‘The Rings of Power’ Episode 6 and the Origins of Mordor

Amazon Prime’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power continues to deliver week to week and Episode 6, entitled “Udûn, may have been one of the series’ best to date. After Galadriel, Halbrand and the Númenóreans arrived just in time to help Bronwyn and Arondir hold off Adar and his army of orcs, things seemed to be trending up in Middle-Earth. However, just as Halbrand is hailed as King of the Southlands, the Southlands get a major remodeling.

As it turns out, when Adar was captured he was not carrying the hilt that he and the orcs had been seeking out. Unseen, Adar gave the hilt, which works as a key, to Waldreg, one of his grimey human peons. Waldreg worked back to the tower where he inserted the hilt into a stone and truly unleashed hell on Middle-Earth. Waldreg turned free a dammed up water source that eventually found its way to an underground lake of lava. Upon arrival, the mixture caused a catastrophic eruption, blowing the top off of a mountain which will now become known as Mount Doom.

The location where Sauron’s treachery finally ended as seen in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King when Gollum falls into the lava and destroys the One Ring is now the centerpiece of The Rings of Power. Adar’s plan to find his Uruk a home where they can be free of the sun came to fruition as the eruption of Mount Doom turned the once scenic valley into what will now become Mordor, the realm of Sauron. Showrunner Patrick McKay talked to the Hollywood Reporter about the decision to show the creation of such a major setting in the franchise.

A huge theme in Tolkien is the environmentalism and the way machines and industrializations destroys the land. We wanted that to be central and core all the time. It’s a thing that comes up again and again throughout the show. So in the writers room, we asked: What if Mordor was beautiful? All bucolic like Switzerland. And then what could happen that could transform it? We talked about the poisoning of the land — which starts in the first episode with the cow. Then you find out about the tunnels being dug and sulfur is going up into the air. It all builds toward this geologically realistic way of igniting the mountain, which now blacks out the sky for a very practical reason — Adar, our villain, sees the Orcs as his people and they deserve a home where the sun doesn’t torment them. We’re hoping it will take people by surprise.

Patrick McKay

Episode 6 moves the series that much closer to the creation of the Rings of Power and the One Ring. With Mordor and Mount Doom now on the map and the fates of many of the series’ main characters up in the air following the cliffhanger ending of Episode 6, it seems that the arrival of Sauron might not be too far off. Or perhaps, he’s been there all along…

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

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