Why Sauron Looks Different In The Rings Of Power Season 2

Rings Of Power Season 2

Sauron’s vastly different appearance in The Rings of Power season 2 sets up a major story from J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythology. Following months of speculation over the identity of Sauron in Amazon’s Middle-earth TV show, The Rings of Power season 1’s finale revealed Charlie Vickers’ Halbrand as Lord of the Rings’ famous Dark Lord. Sauron had been missing since Morgoth’s downfall at the end of the First Age, and many presumed the villain was gone forever. Alas, Sauron made his grand return under the guise of a mortal man with a claim to the Southlands. Halbrand would indeed rule the Southlands, but only after rebranding the realm “Mordor.”

Charlie Vickers’ Sauron returns in The Rings of Power season 2’s trailer, but only after a rebranding of his own. The Enemy first appears after Galadriel’s narration declares, “I think he has been here among us all along,” but this time he sports flowing golden hair even Legolas would be envious of, two pointed ears, and impressive new armor. Sauron resurfaces toward the end of the trailer wearing regal robes and surrounded by elves with swords pointed at his handsome face. Sauron’s style in The Rings of Power season 2 is certainly very far from the rugged aesthetic of Halbrand, but there is a canon reason behind that change.

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In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium, Sauron deceives the elves into crafting the Rings of Power by posing as an elf himself and going by the name “Annatar.” The Rings of Power season 1 remixed this story by having Sauron infiltrate Eregion as “Halbrand” instead, but he only managed to get three rings made via that method. Tolkien described Annatar as a beautiful, “fair” disguise, and the smooth, blond, angelic Sauron in The Rings of Power season 2’s trailer certainly fits that bill. The drastic change in appearance, therefore, is entirely down to Sauron switching from “Halbrand” to “Annatar,” masquerading as an elf instead of a man.

Sauron’s sudden makeover is possible because, up until the end of Middle-earth’s Second Age, the Dark Lord possesses an innate ability to shape-shift. This power is removed by Eru, the God of Tolkien’s universe, long before The Lord of the Rings, but that punishment has not yet been meted out during The Rings of Power’s era. Sauron’s full strength likely still hasn’t returned after Morgoth’s defeat, but the villain has enough juice in The Rings of Power to morph his appearance and enter Eregion to facilitate the remaining Rings of Power being crafted.

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Sauron’s goal in posing as “Annatar” is to finish the task he started in The Rings of Power season 1, when the three elven rings were forged. Seven rings for dwarfs and nine for mortal men are yet to be created, but Celebrimbor already knows to keep a watchful eye out for Sauron’s “Halbrand” form. The only way Sauron can get Celebrimbor cooking up more rings is by donning a new facade. Not only can the elven Sauron get the forge fired up again, it allows him to walk freely around Eregion without rousing suspicion.

Ultimately, of course, Sauron’s ploy is to then sneak away and create the One Ring back in Mordor, dominating the wills of the other Rings of Power. If The Rings of Power season 2 is covering Sauron’s transformation into Annatar, then the birth of the One Ring cannot be far away, making it feasible that the debut appearance of The Lord of the Rings’ famous gold trinket will be season 2’s shocking final scene to lead into season 3.

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The origin of the Rings of Power and the One Ring itself is the core premise of Amazon’s “The Rings of Power” TV show, but season 1 left that premise largely unfulfilled. The three elven rings only became a narrative feature at the very end, and none of their counterparts in Sauron’s wider jewelry line were glimpsed. Annatar entering the chat in season 2 provides a strong indication that The Rings of Power is finally delivering on the promise of its name.

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