The Rings of Power: 7 things to know before the Lord of the Rings series

Series The Rings of Power is coming to streaming. Inspired by Tolkien’s work of Lord of the Ringsshe will dive into the Second Age and look into the birth of the famous magic rings

How to see the Rings of Power? The subscription to Amazon Prime Video is contained in Amazon Prime, which is 69.99 euros per year.

The first television series from the Lord of the Rings arrived. The first two episodes of rings of power are expected on September 2 on Prime Video, Amazon’s subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service. In all, eight episodes are planned. And the platform plans to shoot four more seasons, which will arrive in a few years.

The series takes place several millennia before the events told in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. If you read JRR Tolkien, you’re probably pretty familiar with the events that take place in the Second Age — that’s when the series takes place, while the movies take place in the Third Age.

But if this universe is unfamiliar to you, it may be wise to benefit from a short accelerated remedial course. Or, in any case, a presentation of the overall framework in which the new work is inserted. Tolkien’s universe is very vast and we had to limit ourselves to a few precise points. Here are seven which, we hope, will allow you to see clearly.

The Second Age lasted almost 3,500 years

The Second Age is the longest lasting era in what is known of Tolkien’s universe. It is also one of the most documented. It takes place long before the events described in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, whose action takes place during the Third Age. It lasts almost 3,500 years. 3,441 years precisely. That is more than three millennia!

The Second Age, a time of peace and war. // Source : Amazon Studios

For comparison, the First Age lasted only five hundred years and the Third three thousand years. There is also a Fourth Age, of which not much is known (only a few events, in the first century, are known). And before the Ages, there are also more mythical periods, like the Years of the Trees and the Years of the Valar.

The founding act of the Second Age is the foundation by the Elves of the city of the Gray Havens, in the region of Lindon, followed a few decades later by the installation of the Númenoreans, then in exile, in Middle-earth. The Second Age ends with a great war between the armies of Sauron and the last alliance between Elves and Men.

Characters from Lord of the Rings were already living at that time

This is the advantage of being an Elf: unless they perish in battle, are seriously injured or die of sadness, their immortality is guaranteed. They cannot die of old age. Which means that some Elves encountered in the stories of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were already living during the First and Second Ages, if they were born at that time. Even before.

Two characters in particular are in this case: Galadriel, whose birth dates back to the Years of the Trees, and Elrond, who was born at the end of the First Age. Clearly, Galadriel was over 7,000 years old when she appears in The Lord of the Rings. Elrond is a youngster next door: he was only 6,500 years old.

Galadriel, who doesn’t look 6,000 years old at all. // Source: Prime Video

Other personalities are also eagerly awaited. We obviously think of Sauron, whose role is crucial during the Second Age. It is difficult to estimate its age, moreover, because it is of a particular essence and comes from time immemorial. Perhaps other characters already known in The Lord of the Rings could also be included in The Rings of Power.

All Rings of Power were forged in the same place (except one)

It is a poem that you may know.

Three rings for the Elven kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarven Lords in their stone dwellings,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to death,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie
. »

These rings, which are at the heart of the plot, have one thing in common: they were all forged in the same place. All but one: the One Ring was crafted in the flames of Mount Doom, in the wasteland of Mordor. Sauron actually demonstrated duplicity by secretly creating a magical artifact intended to establish his will over all others.

It was the Elf Celebrimbor who oversaw the design of the nineteen rings, with the help of the Jewelers’ Folk, Gwaith-i-Mírdain. This manufacturing took place in Eregion, a place not far from the Misty Mountains and Khazad-Dûm, the Abode of the Dwarves. This is where we find the famous mines of Moria, which caused some hassle to the Fellowship of the Ring…

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What a lovely place, Mordor. // Source : YouTube Ambient Worlds Capture

The end of the Second Age is visible in the prologue of the Lord of the Rings

2001. In cinemas around the world comes out The Fellowship of the Ring, the first film in the Peter Jackson trilogy. In a short prologue, the filmmaker summarizes the birth of the magic rings, their distribution between the Elves, the Dwarves and the Men, but also the maneuvers of Sauron who made his own artifact and used it to extend his malevolent power.

And it is there that the last alliance between Men and Elves is shown, to block the ambitions of Sauron. On the slopes of Mount Doom, a clash in which took part Gil-galad, Elrond, Isildur and Elendil. And of course, Sauron, who then wore the One Ring. And yet, this battle saw the triumph of Men and Elves.

