Warning: This article contains spoilers about the Season Finale. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
The second season is in production The Rings of PowerIt is currently underway in England. And while the first season did tie up several mysteries—including the identity of Sauron and how he factored into the creation of the first three rings of power—there are plenty of questions that the next entry in the Lord of the RingsAnswering the prequel is necessary.
Season one’s final episode revealed that Halbrand had been actually Sauron, manipulating Galadriel to gain knowledge only the elves can access. It was also revealed that three witchy women, who were following Meteor Man as he fell from the sky, mistakenly believed the dark-haired stranger to be the Dark Lord. In fact, the Stranger is a wizard—though which wizard remains to be seen. We also got tantalizing teases, like Isildur’s sister Eärien gazing into the Palantir, Nori deciding to head eastward with the Stranger to confront the evil laying in wait there, and a namecheck for Galadriel’s long-lost husband Celeborn.
Continue reading: What were the Three Witches? The Rings of Power
Where are these clues actually leading? J.D. to help us make educated guesses. Next season, Patrick McKay and Payne will have more to share.
Are the Stranger Gandalfs Real?
Daniel Weyman plays The Stranger The Rings of Power
Ben Rothstein—Prime Video
The Stranger turns out to be a wizard at the end the first season. He is not Sauron as his three hunted down zealots assumed. We also learn that he’s a “good” wizard, and he declares himself as such to the three witches before banishing them to the darkness. What wizard is this?
There are five candidates: Gandalf, Sauron, Radagast, or two Blue Wizards whose deeds are a bit more murky in Tolkien’s writings. Both sides have their arguments. There are arguments for each. We know from the Stranger’s dark magic that Sauron can be corrupted but begins well.
Continue reading: There’s a Deeper Meaning Behind Wizards in The Rings of Power
Most likely this is Gandalf. At the end of the season finale, Gandalf advises Nori, “When in doubt, Elanor Brandifoot, always follow your nose.” Gandalf utters this line, word for word, to the hobbits in The Fellowship of the Ring. Still, we’ll need confirmation in the second season.
Is Sauron’s quest for redemption over?
Charlie Vickers in Halbrand Rings of Power
Tolkien stated that Sauron experienced phases. He even sought out redemption briefly after Morgoth fell. Galadriel tells Halbrand, towards the end of season 1, to forget about the evil that he caused Adar and Adar to him. Of course when she tells him this, she has no idea the extent of Halbrand’s bad deeds as the evil Sauron—including the murder of her brother.
Sauron appears to have taken these words to heart. According to him, he loves the feeling of fighting beside Galadriel. Perhaps there’s a glimmer of good there. Even better, he envisions Galadriel as his queen and the two of them ruling together in a kind of balance between light and darkness.
Continue reading: Here Are All the Clues You Missed About Sauron’s Identity in The Rings of Power
After helping Galadriel defeat Adar in the final, Halbrand tempts Galadriel by offering to make him his queen and reign over Middle-earth. This offer is a mirror of the one in The Fellowship of the RingWhen Frodo presents Galadriel the only ring and unmatched power it carries. It also echos the Star Wars Scene in which Kylo Ren takes on the evil Sith master, and asks Rey for help to restore order in the galaxy. Both cases show that the man does not believe in good or evil, and only sees a world where power and order are possible.
This moment as well as later Fellowship of the RingGaladriel, knowing her fate as a ruler queen, rejects an offer for unlimited power.
So will Sauron now give up on his half-hearted effort to be good—or at least not outright evil? Probably.
Was there a conflict between Adar and Sauron
Joseph Mawle, Adar The Rings of Power
These two Morgoth-servants have a lot in common. Adar didn’t recognize Galadriel and Halbrand when they captured Adar. Adar claimed that he killed Sauron, after having seen Sauron’s experiments on orcs. Adar considers them his children.
It’s possible Adar was pretending not to recognize Sauron as part of a ruse. Adar may also believe he killed Sauron. However, he was unable to recognize him and the dark lord is now back in disguise. That interpretation would align with Tolkien’s writings that Sauron came to the elves disguised as someone “fair” to hide his true, foul identity. Halbrand is the disguise.
Continue reading: The Extravagant and Secretive World of Bigheartedness The Rings of PowerThe most expensive show ever made
If Adar thinks Sauron is dead, he’s in for a rude awakening when Halbrand makes his way to the newly-created Mordor. Hopefully we’ll get more backstory on what went down when Adar tried to murder Sauron.
Where is Galadriel’s husband?
