Isildur looks to his left while onboard a ship in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' Episod...

An Unexpected Journey

The Rings of Power Episode 4 explained: Mithril, Adar’s plan, Númenor’s destruction, and more

Let’s break down all the biggest moments.

Episode 4 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is the show’s most impactful yet. After opening with an ominous dream sequence, the fourth installment delivers several dramatic twists and reveals. It sets the stage for an epic second half of Season 1, and it even concludes with a foreboding conversation about Sauron himself.

Fans now have plenty to talk about over the next week. Here’s what casual viewers should know about the biggest scenes and reveals in The Rings of Power Episode 4, from the fate of Numenor to Adar’s evil plan. So put on your mithril shirt for protection and let’s dive in.

Major spoilers ahead.

Who is Adar and what does he want?

Joseph Mawle makes his long-awaited debut as Adar in Episode 4 of The Rings of Power.Prime Video

Adar (Joseph Mawle) finally makes his debut in Episode 4. He makes an immediate impression too, lovingly saying farewell to an injured Orc before putting them out of their misery. The show’s Orcs, we later learn, see Adar as a kind of father figure despite the fact he’s an Elf.

When Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) questions Adar’s mission, he cryptically says the only way to untangle the lies of Middle-earth is to create a new world. That’s a power he says only “the gods” are capable of wielding, but hints he may soon become a god himself.

Considering that Adar is a character created for The Rings of Power, it seems safe to assume that he won’t succeed in becoming a god. However, his line about creating a new world suggests that Adar’s plan for The Southlands may tie into the secret plan Sauron had for the region, which Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) discovered in The Rings of Power Episode 3.

While Adar’s history with Sauron and the Orcs remains unclear, it seems likely that his plans for The Southlands will lead, in one way or another, to the inevitable creation of Mordor.

Who is Pharazôn in Rings of Power?

Trystan Gravelle as Pharazôn and Leon Wadham as Kemen in The Rings of Power Episode 4.Prime Video

Episode 4 of The Rings of Power explores the island kingdom of Númenor more extensively than Episode 3. It not only opens with a terrifying vision of what may lie in Númenor’s future, but it also spends time with the kingdom’s two most powerful politicians: Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), Númenor’s queen regent; and Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle), her most trusted advisor.

The latter is probably the most important of The Rings of Power’s Númenórean characters, and the episode establishes him as perhaps the most influential person in Númenor. Notably, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, Pharazôn is not only Míriel’s first cousin but an accomplished army commander.

The Amazon series seems to have either skipped past that part of Pharazôn’s life or abandoned it altogether in favor of focusing more on his political power and the love that his kingdom’s people have for him. Like many of his fellow Númenóreans, Pharazôn doesn’t seem interested in repairing Númenor’s relationship with the Elves of Middle-earth, either.

That’s proven in the speech he gives early on, which calms a crowd of angry Númenóreans by assuring them their kingdom will always prioritize them over any outsiders. The scene establishes the power Pharazôn has over his fellow Númenóreans and sets the stage for many of his future actions.

Theo’s sword in The Rings of Power Episode 4

What’s the purpose of the broken sword that Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) discovers in The Rings of Power’s premiere?Ben Rothstein/Prime Video

In The Rings of Power Episode 4, Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) returns to his home village to reacquire the broken sword he unveiled in the show’s premiere. When he does, Theo uses the sword’s blood magic to fight back an Orc, and it’s heavily implied that the invading Orcs have been looking for the very sword he holds.

Later, Theo is told about the sword’s origins by Waldreg (Geoff Morrell), who reveals that he’s also experimented with the sword’s blood magic. Waldreg tells Theo the sword is a “power fashioned for our ancestors” by Sauron, the “beautiful servant” who has disappeared but is destined to return. Waldreg goes on to claim that the meteor strike that brought The Stranger (Daniel Weyman) to Middle-earth is a sign that Sauron’s return is just around the corner.

More than anything, Theo and Waldreg’s conversation, which ends Episode 4, finally confirms that Theo’s mysterious sword was made by Sauron and that it has some role to play in Adar’s plan for The Southlands. We’ll have to wait to see what role it ultimately serves.

Númenor’s future in The Rings of Power

Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in The Rings of Power Episode 4.Prime Video

Episode 4 opens with a terrifying vision where Númenor and all its inhabitants, including Cynthia Addai-Robinson’s Míriel, are drowned beneath a tidal wave. Later, Míriel informs Galadriel that both she and her father, the king who was ousted from power by his own subjects, were shown the vision when they first touched the secret palantír hidden in Númenor’s royal tower.

Míriel explains there were once seven palantíri, which are Elven-made seeing stones used to communicate across great distances, but it’s unknown whether the other six have been lost or hidden. However, the one that ended up in Númenor was passed to Míriel’s father with, as she says, “a great secret.”

The secret, it turns out, is the vision of Númenor’s destruction, which Míriel says begins with Galadriel’s arrival on the island. It’s for this reason that Míriel is so desperate to get rid of Galadriel for most of Episode 4, but when she sees the petals falling from Númenor’s White Tree just as Galadriel is sailing away from the island kingdom, Míriel changes her mind and finally agrees to help the elf save The Southlands.

Tolkien fans, of course, already know whether her last-minute decision is enough to save Númenor from the future Míriel dreads. For now, though, it seems safe to say that her apocalyptic visions have made it clear just how dire the ongoing moral reckoning within Númenor actually is.

Mithril in The Rings of Power

Robert Aramayo as Elrond and Owain Arthur as Prince Durin IV in The Rings of Power Episode 4.Ben Rothstein/Prime Video

Also in Episode 4, Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur) finally comes clean to Elrond (Robert Aramayo) about the secret he and the other dwarves of Khazad-dûm have been withholding from their Elven friends. The secret, it turns out, is a new ore the dwarves discovered sometime before Elrond’s arrival, one that Durin IV says is “lighter than silk” and “harder than iron.”

As many Tolkien fans had already guessed, the ore is mithril, the same metal that will be used to make the coat of armor Frodo Baggins wears in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Mithril is extremely dangerous to mine. Despite that, one should expect the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm to continue mining for it in the years to come. It is, after all, their desire to acquire as much mithril as possible that leads them to dig too deep and awaken the very monster that will bring about the Dwarven kingdom’s downfall.

Like many of the biggest moments in The Rings of Power Episode 4, Elrond and Durin’s conversation about mithril not only brings one of the show’s previous storylines to a close but also sets up several major moments still to come.

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