Full spoilers follow for The Rings of Power episodes 6 and 7, as well as The Lord of the Rings novels.
The Rings of Power episode 7 – The Eye – has landed on Prime Video. The penultimate entry in the high fantasy series’ first season isn’t as action-packed or dramatically explosive as its predecessor, aka Udûn. However, that doesn’t mean it’s an unnecessary entry in Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV show. In fact, The Eye is arguably more revelatory than Udûn, with major lore reveals that reference J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendary novels in fitting fashion.
Luckily, The Rings of Power’s showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, as well as the show’s cast, were on hand to talk through episode 7’s biggest reveals. Not only that, but they also tease how these discoveries will impact the Prime Video show’s season 1 finale – and what role they’ll play in season 2 and beyond.
Potential spoilers for The Rings of Power episode 8 and season 2 follow. Don’t read on if you’re afraid of having some possibly big story beats ruined ahead of time.
The Rings of Power episode 6’s stunning ending all but confirmed the creation of Mount Doom and Mordor. But it isn’t until episode 7 that the series officially christens the Southlands with its iconic, evil-imbued name.
As Payne and McKay previously (and exclusively) told , episode 6’s explosive ending was always going to be season 1’s defining moment. That narrative thread can be followed back to the very first meetings in the writers’ room, where multiple characters’ arcs were primed to converge amid this cataclysmic event.
“There was one event that happened in every single story,” Payne explains. “And it was basically just a drawing of a volcano that permeated every single storyline. So we asked ourselves: ‘Mordor is this iconic place. What if we could actually take someone that was beautiful Alpine territory and watch it evolve into the horrible hellhole that we know so well?'”
The “hellhole” that Payne speaks of leaves a lasting impression on elven commander Galadriel, who indirectly had a big role in Mordor and Mount Doom’s creation. It’s her stubborn pursuit of Sauron that pushes her season 1 journey, and the fate of Middle-earth, into unchartered and dangerous territory. Firstly, her arrival on Númenor. Then, convincing Queen Regent Míriel to join her in saving the Southlands from Adar’s orc army. Lastly, being so caught up in her interrogation of Adar that she’s blind to his destructive masterplan that leads to Mordor’s creation.
For Morfydd Clark, who plays Galadriel, being involved a scene of utter devastation – not to mention the subsequent sheer loss of life – was difficult to immerse herself in. However, the guilt Galadriel feels for being a contributing factor in so many people’s deaths, as well as Míriel’s blindness, has a lasting impression on the immortal elf.
“It couldn’t have gone any worse [for her],” Clark exclusively tells . “It’s not been a fantastic trip to the Southlands. She’s been faced with mortality before in a way that makes her uncomfortable [when she meets Míriel’s father]. But that moment where she wakes up and is surrounded by death, it’s horrible.
“That whole scene was practical – there’s barely any CGI. Our incredible production team just created a scene of devastation. Now, watching Galadriel and everyone else pick up the pieces after this is going to make for interesting viewing, and I’m excited to explore that further.”
Passing on wisdom
Not long after she comes to, Galadriel encounters a shocked Theo. Feeling responsible for what’s happened – and why wouldn’t she? – Galadriel leads Theo on the long walk back to the Númenorean’s main camp, which overlooks the Southlands.
On the way, the pair engage in numerous conversations. In most instances, we get a glimpse at the character growth Galadriel has undergone in season 1; the elf beginning to show she’s learning from her mistakes and starting to display the wisdom she possesses in Middle-earth’s Third Age. For an emotionally spontaneous Theo, who wants to embark on a suicide mission to kill as many orcs as possible in retaliation for losing his homeland, Galadriel’s experience and guidance even begins to reshape his view of the world.
“Impressionable is definitely the right word [to describe Theo],” Tyroe Muhafidin, who portrays Theo, exclusively tells . “But I think the experiences he’s gone through, with the sword hilt, hating the elves, and now losing his home, he learns who he wants to be and what he wants to do.
“The main thing he gets out of this stint with Galadriel is his perspective on the world completely changes. He’s always hated the elves for how they’ve watched over the Southlanders because of their allegiance to Sauron in the First Age. Then he meets this elf who’s great, historic, and changes his entire view on the elves. I think he becomes inspired by her, and he starts to get the real idea of what’s good and evil. He realizes that some Southlanders and the elves are good, and he sees that some Southlanders are actually bad – so his view is not so black and white. He’s willing to learn from that and I think he wants to be a better person.”
“We’re very fond of Theo and Galadriel as an unexpected pairing,” McKay adds. “At least for us, it makes sense. He’s guilty and that guilt is projecting itself as a desire for vengeance, and she can now tell him that’s not going to work for you. She’s learned over the season how it didn’t work for her. So that’s a dynamic you’d never get unless you collided these two stories.”
Married to the past
Galadriel and Theo’s brief time together is an eye opening experience for them both, with the former gifting her sword to the latter in a bid to potentially help him grow into a proper soldier.
There’s one particular chat between the pair, though, that’s sure to pique the interest of established Lord of the Rings fans and casual viewers. As the duo hide from orc hunting parties later that night, Galadriel opens up to Theo about the fact she was married to an elf named Celeborn.
