The Importance Of Sauron's 'Gift' In The Rings Of Power Season Finale

Warning: spoilers for the season finale of "The Rings of Power" will follow!

As of its season finale, "The Rings of Power" finally gave up its secrets and provided some long-awaited answers to viewers who had been waiting all season long to discover who Sauron had been the entire time. The revelation that Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), the self-styled king of the Southlands, was actually the Dark Lord in disguise all along perhaps wasn't terribly shocking, but that doesn't mean the trail of breadcrumbs leading up to this reveal were any less intriguing.

In fact, even though the opening minutes of the finale seemed to point towards the Stranger (Daniel Weyman) as Sauron in disguise, some notable details and telltale remarks indicated that not all was as it seemed with Halbrand. If it felt a little too convenient that Halbrand managed to find himself in prime position to help the overeager Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) and Elrond (Robert Aramayo) with their mithril problem, displaying just a bit too much curiosity about a project he should've known nothing about, then every viewer's alarm bells should've been ringing when the Southlander described his genuinely helpful assistance early on as a "gift" to the elves. When things seem too good to be true, well, they usually are. Galadriel and her fellow elves learn this the hard way by the end of the finale.

Though Halbrand doesn't go so far as to give up any of the "many names" he's gone by over the ages, there's one such name that J.R.R. Tolkien nerds should've immediately been reminded of — Annatar, which translates to "Lord of Gifts."

Beware Southlanders bearing gifts

Tolkien described Sauron's activities during this period in Middle-earth history as one where he moved around in a "mask," allowing himself to appear "fair" and seductive to those he wanted to manipulate. His end goal? Complete dominion over all beings in Middle-earth and the island kingdom of Númenor. The best way to enact these plans, as he soon discovered, was through the corruptive influence of gifting all the most significant leaders in the land with rings of power that he could secretly undermine and influence with his One Ring.

"The Rings of Power" finale showed the origins of the first three of those rings for the elves, though Sauron himself can only whisper in the ears of the famous smith Celebrimbor and urge him towards crafting some of the most powerful objects Middle-earth has ever seen. When he provides much-needed answers to the tricky question of how to bind mithril with other alloys, the Dark Lord currently under the disguise of Halbrand merely says to, "Call it a gift," an ominous statement to fans who know that such poisoned offerings are a hallmark of the being known as Annatar.

Who is Annatar?

During the Second Age, the innocent identity of "Annatar" allows Sauron the opportunity to teach the elves the craft of ring-making, claim those rings for himself through his One Ring, and sabotage them from within. Clearly, "The Rings of Power" won't follow the lore exactly, as Halbrand is never introduced as Annatar, but this could serve as a hint for how the other rings are forged in future season.

Evil doesn't always appear exactly how our heroes may have expected it to. Adar (Joseph Mawle), the Stranger, and even the sinister robed figures kept distracting viewers from the real threat — Halbrand's relentless efforts to rule Middle-earth for himself. As he descends into Mordor in the concluding moments of the finale, the forging place for his One Ring, the foreboding imagery comes with the implicit promise of more deceptive "gifts" to come.