The Lord of the Rings TV (now titled The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power)show Twitter page has finally concluded the Ring Poem since we originally wrote this article and thus, it seems appropriate to further speculate based on all the information given to us now from Amazon. Where we don’t have to speculate though is when the show takes place. Amazon has actually confirmed this today with the final stanza of the poem, which, of course, reads as: “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.”
The image, featured below, features a zoomed out map of Middle-Earth, showcasing to the bottom left the mythical island of Númenor. The people who came from this island had special blood and would live longer than men. Isildur hails from this land and was blessed with long life, something that extended to Aragon, who was 87 during the events of The Two Towers, thanks to the blood of the Dúnedain, which was the name given to the race of men descended from the Númenóreans.
The fact that Númenor is on the island all but confirms that this show will take place in the second age. Númenor was destroyed in the Second Age during the Cataclysm, which is when Middle-Earth transitioned from being flat to become a globe and saw the island sink beneath the ocean. This is also when Morgoth, the first dark lord, took hold of the race of men and when Sauron lost his ability to shapeshift into charming and kind forms as part of his deceptions and returned to Mordor as an evil and hateful looking creature.
If that wasn’t confirmation enough, the Twitter account released an accompanying tweet to the poem, stating:
So there you have it, The Lord of the Rings show on Prime is confirmed to take place in the Second Age!
But there were two Tweets to be released before this final bombshell came out. Prior to this one, the account revealed that Minas Ithil was on the map. Minas Ithil, of course, becomes Minas Morgul, home of the Nazgûl which we get to see in The Return of the King. Ithil only became Morgul well into the Third Age so this was another clue that the show was to be set well before the events of the movies. The poem on this tweet cited “one ring for the dark lord”, while the tweet prior highlighted nine for mortal men doomed to die. That tweet revealed Forlindon and Harlindon on the map, which was where Gil-galad lived. Gil-galad was one of the first to mistrust the shapeshifting Sauron and was one of the three elves to be given rings of power.
Seeing as the Ring Poem was utilized in every tweet thus far and the Second Age is confirmed, I would speculate that we’ll see events leading up to and surrounding the forging of the Rings of Power, the fall of Númenor, the creating and wrath of the Ringwraiths and the Witch-King and of course, the War of the Last Alliance, which we caught a glimpse of in the opening scenes of The Fellowship of the Ring. Major characters will likely include Isildur, Sauron, Gil-galad, Elrond and Galadriel if I had to guess. Seeing as the show is scheduled for five seasons, that’s plenty of time to see many crucial events leading up to when Isildur claims the One Ring for himself. What, or who, would you like to see in the show though? Let us know!
Original story follows.
Are you ready to return to the world of The Lord of the Rings? If so, you better have an Amazon Prime account as that’s where you’ll be able to revisit Middle-Earth in 2020. The yet untitled series is still without a name, cast or showrunner, but all that is expected to be revealed soon if they’re to meet the projected 2020 release window. But they are working on it, with a group of unnamed writers apparently locked in a room accessible only via fingerprint scanner. Unlike Peter Jackson’s film trilogy and The Hobbit films, this series will shoot in Scotland and will likely have nothing to do with the beloved Jackson films as Amazon has partnered with book publisher HarperCollins and the Tolkien estate for the series. How will fans react to this? It’s too early to say. But one aspect of the show definitely has piqued fans’ curiosity.
On Twitter the other day, the official Lord of the Rings Prime teased their upcoming epic, which is said to be the most expensive TV ever made, with a price tag even larger than Game of Thrones and the upcoming Star Wars series called The Mandalorian, which is brought to us from Jon Favreau. The tease may seem inconsequential to some, as it was simply a map of Middle-Earth and a hyperlink to view the map in a larger format along with a blurb from the book, but there could be a lot of evidence here to suggest when this series is taking place. And thankfully, it seems to squash those pesky Aragon prequel story rumours.
Before getting to the obvious, let’s talk about the captions. They come from a poem that can be found in the Epigraph of the books. The full poem is as follows:
“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie,
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.”
To anyone who’s seen The Fellowship of the Ring, this poem will be familiar as Galadriel paraphrased it in the opening scenes of the film. So why is this so important? Depends, it could just be fan service, but I think it’s a starting point as to where this series could go. The poem talks about the formations of the rings of power, so this tells us that the series will likely take place after the Ring has been forged. This more than places us at the end of the Second Age or the beginning of the Third Age. If you need a refresher, the three elven rings for the Elves were never corrupted as Sauron didn’t personally make them yet they were subject to the One’s will, while the dwarves were too essentially too stubborn to be corrupted. Men, however, took them without question and they eventually fell to darkness, becoming the Nazgûl.
