The Rings Of Power Casts More Doubt On Our Biggest Sauron Red Herring

Spoilers follow for the sixth episode of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power."

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" has been slowly nurturing a popular fan theory that has Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) at the very center of a Sauron-related conspiracy. Since his debut earlier in the season, the mysterious Southlander has been one of the leading candidates for the Dark Lord himself. And yet, all we know is that Halbrand is the rightful heir to the Southlands throne and has been reluctantly thrust into the conflict that awaits the area. "The Rings of Power" loves to throw us off Sauron's scent with red herrings, and — in addition to Adar — Halbrand has been the biggest one thus far. 

However, the sixth episode of "The Rings of Power" works overtime to cast further doubt on Halbrand's true identity and mysterious past. His confrontation with Adar (Joseph Mawle) only complicates any speculation regarding his possible affiliation with Sauron, but it may point us in the right direction.

'Do you remember me?'

After a chase between Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Adar leaves the corrupted elf at their mercy, Halbrand makes it personal. For reasons unbeknownst to the audience, Halbrand is keen on killing Adar and asks the orc leader if he remembers him. Adar, who declares that he vanquished Sauron himself, has no idea who Halbrand is. And in typical villain fashion, Adar teases Halbrand about potentially killing a loved one. But that's as far as the scene goes. Galadriel stops Halbrand from killing the one person with any information about what's coming to the Southlands, or what has already arrived, that is.

Up until this point, "The Rings of Power" has been very intentional with any subtle teases or nods, to the source material or otherwise. It's safe to assume the same with Halbrand, who has been kept as a mysterious figure since his debut on the show. He is crowned King of the Southlands shortly after the battle in the latest episode, but there is a lingering false sense of hope in the proceedings. Although he may not be Sauron, his past and very, very near future may turn him towards the darkness.

Is he really the King Who Was Promised?

If what was revealed about his troubled heritage remains to be true, Halbrand comes from a line of people who swore blood-oaths to Morgoth during his time in Middle-earth. Of course, much of "The Rings of Power" is dedicated to reversing the general inclination of Galadriel and others that the Southlanders will always be associated with evil. In fact, the series wants us to believe that Halbrand and his underlying guilt come from his ancestry. But could there be a double meaning to his words? Could he be somehow related to Sauron himself, a son perhaps? I think the real answer might be simpler.

Despite the bleak ending to last week's episode, "The Rings of Power" is a series that usually seeks to find the light within the darkness. Halbrand being Sauron is a weak twist, but showing the redemption and transformation of a person burdened with responsibility is far more powerful. I think a twist will come to play soon that sheds light on exactly why Halbrand displays such a guilty conscience. One that does not seek to reveal him as a big-name legacy character, but as a person affected by the darkness that now casts a shadow over the lands of his newly-acquired kingdom. How Halbrand deals with this new reality, and not his true identity, will dictate his position within the vast history of Middle-earth.

But hey, who knows? Perhaps by the finale, we'll learn he has been Sauron all along. Until then, I think "The Rings of Power" has more on its mind than fancy reveals and fan-service.