Episode 3 of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” escalates the stakes by introducing a potential new antagonist while dark rumours are afoot throughout Middle-earth. In the opening minutes of the episodes, when orcs pull Silvan elf Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) through the tunnels being dug in the Southlands, the term “Adar” is mentioned several times.
Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s copious notes, appendices, and manuscripts anticipated that Sauron himself would emerge as the main antagonist of the Prime Video series because “The Rings of Power” takes place during the Second Age of Middle-earth. Although it is possible that Adar is Sauron in a different form, this idea would result in an overly blatant reveal, which may or may not be what the programme is going for.
Adar is a new character created specifically for the show, and it is vital to note that he does not appear anywhere in Tolkien’s vast narrative. We were just given a very brief look of the orc chieftain, thus it is too early to determine whether Adar is merely a false herring or a figure that blatantly violates Tolkien canon. The enigmatic character has been the subject of rumours, in addition to conjectures regarding Sauron’s possible appearance based on the series’ advertising materials. Although the series itself can best explain the situation as it develops, let’s venture into conjecture territory and try to figure out who this new (?) enemy might be.
What the Rings of Power tells us about Adar so far
The region is what will eventually come to be known as Mordor, Sauron’s preferred domain and natural fortress, as can be seen by taking a closer look at the map of the Southlands. The orcs are hard at work extending the tunnels throughout the Southlands and beyond, taking care to avoid sunburn and seizing entire villages. Although there appears to be some form of hierarchy among the orcs, they all appear to have a deep respect for Adar, who is their leader. Arondir’s friends comment that it is strange that the orcs willingly bow to Adar and speculate that he might be Sauron because of how powerful he was and how many names he used.
As “Adar” is likely an Elvish word for “Father,” Arondir and his fellow elves are not entirely off base in their speculation. Iarwain Ben-adar, which translates to “Oldest and Fatherless,” is one of the dialects Tolkien chose for Tom Bombadil’s Elven name, and it can be inferred from that that. Despite the possibility that “father” is employed as a term of reverence, it is also possible to infer that Adar in some way contributed to the actual genesis of orcs. This might be a show of allegiance to Morgoth, the ancient evil that tormented Middle-earth throughout the First Age and its ensuing ages.
By the end of the episode, Arondir is brought directly to Adar, who the orcs are seen kneel ing reverently to and who, according to the IMDb page for the show, is played by Joseph Mawle. Although the final view of Adar is unclear as hell, he seems as a tall humanoid figure with dark hair, who could be either human or elf. All indications point to Adar being a fallen or corrupted elf, despite the possibility that he could be Sauron in another form, given that his name is Elvish.
Could Adar be a corrupted elf, a mere servant of Morgoth?
All evil entities that possessed the living in Middle-earth, with the exception of the elves, found hosts in everyone, according to Tolkien’s “Silmarillion.” A quote from the chapter is as follows: “All living things were separated that day, and some of every type, even of beasts and birds, were found in either host, save the Elves alone.” However, this directly contradicts Saruman’s claim that orcs were formerly elves who were captured by dark forces and subjected to torture and mutilation in “The Fellowship of the Ring” These canonical inconsistencies are frequent in Tolkien’s fiction because the author changed the historical context of a number of ideas, and accounts in the appendices frequently conflict with the primary sources.
It would make sense for “The Rings of Power” to portray Adar as a fallen or corrupted elf as the show lacks the rights to “The Silmarillion” or “The History of Middle-earth.” There is reason to assume that Adar is depicted in the show’s final trailer as the dark-haired elf in charge of the orcs. It is unusual for an elf to be devoted to absolute evil, yet there are examples of fallen elves in Tolkien’s mythology, such as Fanor, who caused his people unfathomable turmoil. Who then might Adar be?
Adar may have been an elf who survived the process of corruption that turned elves into orcs, according to one theory. Morgoth may have profited from this by directing the elf’s thoughts toward evil, presenting him as a complex antihero. The orcs’ adulation of Adar must be a result of something he has done that is deserving of inspiring them to further Morgoth’s terrible plans.
Could Adar indeed be Sauron himself?
Let’s examine the options even though I’m not quite sold on the “Sauron is Adar” hypothesis. It is probable that Sauron is Adar, the form he assumes before appearing as Annatar before the elves, as he was the most subversive of the Maia and is known to have assumed friendly appearances to seduce Middle-earth. Let’s take a closer look at the claim that Sauron had other aliases. This is accurate, as “Sauron” was the name he adopted after becoming corrupt, as may be deduced from Tolkien’s notes in “Morgoth’s Ring.” It is stated in “Parma Eldalamberon” #17 that Sauron used the name “Mairon the Admirable” up until the fall of Nmenor. If you will pardon the pun, “Mairon” loosely translates to “splendid/sublime,” a sign of Sauron’s boundless ambition and vanity.
Despite the linguistic etymology, the series would not benefit from Adar being Sauron because it would be too obvious. And what would Sauron gain from appearing before the orcs as an elf? Adar is one of Sauron’s middlemen, and in addition to the theories mentioned above, I currently believe that he will play a significant role in the darkness that engulfs the Second Age. Adar might be an elf who was thought to have died after the War of Wrath and was later abducted and tortured by Sauron himself, according to the corrupted elf theory. Even while some people think Adar might be one of Galadriel’s (Morfydd Clark) fallen brothers, this idea now seems a bit improbable.
Whether or whether he is Galadriel’s brother, Adar might be guiding the orcs to discover traces of Morgoth’s magic, which would account for their seeming lack of focus. The rest will only become clear with time.
Prime Video is presently streaming “The Rings of Power”.
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