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LOTR: The Rings Of Power Episode 4 Ending Explained

Warning: spoilers ahead for The Rings of Power episode 4Take a Moria-deep dive into The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 4’s game-changing ending. Amazon’s The Rings of Power has burned slowly with its opening three episodes. Galadriel rejected the paradise of Valinor and accidentally landed in Númenor with Halbrand, convinced Sauron’s return is imminent. Elrond reconnected with Durin IV in Khazad-dûm, but didn’t realize his old pal was hiding a shiny secret. Arondir, meanwhile, found himself captured by orcs following Adar’s invasion of the Southlands, the surviving villagers gathering in the now-abandoned elven watchtower.

The Rings of Power episode 4 (“The Great Wave”) sees Morfydd Clark’s Galadriel make a passionate plea to her Númenórean captors for assistance hunting down Sauron’s forces, only to be given the cold shoulder by Cynthia Addai-Robinson’s Queen Regent Míriel and Trystan Gravelle’s Chancellor Pharazôn. Across the sea, Durin IV (Owain Arthur) finally tells Elrond (Robert Aramayo) the truth about mithril – a brand new mineral Moria’s dwarves have discovered in their mountain. Tyroe Muhafidin’s Theo then gets more than he bargained for during a supply run back to Tirharad, and surely would’ve been killed were it not for the archery skills of soon-to-be step-dad Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), who arrives carrying a message from The Rings of Power season 1’s big bad.

Related: Why Numenor Looks So Much Like Gondor’s Minas Tirith

The final moments of “The Great Wave” promise to bring those disparate plot threads together, with Galadriel and her new Númenórean friends heading for the Southlands, and Durin IV accompanying Elrond back to Lindon as progress on Celebrimbor’s big ol’ spring forge continues apace. Here’s how The Rings of Power episode 4’s ending shakes out.

When The Rings of Power episode 4 begins, Queen Regent Míriel has precisely zero interest in hearing Galadriel’s call for aid, preferring to either throw her in jail or send her back home as quickly as possible. By the final scene, however, Míriel is putting together an expedition that’ll follow Galadriel to Middle-earth and help deliver the Southlands from Adar’s orcs. Míriel’s softening process toward Galadriel happens in two stages across The Rings of Power‘s “The Great Wave” episode. First, Númenor’s Queen Regent and her rebellious guest bond over common trauma. Just as Galadriel is burdened by knowing Sauron is alive without any help from her fellow Elves, Míriel shoulders the vision of her island’s destruction and the pain of watching her father gradually fade away.

What really seals the alliance between Galadriel and Númenor, however, is the falling blossoms of Nimloth. As Galadriel is sent packing back to Middle-earth alone, Nimloth, Númenor’s white tree, begins shedding its leaves – apparently a rare event. This tree is a distant descendant of a similar version once planted in Valinor, and as The Rings of Power‘s voiceover explains, those faithful to the old traditions believe its leaves falling is akin to the Valar crying. Míriel interprets this petal storm as an ill omen signaling that Valinor is displeased by her island’s refusal to fight Sauron. She quickly changes her mind.

Maxim Baldry’s Isildur undergoes a career roller coaster in The Rings of Power episode 4. Gently pushed into the Númenórean Sea Guard by his father, Isildur has other ideas about his future, and his heart is instead set upon the west – “the real Númenor.” Instead of simply quitting, the budding sailor sees a light and hears a voice coming from the west and chooses to deliberately sabotage his duties in the hope of getting dismissed. The youngster likely believed accidently-on-purpose getting fired would provoke a less angry reaction from his dad than outright quitting.

Related: Exactly Where Is Numenor Compared To Valinor & Middle-earth

But if Isildur’s plan is to abandon the seas and go west where the skies are blue, why does he then join Galadriel’s army headed for Middle-earth… to the east? Isildur’s friend mentions how Anárion (Isildur’s brother) once spoke of the west with reverence. His entire family belong to the Faithful – Númenóreans loyal to the Valar – and Isildur’s western aspirations are probably borne from a desire to discover his destiny and connect with a glorious past Númenor’s rulers have since abandoned – respecting the Valar, befriending the Elves, etc. Middle-earth lies east, but helping Galadriel defeat Sauron honors this goal.

The Rings of Power episode 4 reveals Númenor’s ruling line harbors a dark secret – a prophecy telling of the island’s destruction told by a palantír. Queen Regent Míriel (and later Galadriel) both witness a vision of violent waves rushing over Númenor’s cities, swallowing the whole kingdom into the sea. This dream is a very close visual representation of how J.R.R. Tolkien described Númenor’s downfall toward the end of his Second Age mythology. Plenty of big events must transpire before Númenor goes swimming, but The Rings of Power episode 4’s dream sequence not only makes the cataclysm inevitable, the day might now be much closer than audiences probably would’ve assumed when Númenor first debuted in The Rings of Power.

