Where Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is concerned, we’ve had little to go on—for years—but that hasn’t stopped anyone from speculating. Who is this show about? Will there be hobbits, even though there weren’t really hobbits in the Second Age, when the story is set? Will they drag Sauron into it even though he’s been lying low?
The nifty elven armor belongs to Galadriel, who is in this era a warrior, “as angry and brash as she is clever” according to Vanity Fair. She has a plotline with a human, Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), who is one of the characters created for the show; he has a past he’s trying to escape from.
The series, as the name suggests, centers around the forging of the rings. “It’s the story of the creation of all those powers, where they came from, and what they did to each of those races,” said co-showrunner Patrick McKay, who explained the central question behind the series: “Can we come up with the novel Tolkien never wrote and do it as the mega-event series that could only happen now?”
Other new characters include Arondir, a silvan elf played by Ismael Cruz Córdova (he wears the striking tree-face armor), and the dwarf Princess Disa (Sophia Nomvete). Arondir has a forbidden human lover, Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi), who lives in the Southlands and is described as a single mother and healer.
In a bold move, #TheRingsOfPower condenses Tolkien’s Middle-earth timeline and adds entirely new characters. Sophia Nomvete’s dwarven princess, Disa, and Ismael Cruz Córdova’s Silvan elf, Arondir, broaden the notion of who lives in Middle-earth.
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) February 10, 2022
I don’t know what to tell you about Elrond; I can’t stop thinking how he borrowed his hairstyle from Steve Harrington in the first season of Stranger Things. But here he’s “a canny young elven architect and politician” in the city of Lindon.
As some have guessed, the show has not hobbits but harfoots, who are ancestors to hobbits as we know them. “Two lovable, curious harfoots, played by Megan Richards and Markella Kavenagh, encounter a mysterious lost man whose origin promises to be one of the show’s most enticing enigmas,” Vanity Fair says. Sir Lenny Henry plays a harfoot elder.
One of the most familiar names other than Galadriel or Elrond is Isildur (Maxim Baldry), who at this point is a sailor, not a warrior; it’s years until he cuts the One Ring from Sauron’s hand. The elven smith Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) has an important part to play. And we’ll also meet Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur) and see Khazad-dûm at its height.
And there’s one big thing the showrunners need viewers to know. Vanity Fair says, “In the novels, the aforementioned things take place over thousands of years, but Payne and McKay have compressed events into a single point in time. It is their biggest deviation from the text, and they know it’s a big swing.”
If that’s the biggest deviation, it’s one that makes sense, narratively speaking; thousands of years is a too-massive canvas for a show that may only have a few seasons to tell its story.
The first trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is set to debut during the Super Bowl this Sunday, February 13th.