It was Elves versus Dwarves in the Sweet Sixteen round in this bracket, with the monsters already defeated. Galadriel faced Durin IV, while his wife Disa took on Elrond. We were expecting these battles to be real nail-biters; but in fact, the Elves had a reasonably easy time of it. Galadriel defeated Durin by taking 57% of the votes, and Elrond claimed almost two thirds of the votes in his dual with Disa. Sorry, Dwarf fans; Aulë’s children are out of Middle-earth March Madness for this year.
Now the Elven friends face each other, in the final match within the bracket. Does the Halfelven have any chance against the daughter of Finarfin? Which of them will continue on to a potential battle against Sauron himself, in the Semi Finals? You decide – place your votes now!
It’s been a month since the final episode of Season 1 aired. TheOneRing.net staff have had time to reflect, to go back and binge-watch the whole thing, and to process thoughts.
As we begin the journey to Season 2 (which could be a long one!), here are some of TORn staffers’ reactions to the first season of Prime Video‘s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. As you’ll see, we’re an independent bunch with a wide variety of opinions!
Over the last four weeks, our friends at Weta Workshop have had one of their most stunning pieces up for pre-order. It’s the one piece that fans, like myself, have been asking to have made for the last 20 years. It also works nicely with this character having such a large part in Tolkien’s written lore, as well as The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power tv series.
Fans can finally place their orders in, but for only for the next 24 hours, for Elendil. This fantastic piece depicts how we saw Elendil in The Battle of the Last Alliance during Peter Jackson’s prologue sequence in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Elendil is priced at $549 and will be shipping in the second quarter of next year.
As with any open window pre-order, his edition size will be set by the number of orders placed as of tomorrow at 2 pm PDT. So get your order for Elendil in now!
The trailer captures in spirit Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle-earth and of other Tolkien artists. I was caught up by it and am curious to see more, but it left me, and probably most viewers, with more questions than answers.
Why would he say this? It means not only literally put down your sword, but give up the fight. He’s asking her to give up everything she has stood for. To give up on what she has so long fought for. Even after Lothlórien is well established, Galadriel never gives up fighting evil in Middle-earth. If I were her, I’d be pretty angry at him for saying this. Could this be a hint of a thread of conflict that will run between the two of them throughout the show?
Galadriel is believable as a younger version of herself who seems capable as one of the Elves who lead the Noldor across the Grinding Ice. Is that a map she is holding? If this is the Helcaraxë, I doubt a map would exist. If she is in the Northern Waste which has been mentioned as a featured location, I wonder what brings her there. It would be interesting to learn more about the Forodwaith, and it opens up the opportunity for dragons who also lived there.
What is Elrond referrring to when he says, “It is over?” Perhaps this scene is taking place after Númenor falls, and Elrond thinks Sauron (and evil) is gone. Or maybe he is talking about Galadriel’s dispute with the heirs of Fëanor because all the Silmaril’s have left Middle-earth.
Galadriel says, “The enemy is still out there. The question now is where.” The trailer then cuts to a city on a river. I wondered if it was Rómenna because Sauron is now on Númenor. Or Ost-in-Edhil in Eregion where Sauron as Annatar, “Lord of Gifts”, is hanging out with Celebrimbor showing him how to make rings of power. My immediate thought was that the location looked like Middle-earth rather than Númenor. I even hoped for a moment it might be Osgiliath which straddled the Anduin River, though it was not at the confluence of two rivers like this appears to be, unless it is a curve in the river. Osgiliath had a great stone bridge, and there is a domed building in this city that could be the Dome of Stars. I doubt it is Osgiliath, but one can hope we will get to see the founding of Gondor and Annúminas.
