Ambiguous, dangerous, and more than blatantly resembling Viggo Mortensen’s Aragorn. Halbrand, the character played by actor Charlie Vickers in The Rings of Power, it’s all a mystery. Especially, because everything indicates that her encounter with Galadriel is not entirely casual. Even that she would have dangerous repercussions for the Elven Lady or her intentions in facing Sauron. Could the enigmatic man be more than just a survivor in the midst of a desperate situation?
With its first two chapters, the Amazon Prime production made several things clear. On the one hand, it will try to cover the practically unknown history of The Second Age in the work of JRR Tolkien. At the other extreme, that for such an undertaking it is required not only to delve into obscure points of the work, but also to incorporate some new data. Among them, characters that establish links with the already traditional ones to explore the story more easily.
Halbrand seems to be one of the plot decisions that has an enigmatic purpose. The figure, which was a central part of the second episode of the series, is unknown for several reasons. Not only because of his ambiguous behavior but also because of the fact that he seems to have a confusing history. For now, there are no clear answers as to how she got to the ship of survivors that ultimately brought help to Galadriel. Much less, why his decision to sacrifice the rest of his fellow travelers at a particularly critical moment in the chapter.
Is it about a hero or a villain? An ordinary man from Middle Earth? A good part of the fans speculate that his identity could not be so simple and be related to a point of particular interest in the plot. Could Sauron hide his true face under that of this stranger with inexplicable behavior?
Halbrand: A Stranger in the Storm
Halbrand has some secrets and it shows. So much so as to avoid revealing information about himself in his strange conversation with Galadriel. Although, despite everything, he ended up doing it. Amidst silences, incomplete hints, and vague data, he made some points clear. Several that partially indicate what the true identity of the character is.
The character explained that he was fleeing, that his “people have no king” and that, in fact, the place where he lived was destroyed by Orcs “to the ashes”. A familiar landscape that was already shown with the story that Arondir and Bronwyn investigates. Halbrand also confirms what the script hinted at several times. The “enemy” — still without a clear identity — is in the southern lands.
But what Halbrand said raises several problems. For now, it is not so easy to identify an Orc — much less talk about their leader — because they are difficult to find in Middle Earth. Specifically, the attacks are of recent date. One of the problems that Galadriel faced to show that Sauron was still dangerous was precisely not finding evidence of his passage.
How does Halbrand have such precise details? Who supplied them? What do you mean when you talk about “an enemy”? Even more peculiar is that everything around him is shrouded in increasingly strange questions.
A trip to nowhere
The sea voyages in The Second Age in Tolkien’s work are very important. For now, it is clear that the elves take a particular route west to reach Valinor, destiny of Galadriel. A place to which mortals cannot go. Once the Elf Lady decided not to accompany the rest of her kind on her final journey, she backed down. So she presumably swam in the opposite direction until she ran into the boat of survivors.
That Halbrand was at that point indicates one thing. That he came from or was going to Númenor. It will be recalled that the island created by the Valar for the men who defeated Morgoth is a point of considerable importance in The Second Age.
As explained by the character, it is most likely that he was on his way to a safe place, fleeing from the tragedy of his town. A logical behavior of a man trying to escape from the evil embodied by an implacable enemy like the Orcs. Now, why not detail that eventuality? Halbrand’s silence is more than suspicious.
A mysterious jewel that could have several meanings
As if all of the above weren’t enough, Halbrand wears a necklace that he refuses to show Galadriel, or even explain its meaning. A striking jewel, very different from any other peculiarity of his clothes. It’s a symbol, and it’s clear when he hides it that it matters. Why does he do it? Why does he need to hide information precisely from an Elf?
The issue raises several more questions about Halbrand. If he’s just a worthless pendant, why is he afraid to explain how weird his design is? Could you reveal to Galadriel something more about the origin or identity of him?
In The One Ring Trilogy, Viggo Mortensen’s Aragorn was an ambiguous character during the first installment of The Fellowship of the Ring. Only to later discover himself as a hero and heir to Isildur. Could the same thing happen with Halbrand?
It doesn’t seem likely. For now, the most remarkable — and disturbing — thing about Halbrand is that he let the rest of his fellow travelers die.. He did it, moreover, for a simple reason: “he is a guy who knows how to survive.” But, at the same time, he strove to save Galadriel’s life. More than once and under increasingly harsh circumstances. Why does he make the decision to save the Elven Lady? Either answer leads to the other puzzling element of the story. Could it be Sauron?
a terrifying puzzle
For The Second Age, Sauron will make his first major attempt at total domination. That includes taking various forms, including that of Annatar, a creature of splendid beauty who will win the trust of the Elves. Especially from Celebrimbor, the most skilled blacksmith of the race. But besides that, he is also able to shapeshift, manipulate and control other creatures.
Could the whole incident on the raft be a way of gaining Galadriel’s trust? It could be a viable theory, particularly considering that Sauron could have controlled the sea monster they faced. He also shows himself capable of helping, despite the cruelty of the rest of his actions. For the Elven Lady, it would be a sign of a troubled man — just like her — and in the midst of difficult situations, as is the case with her.
But there is one more important detail. Galadriel is not just any Elf. She belongs to the fundamental circles of power of her race. What better way to overcome the emotional and intellectual distance of the elves than to save the life of one of their most respected figures?
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Halbrand could well be the first of Sauron’s many faces before he came to the circle of Celebrimbor. So his providential meeting with Galadriel would be a point in his journey for the forging of The Rings of Power. Does the series already indicate your way forward? Still no answers, most likely yes.