The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power focuses on Galadriel’s (Morfydd Clark) fight against evil during the Second Age of Middle-earth. However, the first six episodes of the show have been missing a key character from her backstory: her husband Celeborn.
In The Silmarillion, Galadriel and Celeborn meet in the First Age of Middle-earth, in the elven realm of Doriath. They marry and have children, including their daughter Celebrían, who goes on to marry Elrond and give birth to Arwen. By the time we get to the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Galadriel and Celeborn are ruling the realm of Lothlórien.
Given the timeline of Galadriel and Celeborn’s relationship, and the fact that The Rings of Power takes place in the Second Age, you would think that Celeborn would have made an appearance by now. But the show has remained mum on the matter — until its seventh episode, “The Eye.”
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Following the eruption of Mount Doom and the creation of Mordor, Galadriel wanders the desolation with Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin). He asks her if she’s ever lost anyone to Morgoth and Sauron. She tells him about her brother, Finrod. Then, she drops a major lore bomb. Not only did the forces of darkness take her brother from her — they also took her husband. That’s right: Celeborn is dead.
The Rings of Power deviates quite often from J.R.R. Tolkien’s canon, but this might be one of the most seismic shifts yet — beyond the literally earthshaking formation of Mordor, of course. The show has created new characters, such as Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) and Adar (Joseph Mawle), and fleshed out the stories of other characters in Tolkien’s world, such as Queen Regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) or Isildur (Maxim Baldry). The choice to take a canon character and dispose of them offscreen is jarring by comparison. Which leads us to the big question…
Is Celeborn really dead in The Rings of Power?
Credit: Matt Grace / Prime Video
There’s no way, right? Galadriel mentions that after Celeborn went off to war, she never saw him again. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s dead — only that she thinks he’s dead. Remember the golden rule: No body, no confirmed death. The same goes for Sauron, whom Adar claimed to have killed in episode 6. We know there’s no way Sauron’s a goner.
If anything, it’s more likely that Celeborn is lost or imprisoned, and that his and Galadriel’s (hypothetical) reunion will be a major plot point in the story to come. After all, The Rings of Power has thrown a lot of characters at us this season. Perhaps it’s simply waiting until later to introduce more major players.
There is still the very real possibility that Celeborn is just straight-up dead, only a footnote in Galadriel’s story. If so, that would be by far my least favorite adaptation choice that The Rings of Power has made. Yes, it reinforces Galadriel’s hatred of Sauron, but it’s also a total dismissal of someone important to Galadriel, especially if Celeborn was killed to make way for Halbrand to be a new love interest.
Overall, though, I trust that The Rings of Power is keeping Celeborn — and Sauron — tucked up its chain-mailed sleeve, poised for the big reveal. My best guess is that Celeborn will appear either in the Season 1 finale or further down the line. A quick mention so late in the season simply has to bring us payoff — at least, one can hope.