Vanity Fair revealed earlier this week that Prime Video’s second season of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power would have a very particular magic, with British actor Rory Kinnear taking on the iconic role of Tom Bombadil. We provided some speculation as to how Master Tom might contribute to the continuing Second Age saga here, and we are also feeling pretty good about our speculations last January around Tom’s potential appearance this coming season, which premiers on August 29.

Along with this article, VF and Prime Video also offered some early images of Middle-earth’s Eldest in an apparently dry and barren land of Rhûn. Fan reactions to the photos have been predictably mixed, from “perfect!” to (in kinder iterations) “huh?”. That’s nearly always the case whenever a favorite character gets distilled to a single look, costume, or actor (even with the initial Peter Jackson trilogy). Here at TheOneRing, we love some spirited debate, especially when we all remember to be kind.

We also love to take closer looks at these kinds of announcements, in this case, of the four photos included in the Vanity Fair article. There are some details which caught our attention!

Jolly Tom Sports Some Iconic Costuming

“So where are the yellow boots?” was one of the most widespread expectations, and reactions, to the Vanity Fair reveal. Many of VF’s photos involved strong backlighting and darker shadows, and it was challenging to nail the true hue of Tom’s footwear. We did get one exterior shot, though, which indeed displayed a dusty yellow tinge on those iconic boots: maybe not canary yellow, but certainly in the same spirit as the classic Hildebrandt Brothers illustration from their 1976 calendar.

We also got a blue jacket, though perhaps not as “bright” as Old Forest Tom sings about along the Withywindle. Remember, this is Second Age Tom, and perhaps he’ll acquire more than one coat for his closet. We’re not even sure whether he’s taken up residence yet on the border of the someday-Shire, nor met his lifelong love and likely fashion consultant Goldberry.

Interestingly, there are some costuming details which already hint at Bombadil’s deep connection to nature, including tree-like embroidery on his tunic, and a be-flowered belt, fashioned seemingly in the shape of stars. That resonates with the same stellar theme which drove Season One’s Stranger to travel eastward.

And then there’s Tom’s hat. Besides the fact that it sports a muted suggestion of a dark, and hardly flamboyantly placed feather (is it peacock – a notion which Tolkien abandoned – swan, “blue”, or something else entirely?), Second Age Tom’s hat seems strikingly wizard-like: wide-brimmed and fittingly pointy. Might we be seeing a further Gandalf-like embellishment, should Tom choose to offer his headgear as a gift to a certain visiting Stranger?

We See Some Curious Environmental Embellishments

It’s also worth taking a closer look at the location where we find this budding Council of the Wise. There are a few things that stand out:

The environment is largely bone-dry and desolate. The surrounding hills seem treeless, and even the cactus houseplants are withering. The interior floors are dusty enough to scream thirst. This is the anti-Old Forest, and about the most non-Bombadillian landscape one can imagine. That’s probably why Tom is looking pretty sober in these stills. It’s a situation demanding intervention, not celebration.

And yet, there are still hints of a potential oasis. Just as we saw the Stranger restore a fruit tree to life in Season One, perhaps Tom’s work has already begun here with the flourishing of flowers and a lemon tree in the exterior shot we’ve been given. Or maybe Tom is simply a limoncello fan. And perhaps as a nod to another refuge long in the future, or simply to fans of the Hobbit, we even see that Tom is a beekeeper! Plus his furniture looks like it would match well with the Beorn aesthetic.

It’s clear that Tom’s house in Rhûn has been lived in for a long time. The candles are melted down to near nubs, and the pottery and furnishings seem well-worn. This is not Tom’s first rodeo in Rhûn, even if he’s been wandering as far and wide around Middle-earth as your friendly Harfoots.

Probably most mysterious of all, there appear to be star and/or planetary maps embellishing the ceilings in the Second House of Tom Bombadil. These constellation symbols have been central to numerous story lines in Season One – for the Harfoots, the Stranger, and the Three Mystics seemingly banished in last season’s final episode. Perhaps Tom will shed a bit more light on exactly what these star signs mean.

It’s useful to remember that we’ve only seen these four pictures, and know precious little about the full extent for how and where Tom Bombadil will be integrated into the second season of the Rings of Power. We each bring personal expectations for this story line. For some, Tom has been somewhere between a complete mystery and an annoying speed bump in the larger LotR saga. For others, he looms large on our list of favorite characters, which increases the risk, of course, should he be mishandled. We’ll simply have to wait another 13 or so weeks for a the full Bombadil experience.

Hey dol! Merry dol! This will be a challenge!


For those that may have missed it, here’s the Bombadil-focused content from Prime Video’s press release on May 29. You can find the entire release here.

CULVER CITY, California—May 29, 2024 — Today, Prime Video revealed that Laurence Olivier Award-winning actor Rory Kinnear (James Bond films, The Imitation Game), who, as previously announced, joined the Season Two cast of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, will portray the fan-favorite J.R.R. Tolkien character Tom Bombadil. The second season of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will premiere exclusively on Prime Video on August 29, 2024.

