The big bad antagonist of Prime Video’s ‘The Rings of Power’, Sauron, is set to enthrall viewers with his terrifying person, but many speculate he’s already lurking in the midst of all the expository chaos.
‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ has already introduced the fans to some of the most important characters in the series. While characters like Galadriel, Elrond, and recently Elendil and his son Isildur are all well-known among the fans of the books and even the LOTR movies, the Prime Video series has added some brand new characters out of the canon.
These non-canon characters original to the show include the Silvan elf Arondir, the Stranger (at least for the time being), the entirety of the harfoot characters, the recently teased Adar, and the mysterious and perhaps the most interesting of them all, Halbrand of the Southlands.
Three of these characters are currently the subjects of most fascination and speculation related to the question of whether they’re Sauron in disguise or not. There are some plausible and some not-so-plausible theories that stand them all under the circle of suspicion right now.
The great quantity of speculations about Sauron hiding in plain sight is understandable because that’s exactly the kind of elusive treachery Sauron commits in the books. However, since the show deviates a lot from the book lore and erratically follows the canon, the question remains — Is Sauron already present in The Rings of Power?
Narrowing down the suspects, there remain three prime contenders who could be Sauron in disguise;
The Stranger who seeks fire
Falling like a star from the sky, probably more literally than metaphorically, the Stranger is one befuddling yet fascinating character. His arc with the Nori of the harfoots is at its very early stage and he’s already managed to tag along with ancestral hobbits, especially when they aren’t really keen on co-existing with the other kind.
His grand stature and build are also accompanied by a perennially confused and curious personality. While his outbursts and mere presence can be imposing, he has kind of a lost puppy’s demeanor, eager to find a home (the constellation might be a map).
However, what seems like a wholesome trait sometimes, the infantile person of the Stranger might just be a ruse. The show has already made it clear that he has strong magical powers, which seem very much like Gandalf’s, but could easily belong to Sauron, as he is also one of the maiar.
His constant befuddlement might be the initial effects of taking a corporeal form on Arda. However, it’d also be especially cruel to Nori if the one guy she feels so immensely is connected to her destiny turns out to be the scourge of all existence.
For the time being, the Stranger isn’t that likely to be Sauron compared to the others on the list. So who’s even likelier of a contender here?
Adar who carries the name
Episode 3 of The Rings of Power ends with a blurry tease of yet another series original — Adar. He’s the leader of the orcs who have been digging their way through to something at the Southlands. It’s currently unclear what the purpose of the vast tunnel digging undertaking is but it’s pretty clear that their leader is a formidable force to be reckoned with.
Early on in the episode, the Silvan elves held captive surmise that the leader of the orcs is actually Sauron since Adar is an elvish word and Sauron has many names. However, the theory doesn’t have that strong a foothold, since according to Tolkien’s languages, Adar is the Sindarin word for father.
No, there is a contender even likelier to be Sauron in disguise.
Halbrand who harbors secrets aplenty
Halbrand is arguably the most intriguing character addition to an already stupendous ensemble of legendary characters. The most interesting thing about Halbrand so far has been his knack for keeping secrets.
Whether it be the mark around his neck, his origins, his surprising and cruel fighting abilities, or his objective — Habrand is a figure shrouded in a mysterious fog. Some of that fog has lifted after the third episode but it might just be a ruse by Sauron himself, given he’s the diabolical dark lord.
It will perhaps be the most amazing twist if he does turn out to be Sauron in disguise. The irony of Galadriel hyping him up to rise and be the king of his people might just be the cruelest wound upon Galadriel’s person.
There is a definite dark side to Halbrand’s outer charm that glistens and distracts others. Whether the dark side is dark enough for him to turn out to be Sauron is up to speculation. However, Halbrand does seem like the most likely, and the favorite choice for a disguised Sauron.
Apart from the aforementioned characters, it’s just as likely that Sauron might be somebody else, already putting his machinations into motion. It could also be Theo who might eventually become the vessel for Sauron’s spirit, the way he keeps strengthening the sinister shard he found.
All of these ideas are up for debate and it’s not easy to make a confident bet on any of these likely choices. Is one of these characters actually Sauron or is he somewhere else altogether? Only time will tell.