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?
- Who is Queen Míriel?
- Who is Ar-Pharazôn?
- What is the broken black blade?
If you watched last week’s Finally Friday episode you heard Stephen enthusiastically exalting the events of last week’s The Rings of Power episode. In the episode we witnessed the transformation of the Southlands, as we’ve known them up to this point in the season, into the familiar dark and uninviting planes of Mordor. So, let’s get into the book canon!
Per Tolkien, Sauron based himself in Mordor because of the mountain ranges which surround the dark plain on three sides. This very same mountain ranges appears to be the inspiration behind the dark symbol Sauron and his supporters are using in The Rings of Power – in a very similar tradition to ranger marks.
Protecting Mordor are two separate mountain ranges. The first, to the North, in the great J.R.R. Tolkien tradition has a couple names of its own: Ered Lithui in Elvish and The Ash Mountains in English. With the Mountains of Shadow, or Ephel Dúath, to the South and West. Eventually the “Black Gate” of Mordor is erected to keep as many of Sauron’s machinations in as out. There is also the addition of the Udûn Valley keeping would-be infiltrators incredibly visible to Sauron’s armies. It’s one of the more protected lads in all of Middle-Earth.
Here I could go into the history of Mordor and how it was once under the oceans like so many of our populated territories on this Earth, but I suspect this is a glance too far back into the history of Arda. Instead let us turn our gaze to the First Age of Middle-Earth. Mount Doom, the most central geographic landscape in Mordor, was created by Morgoth. Here The Rings of Power diverges. We literally witnessed its formation last week at the hands of a servant of Sauron. Sauron does eventually take it over during the Second Age and populates his lands with slaves from the East and South (similar to many of the human characters we see in The Rings of Power), orcs, and trolls approximately 1,000 years after the beginning of the Second Age.
For his part, Sauron built up his tower, Barad-dûr. You’ll remember that during the events of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy the eye of Sauron is housed above the tower of Barad-dûr.
Following his rise to power Sauron reigned from Mordor for 2,500. Elves and humans (many character who are leads of The Rings of Power), died upon the plains of Mordor taking up arms against the self-styled Dark Lord there. It is in Mordor The Last Alliance of Men and Elves made their final tragic stand and it is in the fires of Mount Doom Sauron was unseated from his power by a little hobbit named Frodo Baggins.