Galadriel, Morfydd Clark The Rings of Power
Matt Grace—Prime Video
This is the final episode of season one. The Rings of PowerGaladriel mentioned that she lost Celeborn along with her brother. Unless the show is radically breaking from Tolkien’s lore, we know the husband that Galadriel presumes to be dead is, in fact, alive.
Celeborn plays a crucial role in fighting Sauron and sits by Galadriel’s side ruling over Lothlórien in The Lord of the Rings. (In the film version of The Return of the King, he leads a siege against Sauron’s forces off-camera.) Perhaps even more essential to Tolkien’s lore, Celeborn and Galadriel give birth to Celebrían. Celebrían marries Elrond and gives birth to Arwen, the elf who eventually weds Aragorn.
It’s clear why the showrunners didn’t want Celeborn hanging around in season one: They wanted to float the possibility that Galadriel and Halbrand have a romantic connection and to tempt Galadriel with the possibility of becoming Sauron’s queen.
Continue reading: Galadriel became One Lord of the Rings’ Most Fascinating Characters
Galadriel’s rejection of Sauron clears the way of Celeborn’s return. But we’re going to need some idea of where he’s been since he was lost in the war against Morgoth. It’s strange that Galadriel spoke so often of her dead brother but only once about her dead husband. And while she spent years searching for her enemy, Sauron, she hasn’t seemed to spend any time searching for her beloved. These motivations are also worthy of explanation.
Why is Galadriel hiding Sauron’s identity?
Morfydd Campbell as Galadriel, and Charlie Vickers als Halbrand
Ben Rothstein—Prime Video
Galadriel is frightened by Halbrand and flees after he confronts her. Elrond locates Galadriel to wake her up. Elrond asks Galadriel directly about Halbrand’s fate. She tells Elrond that Halbrand left, and won’t return. Celebrimbor, Elrond are advised by her that Halbrand may return and they shouldn’t work together again with him. Elrond asks for more details, but she insists that they must have faith in her.
Why doesn’t Galadriel share Halbrand’s true identity? She is worried that she might be held responsible for Sauron’s entry into the land the elves. Has she been swayed by Halbrand’s argument that she ought to “touch the darkness” in order to form the rings the elves need to stay on Middle-earth? Are the rings’ power tempting her?
The pivotal Fellowship of the RingsGaladriel turns down Frodo’s offer of a ring. Maybe power is involved. When Galadriel turns down the ring, she says that she has “passed the test.” She seems relieved, perhaps because she failed to pass a test once before.
Galadriel could, in theory, order the destruction of the three rings because she knows Sauron played a role in their creation. No doubt, if she told Gil-galad about Halbrand’s true identity he would order the powerful objects destroyed. Galadriel might have already been convinced by the corrupting effects of the rings to lie, or could they be working on her?
What’s going on in Rhûn?
These are the three witches The Rings of Power
Ben Rothstein—Prime Video
The second season seems to be the best. The Rings of Power will be heading east to Rhûn, the lands where Sauron builds his army. Season finale: Nori and the Stranger travel in this direction.
What exactly is going on in Rhûn remains mysterious. It is known that three of the zealots who believed the Stranger was Sauron hail from this region. And we know that the Stranger landed in Middle-earth he remembered little but constellations that would lead him to Rhûn.
Knowing that the Stranger is not Sauron and a wizard instead of a warrior, it seems likely that he was born to go east to face evildoers. We still have many questions regarding this strange land. Why did the Zealots believe he was Sauron when they learned about him? Is everyone in the east just waiting for Sauron’s return? Halbrand will he go there?
Lloyd Owen in Elendil; Maxim Baldry in Isildur The Rings of Power
Matt Grace—Prime Video
Isildur has not died, but this is a spoiler alert. Isildur was the one who finally took the ring out of Sauron’s hand. But he’s too power-hungry to throw the ring into the fires of Mount Doom as Elrond instructs him. Although his story is tragic, he ends up being the ancestor of Aragorn.
According to showrunners, they would like to see how Isildur evolved from an ambitious soldier into a man who couldn’t destroy the ring. We’re just at the beginning of that journey, though his adventures in the Southlands will probably play a major role in forming the man who he becomes.
Continue reading: 11 Rings of Power Our Secrets from the Cast and Creators
We last saw Isildur when a house on fire fell upon him while he tried to rescue some Southlanders from the Mount Doom eruption. He’s presumed dead by the queen and his father. I’m guessing Isildur’s horse, which refuses to board the ship heading back to Númenor, and gallops away, is heading back towards the house that fell on Isildur to search for his rider.