This announcement comes after much online speculation, as the timeless, mysterious, and jovial Tom Bombadil has been beloved by Tolkien fans for decades. Given his hand in so many key moments of the larger story, the character’s absence from other on-screen depictions of Middle-earth has often been the topic of robust conversation. The news was revealed through brand-new images from the series, and an interview in Vanity Fair that was released online earlier today.

The series’ showrunners J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay are excited to bring this new element to the story, and are thrilled that the gifted Kinnear is bringing this iconic character to life. “He’s whimsical and magical, and almost verging on silly. But also has the wisdom of the ages and the music of the spheres and deep emotional wells of ancient history and myth, and his conception and function are tied to Norse myths and have deep roots in European fairy tale,” McKay says. “So weirdly, he’s kind of the most Lord of the Rings thing in Lord of the Rings.” Payne adds, “Tom is sort of a curiosity within that structure because while it is darker, Tom Bombadil is singing and saying lines that could be nursery rhymes from children’s poems. So, he sort of defies the tonal shift of the rest of the season and is a real point of light amidst an otherwise sea of darkness.”

Kinnear embraced the opportunity to jump into the famed yellow boots, elaborating that while the description of Tom Bombadil was well-known to readers, he relished the opportunity to portray the voice and mannerisms of the enigmatic being for the first time in a filmed iteration of Tolkien’s work. “There’s this sense of huge experience, huge openness, huge empathy, and having gone through so much that he [Bombadil] knows it’s the small things that are important. That felt actually quite domestic, felt quite reachable in terms of my understanding of who he was.”

Character Description:

  • Rory Kinnear plays “Tom Bombadil” a figure of unknown origin in Tolkien’s works who projects a timeless wisdom, often propelling characters in a direction to see things more clearly and helping them better understand the wide world around them. In the lore, he claims to be as old as Middle-earth itself, possessing wisdom far beyond the reaches of others. Essential to the spirit of discovery and of the search for meaning, Bombadil is famously clad in yellow boots, blue jacket, and a feathered hat, and prone to enigmatic expressions in singsong verse.

Additionally, Chris Smith, Tolkien Publishing Director at HarperCollins, revealed in Vanity Fair that the book titled The Adventures of Tom Bombadil will be re-released in paperback by HarperCollins on August 20, 2024, just ahead of the streaming series’ return to Prime Video. Smith said, “It’s my hope that, with the introduction of Rory Kinnear’s portrayal of Tom Bombadil in The Rings of Power, audiences are inspired to learn more about this unique character beloved of generations of readers around the world, and will delight in sharing in his many adventures in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth.”

Hey Dol! Merry Dol! Bombadil is Coming!

Vanity Fair have today revealed that one of Tolkien’s most beloved characters to ever hit the cutting room floor will finally make his on-screen debut, courtesy of Prime Video’s second season of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

The Age of Iarwain Ben-Adar, Oraid, and Forn is finally upon us!

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow! Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow! Now let his song begin! But what is he after? Fighting off some barrow-wights? Or a masked ring crafter?

To this point, Jolly Tom’s fandom footprints have been largely limited to readers’ imaginations, audio book embellishments, an iconic Hildebrandt Brothers 1976 calendar (seen below), and an occasional illustration on collectible card games. He’s even made a Weta-crafted live action appearance that only made it as far as a long out-of-print Decipher CCG card.

All of that is about to change as Rory Kinnear steps into the role of Middle-earth’s Eldest and Master. An Olivier Award-winning English actor and playwright, Kinnear is perhaps best known for his roles in the Imitation Game, Penny Dreadful, the Daniel Craig era of James Bond movies, and most recently as Churchill in the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. Vanity Fair’s article also includes an interview with the man about to fill these large yellow boots.

Continue reading “Tom Bombadil is Coming to Amazon’s Rings of Power Season 2 – Vanity Fair Exclusive”

Prime Video have announced the final new cast members who will play recurring roles in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season Two.

The three actors are, as with previously announced new cast, acclaimed stalwarts of British television and theatre, with impressive credentials and long pedigrees of excellent work. It is exciting to see Rings of Power welcoming such talent to the fold, and bodes well for the quality of the show to come. (You can read about the rest of the new cast members announced for Season Two here and here.)

Here’s the official press release:

The One Ring

Ciarán Hinds, Rory Kinnear, and Tanya Moodie Join Cast of Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power for Season Two

Mar 20, 2023

All three acclaimed actors join the existing cast of the global hit series in recurring roles for the forthcoming second season, currently in production in the UK

CULVER CITY, California—March 20, 2023—The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which has been viewed by more than 100 million people worldwide and has been an unprecedented global success as the top Original series for Prime Video in every region in its first season, has announced that acclaimed actors Ciarán Hinds, Rory Kinnear, and Tanya Moodie have joined the series’ cast in recurring roles for the forthcoming second season, currently in production in the UK.

