Has Halbrand been Sauron all along? It feels like the entire first season has been building to answering this question. As luck would have it, The Rings of Power episode 8 definitively put the mystery to rest, while also setting characters in close proximity to the Dark Lord on a new course.
Spoilers inevitably wait below. Join us as we dig into The Ring of Power's big Halbrand/Sauron theory, how it manifested itself in the season finale, and how the show was laying the groundwork all along for its big reveal.
Is Halbrand actually Sauron in The Rings of Power?
Surprise! Halbrand is Sauron. The truth was revealed after Galadriel became suspicious of the supposed Southlander's sudden sway over Celebrimbor early in the season finale. One phrase, "a power over flesh", was imparted by Halbrand and led Galadriel to do some digging of her own.
She discovers that the last king of the Southlands died over 1000 years ago and that the line was broken. The implication being, then, that Sauron (being a shapeshifter called an Annatar) was able to take Halbrand's face at some point during the Second Age.
After being confronted with the truth about his identity, Sauron engages Galadriel in a meeting of the minds. First, he takes the form of Galadriel's brother Finrod to try and defeat her. Then, he uses Halbrand's face once more to tempt Galadriel into ruling Middle-earth together. Neither work, and Halbrand departs for Mordor and Mount Doom, presumably with Adar in his sights.
So, there ends the speculation. Halbrand, an original character not present in any of Tolkien's works, was used as a disguise for Sauron. He then used Galadriel for his own ends.
Did you spot any of the clues along the way? "Appearances can be deceptive," he tells Galadriel as they float along on a raft during the show's second episode. That's a big ol' red flag right there. And there were more to come.
Sauron has also proved incredibly adept in battle for a mere man, including attacking a group in Numenor. In the kingdom, too, Sauron's obsession over forging bubbles to the surface. The third episode sees the show take a beat to focus on Halbrand staring at a blacksmith and forge. Could he have already been putting together the idea for the Rings of Power?
On top of that, it was also previously implied that Halbrand and Adar had a past history together, but Adar doesn't recognize the Dark Lord. It is later revealed that Adar "killed" Sauron - something we now know wasn't technically true.