After eight episodes, a number of mystery boxes, and some significant revelations in Season 1
the finale, The Rings Of Power’s first season has finally come to a close.
The show’s creators, J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the first season, the huge Sauron reveals in
the season finale, and what viewers can anticipate from the show’s arch-nemesis in Season 2.
I must agree that it’s quite the read, with connections to Romeo & Juliette, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and casting Sauron
as an antihero comparable to Tony Soprano or Walter White, as well as comparisons between the show’s Sauron twist and Milton’s
All of this seems a little excessive to me for a show that, at its best, is a really lovely fan fiction, and at its worst, is a horribly mishandled
the film version of Tolkien’s Second Age.
Halbrand’s true identity as Sauron was exposed in last night’s conclusion.
Many of us anticipated this but hoped it wouldn’t come to pass.
After all, in what can only be described as a strange coincidence,
Galadriel and Halbrand cross paths in the middle of the ocean, and any
writer worth their salt knows that wild coincidences often do not make for wonderful stories. Galadriel, one of the oldest and wisest of
the elves, is further made to look even worse than she previously did by Sauron’s trickery,
as she is completely taken in until the very end.
So why did they take this path?
According to McKay, “We believed Sauron ought to be a character in his own right. “We wanted to investigate the currents that were
flowing through him in a way that, hopefully, would reward viewers as they followed him as he developed into the Dark Lord. You are
now familiar with him as a person, not just as “Sauron.” We sort of wanted to tell the story of Sauron’s beginning. Although we didn’t
want to create a play on the quest for Sauron, we adore the notion of Sauron as a liar who might, ideally, trick some members of the
We discussed a lot about something that Milton does in Paradise Lost, claims Payne. He creates a truly interesting figure in Satan here.
In some respects, he’s the first antihero who holds your attention and is intriguing. Milton intended for you to fall along with Adam and
Eve, so he did that on purpose. In order for you to recognize your own sinfulness and need for redemption, he wants Satan to be so
alluring that he seduces you—the reader—as well.
“Sauron is a liar in Tolkien, and we know that in the Second Age, he manifests in ‘fair form.’ What does it matter if someone sneaks up on
you and is able to win your sympathy and get your support so that by the time you know who he is, he has already got you in his grasp?
Due to the fact that you have already developed some sort of attachment to him, it is not as simple as saying, “This person is bad, I’m
going to back away.” What if we could inspire the audience to experience a comparable journey?
This doesn’t concern me at all, in theory. But for it to work in Season 1, the program would have needed to concentrate much more on
Halbrand. Halbrand was simply one among a large cast of characters, and it was revealed too early on that he was Sauron. He is King of
the Southlands was the central theme of the entire story, which felt forced and artificial. He needed to be introduced in a way that was
more natural and less accidental. If the goal was to fool us (and possibly Galadriel as well) into falling in love with him, he ought to have
been a more heroic character that the audience actually came to adore.
Strangely, according to Payne, they wanted the revelation to serve as confirmation of a “sneaking hunch”
rather than a complete surprise. Even if you already know what happens at the end, he says, “There’s a
reason people are still performing Romeo and Juliet hundreds of years after it was written. You can only benefit from a surprise once.
This claim strikes me as astonishing considering how heavily The Rings Of Power’s inaugural season depends on surprises. Who is the
Stranger? Several mystery boxes have been set up. Sauron, who is he? What do the dwarfs have a secret? Give us one “startling”
revelation after another before telling us what the sword hilt is for. Doom’s Mount. a Balrog. Sauron. It appears that surprises were
considered when writing the entire season.
Who is Galadriel? is the first season’s opening question, according to Payne. Where did she originate? What did she experience? What
drives her? However, I don’t think these queries were really satisfactorily addressed, so when he goes on to imply that Season 2 will “do
the same thing with Sauron,” I’m not overly optimistic.
McKay continues, “Sauron can now just be Sauron. “Like Walter White or Tony Soprano. Although complex, he is evil. If we did that in
season one, we thought he would dominate everything else. Therefore, the first season is comparable to Batman Begins, while The Dar
k Knight represents the following film, with Sauron operating in the open.
I can only chuckle at this. Will Sauron resemble Tony Soprano, the psychotic mobster from The Sopranos, one of TV’s most acclaimed
shows? Will he also resemble the sociopath and egotistical genius Walter White from the acclaimed television series Breaking Bad? Oh,
and like the Joker from the acclaimed Batman films directed by Christopher Nolan, which are regarded as some of the greatest superhero
films ever produced?