Rings Of Power Theory: Adar Is Morgoth’s Successor (Not Sauron)

This article contains spoilers for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 3.The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 3 raises the possibility that Adar, not Sauron, is Morgoth’s true successor. Set during the Second Age of Middle-earth, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power explores the consequences of Morgoth’s defeat. The first true evil of Middle-earth, Morgoth is essentially the Lucifer of J. R. R. Tolkien’s franchise. Morgoth was the one who seduced Sauron to turn against the Valar, and thus he can be seen as the one responsible for all the conflict that befell Middle-earth.


Centuries have passed since Morgoth’s fall, and most of Middle-earth believes the times of war to be over. One exception is Galadriel, an Elven warrior who has sworn to avenge herself on Sauron for the death of her brother Finrod. She turned away from the paradise of Valinor and almost died in the raging seas before she was taken to Númenor. There, Galadriel soon learned her worst fears had been realized: the forces of darkness had planned for the eventuality of Morgoth’s defeat, with a chosen successor who would begin his conquest of Middle-earth in the Southlands.

The Orcs have concealed their activities in the Southlands by operating underground through a network of tunnels extended by slave labor. Naturally, Galadriel assumes the Orcs are led by Sauron, who served as Morgoth’s lieutenant back in the First Age. But it’s entirely possible Sauron fell out of favor, and that the mysterious successor — deliberately unnamed in the ancient scrolls that Galadriel stumbles upon in the Númenorean House of Law in The Rings of Power episode 3 — is in fact a completely different character.

Adar Could Be The True Successor Of Morgoth

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 3, “Adar,” features a major subplot in which enslaved Elves attempt to break free in order to summon reinforcements and wipe their enemies out. It ends with the introduction of Adar, leader of the Orcs — an original character created for the series. There have been consistent reports he is a fallen Elf, a quite dramatic departure from Tolkien’s own lore given he moved away from the idea that Elves can fall to the Shadow. Adar’s Elven origin seems confirmed by the title he uses because “Adar” is an Elvish word believed to translate as “father.” It’s reasonable to assume Adar’s title means he was the one who actually created the Orcs, as their origin has always been a mystery in Tolkien’s writing, with the author considering numerous alternatives.

The general assumption is that Adar is one of Sauron’s lieutenants, with Sauron going by another alias in The Rings of Power. This is, however, only an assumption. Because Adar is an original character, his position in Morgoth’s armies is unknown. If he is indeed the creator of the Orcs, then he would be a worthy successor in that he could potentially create more of them — whether by breeding or breaking others. He is already venerated by many in his army, and he could act without fear of discovery precisely because Morgoth’s enemies would focus relentlessly on finding and defeating Sauron.

Sauron Could Be Pursuing His Own Goals In The Rings Of Power

This would certainly be an unexpected twist, leaving even viewers intimately familiar with J. R. R. Tolkien’s lore taken aback. But it would free up Sauron to become even more powerful. While all attention moves to Adar and his actions in the Southlands, Sauron could use his shape-shifting powers to infiltrate the Elves and work toward the forging of the Rings of Power. This would work very well with Tolkien’s established story, and it would potentially reposition Sauron as something of an opportunist who takes advantage of his enemies’ distractions and who uses misdirection to achieve his goals.

Of course, this does not mean Adar’s story is separate from Sauron’s. If Adar is indeed Morgoth’s true successor, then he is destined to be supplanted by Sauron. It remains to be seen whether that happens in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 1, or whether this war rages for a number of seasons, while Sauron works in the shadows to accomplish his own purposes even as Galadriel and her forces focus on Adar’s actions in the Southlands. The Second Age of Middle-earth clearly hides a lot of secrets, and it will be thrilling to see them uncovered.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power releases new episodes at 9 PM Pacific Time on Thursdays and at 12 AM Eastern Time on Fridays on Prime Video.

Want more The Rings of Power articles? Check out our essential content below…

  • How Many Episodes Of The Rings Of Power There Are (& When The Finale Is)
  • The Rings Of Power Cast & Character Descriptions
  • Everything The Rings Of Power Leaves Out About The War Of Wrath
  • Every New Tolkien Location In The Rings Of Power Explained

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