The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power — out Friday on Amazon Prime Video — is the most expensive TV series ever made. Amazon bought television rights to LOTR for $250 million (about Rs. 1,998 crore) back in 2017, before shelling out another $465 million (about Rs. 3,712 crore) to build the "infrastructure" that would last The Rings of Power across its run. The studio has made a five-season commitment, promising 50-hours worth of episodes. The entire production is expected to cost over a billion dollars (about Rs. 7,993 crore), which is over two-and-a-half times what Warner Bros. dumped into Peter Jackson's award-winning film trilogy.
The Rings of Power is a prequel, set thousands of years prior to the events in The Lord of the Rings, and explores the vast history surrounding the Second Age in the fantastical realm of Middle-earth. In this series, showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay will try and condense all the major affairs leading up to the creation of Sauron's ring aka The One Ring — a powerful artefact that can manipulate the minds of dwarves, elves, and men. This also means that fans can finally get a taste of the Dark Lord's origins story, as he forges the ring in the flames of Mount Doom and prepares for war.
That said, you need not watch the original LOTR trilogy or the Hobbit movies to understand the context of The Rings of Power. For one, this series is not thoroughly sourced from J.R.R. Tolkien's mainline books, as it will expand upon the appendices to create a fictionalised representation of old Middle-earth. Secondly, this is a prequel. So feel free to use it as a starting point, and in time, carve your way into the Peter Jackson films. As for familiar characters, there are only two — Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Elrond (Robert Arayamo) — both of whom have largely different personalities from what you see in the end game. Then there's the remaining populace, who are either nowhere close to being born yet, or haven't arrived in Middle-earth. Remember, this is set thousands of years before, making for quick character introductions and deaths.
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“The stories and the actual events involving its [LOTR] characters are very different because what we're dealing with here is a whole new age. Having said that, the themes are very similar. It's those classic Tolkien themes of good versus evil, of underdog stories involving small people being tasked with very difficult missions to carry out,” Payne said in an interview in regards to how The Rings of Power's theme differs from LOTR movies. “These are stories of friendship and about people overcoming evil. It's the story of the temptation of power and its corrupting nature and what happens when people of various different species in Middle-earth get power.”
With that, here's everything you need to know about The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power release date and time in India
The Rings of Power premieres Friday, September 2 at 6:30am IST, exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in India.
That's in line with the global release, with the LOTR prequel series beginning Thursday, September 1 at 6pm PT/ 9pm ET in the US.
The Rings of Power debuts with the first two episodes. The remaining six episodes drop weekly on Fridays at 9:30am IST.
In India, the LOTR show will be available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, Malayalam, and Kannada.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episodes
After starting on September 2, the eight-episode The Rings of Power season 1 is slated to conclude on October 14.
|Episode Title ||Release Date ||Director |
|"Shadow of the Past" ||September 2, 2022 ||J.A. Bayona |
|The Rings of Power episode 2 ||September 2, 2022 ||J.A. Bayona |
|The Rings of Power episode 3 ||September 9, 2022 ||Wayne Yip |
|The Rings of Power episode 4 ||September 16, 2022 ||Wayne Yip |
|The Rings of Power episode 5 ||September 23, 2022 ||Wayne Yip |
|The Rings of Power episode 6 ||September 30, 2022 ||Wayne Yip |
|The Rings of Power episode 7 ||October 7, 2022 ||Charlotte Brändström |
|The Rings of Power episode 8 ||October 14, 2022 ||Charlotte Brändström |
Robert Arayamo as Elrond, the half-Elven architect in a still from The Rings of Power
Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein/ Prime Video
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power cast
Fresh off A24's Saint Maud, Clark assumes the role of Galadriel, an Elven warrior who foresees the arrival of evil in Middle-earth. Most audiences are likely to recognise this golden-haired elf from the Peter Jackson trilogy, who at the time was played by Cate Blanchett. The immortal heroine is centuries away from ruling the woods of Lothlórien, and here, in the Second Age, is purely driven by vengeance, following her brother's death in an earlier war. With The Rings of Power, Clark intends to project Galadriel's hard-earned serenity and wisdom — traits that were uncommon in Elves back in the day.
