**Spoiler warning for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 8**


The finale of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has finally revealed the actor behind the Dark Lord himself, Sauron.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com, actor Charlie Vickers has now unpacked the revelations of the Rings of Power season 1 ending and the biggest revelation of all: that his character Halbrand IS Sauron.

Theories had emerged over the course of the show's run that the enigmatic Halbrand - the supposed rightful King of the Southlands and Galadriel's new close friend - actually harboured a secret purpose.

The finale saw Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) discover that Halbrand - the one person she had finally opened up to -.was the villain she had sought revenge against for centuries over to the loss of her brother Finrod (Will Fletcher).

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The first question that we had to ask Vickers was at what stage in the audition process did the actor discover Halbrand's true nature?

Charlie Vickers as Sauron in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Charlie Vickers as Halbrand/Sauron in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Courtesy of Prime Video

Vickers revealed: "I didn't really know, to be honest, when I was auditioning for the show, I just got, sort of, the early scenes. I later discovered that my first auditions were actually for Elrond and then they funnelled me, clearly, into Halbrand. But I didn't know anything about Sauron, to be honest, until after we filmed the first two episodes. It wasn't until... I was maybe like, a couple of months before - because we went on a hiatus in New Zealand because of COVID - towards the end of that hiatus, the guy sat me down and, and told me. So yeah, I actually filmed a couple of scenes without knowing."

However, he did have an idea of a darker role for his character when he was asked to read scenes from John Milton's "demonic" Paradise Lost and speeches from William Shakespeare's Richard III in later rounds of auditions.

"So, I had an inkling that the character was going to have a dark transformation," explained Vickers, "and there were a lot of times when I questioned if this could be Sauron, but I never fully let myself, I think, come to terms with that 100% until I was told."

Taking on the role of Sauron could be incredibly intimidating for any actor considering how infamous a villain he is in literature and cinema, which was certainly not lost on Vickers and neither were Tolkien's source works.

Explaining his approach to the character, Vickers divulged: "I took it basically from the place of - I realise he's obviously a very special character - but I approached it as though I would approach any other role, to be honest: where has he come from in this stage of his journey? And you look at him at the beginning of the Second Age to the end of the First Age, and he's been humbled by the Valar and he has had to kneel at the feet of Eönwë and say, sorry, and come from this place of repentance.

"Now, whether you believe in whether Tolkien believed that this repentance was genuine or not, is really interesting. And I had to make a decision about that, but I think that's best left unsaid because whether you believe that Sauron is genuinely repentant for the things that he's done in the First Age frames his actions in this show, and in this first season, completely differently.

"So if you believe he's genuine or he's maybe not repentant and he's feigning repentance. So I basically looked at it from that perspective, and then went back to the core of his character and these things - that he is the deceiver and Halbrand is a deception. And how do you deceive? You take on as though you are the world's greatest method actor, or whatever, you know, you take on the characteristics of someone else so wholeheartedly that you can fool anyone and so I approached Halbrand like that.

"If he was to create this form, or take over this form, whatever it might be, how would you best deceive the people around him? And that is by living wholeheartedly as a human. But then, of course, you have to have the undercurrent of Sauron beneath that, which is a whole bunch of things like he has this dislike of things that are disordered - he loves order - and his goal is to heal Middle-Earth."

Morfydd Clark as Galadriel, Charlie Vickers as Halbrand in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Morfydd Clark as Galadriel and Charlie Vickers as Halbrand in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Ben Rothstein/Prime Video

A key relationship throughout the first season - and likely the whole series - is the relationship between Sauron and Galadriel. Yet, with the tension and strength of the connection between 'Halbrand' and Galadriel throughout these eight episodes, how does Vickers perceive their bond?

"I think there's a cosmic connection between the two that she probably feels but doesn't maybe doesn't realise what it is," notes Vickers. "She's one of the oldest of the Elves and he's been around since the dawn of time and he probably doesn't meet many people like that regularly - that he would have that connection to. So, it really depends on how you view his repentance.

"I think his relationship with Galadriel throughout the show, on one hand, it could all be a deception, and he is using her. She will bring him back to the people and the influence that he needs to regain power.

"On the other hand, if he is genuinely repentant, and genuinely seeking a quiet life, away from everything else, inadvertently, she draws him back to that power by saying, 'Hey, you can be King of the Southlands'. And he says, 'You don't understand, like, you don't know what you're doing.' But she says 'No, I do understand, come back and be King.' I think she shows him ultimately that he will not find peace anywhere other than where he truly belongs, which is in power."

Charlie Vickers (Halbrand), Morfydd Clark (Galadriel)
Charlie Vickers as Halbrand and Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Amazon Studios

The episode concludes with a hooded and cloaked Sauron climbing over a mountainside and into the land of Mordor where a confrontation with his former rival Adar (Joseph Mawle) surely awaits in the second season - which is already in production in the UK.

When pressed on what fans can expect from the second season, Vickers teased: "So I know where the next season is going but, obviously, I can't discuss that."

On Sauron's rivalry with Adar, the actor noted: "It's certainly something that I was eager to discover and things we've learned about as we've begun the second season, but there is a rich history there between the two of them and I think you see that in the sixth episode [of the first season]. You see that there's something complex and some kind of long-standing relationship there which I think will be really interesting to watch unfold as the show goes on."

Finally, now the theories around Halbrand's true identity have finally been confirmed, just how much attention did Vickers pay to the speculation regarding his role in the blockbuster series?

Charlie Vickers as Halbrand in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Charlie Vickers as Halbrand in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Amazon Studios

"It's tricky," noted Vickers. "There are times when you can fall down the rabbit hole, but I'm pretty good at that. I don't have social media or anything like that, so I don't get exposed to it. I kind of have to go looking for it if I was to want to discover that. luckily. I haven't really been keeping tabs on everything that's been going on. I only hear things that filter up through to me through family and friends. But I understand there has been [speculation].

"My friends, since the since the show has come out, they've all been saying, 'Are you Sauron?' - my friends that know the lore, because there are so many clues along the way. And I still haven't told them, in fact."

In fact, Vickers confirmed this interview was the first he had discussed the truth behind Halbrand outside of the show! So, we can only imagine what his friends will think...

Read more on The Rings of Power:

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 1 is on Amazon Prime Video– you can sign up now for a free 30-day Prime Video trial.

If you’re looking for something else to watch in the meantime, check out our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Fantasy hub.


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