The war for the Southlands reached a dramatic conclusion in episode 6 'Udûn' of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

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The corrupted elf known as Adar (Joseph Mawle) led his army of Orcs to take control of the Southlands and make a new home for them all.

Of course, this requires devastation for communities already living in those lands and Adar gave them a choice: bow down to him or be destroyed.

A huge battle takes place and soon Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) are fighting to win back the mysterious Hilt of Sauron from Adar.

Do they succeed and what does the explosive final scene mean?

**Spoiler warning for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 6**

Rings of Power volcano cliffhanger explained: Theories for the Southlands

Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in The Rings of Power
Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in The Rings of Power Matt Grace/Prime Video

In a devastating twist for the Southlands, Adar had secretly given the Hilt away to the treacherous human Waldreg (Geoff Morrell).

We see Waldreg return to the Watchtower where the sinister mural depicting dark magic and the Hilt resides. Waldreg has the Hilt transform into a full sword before locking it into a slot on the floor and turning it.

The mechanism uses the dam on which the Watchtower is built to open and release a mass of water from the mountains into the Southlands, flooding through the landscape and also rushing through the tunnels and waterways built by Adar's army.

The flowing water and pressure cause torrents to burst out of the wells in the village where the victorious Southlanders are celebrating their apparent defeat of Adar's army.

Meanwhile, the flowing water continues through the tunnels and falls into a volcano which creates enough pressure to cause a titanic volcanic eruption, flinging fiery rocks, ash, and lava from the mouth of the volcano.

Lloyd Owen as Elendil and Maxim Baldry as Isildur in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Lloyd Owen as Elendil and Maxim Baldry as Isildur in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Matt Grace/Prime Video

As the Southlanders face death and injury, they flee for shelter, while Adar himself is shown to have escaped his chains.

Finally, Galadriel is shown staring in shock and horror as the approaching storm from the eruption crashes towards her and engulfs her.

So, essentially, Adar succeeded in his scheme to devastate the Southlands and enact a dark transformation of the land.

Adar claims to have killed Sauron himself and accused the Dark Lord of failing in his scheme to unite the lands as a new realm, but is this what Adar has now succeeded in doing? He has used the Hilt to change the face of the Southlands forever by bringing about a natural disaster.

Of course, the presence of a volcano will no doubt cause Tolkien fans to think of one volcano in particular - Mount Doom.

The episode title of Udûn is a large valley in what would later be Mordor and is also the word in the Silvan language for "hell".

Is what is occurring in the Southlands connected to the formation of the nightmarish land of Mordor?

Joseph Mawle as Adar in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Joseph Mawle as Adar in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Courtesy of Amazon Studios

In Tolkien's work, Sauron was drawn to Mordor due to its mountain, named Orodruin (which is Sindarin for "fiery mountain") and Amon Amarth (Sindarin for "mountain of fate"). The Dark Lord created his kingdom here for that reason.

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However, we have yet to see the involvement of Sauron in the Southlands at present - that we know of.

The positioning of the Southlands on the map is close to what will later become the lands of Gondor and Mordor in the later ages of Middle-earth, so perhaps this is key to this.

We shall have to wait and see what the aftermath of this devastating eruption shall be.

Read more on The Rings of Power:

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is released on Fridays on Prime Video in the UK – 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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