The Rings of Power‘s fourth episode revealed what orcs have been searching for. But it’s not buried deep in the ground of the southlands; Bronwyn’s son Theo has it. The orcs want the black sword hilt he carries—the one bearing Sauron’s mark—because it’s no mere magical weapon or even a memento. It’s some kind of “key” that has the “power” to once again lead men to follow a Dark Lord down an evil path. A path some of them never left and will soon walk again. Of course, on The Rings of Power, Theo’s evil Sauron sword hilt turned out to unlock much more than anyone expected.
Where Did Theo’s Sword Come From?
Theo stole that sinister sword hilt from the barn of Waldreg. The old cook finally confronted the young boy about it towards the end of episode four, though he didn’t ask for it back. He only asked if Theo knew who made it, what it represented, and what it can do.
They both lived in the now abandoned southlands town of Tirharad, which had been under the watchful eye of the elves for decades because the men of Tirharad had served the Dark Lord Morgoth during the First Age.
Clearly not all of them have forsaken Morgoth and his most powerful, most loyal lieutenant, Sauron. Waldreg—who has the same markings on his arm that Theo has—inherited the hilt from his ancestors. And Waldreg eagerly inspired other men and women to join with Sauron’s cause. (Though Waldreg was not prepared to learn Adar is not Sauron or that he had to offer a blood sacrifice to bind himself to Adar.)
Note: The symbol on the water bag Waldreg tossed at Theo was different than the hilts. It was also different than the one on Halbrand’s necklace.
How Does the Sword of Sauron Work?
The hilt—which flashes with the fires (likely of Mordor) used to forge it—has shown two notable abilities thus far. The first is that it calls out to any man who sees it. That fragment, which bears the symbol of Sauron’s Mordor, can hypnotize its wielder, luring them into a dark trance. That enchantment also keeps Theo back to the sword of Sauron, which he continues to admire. Sauron’s sword hilt appears to have some of the same qualities the Rings of Power later will. Theo even tells Arondir that he feels drawn to Sauron’s sword hilt, addicted almost, and he seems to be able to sense its presence in a room.
It also’s magical and completely reformed when Theo found himself under attack by an orc. A drop of Theo’s blood fell on the hilt, causing the black smoke to appear. But the sword did not manifest merely into its full shape. It was not an illusion of smoke and air. Theo used it to cut the orc. Even broken, the sword’s power protects the man who holds it, so long as he gives some blood to it.
Theo’s Sword Hilt Is the “Key” to Mount Doom on The Rings of Power
In an earlier episode, Arondir recognized Theo’s sword hilt immediately. The sword is carved into the stone of Ostirith, the tower where elves watched over the men who’d served Morgoth. They are the same men who originally built Ostirith. Arondir calls Sauron’s sword hilt a key. And now we know it is also a key to the creation of Mount Doom.
Using it under the orders of Adar, Waldreg is seemingly able to kickstart the formation of a volcanic eruption and Mordor. Water and fire form to create a massive explosion that sends soot and flame into the air. Adar believes he is creating Mount Doom as a home for the orcs, but Sauron likely has other plans for the location and for his servants. After all, he needs the fires of Mount Doom to forge his rings, and especially the Rings of Power.
But Theo’s sword hilt could still have other uses.
Who Made Theo’s Sword and Why?
Waldreg said that hilt is “no sword.” He said it is “a power fashioned for our ancestors by his master’s own hand, a beautiful servant, he was lost but shall return.” The lost “servant” of the First Age is Sauron.
Waldreg’s unclear grammar technically makes it debatable if Morgoth forged it or if Sauron forged the sword hilt on The Rings of Power. But it almost certainly was the work of Sauron the great craftsman, since it bears his symbol of Mordor in the south. (Morgoth ruled from and fell to defeat in the north.) But regardless of which Dark Lord crafted the sword, we now know who it was made for and why.
Sauron created the sword hilt as a key to Mount Doom. However, as we saw with Theo, Its power may also be of unification and manipulation, just like the rings of power Sauron will soon create.
The sword may later be used to lure men to the king who led them to Morgoth’s cause. Since the sword’s sinister power allows Sauron to corrupt the person who holds it and the people he commands. Not that all will need convincing. Sauron vanished, but not his dark influence.
Does Theo’s Sword Belong to Halbrand?
According to Galadriel, the southern ruler who united his people to follow Morgoth is also the ancestor of Halbrand. If Halbrand really is who she thinks, the sword may rightfully belong to this lost king, though it’s not a legacy he seeks.
But she will be proven right even if Halbrand is secretly Sauron – the sword will still belong to him. And if Halbrand is the Dark Lord (who Waldreg believes is on the verge of returning after seeing the Stranger’s comet), we might already know what fate awaits the man who claims Theo’s sword as their own and once again leads men to fight for darkness.
Is Theo’s Hilt Destined to Be the Sword of the Witch-King of Angmar?
Sauron will soon help forge nine rings of power for men. The rings will then corrupt all nine, who are doomed to become the Nazgûl, Sauron’s greatest generals.
Not only could that sword, which first led men to follow a dark path, end up belonging to one of them, it might very well be the sword of their leader, the Witch-King of Angmar. And that means the story of Sauron’s sword hilt is far from over on The Rings of Power. It obviously still calls to Theo.
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.