Sauron could be closer than you think. The biggest mystery in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is all about the dark lord. Sauron was allegedly vanquished before the show begins, but we know he’ll return to power by the time the series finale arrives. So far, Amazon’s big-budget fantasy series hasn’t done much on the Sauron front — instead introducing a new villain named Adar — but one Easter egg could give fans the clue they’ve been waiting for.
Warning! Mild spoilers for The Rings of Power and the story that inspired them below.
Mordor, Mount Doom, and The Rings of Power
By now, you’ve probably realized that much of The Rings of Power takes place in what will eventually become Sauron’s realm of Mordor. The Southlands, in particular, where humans toil under elven supervision, will be terraformed into the hellscape that Lord of the Rings fans know and love. Episode 3 even showed a pack of orcs using slave labor to dig trenches throughout the region, though it’s unclear if this has anything to do with Sauron’s plan or is the more short-sighted work of their current master, Adar.
Regardless, if the Southlands is Mordor then it stands to reason that Mount Doom exists somewhere within this region. It’s not like Sauron created the volcano from scratch, right? Thankfully, one eagle-eyed fan may have already spotted the iconic Lord of the Rings location hiding in plain sight in one Rings of Power scene.
For comparison’s sake, here’s a similar shot of Mount Doom from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings:
And for fun, here’s the actual mountain used in those movies, New Zealand’s Mount Ngauruhoe:
The evidence seems pretty strong that we’re looking at Mount Doom, but why does that matter? After all, it’s no secret that the Southlands will become Mordor. However, by casually showing in this specific location so early, Rings of Power could be hinting at its importance down the line.
Sauron’s secret hiding spot?
Think of it like Chekhov’s Volcano. You can’t show Mount Doom in a Lord of the Rings story and not actually visit the mountain eventually. There’s a very good chance that by the end of Season 1 — once Adar is presumably dealt with — we’ll find out what Sauron is really up to. And where better to make that reveal than in Mount Doom itself?
After all, we know Sauron is alive at this time in Middle-earth history and building power. We also know his plans always included the region that would become Mordor, and we have to assume he chose it for a reason. It’s extremely plausible that the volcano in question is that reason, whether because of the immense power we know it contains or for some other reason that has yet to be revealed.
Either way, we have a feeling we’ll be visiting Mount Doom before too long. And don’t be surprised if when we do, it turns out Sauron has been there all along.