Prime Video Hosts J.R.R. Tolkien Homecoming in London’s Leicester Square for theWorld Premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Ahead of the September 2 Premiere
The highly anticipated Prime Video series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power honoured J.R.R. Tolkien by ending its epic global tour in the United Kingdom with its world premiere in London’s Leicester Square. Prime Video brought nearly 2,000 people—including cast, producers, and fans—into Middle-earth in advance of the series’ September 2 debut.
The London premiere represented the final stop in the series’ five-city world tour that started in Los Angeles and included Mexico City, Mumbai, and New York City before culminating in Tuesday’s historic Leicester Square premiere.
A fully immersive, Ring-shaped carpet took cast, crew, and guests on a narrative journey through five realms of Middle-earth, as they interacted with media and fans on their way into the Odeon Luxe and Cineworld in Leicester Square. The center of the 2,000-foot-long circular carpet was anchored by an exquisitely hand-crafted 40-foot-tall structure representing the five realms depicted in the series: The Elf capital of Lindon; the Dwarven realm of Khazad-dûm; the island kingdom of Númenor; the Southlands, the world of Man; and the Wilderlands, the home of the Harfoots. Five customized lanterns representing the five realms lit the way for cast down the carpet, each with different light sources: Fire and coal for the Dwarves, the Harfoots’ fireflies, Númenor’s oil lamps, the Southlanders’ caged candles, and Elven glow.
A living environment was created with a multitude of plants, grass, moss, vines, and 100 large-scale trees. A multilevel environment, mimicking the mountainous and hilly topography of the world, was created with various levels and vantage points, with greenery that will be repurposed or recycled following the event for future use.
Attending the global premiere were all 22 of the series’ cast regulars: Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman, and Sara Zwangobani.
Also attending the premiere were showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne & Patrick McKay; executive producers Lindsey Weber and Callum Greene; directors Wayne Che Yip and Charlotte Brändström; writer and executive producer Justin Doble; series composer Bear McCreary; production designer Ramsey Avery; concept artist John Howe; supervising dialect coach Leith Mcpherson; and casting director Theo Park.
Amazon executives in attendance included Jeff Bezos, Founder & Executive Chairman; Jeff Blackburn, SVP Media & Entertainment; Mike Hopkins, SVP, Prime Video, MGM and Amazon Studios; Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios; Vernon Sanders, Head of Global Television, Amazon Studios; Albert Cheng, COO of Amazon Studios, among others.
The first two episodes of the multi-season drama will launch on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide on Friday, September 2, with new episodes available weekly.
As the long awaited release of Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power approaches, the final trailer has been released. Some fans have been lucky enough to see episodes one and two already, at premiere events around the world (and some will watch them in NYC tonight!) Some fans have snagged the very limited tickets to see those episodes screen in cinemas on August 31st. And for the rest, sometime on Sept 1st or 2nd (depending on your time zone), those first two episodes will be available on Prime Video.
But for now, here’s one more official trailer:
And here’s the official press release that goes with it:
The new two-minute-and-36-second trailer highlights the epic expanse of Middle-earth in its Second Age, and reveals how Tolkien’s legendary and beloved characters will come together against all odds and across great distances to guard against the feared reemergence of evil to Middle-earth. Fates collide and disparate characters are tested in the face of impending evil in this glimpse into the long-awaited new series.
The trailer features key cast members Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), Elrond (Robert Aramayo), High King Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker), and Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards); Harfoots Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) and Largo Brandyfoot (Dylan Smith); The Stranger (Daniel Weyman); Númenóreans Isildur (Maxim Baldry), Eärien (Ema Horvath), Elendil (Lloyd Owen), Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle), and Queen Regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson); Dwarves King Durin III (Peter Mullan), Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur), and Princess Disa (Sophia Nomvete); Southlanders Halbrand (Charlie Vickers); Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi); and Silvan-elf Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova).
The first two episodes of the multi-season drama will launch on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide on Friday, September 1-2 (time zone dependent), with new episodes available weekly.
The Rings of Power at San Diego Comic-Con created a tsunami of cast interviews, video snippets and press write-ups. Unfortunately, they’re scatered all across the internet.
So some of the fine folks on our Discord server have been working assiduously to collate everything for easy reference. Courtesy of their hard work, everything we can find in one place for your reading and viewing pleasure. Big thank-you to Tim B. Ranatuor, WheatBix and Amaurëanna for getting all these links together!
