The Rings of Power has geared into the next biggest development in the lore with Adar’s successful creation of Mount Doom. Here’s the background run on the show’s biggest antagonist thus far.
Adar, the “father” of the orcs who have been hard at work digging tunnels all across the Southlands, has been the biggest antagonist of the series thus far, at least one who’s present in plain sight.
The weathered and scarred Elf-like being had been a subject of mystery and intrigue regarding his origin, ambition, and relation with the orcs up until very recently.
The latest episodes of the series delve into his history and the legendary class of orcs he belongs to. Here’s what the show reveals about his backstory and his aspirations:
A conspirator most clever and competent
Adar has been leading the Orcs towards their set goal of digging canals and tunnels all throughout the Southlands. The orcs have been toiling and tinkering, along with enslaving humans and working with them to achieve their goals.
Despite the incinerating sunlight, the Orcs have persevered and grunted their way through the labour. Eventually, the show makes it clear why they are so determined to dig despite all the suffering.
It’s their leader, the one they call “Adar” who’s leading this mission. The Sindarin word for father, Adar seems to be an avatar of Sauron at first.
However, as the episodes pass, it is revealed that he’s not Sauron in disguise at all. In fact, in episode 6, Adar reveals that he actually killed Sauron.
While Adar killing Sauron is a dubious bit of claim at best, what’s not hard to believe at all is Adar’s competence. The former Elf single-handedly led the orcs to carry out a meticulous plan in secret until the very end.
Then came the even more impressive play of acquiring the black sword hilt (or the “key”). Galadriel and Halbrand did manage to pin down Adar but his objective was already complete.
He wasn’t fleeing from them but only stalling for time with a decoy while his loyal dog Waldreg keeps the real key. Galadriel and others are fooled and the lack of double-checking costs them the entirety of Southlands.
Orodruin erupts and the Mount Doom is already in the works — all because of Adar’s persistent planning and brilliant execution until the last minute.
A champion of a compassionate cause
Adar is, surprisingly, a compassionate antagonist. While his compassion may not extend to any race other than that of Orcs, it does count nonetheless.
Deviating from the classic Tolkien antagonist design, Adar is not entirely a black-and-white character; his evil is not signified by an emblematic representation of the concept.
Instead, Adar has a certain depth and obvious reasons beyond hunger and greed to do what he’s done. He makes it clear in the sixth episode that he dreamed of making a home for the Orcs, for his children he serves as a father to.
He also reveals how Sauron had exploited the Orcs mercilessly in order to conclude his plans. He couldn’t bear the sorry sight of his Orc brethren suffering such a fate and so, he claims, he slayed the Dark Lord and split him in half.
Following his self-proclaimed murder of Sauron, Adar began working on his grand plans of making a region suitable for the Orcs to survive and thrive in.
The plan to erupt the Orodruin volcano is exactly the cause Adar has been working so hard for. The ashes from the eruption will blot the skies black and shield and grounds from the sunlight — a climate most conducive to Orcs’ survival.
A fallen Elf
During his captivity, after Galadriel and Halbrand pin him down and subjugate him, the show reveals his real identity.
Galadriel talks with Adar, speaking about the stories of Elves she heard in stories. These Elves she talks about were captured by Morgoth according to the stories, followed by their torture at the hands of the Dark Lord.
Morgoth twisted and tortured these Elves and made them into a new, ruined life form — the first Orcs. Galadriel calls Adar’s kind “The Moriondor” and “The Sons of the Dark”.
However, Adar prefers the name “Uruk”, confirming that he’s indeed one of the first Orcs created by Morgoth. This also means that he’s been on the side of Sauron and working for and with the Orcs for a long long time.