Warning: The following article contains spoilers for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and speculation about what could happen in season 2.
So now we know who Sauron is and got a hint of how “the one ring that will rule them all” ended up being forged. Following a season finale that featured several major reveals, The Rings of Power will be off our TV screens for at least a year, leaving several plot threads dangling and some mysteries still yet to be revealed.
Now, fans of the show will have plenty of time to speculate about what could happen in the show’s second season. Will the newly revealed Sauron show his hand to the other characters? Will Durin give into temptation? Here’s a brief rundown of the things we’d like to see in the show’s next season.
As we see at the end of season 1, Halbrand shows his hand and reveals himself to be Sauron. He then attempts to lure Galadriel to his cause, explaining that since Morgoth was defeated, all he’s really wanted is to heal the divides in Middle-earth. Galadriel doesn’t really buy it, though, and Sauron completely disappears.
At the end of the season, though, we see that he’s headed toward Mount Doom, where Adar and his army of orcs are waiting. If season 2 picks up right where the first season left off, then it’s likely we’ll see Sauron confront Adar head-on. By the time we meet the Fellowship, Sauron is in firm control of the orcs, so Sauron will have to defeat Adar at some point and gain control over his forces. We could also see Sauron claim Mordor for his own, and attempt to spread the darkness that has infested that land into the rest of Middle-earth.
What shape Sauron’s confrontation will take remains to be seen. He is an immensely powerful dark wizard, but he doesn’t have any sort of army at his disposal, so he would seem to be at a pretty major disadvantage.
Nori is now headed off on her own adventure with the wizard, and she’s left the rest of the Harfoots behind. It’s unclear whether we’ll be checking in with the rest of the Harfoots next season, but we’re hoping there’s still plenty of action for them in the episodes ahead.
Halflings are an essential part of Tolkien’s world, and often serve as its heart and soul. Above all else, they remind us of the good in the world, and of the innocence that so many of our characters are working hard to defend.
In the finale, the elves come incredibly close to forging rings of power under Sauron’s influence. After Galadriel discovered Sauron, though, they decided to move ahead with forging the rings. Instead of forging two, though, they decide to forge three with the goal of maintaining balance. Those rings were forged outside of Sauron’s influence, but we already know that the rings given to the dwarves and men are very much part of Sauron’s larger plan.
While he may not actually forge all of these rings next season, we’re hoping that Sauron will ingratiate himself with either the dwarves or men and corrupt them. That corruption will ultimately give birth to the rings, and as we well know, Sauron will eventually forge one ring that rules over all of them.
We’ve already seen Durin discover mithril and offer some to Elrond and the elves, but when we last saw him, he had been forbidden from delving deeper into the mines of Khazad-dûm by his father the king, who rightly believed that digging like that could bring about ruin. What we also see, though, is that Durin is resolved to keep digging at any cost, and it seems likely that the mithril will be needed to forge the rest of the rings.
We’ve also seen what’s waiting for the dwarves as they continue to dig. A balrog is living in the depths of the mine, and it’s that balrog that will eventually transform Khazad-dûm into the tomb that we see when it appears in Fellowship of the Ring. There are thousands of years between the events we’re currently witnessing and the ones in Fellowship, but we already know the end of this story. What we understand now is that Durin’s determination to dig for mithril is based on more than just his own greed. He believes he needs the mithril to save the elves.
If it wasn’t already clear, Númenor is not around when Bilbo finds the one ring. What happens to it would be a bit of a spoiler, but by the end of the season, it’s clear that there’s trouble brewing in the realm of men. Queen Miriel has now lost her father, and will have to deal with questions about whether she’s the right person to take over as leader.
What’s more, we know that Pharazon has no real desire to help his fellow man, and is instead interested only in extending the power and influence of Númenor. If Sauron shows up in a conniving form, it’s easy to understand how the Númenorians could be deceived into making the kinds of mistakes that will ultimately have horrific consequences for them.
Although there are certainly plenty of plot developments that we’d like to see in a second season. More important than any of that, though, is keeping Morfydd Clark’s Galadriel at the center of the story.
Clark’s performance has been a revelation thus far, and her version of the character feels both less fully formed and just as powerful as the one we saw in Peter Jackson’s films. Clark is the beating heart of the show, and she’s central to its overall mission.
In general, Rings of Power‘s first season was a tremendous success. The show generated a substantial audience, it took advantage of its expansive budget to create some thrilling set pieces. The biggest issue with the first season came when it felt like the show was pushing too hard to get its story to where it needed to go.
There were times when characters could have been allowed more space to breathe, and we could have seen their development unfold more gradually. Here’s hoping we have some more space for subtlety in the season ahead.
Season one of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is currently streaming on Prime Video.
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