Group interview with Charles Edwards (Celebrimbor), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Tar-Míriel), Ema Horvath (Eärien), Ismael Cruz Córdova (Arondir), Daniel Weyman (The Stranger), Maxim Baldry (Isildur), Robert Aramayo (Elrond), Trystan Gravelle (Pharazon), Megan Richards (Poppy Proudfellow), Sara Zwangobani (Marigold Brandyfoot), and Owain Arthur (Durin IV)
Group interview with Benjamin Walker (Gil-galad), Lloyd Owen (Elendil), Leon Wadham (Kemen), Morfydd Clark (Galadriel), Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn), Charlie Vickers (Halbrand), Markella Kavenagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot), Dylan Smith (Largo Brandyfoot), Sophia Nomvete (Princess Disa), and Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo).
Group interview with Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn), Markella Kavenagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot), Ismael Cruz Cordova (Arondir), and Benjamin Walker (Gil-galad).
Individual interviews with Benjamin Walker (Gil-galad), Dylan Smith (Largo Brandyfoot), Markella Kavenagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot), Leon Wadham (Kemen), and Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn).
The LA Times
Behind-the-scenes at SDCC stuff (might be paywalled!)
‘I can’t believe we’re doing this!’ ‘Lord of the Rings’ stars drink in first Comic-Con
The Times tagged along with ‘Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ stars Sara Zwangobani, Tyroe Muhafidin and Owain Arthur at San Diego Comic-Con.
“I have never experienced a Hall H and I’ve been wanting to come to Comic-Con my whole life,” said Sara Zwangobani while riding in a van to the San Diego Convention Center to take part in the Comic-Con 2022 panel for her upcoming show, “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” “These are my people! I can’t believe we’re doing this right now.”
Photos: behind the scenes at Comic-Con with the cast of ‘Lord of the Rings’
LA Times photographer Jay Clendenin embedded in the Rings of Power group for Comic-Con. He captured a full range of images from life inside the Comic-Con bubble, from cast members’ morning glam routine to the mayhem of Hall H to the afterglow of a successful bow at the year’s biggest fan gathering.
Group interviews with Markella Kavenagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot), Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo), Charlie Vickers (Halbrand), Dylan Smith (Largo Brandyfoot), Sophia Nomvete (Princess Disa), Daniel Weyman (The Stranger), Ismael Cruz Cordova (Arondir), Ema Horvath (Eärien), Maxim Baldry (Isildur), Charles Edwards (Celebrimbor), Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Tar-Miriel), Trystan Gravelle (Pharazôn), Sara Zwangboni (Marigold Brandyfoot), Owain Arthur (Durin IV), and Megan Richards (Poppy Proudfellow).
Ema Horvath (Eärien) interview
Charles Vickers (Halbrand) interview
Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo) interview
Megan Richards (Poppy Proudfellow)
Owain Arthur (Durin IV)
Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn)
Benjamin Walker (Gil-galad)
Markella Kavanagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot)
Sara Zwangobani (Marigold Brandyfoot)
Group interview with Markella Kavenagh (Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot), Tyroe Muhafidin (Theo), Charlie Vickers (Halbrand), Dylan Smith (Largo Brandyfoot), and Sophia Nomvete (Princess Disa).
Group interview with Morfydd Clark (Galadriel), Benjamin Walker (Gil-galad), Lloyd Owen (Elendil), Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn), and Leon Wadham (Kemen).
“The set of Númenór, which they’d built on the back lot, is absolutely extraordinary,” Owen said. Wadham, who has worked in the same New Zealand studio on other projects, added, “I thought I knew what I was walking into. I turn up, and there was a city with a wharf with boats in water on the backlot. It was transcendent.”
KEVIN POLOWY: So, huge cast, but you guys spent a year and a half together–
MARKELLA KAVENAGH: Yes.
KEVIN POLOWY: –shooting this in New Zealand. What kind of bonding experience was that? I mean, you hear stories from the original trilogy, the hobbits all got matching tattoos. Did you guys get matching tattoos, by the way?
MARKELLA KAVENAGH: I was really close to getting one. Not that I know of, I don’t think there are any, but I wouldn’t rule it out. I mean, we’ll see. We’ll see.
KEVIN POLOWY: But what was the bonding experience like among you guys?
