Spoilers for episodes 1-7 of The Rings of Power follow.
Everything will be revealed. That’s the main takeaway from the final trailer for The Rings of Power season one, which teased answers to two of the fantasy show’s biggest questions.
The teaser, which was revealed at New York Comic Con on October 7, primarily comprises footage from the first seven episodes of the Prime Video series. There are also, however, snippets of new images that suggest we’ll finally get answers to the biggest questions Amazon’s Lord of the Rings has posed.
First, take a look at the trailer below:
So what are the answers we’re looking for in The Rings of Power episode 8? The first involves the titular power rings. Given that one of the show’s four overarching narratives will focus on the formation of these bands – and the One Ring itself – surprisingly there has been no mention of the creation of the rings so far.
The second is arguably more important: who on earth is Sauron? As exclusively learned, the cast of The Rings of Power already know which one of them is playing the Dark Lord. However, we still don’t know which character is disguised as Sauron, and the last seven weeks – or rather, eight months since the first trailer was released – have been filled with fans theorizing about who Sauron really is.
Based on this new footage, it looks like we’ll finally have an answer to both of these questions. I can’t help but feel, however, that the final trailer for The Rings of Power is just a massive misdirection – and it has everything to do with some clever image-editing tricks that were apparently employed.
One of the final moments of the teaser indicates that the forging of the titular rings will begin in episode 8. “We are on the cusp of creating a new kind of power,” declares the elven blacksmith Celebrimbor, as footage of molten metal being poured into a circular mold is shown. So it looks like the first Ring of Power could be created at the end of the first season.
If we see the first Ring of Power being made, it must also mean that a disguised Sauron has already met Celebrimbor. In the source material, Sauron meets elven blacksmiths, in the guise of someone named Anntar, and begins polluting Celebrimbor’s mind with talk of making rings filled with immeasurable power. This is why the Rings of Power and Sauron’s own ring are eventually forged by Celebrimbor.
This brings us to the second big question – who Sauron really is.
There’s a lot of footage of The Stranger scattered in and around clips from The Mystics – the supernatural trio that burned down the Foot Archers caravan in Episode 7 of The Rings of Power and who are looking for the Stranger. Just look at the 0:12 mark, where Bridie Sisson’s Dweller spits fire at something off-screen, only for a clip of The Stranger – taken from Episode 2, that is – to be edited out soon after.
Initially, this implies that episode 8 will contain a magic-based battle between the pair. Later in the trailer, at the 1:46 mark, we see footage of The Stranger and The Dweller appearing in battle, with strong winds surrounding the duo, which gives more weight to the possibility of a confrontation between the duo.
However, other parts of the teaser appear to show The Mystics telling the Stranger that he is actually Lord Sauron. At the 0:43 mark, The Mystics say in unison “You will finally be known for who you really are, for you are Lord Sauron.”
Given that The Mystics has spent the last three episodes looking for The Stranger, it’s not too hard to suggest that a) they spot him at the end of season one and b) tell him that he really is Middle-earth’s greatest enemy.
There’s also a lot of talk about evil in Middle-earth whenever The Stranger appears in the teaser. The first time The Stranger is seen, we hear Galadriel say “Evil does not sleep; it waits”, which lends more credence to the possibility that The Stranger is Sauron.
Read our Rings of Power recaps
To me, though, the ‘Stranger is Sauron’ theory isn’t that simple, even if this trailer suggests it.
Of course, he is a dangerous entity. He inadvertently put others (mostly the Harfoots) in danger, but The Stranger seems like a Good face. In my eyes, he is someone who would fight the forces of evil and use his abilities to help the races of Middle-earth in the battle against Sauron.
Also, trailers are always edited in certain ways that convince viewers to put two and two together and get five. The season 1 final trailer clips about The Stranger and The Mystics were probably edited together in such a way that it makes us think The Stranger is Sauron. This creates more debate online, adds more fuel to the fan theory fires, and keeps us talking about the show until Episode 8 airs — and that’s exactly what Amazon, the show’s creators, cast and crew want.
If The Stranger is not Sauron, who is? Given that Halbrand left for Lindon with Galadriel to heal his wounds with elven remedies, we can rule him out. The mystics are nowhere near Lindon, so it wouldn’t make sense for them to suddenly swing there and reveal that Halbrand is indeed Sauron.
Could it be Adar? It’s possible. We hear him say “I’m not a god. At least, not yet” in the trailer, and he’s already tried to get us (and Galadriel) off the scent by saying he killed Sauron during his conversation with Galadriel in The Rings of Power 6. For once, however, the Mystics are not on their way to Mordor – they are tracking the Stranger. Unless they take an unexpected detour, Adar is unlikely to be Sauron.
There are other lures and switches in the trailer as well. A voice from The Mystics – “You will know who you really are” – is said while a picture of Theo, holding the hilt of the evil sword, is shown, which may suggest he is Sauron. We can rule this out, however, based on what we’ve learned about Theo from the previous seven episodes.
And the formation of the rings? What if this is also a clever mistake? It is possible that Celebrimbor is simply trying to convince Gil-galad to sign off on forging the rings in an attempt to save the elves from destruction. Remember, elves are in danger. Without the mithril from the mines of Khazad-dum, they will lose their immortality and die like any other race in Middle-earth. Given that Elrond will surely return to Lindon with just a small piece of mithril – the one he gifted Prince Durin – the elves will need a new way to preserve their immortality. In Celembrimbor’s opinion, rings could be the solution.
But what if the footage of something being forged is related to something else? sure that looks as if a Ring of Power could be made and, as we know from Tolkien’s source material, one of the rings – Nenya – is made of mithril.
However, there is always the prospect that something else is either being created or destroyed. We see Galadriel looking helplessly at Finrod’s dagger at one point in the teaser. Is it an exaggeration to suggest that she will finally stop fighting in her memory and decide to melt her dagger to release her demons once and for all?
In my opinion, the trailer for Episode 8 of The Rings of Power is full of content that should mislead fans, and it’s becoming increasingly likely that Sauron is simply someone we haven’t seen on the show yet. Meanwhile, the forging of the rings will be teased at the end of season one, but we won’t see them until season two.
Teasers like this always serve as hype inducers, causing viewers to over-read what they mean; and hey, that hooked me too – see how much I speculated in this article. Still, I can’t help but feel that The Rings of Power has two great final tricks up its sleeve. If you and I are looking for answers about Sauron’s identity and the formation of the rings, we won’t get them in this trailer.
For more Rings of Power content, read about how episode 7’s big stories set up the season 1 finale and beyond. Alternatively, find out why the Prime Video show didn’t employ Star Wars Volume technology.
Episodes 1-7 of The Rings of Power are now available on main video.