An Unexpected Journey

Sauron? Rings of Power theory may reveal Halbrand’s evil true identity

The Lord of the Rings prequel’s handsome human hero may turn out to be the anti-Aragorn.

Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) stands in a Númenórean court in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power...

Episode 3 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power really wants viewers to believe that Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) is the show’s Aragorn. But what if he’s not?

After remaining a mysterious figure for the entirety of Episode 2, it’s revealed in The Rings of Power Episode 3 that Halbrand is secretly a descendant of the very king who rallied the people of the Southlands together to fight against the Elves with Morgoth during the First Age of Middle-earth. Halbrand was, therefore, in the midst of trying to run from his leadership duties when he first crossed paths with Galadriel (Morfydd Clark).

This reveal paints Halbrand as a reluctant ruler in the same vein as Aragorn. However, some Lord of the Rings fans believe that Halbrand’s Aragorn-esque backstory isn’t setting him up to take a similar path as the future king of Gondor, but rather one that is very, very different.

Is Halbrand actually Sauron in disguise?

Charlie Vickers as Halbrand in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 3.

Matt Grace/Prime Video

Ever since the first details about Halbrand were revealed, fans have been speculating that there’s more to the character (who is completely original to The Rings of Power) than meets the eye. While it’s possible the Amazon series’ third episode has just revealed Halbrand’s biggest secret, it seems more likely there are still some big things about Halbrand we don’t yet know.

Many J.R.R. Tolkien fans believe Halbrand could be none other than Sauron in disguise. For what it’s worth, the character’s obsession with blacksmithing and his connection to the Southlands, which are in the midst of being transformed into Mordor, both lend credence to that theory.

However, there’s another theory about Halbrand’s true identity in The Rings of Power that seems to better fit the character’s current trajectory in the Amazon show. Some speculate that Halbrand will become one of Sauron’s nine Ringwraiths, if not the Witch-king himself.

Halbrand, the Witch-king?

The Witch-king of Angmar raises his weapon in 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

New Line Cinema

The Second Age is generally not a good period for the humans of Middle-earth. Several great kingdoms fall due to their citizens’ pride and arrogance, and nine prominent men are seduced and corrupted by Sauron’s Rings of Power. It’s for those reasons that, at the beginning of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Aragorn is not only haunted by the mistakes of his ancestors but also determined to avoid falling into the same traps that they did.

Having Halbrand redeem himself and his people without ever being corrupted by Sauron would, therefore, take away some of the weight from not only Aragorn’s journey but also the few heroic acts that men like Elendil (Lloyd Owen) and Isildur (Maxim Baldry) do manage to achieve throughout the Second Age. That, combined with the fact that the very land he’s meant to rule is destined to become Mordor, makes it seem like Halbrand is fated to become an anti-Aragorn.

It’s hard to think of a character who might better fit the “anti-Aragorn” description than the Witch-king. While little is actually known of Sauron’s Ringwraiths, it’s said that they were originally nine men who ranged from kings to sorcerers to warriors. Taking that into account, Halbrand, a lord of the Southlands, certainly seems like someone Sauron would try to corrupt with a Ring of Power.

Morfydd Clark as Galadriel and Charlie Vickers as Halbrand in Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Prime Video

The Inverse Analysis — Tolkien wrote so little about the pasts of the nine Ringwraiths that The Rings of Power essentially has the freedom to create its own backstories and identities for each of the iconic villains. Right now, Halbrand certainly seems like a worthy contender to become one of them.

Turning Halbrand into the Witch-king or into one of the other Ringwraiths would, at the very least, be an interesting subversion of the character’s current story. Additionally, a descent into darkness for such a seemingly Aragorn-like character would be a powerful way to showcase just how tragic of a period the Second Age actually is for Middle-earth.

The Rings of Power airs Fridays on Amazon Prime.

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