The Rings of Power episode 4 finally reveals season 1’s big bad, Adar (Joseph Mawle). Though the Orc “father” remains highly enigmatic, his conversation with Arondir drops a string of salient details. The Rings of Power implies Adar is (or was) an elf, evidenced by his language, ears, and memories of Beleriand, but “The Great Wave” also confirms Mawle – for the moment, at least – is not portraying Sauron. Nevertheless, these two Middle-earth baddies are evidently connected somehow.

Adar is a follower of Morgoth, but whether he’s a survivor from the War of Wrath or he converted during the centuries of peace remains to be seen. Adar also has no obvious special abilities, although his line about not being a god “yet” teases a nefarious plan to obtain greater power – potentially where Theo’s mysterious black sword hilt comes into play. Adar’s ultimate goal is less likely to be personal domination over Middle-earth, and more likely to be setting the stage for Sauron’s return. This could explain why his focus rests on the Southlands, which sits exactly where Mordor is located in The Lord of the Rings.

Related: Rings of Power Gave Isildur’s Friend a Very Important Name

The Rings of Power throws a shroud of mystery over Adar’s “father” title too – Arondir questions the name, but receives no reply. Orcs were originally created from captured elves, so if Adar is elven in origin, he might’ve bred his soldiers in The Rings of Power personally – hence the daddy title.

Adar apparently isn’t the only Morgoth fan in The Rings of Power. Waldreg – the friendly Tirharad tavern owner – takes an increasing interest in Theo’s youthful rage during “The Great Wave,” eventually revealing that he knows the boy stole a strange black sword hilt from his barn. Instead of chastising Theo for swiping his property, Waldreg is strangely encouraging of Theo’s curiosity, asking the lad if he’s “ever heard of Sauron” and suggesting they prepare for the drama to come. The Rings of Power suggests Waldreg is secretly a villain. The Southlanders were historically soldiers of Morgoth, and though most residents no longer remember or care for those days, it’s no great surprise that one or two lineages retain an evil streak.

That’d certainly explain why Waldreg kept the black sword hilt all this time – a keepsake passed down from one dark soul to another, and now the tavern grouch is hoping Theo will follow suit. The sword hilt’s purpose remains ambiguous, but given how badly Adar is hunting for it, the relic could either afford the orc-father great mystical power, or facilitate Sauron’s return to Middle-earth.

The Rings of Power‘s reunion between Elrond and Durin IV has been far from smooth, but they experience a friendship breakthrough after the dwarf reveals Moria’s mithril secret and his mellon takes an oath to keep the exciting discovery under wraps. There’s touching resolution between the two friends and Disa, and an even more emotional note between Durin IV and Durin III, who pause their head-butting long enough to enjoy a wholesome father-son exchange in The Rings of Power episode 4’s final moments. But before Khazad-dûm can finish turning into Khazad-fun, Moria’s king asks whether his son felt something amiss with the Elves. Durin IV admits his instincts are sensing something beneath the surface, and agrees to accompany Elrond to Lindon in hopes of discovering the full truth.

Related: Sauron’s Symbol & Black Speech In The Rings Of Power Fully Explained

Moria’s dwarves obviously know they’re building a forge in Eregion (they’d need to peruse the plans before getting started), but the two Durins are probably curious about why the Elves require such a huge furnace, and why it wants finishing by spring. This reasoning hasn’t been spoken explicitly in The Rings of Power yet, but the forge will soon prove crucial in crafting the Rings of Power themselves. These plans are probably known to only Lord Celebrimbor and High King Gil-Galad. Can Durin IV sniff out the secret in Lindon?

The Rings of Power episode 4 sees Durin IV admit to Elrond that mithril mining is far riskier than digging out Moria’s usual gems and minerals. As if to prove his point, a cave-in occurs, and a group of workers only escape by the skin of their dust-covered teeth, prompting Durin III to close down Khazad-dûm’s mithril operation. Is this the end for Moria’s big new business venture? The Lord of the Rings says otherwise. During Frodo Baggins’ era, Moria is mostly cleaned of all mithril, and the Dwarves’ hunger for the shiny stuff became so great, their digging disturbed the Balrog buried deep within the mountain.

Not only must Moria’s dwarves continue mining mithril in The Rings of Power, the pact of secrecy between elf and dwarf must be severed too. Despite Elrond’s oath, the Elves are well-versed in mithril and its uses during The Lord of the Rings‘ era, even constructing the Doors of Durin using this wondrous material. That doesn’t necessarily mean Elrond betrays Durin IV and sends Gil-Galad a 97-page report titled “Mithril – Beyond the Mineshaft.” More likely, the ties between Eregion and Moria grow friendlier until the mineral is shared freely between civilizations.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power continues Thursday/Friday on Prime Video.

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