With its Season 1 finale, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power finally provided answers about the enduring mystery surrounding Halbrand and The Stranger’s true identities, while also laying the groundwork for an even bigger adventure when the Prime Video series returns for Season 2.
THE STRANGER | With the mystics — The Dweller (Bridie Sisson), The Ascetic (Kali Kopae) and The Nomad (Edith Poor) — tracking The Stranger, Harfoots Nori, Poppy, Marigold and Sadoc also followed him in the hopes of saving their tall friend from the danger that awaited him.
The mystics caught up to the Stranger first, with the shape-shifting Dweller luring him into their trap by posing as Nori. Their intent, though, wasn’t to harm him but rather serve him. The sinister trio believed the Stranger was actually the Dark Lord Sauron, and they tried to lift the veil that kept his memories at bay. But they were interrupted by the Stranger’s friends, who staged a chaotic rescue involving misdirection and hurling rocks at the robed figures.
When the Harfoots found themselves outmatched, the Stranger came to their rescue and displayed even more impressive firepower. The mystics quickly realized they were wrong about him, noting that he was “the other.” The Stranger was an Istari (aka a wizard), although we never found out which one. In the books, the Istari are physically strong and incredibly intelligent despite appearing as men in advanced age; the handful we know of are Saruman the White (the original leader); Gandalf the Grey; Radagast the Brown (who loves nature); and Alatar and Pallanda, the recluse Blue Wizards who went into the far east of Middle-earth.
Using light, the Stranger banished the mystics back to the darkness they came from. Unfortunately, Sadoc was gravely injured during the fight and knew he had little time left. The Harfoot elder kept the mood light and opted to watch the sun rise rather than dwell in sadness. He then died peacefully while sitting with his friends.
The surviving trio and the Stranger rejoined the other Harfoots, and it was soon time for another goodbye. The Stranger was headed toward his constellations on the map Sadoc gave him, and Nori was going with him. After a teary farewell to her friends and family, the young Harfoot and her wizard friend were off — following the trail of a “sweet” smell that felt familiar to the Stranger.
MÍRIEL | The mood was somber among the Númenóreans on the ship as Queen Regent Míriel adjusted to being blind. She wouldn’t handle this alone because Elendil pledged to remain by her side through it all. They arrived home to see other ships with black sails signaling that the king had died. Before he passed, the monarch warned Eärien — who he mistook for Míriel — to follow the old ways or the island was doomed. He pointed her to the secret passage that led to a room with the Palantír.
HALBRAND | Galadriel and Halbrand rode to Eregion, where the latter received elven care for his wounds following the eruption of Mount Doom. Time was running out for the elves, and they only had a small amount of mithril to work with when it came to saving their people. The High King Gil-Galad deemed the elves out of time, meaning they needed to leave Middle-earth immediately and return to Valinor — or face death if they stayed behind. He ordered Celebrimbor to pack up the city, but the ruler of Eregion wasn’t ready to give up just yet.
The master craftsman teamed up with Halbrand, who claimed to be a fellow blacksmith, to harness the ore’s power. They worked for weeks with the unruly material. Meanwhile, Galadriel grew suspicious of Halbrand, who seemed to be influencing Celebrimbor more and more each day. She looked into old records, realizing that the King of the Southlands died a thousand years ago and never had any heirs. In truth, Halbrand was lying about who he was. She confronted him, and that’s when he confirmed his true identity: Sauron.
But like a true gaslighter, Sauron entered her mind and tried to manipulate her — via a vision of her dead brother Finrod — into thinking the Dark Lord was trying to help Middle-earth. When she resisted, he offered her a place beside him as his queen. She again turned him down, and this angered the evil overlord.
As Galadriel drowned in her vision, Elrond found her nearly drowning in the real world. He pulled her from the river, and they both returned to Celebrimbor’s work tower only to realize Halbrand had left. He got what he needed, and Galadriel wanted the elves to have a weapon of their own. They created three new rings: Narya (the Ring of Fire), Vilya (the Ring of Air) and Nenya (the Ring of Adamant, worn by Galadriel). Celebrimbor melted down Finrod’s dagger (because it was made of the purest gold and silver from Valinor) and combined it with a piece of mithril to create the jewelry pieces.
In one last scene, Halbrand stalked toward a ledge until he saw the giant volcano over the horizon. He was in his new home, Mordor.
What did you all think of the Rings of Power finale? Were Halbrand and The Stranger who you expected? Grade the episode below, and then sound off in the comments.