Movies & Television

The Rings of Power: Is Sauron a Vala or a Maia like Gandalf?

**Warning – Spoilers ahead for The Rings of Power**

This week’s The Rings of Power entry gave more screen time to corrupted elf and Orc leader Adar, who may be one of Sauron’s disguises. New arrivals to Tolkien’s lore are now wondering if Sauron is a Vala and we explain the difference between this race and the Maiar.

Episode 4 also saw Bronwynn and Theo arrive at the Elven tower while Arondir was tasked with delivering a message from Adar. Additionally, Elrond discovered what his friend Durin and the other Dwarves were mining in Khazad-dum.

Developed by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay for Amazon Prime and based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel, The Lord of the Rings, The Rings of Power will be set thousands of years before The Hobbit and its successor, starring Robert Aramayo, Morfydd Clark, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, and many more.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power | Teaser Trailer | Prime Video

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power | Teaser Trailer | Prime Video

Is Sauron a Vala?

No, Sauron is not a Vala, but instead, a Maia who was originally named Mairon. With Adar’s arrival, many have presumed that this is one of Sauron’s forms, leading them to also believe that Sauron may be an Elf.

Instead, Sauron’s race of Maiar does carry a similar physical appearance to Elves, however, they are very different and have a higher ranking.

The Valar are mentioned several times during The Rings of Power and are responsible for shaping the world of Arda, also known as Earth.

What is the Difference Between Valar and Maiar?

The Valar were known as 14 Ainur (Holy Ones) and Powers of Arda, who found the realm of Valinor after their original home, Almaren, was destroyed.

While the Ainur populate both the Valar and the Maiar race, the Maiar are of lesser power than the Valar and often serve individual Vala. 

The chief Maiar were Eonwe and Illmare and five of the primordial spirits reincarnated as Wizards during the Third Age – with one becoming Gandalf.

It is therefore technically correct in saying Sauron and Gandalf are of the same race, it’s just Gandalf’s form was repurposed and Sauron soon favored the corrupted ways of Melkor (later named Morgoth) and began to follow his ways.

Episode 5 Plot Preview

The Rings of Power Episode 5 is scheduled to release on Amazon Prime on Friday, September 23, 2022.

Next week’s episode will see the kingdom’s forces cast a shadow over the Dark Lord’s plan and we might even return to the Harfoots to see if their migration was successful with the Stranger.

The full effect of Durin’s mining for Mithril will also hit home, as the Dwarves’ excavation promises to awaken a fiery foe in the Balrog.

By Jo Craig – [email protected]

The Rings of Power is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

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Jo Craig

Being a pop culture writer and a proud geek of all trades, Jo loves to dissect fandoms and marvel at their insides. The entirety of The Lord of the Rings, superhero origins, the Ghost of Tsushima score, the Wings of Freedom, and the endless search for a sleepy Tyranitar are but a few of Jo's passions, with a penchant for contributing to the geek culture community.

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