Season 1 of Lord of the Rings – The Rings of Power made us wait until the finale’s final moments to reveal powerful rings. It wasn’t the rings that anyone familiar with the Tolkien universe expected. The series has a 5-season strategy to lay out the dispute between Sauron and Galadriel in the Second Age. It looks like the first season tackled the “Where is Sauron?” of it all and – unexpectedly – the founding of Mordor.
Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings” is in production for its second season. Here’s a guide to what might happen in it’s next chapter based on the Tolkien texts and all we know from the show thus far.
The next major conflict
The war between the Elves and Sauron is the next major conflict that should be on the timeline. However, there are substantial gaps between what we know about Tolkien’s history and what we know about the creation of these rings. Primarily, the show ignored the men’s and dwarven Lords’ rings.
Season 2 of The Rings of Power currently takes place in the United Kingdom. Details on the focus of the season have not been leaked. So it’s back to the books to make a guess.
Sauron is back in Middle-earth
Halbrand, who was shown as the Dark Lord Sauron, will take over the elven capital of Eregion with his troops. It’s a lot of ground to cover before the show can reach the start of the significant battle.
After that, there will be no doubt that Sauron is back in Middle-earth. Let’s get on with it: Eregion will be under siege by the end of Season 2. This would require some rings to be made differently from those described in the Tolkien books.
What about the people of Middle-earth
As Fiona Apple pointed out during her performance of Bear McCreary’s “Where Shadows lie” during the credits, there should already be 16 rings by the time the three rings are made for the elves.
What about the people and characters of Middle-earth we’ve met in The Rings of Power? Here are some ideas for Season 2, based on what we know from both the source material and the show’s minor deviations.
What will happen to the Numenoreans in the future?
Most likely, the second season will see the Numenoreans on their island to solve their own problems. King Palantir has died. He mistook Isildur’s sister Earien for Miriel and allowed her to look into the Palantiri to find…something.
This season, we don’t go back to that scene. Did something with the Palantiri result in the king’s death off-screen? Earien is a show-created character that seems to be against the alliance with elves. After being defeated in the first battle at Mordor, Miriel and Elendil returned to Middle-earth looking worse.
The last Numenorean King
However, the finale shows they are still part of “The Faithful,” a group of Numenoreans who wish to restore the relationship between the island peoples and the Elf.
This political faction cannot cement that bond in time. According to the text, Pharazon, the last Numenorean King, seizes power, prioritizing his own people in an arduous quest for immortality.
Numenor will respond to the call for help
There are still several seasons before Numenor really enters the spotlight. The second season will likely be a mini House of the Dragon-style succession clash. Miriel’s position in the Southlands is damaged by her blinding and defeat. Pharazon mourns the old king’s death and bids for control over the island and its inhabitants.
Eventually, Numenor will respond to the call for help made by Gil-galad after Sauron’s attacks. However, we don’t know yet if that’s part of Pharazon’s play for more power or the fulfillment of Miriel’s promise to Galadriel in Season 1.
Where are Theo, Bronwyn, and Arondir?
After losing the Southlands to Adar due to Mount Doom’s eruption, the Numenor’s humans were missing during the finale. Bronwyn, who last saw them, said they were heading to Pelargir. In this old Numenorean colony, they will live as refugees from Mordor. Pelargir will become the capital city of the Kingdom Of Gondor, the greatest and most powerful stronghold of men in this Third Age.
After certain events in Numenor, Isildur (currently MIA from The Rings of Power), and Anarion (also MIA), found Gondor. According to the current timeline, Pelargir is a small town on the River Anduin. This is where some Faithful have established a settlement.
Establish friendship as Elf friends
The show will have friendly faces in Pelargir before it goes to Gondor. Bronwyn, Theo, and Arondir will likely find other Faithful members here. The Southlanders have brought Arondir, and Theo has Galadriel’s Elven sword.
This will allow them to establish their friendship as Elf friends. These three will soon be setting up their new home, and they’ll meet other ex-Numenoreans who don’t mind the elves.
Timelines compress significantly on this show
Pelargir will be part of the larger conflict that sees Sauron advance upon Eregion. The elven King Gil-galad will then ask for help from the Numenoreans. They eventually send two forces against Sauron, one with the elves in Lindon to the North and another fleet that sails up to the Anduin to stop Sauron in the South.
The second force will arrive in Pelargir to assist Bronwyn, Theo, and their return to the scrum. Arondir might also try to rally the men from Pelargir to Eregion’s aid. Eregion is an Elven city, and, likely, the Faithful wouldn’t take to Sauron’s large-scale assault. Although it would be challenging to get Pelargir involved in Sauron’s second season, we have seen timelines compress significantly on this show.
What happens to Galadriel and the Elves?
The forging of three elven rings, Vilya, Narya, and Nenya, signifies that the elves will be able to resist the rot that threatens to wipe them out of Middle-earth.
Celebrimbor was able, with some help from Halbrand, to turn the magic light contained in the mithril around itself. These rings and their mithril alloys will continue to keep the light of the Valar flowing into the Elven race well into the Third Age. But what now?