Of course, Galadriel has learned up to be vulnerable and express her feelings throughout season 1. As Clark tells : “She is alone. She’s rejected everyone around her. Even someone as powerful and capable of her must realize that they can’t exist alone as an island. She’s learned a lot of that from Halbrand, so I love that she’s got to a point where she can be honest with those she meets.”
Read our Rings of Power recaps
However, Galadriel’s revelatory piece of backstory is the first time we’ve seen her open up to someone other than Halbrand. As she explains, she hasn’t seen Celeborn since the war began, and she suspects that he’s subsequently been killed as the elves scoured Middle-earth searching for Sauron and his forces.
Lord of the Rings fans – and those who have seen Peter Jackson’s award-winning movie trilogy – will know that Celeborn isn’t dead. Speaking at a special preview screening for episodes 6 and 7, which attended, McKay teased the possibility of Celeborn being introduced in The Rings of Power. If not in season 2, then certainly a ways down the road.
“We know there are things that the two of them do together in terms of progeny that they will issue, realms they will found, all kinds of things,” McKay says. “So it would be very hard to believe that she would never see him again. But let’s see.”
A monster calls
There are other major reveals that take place in the show’s other story arcs.
Over in Khazad-dûm, we finally learn about how the Balrog, teased in The Rings of Power’s Comic-Con trailer (opens in new tab), factors into Amazon’s Lord of the Rings. It’s revealed that this monstrosity is none other than Durin’s Bane, the Balrog that’s slept in the depths of Khazad-dûm since the First Age. That’s until it’s suddenly woken from its slumber by King Durin III, who causes it to stir by throwing a Lindon tree leaf into the vast chasm underneath the dwarven kingdom.
“What other Balrog is living or sleeping under Khazad-dûm during the Second Age?” McKay replies when asks if this mythical creature is actually Durin’s Bane.
Okay, well, will we get to see Durin’s Bane come out to play in The Rings of Power again, or shall we treat this as a one-off Easter egg? “Season 2, sir,” McKay teases. “Stay tuned.”
What’s in a name?
The other major piece of dwarven lore that’s hinted at is Prince Durin revealing that dwarves also have secret names. During a break in mining mithril – against King Durin’s wishes – Elrond jokes with Prince Durin that the great kings of Khazad-dûm all have the same name. But, as Prince Durin explains, that’s just a royal title bestowed on each new male heir. In reality, each dwarven prince has a secret name, which is the one given to them upon birth. Just as Prince Durin decides to tell Elrond what his alias is, Elrond stops him, meaning none of us know what Prince Durin’s actual name is.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, McKay and Payne do – and, fascinatingly, in another world, the pair would’ve told audiences what they name is.
“We actually cut it [Durin’s secret name] out at the last minute,” Payne surprisingly reveals. “That episode is exactly up to the second how long the episodes can be. There’s a moment when King Durin is talking to his son and we actually shot it where he calls him and he says his real name. But, in the last round of editorial, we had to snip it for time.”
Who is Sauron?
Of course, we still don’t know who Sauron is – or the Stranger for that matter. Clark and Muhafidin already teased about the cast knowing who these individuals are already. But viewers are still yet to learn which character might be masquerading as Sauron and the true identity of Daniel Weyman’s mystical but dangerous Meteor Man.
Understandably, Payne and McKay weren’t giving anything away during the preview screening event. However, the pair opened up on the possibility of when we could get a definitive answer, even if that might not come in the season 1 finale.
“There’s one more episode in the season,” Payne says. “There’s at least one story strand, if not a couple more, that are still lingering and you’ll have to watch to find out.
“What I would say is that Sauron’s a deceiver. Sauron could be anyone. And we always felt it would be a waste to just have him be out in front at the beginning. And that if there was a story that would engage people, let them lean in and let them read into things, and have ideas and theories, that would be delightful and wonderful. We try not to be manipulative with it, but we have fun knowing that people are gonna be coming to this with certain questions and certain expectations.”
Setting up a season finale
With only one episode left to air in season 1, The Rings of Power has a number of major and smaller plot threads to wrap up. Additionally, it needs to leave enough open to lead naturally into the show’s second season. What can Payne and McKay tell us, if anything, about the first season’s final entry?
“There are some plotlines that will come together,” McKay says. “We’ve sent some people off to some places at the end. You’ve watched the Númenoreans go home and there are surprises waiting them there. You’ve watched Halbrand and Galadriel head off somewhere. You’ve sort of left Elrond in a predicament where all he has is just one little bit of mithril – what’s he going to do? The eldar is still fading and all he’s got is one little piece of mithril. So that tees us up to some things that have been brewing all season, which will come together and collide in a way you hopefully didn’t expect.”
For more on The Rings of Power, find out why the Prime Video series didn’t utilize Star Wars’ Volume technology. Alternatively, read up on why the show’s creators are just as confused as you are about Lord of the Rings’ new IP owners.
The Rings of Power episodes 1 to 7 are available to stream now on Prime Video.