Amazon Studios The Rings of Power is here! 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
- SDCC Rings of Power Trailer Breakdown
- Who is Isildur?
- The Rings of Power is Here! Read the Reactions
- Who is the Stranger?
In the most recent episode of The Rings of Power (episode 3 if you’re reading in the future – hello, future
people!), we finally got a real look at Númenor, the culture of the human beings who live there, and the last handful of lead characters we’ve known about from casting announcements over the past few months, though haven’t met in the previous two episodes.
If you feel you need a refresher I wrote a full feature titled What is Númenor? for this very series laying out what I believe are the key details of the country – many of these details are not alluded to in the episode!
In the episode Adar we meet Elendil and his family (key players of which book readers and film watchers familiar with The Lord of the Rings trilogy will recognize), as well as Cynthia Addai-Robinson’s (shout out to an Arrowverse alumna!), Queen Míriel. She’s not as prominent in J.R.R. Tolkien’s source material, but Queen Míriel is a canon character …
… well, after a fashion.
The character from Tolkien’s writing is actually called “Tar-Míriel” and she is never actually crowned Queen of Númenor. Rather she is the last rightful heir to the throne of Númenor before it falls into the sea and the human flee to Middle-Earth to later found the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor and Elendil is crowned High King Elendil.
The “Tar” in front of her name was a honourific she would have adopted if she’s ever been crowned. Her birth name, Míriel. This wouldn’t be Middle-Earth if this character didn’t have more than one name. Míriel is a Quenya (Elvish), name translating to “High-Jewel-daughter”.
Ashley, why didn’t Míriel become queen?
In a truly George R.R. Martin-esque move, Míriel was usurped by her cousin, Ar-Pharazôn, who took her title, crowned himself King of Númenor and changed her name to “Ar-Zimraphel”. Ar-Zimraphel is the Adûnaic (a language only spoken by the humans of Númenor which dies out by the Third Age of Middle-Earth and the events of The Lord of the Rings), translation of her given name: Míriel.
Much like Princess Rhaenys in House of the Dragon, Tar-Míriel is the Queen Who Never Was.
Beyond her usurpation by her husband, very little else is know about Tar-Míriel. She is a victim for her husband and suffered greatly when Ar-Pharazôn captured Sauron in his fair form (Annatar), and brought him to Númenor where his evil influence slowly crept in and poisoned the kingdom until its demise. Something we do know about Tar-Míriel is her ending – and it’s a sad one. Stop reading now if you don’t want to be spoiled on how she meets her demise …
… when the great tsunami envelopes Númenor and draws it beneath the water Tar-Míriel climbs out to a peak and literally goes down with her ought-to-have-been Queendom.
In The Rings of Power Míriel is Queen Regent meaning she’s ruling as Queen of Númenor in place of the rightful heir to the throne. Regencies are typically put in place when a young child ascends before their majority or when the ruler (typically a King), is incapacitated due to mental or physical illness. By the end of Adar it’s not made clear to the audience who Queen Míriel is ruling in the stead of, however her final moments definitely make her motives not all appear to be above board.