MARKELLA KAVENAGH: Well, we lived– we lived so close together. We were there for nearly two years. And we’d have dinners together. We’d go around to people’s places. We had karaoke nights. It was really– we had to be each other’s friends, family, and colleagues in a time where we couldn’t get to each our actual real life friends and family and colleagues. So it was quite an experience. Really, really grateful for the camaraderie, for sure.
BENJAMIN WALKER: Because we were kind of stuck together in New Zealand, and I was there with my family, we became the home where everyone came and had Sunday lunch every Sunday. And when other people were away from their families, it was a way to kind of bond with your castmates, but also have that familial attention, and just feel like a person. So that’s an honor to do. I mean, they’re all nice people, and I enjoyed hosting.
NAZANIN BONLADI: To be in New Zealand– if you’re going to be stuck anywhere, let it be New Zealand. And we understand how blessed we are, because we, at one point were the only show in the world that was filming, because we were in the safe haven that was New Zealand at the time there was no COVID there. So we are very, very fortunate.
And because of the pandemic, the island was shut off from visitors. So we didn’t get to leave the Island or come back, you know, or have visitors. So basically we were stuck there for a good part of two years. And we had to lean on each other and depend on each other. So by default we became family. And, you know, and that’s what a fellowship is, is people who have to sort of support each other through an adventure.
TYROE MUHAFIDIN: Every Sunday we’d go for dinners and things like that, and we’d always socialize, because we were sort of the only people we had. And we were all really, really there for each other in times that we needed each other. And it was really great. I was actually quite lucky because under 18 I’m allowed a chaperone, so I brought my mother along with me. And she kind of ended up being everyone else’s mom.
MEGAN RICHARDS: We had to become, not just each other’s colleagues, but friends and family and support systems. And it really did ring true. I have such a love for this cast, and I really hold them deeply within my heart. And we would have, like, dinners together, where like, 20 of us would try and like, get a table, which is impossible in a restaurant. You know, just so many things like that. And, you know, we’d like, go on holidays together or we’d have, like, Sunday lunches. And, yeah, no, we were really, really close.
LEON WADHAM: Yeah, there’s a true fellowship, no question. So many people came from all over the world and spent a lot of time far from their homes to make this. And I think that encouraged a strong bond. They had to create a family. Whereas I am an Aucklander? I was shooting in my home. And I didn’t start until the midpoint because it took the first half of the shoot to build Numenor. So by the time I met everyone, they were already a family, and they invited me in.
BENJAMIN WALKER: This is going to be the most eclectic fellowship we’ve ever seen, right. It feels like the series is progressing, when it comes to ethnicity, when it comes to gender. I mean, how much of a sort of like point of pride was that for you guys, as creators of this series to sort of– to bring new faces and a new world into this world that’s created, that’s existed for so long, but we’ve never seen look quite like this?
CYNTHIA ADDAI-ROBINSON: It’s a huge point of pride. I mean, I think we’re talking about a global show and a global audience. This is now the reality. This is not about taking the narrow view. And, to me, this is about inviting people in and being expansive. And if you’re going to tell this story in 2022, this, to me, feels like the only way to tell it, the only way to represent it. And I think people are going to be really happy.
They’ve been hungry to sort of see full representation in this world. Because at the end of the day, this story is very much about people of all different backgrounds coming together for a common cause, to fight the common enemy, and that very much relates to where we’re at today. So that, to me, is just, like, the natural progression of things. It’s just what I would expect it to be.
MARKELLA KAVENAGH: It’s just, you know, really exciting to have– for it to be more representative of the world that we live in. And I just hope that the industry, not just our show, but the industry just continues to become more inclusive and representative of the world we live in. So I’m really grateful to be a part of that.
NAZANIN BONLADI: Every woman has agency on this show. Every female character has– is not there to serve the male characters around her. But every one of us has autonomy in our storylines. I am not only the mother of a rebellious teenage son or in a forbidden romance with an elf, the very handsome Ismael Cruz Cordova, but I also am a healer and a leader of sorts in my own right.
MEGAN RICHARDS: It’s just nice. It’s just such an inclusive atmosphere. And, I mean, I can’t even– I can’t wait for the time when that’s not even a question anymore, you know. Like, it’s just so nice that the modern world that we’re living in today, it really is reflected within in the world that Jodie and Patrick have created.
