If you’ve been following all the fan theories about The Rings of Power, you likely were not or will not be surprised to learn that Halbrand is in fact the Dark Lord Sauron, as many had already surmised. How you feel about this twist (or how well/poorly it was set up) is of course up to you, but the Hollywood Reporter has a very interesting interview with Charlie Vickers, who plays the character, in which the actor reveals he had no idea he was playing the Lord of the Rings’ biggest (and shape-shifting) antagonist until a few episodes in:
“I didn’t know for sure until the beginning of the third episode. We filmed the first two episodes and then the show went on hiatus because of covid. Toward the end of the hiatus, the showrunners sat me down and told me. I filmed that sequence on the raft not knowing. I filmed it as Halbrand wholeheartedly. But I did have an inkling, if I’m honest with you. My last two auditions were [reading lines from] Richard III and we know he’s not the greatest guy in the world. And then the other [audition lines were] from Paradise Lost where you’re literally giving the speech as Satan. So that gave me an inkling there was something up.”
As clues go, that’s pretty solid, but Eru Ilúvatar knows The Rings of Power dropped several more obvious ones through the series’ inaugural nine episodes.
I highly recommend giving the entire interview a read if you’re so inclined, as Vickers talks a great deal about Halbrand/Sauron’s motivations for some of his unexpected actions in the first season, which are interesting to learn. What I’m most excited about is that apparently we’ll learn why the Dark Lord stuck himself on a ramshackle raft in the middle of the Sundering Seas in season two, because it bugs me immensely.
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