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Who is Adar in The Rings of Power? Joseph Mawle character theories

A dark new figure has emerged in Middle-earth. **WARNING: Contains spoilers for The Rings of Power**

Joseph Mawle as Adar in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Amazon Studios
Published: Friday, 30th September 2022 at 11:20 am
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There's a dangerous villain in Middle-earth.

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The Southlands are under attack in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Amazon Prime Video as hordes of Orcs are enacting a dark plan for a new master.

The one they call Adar has emerged as a dangerous threat to life in the Southlands and has already resulted in many dead Elves and Men.

So, who just is this Adar character and who portrays him?

Here's everything you need to know about Adar in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Who is Adar in The Rings of Power?

Adar is a corrupted Elf who is leading a band of Orcs in the Southlands, where they are destroying the natural environment to build tunnels to exist in and are using prisoner labour.

In the sixth episode, Adar reveals to Galadriel that he is an Uruk - one of the Elves who was corrupted by Morgoth into becoming the first of a new kind, the Orcs.

The character is not seen until the end of the third episode and even then, is shown out of focus as we learn Arondir is being brought to him by the Orcs.

Adar means "father" in the Elvish language of Sindarin, so the Orcs are referring to him as this due to his standing among the community.

The Watchwarden Revion speculated that Adar may be the latest form of the Dark Lord, Sauron, himself.

Orcs, as depicted in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Orcs, as depicted in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Ben Rothstein/Prime Video

In the fourth episode, Arondir witnesses Adar hold a dying Orc before ending its life. Adar also recalls his own life as an Elf. Arondir asks Adar why the Orcs call him "Father", but Adar tells Arondir that he has been fed many lies throughout his life.

Adar reveals that he is no God - not yet. He then frees Arondir to go to his old Watchtower with a message.

When Arondir arrives at the Watchtower, he tells the human Bronwyn that Adar has offered the Southlanders the chance to swear fealty to him and follow him or he will destroy them.

Adar was seeking the mysterious Hilt that was was then possessed by Bronwyn's son Theo.

In the sixth episode, Adar's army attacked the Watchtower but fell foul of a trap set by Arondir. In response, Adar's remaining Orcs went on to launch an all-out assault on the Southlanders.

Eventually, the third wave of Orcs overwhelmed the Southlanders and threatening Brownyn saw Theo give up the Hilt to Adar.

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

However, the arrival of an army from Numenor prompted Adar to hand the Hilt of Sauron to the treacherous human Waldreg (Geoff Morrell) who fled with it.

As Adar tried to escape he was stopped by Galadriel and Halbrand - the latter of whom wished to kill him in vengeance for mysterious reasons.

Galadriel captured Adar and interrogated him, where he revealed his origins and plans to transform the Southlands into a home for the Orcs. Adar also called out the darkness that exists in Galadriel.

Ultimately, Waldreg turned the Hilt at the Watchtower, sparking a great flood which travelled down tunnels built by Adar's Orcs, flowing towards a volcano and triggering a terrible volcanic eruption.

As this occurred, Adar escaped his chains and fled.

Who plays Adar in The Rings of Power?

Joseph Mawle attends dunhill's pre-BAFTA filmmakers dinner and party at dunhill House on March 9, 2022 in London, England
Joseph Mawle. David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for dunhill

Adar is portrayed by Joseph Mawle in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Fantasy ans will know Mawle for his role as Benjen Stark in the first, sixth and seventh seasons of Game of Thrones.

Mawle is also known for his roles in The Passion, Ripper Street, Birdsong, and Troy: Fall of a City.

Adar theories for The Rings of Power

Sauron in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Sauron in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Amazon Studios

Of course, the first major theory was that Adar is indeed Sauron himself.

The casting for the Dark Lord has yet to be confirmed and there are many theories over who will be portraying Sauron in the series.

Watchwarden Revion notes that Adar could be a new form taken by Sauron, but is this really the case? In Tolkien lore, Sauron does take on multiple forms, including the fair Elf named Annatar.

However, the sixth episode appears to rule this out as Adar claimed to have killed Sauron himself.

The Elven identity of Adar also appears to rule him out as one of the Nazgul (or Ringwraiths) who go on to follow Sauron in the Lord of the Rings saga, as these were Kings of Men.

Some had wondered if Adar would be the Witch-King of Angmar, but his Elven ears make this less likely.

The Rings of Power
Valinor in The Rings of Power Amazon Studios

In this case, it is also possible that Adar is actually an entirely original character created for the series to give us another antagonist for our heroes to face before Sauron shows up.

Alternatively, Adar could be a villain with his own plans and motivations and is actually working independently of Sauron.

Does he seek his evil power for himself? Adar ultimately seems driven by a desire to protect the Orcs.

Also, why did Adar turn against the Elves? Did he fight in the war against Morgoth and was left unhappy with the results of his fight there? Did he yearn for his home in Valinor?

Time will tell.

Read more on The Rings of Power:

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episodes 1-3 are available now 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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