Yesterday we got our first official image from Amazon’s billion-dollar TV series, along with confirmation of a launch date of September 2, 2022. (It’s interesting to note that Amazon has launched many of their other big series on Labor Day weekend, including The Boys with Karl Urban, Carnival Row with Orlando Bloom, and Jack Ryan.) Amazon have also confirmed that the episodes will be released weekly; so we’ll be back to Game of Thrones style ‘event’ television.

Today we can let you know that the image is in fact a shot from the first episode, directed by JA Bayona. Our staff have all be excitedly poring over the image, and wondering what exactly it reveals. Here are their reactions, below:

The first official image from Amazon's Lord of the Rings series. It shows a figure, perhaps an elf, cloaked in white, gazing towards a distant city. In the further distance we see the Two Trees, ablaze with light. Between the city and the trees there is an area of water.

JPB: The most stunning interpretation of Aman/Valinor I’ve ever seen. This single image has created in me a level of desire to see Amazon’s series that is significantly greater than it was before I viewed it. I eagerly look forward to seeing more!

Elessar: That’s a mic drop, isn’t it? It’s a stunning image that shows they’re not messing around with this being grand. As far as other specifics, I do see two trees in there but not sure where exactly this is taking place, because we could be standing one place and looking well into the distance. Definitely more excited about things than I had been recently. 

greendragon: Ooo two trees! The city reminds me of the architecture of the world of men. Is this Númenor, looking towards Valinor? I feel like it could be a kind of ‘composite’ shot; not a real view, but a look back across time and memory, to what came before the Second Age… On the other hand, Tirion upon Túna supposedly had white walls and terraces, so that seems a strong contender…

Sarumann: I can make out the Two Trees in the background, so this would be before the First Age. Perhaps it’s a flashback or maybe an LOTR-style prologue? Any thoughts on who the Elf in the foreground is? Maybe Galadriel?

Since Tirion upon Túna was supposed to stand alone on a hilltop, I don’t think this city right next to a mountain would be it. But, given its proximity to the Trees, I think it’s still a possibility. (Part of me wonders if they’ll actually use the name Tirion upon Túna , because it too easily conjures up Game of Thrones comparisons – and, oh God the meme potential!)

Regardless, this is a very intriguing image.

Tookish: Laurelin (waxing) and Telpirion (waning). The city is likely Valmar, if they include it. (It could be others, like Tirion, Ilmaren, or Taniquetil.) Also, notice how this architecture is A LOT like the Grey Havens, so maybe it is on the coast. But my money is on Valmar or Taniquetil (even though it’s on the highest of mountain peaks). And yes that could be Galadriel! She witnessed the trees. Lots of options there but I love the idea that it is her. Her character could provide a lot of bridges between Ages and throwbacks to many histories.

My final comment is that there is some nice detail work showing boats of a similar design to Galadriel’s boat in Lothlorien – the shape of a swan. This is a breathtaking image and VERY encouraging!

Sarumann: Okay, I took a look at some maps and tried to compare the geography to what we’re seeing here. I’m leaning toward this being Tirion. It’s close to an inlet from the Bay of Eldamar and the Pelori Mountains, which seems to match up to this image. Valimar is too far inland. It’s close to the mountains, but not to water.

Quickbeam: Personally I’ve gotten comfortable with it being identified as Tirion. We are looking across the Bay of Eldamar.

JPB: Looking at all the waterfalls in the photo, I am suddenly hit with this question: does erosion take place in ageless Aman? Do well-trodden walking routes develop as paths through repeated injury to the plant life – as happens on Earth? Or do paths develop, but not become over-trodden ditches? 

Demosthenes: The city is Tirion upon Túna and we’re looking from the cleft of the Pass of Calacirya into the interior of Aman. The Pelori are on either side (we can’t see much of them, obviously). Taniquetil would be to the south, I think? The Two Trees are in the background with both Laurelin and Telperion in … bloom, I guess?  It’s during the Age of the Trees, sometime.

“In seven hours the glory of each tree waxed to full and waned again to naught; and each awoke once more to life an hour before the other ceased to shine. Thus in Valinor twice every day there came a gentle hour of softer light when both trees were faint and their gold and silver beams were mingled.” ~Silmarillion, of the beginning of days. 

So one is waking and the other is about to go to sleep. You pick which. 🙂

Is that a 16 hour day? I’d forgotten that Valinor days are weird. I guess that matches the super-weirdness of Valinorean years. 

The greater question here is: why?  I don’t know why you’d promo a Second Age story with something from before the First Age. Maybe it’s just to get nerd talk going – like this! I can see a through-run on the architecture style to what we see in Minas Tirith, too. Arches and domes are pretty strong though, I guess…

Another idea with the lake in the distance: was not the dews of the trees gathered by the Ainur? Lo:

“But the light that was spilled from the trees endured long, ere it was taken up into the airs or sank down into the earth; and the dews of Telperion and the rain that fell from Laurelin Varda hoarded in great vats like shining lakes, that were to all the land of the Valar as wells of water and of light. Thus began the Days of the Bliss of Valinor; and thus began also the Count of Time.”~ Silmarillion, of the beginning of days

VATS LIKE SHINING LAKES; so, why not literal lakes of light? That you can sail your knock-off Telerin swanboat on. 

