Sauron stands in front of an army of orcs in the opening prologue of The Lord of the Rings: The Ring...

An Unexpected Journey

The Rings of Power’s Mordor twist may confirm one huge finale theory

An important part of Sauron’s plan has been revealed.

In the third installment of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) makes a shocking discovery.

After becoming a captive on Númenor, Galadriel convinces Elendil (Lloyd Owen), whose name literally means “Elf-friend,” to take her to the island kingdom’s Hall of Law. Once there, the pair discovers an old report that finally reveals the true meaning of the symbol of Sauron that was branded on the chest of Galadriel’s brother.

Galadriel realizes that the symbol is not just a sigil for Morgoth’s greatest servant, but also a map of the Southlands of Middle-earth. It’s further revealed that Sauron created a plan long ago to transform the Southlands into a place where evil itself can “thrive.”

For certain well-versed J.R.R. Tolkien fans, that reveal won’t come as much of a surprise. However, the true meaning behind Sauron’s symbol not only redefines Galadriel’s search for him, it may also confirm one long-held fan theory about The Rings of Power’s debut season.

Sauron’s mark burns brightly on a broken blade in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 1.Prime Video

Sauron’s Symbol — When The Rings of Power begins, Mordor does not yet exist. But Tolkien readers know that it’s the Southlands that will eventually be transformed into the land where the shadows lie. For that reason, the reveal that Sauron plans to build his new kingdom where the Southlands are currently located isn’t particularly surprising.

What is notable about The Rings of Power Episode 3’s Sauron twist, however, is that it sets the stage for the final episodes of the Amazon series’ first season to essentially revolve around the founding of Mordor. That means one popular fan theory about an eye-catching moment in a previous Rings of Power trailer may be even more accurate than we initially thought...

Is Isildur (Maxim Baldry) watching a certain volcano erupt in this moment from Amazon’s most recent Rings of Power trailer?Prime Video

Mordor’s Beginnings — In the last official trailer for The Rings of Power released prior to the show’s premiere, there is a very brief shot (see above) of Isildur (Maxim Baldry). In it, Isildur is looking up at something in the distance while hot balls of fire rain down around him from the sky. While it has yet to be confirmed what Isildur is actually looking at during the moment in question, a number of Lord of the Rings fans believe the shot may show him watching in horror as Mount Doom erupts across the Southlands.

Now that we know the founding of Mordor is, indeed, going to be a major part of The Rings of Power Season 1’s story, the theory seems correct. The Amazon series’ third episode even, notably, plants the seeds for Galadriel to journey to the Southlands with an army of Númenóreans at some point in the show’s first season.

The series has, therefore, already opened the door for someone like, say, Isildur to end up in the Southlands at the exact moment Mount Doom erupts.

Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) stands covered in ash in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.Ben Rothstein/Prime Video

The Inverse Analysis — Lord of the Rings fans have spent a lot of time speculating about when and how Sauron will appear for the first time in The Rings of Power. Now, the show’s third episode has hinted that The Rings of Power may not signal Sauron’s reemergence for the first time by having him simply walk into a room.

Instead, The Rings of Power may announce Sauron’s return with the formation and founding of his kingdom, which also means that the Amazon series may bring its first season to a close with a massive environmental crisis. To The Rings of Power’s credit, that’d certainly be an explosive way to ring in its iconic villain’s long-awaited arrival.

New episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiere Fridays on Prime Video.