Could Southlands King Halbrand Actually Be Sauron on ‘The Rings of Power’?

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Sep. 30 2022, Published 1:50 p.m. ET

Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for The Rings of Power.

We’re now six episodes into The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and we still have no idea where Sauron is and if he’s hiding in plain sight. Specifically, LOTR fans are divided about whether Halbrand is Sauron on Rings of Power.

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Just look at the titles of Reddit posts from the past two weeks:

“Halbrand is Sauron.”

“Halbrand is not Sauron.”

“Does anyone still believe Halbrand could be Sauron after this episode?”

“Damn … Halbrand is Sauron after all …”

As you’ll see below, viewers have found convincing evidence that Halbrand is indeed the infamous LOTR antagonist. But perhaps there’s too much evidence. Perhaps Halbrand’s suspicious behavior is a red herring…

Halbrand’s past has come into focus in the first six episodes.

We didn’t know much about Halbrand going into The Rings of Power, since he isn’t mentioned in the Tolkien literature on which the Prime Video series is based. In a first look of the series this February, Vanity Fair called the character a “mortal castaway … running from the past.”

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“He’s coming from this place in his past where he’s trying to let go of his past and move on,” actor Charlie Vickers told Entertainment Weekly in an interview published this August. “But in meeting [Galadriel, played by Morfydd Clark], she starts to illuminate some things in his mind and things about his past and his destiny that he maybe hadn’t considered. It makes him look at things in a different way.”

In the series premiere, the Elven warrior Galadriel meets Halbrand and his fellow shipwreck survivors as she swims toward Middle-earth — shortly before a sea-serpent attack kills the others. The Númenórean captain Elendil (Lloyd Owen) rescues the duo and takes them to the Númenor capital of Armenelos.

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After arriving in that city, Halbrand acts as a mediator between Galadriel and Queen-regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson, but he gets himself thrown into jail when he beats some guys up after being caught stealing a guild badge in an effort to become a blacksmith. And while he’s imprisoned, Galadriel comes across proof that Halbrand is actually the rightful king of the Southlands area of Middle-earth.

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There’s plenty of evidence that Halbrand could be Sauron.

Throughout the series so far, Galadriel has been hunting for Sauron, the Dark Lord her brother died trying to take down. But has Sauron been under her nose this whole time, disguised as Halbrand?

CNET lists some evidence against him. Halbrand says he is running from a dark past, for example, and his bloodline traces back to servants of Morgoth, Sauron’s now-defeated boss. Halbrand is also very charismatic, the site argues, and he’s a surprisingly brutal fighter.

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Polygon, meanwhile, cites suspicious Halbrand dialogue from The Rings of Power’s fifth episode: “You don’t know what I did. You don’t know how I survived,” Halbrand says at one point. And then: “What do you know of darkness?”

And TV Insider makes the case for Halbrand being evil, pointing to the character’s powers of persuasion. “Identify what it is that your opponent most fears, and give them a means of mastering it,” he tells Galadriel. “So that you can master them.”

Very sus, right? We’ll just have to keep watching as Prime Video releases new episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Fridays.

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