Who is Halbrand in The Rings of Power? Theories for Charlie Vickers’s character
Meet the roguish anti-hero of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, played by Charlie Vickers. **WARNING: Contains spoilers for episodes 1 to 6**
The are many mysterious characters on the way in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
The new Amazon Prime Video series takes its basis in the original trilogy by author J R R Tolkien and its accompanying appendices, but also carves out some original new characters.
One figure emerges in the second episode and his name is Halbrand, a man who crosses paths with the Elf warrior Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) on the Sundering Seas.
However, is Halbrand just an original creation of the new television series or does he have a greater purpose tied to Tolkien's lore?
Here is all you need to know about Halbrand in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and theories about the character.
Who is Halbrand in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power?
Halbrand is a man described by Amazon Studios as "a human running from his past whose destiny is entwined with Galadriel's".
In the second episode, Galadriel meets Halbrand when she is pulled from the Sundering Seas onto a boat wreckage on which Halbrand is another passenger.
When Halbrand uncovers that Galadriel is an elf, others on board push her from the wreckage just before they are attacked by a sea creature.
In the aftermath, Halbrand pulls Galadriel back onto the wreckage and the pair are the only survivors. They both go on to weather a dangerous storm and save each other's lives.
Halbrand appears haunted by his past and Galadriel notes that they can move on from this and begin anew.
"Whatever you did, be free of it," Galadriel tells him.
In the third episode, Halbrand goes on to accompany Galadriel to Númenor when they are both taken there by Captain Elendil (Lloyd Owen) who rescued them from the Sundering Sea.
Once there, Halbrand helps quell discord between Galadriel and Queen Regent Miriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) and manages to get an agreement for them to stay there for now.
Halbrand reveals he hopes to start a new life in Númenor but finds it hard to take a job and soon clashes with local men, displaying his fighting prowess and ability to charm in the process.
Later, when Galadriel visits him in a cell, she reveals that she knows the necklace around his neck represents that of a King who united groups of men in the Southlands under one banner.
It is then deduced that Halbrand is actually the heir to the title of King of the Southlands, but Halbrand notes that he is not the hero that Galadriel seeks even if his people need him against a new threat.
Halbrand also notes that his ancestor was allied with Morgoth against the Elves, but Galadriel is keen for them to better what has come before.
In the fourth episode, Halbrand remains imprisoned but is soon joined in captivity by Galadriel herself after she clashes with the Queen Regent.
Later in the episode, Galadriel escapes her cell and Halbrand counsels the chancellor Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle) to not intervene in the elf's plans and he agrees.
At the episode's conclusion, Galadriel has persuaded the Queen Regent to head to Middle-Earth and save the Southlands from a dark threat there and hopes to place Halbrand on his rightful throne.
In the final scenes, Halbrand is seen walking free around the city.
In the fifth episode, Halbrand is convinced by Galadriel to reclaim his birthright as King of the Southlands and eventually decides to let go of his past and joins the army with the Queen Regent and Galadriel as they sail to Middle-Earth.
Halbrand managed to prevent Adar from escaping with the Hilt of Sauron but had to be pulled back by Galadriel from killing the villain. Halbrand made clear that he wanted revenge on Adar for what he had done to him, but Adar did not recall Halbrand but speculated that he had hurt a woman or child that Halbrand cared for.
Later, Adar questioned who Halbrand was after being interrogated by Galadriel.
After the victory against Adar's orcs, the Queen Regent identified Halbrand to the Southlanders who hailed him as the King they had been waiting for.
However, disaster struck when it was revealed that Adar's scheme to use the hilt to release a body of water succeeded as it flooded the Southlands before running to a volcano and triggering a volcanic eruption.
The entire land is threatened as the eruption floods through it.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power's Halbrand theories explained
There are a number of theories regarding the true nature of Halbrand's character, whose dark past is clearly meant to pique our interest.
Ostensibly, Halbrand is a mortal man who has a birthright claim to the throne of the Southlands in Middle-Earth. Apparently running from his past evil actions and his ancestors' alliance with dark forces, Halbrand is far from tackling the duties of a king.
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However, is that all there is to Halbrand?
An early fan theory about Halbrand is that he is actually the Dark Lord himself, Sauron, in disguise.
In the series, Galadriel is one of the few convinced that Sauron remains a threat to Middle-earth and is responsible for the death of her noble older brother, Finrod (Will Fletcher).
Galadriel turns down a chance to return to the Undying Lands of Valinor due to her desire to return to Middle-earth, avenge her brother and defeat the enemy.
How much of a cruel twist of fate would it be if Sauron became her chief companion - and maybe even love interest - in the form of Halbrand?
It would not be entirely without precedent compared to Tolkein lore - albeit with some adaptational changes.
Traditionally, Sauron was one of the angelic Maiar of Valinor named Mairon before he became corrupted by the powerful Morgoth and served as his chief lieutenant - as depicted in the show.
Following Morgoth's defeat, Sauron escaped but reappeared in a fair and seductive form known as Annatar.
In this form, Annatar/Sauron fell in with Lord Celebrimbor and helped him and the Elven smiths to form the Rings of Power.
Secretly, Sauron formed the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom in Mordor in a bid to control the other rings, but sensing his influence they removed the rings. After this, Sauron went to war with the Elves but an alliance with the men of Númenor saw him driven back to Mordor.
