Rings Of Power: How Was Mordor Created And Do We Know Who And Where Sauron Is? (Part 7)
What did the latest episode of the Rings of Power series reveal?
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The last two episodes of Rings of Power have been vastly different. The fifth part continued with a slow pace and an endless "intro", which is supposed to introduce us to the characters, all the necessary locations, and during which the creators lay out their pieces on the chessboard. However, it takes too long. In the end, the Númenorians spent three episodes deciding whether they would actually go to Middle-earth.
But most viewers won't remember why it took them so long and what the episodes were even about. The series is plot-free, although certainly not boring, thanks to the beautiful presentation. Fortunately, that changed in the latest episode, as the creators accelerated the pace and finally offered great action scenes, good tension and a great ending.
We finally felt a proper Lord of the Rings atmosphere from the series, and while it's still not perfect, it's a step in the right direction. It remains to be hoped that the next series will not be filmed so lifelessly and at an extremely slow pace.
If you haven't seen the latest episode and don't want to spoil the surprise, don't read any further, the text contains spoilers.
The arrival of Númenor in Middle-earth
The Queen Regent, Isildur and co. timed it perfectly. It doesn't matter that Arondir and his human friends were found all over the Southern Regions on their first try, or that their troop numbers dwindled from 300 to maybe 100 (and then even less by the time they reached the village). In the review, we will pay enough attention to the (un)magnificence of the series, the production of which cost half a billion dollars, while it does not look like it.
What is important for us now is that the riding of the knights looked really impressive on the screen, even if perhaps less slow-motion shots (or none) would have been useful. In order for the series to be equal to the film and we could at least compare this ride to the Rohirrim ride, it would have to be made by more talented and experienced creators.
Even so, we have to praise the episode in its entirety, as it was clear that they cared about it and the result is one of the best, if not the best, episode of the entire series.
It had a great atmosphere, commendable acting and successful action scenes, in which the filmmakers relied not only on the effective drawing of swords, but also on clever tactical attacks and traps on both sides.
Interestingly, we haven't really seen Isildur fight, and for that matter, neither has Galadriel (apart from the first episode). In the new episode, she was more or less dodging arrows and spears. Apart from Arondir, we can't get close to anyone in the way that only fight scenes full of tension and pain that the characters have to suffer in order to achieve their goal can do for the viewer.
Adar revealed what happened to Sauron
But can we trust him? Galadriel definitely doesn't trust him and neither do we. After all, why would he get so angry when people came to serve him claiming to be Sauron and beholden to him?
He could have answered them haughtily or mocked Sauron, but instead he felt insulted and threatened. Moreover, we can hardly imagine that Sauron was killed by Adar, who was also dealt with by Halbrand in this episode.
But it doesn't really matter. We know from the history of Middle-earth that Sauron will do a lot of mischief, so he will definitely appear. However, we still do not know in what form and when it will be. It could easily be Annatar who convinces Celebrimbor to forge the rings of power. We may see Sauron in his true form only in the second series.
The rise of Mordor?
That the Southlands became Mordor is no secret. We knew from the first look at the map in the series, and the characters repeatedly commented on it. But we were surprised to see the beginning of Mordor so soon. It was probably the most surprising and spectacular sequence in the entire series.
The closing seconds of Galadriel watching the dust, darkness and fire as the volcano awakens were beautiful. We finally see how Mordor came to be. It was not Sauron's fault (although he built the fortresses and Mordor as such). It was Adar who wanted to create a home for the orcs (or Uruk as he calls them) to live in.
Their motivations are sufficiently portrayed, even if they could achieve their goal different way, than by slaughtering several villages. The creators want to "humanize" them and try to show them as complex beings, not just dumb, murderous monsters. However, we will never perceive them that way, as long as they achieve their goals with this kind of behavior.
Is Halbrand Sauron?
Why he is: Adar said that Sauron really wanted to restore Middle-earth after defeating Morgoth and didn't want to be the villain, which is true even according to the history of Middle-earth as written by J.R.R. Tolkien himself. At the same time, Halbrand clearly regrets something from the past, and therefore does not believe that the people of the Southern Regions would forgive him so that he could be king. So Halbrand/Sauron can be blamed for killing and pillaging Middle-earth together with Morgoth.
Adar claimed to have killed Sauron. This is also why Halbrand harbors such hatred towards him. When Adar replied that he did not remember him, it might be because Halbrand looked different then - like Sauron. Halbrand is also a good fighter, he is cunning, intelligent, a very skilled blacksmith and has a mysterious aura around him.
Why he isn't: Because it would be too obvious. The creators of the series have already referred to the mysterious identity of Halbrand many times and provided several visual, plot and dialogue references to his possible connection with Sauron. We believe that the writers tried harder and did not make something so predictable. Sauron shouldn't be the first person most viewers think of after the first episode.
If that's the case, it would mean that the creators have completely failed to create the mystery surrounding Sauron's true identity and would have unnecessarily dragged out the already too long series. In some places, we perceive it as an exposition for other series rather than an independently functional and interesting story from Middle-earth.
Could Halbrand be someone else?
There are many such theories on the Internet. We lean towards two of them. Halbrand may be an ordinary king among men, but he becomes someone more important. We know that before they became Sauron's loyal servants, the Nazgul were human kings. Halbrand can thus be one of them and easily the Witch-king of Angmar himself.
However, there is another possibility that we are more into and we hope that it will turn out that way. Halbrand may be that king of men who was cursed by Isildur himself for not coming to his aid in an important battle. This is the army of the dead from the film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. If you remember, the spirits recognised Aragorn as the rightful king and descendant of Isildur, so they could finally repay Isildur a debt from several thousand years ago.
The Lord of the Rings connection
When Isildur called them to help in the War of the Last Alliance, they refused, so Isildur cursed them to never leave Middle-earth (even after their deaths). We can easily see these events in the series as well, since its creators narrowed the history of the second age to a shorter period in order to better work with human characters and to make them live longer.
Isildur and Halbrand already have a relationship with each other, and Halbrand basically owes him for overcoming his past and becoming a ruler. So if he betrays him and refuses to help him fight Sauron, it creates a strong connection to the Lord of the Rings films and a more emotional impact on the storyline with the Army of the Dead from Return of the King.
In any case, if they want the character of Halbrand to be part of the next plot in the series, it has to be either one of the Nazgul, Sauron, or that cursed king. Otherwise, it probably won't have a place in the story. However, as we see with the hobbits, something like this does not bother the screenwriters at all, and they squeeze any number of characters into the story.
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