Throughout the entire first seven episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, we were all wondering who Sauron is and where he has been the entire time, as not even Galadriel and the other Elves were able to learn his whereabouts after searching for him for centuries. However, there were a lot of clues that allowed us to have our own hunches about Sauron’s identity, as he has always been among us the entire time.
The season finale of The Rings of Power finally allowed us to see where the series was heading and who Sauron actually is, as the suspects dwindled down to two: the Stranger and Halbrand. Of course, the opening scene of the episode may have misled a lot of people, but that was what the series had been doing the entire time. In that regard, let us look at what happened in the season finale of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
The Stranger and the White-Robed Characters
The season 1 finale of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power opened up with a scene involving the Stranger as he was wandering in the forests of the Greenwood (known as Mirkwood in LOTR). He stumbled upon the wandering Mystics that wore white robes. At first, it was suggested that they were going to fight the Stranger, but they eventually referred to him as the master that they wanted to serve as they said that he was Sauron.
Of course, it was easy for them to think that the Stranger is Sauron because you don’t get a lot of Maiar crashing down onto Middle-Earth in the form of a meteor. And the fact that the Stranger commanded fire, which Sauron also has a command of, made them believe that he was indeed the dark lord that they had come to serve.
As such, the series opened with the big reveal that the Stranger is Sauron, but those who know how the series works would probably have second thoughts about that huge revelation. Of course, it was too early in the season finale to actually allow us to think that the Stranger really is Sauron. And Nori Brandyfoot certainly believes in all her heart that her friend was good.
The Elves Finally Have a Solution
Galadriel finally arrived in Eregion after six straight days of riding without resting. In Eregion, she found both Celebrimbor and Elrond talking about what they could do to try to save the Elves using the tiny piece of mithril that they had in their possession. Of course, the priority was for them to heal Halbrand.
Celebrimbor initially told Elrond that he had an idea about how they could use the small piece of mithril ore to their advantage. However, at that point, he was still unsure what to actually do with it and how it would allow him to save the Elven race. And that was when Halbrand arrived to give a suggestion.
Seemingly stunned and starstruck at the fact that he found himself in the workshop of Celebrimbor, one of the greatest craftsmen and artisans in history, Halbrand found the mithril ore on the Elf’s desk and proposed a solution. He told Celebrimbor that he could possibly use that ore to mix it with other alloys without affecting the purity and properties of the mithril. Halbrand then told Celebrimbor that this suggestion was a “gift.”
To that end, Celebrimbor proposed this idea to High King Gil-galad, who knew that the Elves didn’t have enough time to live on Middle-Earth before their light all but died out. The Elven smith told the king that he could use that mithril and create a circular object that would be able to amplify its powers when worn by Gil-galad himself. At first, a crown was proposed, but the king initially rejected the idea because they didn’t have enough time to craft one. Elrond, however, convinced Gil-galad to give him three months.
With the help of Halbrand, the Elves were able to find a way to fuse the mithril with certain alloys without affecting its purity so that they could get to work on the object that would hopefully amplify the powers of the mithril and allow all of the Elves to bathe in its light. But Galadriel had her doubts the entire time.
The Stranger’s True Identity
The Dweller and her companions continued to try to make the Stranger remember who he was, as they certainly believed that he was Sauron. They believed that he only forgot who he was because there was a veil that was clouding his mind when he was cast down to Middle-Earth. The Mystics, who revealed themselves to be from the land of Rhûn in the east, even used force to try to control the Stranger before he remembered who he was.
But Nori and her companions certainly believed that the Stranger wasn’t a bad person, as they tried to rescue him from the three white-robed figures. They were even able to disarm the Dweller of her staff. But the Dweller and her companions were far too strong for the Harfoots, as Old Sadoc even suffered a mortal wound.
Nori convinced the Stranger that he was there to help and that he wasn’t who the white-robed figures were. That was when the Stranger used the Dweller’s staff to reveal the true forms of the white-robed figures, as it was clear that they were actually wraiths that were hiding in human forms. Using his powers, the Stranger cast them back into the shadows to defeat them.
And before the white-robed Mystics were defeated, they said that the Stranger was not Sauron but was the “other,” the Istari. As such, it was clear that they had made a mistake regarding the Stranger’s identity.
Later in the episode, the Stranger went back to the Harfoot camp with Nori and her companions, minus Sadoc, who died from his wound. The Stranger revealed that he was going to go to Rhûn to learn more about his history and who he actually was. While Nori was prepared to say her goodbyes to her friend, her family told her to come with him because they knew that she was already a part of this grand conspiracy and already had a large role to play in the big world. As such, Nori and the Stranger went out on an adventure that would allow them to learn more about who the Istari or the Wizard really is.
In the meeting with Gil-galad, Celebrimbor mentioned something about the powers of the Unseen World, which is something that she heard only from Adar, as the Uruk was explaining what Sauron was doing before he “killed” him. That was when Galadriel immediately questioned where this statement came from, as Celebrimbor mentioned that he had been hanging out with Halbrand a lot.
That was when Galadriel launched an investigation regarding the Southlands and its line of kings, all while keeping a close eye on what Halbrand and the Elves were doing. She wanted to make sure her doubts had grounds before confronting the man she thought was her friend.
But she was able to learn that the line of Southlands kings had been broken a thousand years ago and that there was no way Halbrand could be who he actually was. Galadriel confronted him and asked him to reveal who he truly was, and that was when it was clear that he was indeed Sauron.
Using his powers, Sauron tried to get in the mind of the Elf, who he tried to convince to be his queen so that they could “heal” the world together. But Galadriel understood that Sauron never wanted to heal the world but wanted to control it. This goes in line with his personality in Tolkien’s writings, as Sauron always wanted to put the entire world under his control, in contrast to Morgoth’s goal of corrupting the entire world.
Galadriel rejected the offer and woke up as Elrond found her drenched in the pond. Halbrand was nowhere in sight, as it was clear that he had left Eregion the moment the Elf realized who he actually was.
The Creation Of The Rings Of The Elves
Galadriel and Elrond returned to Celebrimbor, who said that they were prepared to create two rings. But Galadriel told him to create three because one three rings would bring the balance that two rings didn’t have. As such, she had to sacrifice her brother Finrod’s dagger, which was made of pure gold and silver from Valinor, so that they would have enough allow that could create three rings.
The dagger was melted down, and the allow was mixed with the mithril ore to finally create the Elven Rings of Power that Galadriel said should never be touched by anyone other than the Elves. These rings were to be worn only by the Elves and were supposed to bring the light and prosperity that the Elves needed to continue with their immortal lives while they were on Middle-Earth.
But after the creation of the Rings, a suspicious Elrond returned to the pond to find the scroll that contained information regarding the king of the Southlands. He was quick to realize that Halbrand wasn’t who he said he was, and that was when he exchanged looks with Galadriel to reveal to her that he knew that Halbrand was Sauron the entire time. And the season ended with Halbrand overlooking Mount Doom as he returned to the lands now called Mordor to probably get back what was always rightfully his.