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!
We know only a few things about The Rings of Power season 2. Since I’m trying to stay away from rumour and conjecture (at least for now! Don’t worry, Spoilerites, there will be lots of time for that in future!), and I haven’t touched much on the future of Nori or The Stranger. Our little Frodo-analogue and probably-Gandalf actually let the audience know where they are headed for the events of The Rings of Power season 2: Rhûn.
Ashley, what is Rhûn?
Welp, this is going to be very fun to write about for you!
Rhûn is a referenced in the original J.R.R. Tolkien canon. It is, as is vaguely alluded to in The Rings of Power, “in the East”. What’s compelling to me about visiting “the East” of Middle-Earth is these regions are barely visited at all in any of Tolkien’s major works from The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings to The Unfinished Tales. If we’re going to be breaking new ground and creating new storylines there’s fertile ground in the East.
Rhûn is in a region of Middle-Earth which does eventually fall under the thrall of Sauron. It’s populated by the Easterlings (who we do see, briefly, in problematic presentations in The Lord of the Rings film franchise), a people we come to see fighting in Sauron’s army during The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The major characteristic of The Easterling is they hate “the West”. Despite Mordor being to The West of Rhûn, Sauron is able to assure the Easterlings he also hates the West and fold them into his forces. During The Third Age of Middle-Earth Rhûn is known for being the base from which The Easterlings run multitude attacks on Gondor.
Geographically, Rhûn is the entire area east of Rhovanion. It borders and extends past the Sea of Rhûn. The Sea of Rhûn is pretty unique in Middle-Earth (an among seas in general, really), being an inland sea. It’s actually not the only inland sea in Middle_earth, with the Sea of Helcar and the Red Mountains beyond.
It’s a bit odd for the East to be so shrouded in secret in Middle-Earth history. For example: Gandalf has never visited Rhûn, whereas Aragorn has, but Tolkien stresses Aragorn only visited Rhûn one single time. Beyond Rhûn and Helcar are other regions known as Cuiviénen and Hildórien. Both lands are considered “lost” despite being the legendary areas where “Elves and Men first awoke”.
You can probably extrapolate that this is actually hugely important. Think of it like Babel. Fabled and lost.
During the Third Age of Middle-Earth a race of dwarves emerge from Rhûn and eventually make their way
into the West where they encounter Frodo Baggins, himself. Where Nori comes into it, in my mind, is this Frodo story in opposition. I can very much envision her and The Stranger crossing into Rhûn and connecting with some distant relatives of Durin’s. The dwarves of Rhûn join their Middle-Earth relatives in the War of the Dwarves and the Orcs during the Third Age of Middle-Earth, which I could also imagined reimagined for our story in The Rings of Power set during the Second Age of Middle-Earth.
If something like this happens it keeps Nori as the focal point and the character in charge with The Stranger open to explore and understand his own identity. Would it mean something if he turned out to be Gandalf and visited a land which, per Tolkien canon, Gandalf never visited? If he is still going by “The Stranger” you could easily chalk it up to a memory issue. Otherwise, we’ll just have to make our peace with a canon divergence.
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?
- What are the Silmarils?
- What is Narsil?
- Who founded Númenor?
- Who is Galadriel’s Brother Finrod?
- Rings of Power Adds 15 New Cast Members for Season 2
- Who is Círdan?
- Will Celeborn Appear in The Rings of Power?
- Are Galadriel and Sauron Enemies in Book Canon?
- Who is Narvi?
- Jamie Bisping Cast as Viran
- Will the Harfoots Settle The Shire?
- What to Watch Before The Rings of Power Season 2
- Will We See More Rings in The Rings of Power Season 2?
- Will Lord Belzagar Appear in The Rings of Power Season 2?
- Who is Diarmid?
- Will Ringwraiths appear in The Rings of Power Season 2?
- Will Gil-Galad Lead an Army in The Rings of Power Season 2?
- Is the Balrog Durin’s Bane?
- Who is Isildur’s sister Eärien?