Sauron later killed Lord Celebrimbor and the Elven smiths and gave the Seven Rings to dwarves and the Nine Rings to men, but only the latter bent to his will, becoming Ringwraiths known as the Nazgul. Meanwhile, the Elves salvaged the Three Rings and they were worn by High King Gil-galad, Círdan, and Galadriel.
After this, an army of Númenor defeated Sauron and he was taken back to their island state but used his power to corrupt the state to its core and persuade them to wage war on Valinor - prompting the god Eru to bring about the destruction of Númenor.
Sauron survived but lost his ability to appear beautiful.
Could Halbrand in the series actually be playing the part of Sauron the Deceiver?
Well, we do know that Halbrand is now in Númenor so perhaps he can work some villainy here to mirror the lore of Tolkein.
Additionally, it appears that evil has had control over the Southlands and Halbrand regrets his past actions there - but does he really?
Adar also claims in the sixth episode that he had "split open" Sauron and killed him, while Halbrand is shown to hold a grudge against Adar but won't say why.
Adar does not recognise Halbrand. Could this be due to Halbrand taking a new form?
The Dark Elf also noted that Sauron devoted himself to healing Middle-earth and bringing the ruined lands together in perfect order after the defeat of Morgoth. Could this be connected to Halbrand's apparent destiny as the King of the Southlands?
Halbrand also is seen counselling Pharazôn and the Queen Regent in a number of scenes in earlier episodes, proving himself to be very charming and persuasive. Is this the start of Sauron's influence over Númenor?
Similarly, he could also be one of Sauron's chief lieutenants - the Witch-King of Angmar, one of the Nazgul.
The Witch-King was a human ruler of men until he was gifted one of the Nine Rings by Sauron and was corrupted - turning into the leader of the dreaded Nagul and ruling his own domain of Minas Morgul between Gondor and Mordor.
We now know that Halbrand is a claimant of the title of the King of the Southlands and is a wanderer who could reclaim his kingdom and protect his people.
So, could he turn out to be someone corrupted by Sauron? Could he become one of the Nazgul?
Another theory is that Halbrand could be the man who will become the King of the Dead.
In the lore of the books, the King of the Dead was a man who had ruled over a realm in the White Mountains and followed Sauron.
However, eventually, this King decided to swear to come to the aid of Isildur, the King of Gondor, should he need them.
When needed, however, the King failed to appear when Isildur needed him, prompting Isildur to curse the King and his followers and so they were forced to remain as ghoulish spirits until the oath was fulfilled. It eventually was when Aragorn, Isildur's descendant, asked for the Army of the Dead's help in fighting against Sauron.
Alternatively, Halbrand could also be an entirely original creation with no link to Sauron, Morgoth or anyone else, but is just a man from Middle-earth with a dark past.
Additionally, if he is indeed just a roguish hero with a link to a royal bloodline with rugged good looks then maybe he is intended as a direct parallel to Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings.
Fans will recall that Aragorn, son of Arathorn, was the descendant of Isildur and the rightful King of Gondor and Arnor but lived much of his life in hiding and later as a ranger named Strider.
However, actor Charlie Vickers does seem to hint at some major revelations to come regarding Halbrand.
Speaking to Collider, Vickers described Halbrand as "just a dude. Just a Middle-earth dude" - but then he would say that...
Describing his relationship with Galadriel, Vickers says of Halbrand: "But I think when they meet, from Hal's perspective, he knows there's something special about Galadriel. I won't divulge if he knows exactly who she is. I have a decision on that, but I think it's best left ambiguous.
"I think from his perspective, she brings out some things in him and illuminates some things in his mind that he hasn't necessarily considered, things about his own life and his own past as they get to know each other a bit more. But certainly when they first meet, I think he's quite standoffish and distrusting of her."
He later added to Decider: "I think there are certainly elements of his past, being where he’s from, where there is that connection through his ancestors. They fall on the wrong side at the end of the First Age.
"As to where his character goes, as we watch the plot unfold, I think there are certainly questions that develop in his mind about both his past and his future. Questions through meeting different people, encountering different obstacles on his quest to start a new life away from the Southlands. And I think it’s best to leave the question of where it takes him specifically unanswered at this stage."
Alternatively, perhaps he could also be the absent father of Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin), the son of the human healer Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi)?
We'll have to wait and see.
Who plays Halbrand in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power?
Halbrand is portrayed in Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power by British actor Charlie Vickers.
A relative newcomer, Vickers previously appeared in the film Palm Beach and in the television series Medici as the character Guglielmo Pazzi.
Speaking about his working on the set of The Rings of Power, Vickers revealed: "It was overwhelming at times because everything’s fully interactive.
"For the set in Númenor, we sailed a boat into a harbor and they built a harbor for us to sail the boat into. And then we got off the harbor and walked into the city. That was really, really amazing."
We can't wait to see it!
Read more on The Rings of Power:
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- How to watch The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies in order
- Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power review – Dazzling prequel doesn't let Tolkien fans down
- Meet the cast of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
- What is Valinor in Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power?
- What are Harfoots? The Rings of Power Hobbits and history explained
- Who is Morgoth in Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power?
- Who is The Stranger in The Rings of Power? Daniel Weyman role theories
- Who is Galadriel’s brother? Meet Finrod actor Will Fletcher
- Who is Galadriel actress Morfydd Clark in The Rings of Power?
- Who is Elrond actor Robert Aramayo in The Rings of Power?
- What is the Second Age of Middle-earth? Rings of Power timeline explained
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episodes 1 and 2 arrived on Amazon Prime Video in the UK on Friday 2nd September 2022 – you can sign up now for a free 30-day Prime Video trial.