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Plot Details Revealed for Amazon’s Lord of the Rings Prequel Series

The forging of the rings of power will take the fore


galadriel receives a ring of power

Since the announcement of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series, we’ve wanted to know exactly which untold story from the vast history of Middle Earth the show would tell, and now thanks to an exclusive from, we have a synopsis of the epic drama set in the Second Age. There aren’t a lot of details here, but the hints we’re getting are quite fascinating, so let’s break it down.

Amazon Studios’ forthcoming series 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, 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 re-emergence 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 furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.

This synopsis certainly reads like a mysterious elven prophesy, but we can read between the lines and extrapolate from what we know of the Second age to determine one thing: this series will (probably!) explore the rise of Sauron as the titular Lord of the Rings, the forging of the rings of power, and perhaps, war between Sauron and the elves. I mean, there’s not much else we can draw from “the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness.”

Sauron will certainly be one of the characters “both familiar and new” in this series, but given the setting in the second age and around the forging of the rings, we can also probably expect to see some of the elves we already know and love around as well, including Elrond, Galadriel, and Celeborn (though I’m not sure who loves Celeborn, but whatever). We’re definitely seeing a young(er) Galadriel, as points out:

Morfydd Clark (Saint Maud) … will portray the role of a young Galadriel which is the first confirmed major character that will be featured in the series.

We’ll also see the legendary land of Númenor, where Aragorn’s ancestors are from and which fell into the ocean because the men there were corrupted by Sauron.

So, let’s talk about Sauron here, since to understand what’s probably happening in this new series you need to understand who Sauron is and his place in Middle Earth’s history. Fans of the Lord of the Rings movies may know Sauron best as a giant eye on top of a tower, but in the second age, he was far more interesting and frightening.

The creation and history of Middle Earth is complex (there’s this whole thing where the world was lit by two lamps on large trees instead of the sun …) but the long and short of it is that there are beings in this world who are close to what we would call gods, or angels and archangels. The more powerful beings (basically gods) were called the Valar, and the second tier powerful beings, each committed to one of the Valar were called the Maia. (Gandalf and the other wizards are also Maiar beings, just so you know).

Much like Lucifer in the bible, there was a bad seed among the Valar who started a war and all sorts of trouble. His name was Melkor, later known as Morgoth. His Maiar follower: a dude name Mairon. So Mairon loved order and control  (can you see where this is going) and also was a big fan of evil Melkor so his whole thing became controlling the whole world. Also he got a new name: Sauron. Even after Morgoth was defeated, Sauron remained in a “fair form” and hung around until he felt the Valar had forgotten Middle Earth … right around the second age.

Sauron showed up in the second age under the name “Annatar, the Lord of Gifts,” claiming he is an emissary from the Valar. Elrond didn’t trust him but he ended up hanging with the Elves and Dwarves near Moria aka Khazad-dûm where he learns smithing and forges the rings of power, among other evil deeds. He eventually tried to use the rings to, you know, cover the whole world in shadow.

For those of you who are normal not Tolkien nerds, I’ll put all of this in the context of The Lord of the Rings books and movies we know and love. (And once again, I beg Amazon to give this series a subtitle because talking about how “The Lord of the Rings will take place before The Lord of the Rings” hurts my head). This is all the stuff that’s encompassed in the first montage and monologue in the films. And so, yeah, this will be linked to the books and movies.

So, that’s what we know about Sauron and how he may fit into this series. No word yet on if this new series will bring in the one Lord of the Rings character we really want to see: Tom Bombadil. But there’s time.

(via: Coming, image: New Line Cinema)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.