Ever since it was announced in 2017 Prime Video Lord of the Rings was a real mystery. 1 billion dollars Lord of the Rings without Frodo, Gollum or Bill’s pony? And there will be no Shir, plans for Helm’s Deep have been drawn for years, and there will definitely be no meat on menu guys. The Amazon is cunning, isn’t it, dear?
In this case, the header Lord of the Rings does not apply to J. R. R. Tolkienmasterpiece, but rather the literal “Lord of the Rings”, also known as Sauron, the Dark Lord who conceives and claims to wield the Rings of Power. The series will explore his rise and eventual fall, but there’s still a hell of a lot we’re not sure about.
FROM The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power days before the premiere, we are flooded with information. Tolkien’s canon is rich in detail and events, so figuring out when this show takes place and what author’s work to study for preparation has been difficult. At Comic-Con, co-showrunner Patrick McKay said that Amazon had “bought the rights to 10,000 years of Middle-earth history.” Luckily, McKay and co-showrunner JD Payne settled on a specific period to establish their epic: the 3,400 years that make up the Second Age. So let’s dive into that and answer the most important questions about this very big show as best we can.
What is the Second Age?
The history of Middle-earth is divided into four eras. The First Age was the first era of Arda (or Earth), beginning when Eru Ilúvatar (essentially the God of Middle-earth) created the elves, and ending with the overthrow of Morgoth, the first Dark Lord and boss of Sauron. This period of time is widely documented in SilmarillionJ. R. R. Tolkien’s posthumously published lore book, which the author’s son, Christopher Tolkien, edited and published in 1977.
However, as much as we’d love to see moments from the First Age, the Second Age is exciting because Tolkien never finished it. Because he died while writing his opus, Silmarillionour knowledge of this history comes from Lord of the Rings applications, ancillary books approved by Tolkien’s son, and summaries such as The Fellowship of the Ringthe “Council of Elrond” chapter from the 40-page Notes of Cliff, recounting that era.
Choosing the Second Age of Middle-earth, Payne and McKay created a prequel structure similar to star Wars prequels as well as Dragon House, taking viewers back to a time of prosperity long before Luke Skywalker or Jon Snow got into trouble. Middle-earth in the Second Age prospers compared to the Third, when Lord of the Rings trilogy set. The Third Age has an atmosphere of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but before that, people were quite happy.
Beginning with the destruction of Morgoth, the Second Age tells of Numenor, the island kingdom of Men and the home of the Numenoreans, a noble race of seven-foot warriors. Numenor is Tolkien’s Atlantis, a powerful maritime society destined to be swallowed up by the sea they worship. At Peter Jackson The Fellowship of the Ring, the Númenóreans, also known as the Dunedain, appear in the first scene, where Elendil and Isildur come close and personally to Sauron. This scene closes the curtain on the Second Age as Isildur takes the ring for himself and curses the world with his stupidity.
Who are all these people?
As you may have noticed, even though this show is called Lord of the Rings, these are not the same characters that we recognize from the six films of Jackson or Tolkien’s books. The three most recognizable in this context are Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), Elrond (Robert Aramayo) and Sauron. Judging by trailerwe assume that Sauron is more of a minor villain in Rings of Power– though since he’s the main character who orders the title decorations, we’re guessing he’ll show up in this first season. What we don’t want is to spoil the whole story, so let’s just say he’s probably around and gaining strength.
The two most familiar characters in the series are Elrond and Galadriel. Originally played by Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett in the Jackson films, Elrond and Galadriel hold the history of Middle-earth through lives spanning the Three Ages. In this they are similar to R2-D2 and C3PO. Robert Aramayo becomes young Elrond, a half-elf. At the end of the First Age, Elrond is given the choice of whether he wants to be an elf or one of the Numenoreans. He chooses the elves, and his twin brother Elros chooses the humans – and discovers and settles in Numenor as their first king. However, it is not clear if Elros is on the show and if Aramayo will be doing double duty.
