There is a character that many have been waiting for in The Rings of Power, and related to Sauron. This protagonist is Annatar.

Rings of Power season one is over. However, not all questions have been answered with episode 8, broadcast on October 14, 2022 on Prime Video, Amazon’s SVOD platform. In particular, there is a question that has remained for several weeks: who is Annatar? And where is he? Response elements.

Warning, the sequel has spoiler.

Annatar is the false identity of Sauron

When Sauron reappears in Middle-earth in the Second Age, he does not do so in his usual guise. The lieutenant of Morgoth—the epitome of evil in J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe—suffered a major defeat at the end of the First Age, in a very great battle called the War of Wrath. He lays low, patiently constructing a plan to win back.

The Tolkien dictionary, published by CNRS editions and supervised by Vincent Ferré, an academic recognized for his expertise on the Work of J. R. R. Tolkien, recalls in this respect that Sauron kept a low profile until the 5th century of the Second Age. When he resurfaces, he pretends to be a certain Annatar, “the giver”. This saves him from presenting his evil form.

During this period, the dark lord, in disguise, seduces the Elves of Eregion to forge nineteen rings of power, while he has in mind to make a secret ring, which would dominate all the others. This one would not be designed in Eregion, like all the others, but in Mordor, in the flames of Orodruin, the Mountain of Doom.

As Annatar, Sauron pretends to help the peoples of Middle-earth after the ravages of past wars. It lasts a long time: for almost a thousand years, it is obviously not pierced up to date. But, as the dictionary notes, this benevolence eventually wanes. “Little by little the Shadow reappears in him. And, it even shows physically.

Annatar is supposed to appear in a noble and seductive form, but, as time goes on, this mask is torn. His malevolence gradually takes over and he becomes dark and terrifying, like Morgoth. Annatar then disappears to make way for a huge black knight. The Sauron that we know, that we see in the prologue in the series, in particular.

One problem remains: Annatar is never pronounced in season one. Will it be presented later, during season 2 of the Rings of Power? On the contrary, have we ever seen him without knowing that it was him? Did Amazon Prime Video choose not to use the “Dispenser”? Or does he use it, but using another name? After all, Sauron was named in many ways.

In addition to Sauron and Annatar, he is called among others the lord of darkness, the Eye (in the absence of his physical form) or the Enemy. Mairon (or Tar-Mairon) is the name he had before becoming an agent of evil. We also had the Necromancer, Gorthaur, Zigûr, Dark Prince, the Master, the Dark Master, or the Dark Power, lists the online encyclopedia Tolkiendil.

Artano and Aulendil were additional aliases he used when impersonating a beneficial being. In fact, can we imagine that Halbrand is also one of those avatars that Sauron uses to deceive the peoples of Middle-earth? And, therefore, can we assume that the character we have been following since episode 2 is indeed the lord of darkness?

Obviously, episode 8 insists a lot on this track. But, this one having already caused trouble with the Stranger, who turns out to be in fact a magician belonging to the same order as Gandalf, after having made believe that it was about Sauron, one can have doubts. Maybe he’s just a lieutenant, like Adar? After all, the series has every interest in trapping us to make a good drama.

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