Future that is darker than Tolkien suggests
The next time the elves conflict with Sauron is when the emerging dark lord returns from Eregion to take the remaining rings. This will be the second season’s finale. According to Tolkien, the first 15 rings were made 300 years when Sauron worked with Celebrimbor and the elven smiths. Elrond even comments in the final, saying that the smiths only have three weeks to complete three centuries of work.
This is a nod to the time dilution the series applies to the lore. Is this a future that is darker than Tolkien suggests? Or did the Halbrand and elves create a series of practice rings?
20 rings by the end of the season
Sauron and his troops conquered and sacked Eregion. After that, Sauron tortures Celebrimbor to get his rings back, except for the three elven rings Sauron doesn’t have control over. Sauron kills Celebrimbor after he reclaimed most of the rings and strangles the body so it can be used to fly a war banner in front of Sauron.
This violence would have been more at home in Westeros. Sauron’s capture of Celebrimbor may result in the forging of other Rings of Power in Season 2. Sauron could use the knowledge gleaned from a reluctant Celebrimbor to forge additional rings to increase to a total of 20 rings by Season 2.
We don’t know much about how the rings affect the dwarves
The rest of the Elf family still has some negotiations to be done before they can make it happen. They will likely need more mithril to make more magic rings. This would mean deepening the relationships between the Eregion elves and the Khazad-Dum dwarves. Is Gil-galad foolish enough to create more dwarven Rings of Power for mithril alone?
Although it would be somewhat canon-breaking for the seven rings to be made by the dwarf lords without Sauron’s interference, we don’t know much about how the rings affect the dwarves that wear them. Sauron did not have the same control over the dwarven ring as he had over the nine men’s rings that transformed them into Nazgul. The hearty dwarven race was also proved “incorruptible.”
The Rings of Power elf is a bit warmonger and always pushes to oppose Sauron
Galadriel is left in a difficult position narratively if the elves are foolish enough to create more rings in return for more mithril. The Rings of Power elf is a bit warmonger and always pushes to oppose Sauron. She’ll now be equipped with the Ring of Power, which grants her the light of Valar. It would be a terrible magical object to bring into battle. Still, it allows the elves in Middle-earth to continue to thrive.
Galadriel’s husband, Celeborn plays a role in Eregion’s battle (he and Elrond lead an armored force to stop the city from being destroyed). We’d need to first meet him. He’s been missing since The First Age of the show’s history.
Darkness must be touched to find the light
Galadriel could find Celeborn, a dark-elf version of herself, and use her ring to make him feel better. This would be the most exciting thing from a TV perspective.
Galadriel would have to pull her husband from the brink to become an Uruk. However, it would still be a great idea. It would also be in keeping with the show’s theme of Galadriel: darkness must be touched to find the light.
Are Durin IV and his dwarves doomed?
Durin IV and Disa ended the first season imagining the kingdom of Khazad-dum under their control. Tolkien then mentions the next major event in the appendices as Elrond’s army attempts to retake Eregion.
Durin III (the older one) now has a Ring of Power from Celebrimbor. This is consistent with the theory that the dwarven ring might have been made without Sauron’s involvement in this story.
Gandalf and Fellowship
The dwarves weren’t thrilled to learn that Sauron had captured the elven capital closest to Khazad–dum. So, after helping the elves drive the evil forces out of Eregion, Durin III (the old one) was given a Ring of Power by Celebrimbor. Gandalf and Fellowship opened the door by saying “friend” and then used it to enter the mines at Moria.
The dwarves help the elves and then retreat to the mountains. They mostly keep their hands off of the digging for more mithril. It’s not just fancy metal.
The series is only up to the fourth Durin
The Rings of Power shows that it also has magic. This could encourage the dwarves, who may be able to mine it more quickly than Tolkien planned initially. Durin VI is supposed to unleash the Balrog, the monster we saw in Season 1.
The series is only up to the fourth Durin. Durin IV and his extended family seem to be set up as the emotional heartbeat of the dwarves. It would not be surprising that Khazad-dum was locked up before the end of the second series, condensing three centuries’ worth of ring-making into just three weeks.
Maybe there is room for dragons
This will essentially force the dwarves out of the remainder of the series. Season 2 is more likely to see the dwarf lords receive their Rings of Power and resist the pull of evil.
In The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf informs Frodo that all the dwarf rings have been lost, some of which were destroyed by dragon fire. We’ve been teased about a Balrog ending game for our dwarfs, but maybe there is room for dragons in this other prestige fantasy series.
Where are Nori and the Wizard going?
That’s Gandalf. If you haven’t figured it out yet. When Nori and the Istari set off on their adventure, the Wizard follows his nose. This is the same advice Gandalf gives in Moria in The Fellowship of the Ring. We don’t get a name for “the Stranger,” however. Although he has declared himself “GOOD!” clearly, he has yet to be named.