Galadriel (played by Morfydd Clark) is one of the most powerful elves in Middle-earth. Jackson endowed her with an obsessive unearthly power. Brotherhood, and here she is in warrior mode in her cool armor. At Comic-Con, Clark noted that “it’s not actually her armor. It’s a gift from someone else.” We never saw her from this side on the screen, but in Unfinished TalesTolkien mentions that she starts her own war.
As for the Numenoreans, there are Elendil and Isildur running around who are good rulers but end up failing at the last second, which is the story of Numenor. Both characters appear in Jackson’s prologue. Brotherhood, and Isildur’s name follows his heir: Aragorn. Isildur’s failure is what causes most of Aragorn’s self-doubt in the films, with his ancestor’s cursed name hanging around his neck. For example, “Curse of Isildur” is a common nickname for the Ring of Omnipotence.
One of the most surprising features of the show is a new character, Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdoba), an elf stationed in the Southern lands, where he watches over people associated with Sauron. Interestingly, his story is familiar to Middle-earth: a romance between a human and an elf. Yes, Arondir will play Beren and Lúthien (or Arwen and Aragorn) gender-reversed alongside the human Bronwyn (Nazanine Boniadi). Relationships between elves and humans seem to happen once in every age.
Last but not least, dwarves play a big role in the series with the legendary Durin IV (Owain Arthur) watching a fully functioning Moria with his wife and Queen Disa (Sophia Nomwete), the first female dwarf ever depicted in Tolkien adaptation. They rule Moria, which we will finally see in all its glory.
What about those fake hobbits?
For the so-called Lord of the Rings, there is a surprising absence of hobbits. Unfortunately, this story takes place in the pre-Hobbit era, or at least in an era when the hobbits didn’t do anything “impressive”. Luckily, this left the Harfoots (Harfeet!) at the ready. At Comic-Con, Payne said that since “Tolkien doesn’t say anything about the Harfoots not doing anything spectacular in the Second Age”, they felt creative freedom to include them in the show.
And thanks to Eru for that; otherwise the story would have been dominated by the noble pursuits of the Numenoreans and the Elves, who are not entirely pretty. People live for war, and elves for touching the leaves and eternal life. Halflings should actually provide some lightness as audience surrogates. Harfoot’s chief, Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Cavena), is said to have Took’s adventurousness, though her name implies some connection to famed Brotherhood member Merry Brandybuck. Let’s see what pranks she starts and how such a trifle can become a great hero.
Does it have anything to do with the Peter Jackson trilogy?
It was one of the toughest questions that couldn’t be answered directly, and even the creators shied away a bit when pushed. Comic-Con said it was all Tolkien’s story, and they, like Jackson’s films, owe it all to him. But It’s hard not to notice that the design of some of the characters from Jackson comes through. While the elves and dwarves and their armor, architecture and haircuts are reminiscent of Jackson’s aesthetic, the Balrog shares the same design.
There are other indications that Amazon is putting this as a bland prequel to the Oscar-winning trilogy. Like the Jackson films Rings of Power also shot in New Zealand with Weta Workshop, the pioneering visual effects studio that made a name for itself on the Jackson series, handling post-production, props and digital effects for both Lord of the Rings as well as hobbit trilogy.
However, officially Jackson is not involved in the series. Jackson said Amazon contacted him, but when he asked to see the scripts, the company known for supplying groceries quickly left him.
Tolkien Manor was never a fan of Jackson’s version of Middle-earth and allegedly denied him boarding. Tolkien’s family was not the only group to put an end to his involvement; Amazon lawyers didn’t see it as a legal coup either. Warner Bros. owns the rights to Jackson’s films, and this show is available through Amazon. The company said in a statement: “In order to obtain the rights to our show, we were required to separate the series from the films.”
This time it’s good. How cool would it be to have a scene where an aged Sean Astin reads from the Red Book that Frodo (Elijah Wood) gave him at the end. Return of the King, this limits the scope of the show. let’s get new Lord of the Rings that you can freely enjoy and explore Middle-earth without being tied to the work of another director.
The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power not so easy to prepare. It’s a massive story that will (hopefully) deepen as the series progresses. Will it contain everything fans want to see? No, but there is nothing left but to see it with your own eyes on September 1st.