Ciarán Hinds
CIARÁN HINDS

CIARÁN HINDS

Nominated for both an Oscar and a BAFTA Award as Best Supporting Actor for his performance as “Pop” in Kenneth Branagh’s film Belfast, acclaimed actor Ciarán Hinds has had an illustrious career on both stage and screen. He has starred in such films as Steven Spielberg’s Munich, Martin Scorsese’s Silence, There Will be Blood, Road to Perdition, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, In Bruges, The Phantom of the OperaThe CookThe Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, Persuasion, First Man, Amazing GraceZack Snyder’s Justice League, and The Eclipse, a role for which he was awarded Best Actor at the Tribeca Film Festival. He is also known for his voice role as “Grand Pabbie” the Troll King in the animated films Frozen and Frozen II.

Television audiences know Hinds from his roles as “Mance Rayder” in Game of Thrones (HBO) and “Julius Caesar” in Rome (HBO) as well as starring roles in The English (BBC/Prime Video), Ivanhoe (A&E), Above Suspicion (ITV), Political Animals (USA)and Prime Suspect 3 (ITV). He most recently appeared in the comedy-drama series The Dry (BritBox).

Hinds’ wide-ranging theatre credits include Uncle Vanya, Translations, The Girl from the North Country, Hamlet, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Burnt by the Sun, Closer, The Seafarer, and many others. He toured internationally in Peter Brook’s company in The Mahabharata and has played leading roles at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Court, the Donmar Warehouse, and the National Theatre.

RORY KINNEAR

RORY KINNEAR

Rory Kinnear is an award-winning British actor, perhaps best known for his role as “Bill Tanner” in the James Bond films Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre. Kinnear recently starred in Alex Garland’s Men, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and saw him nominated for a BIFA award. Other recent film credits include Bank of Dave, Mike Leigh’s Peterloo, Broken (for which he won Best Supporting Actor at the BIFAs), and the Academy Award- and BAFTA Award-nominated The Imitation Game. Kinnear’s TV credits include Inside No. 9 (BBC), Penny Dreadful (Sky Atlantic), Southcliffe (Channel 4, for which he was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor), Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror (Channel 4), and the dramaLucan (ITV) in which he starred in the title role. He can currently be seen in Taika Waititi’s series Our Flag Means Death (HBO Max).

Kinnear is hugely respected for his theatre work, winning Best Actor at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in 2010 for his performances in Measure for Measure (Almeida Theatre) and Hamlet (National Theatre), and again in 2013 for his performance as “Iago” in Othello (National Theatre), for which he also received an Olivier Award for Best Actor. He previously won an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as “Sir Fopling Flutter” in The Man of Mode in 2008, and was nominated twice before for his performances in Hamlet and Burnt by the Sun. Most recently, Kinnear starred in Force Majeure at the Donmar Warehouse. Kinnear is also an award-winning playwright, penning his debut play The Herd in 2013.  He made his directorial debut with the English National Opera’s production of The Winter’s Tale in 2017.

TANYA MOODIE

TANYA MOODIE

Tanya Moodie is an acclaimed British actress who won the Royal Television Society’s Breakthrough Award for the role of “Meg” in the BAFTA Award-winning comedy Motherland (BBC). Her numerous television roles include starring as “Hunter” in the miniseries adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (BBC), as well as roles in Tin Star (Sky Atlantic), A Discovery of Witches (Sky One), The Man Who Fell to Earth (Showtime), and Sherlock (BBC).

Some of Moodie’s recent film roles include J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker as “General Parnadee” and Sam Mendes’ Empire of Light as “Delia.”

In the theatre, Moodie is a two-time Olivier Award nominee for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre for her roles in Intimate Apparel and The House That Will Not Stand. She played “Gertrude” in Simon Godwin’s production of Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her performance as “Rose” opposite Lenny Henry in August Wilson’s Fences in the West End earned her a WhatsOnStage Awards nomination for Best Actress. She was nominated for a UK Theatre Award for Best Performance for her role in Trouble in Mind, and she has received additional Best Actress nominations from the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards and the UK Theatre Awards. Moodie studied at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, where she was later employed as an associate teacher and council member.

The One Ring

All eight first season episodes are now available to stream exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories in multiple languages. 

The Rings of Power brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared reemergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the farthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.  

The first season of The Rings of Power has been an unprecedented success, viewed by more than 100 million people worldwide, with more than 24 billion minutes streamed. The highly anticipated series attracted more than 25 million global viewers on its first day, marking the biggest premiere in the history of Prime Video, and also debuted as the No. 1 show on Nielsen’s overall streaming chart in its opening weekend. The show has also broken all previous Prime Video records for the most viewers, and has driven more Prime sign-ups worldwide during its launch window than any other previous content. Additionally, The Rings of Power is the top Original series in every region—North America, Europe, APAC, LATAM, and the rest of the world. The season finale also created a global cultural moment, with multiple series-themed hashtags, including #TheRingsofPower and others, trending in 27 countries across Twitter for over 426 cumulative hours throughout the weekend.

Season Two of the series is produced by showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne & Patrick McKay. They are joined by executive producers Lindsey Weber, Callum Greene, Justin Doble, Jason Cahill, and Gennifer Hutchison, along with co-executive producer Charlotte Brandstrom, producers Kate Hazell and Helen Shang, and co-producers Andrew Lee, Matthew Penry-Davey, and Clare Buxton.