NAZANIN BONLADI: I never, in a million years, thought that I would be in something like this. And now we’re hoping that when people watch Arondir and Bronwyn fall in love on screen that they can see a Afro-Latino man and a Middle Eastern woman fall in love and have a love story, and be romantic leads, and in this genre. And that means the world to both of us, and all the people of– marginalized people in our cast.
KEVIN POLOWY: Despite, you know, “Rings of Power” taking place in the Tolkien universe, fantasy world long ago with creatures of all types, there’s a lot of themes that are going to be relevant to what is actually happening in the real world. Like, what can you say about that aspect? Like, what is it about the show that reminds you of the reality that we all live in?
CHARLIE VICKERS: We all live with. Well, I think that’s the beautiful thing about Tolkien is that the essence of his work, sort of will forever be related to what we go through, and what endures in human life. There are stories within the show that are stories of hope and stories of love and stories of loss, and the fight between good and bad. And I think that within this vast world of high fantasy, it’s these human stories that sort bring you in and really make you feel things when you watch the show.
BENJAMIN WALKER: There are a lot of connections you can draw between refugees or the climate crisis. But I don’t– that’s not the intention of the show. It’s just Tolkien. He understood the human experience in a deep way, and that translates into his work.
TYROE MUHAFIDIN: Just sort of those ideas of, like, family, friendship, you know, sticking with the people you know and you love, and no matter what goes on, they’re always going to be there for you.
LEON WADHAM: Certainly in Numenor there is a hunger for legacy at all costs. And I don’t know how much more I can reveal about that, but certainly ambitious to a fault is something that is said about the people of Numenor. They’re really proud. They have big dreams. They want to leave an imprint on this land before their time on Earth is over. And not everyone on that island knows where to draw the line.
– There can be no trust between hammer and rock. Eventually one or the other, or she’ll be back.
Nanzanin Boniadi (Bronwyn) interview
“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” star Nazanin Boniadi teases what fans can expect in her character Bronwyn. May be geo-blocked depending on your location, but you can try watching it here!
In order to get into Hall H for the Rings of Power panel, which was scheduled to be the first panel on Friday, July 22 at 10:30am, a group of fans needed a plan to camp out in line. Staffers from TORn, members of the Discord community and a bunch of fans from the UK banded together to have group members take turns standing, or sitting, in line, starting at Midnight Wednesday night, all day on Thursday, and overnight into Friday morning.
It was a blast to see the trailer, but the special footage that accompanied some of the cast discussions really showed us what type of show this is going to be, and those subwoofers that blow through the room during the first video emphasized the Power of the Rings.
Here is an accounting for the exclusive scenes shown to the 6500 fans in attendance.
Ring Verse video and sound:
The panel began with Bear McCreary conducting a small orchestra with choral and violin solos of several minutes of his newly created music for the series, which was released a couple of days ago. Once the music ended, Stephen Colbert was introduced as the moderator, and very soon we’ll be giving a rundown of those cast and showrunner Q&A sessions in a separate article. But the first group of guests comprised the show runners and producers of the show. One said that the thing he had most wanted to see on screen was the moment when Sauron puts on the One Ring and invokes the Ring verse for the first time, sending a ripple across all of Middle-earth, a moment when the Elves especially, realized they’d been had.
Shortly after this, we got our first Exclusive video footage, and it is this moment recreated for us in Hall H.
The sequence opens with the image we’ve all seen, of Finrod walking up the grassy hill to see the Two Trees, and at this point the black curtains on the side walls pull back to reveal the screens that stretch more than half the length of the hall (approximately the distance of two semi-trucks back to back). This allows us to see the mountains and valleys to either side of the main image of the city and the Two Trees.
But then we push in closer to see the trees better, and they are fading. As the light begins to dim, and the leaves fall, there is a giant shadowy figure of Morgoth in the sky. We are then transported to a realm of burning ground that seems to be disintegrating, and the Ring Verse appears in a golden circle on a black background.
We hear the first line, read by Morfydd Clark, ‘Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky’, a quick glimpse of an elven realm, and the Ring Verse enlarges and rushes towards us as a giant burst of sound emanates from some very large subwoofers at the front of the stage, the whole room shakes and you can literally feel the blast on your face.
She reads the second line, ‘Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone’ and a quick glimpse of Moria in it’s glory, then the same rush of the Ring verse rushing towards the screen and the burst of sound from the speakers, just a wave of sound rushing the screen.