When Galadriel says she has seen things Elrond has not, we are shown an image that looks like the world is on fire. I first thought this might be the burning of the Teleri ships at Losgar, but because of the tower, I think not. Could it be the destruction of Thangorodrim in the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age? The description in the Silmarillion of the battle says: “all the north was aflame with war” and “…Orcs perished like straw in a great fire, or were swept like shrivelled leaves before a burning wind.” This gives credence to the bodies floating in the air, though they look rather like Elves than Orcs. In that battle, Eärendil slew the mighty dragon Ancalagon the Black, and “cast him from the sky; and he fell upon the towers of Thangorodrim, and they were broken in his ruin.” This would account for the broken tower. Perhaps, but perhaps not. TORn staffer Demosthenes has a more comprehensive post about this scene to come.
Preparing for disaster
In this shot where a huge stone figure reaches out its hand, I wonder if the harbor is Rómenna where the ships of the Faithful are prepared for departure as Amandil, Elendil’s father, instructed. The image depicts nine large ships at anchor. Elendil landed in the north of Middle-earth with four ships. Isildur with three and Anárion with two, ended up in the south at the Mouths of Anduin.
The frontal view of the ship sailing through the gates has the sun symbol on the sails, the same as Elendil’s armor. The ship is a very intriguing design with two large curved and ribbed sails sticking out from the mast and smaller sails in the middle. The ships in the harbor have furled (wrapped up) sails that stick out perpendicular from the boat, the same way the sails on the hero ship would likely be stowed. Later in the trailer we see Isildur on a ship, but is hard to tell if the sails are set the same, though the masts seem to be positioned differently.
There has been speculation that the meteor man could be Sauron because the lantern on the left is reminiscent of the Eye of Sauron. But in Akallabêth, it says Sauron’s spirit came back to Middle-earth “as a shadow and a black wind over the sea” not as a flaming meteor. I am still leaning towards this being an Istari, possibly even Gandalf. Now that we can see the man more clearly, he has similar physicality, hair, mustache, and beard as Gandalf. I know Gandalf is not supposed to come to Middle-earth until the third age, but with time compression, who knows?
Speaking of time compression, one thing that is bothering me is that when the Rings of Power were forged, Tar-Telperiën was the Queen of Númenor, not Tar-Míriel, who we see in the trailer. The Rings of Power are forged in the year 1600 of the 2nd Age, and the downfall of Númenor is in 3319 of the same age. Given the title of the show, it seems that the forging of the rings would be featured. So either the compression is rather severe, or perhaps flashbacks are used extensively. There is a scene of Ar-Pharazôn stirring up a crowd in front of either the King’s Court or the tower where Morgoth was worshipped. It surprises me that the show would already be in his time frame since Ar-Pharazôn’s reign is so close to the fall of Númenor, which seems like a conclusion and not an opening to a series that is supposed to have five seasons.
Another clue the show-runners are not sticking strictly to canon is the character Eärien, sister of Isildur, who does not exist in Tolkien’s work. Elendil had only two children: Isildur and Anárion. I was looking forward to meeting Anárion who we know so little about and who dies in the siege of Barad-dûr. I hope he has not been cut completely.
Durins III & IV
I’m curious what Durin III means when he says, “I am sorry but their time has come.” Is he talking about Durin IV and Disa? Is he telling someone that his reign is over, and that his heirs will be taking the throne? The trailer cuts to Durin IV breaking the rock right after he says this. We later see Durin IV holding a piece of what is most likely mithril (so exciting!) saying that it could be the beginning of new era. Is Durin III stepping aside because his son has discovered the wealth of the Dwarves’ future? Then why does he say he’s sorry? Maybe instead he is implying that Elves will once again have more power than Dwarves in Middle-earth. After the war between Sauron and the Elves begins, Khazad-dûm is closed, and its population dwindles, and the Dwarves became a wandering folk while Elves become established in Rivendell and Lórien.
What is Arondir’s role in the story? Why is Arondir’s costume so different than the other Elves we have seen? In the trailer released in Brazil earlier this month, I noticed Elrond’s and Arondir’s brooches are very similar, both open silver circles but the heads of the fastener pins are different. Is this style a trend? Or does it mean that Arondir is somehow closely connected to Elrond? In his army? A scout for him?
