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The Rings Of Power Showrunners Explain The Reasoning Behind Their Slow Burn Sauron Reveal

We are reaching the end of the inaugural season of Amazon Prime's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power." Carefully weaving a story about the way Middle-earth worked thousands of years before Frodo and Bilbo Baggins took on their epic quests to restore safety and balance to the world, here, we learn what Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), Elrond (Robert Aramayo), and others were up to during the Second Age. There are battles to be had, journeys to be made, and new relationships to be forged in the fire as they go. 

The series introduces us to plenty of characters from J. R. R. Tolkien's mythology and explains the how and the why of the strife which will haunt Middle-earth for decades to come. But one character remains obscured within the show's narrative: the villainous Sauron, who will eventually try to rule all of Middle-earth with the One Ring, and who will one day become the mortal enemy of both Frodo and Bilbo. A recent interview with the showrunners for "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" indicates that Sauron will show up at some point, but here's why the program is taking its sweet time to introduce everyone's favorite baddie.

Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne want you to care about the characters first

Per an October 2022 interview with co-"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" showrunners Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne published in The Hollywood Reporter, the Sauron-related waiting game has been intentional on their parts. They want their audience to like the show's central characters and be engrossed in their trials and tribulations before throwing Sauron at the audience.

"It would be very tempting to make the first season of this show The Sauron Show, very villain-centric. But we wanted that level of evil and complexity of evil to emerge out of a world that you're invested in — not because evil is threatening it immediately. We wanted you to fall in love again with Middle-earth. We wanted you to understand and relate to the struggles that each of these characters are having before we test them in a way they've never been tested before," McKay explained.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that Sauron might even secretly already be on the show's canvas. After all, the character hasn't reached his fearsome final form and could be hiding out in much more innocuous-looking skin. All the better to trick the vulnerable. This is a notion that Payne confirms, saying, "It's another Tolkien thing where when a shadow spreads — which is part of what is happening in our show — it affects everyone's relationships." It seems that Sauron could be anyone, which will naturally work on everyone's nerves as Season 1 finishes and Season 2 looms on the horizon. "Having an audience suspect this person or that person could be Sauron is drawing them into that thing where the shadow is overcoming all of us and making us suspicious of each other," said Payne.

With luck, they'll have time to untangle those threads.