Joining her crusade is Elrond, a half-Elven architect and politician in the lands. Arayamo (Mindhunter) portrays the ageless character, who struggles to live up to his family's legacy. Both his parents are regarded as heroes who saved the world, while his brother Elros went on to create Númenor. Choosing the gift of immortality, Elrond is on a mission to seek his purpose in The Rings of Power. Little does he know, he grows up to become the Lord of Rivendell. “Right now, he's definitely in a moment of 'Who am I?' He's closer to being an orphan than he is to being a Lord, but he's trying so hard to be the Herald of Gil-galad,” Arayamo said in an interview.
Ruling the aforementioned island kingdom of Númenor is Míriel, the queen regent. Played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Arrow), she commands the populace of Men descended from Elros, while her father is gravely ill. While the island and its part ruler hold a sacred place in Tolkien's lore, this would be the first time the character is depicted on screen. “She is a leader who is thoughtful, a leader who has a moral compass and moral center, wants to maintain the relative peace and stability of Númenor. But also is aware of the murmurings and the rumblings in the streets,” Robinson said in regards to her character being a half queen.
Cynthia Addai-Robinson is Míriel, the Queen Regent of Númenor
Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein/ Prime Video
Under her command serves Isildur, the trusty Númenórean sailor, who eventually goes on to found the kingdom of Gondor and chop the One Ring off Sauron's hand. His greed and refusal to destroy the artefact leads to his downfall — the journey to which is explored in The Rings of Power. Played by Maxim Baldry, Isildur is not a major character in the LOTR franchise, but co-showrunner McCay wanted to explore his story more, in a way that ends in tragedy than foolishness. Up until the battle with Sauron, he will be represented as an optimistic man.
Owain Arthur (Babylon) plays Prince Durin IV, covered in an unrecognisable amount of amber facial hair and prosthetics, that would do justice to the Dwarf Prince. If you've seen The Fellowship of the Ring, you might recognise the abandoned caverns of Khazad-dûm, which were covered in cobwebs, skeletal remains, and ruins. However, in The Rings of Power, that domain still stands strong under Durin's command, which he rules beside his dear wife, Disa. While the opportunity to play the dwarf leader seemed jovial, Owain had to spend three hours in the makeup chair each day.
Sophia Nomvete plays Disa, princess of the Dwarven city of Khazad-dûm. Billed as a “maternal” figure, she maintains a playful relationship with Durin IV — often getting into silly arguments, and resolving them with plenty of love. Disa also happens to be the first female dwarf to be featured in any of Tolkien's on-screen adaptations, and comes fashioned with obscure facial hair (sideburns) like the other female dwarves.
Brownyn is one of the newest characters created for The Rings of Power. Played by Nazanin Boniadi (Hotel Mumbai), the maiden hails from the less-known Southlands and works as a healer for its citizens. As a human, she is under the ever-so-oppressive watch of the elves, constantly on the lookout to keep her people safe and liberate them. What's interesting is that she is romantically involved with an elf, Arondir — a relationship her son despises, reflecting the hatred the races have for each other.
Nazanin Boniadi plays Brownyn, a healer in the Southlands
Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein/ Prime Video
Ismael Cruz Córdova (The Mandalorian) plays Arondir, a silvan elf who is stationed at Southlands to keep an eye out for the human race — humans that aligned themselves with Sauron centuries ago. As an outcast, he starts mingling with the “enemies,” eventually falling into a forbidden relationship with Brownyn. The pair go on to investigate mysterious affairs in the hills of Southlands, whilst hiding from other elven soldiers. Córdova also happens to be the first person of colour to play an elf in any Tolkien adaptation.
Netflix's The Crown alum Charles Edwards plays Celebrimbor, one of the pivotal figures in The Lord of the Rings franchise. This elf is a brilliant forger, whose reputation precedes throughout Middle-earth, for crafting the titular Rings of Power. His introduction is a monumental event in the lore, as he gets manipulated by the Dark Lord Sauron into forging the One Ring — setting off the perilous events we know from the movies. Like most other characters in this list, Celebrimbor was not explored well in the books, so this show serves as a gateway into his personality.
The pint-sized Hobbits did not exist during the Second Age. Instead, in The Rings of Power, we will be introduced to their ancestors, the Harfoots, who are a nomadic community that still has not found a place to call home. One such key figure is Nori Brandyfoot, played by Markella Kavenagh, who takes a yearning for adventure outside — something the other Harfoots deprive themselves of. Joining her is best friend Poppy Proudfellow (Megan Richard); together they stumble upon a mysterious man, who seems to have fallen from the sky as a meteor.
