It appears that some, uh, overly enterprising leakers thought they could make a quick buck by posting the full OST of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power to YouTube.
It was quickly caught and deleted. But, in the meantime, we were able discover a little over half of the track titles — and they provide interesting hints of what’s soon to come. Of the 37 tracks on the OST, the title theme is composed by Howard Shore, while the other 36 are by Bear McCreary.
Below are the titles of the first 19:
01. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Main Title
04. Nori Brandyfoot
05. The Stranger
09. In the Beginning
10. Elrond Half-elven
11. Durin IV
12. Harfoot Life
13. Bronwyn and Arondir
15. The Boat
16. Sundering Seas
17. Nobody Goes Off Trail
18. Elendil and Isildur
19. White Leaves
We can also now add the remaining track titles
20. The Secrets of the Mountain
21. Nolwa Mahtar
23. A Plea to the Rocks
24. This Wandering Day
25. Scherzo for Violin and Swords
26. Sailing into the Dawn
27. For the Southlands
29. Water and Flame
30. In the Mines
31. The Veil of Smoke
32. The Mystics
33. Perilous Whisperings
34. The Broken Line
35. Wise One
36. True Creation Requires Sacrifice
37. Where the Shadows Lie
TORn does not condone piracy. Remember that the official release is around the corner, folks. You’ll very soon be able to stream the music to your heart’s delight via your favourite service, or even pick up a copy on physical media.
We are finally going back to Middle-earth and we get to see so many more places than we’ve ever been able to visit before on Tolkien’s map.
Amazon Prime has finally released the full airing schedule, as shown below. Start marking your calendars to remind you when you can watch the show.
The first two episodes will drop together, and these are the episodes directed by J.A. Bayona. Because they drop together, it is important to note that the first episode is entitled “Shadow of the Past” so that you start off with the correct episode. These will become available on Amazon Prime on Thursday, September 1 starting at 6 pm PT, 9 pm ET and 2 am UK time early Friday, September 2. You will want to sync this info up with your own time zone.
The remaining episodes will drop once a week afterward, starting with Episode 3 on Thursday, September 8 at 9 pm PT, Midnight ET, and 5 am UK time on Friday, September 9, and continue on that same schedule. The 8th episode finale will air on Thursday, October 13 at 9 pm PT, Midnight ET and 5 am UK Time on Friday, October 14. The full schedule is posted below!
Global release occurs on either September 1, 2022 or September 2, 2022 depending on your location
The first TWO episodes will debut together on release night.
Release night timing is the following: September 1, 2022 at 6 PM PT which is 2 AM UK Time on September 2, 2022.
Both Episode 1 and 2 will be available immidiately. Amazon Studios suggests you ensure you first choose Episode 1 titled “SHADOW OF THE PAST” for the best viewing experience. Don’t choose the second episode first by accident!
Episodes 3 to 8 will be singular weekly releases. That is, one episode per week. These episodes will air at 9 PM PT each Thursday. This corresponds to 5 AM UK Time Friday.
The week-by-week Rings of Power schedule
Week 1: Episode 1+2
Episode 1+2 will be available at 6 PM PT THURSDAY NIGHT on September 1, 2022. This is equal to 2 AM UK Time on FRIDAY MORNING, September 2, 2022.
With this schedule, you should be able to plan a Viewing Party or two, for Debut night and Finale night, if not all 7 weeks. If you choose to do so, please do share in the fun with our Twitter/Facebook/Discord social channel of choice and let us know your thoughts. There will also be some live posting, especially in our Discord on show nights, so come play along during the show, or directly afterward for a discussion on what you have just seen.
Just six weeks ago, it felt like a Rings of Power drought. Now every day there’s a new batch of interviews and reveals. These are via Time Magazine writer Eliana Dockterman. Dockterman was able to shadow and interview the showrunners and key cast at San Diego Comic-Con.
Below are summaries and links to four articles that emerged from that for your reading pleasure.
The Secretive, Extravagant, Bighearted World of The Rings of Power, the Most Expensive Show Ever Made
Tears are streaming down Ismael Cruz Córdova’s chiseled cheekbones. Somehow, hardly anyone notices. I’m at San Diego Comic-Con, halfway through 96 hours spent shadowing the cast and creators of The Rings of Power, Amazon’s highly anticipated Lord of the Rings prequel series. Tomorrow, franchise superfan Stephen Colbert will debut a trailer for the series to 6,500 screaming attendees, many wearing pointy wizard hats. But tonight, at a private dinner, journalists are getting an early preview of the video in a golden faux forest constructed by Amazon for the occasion.
