The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has just reached the end of Season 1 with Episode 8, with major bombshells setting up the next chapter – we’re here to explain what happened.
Amazon’s mega-budget series has been exploring the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth, set thousands of years before the events of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
In the most recent episodes, we’ve seen the plot threads tangle together; most of all, Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), and the people of Númenor being caught in the volcanic eruption of Mount Doom.
With Episode 8, the finale of Season 1, major questions are answered – so, let’s dig in and explain the ending. Spoilers for Rings of Power to follow…
Rings of Power Episode 8: How does it end?
The episode ends with Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) forging the “three rings for the Elven Kings under the sky”, after melting down Galadriel’s dagger from Valinor because of the quality of its gold.
The three rings are known as: Narya, the Ring of Fire; Vilya, the Ring of Air; and Nenya, the Ring of Adamant, which will be worn by Galadriel.
Rings of Power: Sauron goes home
Meanwhile, Halbrand returns to his true home – not the Southlands, but Mordor, as he is Sauron. The episode begins teasing The Stranger as the Dark Lord, with the Dweller and their cohorts trying to tame him and make him realize his true self, but Halbrand has been playing Galadriel from the very beginning.
The last frames of Episode 8 see Halbrand walking towards Mount Doom under the stormy clouds of Mordor.
When Galadriel realizes his true identity, he puts her into a trance of fractured memories, tormenting her with the hope of her agreeing to be his queen.
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In an interview with Variety, Charlie Vickers was asked if Sauron truly thought Galadriel could be convinced. “He believes he can. He has a huge amount of belief in his own power by this stage. When he says, ‘Join me as a queen,’ it’s not to be misinterpreted as romantic. Morfydd taught me the word ‘shipping’ the other day, which I had no idea about.
“I think it’s awesome that people have been reading into it, but my view on this scene is that it’s for his own gain. He’s thinking in this moment, ‘If she joins me, it’ll help me to enact my plan and it’ll happen faster.’
“When she resists him, it angers him, but it’s not the end of the world. I don’t think of theirs as a romantic connection, but as a cosmic connection. There must be something thrilling for him in meeting someone that’s close to his level in terms of power and age and aura that must get his blood pumping.
“Inevitably, it brings him back toward his darkness and Galadriel doesn’t realize it at the time, but she draws the lust for power out of him again.”
Rings of Power: The Stranger and Númenor
Elendil (Lloyd Owen) and Queen Regent Miriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) return to Númenor to find black sails filling the harbor, signaling the death of the king.
Meanwhile, The Stranger (Daniel Weyman) – now revealed to be an Istari, aka a wizard, rather than Sauron – heads off with Nori (Markella Kavenagh) on an adventure. She’s not sure of where to go, but he tells her: “When in doubt, always follow your nose.”
Do you recognize this line? It’s because it was once said by Gandalf in The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s not confirmation, as such, but it seems like The Stranger may be the famous wizard after all.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1 is available to stream in its entirety now. You can sign up for Amazon Prime here.