Ever since his name was uttered for the first time in Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, J.R.R. Tolkien fans have been wondering who Adar (Joseph Mawle) really is. Theories have swirled about the character’s identity for weeks, with some arguing the mysterious villain is secretly Sauron and others speculating that he might simply be a lieutenant of the Dark Lord.
Now, at long last, Lord of the Rings fans have finally been given the answer about Adar’s identity that they’ve been wanting for weeks. Here’s how The Rings of Power Episode 6 finally offers some insight into Adar’s secretive backstory.
Major Rings of Power spoilers ahead.
Adar, father of the orcs
In The Rings of Power Episode 6, titled “Udûn,” Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) finally comes face to face with Adar, the leader of the very orc army she’s had her sights on for a long time. Their confrontation in a Southland barn is full of notable moments, including one instance in which Adar claims that he murdered Sauron (more on that below), but it begins with Galadriel immediately surmising Adar’s origins.
The elven leader asks Adar if he is, indeed, one of the first elves that Morgoth corrupted during the Years of the Trees. Adar confirms Galadriel’s suspicions, noting that he and his “children” preferred to be called “Uruk,” which is the word for orc in “Black Speech.” Adar additionally notes that he and his children are living creatures just like the elves, dwarves, and men of Middle-earth and that they deserve a home as much as anyone. In response, Galadriel tells Adar that he and his kind are nothing more than a “mockery” of the elves.
In other words, Galadriel and Adar’s conversation in The Rings of Power Episode 6 not only seems to confirm, once and for all, that the latter character is not Sauron, but it also touches on one divisive part of Middle-earth history.
The origins of Middle-earth’s orcs
J.R.R. Tolkien, notably, never settled on an origin story for the orcs of Middle-earth. Instead, the author came up with several different explanations for how orcs came to be in his fantasy world over the course of his life. However, in its sixth episode, The Rings of Power picks the most popular and well-known of Tolkien’s orc origin stories.
It goes like this: shortly after the world’s first elves awoke, Morgoth found and quickly captured some of them. The Dark Lord then dedicated his time to corrupting and torturing his captured elves in the hopes of twisting them until they no longer resembled the innocent, beautiful beings they were originally created to be. This is how the Orcs were created in one version of Tolkien’s writings, and it’s for this reason that Galadriel refers to Adar and his orcs as a “mockery” of the elves.
This origin story also, notably, explains why Joseph Mawle’s villain is referred to by his fellow orcs in The Rings of Power as “Adar,” which means “father” in the Elvish language of Sindarin. As one of the world’s first orcs, it makes sense for his followers to see Adar as a kind of father to their race.
The Inverse Analysis — In recent weeks, some Rings of Power fans had already begun to suspect that Adar was one of the first elves that Morgoth corrupted. Now, it looks like “Udûn” has confirmed those fans’ suspicions.
That is, of course, assuming that Adar is being truthful with Galadriel in The Rings of Power Episode 6. The villain does, notably, tell Galadriel that he successfully murdered Sauron sometime after Morgoth’s defeat at the end of the First Age, and anyone even remotely familiar with the story of the Lord of the Rings trilogy will know that’s not true. It remains to be seen, however, whether Adar is knowingly lying to Galadriel or genuinely believes that he actually did manage to kill Sauron.
The Rings of Power airs Fridays on Amazon Prime Video.