Earl: Like most people in this discussion, I think this is Tirion.  As Demosthenes said, it’s most likely the view through the Calacirya looking west to the plains of Valinor. I hope the woman standing there isn’t Galadriel as she seemingly has short hair, whereas Galadriel was legendary for her long golden tresses. It’s excitement tempered with apprehension for me.

Tookish: It seems to be more lake or river than bay… but could be a fjord, and could be looking into the valley of Valinor from the east / Alquilonde / Eressea.  I stick with my original thought that the city is Valmar. But, poetic license and legal rights under consideration, it certainly could be another city of the Elves/Valar. How many different cityscapes do they want in Aman/Valinor? We know of half a dozen at most, that could easily translate to 2 or 3 [for television]. Valimar and Tirion could be combined. Or, one could be looking onto the trees past Valmar, from the POV of Tuna.

Kelvarhin: I took a close up screenshot of the figure.  It looks male to me, based on the shape, broader shoulders, narrow hips and is that a sword pushing back from their waist into the cloak? Also it looks like their hand is resting in front of their waist, which would tie in with them holding the hilt of a sword.

Demosthenes: How’s this as food for thought?

“It is told that even as Fëanor and Fingolfin stood before Manwë there came the mingling of the lights, when both Trees were shining, and the silent city of Valmar was filled with a radiance of silver and gold. And in that very hour Melkor and Ungoliant came hastening over the fields of Valinor, as the shadow of a black cloud upon the wind fleets over the sunlit earth; and they came before the green mound Ezellohar.” ~Silmarillion, of the Darkening of Valinor

I mean, it is VERY UNLIKELY. On the other hand, Tirion seems rather empty-looking to me. Now wouldn’t that be something?

Kelvarhin: That could also explain the dark cloud coming from the side, that is starting to envelope the two trees.

Tookish: This is entirely possible as it is briefly (1 paragraph!) covered in Appendix A. Damn good theory. But the city’s gotta be Valmar…  Maybe the figure is Finwe… looking from Tuna across Valmar to the Trees as Morgoth descends and destroys. Everyone else is celebrating and he alone witnesses the destruction before Morgoth comes to him for the Simarils. 

Garfeimao: Having not read The Silmarillion yet (I did try last year, but still couldn’t make it past the first couple of chapters), I will not speculate on the when and where of this image. Maybe I can be the staff voice on how the show plays for those who have not read The Silmarillion, and therefore have fewer expectations of what should and should not be included…

As for this image, it really is very beautiful, so at least people can feel comfort in knowing that they are trying to make this production look really good. This city feels Elvish; in fact, it looks like a bigger and grander version of the Rivendell we’ve come to know from PJ’s films, as if Elrond made his home based on this place.

I do so love that the Two Trees are in this, glowing and grand on the far shore of the lake or bay. I wish the image was higher res so we could see the architecture of the buildings a bit more. I’m trying to figure out if the domes are gold, or glass that is tinged golden by the light of the trees. Either way, I feel this demonstrates that this production is taking some of the design cues from PJ’s production. Same goes for the dress on the Elf in the foreground, which [I think] must be Galadriel. 

Demosthenes: Okay, another longish excerpt from The Silmarillion, this time looking at Tirion upon Túna.

“To these the Valar had given a land and a dwelling-place. Even among the radiant flowers of the Tree-lit gardens of Valinor they longed still at times to see the stars; and therefore a gap was made in the great walls of the Pelóri, and there in a deep valley that ran down to the sea the Eldar raised a high green hill: Túna it was called. From the west the light of the Trees fell upon it, and its shadow lay ever eastward; and to the east it looked towards the Bay of Elvenhome, and the Lonely Isle, and the Shadowy Seas. Then through Calacirya, the Pass of Light, the radiance of the Blessed Realm streamed forth, kindling the dark waves to silver and gold, and it touched the Lonely Isle, and its western shore grew green and fair. There bloomed the first flowers that ever were east of the Mountains of Aman.

Upon the crown of Túna the city of the Elves was built, the white walls and terraces of Tirion; and the highest of the towers of that city was the Tower of Ingwë, Mindon Eldaliéva, whose silver lamp shone far out into the mists of the sea. Few are the ships of mortal Men that have seen its slender beam. In Tirion upon Túna the Vanyar and the Noldor dwelling in fellowship. And since of all things in Valinor they loved most the White Tree, Yavanna made for them a tree like to a lesser image of Telperion, save that it did not give light of its own being; Galathilion it was named in the Sindarin tongue. This tree was planted in the courts beneath the Mindon and there flourished, and its seedlings were many in Eldamar. Of these one was afterwards planted in Tol Eressëa, and it prospered there, and was named Celeborn; thence came in thee fullness of time, as is elsewhere told, Nimloth, the White Tree of Númenor.” ~Silmarillion, of Eldamar

You’ll note a tower that is taller than all others in the image — I would assert that it must be the Tower of Ingwë. Although, it does not appear to be emitting the silver beam of light described above. Perhaps it’s off. Or perhaps it’s a sign that we are mistaken? The other thing to try and spot (and thus far i have failed) is Galathilion — the tree planted near Ingwë’s tower that was the gift of Yavanna. Would it also be large, and prominent above all other vegetation? I don’t know — it’s really a thing for the reader’s imagination.


Food for our imaginations, indeed! Just one official image, and already staff here at TORn are knee-deep in discussion. Join in via our message boards, chat room, or Facebook. Just over a year to go; plenty of time for further speculation…