One thing about Arondir? He’s going to come prepared. Adar learned that the hard way in Episode 6 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
When the orcs stormed the watchtower near Tirharad, they were met with a series of booby traps set by the wood elf. Arondir boxing the creatures inside and then toppling the tower on them bought the villagers much-needed time to return home and prepare for battle.
Meanwhile, the Númenóreans sailed closer to Middle-earth, and a restless Isildur tried to catch the first sight of land. Galadriel approached him on deck, inquiring about who he was and why he wanted to become a soldier. “I was just trying to get away as far as I could from that place,” he told her. He didn’t believe the island kingdom was the real Númenor, and wondered if it ever existed. But Galadriel confirmed that it did exist, and still does in his heart. She then asked Elendil about how Isildur’s mother died, and he revealed that she drowned.
As the Southlanders geared up to defend their village, Arondir tried to destroy the ominous sword hilt. When that proved to be impossible, he chose to hide it instead.
Remember the Alfirin seeds Bronwyn gave Arondir in Episode 1? In a romantic gesture, Arondir gave her one to plant before the battle, and planned to plant the rest afterward. That was him promising to start a new life with her and Theo when this was all over.
When night fell, the orcs marched on Tirharad and the battle ensued. Arondir fought a tall, muscular orc (in desperate need of a good conditioner) who didn’t even flinch at being stabbed in the eye. With the knife now pointed at his eye — and orc blood all over his mouth — the elf was nearly yeeted to the afterlife, but then Bronwyn swooped in at the last second for the kill. And as the dust settled, the Southlanders celebrated their presumed victory… until they realized they had killed their own people. These were the men who left to join Team Sauron.
Adar was waiting in the forest, and arrows rained down on the villagers as his forces emerged. Bronwyn was hit in the shoulder, and Arondir barely made it inside the tavern walls with her in his arms. She lost a significant amount of blood and was barely conscious, forcing Theo to cauterize her wound.
While the orcs forced their way through the tavern doors, Galadriel, Halbrand and the Númenóreans raced across the land on horseback. But would they make it to the Southlanders in time?
Things were not looking good for the villagers. Orcs began slaughtering those in sight, and Arondir was taken captive for questioning from Adar about the hilt. Arondir refused to give it up, and the orcs killed more Southlanders. When Adar threated to murder Bronwyn next, Theo caved and retrieved it from a hiding spot in the floor.
That was the perfect time for the Númenóreans to arrive on horseback. Mirroring Gandalf’s arrival with legions of Rohirrim at Helm’s Deep in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the sea-faring men rode through Tirharad to help the Southlanders fight off Adar’s forces. Isildur even joined the battle, no longer just a stable sweep.
Galadriel chased down Adar, and Halbrand followed them into the woods because he had a score to settle. When Halbrand had Adar right where he wanted him, he asked Adar if the orc leader even remembered him. Spoiler alert: Adar did not. That upset Halbrand, and he almost drove his spear through Adar’s throat, but Galadriel stopped him. Did Halbrand lose his wife? Or a child? This seemed personal.
Galadriel then interrogated Adar, recognizing him as one of the first elves Morgoth kidnapped and mutilated into orcs. Adar preferred the term Uruk (not to be confused with the much stronger Uruk-hai, who were created by Saruman in the Third Age and bore his white hand marking).
He explained that Sauron was devoted to “healing” Middle-earth after his master’s defeat. The Dark Lord sought power, but something was missing: a shadow of dark knowledge that was hidden from him. Adar said he scarified enough of his “children” for Sauron’s aspirations and claimed to have killed Morgoth’s apprentice. Galadriel, of course, didn’t believe that. Still, Adar continued to rile her up, and it was Halbrand’s turn to stop her from killing the Uruk leader.
In a tender moment, Galadriel urged Halbrand to forget what he did in the past and free himself of that guilt. Halbrand, in turn, admitted that he never thought he could until today, fighting at her side. And guess what? Galadriel felt it, too. The vibes are vibing.
United, the Soutlanders and the Númenóreans celebrated their defeat over Adar’s Uruks. And when Bronwyn — eyeing the symbol Halbrand wore — recognized him as their promised King of the Southlanders, he finally claimed that title.
However, this was not a true victory. The cloth carrying what was thought to be the sought-after hilt was just a decoy. The real one was planted into the ground beneath the stone wall that featured a carving of Morgoth’s face. The hilt was a key that unlocked powerful dams, which sent water rippling through underground tunnels and into the nearby volcano. That sparked a catastrophic eruption which sent ash, smoke and scalding debris into the air, landing on the village. (Note: Do we think this is Mount Doom?)
As everyone ran for cover, Galadriel stood her ground and watched the chaos and destruction. Adar escaped during the commotion, and Galadriel was last seen being engulfed by the fiery smoke.
How did you feel about this week’s Rings of Power? Do you think Halbrand is really the King of the Southlanders? Drop a comment below.