Warning spoilers for episode 3 of Rings of Power. The third episode of Rings of Power, ‘Adar,’ may have introduced us to the fantasy series’ big villain, and we don’t mean Sauron (or at least we don’t think we do). He’s named Adar, but who is Adar, and what are his plans for Middle-earth?
We’re first introduced to the character’s name while Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) investigates the orcish tunnels in the Southlands. While exploring the underground labyrinth, the poor Sylvian elf finds himself captured by foul orcs and made to work with other slaves digging the tunnels.
However, all anyone can talk about is “Adar”, who seems to be the master of these orcs and the tunnels. So who is Adar? Well, the labourers he has taken believe him to be Sauron (or even Morgoth returned), but we’re not so sure. Here’s who we think this new villain might be.
Who is Adar?
We’ll start with what we know about Adar. We get a brief glimpse of him when Arondir is dragged in front of him. He does not appear to be an orc, having fair skin and dark hair. We can also glean a lot from the character description provided when Adar was cast.
“A villain who can also evoke a deep sense of pathos and wounded/fallen nobility,” it read. “Must possess a certain degree of physicality. Should seem middle-aged, though must also project a sense of timelessness.”
Let’s be honest; that sounds like an elf to us, which you might think would rule him out from being a villain, but you’d be wrong. In the Lord of the Rings movies, we only meet noble elves, but The Silmarillion is full of elves who lost their way and fell to darkness.
Arondir’s story in the TV series is wholly original, so the Rings of Power showrunners may have used the broad text that elves can turn evil to inform Adar’s character. That would make Adsar a wholly original Lord of the Rings character, not someone we’ve seen before. But there’s another option.
Is Adar Sauron?
We feel like we’ve been writing this about every character in the show so far, but Adar could be Sauron. At this point in the series, Sauron is still a powerful shapeshifter and not locked in his ‘Dark Lord form’.
Sauron is typically considered the master of the Orcs, and we know, thanks to Galadriel, that Morgoth and Sauron had a contingency plan for the Southlands. So he’s got the means and the motive, but we don’t think it’s him. It doesn’t fit with Tolkien’s established story for the Second Age.
During this time, Sauron spent a lot of time pretending to be Annatar, the Lord of Gifts and ingratiating himself with the races of Middle-earth so they’d willingly take his rings of power. So we could be wrong, but in most likelihood, we think Adar will turn out to be an original character serving as a lieutenant for Sauron in a similar way to Saruman.