Spoilers follow for The Rings of Power episodes 1 to 7.
All will be revealed. That’s the main takeaway from The Rings of Power season 1 finale trailer, which has teased answers to two of the high-fantasy show’s biggest questions.
The teaser, which was unveiled at New York Comic Con on October 7, primarily comprises scenes from the Prime Video series‘ first seven episodes. There are also, however, snippets of new footage that suggest we’ll finally get answers to the biggest questions Amazon’s Lord of the Rings has posed.
First, take a look at the trailer below:
So, what are the answers we seek from The Rings of Power episode 8? The first surrounds the titular Rings of Power. Given that one of the show’s four overarching narratives will focus on the forging of these bands – and the One Ring itself – there’s surprisingly been no mention of the rings’ creation so far.
The second is arguably more important: just who on earth is Sauron? As TechRadar exclusively learned, The Rings of Power’s cast already know which of them is playing the Dark Lord. However, we still don’t know which character is masquerading as Sauron, and the past seven weeks – or, rather, eight months since the first trailer dropped – have been filled with fans theorizing as to who Sauron really is.
Based on this new footage, it seems we’ll finally get an answer to both questions. I can’t help feeling, though, that The Rings of Power’s final trailer is all just one big misdirect – and it’s all to do with some clever footage-editing trickery that’s seemingly been employed.
One of the teaser’s final moments indicate that the forging of the titular rings will begin in episode 8. “We are on the cusp of crafting a new kind of power”, elven smith Celebrimbor declares, as footage of molten metal being poured into in a circular mould is shown. So it seems that the first Ring of Power could be created in the season 1 finale.
If we see the first Ring of Power being made, it must also mean that a disguised Sauron has already met with Celebrimbor. In the source material, Sauron meets the elven smiths, under the disguise of someone named Anntar, and starts polluting Celebrimbor’s mind with talk of making rings filled with immeasurable power. This is why the Rings of Power, and Sauron’s own ring, are eventually forged by Celebrimbor.
This leads us onto the second major question – who Sauron truly is.
There’s plenty of footage concerning The Stranger sprinkled in and around clips of The Mystics – the supernatural trio who torched the Harfoots’ caravan in The Rings of Power episode 7, and who have been searching for The Stranger. Just look at the 0:12 mark, where Bridie Sisson’s Dweller breathes fire at something off-screen, only for a clip of The Stranger – taken from episode 2, that is – to be edited in straight after it.
Initially, this implies that episode 8 will contain a magic-based battle between the pair. Later in the trailer, at the 1:46 mark, we see footage of The Stranger and The Dweller appearing to engage in battle, with strong winds surrounding the pair, which lends further weight to the possibility of a showdown between the pair.
However, other parts of the teaser appear to show The Mystics telling The Stranger that he’s actually Lord Sauron. At the 0:43 mark, The Mystics say in unison “You will be known at last for who you truly are, for you are Lord Sauron”.
Given that The Mystics have spent the past three episodes searching for The Stranger, it’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that a) they locate him in the season 1 finale, and b) tell him that he’s actually Middle-earth’s greatest foe.
There’s also a lot of chatter regarding the evil in Middle-earth whenever The Stranger appears in the teaser. The first time The Stranger is seen, we hear Galadriel say “Evil does not sleep; it waits”, which lends further credence to the possibility that The Stranger is Sauron.
Read our Rings of Power recaps
For me, though, ‘The Stranger is Sauron’ theory isn’t so cut and dry, even if this trailer suggests as much.
Sure, he’s a dangerous entity. He’s inadvertently put others (mostly the Harfoots) in harm’s way, but The Stranger seems like a good guy. In my eyes, he’s someone who would fight against the forces of evil, and use his abilities to aid Middle-earth’s races in the battle against Sauron.
Furthermore, trailers are always edited in certain ways that persuade viewers to put two and two together and get five. The clips in the season 1 finale trailer, concerning The Stranger and The Mystics, have likely been edited together in such a way that makes us think The Stranger is Sauron. It creates further debate online, adds more fuel to the fan-theory fires, and keeps us talking about the show right up until episode 8 airs – and that’s exactly what Amazon, the show’s creators, cast, and crew all want.
If The Stranger isn’t Sauron, who is? Given that Halbrand has rode off to Lindon with Galadriel to get his wounds healed by elvish medicine, we can rule him out. The Mystics are nowhere near Lindon, so it wouldn’t make sense for them to suddenly rock up there and reveal that Halbrand is really Sauron.
Could it be Adar? It’s possible. We hear him say “I am no god. At least, not yet” in the trailer, and he’s already tried to throw us (and Galadriel) off the scent by saying he killed Sauron during his chat with Galadriel in The Rings of Power episode 6. Again, though, The Mystics aren’t on their way to Mordor – they’re tracking The Stranger. Unless they make an unexpected detour, it’s unlikely Adar is Sauron.
There are other bait-and-switches in the trailer, too. A voice over from The Mystics – “You will know who you truly are” – is spoken as a shot of Theo, holding the evil sword hilt, is shown, which might suggest he’s Sauron. We can rule that out, though, based on what we’ve learned about Theo in the previous seven episodes.
What about the rings’ formation? What if this is a clever bit of misdirection, too? It’s possible that Celebrimbor is simply trying to convince Gil-galad to sign off on the forging the rings in a bid to save the elves of destruction. Remember, the elves are in peril. Without the mithril from Khazad-dûm’s mines, they’ll lose their immortality and die just like every other Middle-earth race. Given that Elrond is sure to return to Lindon with only a small piece of mithril – the one gifted to him to Prince Durin – the elves will need a new way to preserve their immortality. In Celembrimbor’s opinion, the rings might be the solution.
But what if the footage of something being forged is related to something else? Sure, it looks like a Ring of Power could be getting made and, as we know from Tolkien’s source material, one of the rings – Nenya – is made from mithril.
There’s always the prospect that something else is being created or destroyed, though. We see Galadriel looking forlornly at Finrod’s dagger at one point in the teaser. Is it too much of a stretch to suggest that she’ll finally stop fighting in his memory, and decide to melt his dagger down to let go of her demons once and for all?
In my mind, The Rings of Power episode 8 trailer is full of content that’s supposed to lead fans astray, and it’s becoming increasingly likely that Sauron is simply someone we haven’t seen yet in the show. Meanwhile, the forging of the rings will be teased in the season 1 finale, but we won’t actually see them until season 2.
Teasers like this always serve as hype inducers, causing viewers to read too much into what they mean; and hey, it’s ensnared me, too – just look at how much I’ve speculated in this article. Still, I can’t help but feel that The Rings of Power has two big final tricks up its sleeve. If you and I are searching for answers about Sauron’s identity and the rings’ formation, we won’t get them from this trailer.
For more Rings of Power content, read up on how episode 7’s big lore drops set up the season 1 finale and beyond. Alternatively, find out why the Prime Video show didn’t employ Star Wars’ Volume technology.
The Rings of Power episodes 1 through 7 are available now on Prime Video.