After a day spent among the convention crowd in 80-degree heat, sweaty, sneaker-clad members of the press mingle with actors dressed in cocktail attire: Córdova has chosen a sharp suit with a black leather harness pulled tight across his chest. A 16-person choir and 25-piece orchestra—fronted by a violinist decked out in Middle-earth regalia—perform music from the series.
11 Rings of Power Secrets We Learned From the Cast and Creators
Spend some time in Middle-earth and you’ll learn a lot of secrets. I shadowed the cast and creators of the much-anticipated Lord of the Rings prequel series, The Rings of Power, for four days at San Diego Comic-Con in July. During my conversations with the showrunners, executive producer, and several members of the cast, I did my best to pick up clues about where the series may be headed—along with details about the immense production behind the epic saga.
If you want to watch the series without knowing anything about what might happen in the show, know that this story containsminor spoilers. Stop reading now. But if you want some background on the series and how Payne and McKay cooked up a story from Tolkien’s notes, forge ahead. I’ve seen two episodes of the show, and the information in this story comes primarily from the appendices.
[Editor’s note: Having read the article, I don’t consider any of this to be much of a spoiler for anyone who’s been casually following press reports and has a passing knowledge of Middle-earth’s Second Age.]
The Rings of Power Exclusive: Producer Says Fan Theories About Sauron Are Wrong
Fans have spent months speculating when and how he might appear in the show. They’ve combed the various trailers and publicity shots. Some theorize that fans have already seen his image—or at least his Annatar guise. But executive producer Lindsey Weber told TIME the prevailing fan theories may be on the wrong track.
[Editor’s note: This is potentially a spoiler, though I think fandom very quickly discarded the Sauron identity theory that Weber discusses with Time. It would have been much more interesting to address the other (much more compelling) rumour that’s doing the rounds right now. Unfortunately, they don’t even touch on it.]
This Fan-Favorite Character Is Joining the Second Season of The Rings of Power
McKay and Payne leaned heavily on the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, which trace the rise of Sauron, the creation of the one ring, and the battle between Sauron and the last alliance of elves and men for the soul of Middle-earth. Elves are immortal in Tolkien’s world, so Lord of the Rings fans can expect to see familiar faces like Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Elrond (Robert Aramayo). (Both characters also appeared in Peter Jackson’s film trilogy.) But a fan-favorite character has been missing…
[Editor’s note: I guess this could be a minor spoiler for some so I’ve hidden the character’s name behind the link below just to be safe!]
Ringers are good people indeed. I have learned via many interactions that Tolkien fans have a rather keen emotional wisdom. Let’s be honest, you don’t get through 1200 pages of LOTR and upon finishing “The Grey Havens” not feel deeply, terribly moved. Your heart hurts but you don’t know why at first. The mastery of Tolkien is right there: how he moves your very spirit is ephemeral, yet undeniable. Within this fandom people intrinsically understand that they are in good company. When strangers meet, Tolkien is an immediate touchstone of commonality. We love sharing that love, especially at Comic-Con.
In my career as a wedding officiant I have joined many couples together whose first date was solidified over Tolkien. It’s kind of delicious when I add his poetry to their sacred vows. How unique is it, then, that a tweedy, conservative Oxford don inventing his own languages could have such an aspirational effect on Humanity? I’d like to examine this ephemeral quality, for it is worth seeing with fresh eyes, and it always leans into kindness. Saying that J.R.R. Tolkien has made us better humans is to understate it. This is his grace, given to us, his readers.
We are a thoughtful, global group of people from various cultures and backgrounds who easily identify with this altruism and pay it forward by sharing love of Tolkien’s works.
It’s why we built this site.
If you draw a straight line from the 1937 publication of Bilbo’s story to where we stand now in 2022 on the cusp of a massive new TV series The Rings of Power you will find us — the fans. We are everyday people who sank deep into the books, enraptured by J.R.R. Tolkien’s words, re-reading everything ad nauseam. For generations we shared his words with our little ones at story time (a profound engine of furthering literacy, lest we minimize it).
Not content to stay within boundaries of academia or late 50’s coterie intellectual circles, Tolkien fandom erupted as a popular juggernaut during a 60’s counterculture movement and a college campus craze. Young people came to Tolkien in droves. A “Fantasy” section appeared in retail bookstores. A couple of generations further on and the Internet would give rise to new ways of sharing our enthusiasm. Moving from small-press newsletters printed in a garage to massive online message boards was key to the burgeoning fandom. We were keeping the fires lit: TheOneRing.net was born.
