When Galadriel is “rewarded” for her many years of service fighting the forces of Morgoth and Sauron by being shipped back to Valinor (or the Undying Lands) with her men, essentially forced to go into elf retirement against her will, it seems that her quest to find the Dark Lord is all but over. Of course, because we’ve read J.R.R. Tolkien‘s many books and watched The Lord of the Rings movies, we know Galadriel is right about Sauron planning his revenge, and that she’s not just going to sit in paradise while Middle-earth is engulfed in darkness once again. So it’s inevitable she’s going to jump off that boat before it can pass into the Undying Lands.
Her plan to get back to Middle-earth is apparently to swim across the Sundering Sea until she hits land, which…maybe she didn’t think this through. Fortunately, she runs into a group of stranded men and women floating on what’s left of their ship after a massive sea monster attacks them at sea. It’s then that she meets a mysterious man named Halbrand, played by Charlie Vickers. When most of the survivors are eventually gobbled up by the monster, only Halbrand and Galadriel remain to face a fierce storm at sea, one which seems to strengthen their bond a tad, even though they seemed to distrust each other at first. A new friendship is undoubtedly in the making.
You can watch a little intro about him in the video below:
Halbrand is an original character created for the series, and doesn’t appear in the writings of Tolkien. While it seems on the surface that he’s meant to be the Aragorn-adjacent character of The Rings of Power, a shaggy warrior adrift, and perhaps with a budding romance in the making with an elf, some fans aren’t so convinced. In fact, theories that have popped up on Tik Tok and Twitter are suggesting that Halbrand is someone else entirely in disguise.
Yes, Galadriel’s chance run-in with Halbrand might not be by chance at all but Sauron himself playing game with the warrior who is hunting him. Fans are particularly pointing to one line from Halbrand to the other human survivors when they find Galadriel stranded at sea: “Looks can be deceiving,” he says when one of his soon-to-be-eaten shipmates suggests that the elf woman doesn’t look dangerous. To some, this line could actually be The Rings of Power foreshadowing a future twist where Galadriel learns she’s been adventuring with her enemy all along.
There’s plenty of precedent for Sauron taking on other forms in order to manipulate the good guys. In The Silmarillion, Tolkien described the sorcerer as a shape-shifter who took on the forms of animals and other beings, including an elf-like identity known as “Annatar” in the Second Age. Known as the Lord of Gifts, it was as Annatar that Sauron fooled Celebrimbor and the other Elves into forging the Rings of Power.