How Did Waldreg Get the Sword Hilt & Why Did He Unleash Orodruin?

waldreg sword hilt

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is a host of different characters that all serve a purpose in the grander scheme of things. One of them is Waldreg, who was introduced as a seemingly innocent cook in the inn in Tirharad but was actually someone who had a dark heart. That was the reason why he led some of the Men of the Southlands to join Adar and his Orcs, as he was eventually the one that used the sword hilt to activate Orodruin and transform the land into an entirely different realm. So, how did Waldreg get the sword hilt, and why did he unleash Orodruin?

Waldreg got the sword hilt from Adar, who gave it to him off-screen, as the one that Adar had in his possession when he was captured by Galadriel was just a regular axe. As such, Waldreg escaped the attack of the Númenoreans and activated Orodruin because he came from a line of Men that once served Morgoth.

In The Rings of Power, Waldreg is the perfect example of the fact that Men are just as easy to corrupt as they are great. He had a choice to stay and fight Adar and the Orcs but decided to join them instead because his ancestors once fought on the side of Morgoth during the First Age. Now, with that said, let’s look at what Waldreg did in The Rings of Power.

How And Where Did Waldreg Get The Sword Hilt?

There have been a lot of different mysteries throughout The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, as the series has a knack for keeping us out of the loop in relation to the different objects and characters that we’ve seen in the storyline so far. One such object that had stayed a mystery before the events of episode 6 was the sword hilt that Theo once wielded.

During the earlier episodes, Theo found a sword hilt in a barn that belonged to Waldreg, who worked as a cook in the tavern in the town of Tirharad. He was immediately captivated by the sword hilt, which bore the same mark of Sauron on Galadriel’s brother. In that regard, he kept the sword hilt for himself as it seemingly had a hold over him.

Theos Hilt 1

In the later episodes, the villagers went to the Eleven watchtower to escape the rampage of the Orcs all over their town. However, they ran out of provisions, and that was the reason why Theo returned to Tirharad, as he believed that there were still some supplies left there. He ran into an Orc that he couldn’t defend against until he pierced his arm using the sword hilt to unleash a blade made out of the fire.

Upon Theo’s return to the watchtower, Waldreg confronted him about the sword hilt as he told him that this had been passed down to him for several generations by his ancestors, who once sided with Morgoth during the First Age. We know that there were Men that fought alongside Morgoth long before the time of The Ring of Power, and Waldreg’s ancestors happened to be some of them. And Waldreg told Theo that his was not a weapon but was actually a power, and we weren’t sure at that time what he was talking about.


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Waldreg and some of the Men in the watchtower decided to join Adar’s cause because they feared death. Initially, Waldreg thought that Adar was Sauron but still decided to pledge his allegiance to him anyway. Meanwhile, the sword hilt remained with Arondir after Theo surrendered the hilt to him. And after collapsing the watchtower on top of the Orcs, they went back to Tirharad, where they hid the sword hilt from Adar and the Orcs while standing their ground against them.

Despite the fact that the Men of the Southlands fought valiantly, they ended up losing and were at the mercy of Adar, who threatened to kill the villagers if they didn’t surrender the sword hilt, which he needed to “recreate” the world. Theo had to surrender the sword hilt to Adar when Bronwyn’s life was already at stake.

Moments after that, the Númenoreans arrived in time to rescue the Southlanders. Adar called for Waldreg, who he said he had a job for. And after Adar was captured by Galadriel, it was later revealed that the sword hilt that they recovered from him was a fake as it was merely an axe.

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The real one was with Waldreg, as he was able to recover the object that had been passed down to him for generations. He unleashed its power by piercing his skin with it so that the blade would be released and could be used as the key that operated a mechanism that released the waters under the Southlands and activated the volcano Orodruin to cause a massive destructive eruption that reshaped the land.

Essentially, this was the creation story of Mordor and the rise of Mount Doom, as these elements are two of the most important places in the history of The Lord of the Rings. Mordor became Sauron’s lair. Meanwhile, he used the fires of Mount Doom to create the One Ring.

Why Did Waldreg Unleash Orodruin?

We all know that Waldreg used the sword to unleash the volcanic power of Orodruin to basically terraform the entire Southlands into a dark and desolate place that was fit for the Orcs. But why did he use it in the first place?

mountain eruption

Let’s go back to the fact that Waldreg’s very existence as a Man relied on the fact that he was a descendant of the Men that fought alongside Morgoth during the First Age. In fact, most of the people in the Southlands were actually servants of the first dark lord. However, Waldreg’s entire family was loyal to Morgoth and his chosen successor, Sauron. That is why the sword hilt had been passed down from one generation to another until it reached Waldreg.


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The cook of the Tirharad tavern’s loyalty to his ancestry was the very reason he was willing enough to forsake his own freedom and become a thrall to Adar. He had already sworn his allegiance to Adar as the man that he thought had succeeded Morgoth and Sauron. As such, Waldreg was more than willing to unleash the power of Orodruin and transform the land he once called home into a dark and desolate place that eventually became Mordor.

Waldreg is the very essence of the fact that the Men of the Southlands still had darkness in them. The Elves were wary enough to keep a watchful eye on them because they knew that these Men once stood with Morgoth, even though that happened centuries ago. But the fact that Waldreg himself was still loyal to the dark lord is proof that there were still evil Men among the Southlanders.