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‘The Lord of the Rings’ Episode 6 “Udûn” Ending Explained: Is That Mount Doom? How Were Orcs Created? What Does “Udûn” Mean?

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 6 “Udûn” is literally the Prime Video series’s most explosive installment yet. After bravely battling Adar (Joseph Mawle) and his army of orcs for a whole night, Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi), and Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) have reached their limit. Defeat seems imminent. That’s when the calvary of Númenor, led by Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), arrives to save the day. With the help of Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), Elendil (Lloyd Owen), and Isildur (Maxim Baldry), our heroes are able to save the day — and the Southlands. Or are they?

The Lord of the Rings Episode 6 “Udûn” ends with #1 Sauron stan Waldreg (Geoff Morrell) successfully sneaking the magical sword hilt to the place where it can be a key. He uses the dark magical sword to break bridges and levies, sending water surging through the tunnels the orcs have dug, all the way to subterranean lava under the mountain overlooking the Southlands. The reaction sets off an explosion, turning the mountain into a volcano and the Southlands into ash. Galadriel stares at the oncoming destruction dumbfounded.

So…is that fiery mountain in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 6 supposed to be Mount Doom? Are the Southlands lost for good? And did Galadriel die during the eruption? Did anyone else die in the episode? And, come to think of it, but did Adar reveal the origins of orcs — a source of major confusion and contention amongst Tolkien fans??

Here’s everything you need to know about the ending of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 6 “Udûn”…

WHAT DOES THE TITLE OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RINGS OF POWER EPISODE 6 “UDÛN” MEAN?

The title of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 6 is “Udûn,” which is a Sindarin word that means literally “hell.” It is the name given to a valley in northwest Mordor, which is overlooked by Mount Doom.

Coincidentally, the orcs seem to be chanting “Udûn” as the volcano erupts…

Frodo at Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Photo: Everett Collection

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RINGS OF POWER EPISODE 6 ENDING EXPLAINED: IS THAT MOUNT DOOM?

Folks, I think we can safely confirm that the big mountain that has been overshadowing Bronwyn’s village since Episode 1 is indeed…Mount Doom. The key that Sauron gifted his followers in the Southlands was designed to set off a chain reaction that would send a blast of smog and fire over the territory, covering the lands in darkness. This is the home promised to the orcs. This is…presumably…Mordor. (Also if you look closely at Tar-Míriel’s map, it does look like Mordor! Just saying!)

But how could this happen? Well, it seems that Adar did the old bait and switch on Galadriel. As soon as the sound of the Númenorean calvary can be heard approaching like thunder, Adar tells Waldreg he has a task for him. As it happens, Adar gives Waldreg the real hilt. He rushes away from Galadriel and Halbrand with an axe covered in the same cloth as the hilt, giving it the illusion of being the real key.

Theo is the one who finally figures out that the hilt isn’t the real hilt. After admitting to Arondir that the hilt made him feel powerful, Arondir suggests giving it up to the Númenoreans so they may cast the dark object into the sea. Theo sits with this and realizes that the hilt is no longer drawing blood and energy from him. As he unwraps the bundle to reveal a common axe, we cut to Sauron stalker Waldreg, happily using the sword as a literal key. Adar? He was vamping for time. You know, the way supervillains do.

But yeah, that is Mount Doom. The same volcano in which Sauron will forge the One Ring and to whence Sam and Frodo will have to eventually journey to destroy said ring.

WHO DIES IN THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RINGS OF POWER EPISODE 6?

Uh…a lot of random villagers, orcs, and potentially Galadriel!

Here’s the thing: while Bronwyn almost dies during the battle from an arrow to the shoulder, she is saved by the seeds Arondir shared with her. She is able to coach Theo into using fire and the seeds to staunch the bleeding. But none of our major characters died fighting the orcs.

That said, because the episode ends with a wild explosion, it seems not all our faves will survive to next week. In fact, Galadriel looks to be in terrible amounts of trouble at the end of the episode. She stands still, staring at the oncoming disaster. Can an elf body withstand such a blast? We’re guessing yes! That is because Galadriel famously lives on to offer Frodo and the Fellowship council during the Third Age.

LOTRTROP EP 4 ORC LICKS BLOOD

DOES THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RINGS OF POWER REVEAL THE ORIGIN OF ORCS?

After Galadriel and Halbrand apprehend Adar, she attempts to question him about the location of Sauron. She starts the conversation by saying that she had heard rumors for years that Morgoth took elves and twisted them into the first orcs. Adar says they prefer to be called Uruk. So take that, haters! Galadriel really isn’t as “woke” as you think!

So is that how orcs were created? By Morgoth? Did he twist the elves into orcs?

Well, Tolkien has several versions of how orcs were created. An early version of this lore does indeed say that Morgoth created orcs from fallen elves. However, other versions say that orcs are soulless monsters or creatures with “elvish” strains or even corrupted men. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power confirms the first version, but also teases out the corrupted men explanation. After all, Arondir and the villagers are horrified to realize that some of the “orcs” who fell upon the town were actually other Southernors dressed up like monsters.

Adar goes on to say that after the defeat of Morgoth, Sauron took what orcs he could to the frigid north, to the dark castle Galadriel discovers in Episode 1. There he attempted to wield a secret otherworldly “power” by experimenting on orcs. Adar says he sacrificed enough of his children for Sauron’s “aspirations,” so he eventually split him open. Adar claims he killed Sauron and Galadriel doesn’t believe him. (We don’t either, but we can believe that Adar believes that!)

Anyway, I’m sure it’s totally not a big deal that Adar doesn’t recognize Halbrand or that he asks Halbrand who he is, like he should know, or that Halbrand is specifically mad at Adar over something, or that Halbrand is now kind of a smoldering wasteland featuring Mount Doom. I’m sure it’s all a coincidence! (It probably is, but I’m hanging on to my theory that Halbrand is a version Sauron flirting with redemption.)

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