Warning: The following article contains spoilers for The Rings of Power episode 3, “Adar”
Halbrand is perhaps the most enigmatic character in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power so far, and that’s saying something, because not even The Stranger falling down to Middle-earth with a comet has managed to raise as many eyebrows as this lost man from the Southlands.
Spoilers to follow.
From the moment Galadriel and Halbrand came together at sea, some fans assumed that this could be Sauron the Deceiver in disguise. The character hasn’t done himself any favors in the latest and third episode to alleviate those doubts, but what he told Galadriel at the end has led some to speculate that he might be none other than the King of the Dead we saw in Return of the King.
At least that’s what some fans are now proposing over at the official Rings of Power subreddit.
When the Lady of Galadhrim learns about Halbrand’s heritage as the rightful king of the Southlands, he tells her that it was his great ancestor who swore a blood oath to Morgoth. Halbrand says that he’s no hero, and it might be prudent to take him at his word.
With Elendil and Isildur already making their debut in the series, and The Rings of Power ending with the War of the Last Alliance, perhaps Halbrand will also live until the last push against Sauron. In the books, when the King of the Dead was a mere man, he swore an oath to Isildur that he would fight at his side in Gondor’s hour of need. But when that hour struck in the war against Sauron, the King betrayed Isildur.
Isildur cursed him and his army, and as a result, they could not rest until their oaths were fulfilled. Thousands of years later, when Aragorn and the Grey Company came upon them, the King of the Dead helped him destroy the Corsairs of Umbar. Aragorn then proclaimed their oaths fulfilled and the King broke his spear and bowed to Aragorn, whereupon he and those who followed him vanished like “a mist that is driven back by a sudden wind.”
Between Sauron, the Witch-king of Angmar, and this King of the Dead, Halbrand seems to fit the lattermost the best. In fact, this might be the first fan theory about The Rings of Power that actually makes a lot of sense, though we wouldn’t bet on it with certainty just yet.