It’s been a month since the final episode of Season 1 aired. TheOneRing.net staff have had time to reflect, to go back and binge-watch the whole thing, and to process thoughts.
As we begin the journey to Season 2 (which could be a long one!), here are some of TORn staffers’ reactions to the first season of Prime Video‘s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. As you’ll see, we’re an independent bunch with a wide variety of opinions!
Witches and werewolves and vampires, oh, my! J.R.R. Tolkien was not one to shy away from creatures of the night. Just the opposite–he seemed to relish writing horror stories.
When we think of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”, Elves, Wizards, Hobbits, and quests come first to mind. But the Professor’s long quest to create an encompassing mythology for Britain led him to conjure stories within stories. Middle-earth feels real because Tolkien fleshed out its history in-depth. Though they are often only hinted at in the main stories, Tolkien wrote many of these historical references in detail.
In honor of the best holiday of the year (subjectively), let’s explore a few tales of terror written by Tolkien fit for All Hallows’ Eve. These are by no means the only ones. The Silmarillion is filled with stories that invoke a sense of horror in us, such as the story of Húrin and his family. Just thinking about Frodo and Sam’s encounter with Shelob in her lair is enough to make skin crawl. Dig deep, and you’ll find bones aplenty in Tolkien’s work.
Over the last four weeks, our friends at Weta Workshop have had one of their most stunning pieces up for pre-order. It’s the one piece that fans, like myself, have been asking to have made for the last 20 years. It also works nicely with this character having such a large part in Tolkien’s written lore, as well as The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power tv series.
Fans can finally place their orders in, but for only for the next 24 hours, for Elendil. This fantastic piece depicts how we saw Elendil in The Battle of the Last Alliance during Peter Jackson’s prologue sequence in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Elendil is priced at $549 and will be shipping in the second quarter of next year.
As with any open window pre-order, his edition size will be set by the number of orders placed as of tomorrow at 2 pm PDT. So get your order for Elendil in now!
This is Owain Arthur as Prince Durin IV, ‘prince of the bustling subterranean realm of Khazad-dûm’. As we noted, his hammer hilt reads ‘Awake Sleeping Stone’.
Dwarf princess Disa, played by Sophia Nomvete. Durin’s wife?
Galadriel, played by Morfydd Clark, and described in Vanity Fair as ‘Commander of the Northern Armies’. There had been rumours of short hair for Galadriel – the Vanity Fair images show us otherwise! We also see an eight pointed, Feanorian star on her chest. Significant…?
Elrond, played by Robert Aramayo. Vanity Fair describes him as, ‘a politically ambitious young elven leader’ – and he does have short(ish) hair.
This is silvan elf Arondir, a newly created character, who is played by Ismael Cruz Cordova. His closely cropped hair is the shortest of the lot; his earthy, rugged attire sets him apart from the other elves we have seen. Clearly silvan elves are not quite like their high elven kin…
This is Bronwyn, a created human character, and Arondir’s ‘forbidden love’. She is described as a ‘single mother and healer’ – we see her apothecary’s sickle in this image. She’s played by Nazanin Boniadi.
The Rings of Power includes ‘Two lovable, curious harfoots, played by Megan Richards and Markella Kavenagh’. The two character posters above seem most likely to be them.
As we already knew, ‘Brit of Jamaican descent, Sir Lenny Henry, plays a harfoot elder’. Could this image show him? Perhaps the clutched scroll is an indication of his elder wisdom?
From VF: ‘Another story line will follow a sailor named Isildur (Maxim Baldry) years before he becomes a warrior and cuts the soul-corrupting ring off Sauron’s hand, then falls victim to its powers himself.’ Could the rope here suggest a sailor?
The Rings of Power will feature ‘the elven smith Celebrimbor ([played by] Charles Edwards)’. Could either of these seemingly elvish characters be Celebrimbor? Most likely not the one all in gold; this is rumoured to be Gil-galad, and certainly he seems kingly. So do we see Celebrimbor in red?
(My original thinking was this – but see below for an update!)
This one is total guesswork… VF says we encounter, in the ‘Sundering Seas … a mortal castaway named Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), who is a new character introduced in the show. Galadriel is fighting for the future; Halbrand is running from the past. ‘ There aren’t many of the character posters which look like they might be from the world of men. Could THIS be Halbrand? Could the evil looking, broken blade be part of the past from which he is running? (We do see a wooden chest on the raft, when he and Galadriel meet at sea – so it’s possible he bears with him artefacts from his past…)
UPDATE – VF reached out to let us know that this image in fact shows Bronwyn’s (seen above with sickle) son, and the hilt he is holding is hers. But WHY would she have such a sinister looking object…? Some interesting backstory to come there, methinks, about this ‘broken heirloom’…
Finally, VF tells us that our two Harfoots ‘encounter a mysterious lost man whose origin promises to be one of the show’s most enticing enigmas’. Of all the character posters, this to me is the most enigmatic. So I’m putting my money on this dishevelled, grubby character being our mysterious being…
It’s an amazing volume, filled with rich, luminous artwork. It was reviewed in the latest edition of theJournal of Inkling Studies (Volume 10, issue 2); here’s a little of what writer Lance A. Green had to say:
Tolkienography invites a deep immersion in Tolkien’s myth through the artwork of Jay Johnstone, who has been painting Tolkien-themed illustrations for about thirty years. Together with Thomas Honegger’s commentary, Tolkienography offers a novel artistic rendering of Tolkien’s sub-creation, provoking new interpretations of its characters and essential themes. Printed with colourful clarity, the styles and techniques of Johnstone’s pieces are different enough to avoid any redundancy for the viewer. Colours, spacing, and characters are varied with each turn of the page, as are the painting techniques, which range from more contemporary styles to those mirroring medieval forms, including frescos and Byzantine iconography. Johnstone’s oils and charcoal works certainly capture the imagination: the charcoal and chalk of the Council of Elrond (25), the oil on canvas of Isildur’s death in the river Anduin (35, 39), and the binding of Melkor (41) all wonderfully convey character and scene. An immense oil and gold-leaf rendering of Gandalf atop Shadowfax riding into Helm’s Deep (49–50) is one of the most striking paintings in the book, afforded two full pages in order to capture its immensity. Yet the artwork that crowns and guides Tolkienography is the Byzantine-styled iconographic paintings of Tolkien’s characters.
Lance A. Green, Journal of Inkling Studies Vol 10 Issue 2
The Journal is published by Edinburgh University Press; you can find more of the article here. If you’d like your own copy of Johnstone’s beautiful book, don’t delay – it’s a limited print of 500 copies! At only £45 – and signed by the artist! – it really is a steal for such a spectacular book. You can order it – and see more art from Johnstone – at his website, here.
For the past 20 years our friends at Weta Workshop have been creating intricate collectibles from Middle-earth. Starting this week they’ve started auctioning off the number 1 of each pieces edition size. These amazing pieces range from environments like the Prancing Pony to the Master Collection Gollum. Each week when the auctions start they will run for 72 hours. Week one has come to a close but week two starts next Monday and will end on May 21st.
In support of their local community, Weta is going to donate 100% of the proceeds from one statue per week to the Neonatal Trust. This wonderful charity, of which co-founders Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger are patrons, provide support to families of premature or sick babies on their journey through neonatal care towards health and home.