Where’s the bad guy in Rings of Power? Everybody knows the big bad in Middle-earth, at least after The First Age, is Sauron. So when you’re watching a, and there’s only one episode left, it’s time to start asking questions. Where is Sauron, and why haven’t we seen him yet? Or have we seen him, but in disguise as another character?
Here’s a quick look at everything we know so far, and some fun speculation about what may be in store for The Rings of Power.
Who is Sauron in The Rings of Power?
At the moment, we have no idea who Sauron is in The Rings of Power. There is no credit for Sauron, no actor who has been announced as playing Sauron, and the only time we’ve seen Sauron on screen was the beginning of the first episode in a look at the past. According to JRR Tolkien, Sauron is more or less in hiding at this point as he builds up strength and hatches a plan to take over the world.
We don’t know where Sauron is right this second, but we know where he’s been. In episode 6, the Uruk known as Adar confirms Galadriel’s suspicion that Sauron had originally escaped to the far north so he could experiment on accessing a place called The Unseen World but was unsuccessful. Adar claims to have attacked Sauron and escaped, but we know he’s still alive somewhere.
Could someone we’ve met in The Rings of Power already be Sauron in disguise?
It is entirely possible we have already met Sauron in The Rings of Power, but he’s hiding out as another character. Sauron has a history of shapeshifting in Tolkien’s works and has been seen as a Human, an Elf, a wolf, a vampire and even a snake. When in a humanoid form, he’s always described as being deeply charismatic, attractive and looking a little on the darker side. His disguises don’t always fool everyone, in fact Galadriel was originally described as Sauron’s greatest foe in the Second Age because she could see through to the truth of him. High King Gil-galad is also described as having not trusted Sauron after they met because he felt wrong.
So yes, it’s possible someone we have already met is Sauron. Here’s a look at who that might be.
Is Adar a disguise for Sauron, or is he just an Uruk?
We know the character calling himself Adar isn’t really using his birth name, because Adar is Elvish for Father and his Orcs keep calling him Lord Father. For the Orcs to be so fiercely loyal to him, it likely means something more than what we’re seeing on screen. And while Adar is fairly attractive and charismatic, he’s described himself as a corrupted Elf who “killed” Sauron.
We know Sauron isn’t dead, but it’s possible this master manipulator let Adar think he’s succeeded in order to get him to complete the creation of Mordor. On the other hand, Adar disappeared pretty quickly as the volcano erupted and we haven’t seen him since.
Is Halbrand actually Sauron is disguise, or is he a secret hero?
The would-be King of the Southlands is a curious character. He claims to be running from a dark past with a darker bloodline leading back to servants of Morgoth. He’s a talented blacksmith, and when he wants to be, Halbrand is incredibly charismatic. He also squared off against four Nùmenorean citizens and walked away with little more than a split lip and a little bruise below his eye, which is unusual to put it mildly. And yeah, he’s pretty attractive when he’s not being set up to be the Wish.com version of Aragorn.
While there’s clearly something dark about Halbrand’s past that we will discover eventually, his desire to either escape his old life and start over or lead his people into safety run counter to Sauron’s endless quest for power. And as Mordor takes shape in Episode 7 of the show, Halbrand is stuck in a healing tent trying to not bleed out.
It’s possible he’s Sauron and his wound is a clever ruse, but personally I don’t think that’s how this will shake out in the end.
Is The Stranger secretly Sauron in hiding, or someone else?
We know a little more about the very tall man who has been helping Nori and the other Harfoots than we did a few weeks ago,. He’s tall, very good with magic, and his fall to Middle-earth seems to have confused him into not fully knowing who he is or where he’s supposed to be. His dramatic crash in front of Nori is stylized to resemble the flaming eye of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings, and his accidental slaughtering of those fireflies isn’t a great indicator of him being naturally good, but it’s unclear at the moment.
The Stranger is now also being chased by three figures in white that have been described as Morgoth’s worshipers from the far East. It’s possible the story being told here is those worshippers are looking for The Stranger in order to temp him to darkness or maybe to remind him of his “true self” as Sauron. At the moment, it’s not clear who this person is.
Where could Sauron be in The Rings of Power?
It’s entirely possible that we haven’t yet seen Sauron, that all of these characters we collectively suspect are interesting for other reasons. That doesn’t mean Sauron is sitting around doing nothing right now. In fact, there’s two places he could be right now based on what we know about this time in Middle-earth from Tolkien’s writing.
Could Sauron be in Nimenor?
We’ve seen Queen Regent Miriel share her father’s vision of Nùmenor being consumed by a great wave with Galadriel through his Palantíri, but it’s not clear in that vision what specifically causes Nùmenor to fall. If you’ve read Tolkien’s works, you know this event happens largely thanks to Sauron’s influence.
According to Tolkien, Sauron is captured during a great battle and imprisoned in Nùmenor, where he poisons the mind of the king and convinces him to lead an assault on Valinor in order to secure immortality. It turns out fighting the god responsible for the creation of all life around you is a bad plan, and Nùmenor is ripped to the bottom of the ocean in punishment. Sauron escapes, and one of his biggest threats is all but eliminated.
Since Nùmenor still stands, it’s possible Sauron is either already there and disguised as a prisoner or he will be there soon.
Could Sauron be in Eregion?
While we’ve seen a fair bit of Lord Celebrimbor and his quest to make something of “real power” to give to the peoples of Middle-earth as recompense for thousands of years of war, we’ve not actually seen much of Eregion itself . This is important because Eregion is where most of the rings of power get made. And once the big tower with the furnace in it gets made, Celebrimbor and the other Elven smiths are given guidance and friendship by an Elf who calls himself Annatar, the Lord of Gifts. In Tolkien’s works, Annatar is Sauron is disguise and he uses Eregion to make the rings that turn the Kings of Men into terrible soldiers called Ringwraiths.
It’s possible Annatar is already in Eregion and has been whispering to Celebrimbor things like “suggest to Gil-galad that sending Galadriel back to Valinor is a good idea” and “you need a whole lot of Mithril right now, go make the Dwarves give it to you” for example. If you ask me, that would make a solid reveal for the finale of this first season.
This article will be regularly updated as the show progresses, especially if Sauron actually shows up.