Isildur is still stuck in Mordor, at the start of season 2. We’ll surely learn not only how he escaped that burning building, but how he survived in a barren land overrun with orcs. Maybe he’ll even run into Halbrand/Sauron as he headed that way in season 1.
How will the Númenóreans react to their defeat?
Numenor in The Rings of Power
Queen Regent Míriel is having a rough few weeks. She was likely to lose the trust of her men and not only was she blinded by the Mount Doom eruption, but also she has been unable to see clearly. After all, she defied the elf-hating faction of her court by agreeing to Galadriel’s plan of sailing for the Southlands in the first place. Now that she has led her men into slaughter, she’s likely returning to a rather hostile kingdom who will find yet another reason to hate the elves.
Plus, Míriel’s father, the king, has died, leaving her in a precarious position. Even as she ascends to her queendom, she’ll only be able to rule as long as she has the loyalty of her subjects. That’s now in question.
What did Eärien see in the Palantir?
Ema Horvath as Eärien and Leon Wadham as Kemen in The Rings of Power
It was a brief moment in the finale, but Isildur’s sister Eärien was sitting in the king’s chambers sketching his likeness for a tribute. The king, dying, confuses Eärien with his own daughter Míriel and tells her to go gaze into the Palantir that he has stowed away upstairs. He tells her to stop staring too long and she’ll confuse reality with fiction, past with future.
Eärien approaches the Palantir, but we don’t see her gaze into it. Given the king’s foreboding warning, it’s possible that she too grows confused by what she sees and gives information to either her father—or, more likely, the queen’s advisor Pharazôn—that proves false or problematic.
We saw Eärien bonding with Pharazôn’s son earlier in the season and being swayed by some anti-elf rhetoric despite her father’s pro-elf stance. It’s possible she’ll blame Galadriel for the (supposed) death of her beloved brother.
Where is Círdan?
Rings of Power
We know that the three rings created by and for the elves are worn by Eldrond, Galadriel, and Círdan the Shipwright, who has not yet been introduced to the series. But the showrunners told TIME that Círdan will be joining the cast in season two. Círdan is one of the oldest elves. He has a beard, apparently an indication of his age since the vast majority of elves are clean shaven and perhaps can’t even grow beards, according to Tolkien’s writings. Gandalf eventually gives him the ring.
Continue reading: Exclusive: A Fan-Favorite Character Will Join the Second Season of Rings of Power
What role will Arondir and Theo play in Season 2, if any?
Nazanin Boniadi and Ismael Cruz Córdova in The Rings of Power
Some of the best and most tense moments of the series took place in the Southlands, from Theo and his mother Bronwyn killing that orc in their home to Arondir’s escape from Adar’s prison to the epic Helm’s Deep-esque showdown between Adar and the Southland people in the sixth episode. But now that Adar has successfully executed his plan—or, well, Sauron’s plan—to turn the Southlands into Mordor, and the people have been forced to take refuge elsewhere, it’s unclear what role this trio will have in the next season.
Bronwyn and Arondir can be together, for that matter. Theo seems to have accepted the romance between elf and mortal, but Middle-earth society at large hasn’t been wild about those pairings in the past (or the future).
But what about the Balrog?
Sophia Nomvete, Princess Disa The Rings of Power
Ben Rothstein—Prime Video
So remember when we zoomed down to the bottom of the dwarf mine Khazad-dûm and there was a Balrog dwelling there—the very same Balrog that we know will destroy the mine and eventually fight to the death with Gandalf? He’s definitely going to show up again. It’s just a matter of how soon.
Much of this season Prince Durin spent arguing about with his father whether to continue digging into the mine for more mithril. This precious metal is what the elves end up using to create their three rings. King Durin thinks it’s too dangerous (he’s right!). But Prince Durin and his wife Disa want to delve deeper—despite the perils—in order to help their friend Elrond, who says the mithril is the only thing that will save the elves, whose light is fading and otherwise must leave Middle-earth.
Now Elrond has (sort of) solved the elves’ problem by giving what little mithril he did have to Celebrimbor to forge the rings. Sauron revealed the metal and process of making power rings, creating another problem. However, mistakes are made.
So, why did the Dwarves go after more Mithril? According to Tolkien’s mythology, they became greedy. But it could be much more complex. Prince Durin expressed his desire to not only help his friend, but also to stand out from his father. He wants to be ambitious and great for his country. Disa advocated digging deeper. Although she is a very jolly person, Disa’s whispers to her husband concerning her father holding him back gave Lady Macbeth vibes.
However, Balrog exists in the mine and it would be rude to show him in a teaser in season one, then make the audience wait many seasons to see him again.
Read More From Time