After months of waiting (and a four-year development cycle), we've finally received our first footage of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
The first teaser for Amazon's big-budget fantasy show is only a minute long, but it's packed with lots of information for us to pour over. There are plenty of callbacks to J.R.R. Tolkien's legendary source material, as you'd expect, as well as several new elements that Amazon Studios has introduced for its live-action prequel series.
We imagine you've watched the teaser multiple times by this point, scouring it for clues as to what The Rings of Power's story may be about, more on its eclectic mix of characters, Middle-Earth Easter eggs and more. So, allow us to help you work out what's what.
Below, we've covered eight things that you may have missed from the Prime Video TV show's first trailer. Bear in mind, though, that we'll be delving into potential spoiler territory for The Rings of Power. Turn back now if you'd prefer not to know anything about the series before its release later this year.
1. Welcome to Númenor
The teaser opens on the beautiful but ultimately doomed island of Númenor, i.e. the kingdom of the long-living and wise Númenorians. This is the kingdom of Men from whom the Dúnedain descended, including Aragorn, the eventual King of Gondor.
Númenor was expected to feature in The Rings of Power – the show is set in the Second Age, which is when Númenor still existed – so it's pleasing to see that we'll be visiting it at some point.
How do we know it's Númenor? Well, there are two big giveaways. The first is the giant stone statue that's carved out of a cliff. Many (opens in new tab) fans (opens in new tab) believe that the statue is of Elros Tar-Minytaur, the half-elven founder of Númenor who becomes the island nation's first king. Given his importance to Númenor, then, it seems that this is the most logical fit.
The second giveaway is that we see the flat-topped mountain of Meneltarma in the background. The sacred mountain was the location for numerous special Númenorian gatherings until the isle sank.
2. Historic hobbits
The Rings of Power is likely to focus on the races of elves, dwarves and men for large parts of its narrative. We do know, though, that we'll also be seeing the ancestors of the hobbits in the series, too.
Lenny Henry (Doctor Who) had already confirmed he'd be portraying a harfoot, one of three pre-hobbit races, in the show. Thanks to this teaser, we know that Markella Kavenagh (The Cry) will also play a Harfoot, too, as she appears as one at the 0:15 mark.
We see Kavenagh's unnamed harfoot appear later in the trailer as well with an unidentified man, but we'll discuss that in more detail below.
3. An icy climb through Helcaraxë?
The next snippet of footage shows Morfydd Clark's Galadriel climbing a giant, icy wall. To the untrained eye, this may just appear to be a large, physical obstacle for the young elven warrior to overcome.
But there's far more to it than that. And, based on fan disputes online, it seems that nobody can agree on the exact location of this particular scene or sequence.
On the surface, it seems that Galadriel is traversing a region known as the Helcaraxë. In Tolkien's extensive literature, the Helcaraxë is an icy region that separates the lands of Aman – home to three elven kinfolk – and Middle-Earth. It seems, then, that Galadriel is travelling across the Helcaraxë to get to Middle-Earth.
Some fans, though, aren't convinced. On Reddit, users claim (opens in new tab) that there shouldn't be any sunlight in this region, hence why it's covered in vast sheets of ice. If it isn't Helcaraxë, then, where is it? Other Redditors (opens in new tab) believe it's Forodwaith, a cold wasteland that exists to the north of the Iron Mountains. And, based on a Vanity Fair trailer breakdown article (opens in new tab), that seems to be the correct assumption.
With Galadriel pursuing the remains of Morgoth and Sauron's forces at the start of The Rings of Power, Forodwaith would make more sense. After all, it's located near to Morgoth's former stronghold of Utumno, so it seems logical that Galadriel would explore this region to snuff out any of Morgoth and Sauron's remaining allies.
4. A Middle-Earth meteor
Okay, nobody will have missed the meteor that streaks across the sky in the trailer. What makes this fiery piece or rock important, though, is its potential ties to Sauron.
Why does it hint at the Dark Lord's return? Well, the 'before the ring' writing that pops up on the screen, milliseconds before the meteor appears, can't be a mere coincidence. Sauron is the one behind the creation of the Rings of Power, so it would be a clever move on Amazon's part to tie the 'before the rings' line with his potential re-emergence.
If it is Sauron who returns in the meteor, it does beg the question of why he's using such a method to reappear. Clearly, it's not the most discreet way to return, but there may be some logic behind it. Again, we'll hold off on revealing why until further down the page, as it appears that Kavenagh's harfoot has a role to play in all of this...
