The First Look
Amazon hasn’t released many details about its Lord of the Rings series up to this point, but they have previously confirmed this series is set during the Second Age of Middle-earth. For context, that’s the era immediately preceding the events of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in which the Rings of Power were first forged. However, the image Amazon released from the series earlier this week doesn’t appear to depict any moment from the Second Age.
Instead, the photo seems to be pulled from a scene set prior to the First Age of Middle-Earth. This does suggest that the show may very well (as fans have theorized for several months now) begin with a prologue dedicated to setting up the entire history of Middle-Earth leading up to the Second Age. If true, that would mean the series will open very similarly to how Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring film does. Meaning it should open with an extended prologue that gives viewers all the information they need to know about the story that’s about to be told.
The Undying Lands
It’d be easy to assume the first image from the Lord of the Rings series is of a Númenórean city. That all makes sense given the show’s confirmed Second Age setting and the fact that Númenor itself was a key location during that time period. A closer inspection makes it clear the city seen in the image is definitely not Númenórean but rather a location in Valinor known to us all as the Undying Lands.
The biggest tell: Laurelin and Telperion, the two massive trees seen standing far beyond the image’s central city. The photo makes it seem like the trees are the source of all the light in the land, which means that the scene itself is set prior to their destruction which was a major happenstance long before the Second Age of Lord of the Rings.
As for the figure standing before the city, it’s hard to say who that is. Some of the many Tolkien fans believe it to be Morfydd Clark’s Galadriel. Others speculate the series could be teasing another important Elven character. Then again, it could be a member of another race altogether. There are so many possibilities for this. But when it comes to the identity of the city featured prominently in the image, many are adamant that it’s either Valmar or Tirion. The city’s placement in a mountain pass leads us to believe it’s likely the latter.
It’s definitely a city in Valinor, and those are almost certainly the Two Trees of Valinor, which means the series will feature at least some scenes set during the Years of Trees prior to the First Age of Middle-earth.
Amazon didn’t reveal any official details about the Lord of the Rings TV series when it announced the show’s 2022 release date, nor did it include a description of the image released. The image’s inclusion of the Two Trees of Valinor reveals that Lord of the Rings fans can expect live-action scenes set prior to (and likely during) the First Age of Middle-earth. Of course, it remains to be seen how the show’s pre-Second Age sequences actually play into its grander narrative.
I have been waiting for this show’s release so when I see things like this it gets me excited all over again. Do you think the sequences like the one teased in the image above appear as flashbacks throughout the show? Or do you think they will all be contained in one important prologue? It really is impossible to say for sure, but it certainly seems likely the series will take the latter route. Amazons Lord of the Rings series will have its premiere on September 2, 2022.