Sauron is definitely on his way.

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As we hit episode 4 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, this dark lord’s influence seems to reach every corner of Middle-earth.

It’s so far unclear how or when he will return but when he does, there’s a good chance he might go looking for that fiery black sword currently known as 'the hilt'.

With lots of theories swirling around that mysterious weapon, it’s as good a time as any to lay out everything we know so far.

What is the Hilt in The Rings of Power? Theories explained

The Hilt is an object currently in the possession of a young boy named Theo, played by Tyroe Muhafidin.

Theo finds the tool under a barn in his village, apparently not knowing what it is. Yet when the boy and his mother are fleeing from an orc, a drop of his blood touches the Hilt which causes a shadowy sword to begin to form.

It has also been established that the orcs are attacking the Southlands and abducting humans and Elves alike in order to find something.

In this latest episode, these puzzle pieces seemed to fit together as, when Theo sneaks back into his village to find food, the orcs are shocked to see that he has the sword and begin to viciously hunt him.

It appears that the Hilt is what they have been searching for after all, and at the end of the episode, one orc approaches their leader Adar (Joseph Mawle) to tell him "we’ve found it".

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. Amazon Studios

Even more ominously, the previous owner of the Hilt is revealed. A fellow villager Waldreg, played by Geoff Morrell, corners Theo and shows him that they both share the same mark on their arms.

He then reveals that it was his barn that Theo stole the sword from and gives this portent: "It’s no sword, it is a power fashioned for our ancestors by his master’s own hand, the beautiful servant, he who is lost but shall return… have you heard of Sauron?"

Waldreg warns Theo that they need to be "ready" for his return, which was marked by the recent "star fall".

Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo), Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn) in The Rings of Power
Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo) and Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn) in The Rings of Power. Courtesy of Prime Video

What Theo and Waldreg are required to do is not yet clear, but the reason Elves such as Arondir kept an eye on the Southlands for so long was that their ancestors had previously allied themselves with the evil god, Morgoth. With that in mind, it can only be guessed that Sauron would want the villagers to take up arms for him again.

Actor Tyroe Muhafidin explained in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that the sword is key to the series and gives his character "purpose".

Muhafidin noted: "I think when you find something that is obviously so special, you’re gonna, you know, feel an attachment to it, and he definitely does."

Rings of Power theories for the Hilt explained

Sauron in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Sauron in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. New Line Cinema

One theory around this ominous sword is that it belongs to Sauron himself. Given that Sauron fought for Morgoth with men from the Southlands, it’s very possible that his sword got lost there during the First Age.

Another option is that the hilt will turn into a Morgul blade, the sword which belongs to the Witch King of Angmar (the leader of the Nazgul). Lord of the Rings viewers will know the sword as the one used to stab Frodo in the Fellowship of the Ring, leaving him permanently wounded.

This theory would mean that Theo could be a future Nazgul or even the Witch King himself. Despite being a simple villager, Theo’s parentage is very mysterious as his father is so far absent. Seeing as the nine Ring Wraiths were all Lords, it’s possible that Theo’s father is more than a farmer.

The Witch-King of Angmar in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
The Witch-King of Angmar in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. New Line Cinema

More clued-up Lord of the Rings fans have also speculated that the hilt could be Gurthang, a sentient sword reforged from an evil blade called Anglachel.

Anglachel was made by Eöl, the dark Elf, who imbued it with a sense of malice. The sword was wielded by a good elf, Beleg Cúthalion, but thanks to the sword’s powerful influence, Cúthalion was stabbed with it by his friend Túrin Turambar.

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Túrin then reforged and renamed the sword Gurthang. In the First Age of Middle-earth, he used it for many brave acts, but its evil was too strong and eventually, Túrin used it to kill himself.

The history of this blade makes a convincing case for this theory as its dark influence is very clear. Whatever it is, the Hilt is no doubt leading Theo down a dark and dangerous path.

Read more on The Rings of Power:

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is available to stream on Prime Video from Friday 2nd September – you can sign up now for a free 30-day Prime Video trial.

Check out more of our Fantasy coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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