Those who have been anxiously waiting for more information on Amazon’s exhaustingly anticipated Lord of the Rings TV series were given quite the treat on Monday.
The studio debuted not only the release date but the first image from the show. It’s good that fans were finally tossed something to chew on given that the Lord of the Rings series won’t arrive for more than a year. That’s right, people will have time to brush up on all the Middle Earth lore they can handle between now and the show’s September 22, 2022 release date. With all that said, though, let’s join the cadre of J.R.R. Tolkien scholars in unpacking this surprisingly dense and breathtaking first image.
First of all, Entertainment Weekly confirmed that the still is from the first episode of the Lord of the Rings series, which recently wrapped filming in New Zealand. However, the studio is apparently remaining frustratingly tight-lipped about who the white-cloaked figure in the foreground is. The image itself shows the person standing alone in an open field looking over a marvelous city. While details about what city in Middle Earth this is are sparse, Gizmodo noted that some rather large looking trees eclipsed by the sun in the background likely point to the Trees of Valinor, Telperion and Laurelin — which will only really mean anything to you if you’ve read the books. Otherwise, prepare to learn about them next year.
Vanity Fair did a comprehensive breakdown of the photo based on the plot synopsis for The Lord of the Rings series that dropped on TheOneRing.net earlier this year. It notes that the show will take place in Middle Earth’s Second Age. What that means for fans is that it’s set thousands of years before the events of Peter Jackson’s beloved Lord of the Rings adaptation and even before his significantly less-beloved The Hobbit adaptation.
The plot synopsis teases that the Lord of the Rings TV show will take viewers back to a time of a very fragile peace in which great powers rose while unlikely heroes emerged to test them. With hope and the future hanging in the balance, the synopsis teases that Tolkein’s greatest villain will emerge. The outlet speculates that all of this points to one key plotline that will tie the old guard in with the new — Sauron and the forging of the rings of power.
If there’s one thing that even non-fans of Lord of the Rings know, it’s that Sauron was a dark power that forged rings of immeasurable power. The rings nearly sent the world of elves, men, dwarfs and, yes, Hobbits into permanent darkness. By the time The Hobbit begins, Sauron is not but a mystical evil eye atop a dark tower. However, the prequel series could leave room for Sauron to be just a man with a more metaphorical eye toward forging powerful, world-ending rings.
Fortunately, given the massive cast already announced for Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series adaptation, there’s no shortage of stories that could be plucked from the depths of J.R.R. Tolkein’s extensive writings of Middle Earth. However, until it debuts next year, fans can only study, speculate and beg for more trickles of information before any real questions are answered. There is one thing that the newly released image for the Lord of the Rings series confirms, though — fans are quite ready for another adventure.