While Halbrand has done a respectable job of hiding his secret identity for most of the season, it seems as though arriving in Ost-in-Edhil has shaken something loose within him: He gets entirely too excited about visiting Celebrimbor’s workshop and starts helpfully dropping hints no one asked for about using the power of these magical materials to control flesh like a total creeper.
“I see things clearly now and I’ve had this epiphany. You know, this idea that I’ve been working on, the power over flesh,” Sauron/Halbrand actor Charlie Vickers tells Den of Geek when we ask him what he’s thinking during these scenes that lead up to the forging of the first three Rings of Power. Sauron points Celebrimbor in exactly the right direction, and the Elven smith immediately gets to work, using the little supply of mithril he has, mixed with other elements, to forge these powerful artifacts. It’ll be with these rings that Sauron will attain that “power over flesh,” crafting the One Ring to bend all other ringbearers of Middle-earth to his will.
By the end of the episode, Sauron’s scheme has essentially worked, but not before he comes clean to Galadriel about his secret identity, rubbing her face in the fact that she was the reason he was able to return to Middle-earth in the first place and admitting that he’d very much like to continue to use her to further his own ends. Just with her willing participation this time.
How Galadriel will ultimately processes the emotional fallout from these revelations is something that will probably take centuries to unpack, but as far as season 2 is concerned, whew, if you thought she hated Sauron before…..
Is The Stranger Gandalf?
Despite the fact that “Alloyed” opens by declaring that the Stranger is Sauron, that revelation is a massive misdirect, not to mention a huge mistake by the mysterious witches who have been following him around for a couple of episodes now. They fully believe he is Sauron until they find out he’s not the moment right before he vanquishes them.
They do, however, give us a clue about his true identity. After he unleashes magic on them, they refer to the Stranger as an “Istar,” a word that will be wildly familiar to fans of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s work. As the Stranger later explains to Nori, “Istar” essentially means “wise one” or “wizard.” It also refers to a group of five Maiar spirits sent to aid the people of Middle-earth against Sauron. These include the beings who would become known as Saruman the White, Radagast the Brown, and, yes, Gandalf the Grey.