We now know that Halbrand was actually Sauron the entire time but was merely hiding in the form of a handsome man. This was revealed during the events of the season 1 finale of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Of course, the first time we saw Halbrand was when he was with a group of people that were stranded out on sea while Galadriel was swimming her way back to shore. So, why was Halbrand stranded out on the sea if he was Sauron all along?
Halbrand was probably stranded out on sea because he really tried to get away from Middle-Earth and tried to reach Valinor. That’s because JRR Tolkien’s writings indicated that Sauron initially tried to repent after Morgoth’s defeat. As such, Halbrand probably only changed his mind after meeting Galadriel.
The thing about Sauron is that he wasn’t born evil as he was simply someone who turned evil through his nature as a control freak. In that regard, Halbrand probably decided to go back to Valinor to repent after Morgoth failed and when he lost a chunk of his powers when Adar destroyed his former shape. This is something that we will discuss in great detail in this article.
Did Halbrand Know Galadriel Was Out On The Sea?
We all know that The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power began when High King Gil-galad and Elrond urged Galadriel to take the ship to Valinor, as that was her reward for all of the things she did to help the Elves during the war and in her efforts to try to locate Sauron. Of course, we also know that she changed her mind at the very last moment when she jumped off the ship and decided to swim all the way back to Middle-Earth as she realized that she still had a mission to complete.
That was when Galadriel while trying her best to swim all the way back to Middle-Earth, encountered a small raft with a small number of humans that claimed that their ship had been destroyed by a sea serpent called the worm. They said that they had to sail away from Middle-Earth after their homes were destroyed and taken over by the Orcs in the Southlands. Nevertheless, they never said where they were going, as they probably just wanted to get as far away from Middle-Earth as they could.
Of course, one of the people stranded on that raft was a Man named Halbrand, who ended up becoming the only survivor after the worm attacked them again. He allowed Galadriel to board his smaller raft, and they tried to survive the harsh waters together before they ended up getting fished out and taken to Númenor by Elendil and his men.
At this point, we already know that Halbrand is Sauron, who is known to be a great deceiver and the greatest lieutenant to ever work under Morgoth. We also know that Sauron had deceived Galadriel into thinking that he was indeed the lost king of the Southlands. But did Halbrand actually know that Galadriel was out at sea?
Sauron may be powerful, but he was not powerful enough that he was capable of knowing where Galadriel was at that time. Even if he did know that Galadriel was on her way to Valinor, there was no way for him to know that she was going to jump off the ship and swim all the way back to Middle-Earth. On top of that, the sea is incredibly large, and that would mean that it would have been impossible for Halbrand to know where Galadriel was in the sea at the time they met.
In that regard, the fact that Galadriel and Halbrand met at sea was probably a huge coincidence that needed to happen for the story to progress. It was a convenient coincidence for both the Elf and the dark lord, as there was a good reason why they were brought together and why they had to meet. And that would mean that there was also a reason why Halbrand was stranded out at sea.
Why Was Halbrand Stranded Out At Sea?
At this point, it is tough to conclude that Halbrand was out at sea because he wanted to run into Galadriel. That would mean that he would have to be nigh-omniscient to know that Galadriel was out at sea at that time and to determine where exactly she was after she tried to swim all the way back to Middle-Earth. So, why was Halbrand stranded out at sea?
Halbrand and the other Southlanders he was with on that raft said that they escaped from the Southlands because the Orcs had taken their homes. They simply wanted to get as far away as they could from the Orcs. And that meant that Halbrand probably had the same idea when he boarded that ship and tried to escape on it with the other people of the Southlands.
We know for a fact that Halbrand was telling the truth when he said that the Orcs had taken his home. That’s because Adar, the father of the Orcs, betrayed and “killed” Sauron. The dark lord may have just lost his form when he was destroyed by Adar, who betrayed him because he didn’t want his Orcs to suffer under Sauron’s command. As such, he immediately took the form of a handsome man named Halbrand.
That means that Halbrand probably did indeed try to escape Middle-Earth when Adar and the Orcs betrayed Sauron. And the reason why he was sailing west of Middle-Earth could be answered by JRR Tolkien’s own writings, which say:
“When Thangorodrim was broken and Morgoth overthrown, Sauron put on his fair hue again and did obeisance to Eönwë the herald of Manwë, and abjured all his evil deeds. And some hold that this was not at first falsely done, but that Sauron in truth repented, if only out of fear, being dismayed by the fall of Morgoth and the great wrath of the Lords of the West. But it was not within the power of Eönwë to pardon those of his own order, and he commanded Sauron to return to Aman and there receive the judgment of Manwë. Then Sauron was ashamed, and he was unwilling to return in humiliation and to receive from the Valar a sentence, it might be, of long servitude in proof of his good faith; for under Morgoth his power had been great. Therefore when Eönwë departed he hid himself in Middle-earth; and he fell back into evil.”
In short, after Morgoth’s defeat, Sauron initially wanted to repent his deeds when the Maia Eönwé, the very same hero that fought in the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age, told him that he needed to repent his sins by returning to Valinor. Sauron, however, was afraid of the judgment of Manwë and the humiliation he would receive, and that was why he decided to stay in Middle-Earth and eventually fell back to evil instead of returning to Valinor and repenting.
Meanwhile, in The Rings of Power, it is possible that Sauron felt that he had grown too weak to defeat Adar after his former shape was destroyed by the Uruk. He had lost his place as the leader of the Orcs and the heir to the title of the dark lord. And he probably sailed west after he was “killed” so that he could return to Valinor and finally face the judgment of the Valar for the things that he did during Morgoth’s reign of terror.
However, Galadriel came at the most convenient time for Sauron. That’s because he was finally convinced that he could use Galadriel to his advantage and regain his place and power in Middle-Earth as the dark lord after destroying their common enemy. He knew that Galadriel was so obsessed with returning to Middle-Earth to defeat the Orcs in the Southlands. And knowing that they had a common enemy, Sauron jumped on the opportunity.
As such, he was probably sincere about his decision to stay in Númenor so that he could start a new life there. After all, Sauron was never evil at the beginning but was merely corrupted by his own desire to put everything in order. So, when he realized that he could use Galadriel to his advantage, he decided to return to Middle-Earth. That was the reason why he was so thankful to her for giving him the push that he needed and why he wanted to make Galadriel his queen.
This explains why Galadriel was too ashamed to tell Elrond about Halbrand’s true identity as Sauron, as she knew that she was the one who pushed him back to Middle-Earth during a time when the dark lord was probably going to return on his own accord to Valinor or, at the very least, try to start a new life in Númenor. And Adar was probably correct when he told Galadriel that the very same darkness that she had been fighting hard for so long was actually in her the entire time.