Who is in the pit with Arondir? The scene reminds me of when Sauron cast Beren and Finrod Felagund into the pits of Tol-in-Gaurhoth, and the wolves came and killed their companions one-by-one (Silmarillion, Of Beren and Lúthien). Perhaps this scene takes place after the One Ring is revealed, and the second person in the pit is Celebrimbor who was captured by Sauron and tortured to disclose the locations of the lesser rings. Throwing him into a pit with wargs to extract a confession would fit the dark lord’s style.
The Horse Warriors
We see Galadriel leading a host of horse warriors with Isildur(?) riding beside her. I wonder if they are in Middle-earth during the War of the Elves and Sauron. No major battles are written about that take place on Númenor, but these riders are wearing the scale mail of that culture. [Edit: “The Tale of Years” in Appendix B of “The Lord of the Rings” says in 3175 there is civil war in Númenor, but nowhere is Galadriel mentioned as leading an armed force there.] Possibly they are Isildur’s men that sailed with him, or maybe Númenórian’s who had already settled in Middle-earth.
Númenóreans are not widely known for their horsemanship, but horses were their main mode of transportation while on the island. They had a deep love for and connection with the animals and could communicate with them from afar by whistling or even by thought, much as we see Gandalf doing with Shadowfax.
I have been hoping to see the steel bows of the Dúnedain, but these riders have spears.
“In later days, in the wars upon Middle-earth, it was the bows of the Númenóreans that were most greatly feared. ‘The Men of the Sea,’ it was said, ‘send before them a great cloud, as a rain turned to serpents, or a black hail tipped with steel;’ and in those days the great cohorts of the King’s Archers used bows made of hollow steel, with black-feathered arrows…”
– Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 1, A Description of the Island of Númenor
I like that the Harfoots are portrayed as wanderers. As distant ancestors of Bilbo and Frodo, this explains why the two Shirelings are predisposed to going on adventures. The Harfoots’ role in these tales is not canon but being invented from whole cloth, as they say, yet I am happy they are included and feel the story will be enriched.
There is a lot to unpack with the trailer, but it is definitely intriguing. Looking forward to getting answers once the show airs on Amazon Prime Video.
If you were eagle-eyed, you might have noticed that the other day I briefly put up an article postulating that Glorfindel is a convincing option for the Sun Sword poster.
Unfortunately, shortly after, an eagle-eyed redditor pointed out an additional key piece of evidence I was unaware of. That evidence instantly brought the article’s conclusion into doubt. After a lot of thinking, I’m republishing the article in part, supplemented with some analysis of the current leading theory: Elendil.
You could says this is a somewhat of cautionary tale about the limitations of analysis: you can build the strongest chain of logic, and still be wrong if a premise is incorrect. I also hope it draws some useful conclusions though.
The Glorfindel theory
The real draw is the sun imagery. The sigil on the sword pommel draws the eye, but it’s also (imprecisely) echoed on chest of the individual holding the sword.
There stood the house of the Golden Flower who bare a rayed sun [emphasis mine] upon their shield…
The Book of Lost Tales II: The Fall of Gondolin.
Fact: the device of Glorfindel’s house is a rayed sun.
Tolkien also invested an enormous amount of effort into developing a complex system of elven heraldry and emblems. An account of it can be found in the Hammond and Scull book J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator. I don’t own a copy, but accounts of it can be found on the internet.
Now, notice that on Sun Sword, the pommel of the sword has 12 rays touching the edge of the design. In elven heraldry, that is indicative of an individual with very high ancestry. Of the examples that Tolkien provides, only Idril Celebrindal has as many rays touching the edge of her emblem’s design; only Finwë the High King of the Noldor has more.
Glorfindel, is of course, not an elven king.
But his ancestry would be considered high — elevated by his noble actions and self-sacrifice in the wreck of Gondolin, his subsequent and early re-embodiment in Valinor and his close association with the Maiar (See The Peoples of Middle-earth: Last Writings).
