Amazon Studios The Rings of Power is a couple weeks away. We want all Spoilerites to have the best viewing experience possible and have the widest knowledge base about the Second Age of Middle-Earth. This is a weekly Let’s Get Nerdy article series highlighting a different piece of Tolkien I think you need to know about!
In past articles I have answered the question:
- What Are the Rings of Power?
- What is Númenor?
- What is the Second Age?
- Who are the Harfoots?
- Who is Prince Durin IV?
- What is Khazad-dûm?
- Who is Celebrimbor?
- What is the Last Alliance of Men and Elves?
- Who is Elendil?
- New Pics! Who are Bronwyn and Theo?
- What is Rivendell?
- The Rings of Power First Reactions Are In!
- What is Lindon?
- What are the Nine Human Rings?
- Empire Magazine’s The Rings of Power Covers
- New Character Pictures
- Will Wizards Appear in The Rings of Power?
- New Promo for The Rings of Power
- What is Eregion?
- Leaked! Rings of Power Trailer Breakdown
- The Rings of Power Teaser Breakdown
- New EW Rings of Power Pictures
Anyone who attended San Diego Comic-Con next week will have noticed that everything from the badges to the convention center to skyscrapers surrounding the Gaslamp District of San Diego were decked out by Amazon Studios to promote The Rings of Power. Although there was no offsite activation the way competing properties like House of the Dragon and Dungeons and Dragons took over, The Rings of Power showed out early and they showed out hard with the first full-length trailer being released ahead of the series’ September 2nd, 2020 release:
As with the previous teasers I’ve written about there is new footage, there are many familiar assets from the larger Lord of the Rings visual lexicon, and not very much plot being revealed even with the show now right around the corner. In the spirit of post San Diego Comic-Con excitement I’m going to break down all the new and exciting things we did see!
There’s a dark sword featured heavily featured on both the badges and throughout the trailer which
definitely feels like a stand in for something like Andúril from the original Lord of the Rings trilogy of films. That’s a sword named “Gurthang” which – like Narsil – was broken. Gurthang was original wielded by Túrin Turambar (an elven leader), throughout the First Age until it broke. It was noted at its height for possessing incredible magical powers and being able to slay Morgoth’s beasts. Morgoth is the previous Dark Lord to Sauron – who we do hear name checked in this trailer! The fact of Gurthang’s existence suggests characters (canon or otherwise), from his line are likely among the cast of characters.
The Palantir rears its head again! In this trailer we get to see Galadriel’s dark and bloody visions recontextualized. Míriel shares a Palantir (the seeing stone Pippin looks into during the events of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), through which Galadriel’s vision flows. As we know from The Lord of the Rings films there’s a chance someone else is watching in on what they see, so this could have even darker implications than the imagery itself suggests at first blush.
Fun fact: there’s a popular theory the blonde male elf (played by Will Fletcher), is playing Galadriel’s brother Finrod. Watching this trailer closely lets you know Finrod’s ultimate fate.
As previously mentioned we hear the name “Sauron” throughout the trailer which doesn’t super scan for the time period per book canon. The Dark Lord should still be operating under the name “Annatar” and forging the rings along with Celebrimbor. My best bet is the blonde eerie looking character we see throughout the trailer is Annatar. He’s very much in the literary traditional of Lucifer about to make his fall from grace.
The actor has been sleuthed out as actress Bridie Sisson which is the only thing making me doubt the actress (who uses she/her pronouns on her personal social media accounts), is playing Annatar. That being written, even if Sisson is playing Annatar/Sauron I’m excited to see it!
The spiky-gloved villain definitely evokes the Ringwraith imagery we’re used to seeing from The Lord of the Rings although, per book timeline, they shouldn’t exist yet. I don’t have a personal theory, nor have I seen any theories from the usual suspects I think have really insightful theories.
Then we close out with the big monster with the big fire … the Balrog, himself! Fire and smoke and what appears to be the same assets lifted right out of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Honestly, the appearance of the Balrog raises a ton of questions about productions and rights acquisitions, but overall I think the choice to feature an incredibly recognizable creature like this was a smart idea. The Balrog is woken, as I’ve written a bunch about, but the dwarves “delv[ing]too greedily and too deep”. My guess is there’s a good chance he’s a villain for the end of this first season for our dwarven characters.
Everything else is footage or characters we’ve already seen from previous teasers for The Rings of Power.