It is no small thing to have a community – this is truly a family to us. Being in the arms of this fandom is very real. Unwavering hours of work by an all-volunteer staff have made this happen. We don’t make money off any algorithm that leads viewers to an ecosystem of negativity. Our Discord is a guaranteed good time; and that’s the way we like it. Why approach it this way, cultivating community above all else? Easy! It’s all for the inexhaustible fun we have sharing Tolkien – and no kinder group of souls could one hope to meet.
That one time we drove across-country from Los Angeles to Atlanta? It was fueled by donated coffee and a 24/7 livestream we called “The Road to Dragon*Con”. We were embraced by many strangers who would meet to break bread with us, ready to laugh and discuss the Professor’s legendarium. Fans guided us to new places we had never seen; and town-by-town we mapped a constellation of generosity across the land.
Now, I admit to being the Lisa Simpson of my family; raised Methodist but later embracing a mild form of Buddhism. Conversant in theology, I soaked myself in the deep-rooted Catholicism that Tolkien lived by. I read the Humphrey Carpenter Biography and explored his published Letters. There was no theological take I wanted to miss in his writings. So during this jolly Road Trip we chatted with a minister somewhere in the forests of Georgia and detoured for a Second Breakfast. Tolkien was the mortar between the bricks of that egalitarian conversation, believe me. We talked about the triangulation of Frodo, Sam and Sméagol; and how Tolkien crafted this narrative as a demonstrable extrapolation of The Lord’s Prayer. The quiet Southern Baptist and the talkative gay man who had just met one another were suddenly busy discussing aspects of forgiveness. It was amazing. Two people who were miles apart on political sensibilities, reductively speaking, yet there we were; breaking bread together in true Fellowship. What did we achieve? A small moment of enlightenment. What did we not do? Tweet clown emojis at each other.
This experience galvanized my views. I knew Tolkien’s spirit can and truly does bring people together; and we nurture that environment here, ongoingly.
You should have been in that room. The conversation was unfiltered, passionate, and quite clarifying. We needed those clarifying statements and it was great to hit on a lot of BIG THEMES and LORE DETAILS, too.
The audience was with us every step of the way: no newbie was left behind. Somehow I feel the wisdom of those next to me elevated the conversation and offered a refreshing tonic. Here is the entire Panel Presentation (panel starting at 19:11):
You hear it in Anna Maria’s voice when she says of the Professor (at 1:10:33) “Let’s look at thematically ‘What is the macro of what Tolkien stood for?’ He stood for Love. … Let’s look at his actual texts, his works were about Fellowship: his works were about what happens when there is discord between differing peoples. This man is laid to rest next to his wife with the names BEREN and LÚTHIEN inscribed upon the tombstone – I’ve been there, I’ve seen it – this man stood for Love. And if you read any of his works with the openness and kindness that we know he valued; that’s what you take away from it. And I think that would be really lovely for us all to keep in mind going forward.”
Willie Jenkins “KnewBettaDoBetta” had a genius way of putting a button on that. He will suffer no fools. And when Matt “Nerd of the Rings” offered his closing thought on how disparate people so easily set aside their differences for Tolkien – I knew the ongoing threads of altruism would weave us closer together.
I met many cast members of the upcoming show. It was not just an opportunity to ask them questions as a reporter or a documentarian. I sat before an array of hardworking, genuine people who have their own enthusiasm for Tolkien. They were ebullient. They want fans to enjoy this creative experience on its own terms. I was perhaps a bit clumsy in relating to Markella Kavenagh and Maxim Baldry how the TORn community is different. I wanted to underscore our open-minded approach and methods of moderating, yet as my sentences faltered Ismael Cruz Cordova was keen to reach across the table: “I think I know something about that, brother, and I appreciate you.” Sophia Nomvete was a revelation. Her heart is overflowing with sharply drawn wisdom. Telling her how we felt about protecting the actors from unwanted toxicity, Kellie Rice calmly said: “Don’t worry, we’ve got your back,” and Sophia gently wept at the reassurance.
Look, we are at the intersection of a literary legacy and a pop culture behemoth with this new show, The Rings of Power. There will be much invigorating discussion for the next few years and we will keep it healthy and egalitarian. We will be watching ROP with no small amount of excitement. I look forward to comparing notes with other lore-masters to parse what works (and what does not).
This new adaptation, at the very least, promises to offer a richly mounted artistic interpretation of Middle-earth. Let’s see if they play it unironically. Let’s see if they adapt it with all the seriousness and clear regard for the metaphysics it deserves.
At a delightful accidental meeting on the train, Rings of Power showrunner Patrick McKay came up and asked me what I would most like to see in their series. I immediately pulled a quote from Letter No. 203 where Tolkien states: “But I should say, if asked, the tale is not really about Power and Dominion: that only sets the wheels going; it is about Death and the desire for deathlessness.” I leaned in on that final phrase. Patrick knew exactly what I was getting at. He looked up thoughtfully for a moment and said: “I think we’ve got you covered.”
