The Lord Of The Rings Has Never Been Sexier Than Galadriel's Temptation Scene In The Rings Of Power

Warning: spoilers below for the season finale of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power."

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is not your granddad's Middle-earth. The question of who is inherently good — and who might be the devil in disguise — is a major conflict within the series. Our heroes routinely struggle with wrath and revenge, while even the bad guys manage to invoke our sympathy from time to time. "The Rings of Power" has introduced mystery, tension, and even a bit of ambiguity to a world that's typically relied on chastity and morality. Pairing all that with such a charismatic cast has made a series that (consciously or not) is actually really sexy — and that was all before the equally sexy Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) turned out to be Sauron all along.

There was a time — and not too long ago, either! — when the Sauron reveal would have been a devastating blow to a certain corner of the "Rings of Power" fandom, the one rooting for romance between Halbrand/Sauron and Galadriel (Morfydd Clark). Of course, you'd have to be watching the show with your eyes closed to ignore the simmering tension between the characters. But in the black-and-white world of Middle-earth, there hasn't been much room for the "bad boy, good girl" dynamic that has thrived in other fandoms over the years. And Halbrand is clearly the bad guy now. Surely "The Rings of Power" would drop the "will they, won't they" now that the cat's out of the bag?

Ha. Wrong. With Sauron and Galadriel's final showdown in the season finale, "The Rings of Power" has only dialed up the sexual tension between the characters, and it's made the battle between good and evil a bit more complicated — and a whole lot steamier — than anyone could have anticipated.

Stronger than the foundations of the earth

Hollywood has been very into the idea of a corruption arc lately. It's a tale as old as time, but recently it's been popping up everywhere, from YA fantasy adaptations to gothic horror. Sometimes our heroes succumb to the seduction of the dark side, and sometimes they manage to resist and defeat their adversary. No matter the outcome, the art of temptation and the tension it generates will never not be hot. It's something that the "Rings of Power" writers seem to understand well, especially after Galadriel's temptation in "Alloyed."

Temptation has always been a major theme within the Tolkien-verse, but it's never felt so intoxicating as it does in "The Rings of Power." Sauron knows that, deep down, more than anything, Galadriel seeks power. It's all for the greater good, of course — to drive dark forces from Middle-earth once and for all — but she's still very flawed at the end of the day. Not as much as Sauron, obviously, but ironically they bring something good out in each other. It's easy to see how powerful they could be together, how much change they could inspire. Of course, this is all soured by the fact that Sauron indirectly killed everyone Galadriel's ever loved, and doomed her to fight in an eternal war.

That said, there's still something poetic about discovering that the evil you've dedicated years of your life to defeating is also the only person that really understands you: not just the good in you, but also the darkness. The mere idea of these two devastatingly powerful, diametrically opposed beings joining forces (and maybe even smooching) is tempting not just to Galadriel, but to the audience as well. It's the perfect blend of tension and anguish. It's star-crossed lovers with a ridiculously messed-up twist, and you'd be lying if you said that wasn't at least a little sexy.

Treacherous as the sea

As most Tolkien familiars know, Galadriel ultimately resists Sauron's offer to "heal" Middle-earth — whatever that entails — and eventually must reunite with her husband, Celeborn. But that doesn't mean that Sauron's proposal, or their newly-established mental connection, won't continue to haunt her for years to come. In Tolkien's "Fellowship of the Ring," Galdriel actually engages in a bit of psychological warfare with Sauron. "I perceive the Dark Lord and know his mind," she tells Frodo. Her mind, however, is closed to Sauron completely — quite the departure from the mental manipulation in "Alloyed."

This quote inspired showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay into establishing a mental link between the characters. "We thought that [it] spoke or hinted at the possibility of some kind of a relationship between Sauron and Galadriel," Payne told Deadline's Inside the Ring. It's a relationship that I'm sure we can look forward to seeing evolve in the seasons to come. Given that "The Rings of Power" is a few thousand years removed from the events of "Fellowship," we could be witnessing the inception of a millennia-spanning battle of wills (and yes, that's still super hot).

From a certain point of view

Now, I know that there's much more at stake here than mere sexual tension, but Sauron's attempts to seduce Galadriel to his side still invoke some of the most popular fantasy pairings in recent memory. I'm of course referring to Reylo, the highly divisive ship that nearly tore the "Star Wars" fandom apart. But — and don't hate me — "The Rings of Power" seems to benefit from a clarity and a maturity that the "Star Wars" sequels largely lacked. The beauty of Galadriel's evolving relationship with Sauron lies in its interpretation. At the end of the day, it's always going to be about the struggle between good and evil. It doesn't have to be romantic or even erotic ... but since we already know how the story ends, there's no harm in indulging just a little bit, is there?

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.