As Tolkien developed his character down the years, Glorfindel is simply an exceptional individual by the time of his return to Middle-earth in (according to Last Writings) the early or middle of the Second Age.
That exceptional stature might just be enough to gain the honour of an emblem with 12 rays.
Set against that, note that the design is circular. A circular design is typically used for elven ladies (Idril, Lúthien, Melian). Those for elven males are all lozenge-shaped. The picture above shows some examples.
There’s a little more, too.
If we examine the sleeves of the Sun Sword individual, we see they are green, patterned with gold.
At the sack of Gondolin, Glorfindel marched into battle wearing:
…Glorfindel bare a mantel so broidered in threads of gold that it was diapered with celandine as a field in spring; and his arms were damascened with cunning gold.
The Book of Lost Tales II: The Fall of Gondolin.
Celandine is a plant with a golden flower — very likely the golden flower that Glorfindel’s house is named for — and deep, green leaves. Wikipedia lists three species and visually, they all look very striking. One species, pictured below, is regarded by many in the UK as a harbinger of Spring.
According to a costumer friend, the sleeves could be argued to be “damascened” in this way.
In summary, there are sufficient superficial visual cues that you can make a solid case for this theory based on descriptions of Glorfindel and his house symbols that are given in The Fall of Gondolin, and some clever application of elven heraldry.
As I discovered (after posting my article) the individual in the Blue Robe poster bears the exact same device as we see on Sun Sword. This is a theory killer — in the Second Age Glorfindel’s house symbol should be unique to him. No-one else would have it. No-one.
Long story short, I think it’s just super-unlikely. Sorry, Glorfindel supporters!
The Elendil theory
Right now, the (widely accepted) rumour is that Blue Robe is Ar-Pharazôn the Golden — the 25th (and last) of the kings and queens of Númenor. I’m going to accept this as a working assumption.
But what of the evidence for Elendil?
First, we may note that the armoured sleeves (vambraces?) bear a stamp that resembles a fish (you can see what appear to be fins if you look closely). Additionally, there is a wave pattern on the chest at the middle of the sun emblem.
Now, in the text of AKALLABÊTH, The Silmarillion describes Elendil (and his father Amandil) as great ship-captains.
That’s suggestive. It’s also about as far as we can get from pure visual analysis.
But, turning to the lore, we know that Amandil and Ar-Pharazôn were once quite close. Ar-Pharazôn was also very active at sea before he took the Sceptre of Númenor.
In the days of their youth together Amandil had been dear to Pharazôn, and though he was of the Elf-friends he remained in his council until the coming of Sauron. Now he was dismissed, for Sauron hated him above all others in Númenor.
AKALLABÊTH, The Silmarillion
The Unfinished Tales states that most of the Númenorean chieftains posses what is described as heirloom swords. Yet “at times they would still give a sword as a gift to their heirs”. Additionally:
A new sword was made for the King’s Heir to be given to him on the day on which this title was conferred.
Unfinished Tales, Description of the Island of Númenor
Finally, a note in Unfinished Tales states that the King’s sword is actually Aranruth — the personal sword of Thingol, the Sindarin king of Doriath. Handed down through Dior, Earendil, Elros, it’s an important link to the elven heritage of the Númenorean kings.
Assembling these facts, it’s possible to postulate the following: when Tar-Palantir dies and Ar-Pharazôn becomes king, he takes up Aranruth. But then he has this other sword leftover — the sword he received as King’s Heir.
At this point, he and Amandil are still friends. Because Sauron doesn’t enter the scene until years later. So he gives his King’s Heir sword to Amandil as a gift. I expect that Amandil would treasure this — and all the more so as they grow increasingly distant as politics force them apart.
I was stumped here for a bit: why would Amandil then hand that sword to Elendil?
Here’s my thought: As Ar-Pharazôn’s reign progresses, life becomes ever-more-dangerous for the Faithful. Elendil must be known as one of the Faithful. That makes him a target for the King’s Men faction. If Elendil were going to sea — maybe as a member of the Venturer’s Guild — he could find himself isolated among a group hostile to his views.
