The following contains major spoilers for the season finale of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.The season 1 finale of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power saw a major character reveal that fans have been speculating about since before the show even began. Given how the series is a prequel to the mainline Lord of the Rings books and movies, it was abundantly clear that Sauron himself would eventually appear. Now that he has, it turns out audiences weren’t the only ones taken by surprise.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power finale saw Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) finally reveal himself as Sauron in disguise, bidding Morfydd Clark’s rather controversial Galadriel to join him in ruling Middle-earth. While she refused, it was still a powerful scene given the bond shared by the two characters. Halbrand and Galadriel had met while both stranded at sea, each even saving the other’s life at various points. So it was this connection that ensured Clark was actually the only one aside from Vickers who knew of the big reveal beforehand.

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In fact, even Vickers himself didn’t realize he would ultimately be playing Sauron until after filming had already begun. After all, the very Aragorn-like Halbrand already felt like a fully-fledged character on his own even before the reveal. “We filmed the first two episodes, and then we went on hiatus because of COVID,” Vickers explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “That whole time I thought I was playing Halbrand, a human from a Southlands, which, I think, I was. But then, [showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay] sat me down right before we started filming the third episode, and they said to me, ‘There’s more to this. You’re playing Sauron.’ By that point, because of my audition material and a few other things, I had an inkling. But it was nice to get it properly confirmed.”

Given the nature of the storytelling in The Rings of Power, it was a pretty well-kept secret, even among the actors themselves. “No, no one knew!” Vickers said when asked if any of his costars were also told. “I think Morfydd [Clark] knew because she was my scene partner. That’s an interesting thing about Halbrand, that you really only see him through the eyes of other characters. They play a very important role in how the audience sees him and how the audience sees Sauron. So Morfydd knew, but no one else knew.”

Many fans had suspected this twist, given the various implications of Halbrand’s story arc. But he was still a well-established character on his own, which ultimately served as an excellent way to throw viewers off his scent. In fact, his time on the series up to the finale could offer some new depth to the character of Sauron as well, such as the idea that he may have been fully content living in the kingdom of Númenor as a blacksmith.

Naturally, that’s all speculation. What’s known now is that Halbrand is, indeed, Sauron. What that means for season 2 is anyone’s guess at this point. But it certainly was a well-kept secret. Maybe interested fans should rewatch The Rings of Power from the beginning now to see just how Vickers acted before knowing the truth behind his character.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is available to stream on Prime Video.

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Source: Entertainment Weekly

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