So, this is likely to be Gandalf. The Rings of Power have already proven it’s not bound to the Tolkien timeline. Tolkien’s wizards are well-known, with five total. Gandalf was to be the last. Before we discovered the Stranger was an Itar, we had one season of Morgoth-worshiping Mystics.
The final Wizard
Now, the Wizard is off on a journey with a companion, who is a Harfoot, to the land of Rhun. This is a place we didn’t get to see in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Gandalf is the Wizard, but he’s not necessarily the first Wizard to land on Middle-earth.
Instead, he could be the fifth Wizard, as Tolkien said. There’s a good possibility that there are at least two or three more wizards in Rhun. Gandalf could be the last Wizard to reach Middle-earth. Or he could be the final Wizard to realize his true mission or to get a name.
Nori and the Stranger were last seen in the forests
Based on how the timeline was compressed on the wizard front, there may be two blue wizards or Saruman The White chilling out in Rhun trying to find the Dark Lord Sauron. Rhun is located very far east on this map.
Given that Nori and the Stranger were last seen in the forests that will become Mirkwood, it’s clear that they can easily travel east across a lot more unexplored territory. They can travel safely to Rhun without having to cross into Mordor. But it’s not clear what they’ll find.
The Blue Wizards
Like the Southlanders, the people of Rhun were once worshippers of the first dark Lord Morgoth. The blue wizards are sent to that area to find Sauron’s hiding spot and undermine support for dark forces. Although we don’t know much about the Blue Wizards (they aren’t named in The Lord of the Rings), Tolkien believed they were skilled at their job.
The Third Age shows that Sauron’s East and South forces are not as large as those in the North. This is due to the differences in their relative population. This means there are some strong pockets of resistance among the oliphaunt-riding peoples, as seen in The Two Towers and The Return of the King.
Sauron and the elves
The first season of The Rings of Power featured the most travel from Galadriel. She traveled from the frozen castles in the North to as far west as possible before gathering Numenoreans and heading south. Finally, she ended up in Eregion (sort of in the middle of it). Season 2 will feature a lot more travel from Nori and the Stranger.
If Gandalf is there, we’re far ahead of other storylines regarding text, so expect this storyline to be largely independent of the war between Sauron and the elves.
Adar and Sauron/Halbrand
The first season ended with Halbrand being revealed to Galadriel and helping Celebrimbor create three Elven Rings of Power. The next scene shows him being quickly driven from Eregion to the Southlands, where he will find Mordor.
Sauron will be given the location to build the forge that will create the One Ring by the eruption of Mount Doom, but there are some obstacles in his path before that can happen.
A homeland for the Uruk
Adar will be a problem if Sauron returns to Mordor. The once-elf was used by Sauron in his previous experiments with the powers from the unseen, where the protodark Lord used terrible magical tricks to gain control over flesh and create the Uruk (the crows). Adar unleashed a flood using a magic sword, causing Mount Doom to erupt. This created a homeland for the Uruk, who couldn’t be exposed to sunlight and covered the sky with ash.
Galadriel was also informed by Adar that he had killed Sauron and taken control of the Uruk. This was not something Halbrand liked in “Udun,” the sixth episode. He met Adar face-to-face in this episode. The dark Elf didn’t recognize Sauron’s proper Halbrand form.
Sauron would retake the Southlands
Adar and Sauron appear to fight for control of the new land. This is not explicitly mentioned in the source material but is not entirely absent. He is said to have gained power and followers in both the East and the South before he attacked the elves. It is unclear if Sauron plans to fight Adar for control over Mordor or if Sauron intends to politicize his way to the top Uruk leadership structures.
But we know that Sauron would retake the Southlands next year and create a loyal force. This will be a tricky proposition if Sauron must defeat Adar in combat. A better strategy is to turn Adar against elves in battle what better way to do this than to suggest that the elves possess magic rings that could cure or assist the Uruk.
Sauron cannot distinguish between healing and ruling
Sauron can convince Adar that the elves are smithing to improve their political position with the dwarfs. Adar can then become the general of Sauron’s scheming fair form. Ironically, this is who we thought he would be in Season 1. The season finale tells us that Sauron cannot distinguish between healing and ruling.
So, how can Adar convince the Uruk his rule will bring them peaceful times? He eventually conquers a lot of Middle-earth, but not before the Numenoreans arrive to save the day. We also encounter orcs near the shire (they are called goblins and hobgoblins in The Hobbit). Tolkien thought they were just different types of orcs.
Break the Ring canon
The question of the nine Rings of Power, which must be forged for men before Sauron can create the One Ring in Mount Doom’s fires. However, the series hasn’t stated whether these rings have to be stronger than the light of Valar, which we’re told is within mithril. The nine rings for men may give power from the unseen world to corrupt users into Nazgul.
The sword-key had an extraordinary power that Theo described the feeling. It was also resistant to destruction and could grow like a Morgul blade when provided with blood. Gross, but it’s a powerful metal Halbrand could forge with his new knowledge from the Elf. The Rings of Power can break Ring canon. So maybe the nine rings for men were made in a different elf forge than we expected.