WARNING: Spoilers for episodes one – five of The Rings of Power below.
Now that we’ve had a few weeks to get to know him, viewers of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power can safely say a few things about Adar. For one thing, he used to be an Elf and seems to be familiar with the Elvish realms. For another, Adar is the Elvish word for “father”, which means that the orcs seem to believe that Adar is, in some literal or figurative way, their actual father.
While we don’t know exactly who Adar is, we do know that he has great love for the orcs and that he is attempting to transform at least a part of Middle Earth so that it can eventually become their home.
Given how mysterious his origins remain, all we can really do is speculate about one of the great mysteries around Adar, which is how he actually got his scars. When we first see him, Adar’s face has been marked up significantly, and while he still resembles an Elf, he’s also pale in a way that distinguishes him from the rosy complexion of the Elves we’ve met thus far. As for those scars, here are our best theories about how he wound up with them:
Adar is the first orc
One of the more popular theories around Adar’s identity is that he is the first orc, and has been alive for thousands of years. Although Tolkien changed the origin story of orcs, the most widely accepted version of the story is the one told in The Silmarillion, which claims that Morgoth, the original dark lord of this universe, created orcs out of elves who were stolen away when they were babies. After Morgoth stole these baby elves, he twisted them into creatures that he could use to serve his own ends.
Depending on how orcs reproduce, it’s possible that Adar could be the literal father of all the orcs we have seen thus far on the show. It would also explain why he has such great affection for them, and seems to want to build them a place where they can live in peace. If Adar is the first orc, then it’s possible that the scars on his face came from the process of his creation, or are a byproduct of his battles alongside Morgoth during the First Age. As we’ve already seen, though, whatever loyalty Adar has to Morgoth doesn’t seem to extend to Sauron.
Adar is Sauron
Sauron is known for being deceptive and sneaky, so it would be a little weird for him to play his cards this early. Plus, Adar seemed genuinely incensed when Waldrig suggested that he was Sauron. Still, it could be the case that Adar is Sauron, and is just working really hard to hide that fact. If that is the case, then it seems likely that his scars would have come from his battles alongside Morgoth during the First Age. We do know that Sauron can transform his appearance, though, so it could also be the case that Sauron has just adopted this face because he thinks it will appeal to the orcs he is currently ruling over.
Adar is a fallen Elf
This theory posits that Adar is a former Elf who was corrupted by dark magic, but is not actually Sauron. If this is the case, then it’s possible that he got his facial scars not while fighting at Morgoth’s side but while fighting against him. He may have decided that, now that Morgoth is off the board, he can step into that power vacuum and assume control over the orcs that once swore fealty to him. If he’s going to eventually cross paths with Sauron, though, it seems pretty clear who is ultimately going to come out on top in that confrontation.
However Adar got his scars, that mystery is likely wrapped up in the overall mystery of his identity. We continue to learn more about him every week, but The Rings of Power has not yet revealed who he actually is or how he may or may not be related to Sauron. When we know that, the answer about his scars may follow close behind.