Thus Amandil gives Elendil the King’s Heir sword as protection — an indirect sign of the King’s favour.
However, current scuttlebutt insists that the Sun Sword is Narsil (I can’t speak to the truth or falsity of that rumour — it’s not my wheelhouse). If that’s the case, the above scenario doesn’t work for two reasons:
A personality as avaricious as Ar-Pharazôn would surely not give away a sword with a history stretching back into the mists of the First Age. Ar-Pharazôn is the greediest of all Númenor’s rulers.
UT states that the King’s Heir sword is a brand-new sword that is forged for each heir.
The first is highly suggestive, and the second is conclusive.
Still, I love the pathos of this concept.
Examining the sword
But, what if the sword is Narsil? If that’s the case, why does Blue Robe’s device match that of the sword? Should it still not be unique to Narsil alone?
We know that Telchar, a dwarf of Nogrod, forged Narsil sometime in the First Age. But we don’t know precisely when, and we don’t know for whom. All we know is that, eventually, it makes its way to the hands of Elendil.
One easy supposition, I think, is that this was an heirloom sword of the Lord of Andunie. As I pointed out, Unfinished Tales states that many Númenorean chieftains posses heirloom swords.
Now, it’s not impossible that Telchar may have made Narsil for someone of very high ancestry — perhaps even an elf, originally. This would explain away the heraldry issue — that there are so many rays striking the edge of the pommel design. Telchar simply made Narsil for someone of superlative rank.
Who? I’m not sure and this is a weak link. Thingol and, subsequently, Dior already have Aranruth. Gondolin is off the table. One of the sons of Feanor, perhaps? Both Maglor and Maedhros survive until the end of the Quenta. Maglor is kidnap-dad — I mean, foster-father — to Elrond and Elros after the Third Kinslaying.
Could Narsil have been made for Maglor? Could Maglor have gifted Narsil to Elros? Not impossible, I think.
It then descends through the royal house of Númenor, but when Silmarien doesn’t get the throne, she gets Narsil (in addition to the Ring of Barahir). But the royal house retains the sun heraldry — as in Blue Robe’s brooch — because it’s also part of their heritage.
This seems … a plausible chain of logic.
The other thing in favour of the Narsil argument is that there is a hollow disc cut in the pommel. This hollow pommel evokes (though it is not the same as) the hollow pommel of the Peter Jackson rendition of Narsil (and Anduril).
But, there are some arguments against Narsil.
It does have an oddly ceremonial look; the design seems quite gaudy with the gold sheen and the heavy carvings on the upper end of the blade. One of my fellow analysts pointed out that if the inlays and carvings extend much further toward the tip, they would compromise its usefulness in battle.
Additionally, we see only sun symbology on the sword and it does not shine like described in The Silmarillion.
The host of Gil-galad and Elendil had the victory, for the might of the Elves was still great in those days, and the Númenóreans were strong and tall, and terrible in their wrath. Against Aeglos the spear of Gil-galad none could stand; and the sword of Elendil filled Orcs and Men with fear, for it shone with the light of the sun and of the moon, and it was named Narsil.
The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age
“Shine” could mean solely in the presence of orcs, but isn’t that a trait restricted to blades made by the Noldor of Gondolin?
Finally, we see a lot of sun symbology on Sun Sword. But nothing of the moon. Narsil is a Quenya name meaning “red and white flame”. Tolkien explains in a letter that it “symbolised the chief heavenly lights, as enemies of darkness, Sun (Anar) and Moon (in Q) Isil.”
The question is, what’s on the reverse side? It could be an equivalent moon symbology. If so, I believe that would be sufficient confirmation that this sword is Narsil.
So, what are we left with after all this?
The Glorfindel argument is difficult to sustain. Elendil is plausible, as is Narsil but there are other lore-friendly explanations for the sword at least. In the absence of further evidence, we have to rely on the veracity of the rumour-mongers, or withhold final judgement.