Now let’s turn to the map. Prime seems to be following in the footsteps of the master himself, author J.R.R. Tolkien when it comes to crafting the world. When asked how he started writing his fantasy epics, Tolkien stated that he started with the map. And what a map it is. The first ever tweet that LotR Prime put out was a quote of that very same statement.
So let’s see what this map tells us. The most noticeable thing on this map is that all the names of towns, villages and cities have been removed on the first map. Only territorial names like Mordor remain on the second one. Relevant? Unlikely, but interestingly none the less. But it’s the inclusion of the poem with the map that tells us a bit more. By including the poem, or at least part of it, it seems that Amazon may be telling us that the show will be taking place in the Second Age, a period not yet explored on screen. This is when Sauron, in disguise as Annatar, forged the Ring of Power and gifted other rings to the other races in hopes of dominating all the lands of Middle-Earth. We’re hoping that the Twitter account will reveal more information as they go through the rest of the poem, which they likely will as the last tweet, much like the first map reveal, ended with a comma instead of a period, hinting at more lines to come.
Even more interesting is that the name “Rohan” does not appear on the map. Instead, we get the name the land used before it was called Rohan. On the map, under the Misty Mountains, you’ll notice “Calenardhon” in place of Rohan. The name “Rohan” only became used around 400 years before The Hobbit, so it seems that yes, this prequel is set quite a long way off from the events seen in the core stories. But that also means that there is the possibility of the show not taking place in the Second Age, as the name change actually happened in the earlier years of the Third Age. So that’s something to bear in mind, although personally, I would hope the writers and showrunner would opt for the Second Age.
On the topic of the Second Age and the map, a key location is seemingly absent from the second map. Perhaps it will be revealed later, but Gondor is interestingly absent. This could help cement that the series will take place in the Second Age, as this is when the region of Gondor gets founded by Isildur. If you need a refresher, would go on to found Minas Ithil (which becomes Minas Morgul) and would cut the Ring from Sauron’s hand. Isildur, like Aragon, is also a Númenórean, meaning he has an extended life, so it’d be possible to see multiple points of history through his eyes up until the Ring betrays him. If you want to read more of this, check out hard to read yet vastly interesting book The Silmarillion by Tolkien, the source for a lot of the information in this article.
Contradicting the use of the poem, however, which suggests the Second Age, is the inclusion of the East Bight of Mirkwood on the Amazon map. To the centre, there is a giant forest, which is where Bilbo and the dwarves find themselves in The Desolation of Smaug. To the bottom right, there is an indentation known as the Bight of Mirkwood. Now, this is where things get interesting and a bit more muddled as the Bight was created by Men in the Third Age. So this seems to suggest that the show is taking place in the Third Age, but so far, the inclusion of the poem suggests otherwise. I have to admit though, I’ve only found one source detailing that the Bight was specifically made in the Third Age as no concrete date was ever established, just a lot of guesswork, so this may change with the Tolkien Estate’s involvement in the project (if someone does know the exact source that details this, let me know). But this could be what cements the show in the Third Age, coupled with the exclusion of Rohan on the map. The inclusion of the poem is the most mysterious aspect thus far.
If Amazon is teasing the Second Age by including the One Ring poem in their reveals, perhaps we’ll see the creation of all the Rings of Power, which was briefly explored in the opening scenes of The Fellowship of the Ring. If so, perhaps Celebrimbor, the Elf who forged the Rings of Power under the false-pretences of Sauron, will feature in the show somehow. Celebrimbor has been in the Middle-Earth spotlight a lot over the past few years, is a key character in the Middle-Earth video game series, Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War. Perhaps it will chronicle the events surrounding Gondor. With talks of Rings of Power and the Second Age, perhaps Sauron, disguised as Annatar, will show. With five seasons in the works with a total estimated budget of $1 billion, it’s totally possible each season will follow a new protagonist and arc, not unlike an anthology series. Here’s hoping that by the time the poem is done, we have a concrete understanding as to when this series will take place but it definitely seems that we’ll be venturing into the late Second Age or early Third Age for this show.Anyway, that’s the end of this super-nerd deep dive (for now-I’ll likely keep covering this as we learn more or will update this post). When do you think Amazon’s prequel show will take place? Will it be much closer to The Hobbit or does the Second Age or early Third Age make more sense to you? I really think the Second Age has so much to offer and offers the writers a crazy playground of stories to play with so that’s what I’m hoping for but then there seems to be more evidence to back an early Third Age window. Before you venture forth, be sure to check out our thoughts on what Respawn should be doing with their Star Wars game and why we miss video stores.