⚠️ Warning: Spoiler alert for Amazon’s Rings of Power series.
I just finished watching the first season of the Amazon series Rings of Power, and I can honestly say that I didn’t realize it was going to turn into a mystery. “Who is Sauron,” was the question that seemed to drive most discussions about the show, like “who shot J.R.” did back in the early days of Dallas. James Hibberd interviews Charlie Vickers, who plays Halbrand, the self-proclaimed king of the Southlands. Vickers didn’t know going in that he was playing Sauron, but he had some hints.
I didn’t know for sure until the beginning of the third episode. We filmed the first two episodes and then the show went on hiatus because of COVID. Towards the end of the hiatus, the showrunners sat me down and told me. I filmed that that sequence on the raft not knowing. I filmed it as Halbrand wholeheartedly. But I did have an inkling, if I’m honest with you. My last two auditions [were reading lines from] Richard III and we know he’s not the greatest guy in the world. And then the other [audition lines were] from Paradise Lost where you’re literally giving the speech as Satan. So that gave me an inkling there was something up. So I was definitely suspicious, but it wasn’t confirmed until right before we started filming the third episode.
It’s an interesting interview to read right after watching the finale. Something I found unsatisfying about the reveal was that the show’s creators went to such great lengths to obfuscate Sauron’s identity that they didn’t leave many clues that made sense. In the interview, Hibberd has an “it was so obviously all right there, all along” take, but even looking back, there are things that just don’t add up.
- Why, for instance, did the head orc (the Trent Reznor looking guy they called “father”) not know Sauron?
- Why did the character switch from just wanting to live a quiet life in Numenor, to wanting to take over the world within a few episodes?
- What is his connection to Mordor, if he didn’t order its creation?
I have many questions that hopefully season 2 will answer.
→ ‘The Rings of Power’ Finale: Even Sauron Actor Didn’t Know He Was Sauron at First