If the prevailing headwinds are any indication they might just pull off something magical. Or at least we can enjoy the ride and flog the keyboard when necessary. Seriously, we have been bitching and moaning about Faramir dragging those two hobbits to Osgiliath all these bloody years now. We enjoyed PJ’s gargantuan adaptations but had plenty to criticize. Likewise we will have ample time to praise/gripe/puzzle over Amazon’s time compression, 3rd Age characters showing up too soon; and much more. We will debate but never denigrate.
Twenty-odd years later, as an observer of pop culture and especially Tolkien’s considerable legacy, I say unequivocally we have something special in this fandom.
Let’s keep it going. And my warmest regards to all who help maintain this community. Well done.
Note: The following is an opinion piece written by volunteer staff member Kellie, also known as “Kili” from the YouTube series Happy Hobbit.
In an effort to clear up some misconceptions, I want to tell you my story.
On February 13th, I was invited to participate in a livestream hosted by both TheOneRing.net and Amazon Prime Video to watch and analyze the very first teaser trailer for Amazon’s new series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. It was my sister’s birthday, so while I was excited for the end of the “Middle-earth dearth,” I only committed to participating for an hour, and I was relieved I had an excuse to slip away after said time, for the initial teaser trailer failed to impress. In fact, it was even worse; it left me confused, worried, and underwhelmed. The visuals were dazzling, but I felt no connection to the imagery on the screen. I was far from alone.
Like many, I feared Amazon was producing the most expensive TV show in history (allegedly around 1 billion) because they saw Tolkien’s work as a cash cow and were going to milk it for all they could.
I am a fiction author (under my pen name K.M. Rice) and a screenwriter with a Master of Fine Arts, so workshopping creative material is second nature, as is finding ways to express what is not working in an articulate manner. “I am not getting the mythic tone I look for in Tolkien,” I remember saying (which is a paraphrase).
A few months later in May, I was invited by Prime Video to a special press event in London, England, as the representative for my sister and my webshow, Happy Hobbit (which strives to bring a dose of Middle-earth to our viewers’ daily lives), and as the co-author ofMiddle-earth from Script to Screen: Building the World of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, which I helped write with Daniel Falconer at Weta Workshop in New Zealand. My fellow Tolkien content creators and I, along with traditional press, were taken on a field trip to Oxford University where we had the pleasure of wandering Tolkien’s old stomping grounds both as a student and as a professor. You can check out what we did and saw by watching the video here.
The following day, we were treated to footage and costumes from Rings of Power (ROP) and a Q&A with the showrunners, John Howe (concept artist), Leith McPherson (dialect coach), and Ramsey Avery (production designer), along with the showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, and producer Lindsey Weber.
I once more was not impressed with the footage I saw, for while there was nothing wrong with it, there was no context. I had no idea what had just happened before the scene we were shown, where in the story it fell, and in fact, what the story was at all. It looked and sounded lovely, but there was no beating heart. My own heart sank as I realized I was going to have to just accept that this show wasn’t going to fulfill my expectations.
Once the showrunners spoke, however, I was left with the juxtaposition of hearing from two people intensely passionate about Tolkien (to the point that they opened every day of shooting with a Tolkien quote and discussion) and the marketing that didn’t convey that love and respect.
What I saw in London didn’t raise my excitement level, but hearing from the showrunners and knowing that such a capable team was producing the series did leave me with a sense of cautious optimism.
To reiterate, none of us Tolkien content creators have seen the show. We were not paid or bribed in any way, but rather have been treated as “Tolkien press.” We have no idea if ROP will be good, bad, or somewhere in between. Our opinions are our own, as they should be, and this is just my story.
While attending San Diego Comic-Con International at the end of July to speak on one of TheOneRing.net’s two panels, Prime Video invited me to a luncheon with many of the cast members from ROP. Before sitting down to eat, we were treated to viewing the first official trailer, which finally had some heart and showed a hint of the plot. I am no Tolkien lore expert, but many in the room with me were. They could name things on screen that I couldn’t, nevertheless, I felt excited. In fact, I shed a few tears and I don’t cry easily, especially in public. But being in that room and feeling so much unbridled excitement and joy was deeply moving, especially after having missed that human connection and communitas for so long during the pandemic. When we came out to meet the cast after, I felt a level of energy and anticipation that many of us had not yet felt over the show.
