Who Is the Nefarious Adar in Episode 3 of Rings of Power?

Beware of spoilers. 

If Episodes 1 and 2 laid the foundations of this slow burn, then Episode 3 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power picks up the pace in both action and mystery. The premiere episodes introduced us to a whole slew of new characters, from Halbrand to Arondir, some of whom we learn a little more about in the third episode. 

Beware of spoilers. 

By the end of Episode 3, we learn that the mysterious Halbrand is men’s heir to the Southlands, the notorious realm of men that once united under the banner of Morgoth. Seeking retribution, Halbrand teams up with Galadriel to prove his line wasn’t doomed for darkness. 

The third episode also dropped its biggest character bomb yet. When Halbrand and Galadriel sail into the legendary lost kingdom of Numenor, we meet the queen regnant Tar-Miriel and her chancellor Ar-Pharazon. But for all the gold and glamor of Numenorean royals, they barely caught our attention when the show introduced the humble sea captain Elendil and his son Isildur, the future kings of Arnor and Gondor. 

Episode 3 also gave us more insight on the Stranger, the mysterious figure that fell from the sky. Despite the omens around his identity, his storyline with the harfoots was fleshed out enough that we suspect his identity isn’t as nefarious as it seems. 

But the biggest mystery of all? Adar. Episode 3 started with Arondir’s imprisonment at a slave camp in the Southlands. After a failed escape attempt that kills his fellow elves, Arondir is held down by his orc slavers, who proclaim that he will be given to Adar for punishment. The episode, named “Adar,” ends with Adar walking toward Arondir, his face blurred. But who is he? Clearly a follower of Morgoth, could he be Sauron? Earlier in the episode, Galadriel reads an inscription about Morgoth’s succession plan if ever he dies. The inscription says that Morgoth’s followers will make a realm for evil to thrive, which is no doubt Mordor. 

While Sauron is the obvious choice, we doubt the big bad evil of the series would make such a  dull entrance. Despite the fact that the books claimed Sauron hid in Mordor during the Second Age, shoring up his strength, we’d expect more of a build-up if this Adar was indeed Sauron. It could be another follower of Morgoth, and some fans speculate that he could be a corrupted elf, perhaps even a fallen brother of Galadriel’s, who defected to the dark side. 

The casting call for this character described him as “a villain who can also evoke a deep sense of pathos and wounded/fallen nobility” and projects “a sense of timelessness.” The elf theory fits, but he could also come from another long-lived race of Arda. 

We’ll find out the fourth episode of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which will stream on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, September 16, at 12 noon. 

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Anri Ichimura
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