Amazon’s fantasy series, The Rings of Power, recently wrapped its first season with many surprises and cliffhangers. We saw the three elven rings of power being forged and learned that The Stranger was a wizard. Oh, and the biggest shock of the season: we saw that Halbrand, the human with a semi-romantic relationship with Galadriel, was Sauron – the big bad of Middle-earth – in disguise this whole time.
However, even though many fans were taken aback by Halbrand’s true identity, it turns out that the ‘big reveal’ was never intended to be a groundbreaking moment. During an interview on Amazon’s The Official The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Podcast, showrunner J.D. Payne shared that they had originally meant for audiences to guess that Halbrand was Sauron from the very start of the TV series.
” We were really not about the big twist, the big surprise, the big shocker,” he said. “That was never the goal here; I think we were much more interested in creating characters and relationships and dynamics that were engaging and, hopefully, emotionally rich, and full of conflict, and, hopefully, delight and warmth.”
“Episode 2, the minute you see this guy, and he says a thing that Galadriel later says to Frodo, you go, “I bet that’s Sauron,” you know what? You’re going to have, hopefully, as great and valid a viewing experience as someone who has no idea until it suddenly happens,” he continued.
“If you suspect him all the way, that is a totally great way to watch the show, in my opinion, where you’re engaging with a whole layer that maybe somebody else doesn’t engage with.”
While there may have been signs that Halbrand was a Sauron candidate, it is totally understandable if fans – especially those familiar with Tolkien lore – didn’t suspect the character as the Dark Lord. In Tolkien’s text, although Sauron takes on many forms, it is said that during the Second Age, when he interacted with elves, he disguised himself as an elf by the name Annatar.
So, if you had read The Silmarillion, you may have been looking for a devious yet charismatic elf, instead of a shipwrecked human who was a totally new character to begin with. While Sauron’s reveal wasn’t in line with the already established Tolkien canon, it has been confirmed that Rings of Power season 2 will be sticking closer to JRR Tolkien’s text in the future.
We are curious to see how Amazon plans to assimilate their Halbrand version of Sauron with the iconic servant of Morgoth that literary fans and lovers of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies have come to know.
While we wait on more news, here is our guide to the best Lord of the Rings characters of all time.