Bootnote: Glorfindel is, of course, a named character in The Lord of the Rings. The rights situation is … well, it’s murky until someone actually goes on the record. But it’s typically believed that Amazon Studios can use the bits it needs from the Second Age in Unfinished Tales, and The Silmarillion (most likely the Akallabeth account and Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age). Anything else they need to go to Tolkien Estate and justify the need. It seems Tolkien Estate is willing to listen if the reason is good. If they wanted to give Glorfindel verisimilitude, this might just fit the bill.
Acknowledgements: I got a lot of assistance from keen-eyed and incisive folks on our new Discord in pulling this together. So in no particular order (and apologies to anyone else who contributed that I’ve missed), many thanks to DurinDeathless, LadyNico, Lasswen, Sid, Nathan, and Sir Skrilldor.
My learned colleagues at TORnCentral have weighed in on the 23 images released yesterday by our good friends at Amazomg, but I’m keen to zero in on one and put it under the microscope.
It’s this one — let’s call it Gauntlet and Sword.
Gauntlet and Sword immediately recalls Jackson’s Third Age armoured Sauron. But there are obvious discrepancies when you compare it against the visual aesthetic that the Peter Jackson productions established.
First, at the Last Alliance confrontation between Gil-galad, Elendil and Sauron in the Fellowship of the Ring prologue, the latter bears a gigantic flanged mace, not a sword. (You can rewatch the entire prologue scene here if you like; Sauron appears about two minutes in.)
Gauntlet and Sword, on the other hand, shows, well, a sword. A blackened sword with a remarkably ornate hilt. But, still, a sword.
Second, the Amazon Studios gauntlet does not fully correspond to the one designed by WETA Workshop head Richard Taylor and his staff. The WETA gauntlet is a metal one, with articulated metal plates all the way past the wrist.
Sure, the gauntlet we see in Gauntlet and Sword is black and spiky, but from the promotional image provided, it lacks the articulated and overlapping metal plates that go all the way to the wrist. Instead, the articulation appears to stop at the knuckles. The general effect looks more like a studded, heavy leather gauntlet than one carefully assembled from many metal plates.
Finally, it’s important to note that before the Akallabêth — the period that Rings of Power seems likely to focus on at first, Sauron was not bound to that terrible and intimidating form. Instead:
…in his earlier incarnation he was able to veil his power (as Gandalf did) and could appear as a commanding figure of great strength of body and supremely royal demeanour and countenance.
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. Letter #246.
One must conclude that either:
1) This is not actually Sauron 2) It is Sauron, but Amazon Studios is moving away from “the PJ look”
When we have cosplayers doing intensive research and nailing all the details with incredible detailed replica Sauron costumes, it defies logic that Amazon Studios couldn’t do the same with their sky-high budget. If they so desired.
The impression that I have long had is that Amazon Studios has been trying to hew to the aesthetic Jackson created. In itself, choosing New Zealand as the original shooting location fits this thesis — although I am sure financial considerations come into play there, too.
It makes sense — the PJ aesthetic has a lot of penetration through the popular consciousness and pop culture. Leveraging it is a low-effort way to get buy-in from viewers.
And the original Amazon Studios tease image carries a great deal of PJ aesthetic in the architecture of Tirion upon Túna.
So I don’t think Amazon Studios is drifting from the PJ look . Instead, what we have is some artful misdirection — we are being teased with the superficial appearance of Sauron using typical signifiers that we subconsciously associate with the lord of Barad-dûr, but there are enough clues for us to dismiss it.
This is not Sauron.
For similar reasons I would discard the Witch-king of Angmar — the gauntlet doesn’t match (you can get a good look at Wiki’s gauntlet at 1 min and 6 secs in this clip where he confronts Éowyn) , and although Wiki carries a sword (as well as a massive flail), its design is a lot cleaner than the one in Gauntlet and Sword. In fact the swords of all the Nazgul are very minimalist with flat or slightly curved crossguards.
