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The Rings of Power: How Halbrands Origin Story Changes Lord of the
Rings Canon that you may not know about in this article on Camilledimaio!
The assessment of the article The Rings of Power: How Halbrands Origin Story Changes Lord of the Rings Canon
Halbrand’s story is largely a new invention slotting in between the formation of Mordor and the forging of the Rings of Power. The name “Halbrand” is not a known alias of Sauron, though he has lots of others. Halbrand claims to be a King of the Southlands, and there is a certain logic to that particular lie. Sauron, after all, does become ruler of Mordor. Halbrand’s journey to Númenor and his relationship with Galadriel are new inventions for the series. too. The former is meant to more cohesively connect Sauron to the downfall of Númenor, while the latter is meant to hide Halbrand’s true identity from readers who already know from the books that it’s Sauron who manipulates the Elves into forging the Rings. Rather than seeing Celebrimbor, the actual maker of the Rings of Power, deceived by an apparently good and helpful ally, the series has Galadriel, who wears one of the Rings but did not make them, tricked by a man who always seemed a bit dubious and untrustworthy.
The changes certainly add something to Galadriel’s story. Hearing Sauron tempt her in exactly the same words she used when tempted by the One Ring in T – the promise to make her a “Queen” and “stronger than the foundations of the earth” – is powerful stuff. Watching that scene in T where she almost gives in to temptation and takes the Ring from Frodo will have even more of an emotional impact now, as we can assume she is reminded of Halbrand, and of how she saved him in the Second Age — and perhaps even liked him.
The changes do take something away from Celebrimbor’s own story, though. Celebrimbor is responsible for forging all but One of the 20 Rings of Power, and it’s a bit strange that he has been rather side-lined as a secondary character in the series so far. The focus has understandably been on the Elves we already know and love, Galadriel and Elrond, but the cutting short of the storyline between Sauron and the Elven smiths has drastically reduced Celebrimbor’s role in the story, and we have missed out on seeing a relationship develop between him and Sauron. Instead, Sauron simply shows up in a human disguise, and Celebrimbor takes some advice from him in the same scene he first meets him. It lacks the drama between them that a closer adaptation of Tolkien’s text would have provided.
In other Tolkien texts, there is more detail about this relationship between Celebrimbor and Sauron. Sauron befriends Celebrimbor while disguised as a beautiful Elf called Annatar, the Lord of Gifts. Elrond, Gil-galad, and Galadriel all mistrust him, but Celebrimbor is taken in and together they create the Seven Rings for the Dwarf-lords and the Nine Rings for Mortal Men. The absence of these 16 Rings from T’s storyline so far is something that will have to be addressed in season 2, since one of the Seven Rings becomes an heirloom of Durin and eventually, Thorin Oakenshield, and the Nine Rings are what create the Nine Ringwraiths we see in T.
T includes no mention at all of the name “Annatar.” There is an easter egg-type reference to it, when Halbrand tells Celebrimbor that his suggestion of using alloys to create the Rings is a “gift,” but the name itself does not appear. This may be because of the complicated situation around the legal rights to Tolkien’s works.
Amazon bought the rights to T, including its Appendices, but not to T or U. Throughout season 1 of T, we’ve seen small hints of these two texts appear – the Silmarils, the powerful gems created by the Elf Fëanor, were mentioned briefly, and the Númenorean King spending all his time in a tower is a detail from U. But we won’t see sustained adaptations of any storylines from these other works, because Amazon doen’t have the rights to them.