Next comes the third line, ‘Nine for Mortal Men, doomed to die’, and a look at Numenor from above, and again with the Ring Verse and Sound bursting through the room.
And finally, we get the final lines, ‘One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne, In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie’ and a glimpse of destruction before the final burst of sound with the Ring Verse.
And thus, everyone in the audience, and everyone who came back onstage were just dumbstruck by that experience. It was one of the most visceral experiences to ever happen in Hall H.
Elrond and Durin IV’s relationship:
Elrond and Durin IV, set up like a prize fight as Elrond walks past male and female dwarves singing and chanting, but not necessarily in a good way, then big cheers when Durin IV enters. Again, very much like the bravado of two competitors before a big fight.
Durin IV announces the challenge, to break rocks until one or the other cannot. If the Elf loses, he is banned from ALL Dwarven realms, if he wins. . .Durin IV sniggers, as if to say that is very unlikely, and then the big rocks are carted in.
Durin IV gives a big swing and easily splits his rock, Elrond hesitates just a moment and then gives a big swing as well. . .fade to black
Elrond and Galadriel’s relationship:
Elrond greets Galadriel, and then each looks at the tapestry of a ship sailing into the sunset, and mentions in somber tones what it is supposed to be like, of a song welcoming one to this realm. The moment is very contemplative, and almost fearful on the part of Elrond.
Then in a lighter tone, Elrond says he expected Galadriel to be covered in mud and dirt, she replies “more like frost bite and troll blood”
Galadriel and Halbrand saved from the sea:
We got context of that regal ship sailing into the Numenorean port. It is Elendil’s ship, the circular sails have the sunburst sigil on them, and two guests were aboard, the rescued Galadriel and Halbrand. Elendil recognizes Galadriel as one of the Eldar, and she asks what ship this is, he tells her and it does not ease her mind. Halbrand then asks where it is they are going, he doesn’t recognize anything about the port.
But Galadriel does, she recognizes the carved stone faces they sail by, the glorious waterfall next to what may be a statue of Ulmo, and announces to Halbrand that it is the island nation of Numenor. This sequence also gives us a heavy dose of the grandeur of the music Bear McCreary is creating for Numenor.
Arondir in chains:
The Arondir scene where his ankle is chained is an Orc prison gang thing, several elves, and maybe some men are all chained and working at what looks like a quarry. The Orcs have those white membranous cloaks (could it be flesh?) on to protect them from the sun, but they don’t work well
We see one Orc wince from sun exposure and retreat to a covered area made of wooden beams and canvas. Arondir looks at another elf, giving a signal, and they and other prisoners attempt a jailbreak using the long chains to whip the Orcs off their feet.
The prisoners cross their chains and then take turns smashing with their hammers where the chains intersect. One chain breaks and that prisoner takes off running and scales the walls of the pit, until he is shot down.
Thus comes the scene where Arondir pics up an axe and leaps high overhead, but not to attack an Orc. No, he goes for the wooden crossbeam and collapses the structure protecting the Orcs. . . fade to black
Nori and the Stranger
Nori appears at the top of the burning crater and looks down to see the ‘Stranger’ curled up in a fetal position unconscious. Her friend Poppy comes up from behind and tells her to get away from the edge, it’s dangerous. Nori says that they should help the man below, and Poppy says that they can’t, he’s a giant and it isn’t safe.
At that moment, the edge of the crater collapses and Nori falls into the crater, landing amongst the flames. As she scrambles to regain her feet, she realizes the flames don’t burn, they aren’t hot. This gives her enough courage to approach the figure at the center of the flaming crater.
She slowly reaches out to touch him, while Poppy pleads for her to stop. Nori pokes his face and nothing happens, and again Poppy pleads for her to come back. Nori says that we can’t leave him here, not for the wolves to get, and then suddenly he wakes enough to reach out and grab her arm.
Nori turns back to him, stunned and surprised, he looks just as perplexed and starts to cry out, the camera cuts back and forth between them, while the cries of surprise or pain or confusion escalate, the fire goes out. And then, Nori is able to pull away, and the Stranger falls unconscious again, and the flames return.
Poppy urges Nori to get out as fast as she can, and Nori says we have to help him, and Poppy retorts ‘how are we to carry a giant’, but Nori says that they can, that this is who they are, and Poppy reminds her ‘no, this is who you are’.
This last interchange between Nori and Poppy is very much like the Shire we know, where most of the Hobbits never go anywhere and never have any adventures, and then there are the Bagginses and Tooks, who do go places and have adventures.