It is this event that marks the end of the Second Age. Gil-galad perishes, as does Elendil. Sauron is temporarily banished from the world. The opportunity to end the Dark Lord lies in the hands of Isildur, who retrieves the One Ring. But rather than follow the advice of Elrond, who begs him to throw it into the volcano, Isildur keeps it to himself.

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Sauron in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, during the great battle at the end of the Second Age. // Source: New Line Cinema

The fate of all the rings is unclear

If the fate of the One Ring is documented, that of the others is not always very clear: preserved or destroyed, given away, lost. The nine given to Men ended up enslaving them, making them the terrible Nazgûl, kinds of specters masked in darkness and very dangerous who are charged by Sauron to hunt down anyone who holds the One Ring.

The fate of these nine rings is debated: they may have been annihilated at some point or perhaps they returned to Sauron’s control. One thing is certain: the overlord of evil already dominated the minds of these fallen kings.

Among the Dwarves, who received seven, only the trace of a ring is known: that of the People of Durin. These rings are described as responsible for the lust for gold that plagued some of the Dwarfs of Middle-earth, such as Thrór and Thráin. It is said that Sauron succeeded in recovering not only the ring of the People of Durin, but also two other rings belonging to the Dwarves.

On the side of the Elves, there are three of them and are the most powerful after the One Ring. They are called Narya, Nenya and Vilya. Several famous bearers have handled them: Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, Celembrimbor, Círdan or Gil-galad. Interestingly, they escape the power of the One Ring. So Sauron never has control of it.

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If there is a ring whose fate we know well, it is this one. // Source : Zanastardust

It was Celebrimbor who forged these rings, those of Men, Dwarves and Elves. For the record, it is with Sauron that he forged those of Men and Dwarves (hence their harmful character). But, realizing the plans of Sauron, who then pretended to be a certain Annatar, Celebrimbor, alone made the rings of the Elves and hid them, so that they would escape the Enemy. Smart.

Sauron settles in Mordor during the Second Age

Sauron is a supernatural creature, whose origins date back to the borders of time and space. If he was at the beginning of his existence a positive power (he was nicknamed Mairon the Admirable), he ended up being corrupted by even more grandiose forces, the Valar, who dominate the Maiar – class to which Sauron belongs, Gandalf, Saruman or even Radagast.

Saura’s misdeeds are documented as early as the First Age, but it was during the following era that he took possession of Mordor, a disaster area surrounded by high mountains. It was also here that he undertook the erection of Barad-dûr, his great tower which would much later house the famous eye circled in fire that we see in The Lord of the Rings.

The founding of Barad-dûr occurs around 1000 of the Second Age, while the making of the Rings of Power takes place 500 to 600 years later. It should be noted that the reason that pushes Sauron to establish himself in Mordor is linked to the growing power of Númenor, an Earth on which Men have established themselves. And it is from the Númenor survivors that the kingdom of Gondor will be born, among others.

Sauron eye
The Eye of Sauron, at the top of Barad-dûr. // Source: New Line Cinema

A symbol of Númenor in The Lord of the Rings

There is a White Tree at the top of Minas Tirith, the white city, seat of Gondor. He is the witness of the survival of the Númenoreans in Middle-earth, for this one has long been accompanied by the Men of the Second Age. And above all, it is a tree whose origin goes back to the mythical Telperion, a tree which was silver, and which was next to Laurelin, in the golden light.

Telperion had as plant offspring a tree called Galathilion, which itself gave birth to Celeborn (not to be confused with the Elf, which also bears this name). A shoot of Celeborn was then taken by the Elves to be offered to the Men of Númenor. This cutting took the name of Nimloth and was planted in Minas Ithil, the ancient city. You follow ?

This gift of the Elves was planted by Isildur in 3320 of the Second Age, but nearly ten years later Sauron destroyed the city — which would become Minas Morgul, the dead city. Fortunately, Isildur manages to take with him a fruit of Nimloth while fleeing by the Anduin river. This shoot, born in Middle-earth, will then be planted in Minas Tirith (also called Minas Anor).

White Tree Gondor Minas Tirith
The White Tree, without its leaves. // Source: New Line Cinema

It is this white tree that we see in The Lord of the Rings, although its aspect is then very emaciated. This is also the reason why the symbolism of the White Tree often returns to Gondor, on the banners and the standards of the guards. All are thus the descendants of a mythical tree located in Valinor, a legendary region outside of Middle-earth.

Source: Numerama editing

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The Rings of Power: 7 things to know before the Lord of the Rings series