Who Is Sauron in ‘The Rings of Power’?

The Season 1 finale finally reveals who the Dark Lord has been this whole time.

After weeks of speculation, with multiple potential characters up for the role of Sauron, The Rings of Power finally revealed who the Dark Lord is, and it might have surprised some, but if you’ve been keeping an ear to the ground it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. The finale, “Alloyed,” started with quite a fake out, with the three hooded figures known as the Dweller, the Nomad, and the Ascetic appearing to the Stranger (Daniel Weyman) and addressing him as Sauron. Obviously, since this happens in the first opening minutes of the episode, it doesn’t seem like the reveal it should be.

Instead, the truth comes out when Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) arrives at Eregion with an almost dead Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) in tow. The Elven medicine cures Halbrand right up, but his sudden interest in Celebrimbor’s (Charles Edwards) work is immediately suspicious to Galadriel. Although we’ve seen Halbrand as a smith in previous episodes, he’s never demonstrated any strong affinity or unique skill. But, when he sees Celebrimbor’s forge, he is able to not only charm but also collaborate alongside the Elvensmith. It becomes clear throughout “Alloyed” that Halbrand has been Sauron this entire time.

There Is No King of the Southlands
Unfortunately, it seems the records in Númenor are incomplete, and when Galadriel has someone dive into the history of the Southlands in Eregion she realizes the truth. There is no king of the Southlands, at least not anymore. The line died out many years ago, with no heirs in place. When she confronts Halbrand about this, he plays off of their previous conversations.

He told her he found the sigil on a dead man, that Galadriel was the one to save him on the raft, that Galadriel convinced Miriel to sail for Middle-earth when he wanted to stay in Númenor. He wants her to believe that they have the same enemy, but then he reveals himself. “I have been awake since before the breaking of the first silence. In that time… I have had many names.” When Galadriel tries to attack him with her brother’s dagger, he instantly stops her, and suddenly she is drawn into a dream world.

Sauron Tries to Seduce Galadriel to the Dark Side
Galadriel awakens in the meadow we first saw her in as a child; this time, Finrod (Will Fletcher) is there. Galadriel quickly realizes that Sauron is in her mind and trying to deceive her. Despite that, for a moment she is lured in by the memory of her brother. They discuss his dagger and Finrod informs her that his task was to ensure peace, a task that Sauron also sought to complete. He reiterates what Adar (Joseph Mawle) said before, that he was seeking a way to heal Middle-earth. But the moment is broken when Finrod speaks his words back to Galadriel, but instead of saying, “Sometimes we cannot know until we have touched the darkness,” he says, “Touch the darkness once more.”

The illusion changes again and this time we’re back on the raft in the Sundering Sea. Halbrand informs Galadriel that when Morgoth was defeated, it was as if “a great, clenched fist had released its grasp from my neck.” He says that after his defeat, he felt the light of The One again. In seeking forgiveness, he wanted to heal the damage he has done to Middle-earth.

At this point, Halbrand attempts to seduce Galadriel to the dark side. He talks about their future and shows in the water’s reflection an image of him as Sauron standing next to her. He tells her that he can see the greatness in her that others doubt. But Galadriel sees past his seductions, even though Halbrand’s words will be familiar to those who remember The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. He says, “I would make you a queen. Fair as the sea and the Sun. Stronger than the foundations of the earth.” He asks her to help him save Middle-earth, with Galadriel binding him to the light and him binding her to the power he wields.

Of course, for Sauron, saving and ruling Middle-earth are one and the same. Galadriel does not reveal Sauron’s identity to Celebrimbor or to Elrond, feeling the guilt of saving him on the sea but also a reinvigoration to hunt him down. The first season ends with the forging of the three Elven rings of power, the only rings to be untouched by Sauron’s darkness, and Halbrand, aka Sauron, heading off to Mordor.