5. We're so Gil-galad to meet you
Ahead of the trailer's arrival, we'd received confirmation (via a Vanity Fair article (opens in new tab)) about some of The Rings of Power's key players. Now, the teaser has revealed another iconic character will be part of the show's line up.
Gil-galad, the last High King of the Ñoldor and ruler of Lindon, will appear in Amazon's Lord of the Rings show. We get a brief shot of him staring up at the sky – at something other than the meteor, despite the clever editing used in the trailer – and it seems we know which actor is portraying him, too. According to the Fellowship of Fans Twitter account (opens in new tab), Benjamin Walker (Jessica Jones, The Underground Railroad) will play Gil-galad. So, now we've received as good a confirmation as any for who 10 of the series' stacked cast are playing.
6. Elrond in Moria
We don't get much in the way of footage containing dwarves in the teaser, but what is in there is pretty important nonetheless.
Yes, we get glimpses of Owain Arthur's Durin IV and Sophia Nomvete's Disa. But the biggest takeaway from these moments concerns Robert Aramayo's Elrond, who visits the dwarven kingdom of Moria on behalf of the elves. That's according to Vanity Fair's trailer breakdown piece, which suggests that Elrond heads to Moria (not Khazad-dûm) to repair the elves' relationship with the predominantly underground race.
It's unclear why Elrond looks so moody, but maybe he's been tasked with taking on Durin IV in a rock-breaking contest to prove his worth? He's kneeling next to a giant boulder and has his hand on a dwarven axe, and we see Durin IV smash a similar-looking boulder a few seconds later. Maybe Elrond has to best Durin IV in order for talks to take place, but we'll have to wait for the show's arrival to be sure.
7. The fall of Finrod?
Despite only running for 60 seconds, the first trailer has enough time to tease an almighty battle that'll form part of The Rings of Power's plot. It isn't the Last Alliance between elves and men that stops Sauron at the end of the Second Age, however, but a First Age battle that Finrod Felagund (as seemingly confirmed by Fellowship of Fans (opens in new tab)) takes part in.
"Wait, who's Finrod?", we hear you cry. In Tolkien's mythology, Finrod was an Aman-born Noldorian elf and Galadriel's brother who took part in the Battle of the Sudden Flame. Also known as Dagor Bragollach, this fierce fight between Morgoth's forces, and an earlier alliance of elves and men, saw Morgoth claim victory during the long War of the Jewels.
Finrod doesn't die during the battle – he's saved by a man called Barahir – but Amazon could alter his backstory for the show. We know that Galadriel is hunting Morgoth and Sauron's remaining forces in retaliation for the deaths of her loved ones in the show, and Finrod could be among that number.
Galadriel's other two brothers, Angrod and Aegnor, perish during the fight in Tolkien's famous works, but could Amazon revise this narrative and have all three brothers fall during the bout? Given that Amazon is telling an original story (albeit one that's based on Middle-Earth mythology) in its prequel series, it's possible. It would give Galadriel a bigger incentive to go after Morgoth and Sauron's forces and, according to Vanity Fair's trailer breakdown article (opens in new tab), Finrod's death is what drives her to pursue this endeavour. Either way, get some tissues ready as it's bound to be an emotional moment.
8. Who is Meteor Man?
While fans have been able to confidently predict (or even reveal) the identities of key characters in the trailer, there's one mystery that most can't solve.
Remember that meteor we mentioned earlier? Well, it turns out that there's someone inside it. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment around the 0:46 mark, we see Markella Kavenagh's harfoot trying to help a naked man escape the burning wreckage of the meteor's impact site.
So, who is he? Well, nobody knows. The Fellowship of Fans (opens in new tab) reports that Daniel Weyman (Gentleman Jack) is playing the character simply known as 'Meteor Man', but it hasn't hinted at their real identity.
It seems, then, that the mystery surrounding 'Meteor Man' will be a huge plot point in The Rings of Power's overarching narrative. If this character is of vital importance to the show's story, some fans (opens in new tab) have posited that it's Sauron – disguising himself as a man – who emerges from the meteor. Using his magic, he may be able to alter his appearance if he visits the the elves, dwarves and kingdoms of men to ensure that the rings are created, and then delivered, to them later in the series.
That, though, sounds like a stretch to other Tolkien fans. Some believe (opens in new tab) that 'Meteor Man' will end up being an Istari, the first Wizards to arrive in Middle-Earth. This theory seems to hold more weight, what with him likely befriending Kavenagh's harfoot. Vanity Fair's own trailer breakdown article doesn't provide any clues, so it seems that we'll have to wait to see who 'Meteor Man' turns out to be.
Hopefully, it won't be too long of a wait. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power launches exclusively on Prime Video on September 2, 2022.
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