**Warning: Spoilers lie ahead for The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power season one, episode eight.**
After an eventful first season, The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power wrapped up its initial run of eight episodes with an eventful hour of television that paid off quite a few mysteries, delivered some major reveals, and set the stage for a new struggle in the eventual second season. It was a lot to take in, and like a lot of good season finales, it left us with some big questions to chew on as we await the next round of episodes. So, if you’ve seen the finale already, let’s talk about them. These are the 10 biggest questions we have after The Rings Of Power’s first season.
Well, the biggest question looming over the entire first season of The Rings Of Power was finally answered in the season finale, as Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), the supposed “King of the Southlands,” revealed himself to be Sauron in disguise. By the end of the episode, having fled Eregion after Galadriel resisted his advances, Sauron had arrived in Mordor, his new home.
Of course, Mordor is already occupied by Adar (Joseph Mawle) and his devoted Orc “children,” who created the realm as a haven for themselves after all the pain Sauron caused. So, how is Adar going to respond to a new threat on his just-established turf, and how will Sauron win the Orcs back to his cause after years of mistreatment? We know how it eventually turns out, but watching things get there could be interesting.
Adar claimed earlier in the season that he killed Sauron to put an end to his reign of terror in the far North, something Galadriel didn’t necessarily believe, but Adar was clearly quite proud to claim. We know Sauron’s not so easily killed, but how did he go from trying to rule over Orcs in the far North and working to make some kind of superweapon to … floating in the sea East of Valinor where Galadriel could find and befriend him? It’s an interesting arc for the character, one that could use a little extra backstory as we head into season two.
To go along with the Sauron reveal, we finally got confirmation that The Stranger (Daniel Weyman) is indeed one of the “Istar,” the wizards sent to Middle-earth by the Valar to aid in the fight against Sauron. Based on everything The Stranger has said, and the way he looks and behaves, he’s almost certainly Gandalf, but what does that mean for the other four wizards? Tolkien wrote plenty about Saruman and Radagast, but also mentioned two other “blue” wizards who went off into the East and basically never came back. Will we meet all five of them in future seasons, and see how the order of wizards ultimately works to put each in their respective place? And speaking of the other wizards…
The mysterious white-robed figures named the Dweller (Bridie Sisson), the Ascetic (Kali Kopae), and the Nomad (Edith Poor) finally made their purpose known this week, and it turns out they’re devotees of Sauron who want to bring their master back East to the land known as Rhûn (a Sindarin Elvish word that literally means “East”), for … reasons. They eventually find out that they’ve got the wrong guy in The Stranger, and The Stranger kills them before they can correct their mistake. Still, since he’s got a map of the same stars they mentioned on him anyway, he decides Rhûn is the place to go to figure out more about who and what he is.
So … what’s in Rhûn? It’s a rather mysterious land in terms of Tolkien’s writings about it. Sauron has a presence there at one point, as do the kings of Gondor, and there are even Elves and Dwarves who’ve called it home, but generally it’s a big mystery for the show to delve into. It’ll be very interesting to see how season two addresses that particular patch of unexplored land.
In keeping with Tolkien’s own lore about the Rings, Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) ends up forging the Three Elven rings at the end of the season without Sauron’s direct influence (though he did offer some tips and tricks along the way). This means that Sauron can’t control or influence the wearers of these rings, so the Three are all set.
But where does that leave the Seven Rings eventually given to the Dwarf Lords and the Nine eventually given to the Kings of Men? According to Tolkien, these rings were also made in Eregion by Sauron, working in disguise as a being who called himself Annatar, but that’s not the way things seem to go in the show. Galadriel’s already wise to Sauron’s schemes, and she’s tipped off Celebrimbor as well, so another guy just showing up and offering to help make some rings feels like an iffy proposition. Still, those rings have to get made at some point. How does Sauron figure that out in season two?
Those poor Southlanders just cannot catch a break. They beat back the Orcs to reclaim their home, only to have Mount Doom erupt all around them. Then they managed to get out of the Southlands and head slightly West, and now the guy they thought was their king is either never coming back or is coming back to corrupt them to the Shadow. What happens to Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) and her people now that they’re once again dealt a bad hand?
It’s worth remembering that Isildur (Maxim Baldry) is still somewhere in Middle-earth, having seemingly-but-not-really died back during the eruption. His father might think he’s gone, but we know that Isildur is sort of the single most vital part of the way the story of the One Ring ends up playing out in the Third Age. He’s arguably the reason there is a Third Age. With him still around, and the Southlanders settling in what will eventually be Gondor, it seems like a safe bet we’ll get to see him practice his kingship.
Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) arrives back home at the end of the episode, blinded by the eruption of Mount Doom, only to find that her father the King has apparently died, leaving her a regent without a monarch to serve as regent for. This, along with the rest of the strife that’s befallen her island kingdom politically, suggests that it might be time for some new management in Númenor, or at the very least a bit of a political struggle for the future of the crown. So, who’s going to try and replace Míriel? Well, Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle) seems to have set himself up for the job quite nicely. What could possibly go wrong?
For now, at least, the Elves have found a way to work around not having a ton of mithril at their disposal, but that doesn’t mean the battle over the future of the metal is over. There’s still a fight to be had down in Khazad-dûm, where Durin IV (Owain Arthur) still wants his father to not just let him mine the stuff, but help his friend. Viewers know that it’s probably a bad idea—there’s a Balrog down there, after all—but we also know that Durin’s not likely to give up, and that Khazad-dûm is not going to last forever. How long before the powder keg in the Dwarven mine goes off?
Last week, Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) mentioned her husband, who went off to battle and apparently never came home, leaving her fighting alone and without the man she fell in love with. Here’s the thing about that, though: Celeborn, Galadriel’s canonical spouse, lives well into the Third Age, and even rules alongside her in Lothlorien when they set that whole settlement up. So, where is Celeborn now, and what’s he been doing? It feels like something the show wouldn’t drop without having a good reason, so it’s a question worth keeping in mind as season two draws closer.
The Harfoots have had a rough season on The Rings Of Power, and it’s not over yet. After losing their carts, the industrious and determined halflings of Middle-earth are getting right back up and trying again, heading off on their trail on foot as Nori (Markella Kavenagh) heads out to help The Stranger. With Poppy (Megan Richards) staying behind to help her people, it seems likely that the Harfoots will start to evolve a little bit, but how long before they settle into holes in a place called The Shire, and what will they have to go through to get to that point?