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?
- What is Mordor?
- What is Mithril?
Last week I wrote about Mithril and debunked some of the mythology introduced around the metal. The Rings of Power is both creating its own strands of mythology and leaning on classic canon as it expands out on the storylines which will extend five seasons.
“There are things in the first season that don’t pay off until season five. We even know what our final shot of the last episode is going to be,”
… showrunner J.D. Payne told IndieWire.
Part of the Mithril story in The Rings of Power has to do with the rock being infused with the power of a Silmaril. If you aren’t familiar with Silmarils outside of the show you can probably make the leap from the word “Silmaril” to the title of J.R.R. Tolkien’s holy text of all things Middle-Earth – The Silmarillion.
TL;DR the Silmarils are magic rocks.
In Quenya Elvish, of course, the letter “s” would never be used to pluralize so the rocks are referred to as silmarilli or Jewels of Fëanor having been crafted by Fëanor – whom I’ve written about in many of these features in the past. Elf magic in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien is all derived from the Earth. It’s natural. The magic of the Silmarils is derived from the two trees of Valinor. When we get to the events of The Lord of the Rings trilogy the fate of Middle-Earth is tied to the fate of the One Ring (an event obviously coming for us in The Rings of Power). Before the One Ring came into play the fate of Middle-Earth was prophesize to by tied to the fate of the Silmarils.
During the First Age of Middle-Earth there was even a conflict which became known as “The War of the Jewels”. It was so impactful and led to so much history on Arda the end of the The War of Jewels is what ended the First Age of Middle-Earth and led into the Second Age where the events of The Rings of Power take place.
Fun fact: when the Silmarils are lost during The War of the Jewels one is eventually recovered by Beren.
Beren is an iconic human character from the First Age because of his romantic relationship with the elf, Lúthien. Beren and Lúthien are ancestors of Galadriel, Elrond, Arwen and Aragorn.
How many Silmarils are there?
I’m so happy you asked! There are three.
The number three is significant in a lot of witchcraft or pre-Christian mythology because it is thought to be a magical number. With Tolkien’s abiding affection for English history (particularly Saxon customs pre-Norman invasion), he would definitely have known this. Looking simply at the lore he penned himself the number three is significant through the long lens with which we look at The Lord of the Rings because of the:
“Three Rings for the Elven Kings …”
There’s no direct correlation between the Silmarils and the creation of Nenya, Vilya, and Narya, but nothing in Middle-Earth happens by accident.
By the time we come to the events of both The Rings of Power and The Lord of the Rings all three Silmarils are lost: One Silmaril is buried in the Earth, one is lost in the Sea, one sails in the Sky as Eärendil’s Star.