It’s a very overused phrase to say that a series is eagerly awaited, but with The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, it’s completely justified. There were more than 250 million views of the teaser trailer in 24 hours after it aired during the Superbowl in February. The 8-part lavish first season of this Amazon prequel is set thousands of years before JRR Tolkien’s novels (and Peter Jackson’s films), at a time of peace in Middle-earth that is soon to be disturbed. Released on 2 September.
Tolkien’s novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have sold more than 150 million copies and have been translated into over 38 languages. But they are just the tip of the iceberg of the amazing world he created. Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon and of English language and literature at Oxford University and was fascinated by the ancient Norse languages as well as Anglo-Saxon. He loved making up languages, including Elvish and Dwarvish, which he used in his novels. He created a whole “legendarium” about the world he had invented, with histories, timelines, and illustrations. A glimpse of it is visible in The Silmarillion, which he worked on until his death, and which his son Christopher finished and published.
The realms of Middle-earth are populated amongst others by elves, who are immortal, men (humans), who are mortal, dwarves, specialised in mining, and hobbits, small humanoid creatures with large feet. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) take place in the Third Age of Middle-earth. Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, is set thousands of years before, in the Second Age. Showrunners and creators of the series J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay based the plot of the series on the Appendices Tolkien provided at the end of LOTR, which gave some of the history of Middle-earth, as well as the epigraph to LOTR, which can be heard in the series trailer:
"Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie."
The Rings of Power were twenty magical rings forged in the Second Age, intended by the evil Sauron to dominate the rulers of Middle-earth. LOTR focuses on the One Ring, which the hobbit Frodo Baggins is charged with destroying. In the TV series, the rings will be the source of conflict between the different groups.
LOTR fans will recognise some characters from the books: the immortal elves, Galadriel and Elrond for example, played by Morfydd Clark and Robert Aramayo.
There are also Harfoots, one of three peoples Tolkien described as ancestors of the Hobbits, which also included the Stoors and the Fallohides. Harfoots can be seen in this teaser:
Fans will also be familiar with the destructive Orcs.
But where there weren’t details in the legendarium, the showrunners explained, “We piece the clues together and then do what Tolkien did and look to real world myths.”
LOTR: TROP is considered the most expensive TV show ever created, with costs totaling over $1 billion. It was filmed in great secrecy in New Zealand, where Peter Jackson’s popular LOTR films were made, though without Jackson’s involvement. A second series has already been greenlit, out of a planned five.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Released 2 September 2022
This series would make a good addition to Shine Bright LLCER File 1 Timeless fantasy.
> Tolkien, War and Fellowship