The Rings Of Power Scene That Proved [REDACTED] Is The Perfect Sauron

"The Rings of Power" may not have been the "Lord of the Rings" TV show we were expecting, but by the end of its first season, the show proved to be the "Lord of the Rings" TV show we needed. Like the Peter Jackson movies, it drastically changes the source material, moves events and characters around, and otherwise alters the lore to tell its own version of the story.

Some of these changes were for the worse, particularly the keeping things secret to the audience in order to force a mystery around the identity of Sauron and The Stranger. Other changes, however, managed to make the TV show feel like its own version of the tales, grabbing what works best and adapting the rest to fit the medium. And much like with the movie trilogy, you can see some of the changes becoming the new canon in the mind of fans.

One example of this is the show's portrayal of the Dark Lord Sauron. Though his identity ended up being the single most predictable answer imaginable, it was fine, because we just got the best Sauron we could have possibly got, and it's all thanks to [REDACTED].

Full spoilers for the season one finale of "The Rings of Power."

It's all 'Who is Sauron? not 'How is Sauron?'

So, it ended up being true that H=S. Halbrand, the pretty boy from the Southlands, ended up being Sauron the hot evil Maia and future collector of fine jewelry. This was the obvious choice, considering how many ominous lines Halbrand dropped throughout the season, from saying that "appearances can be deceptive," to telling Galadriel he once did evil deeds and stole the kingly crest of the Southlands from a dead man.

Now, this storyline changes a lot from the books, starting with the idea of Sauron the deceiver. If you think about it, he technically never lies in this season. Halbrand hides the full truth, sure, but he never outright lies, he just happens to be surrounded by imbeciles who instantly trust this guy. Likewise, by already showing us the reveal of Halbrand being Sauron, and Galadriel casting him out of Eregion, "The Rings of Power" seems to be skipping the entire story of Annatar, the Lord of Gifts. In the books, Sauron disguised himself as an emissary of the Valar, and tricked Celebrimbor into making the titular 19 rings of power.

And yet, the moment Halbrand enters Eregion and starts speaking to Celebrimbor, he stops being human and fully becomes the Dark Lord Sauron, with Charlie Vickers delivering one of the best subtle changes in a character's demeanor since Bryan Cranston's Walter White told Hank to "tread lightly," or since Christopher Reeve went back and forth between Superman and Clark Kent in a single scene

He's something of a smith himself

Halbrand's demeanor, the pitch of his voice, and his pose all change the moment he meets Celebrimbor, as Sauron the Deceiver starts manipulating the elf through praises, without even hiding the fact that he is more familiar with elven craftmanship than any human should be. Halbrand mentions how the "master" he used to apprentice to was a fan of Celebrimbor's craft, referring to Aulë, the smith who created the Two Lamps of the Valar. When he tells Celebrimbor of the secret to smithing using mithril, and calls his suggestion "a gift" (a reference to his role as Annatar) Vickers delivers the line in what can only be described as the Middle-earth version of Horatio Caine putting on his sunglasses before The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" starts playing in the background.

This is the scene that sells Vickers as the perfect version of Sauron, and the show's decision to turn the Dark Lord into a human man (for now). That's because it still makes sense for the story as a whole. Sauron still participated in the creation of the rings, without having an input in the creation of the three elven rings. Galadriel suspects him, but no one else knows his identity because she kept it secret, so Celebrimbor can easily be persuaded to once again accept Halbrand's "gifts" later on.

Not the Sauron story we expected, but the one we needed

More importantly, through Halbrand's story, his relationship with Galadriel and his speech to her, "The Rings of Power" pays homage to Tolkien's writing about Sauron's supposed repentance without actually making us feel sympathy for the Lord of Mordor. We don't know if he is genuine in his feelings or if he's just afraid of punishment from the Valar, but Vickers sells the conflict in Sauron, and manages to almost trick us into falling for him.

This may not be the Sauron story we expected, but it is the Sauron story we needed: a different, yet familiar, and ultimately faithful-to-the-novels adaptation that finally brings the Dark Lord Sauron to Middle-earth in physical form.