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Sauron’s True Identity Is A Character Nobody Has Guessed Yet

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One of the biggest mysteries in The Rings Of Power—outside of whether or not there will ever actually be rings on the show—is who the shape-shifting villain, Sauron, is disguised as.

Could he be the mysterious Stranger that fell like a comet from the sky?

Or perhaps he’s Halbrand, the man Galadriel ran into while swimming back to Middle-earth on a raft?

Maybe he’s the weird white-cloaked monk tracking the Stranger and his Harfoot companions.

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Halbrand

Of these three theories, Halbrand is getting the most love online (he is a handsome bastard, after all). There seem to be many clues that point to Halbrand as the Dark Lord, including:

  • He’s really good at forging things. Who else is good at forging things?
  • He gives the occasional evil look, and we saw him get into a brutal fight where he took things way too far.
  • He’s from the Southlands (the King of the Southlands, in fact!)and even admits that his ancestors fought on the wrong side of the old wars.
  • He tells Galadriel that he doesn’t want to go back, which is just an elaborate headfake.
  • Contrarily, he actually doesn’t want to go back because he’s trying to be a better man and has avoided being evil all these years and knows that the taste of power and war will bring out his inner demons. (He’s either very tricky or repentant depending on which theory you’re reading).’

I think that these are all largely red herrings for the most part. Halbrand has a dark side. He did some bad things in his past to survive. He’s likely killed and betrayed people, since we’ve already seen his violent streak and his tendency toward betrayal. But it would be ridiculously obvious and boneheaded to make him Sauron.

For one thing, it would mean that not only did Galadriel just coincidentally stumble upon the King of the Southlands, she actually swam her way to the dark lord himself. In the wide open ocean. I know this show has some pretty bad writing, but surely it’s not this bad.

The Stranger

“It is better to burn than to disappear.”

Albert Camus, The Stranger

I’ve written about The Stranger previously, though episodes since then have given us a few more clues about his possible identity. In Episode 5, for instance, we see him use his magic to protect the Harfoots from wolves—though these appear to actually be Entelodonts, a prehistoric “hell pig”—which, in my opinion, pretty much makes it obvious that he’s not an evil lord trying to take over the world. But the theory goes:

  • He landed cloaked in fire and the comet pit he landed in looks like the Eye of Sauron.
  • They play the evil Sauron music sometimes when he’s onscreen.
  • While his magic can be used to help the Harfoots, it has also killed the fireflies and thrown Nori to the ground.
  • He can be quite scary when he gets startled or is in a trance.

I think these are also red herrings. Magic is scary no matter who wields it. Nori and the Harfoots are already frightened of big people and now they’re rolling around with one who has magical powers, a fragmented mind and memory loss, and who barely speaks. Imagine having immense power and amnesia!

No, Sauron has no reason to come to Middle-earth in this fashion. Presumably, he’s already in Middle-earth having never left to go repent for helping his former master, Morgoth. He’s been hiding, and the last thing he’d want to do is return in a fiery comet in the sky announcing his return to the world, and then show up with no memory and completely powerless. A much likelier explanation is that this is Gandalf (or a different wizard) who was intercepted by Sauron on his way to Middle-earth, got in a fight, and was hurled to the earth in a ball of fire, his mind wounded.

Finally, we have the character in the upper right—people have jokingly said this is an Eminem lookalike. Whoever it is, they certainly look very evil. I’ve heard that this group of white-cloaked priests or priestesses are devotees of Melkor/Morgoth and perhaps they’ve been sent by Sauron to track down the Stranger. Whoever they are, it seems obvious they’re not actually Sauron, just a servant of evil of some kind.

I’m also leaving the dark elf, Adar, out of the mix since I think they’ve made it quite clear that he is not Sauron and you also better not call him that or else.

So who is Sauron? Well, my latest theory began as a joke but I actually like it better than any of these.

Bronwyn

This all began as a bit of a joke on Twitter. I tweeted: “I think it’s obvious that Bronwyn is Sauron. Think about it. She’s the only Southlander who doesn’t wear rags.”

If you go to that tweet I have a whole thread, noting that even her “son” Theo wears rags, that she’s the only villager who washes her face, that her clothes are quite expensive looking for a local and so forth.

But as I thought about it I started to wonder if this joke might not actually have some meat on its bones. After all, Bronwyn isn’t just cleaner and apparently wealthier than her fellow villagers. She’s also more knowledgeable. She references Morgoth. She quickly dons the mantle of leadership to rally the people together.

And maybe, just maybe, she’s the one who told Adar to let Arondir go. Why would she do this? Because she’s trying to get seduce him. She wants to get close to him so that he’ll take her back to Lindon with him. The entire Adar assault is all part of the ploy. Sauron wants to take over the Southlands and establish Mordor, but appear to be one of the good guys and ingratiate himself with the elves.

That’s similar to the Halbrand theory, but instead of relying on random chance out at sea where he had no idea Galadriel would be, Bronwyn/Sauron appears as a bewitchingly beautiful human who gets an elf to fall in love with her. She appears to be the hero and leader who will help fight against the Enemy, when in fact it’s all part of her plan to gain a place at Arondir’s side, and eventually snake her way into the confidence of Celebrimbor.

It also explains how her “son” Theo found the sword-key, since she could have planted the thought in his head and had him go and fetch it and so forth. Although that makes me wonder why the orcs would be looking for it. Maybe there’s some kind of competition between Adar and Sauron—Adar certainly didn’t like it when Waldreg mistook him for Sauron. I wonder . . . .

Is this a very likely theory? I doubt it. But it would make Bronwyn a much better character. As it stands, she’s rather hollow. We know very little about her. There’s no reason why she’s being cast as the war-chief to her people, as she has no fighting experience, no experience with battle tactics, isn’t well-liked as far as we can tell since she’s an elf-lover and these Southlanders despise “knife ears.” There’s almost no reason for her to be making speeches to rally her people to fight (a brief conviction, it turns out).

What do you think? Who is Sauron? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook. And there’s another possibility we should consider: They simply haven’t introduced Sauron yet. It’s entirely possible!



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