An Unexpected Journey

Rings of Power theory reveals Halbrand’s shocking identity — and it’s not Sauron

Is Halbrand secretly this one unexpected but legendary Lord of the Rings character?

Originally Published: 
Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) holds up a cup in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' Episode 3
Prime Video

What’s really going on with Charlie Vickers’s character Halbrand in Rings of Power? That question has been on the minds of J.R.R. Tolkien fans since The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power first premiered — and for good reason, too.

Halbrand is, after all, not only one of the show’s purely original characters but also one of its most important. It’s for that reason that many Lord of the Rings fans have long suspected he’ll turn out to be a noteworthy Tolkien character who is either in disguise or who simply hasn’t become the figure that he’ll one day be known better as throughout Middle-earth.

One popular new fan theory even argues that Halbrand could be a legendary but doomed character from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Who is Halbrand in Rings of Power?

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

Ben Rothstein/Prime Video

An Oathbreaker — Very little is actually known about Halbrand right now, aside from the fact that he is the rightful king of the Southlands (at least according to Galadriel). That said, the few pieces of information we have been given about him up to this point have led many fans to believe that he’s either secretly Sauron in disguise or one of the unlucky men who will eventually become Sauron’s nine Ringwraiths, if not the Witch-king of Angmar himself.

However, while both of those theories remain plausible, some Tolkien fans have begun to believe that Halbrand could, instead, be the unnamed king who rules over the undead Men of the Mountains in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. For what it’s worth, that idea isn’t as far outside the realm of possibility as some viewers may think.

The King of the Dead memorably appears in 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

New Line Cinema

The Men of the Mountains — This theory may seem fairly ridiculous at first, especially considering that the King of the Dead and the Men of the Mountains don’t really come into play in Middle-earth’s story until after Gondor has been founded. Taking that into account, it’d be easy to assume Halbrand has simply been introduced too early to be the same man that Isildur (Maxim Baldry) will one day curse for failing to come to Gondor’s aid.

However, The Rings of Power has altered the timeline of the Second Age so much that Halbrand could actually become the King of the Dead. As a matter of fact, it’d make a fair bit of tragic sense for him to be the legendary oathbreaker.

Tolkien did write that the Men of the Mountains were a group of men from Middle-earth who originally worshipped Sauron prior to Gondor’s founding. This is notable, considering that some of the men of the Southlands (i.e. Halbrand’s subjects) appear to be similarly devoted to both Sauron and his former master Morgoth in The Rings of Power.

It’s also said that the Men of the Mountains are residing in the White Mountains when they make their original oath to Isildur. The White Mountains is a mountain range that not only runs between Rohan and Gondor but also stretches fairly close to the Southlands. It isn’t, therefore, all that difficult to imagine Halbrand and his surviving subjects relocating to the White Mountains after the Southlands are eventually transformed into Mordor.

Is Halbrand really the King of the Southlands, or is there more to his story in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power?

Prime Video

The Inverse Analysis — Right now, The Rings of Power is setting Halbrand up to be its stand-in for Aragorn. However, while the Amazon series has gone out of its way to sell Halbrand as an honorable man who is simply trying to escape his royal duties, most Tolkien fans are convinced that he’ll ultimately emerge as a kind of anti-Aragorn figure within the show. That means his arc may end up being tragic in a way that Aragorn’s decidedly is not.

With that in mind, while making Halbrand one of Sauron’s Ringwraiths would certainly give his arc an anti-Aragorn quality, so would making him the future King of the Dead.

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

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