Maybe it’s the time zones, but I really thought that John Howe’s interview with Empire about The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power was coming out tomorrow. Instead, if you’re keen (and an Apple News subscriber), you can read it right now over on Apple News.

The interview expands on the teaser Empire provided the other day, that “this is not the Middle-earth you remember”. Instead, it’s a story of a different time (the Second Age), when Middle-earth was visually and politically a different place.

An excerpt:

Howe can’t elaborate on what that tale may be, but does hint that it takes place against a backdrop of “Sauron’s rise to power, the forging of the Rings of Power and the epic tale of [human city] Númenor” — all events with important repercussions for Middle-earth.

“I was convinced the Hobbit trilogy would be the last we’d see of Middle-earth on film,” Howe admits, explaining that it took an exciting new approach to Lord Of The Rings lore to unlock a story worth telling.

Read the full interview with John Howe on Apple News.

Empire’s forthcoming “Summer Preview” issue is set to include an interview with John Howe about his role as concept artist for Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power TV series.

They’ve posted an enticing preview snippet of Howe sharing his thoughts about we ought to expect from the series in which he empahsises just how different Second Age Middle-earth is from the Third Age world that many are more familiar with.

“This isn’t the Middle-earth you remember,” he says.

“This is a world that’s very vibrant. The elves are not hidden away in Mirkwood or lingering in Rivendell. They’re busy constructing kingdoms. The dwarven kingdom of Moria is not an abandoned mine and the Grey Havens is not yet an abandoned city. I loved having the opportunity to explore that unseen history.”

He also talks about how this story is also taking to the seas.

“We’re finally sailing on the oceans of Middle-earth,” teases Howe, promising a set of sea-faring elves. “They’re daunting and enterprising and are almost colonising the world. They were a lot of fun to imagine. It’s something neither Lord Of The Rings nor Hobbit movies went anywhere near.”

Empire’s Summer Preview issue is on sale from Thursday, May 12.

Rings of Power Numenor

Overnight, Amazon Prime Video Brasil used the final episode of the 2022 edition of Big Brother Brasil to show a high-concept teaser ad for their forthcoming series, The Rings of Power.

“The Big Discovery”.

Subverting expectations, the one-minute teaser eschewed most of the footage we’d already seen via the original teaser released on February 13 during Superbowl LVI. Instead, it deploys a number of highly credentialled Brazillian celebrities to set the scene.

Thanks to the efforts of our fine Discord folks, we have the following text translation of the audio.

Speaker 1 (Thiago Leifert, former-Big Brother host): A powerful force moves our protagonists… a search for a chance to rewrite their own story of being reborn without having to die.

Speaker 2 (Antônio Fagundes, renowned telenovela actor): They heard the call, saw the bars of their imaginary prisons, conquered their fears, and went out into the world.

Speaker 3 (Maria Bethânea, influential Brazillian musician and “Queen Bee of MPB”): But make no mistake, it doesn’t end here. A safe place is, each time, further and further away, and the line between good and evil blurs.

Speaker 4 (Seu Jorge, Samba singer and actor): The fools and the weak spirited are left behind along the way. Those who arrive find in the end a new beginning: redemption. Welcome to the new legend: Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

The choice of voice talent of this calibre has drawn excited approval from Portuguese-speaking fans, who see it as an indication that Amazon will invest resources to create a high-quality localised version. Some fans are already speculating that these four may also be dub actors for the series, but at this point we don’t know for sure one way or the other.

The ad concludes with an abbreviated version of the original teaser, including a Portuguese voiceover of the line from the young Harfoot character, Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot: Wonders exist in our world. I can feel them.

Prime Video Brasil teaser poster.
“Welcome to a new legend: The Lord of the Rings, The Rings of Power”

Additional visual easter eggs

The ad also features a number of visual easter eggs for close observers.

The Ring verse engraved above the fireplace.

Above the fireplace are two lines of text in Portuguese that, when translated, read:

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky.

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone.

The Ring verse carved into the bookshelf.

Carved into the bookshelf (which also features a copy of The Lord of the Rings, and Homer’s Illiad) another line reads:

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die

Two pages, seemingly from the appendices of The Lord of the Rings.

The left page appears to be random sentences from the appendices of The Lord of the Rings.

We read “THE CLOSEST THAT HAS EVER (BEEN BETWEEN THE RACES)”, which is in Appendix B (The Second Age), but the sentence immediately below “AFTER THE END OF THE FIRST AGE” does not immediately follow. “OF THE KINGS OF THE NOLDOR IN EXILE” appears two lines later, whereas in the actual appendix it begins at the paragraph before.