Thus ends the Dispatches from Hall H at San Diego Comic Con, at least as far as the exclusive video content goes. There will be a synopsis of all the cast and showrunner Q&As forthcoming.
Last night TheOneRing.net and Amazon Prime Video hosted a “Rings of Power” off-site party at San Diego Comic-con.
The setting was lovely and looked very Middle-earthy with trees growing inside the venue surrounded by moss, rocks, mushrooms, and even a few birds’ nests filled with eggssess, precious. Showrunner Patrick McKay joined the party, and TORN staffer Cliff “Quickbeam” Broadway talked Tolkien lore with him. Jed Brophy stopped by, too.
Golden Mallorn leaf tickets were given out at TORn’s Booth 1220 in the convention center for trivia answers. These ticket holders got to meet 20+ Rings of Power actors and have posters signed by them all. Five Middle-earth costume winners also got Mallorn tickets. Actual set-worn costumes were displayed throughout the venue, and immediately after the party, they were bubble wrapped and crated and flown back to the set.
Highlights of the food and drink that flowed throughout the evening were the blackberry sparkling cocktail and the mini poke ice cream cones surrounding a mountain from which smoke poured out.
An expanded trailer that does not disappoint was played in a separate room on loop.
It was a wonderful evening, and hopefully the first of many ”Rings of Power” parties. (Emmys party perhaps?)
So you wouldn’t think that Galadriel means something similar, like that one time at Aqualondë when Fëanor decided to requisition some boats (or, later, when he decided to use said boats for tinder on the beach at Losgar).
It’s also likely that Elrond was involved in the The War of Wrath and present at Thangorodrim for the defeat of Morgoth at the conclusion of the First Age. It’s implicit in his statement during the Council of Elrond when he speaks of the Last Alliance.
“I remember well the splendour of their banners,” he said. “It recalled to me the glory of the Elder Days and the hosts of Beleriand, so many great princes and captains were assembled. And yet not so many, nor so fair, as when Thangorodrim was broken…”
The Council of Elrond, The Lord of the Rings
Arguably that’s the defining event of the First Age (even if it’s the most-sketchily recorded). A dragon falls on and destroys a mountain chain. Later, an entire sub-continent sinks as a result. It is, quite literally, a world-changing event.
Let’s say your preferred canon is that Galadriel remained in Doriath into the later stages of the First Age (one option CJRT outlines in Unfinished Tales), the sacking of Menegroth doesn’t remotely meet that benchmark. Even were you to place Galadriel at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad (I wouldn’t), or the Dagor Bragollach (a big stretch, but I do wonder if the showrunners might), it’s just not comparable.
So what’s left?
I broached this with fellow staffers, suggesting that only one thing in Galadriel’s history is truly incomparable: the destruction of the Two Trees by Morgoth and Ungoliant.
But, generally, we agree that the description of that event given in The Silmarillion is a poor match for the imagery from the scenes that Galadriel’s voice-over cuts across in the trailer. The Silmarillion describes that Laurelin and Telperion wither as Ungoliant drains them of life. They do not burn. The assault causes a vast, ever-expanding gloom and darkness, and it is entirely unexpected and unanticipated.
That’s very unlike what we see in the Rings of Power trailer scene. There’s a the red-hued background, flickering embers pass behind Galadriel, and there are bodies that seem to hang in space. Further, whatever Galadriel is looking on seems to centre on something that looks like a tower, or a fortress. Not trees.
If it’s not something in Galadriel’s (distant) past, what is it then?
Perhaps it’s some Second Age event around or during timeline that The Rings of Power covers.
Here, fellow-staffer Garfeimao cleverly suggests that we should keep in mind that Galadriel has powers of foresight. This, after all, is how Sam is able to see a vision of The Shire getting, let us say, redeveloped.
“Many things I can command the Mirror to reveal,” she answered, “and to some I can show what they desire to see. But the Mirror will also show things unbidden, and those are often stranger and more profitable than things which we wish to behold. What you will see, if you leave the Mirror free to work, I cannot tell. For it shows things that were, and things that are, things that yet may be. But which it is that he sees, even the wisest cannot always tell. Do you wish to look?”
I could see some pointing out that Elrond also has a mighty foresight. And that’s true.
