As the penultimate episode, Episode 7 has undoubtedly upped the ante for The Rings of Power.
By the end of the episode, viewers had been, possibly, introduced to the Balrog that killed Gandalf and teased with The Stranger’s true identity. The episode also marked the beginning of Mordor and might have even linked Halbrand to Sauron.
This week’s episode dealt with the aftereffects of the previous episode when Mount Doom erupted and destroyed the Southlands. Galadriel takes the blame for Numenorean and Southlander losses since she was the one to instigate this battle. But maybe it was doomed long before she came into the picture.
Adar’s long-envisioned plan to reshape the Southlands into Mordor would have been inevitable whether Galadriel had led the Numenor forces to war or not. And while Numenor mourned their deaths, including Ontamo and Isildur, a blinded Miriel vowed to retaliate with tenfold intensity.
Thus fans were introduced to Mordor and its new lord, but let’s circle back to the King of the Southlands. Fans have been trying to pin Halbrand as a disguised Sauron since his introduction in Episode 2.
And after Galadriel leads him to the nearest Elven residence for a medicine that could cure him, Halbrand’s reveal as Sauron, seems plausible.
As we know, according to LOTR lore, Sauron had gained the elves’ trust in Eregion and used his expertise as blacksmith to help in the forging of Ring. Furthermore, Adar’s constant boasting about killing Sauron and Halbrand’s blatant hatred towards him, could also hint at his true identity.
He has already warned Galadriel since the moment he met her that “looks can be deceiving,” and maybe he really may turn out to be Sauron.
Along with speculating on who Sauron could be, fans have been attempting to determine the true identity of The Stranger. Rising from the embers of a fallen star in Episode 1, The Stranger has been a powerful ally for the Harfoots.
But in Episode 7, after he unknowingly hurts Nori and Dilly, he is banished by the Harfoots. Harfoot guide and leader, Sadoc, points him toward Greenwood the Great and the giant journeys alone.
Later known as Mirkwood, in the Third Age, this forest was the home of the blue wizard Radagast – so maybe The Stranger is less likely Gandalf and more likely Radagast.
Whoever he might prove to be, right now, with his memory erased and his powers nowhere near full strength, he better be careful. The white-cloaked women, who have been tracking him the past couple of episodes, are right behind him. But Nori and Poppy, along with Sadoc and Marigold, are on their way to warn their giant friend!
While we’re on the topic of Gandalf, The Rings of Power may have just introduced the Balrog who had killed the wizard in the LOTR films.
Right before the last scene, King Durin III removes Prince Durin as his heir after the prince went against the king’s orders and continued digging for the Mithril.
His reason being that by helping the elves, the dwarves might bring their own doom if they continue mining the mithril. But even though Prince Durin and Disa believe him to be wrong, we have reason to believe the old Dwarf King may be right.
According to Gandalf, in the Third Age, Khazad-dûm was destroyed due to their greed for the treasure under the mountains. The desire he talked of can already be seen brewing in Prince Durin and Disa, but the end of Moira may be different in The Rings of Power than in LOTR lore.
The Balrog, one of the most formidable forces under Morgoth’s rule, has been lying under Moira all these years after the War of Wrath. The Balrog introduced in Episode 7 may be the cataclysm of Khazad-dûm.
But this is not the only deviation from LOTR lore in Episode 7. Celeborn, Galadriel’s husband, who in the books is well and alive even in the Third Age, has been revealed to be dead in Episode 7. And another death that shocked book fans was Isildur, a noteworthy figure in the Second Age of Middle-Earth.
For now, both men are recognized as dead by their loved ones, but the dialog suggests that they may not be lost forever and are simply missing from the story.
With many more theories to be proved or discarded, the final episode of The Rings of Power Season 1 will stream on Prime Video next Friday.
About The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is an American TV series, based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, developed by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay for streaming on Amazon Prime.
Set 3,000 years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the show will be set in the Second Age of Middle-earth. Beginning with a time of peace, the series will follow the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron and the forging of the rings of power.
The cast includes Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, and Dylan Smith among many others.