gone to ask for work in Numenor. Maybe he was a humble man who kept his private affairs to himself in general. But there was a possibility that he didn’t want Galadriel to know that he wanted a job at the blacksmiths.

Sauron was a spiritual being who could take the shape and form of other people. Sauron wanted to influence the minds and hearts of men and achieve his own goals quicker. Now the biggest question is that if Halbrand was actually Sauron, then why did he save Galadriel, who was an Elf, and who wanted to wage war against him? In the accounts of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was said that though Sauron knew that the men were easier to sway, he wanted the Elves to be his slaves and adhere to his commands, as they were far more powerful than the dwellers of the Southlands. Episode 3 of “The Rings of Power” is like a pendulum, where for a moment, you think that Halbrand might be Sauron, and the very next moment, you are made to believe that he might be a nobleman, or an heir to the King who once united the Southlands. In the court of Queen Regent Miriel, we see that Halbrand knows how to diplomatically play around, to turn things in his favor, just like Sauron. He convinced Queen Regent and Chancellor Ar-Pharazon, to give them three days, so that even they could think about their offer, of proving Galadriel a safe passage through the seas. All these manipulative traits and characteristics make us feel that Halbrand might be Sauron. Halbrand knew how to play with words. He knew how to convince people, how to influence them and how to dominate them. But the conviction of Galadriel at the end of Episode 3 deters our assumptions. Elves are intuitive in nature, and they are able to perceive threats from afar. So why wasn’t she able to recognize him? It is still a mystery. Maybe Sauron was an excellent shapeshifter, and he didn’t leave any kind of trail that might lead the others to his real identity.

We see in Episode 3 that the orcs had a master who was called Adar. Now Adar could very well be Sauron, but we have our doubts there. Firstly, it would be too convenient with respect to the build-up that the makers are trying to create. We feel that Adar could be some kind of commander-in-chief, who was a slave of Sauron and might have held a lot of importance in the battle that was going to happen. Adar arrives at the end of the third episode, but his real identity is still kept hidden. Arondir and his colleagues had speculated that Adar would be another name for Sauron, but they didn’t know it for sure. That is the only plausible theory they could arrive at.

In the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Sauron, disguised as Annatar, “The Lord of Gifts,” imparted knowledge to Celebrimbor, who, in turn, made the Rings of Power. In the series, it is pretty much possible that instead of Annatar, they chose to show Halbrand, who would eventually do the needful and lead Celebrimbor to the creation of the rings, considering he is a craftsman who has unparalleled skills. It is very much possible that Halbrand would be the King who would reunite the Southlands, but the possibility that he is Sauron cannot be denied unless and until the upcoming episodes of “The Rings of Power” give us some more clarity. Till then, we are left to speculate on whatever information is provided to us.


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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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