So, who is it?
I’m going to outline a handful of outlandish possibilities. All speculation, of course.
Option 1. Túrin.
Black sword, right? Also, The Silmarillion outlines how the folk of Nargothrond equip Túrin with “dwarf-mail, to guard him”. Further, The Silmarillion describes from the perspective of Tuor and Voronwë the following scene at the Well of Ivrin after the sack of Nargothrond.
But even as they gazed upon it they saw one going northward in haste, and he was a tall Man, clad in black, and bearing a black sword. But they knew not who he was, nor anything of what had befallen in the south; and he passed them by, and they said no word.
Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin
Nevertheless, the other image with a broken black sword somehow seems a better fit for Túrin.
Option 2. Eölor Maeglin.
Gurthang (or Anglachel, if you prefer) is not the only black sword to feature in The Silmarillion. There is another: Anguirel. Eöl, the Dark Elf, forges both as a pair. The former he gave to Thingol, the latter he kept for himself. Anguirel then ends up in the hands of his son, Maeglin, when Aredhel and Maeglin flee Eöl’s controlling nature.
Canonically, both Eöl and Maeglin meet nasty ends in Gondolin; the ultimate fate of Anguirel is unknown. Because Maeglin is tossed over the walls of Gondolin during its sack, it’s only a bit of a stretch that he might have survived (but it is a stretch). And the emblem of Maeglin’s house was a plain black field with no symbol whatsoever.
Could Tolkien Estate be convinced to allow Maeglin to be used as a returning Second Age antagonist? I don’t know. It’s a thought.
Props to posters over on the LOTR on Prime sub-reddit for raising this one. Intriguing.
In The Silmarillion, Beleg also uses the appellation “Black Hand” at one point to describe Morgoth. If we get the Two Trees, we must surely get Morgoth at some point. Right?
The current rumour: Adar
The current suggestion via Fellowship of the Fans is that it corresponds to a character known as “Adar” (originally codenamed “Oren”). Adar is a Sindarin word that translates as “father” and the role is supposedly being filled by Joseph Malwe.
To reprise, Adar is said to be an “corrupted” and “tortured” elf who oversees a group of orcs who see him as a father figure. Hence the name, Adar. Further, the rumour states that this elf is one of the brothers of Galadriel — but not Finrod Felagund. This offers two choices: Angrod and Aegnor, both of whom canonically perished in The Battle of Sudden Flame (Orodreth should properly be considered to be Angrod’s son).
These are choices that seem much more out of canon than, say, the Maeglin option. The Silmarillion’s text declares “the sons of Finarfin bore most heavily the brunt of the assault, and Angrod and Aegnor were slain”.
Could they work? I guess.
There’s this to consider:
But ever the Noldor feared most the treachery of those of their own kin, who had been thralls in Angband; for Morgoth used some of these for his evil purposes, and feigning to give them liberty sent them abroad, but their wills were chained to his, and they strayed only to come back to him again. Therefore if any of his captives escaped in truth, and returned to their own people, they had little welcome, and wandered alone outlawed and desperate.
Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin
Additionally, in the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf says to Frodo:
The Elves may fear the Dark Lord, and they may fly before him, but never again will they listen to him or serve him [emphasis mine].
And service need not be direct, or knowing as in the case of Húrin.
When therefore he judged the time to be ripe, [Morgoth] released Húrin from his bondage, bidding him go whither he would; and he feigned that in this he was moved by pity as for an enemy utterly defeated. But he lied, for his purpose was that Húrin should still further his hatred for Elves and Men, ere he died.
Of the Ruin of Doriath
Placed against that, consider Gwindor son of Guilin. An escaped thrall, he not only assists Beleg and succors Turin at risk to himself, he is also seemingly welcomed back to Nargothrond without suspicion or fear.
Still, there might be a way for Amazon Studios to work a story of pathos and miscalculation, if they can find some subtlety. We’ll see.