‘The Rings of Power’ season 1 finale recap: The Shadow of the Past

The Rings of Power
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Warning: The following article contains spoilers for The Rings of Power season one finale

Following a divisive first run over the past seven weeks, Amazon’s The Rings of Power came to a close last night with a finale that answered half a dozen questions and posed a dozen more.

Spoilers to follow.

The finale starts with the white-robed cultists finding the Stranger and kneeling in front of him. They reveal themselves as servants of the Shadow and think the man who fell from the sky is Sauron, their prophecized successor to Morgoth.

Meanwhile, Galadriel and Halbrand arrive in Eregion to find Celebrimbor and Elrond at their wits’ end about mithril and the supposed chance to save the Eldar race. The high king Gil-galad arrives and shuts down the project, but Halbrand guides Celebrimbor through working out a solution and the Elves put it before the king.

When Galadriel learns of Celebrimbor’s plan to create a tool that would give them “power over the flesh,” she begins to suspect Halbrand and asks one of the Elves to bring her whatever they have on the Southlands dynasty. Halbrand continues to influence Celebrimbor from behind the curtains and offer solutions that elude the legendary Elven smith.

Miriel and Elendil reach Numenor, only to find that the king has passed away. Ar-Pharazôn seems to be cooking plans of his own, and Elendil’s daughter uses the Palantir to gaze at their kingdom’s perilous future.

Galadriel learns that the last king of the Southlands died over a thousand years ago. Halbrand reveals himself as Annatar, the bearer of gifts and otherwise known as Sauron. He tries to seduce Galadriel with promises of power over Middle-earth, but the daughter of Finarfin breaks free of his spell.

She then persuades Celebrimbor to create three rings instead of two and imbues them with the light of Valinor through her dagger so that they remain free of Sauron’s influence. Thus are the three Elven rings of power made.

The Harfoots come to the Stranger’s aid, and Nori convinces him that he’s a force for good. The Stranger regains enough of his senses to stand up against the cultists, hurling them back to the “shadow” with his powers. At the last second, the cultist take the form of wraiths, similar to the Ringwraiths, and their leader can be seen wearing a crown on his head, perhaps hinting that he is none other than the Witch-King of Angmar.

The Stranger is revealed as an Istari, and fans have reason enough to believe that is Gandalf the Grey himself. As he and Nori leave to find Udûn and confirm the Stranger’s identity, Sauron can be seen treading towards Mount Doom, with the landscape now resembling Mordor in all of its terrifying blight.