This post contains for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Discover our review of this week’s episode too!
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has sown the seeds for a bigger story as it travels through Middle-earth and Numenor. These seeds begin to bloom in episode 6 “Udûn” as many sprawling cast come together in an epic battle for the Southlands. Not only did we see Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), Elendil (Lloyd Owen), Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), and Isildur (Maxim Baldry) reach Middle-earth just in time for an epic Orc showdown, but we also got some revelations. very important on the Uruk and their chief Adar. So let’s break down these two massive moments and what they mean for the world and the future of The Rings of Power.
All the major actors of the first episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
The truth about Adar
Ever since the very first time we met Adar, fans have wondered if the twisted leader of the orcs – played with villainous aplomb by Joseph Mawle – was actually Sauron in disguise. This theory seems to have been given pasture here as Adar tells Galadriel a shocking story. According to the leader of the Uruk, he is not a follower of Sauron and has no interest in bringing him back to power. In fact, Adar tells Galadriel that he was the one who killed Sauron. And his reasons why add an unexpected layer to The Rings of Power’s character and orcs.
As Adar tells Galadriel, he murdered Sauron in order to protect his children, the Uruk. He wanted them to live a life without the boot Sauron had on his neck and use his absence as a way to build a safe haven for the orcs to thrive in. Galadriel doesn’t care about history and refuses to believe that orcs can ever be free. If you take Adar at his word, that also means he’s definitely not Sauron, although there’s a chance he’s still in cahoots with them. This episode sees Adar and the orcs attack the Southern Lands lulling them into a false sense of security. So that could be what we see here. If Adar is lying, it could be to trick the elves and southerners into believing that Sauron is dead. But his heartfelt story makes us think he’s telling the truth.
If so, that’s a big deal because this tale adds a rare humanity to the orcs who are mostly portrayed as mindless killers. Although Adar is a murderous person who enslaves humans, he also does in his mind what he thinks is best for his people. The spooky moment also ties into the series’ biggest orc reveal, which focuses on the origins of the killer creatures.
Confirmation of a massive Lord of the Rings plot
After the capture of Adar thanks to a heroic Halbrand, Galadriel goes to see her prisoner. During her bloodthirsty speech where she vomits her hatred for the orcs and her desire to annihilate them, she says something of vital importance to Adar. “When I was a child I heard tales of elves captured by Morgoth. Tortured, twisted, turned into a new ruined life form. You are one of them, aren’t you? The Morinedor, sons of darkness? first orcs? It’s a huge moment because it confirms a long-contested plot from The Lord of the Rings: that orcs began as corrupt elves.
This concept was first hinted at by Tolkien in his 1950s writings known as the Annals of Aman, where the author describes the origins of the orcs thus: “Yet this is held to be true by the sages of Eressëa: that all those of the Quendi who fell into the hands of Melkor, before Utumno was shattered, were imprisoned therein, and by slow arts of cruelty and wickedness were corrupted and enslaved. Thus Melkor brought up the hideous race of the Orkor in the envy and mockery of the Eldar, whose bitterest enemies they afterwards were.”
It’s a dark and bright origin for the orcs, but it was later contradicted by other origins that Tolkien – and later fans and scholars invented – for the Uruks. And since Tolkien died before he had even made a definitive statement on the matter, it has long been a topic of great conversation. But we can now say that at least in The Rings of Power canon, it definitely was. This adds an extra layer to the hatred of Galadriel and could play a big role in the future of the series alongside the information that the elves now need Mithril to survive.
With only two episodes to go in the first season, we’re sure to hear more soon!
Rosie Knight is a contributing freelancer for IGN covering everything from anime and comics to kaiju, kids movies and horror movies. She has over half a decade of experience in entertainment journalism with signings to Nerdist, Den of Geek, Polygon, and more. Rosie is a published comic book writer who has written titles such as Godzilla Rivals vs. Battra and The haunted high shoes. She co-hosts the weekly pop culture podcast Crooked Media X-Ray Vision.
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