The greatest 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 shape-shift in the time period the Prime Video series is set in, and Galadriel has been relentlessly hunting him down since the start of the show.
Some strong candidates have emerged (and some less strong) in the early episodes, but after the show’s fourth episode, “The Great Wave,” it’s time to explore a slightly more outside theory.
What if Sauron is the Messy Sword?
Theo, a human child who is the son of Bronwyn, found a cursed blade in a barn a few episodes back and has been fascinated by it ever since. Could that be the answer?
It might seem unlikely, considering how many mysterious people the show has thrown in our faces as potential Saurons, but there is precedence for powering objects in this world (just look at the title of the show).
And that sword is really messed it up. At first just a broken handle, it expands into a full sword as it attaches to Theo’s arm. It takes a toll, too — we can see the mark it’s left on his arm (and the arm of a former retainer, as Theo discovers in the show’s fourth episode). The show’s interest in humans drawn to evil (as repeatedly made clear by how the elves talk about the war against Morgoth) may support this theory, though it’s unclear exactly what the lid with the sword is for Theo or other people.
But let’s play this out. Say the sword is Sauron, and in an effort to retain power and relevance while remaining safely out of the crosshairs of those hunting him, he imbued himself with a cursed artifact. Now Theo has bonded with the sword. It can make him either a righteous servant of Sauron, and push him to achieve the goals necessary to bring the Dark Lord back. But an alternative could be that the sword itself placed Sauron’s power inside Theo, gradually replacing the child with Sauron himself. Or maybe 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 it develops, but one thing’s for sure: it’s one hell of a sword.
Checking in with the other Sauron Candidates
If you’re someone who’s still banking on Sauron being the Stranger, there was a harpfootless (and giantless) episode this week, so no news there.
But it was a strong week for the “Halbrand is Sauron” crowd, as he keeps delivering mysteriously veiled lines that suggest he knows more than he’s letting on (and that he’s trying to manipulate Galadriel, which became even more apparent when he explained to freaking Galadriel how to manipulate people). There was also the voice-over from Queen Regent Míriel suggesting that evil was already around Númenor – while the camera stayed on Halbrand.
The Elven Orc leader Adar also had a prominent episode, telling Arondir about how much he doesn’t know about the world and managing to be charismatically menacing while doing so. To us, it seems more likely that he works for Sauron, but you never know. If Galadriel needs to learn how to assert her influence from a human many years her junior, anything is possible with this show.