The Rings of Power finale provided an appropriately shocking climax to the first season of the fantasy series. One mystery that had enthralled viewers was the question of ‘who is Sauron?’, with the answer being revealed in a suitably tense fashion. Some had guessed who would become the creator of the One Ring, picking up on clues from the creators.
One subtle reference was actually right under our noses. Well, ears, to be exact. Now that we know Halbrand is actually Sauron, as found out by Galadriel, the Lord of the Rings character‘s theme was actually a big giveaway. As pointed out in a Twitter thread by Monoverantus, a creator who analyses music based around Middle-earth, Sauron and Halbrand’s themes are reflections of each other.
Sauron’s music is a reversal of Halbrand’s, and in a minor key. More intricately, they use different scales that can be read as a reflection of either side of the Dark Lord’s journey. For instance, Halbrand’s includes minor and major intervals in tangent to suggest he still has some chance of hope, whereas Sauron’s is more chromatic and thus evil sounding.
Honestly, it’s genius by composer Bear McCreary. Unless you’d an incredible ear, the reference would go clean over your head, and yet there it was, part of the fabric of the drama series.
After an eventful first season, we’re now waiting for Rings of Powers season 2, with no real idea when it’ll come out. Given the breadth of what these initial episodes accomplished based on Tolkien’s source material,
showrunner J D Payne Patrick McKay have a tough act to follow. Less Harfoots would be a good start, mind.
In the meantime, why not check out our guide to the Lord of the Rings movies in order to brush up on all things Middle-earth.