The right-hand page indentifiably contains “…DWELT GIL-GALAD, LAST…”, and “…ELVES OF THE WEST”. It may be that it’s meant to portray the following passage from Appendix B, but it’s difficult to tell:

In Lindon north of the Lune dwelt Gil-galad, last heir of the kings of the Noldor in exile. He was acknowledged as High King of the Elves of the West. In Lindon south of the Lune dwelt for a time Celeborn, kinsman of Thingol; his wife was Galadriel, greatest of Elven women. She was sister of Finrod Felagund, Friend-of-Men, once king of Nargothrond, who gave his life to save Beren son of Barahir.

The Ring verse on sheaves of paper.

The loose paper reads:

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie

The Ring verse on wall art.

Although dim and hard to read, the wall art concludes the verse:

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Seu Jorge‘s mysterious sapphire pendant.

Seu Jorge also wears a large, sapphire pendant. Could it have some prominence?

A painting that shows close remsemblance to part of a scene from The Rings of Power teaser.

Finally, the painting that Jorge faces near the conclusion of his spiel bears a close resemblance to the gigantic waterfall streaming off a mountainside that we saw in the teaser trailer — a waterfall that according to Vanity Fair is a Second Age location in Forodwaith.

Acknowledgements. Many thanks to TolkienGuide, our fan community and Discord folks — including Duilo, sigurboy, JJJaded, and DrNosy — for helping to dissect this teaser, and supplying screencaps.

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.

Theo, played by Tyroe Muhafidin, has joined the list of characters now confirmed as denizens of the Second Age of Middle-earth in Prime Video’s upcoming Rings of Power series. Living with his mother, Bronwyn, in the village of Tirharad, we still know little about Theo’s story or character. We do know, though, that whatever is to come will be entwined with one of the more menacing weapons that Amazon has also revealed: a broken sword and possible family heirloom.

Tyroe Muhafidin as Theo. Credit: Ben Rothstein, Amazon Prime Video

We have seen this sword before, revealed in a series of hands-centric posters that Prime Video released in February. We are still left to speculate about the origin and nature of this broken heirloom – possibly marked by Black Speech – and how Theo and his mother come to possess it. Could this have been crafted by Sauron/Annatar during his seductive stay on Númenor? A remnant of a past migration of Black Númenoreans as they colonized Haradwaith to the south of Gondor? A family heirloom from an absent father, now consumed by a piece of jewelry more powerful than he bargained for?

Credit: Amazon Prime Video

With Theo’s arrival, we are beginning to see some facets of a fuller family in this branch of the storyline that the Rings of Power writers have been crafting. Bronwyn, played by Nazanin Boniadi, is a single mother and village healer, living in apparently rustic conditions with her son well to the south of more familiar Lord of the Rings landscapes. But we know there must be more, even without that broken sword. Bronwyn has a romantic connection with the Sylvan Elf Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz Córdova. (How does Theo feel about that?) And now we also know that Nazanin Boniadi can strike a classic “New Zealand is Middle-earth” pose with the best of our Second Age heroines.

Nazanin Boniadi as Bronwyn. Credit: Ben Rothstein, Amazon Prime Video

And again, we’re left with more questions than answers. Where is Bronwyn headed? Does her regal robe reveal that “village healer” is only a part of her story? Can we get some GPS coordinates for this shooting location? How many cosplay homages will this photo inspire?

Tyroe Muhafidin is a 16-year old Australian actor who has appeared in an array of short films and television series, including Dusk (2018) and Caravan (2019). This will be his first appearance in a major role.

Tyroe Muhafidin

Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: 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. The series will launch on September 2, 2022.

Saul Zaentz Co., has filed two trademark applications covering a pair of phrases now associated with Amazon’s forthcoming TV series: “Rings of Power” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”.

The company is the current owner of exclusive worldwide rights to motion picture, merchandising, stage and other rights in certain literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. It also announced in early February that it was putting all those rights up for sale.

The trademark applications, which were filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) on April 5 through German intellectual property specialists Boehmert & Boehmert, cover a wide array merchandising for goods and services under different categories.

The EUIPO filing on “The Rings of Power”.

Closer examination of the two filings, however, reveal that the key crossover between the two seems to cover electronic downloadable and online games and trading cards under Nice categories #9 and #41.

Whether that indicates that a Rings of Power-associated video game might be in the works as part of some partnership with Amazon remains to be seen. But, since the Saul Zaentz Company holds in perpetuity the trademarks on all the characters and places in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, it might have to be involved in merchandising deals.

The EUIPO filing on “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”.

The news of the filing first emerged on the Reddit forum Leaks and Rumours.

As we wait – eagerly or anxiously – for new Middle-earth content in the form of Amazon’s upcoming Rings of Power tv show, we can pass some of the time with new content direct from the Professor himself. On February 26th the Tolkien Estate relaunched their website, releasing previously unseen material from their archives.

The exciting new reveals include draft manuscripts, letters, and even audio and video clips of Tolkien and his son, Christopher. You can read more about this release here; and you can find the Tolkien Estate website here.