Fan theories are an important part of the experience when it comes to TV shows or movies, but is The Rings of Power relying on it too much?
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has been teasing its biggest mystery since episode 1: who is Sauron, and is it possible that one of the characters in the villain in disguise?
The question has triggered a lot of fan speculation, with people deciphering the clues from the episodes and debating about several "Sauron" candidates, from Halbrand to Celebrimbor. According to Reddit user Cranyx, this is something the show is doing deliberately, fueling fan theories and speculation to keep them interested.
"Mystery in a show is obviously fine and can be an exciting part of watching, but I can't help but get the feeling that the writers are consciously trying to facilitate speculation online because it means people are talking about it on social media. I know "is that Sauron?" has become a meme, but the show is definitely trying to foster that sort of thing with intentional red herrings and teases," the Redditor argued.
The Sauron guessing game has indeed become a meme that even Amazon and some of the show's stars supported. Every new episode seems to offer some new characters to be suspicious about, and many people appear to be getting tired of the mystery, saying they would prefer the show to be telling a story and not foster speculation.
"I noticed with this last episode that I am definitely over the questions phase of the show and want satisfying answers. It feels like we don’t know any more about who anyone is and what they’ve got going on than we did by the end of the first episode." – u/buteo51
Not everyone is ready to agree, however.
"The thing is, this whole mystery thing is all concocted by us, the viewers. The fans who know that Annatar is somewhere because he was in the lore. I always think it's so weird how ppl want answers but they aren't willing to wait on it. There's only 8 episodes in this season, just wait a few weeks and your questions will probably be answered, but seeing as there will be more seasons, you can't expect everything to be served to you on a platter." – u/RollingKatamari
Even if the show does deliberately fuel fan theories, this is "a perfectly reasonable way to write an episodic TV show." Some fans recalled Game of Thrones and how it required several seasons to know who the white walkers were, noting that people were not seen complaining about that at the time.
With season 1 consisting of just 8 episodes, there are only three episodes until fans might know the answer to The Rings of Power's biggest mystery. However, given that the show was preemptively greenlit for season 2, it is possible that the finale will be nothing but a cliffhanger aimed to keep people watching.