Everyone we met at the lunch was incredibly kind, down-to-earth, and passionate about Tolkien and storytelling. No one had an ego that prevented them from addressing gritty topics with strangers they had just met, and several of our conversations grew deep quickly. I later had an opportunity to converse with Patrick McKay, one of the two showrunners, who shared that they were given complete creative freedom. As such, whether the show does well or poorly, he feels he and his fellow showrunner are to blame. Talk about accountability!
I have a healthy skepticism about Amazon and most major corporations. I am not here to defend a company or TV show that I have yet to see, but I am here to share what I have learned:
Amazon never approached the Tolkien Estate to ask for the rights to make the show. Rather, the Tolkien Estate approached both Amazon and Netflix (and possibly other streaming platforms, as well), asking them if they would be interested. Amazon was.
Christopher Tolkien (the Professor’s son) was in charge of the Estate at the time the deal was made in 2017. He passed away three years later in 2020 after production on the show had already begun, and the directorship was passed on to his son, Simon Tolkien.
What’s more, the production invited Simon Tolkien, the grandson of the late Professor who has a love of cinematic storytelling and is the current director of the Estate, to be involved. For context, no other production has ever given the Tolkien Estate a seat at the table.
Amazon, as a corporation, is also not strapped for cash, which means they could invest whatever was needed to bring the vision of the Second Age to life.
Jeff Bezos is a big Tolkien fan.
One thing that limited them was the rights. They could not touch The Silmarillion or The Unfinished Tales. The rights are only for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. As such, the inclination is naturally to turn to the appendices of Return of the King, but even that is a gray area.
If a plotline smelled too much like it was getting into Silmarillion territory, the Estate didn’t permit it in a script. The production was then pushed into the difficult situation of having to originate their own material.
Knowing this, engage with me in a thought experiment for a moment:
Imagine you, as a Tolkien fan, just heard that this up-and-coming film studio out of New Zealand, the UK, or Colorado received a billion dollars to produce a Tolkien TV show set in the second age using partially original material and that to do so, they not only brought the Tolkien Estate on board, but hired showrunners, writers, and a cast that cared deeply for the source material to ensure fidelity. That sounds pretty exciting, doesn’t it?
In many ways, Amazon is fighting against the public image of its own brand. Remove the name “Amazon” from the equation and suddenly many are more forgiving. I know I am. That so many of us have knee-jerk reactions to corporations’ names is worth noting, but the subject of a different conversation.
It all comes down to trust, and anyone who wants to involve our fandom needs to earn it. Some of us are more open than others. Some of us love the Peter Jackson films, while others didn’t enjoy them at all. But remember this: no one is touching the books. They will always be there. Tolkien’s texts are sacred for many, and no one is here to dispute that. But a book is a book. A film is a film. A TV show is TV show. None of these forms of storytelling are the same. And the existence of one does not threaten the other. If anything, they can be a boon. I would never have read Tolkien if not for Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films.
No artist considers their art “finished.” There is always room to expand and change as the artist grows and ages as a person. Tolkien himself was a revisionist to the point that his heirs have gone to a great deal of trouble trying to decide which version of a story or piece of Arda’s history should be seen as “canon.” His Middle-earth writing often also contradicted itself. Importantly, he intentionally left bits open to interpretation.
When writing to publisher Wilton Waldman in 1951 about the scope of his literary aspirations to create a body of “more or less connected legend,” Tolkien shared:
I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama.
J.R.R. Tolkien, 1951
The Professor’s dream has been fulfilled. His work has inspired artists of all genres and arguably established the Fantasy genre of literature.
Not only are other minds and hands interpreting his work, but adapting it and expanding upon it, thus fleshing out the ideas he left merely “sketched.” Tolkien did not want his life’s work to fade. He wanted it to live and breathe with the generations, even if that meant it arrived with a new twinkle or twist every now and again to suit the era, just as myths have done since the dawn of the human experience.
We have been through some trying times of late. A global pandemic, economic hardship, war, and loss, to say nothing of our more personal struggles. We look to tales like those told by Tolkien to make some sense of it all. I long to return to Middle-earth: a place where, even in the darkest of times, there is still a star shining. Love, hope, courage, and a love of the simple pleasures in life prevail in some form, as does the deep goodness that ties us all together. We don’t all have to agree and entertainment is highly subjective at the best of times, but even the most butchered adaptations cannot shake how at home I feel in the aged pages of my books, nor should they.
We all walk different roads on this Middle-earth, and in times of stress, it is easy to begrudge others their happiness. But life is short, opportunities are rare, and I for one am excited to revisit Tolkien’s world on screen.
Optimism is a choice, a more difficult one than pessimism, and I am choosing to go forth on this journey with an open heart and welcome any and all joy along the way. The same choice is also yours.