For example, his concern for welfare of The Shire is not at all misplaced. But he also doesn’t intuit how critical Merry and Pippin would prove to the Quest to destroy the Ring. That’s not to say his foreknowledge is less, it’s more to showcase how imprecise such things can be in Tolkien. No-one ever sees the full picture — even the memories of the Valar of the Music are said to be fuzzy.
And a vision might explain the subtle differences between the two shots: Galadriel is not physically present at the second scene. Instead she’s perceiving it through the lens of vision — just as Frodo and Sam did in Lorien — from somewhere else that is distant in both place and time. Somewhere else that — in a sneaky bit of misdirection — just happens to have endured some sort of fire or assault.
Recall, also, that such visions and dreams in Tolkien can be the cause of great restlessness in the receiver. In The Silmarillion, Turgon and Finrod each receive a vision from Ulmo while resting by the banks of the Sirion.
“Unquiet was upon them ever after, and doubt of what should befall, and they wandered often alone in untrodden lands, seeking far and wide for places of hidden strength…”
Of the Return of the Noldor, The Silmarillion
This might be a key reason why Galadriel is unable to, as Elrond suggests, put down her sword.
A vision opens up possibilities of things that we, as an audience, might not see come to pass in the first season of The Rings of Power.
Staffer Josh suggests that it might just be a vision of The Downfall of Númenor: Akallabêth, and perhaps even the Temple in Armenelos as it sinks below the waves.
Now, that seems appropriately apocalyptic.
It would explain why all the figures look like they’re floating — they are. And it explains the odd ripples through that scene — it’s distortions caused by the surface of the water.
The mist cleared and he saw a sight which [Frodo] had never seen before but knew at once: the Sea. Darkness fell. The sea rose and raged in a great storm. Then he saw against the Sun, sinking blood-red into a wrack of clouds [my emphasis], the black outline of a tall ship with torn sails riding up out of the West.
The Mirror of Galadriel, The Lord of the Rings
There might be powerful reasons for Amazon Studios to tip people to this end-scenario early. The fact is that most viewers won’t know what a Númenor is, let alone that it was an island-continent that was sunk after an entire people went off their collective trolley, implemented a system of human (and, presumably elven) sacrifice, and decided to invade the “land of the gods” out of a misplaced belief that conquering it would confer immortality.
Sure, even the most casual watcher will understand Ring Bad(tm), but this is vastly more tangible and visceral.
This would be one way to drive home the wider audience what’s at stake and, conceptually, I like it a lot.
Unfortunately, neither The Lord of the Rings nor its Appendices mention the “mighty temple” that Sauron has built in Armenelos, nor the sacrifices of the Faithful that are conducted inside. Those details are only found in the Akallabêth story in The Silmarillion.
However, Appendix A and Appendix B do mention that the Faithful are persecuted, and that rebellion and “civil war” occurred in the final years of Númenor.
That may be enough for the purposes of a vision. That may also satisfy a quite accurate objection that Staffer Earl raises — that the scene does have the appearance of being the outcome of battle. In fact, the most prominent floating figure seems to be run through with a spear.
Perhaps it reflects that, in those final, doomed years, “men took weapons … and slew one another for little cause; for they were become quick to anger.” Chaos and violence as the apocalypse literally occurs should not, I think, be unexpected.
But let’s say that’s incorrect and we’re not looking upon a scene of Akallabêth.
Is there something else it might be?
Here, I’m indebted to one of our Discord chatters DrNosy who informed me that the fan hivemind suspects that the trailer aerial of a city at the confluence of two rivers is Ost-in-Edhil, the chief city of Eregion.
“…the Elves of this land were of a race strange to us of the silvan folk, and the trees and the grass do not now remember them: Only I hear the stones lament them: ‘Deep they delved us, high they builded us, fair they wrought us, but they are gone.'”
The Ring Goes South, The Lord of the Rings
While not as apocalyptic as the end of Númenor, it is still the end of Eregion. More, it’s the civilisational high mark of the Noldor. Although Elrond establishes subsequently a refuge in Rivendell, never again would they attempt anything on a similar scale.
A vision of the dreams of the Noldor going up in flames might just suffice.
About the author: Staffer Demosthenes has been involved with TheOneRing.net since 2001, serving first as an Associate News Editor, then as Chief News Editor during the making of the Hobbit films. Now he focuses on features and analysis.The opinions in this article are his own and do not necessarily represent those of TheOneRing.net and other staff.
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