Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Rings of Power.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has been sowing the seeds of a greater story as it sweeps across Middle-earth and Númenor. Those seeds begin to blossom in episode 6 “Udûn”, when many of the extensive cast come together in an epic battle for the Southlands. Not only did we see Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), Elendil (Lloyd Owen), Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), and Isildur (Maxim Baldry) arrive in Middle-earth just in time for an epic orc showdown, but we also got some really important revelations about the Uruk and their leader Adar. So let’s break down these two big moments and what they mean for the world and future of The Rings of Power.
The truth about Adam
Ever since we first met Adar, fans have wondered if the twisted leader of the orcs (played with villainous aplomb by Joseph Mawle) was actually Sauron in disguise. That theory seems to have been left behind, since Adar tells Galadriel a shocking story. According to the leader of the Uruk, he is not a follower of Sauron and has no interest in bringing him back to power. In fact, Adar tells Galadriel that it was he who killed Sauron. And his reasons add an unexpected layer to the character and the orcs of The Rings of Power.
As Adar tells Galadriel, slew Sauron to protect his sons, the Uruk. He wanted them to live a life free from the boot Sauron had on their neck and to use his absence as a way to build a safe haven for the orcs to thrive. Galadriel doesn’t care about history and refuses to believe that the orcs can ever be free. Taking Adar at his word also means he’s definitely not Sauron, though there’s a chance he’s still in league with him. In this episode, Adar and the orcs attack the Southlands lulling them into a false sense of security. So that could be what we’re looking at here. If Adar is lying, it could be to fool the Elves and the Southlanders into thinking that Sauron is dead. But his sincere story makes us think that he is telling the truth.
If that’s the case, that’s a big deal, since this story adds a rare humanity to the orcs, who are mostly portrayed as mindless killers. Although Adar is a murderer who enslaves humans, he is also doing in his mind what he thinks is best for his people. The chilling moment also ties into the series’ biggest orc reveal, which focuses on the origins of the murderous creatures.
Confirming a Huge Lord of the Rings Plot Point
Following Adar’s capture by a heroic Halbrand, Galadriel goes to see her prisoner. During his bloodthirsty speech in which he spews out his hatred towards the orcs and his desire to annihilate them. This is a very important moment, as it confirms a long-discussed plot point in The Lord of the Rings: that the orcs began as corrupt elves.
This concept was first hinted at by Tolkien in his 1950s writingsknown as the Annals of Aman, where the author described the origins of the orcs thus “However, the sages of Eressëa maintain that all the Quendi that fell into the hands of Melkor, before Utumno was broken, were put there in prison and by slow arts of cruelty and wickedness they were corrupted and enslaved. Thus Melkor spawned the hideous race of Orkor in envy and mockery of the Eldar, of whom they were afterward the bitterest enemies.”
It’s a bleakly bright origin for orcs, but was later contradicted by other origins that Tolkien (and later fans and scholars) devised for the Uruks. And since Tolkien died before making a definitive statement on the matter, it has long been a topic of great conversation. But now we can say that, at least in The Rings of Power canon, that was most definitely the case. This adds an extra layer to Galadriel’s hatred and could play a big part in the future of the series along with the information that the elves now need Mithril to survive.
In the absence of two episodes of the first season, we will surely know more soon.