The biggest mystery in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power since the show’s first episode has been the identity of Sauron. We know that the future Dark Lord of the rings has the ability to shapeshift in the time period the Prime Video series is set, and Galadriel has been relentlessly on the hunt for him from the start of the show.
Some strong candidates have emerged (and some less strong) in the early episodes, but it’s time to explore a slightly more out-there theory.
[Ed. note: Spoilers follow for The Rings of Power, especially episodes 4 through 6.]
What if Sauron is that messed-up sword?
Theo, a human child who is the son of Bronwyn, found a cursed blade in a barn a few episodes back. He was immediately captivated by it, and found kinship in an older man who also had a past experience with the sword. And then, in the sixth episode, that older man stole the sword and plunged it into the ground, causing a great flood and the eruption of Mount Doom.
Could that mean the sword is Sauron?
It may seem unlikely, considering how many mysterious people the show has thrust in our faces as potential Saurons, but there is precedence for imbuing power into objects in this world (just see the title of the show).
And that sword is really messed up. Initially just a broken hilt, it extends into a full sword when it attaches itself to Theo’s arm. It takes a toll, too — we can see the mark it has left on Theo’s arm and the older man’s. The show’s interest in humans drawn to evil (as made repeatedly clear by how the elves talk about the war against Morgoth) could support this theory, although it’s unclear exactly what the allure of the sword is to Theo or other humans.
But let’s play this out. Say the sword is Sauron, and in an attempt to retain power and relevance while remaining safely out of the crosshairs of those hunting him down, he imbued himself into a cursed object. The sword has now caused the eruption of Mount Doom, surely leading to the rise of Sauron and his orcs in this area of the world.
Maybe the sword is simply a source of power that leads to Sauron’s revival (Adar claims he killed Sauron, but that is... hard to believe). Maybe it infects those that bond with it with Sauron’s energy, turning them into servants of the Dark Lord. Or maybe it turns them into avatars of the Dark Lord himself. Or perhaps Theo will be proof of the possibility that humans can resist evil impulses, despite what the elves think. We’ll have to wait and see how that develops, but one thing is for sure: That’s one fucked-up sword.
Checking in with the other Sauron candidates
If you’re someone who’s still banking on Sauron being the Stranger, it was a harfoot-less (and giant-less) episode this week, so no news there.
But it was another strong week for the “Halbrand is Sauron” crowd, as he continually delivers mysteriously veiled lines that suggest he knows more than he’s letting on. This week, Halbrand asked Adar if the elf remembered him, and Adar later asked Halbrand, “Who are you?” before the camera curiously cut away. That’s after previous episodes where he tried to manipulate Galadriel, something that became even more abundantly clear as he explained to freaking Galadriel how to manipulate people.
The “Adar is Sauron” theory took another hit as well, both due to Adar’s questions with Halbrand and due to his casual confession that he killed the Dark Lord. To us, it seems more likely he works for Sauron, but you never know. If Galadriel needs to be taught how to assert her influence by a human many years her junior, anything is possible with this show.