Markella Kavenagh (centre) plays Nori Brandyfoot, a Harfoot who loves adventuring in the open
Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein/ Prime Video
Another elusive character to be featured in The Rings of Power is Halbrand, a human warrior who accompanies Galadriel across the Sundering Seas. Charlie Vickers breathes life into this armoured knight, about whom information is sparse. “He's coming from this place in his past where he's trying to let go,” Vickers notes in an interview. “But in meeting [Galadriel], she starts to illuminate some things in his mind and things about his past and his destiny that he maybe hadn't considered.”
Other additions include the Harfoot's leader Sadoc Burrows, played by Lenny Henry, adding a touch of comedic relief to the upcoming Amazon Prime series. Then there's Trystan Gravelle (Utopia) as Pharazôn, cousin and right-hand man to queen regent Míriel. Benjamin Walker plays Gil-galad, the High King of the Elves. Mentioned in Tolkien's LOTR poem called “The Fall of Gil-galad,” The Rings of Power will expand upon that lore.
The Rings of Power also stars Ema Horvath as Isildur's sister Eärien and Lloyd Owen as his father Elendil. Trainspotting's Peter Mullan plays King Durin III, the ruler of the Dwarven city, while Tyroe Muhafidin is cast as Theo, Bronwyn's teenage son who hates the elves.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power synopsis
Here's the official synopsis for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, from Prime Video:
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth's history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and one of the greatest villains that ever flowed from Tolkien's pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness.
Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared reemergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the farthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.
Charles Edwards plays Celebrimbor, the brilliant forger who made the One Ring
Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein/ Prime Video
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power trailer
Amazon Prime Video unveiled the first teaser for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power during the Super Bowl, earlier this year. It broke the record as the most-watched Super Bowl trailer of all time, garnering 257 million views in the first 24 hours of release. The minute-long teaser functioned as a world-building tool, introducing random characters, who did not have a name at the time, besides Galadriel and Elrond. It also featured the unnamed stranger — played by Daniel Weyman — who fell from the sky in a flaming meteor.
On July 14, we were treated to the “main teaser” for the series, giving further context to the factions of Second Age Middle-earth. Besides the known elven, dwarven, and human races, The Rings of Power teaser focussed on the Harfoots, ancestors to the Hobbits, who live off the radar. There's also a brief glimpse at the luminous Two Trees of Valinor, which brought natural light into the lands before sunrise was even a thing — akin to the Erdtree in Elden Ring.
Then, at San Diego Comic-Con this year, the studio revealed the official trailer for The Lord of the Rings prequel, focusing on Galadriel's deadly premonition. As the Dark Lord Sauron makes his presence known, armies of Middle-earth prepare for a fight to the death.
On August 23, The Rings of Power got a final trailer, ahead of its release. This time, Galadriel's backstory was the key highlight, as Clark's voiceover detailed her rise to power following her brother's demise. As a sworn warrior with a strong resolve, she sets out on an adventure across the Sundering Seas and the Elven and Dwarven realms in an attempt to ward off the rising evil.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power reviews
At the time of publishing, there's no word on when the first reviews are expected. Going by earlier Prime Video releases, reviews usually drop two days before release.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power poster
Amazon has yet to unveil a main poster for The Rings of Power. Instead, we have a bunch of character posters that you can check out at our home for the LOTR prequel series.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 2?
As stated before, Amazon had made a five-season commitment for The Rings of Power, promising up to 50 hours' worth of Middle-earth content. The official confirmation for The Rings of Power season 2 came in 2019, long before pre-production on season 1 began.
Co-showrunner Payne recently noted that there are events in season 1 that don't have a payoff until season 5. Throughout these segments, The Rings of Power will explore different factions and jump across time, culminating in the rise of Sauron. “It was like Tolkien put some stars in the sky and let us make out the constellations,” he added.
With The Rings of Power season 2, showrunners McKay and Payne will be leaving the franchise's longtime home in New Zealand. Production has now moved to the UK, with principal photography commencing in October. Speaking with The Playlist, McKay noted the reason for the shift: “I think if we answered in too much detail, we'd spoil where the journey is going in future episodes. Suffice to say in the story, in Tolkien's world, journeys to other lands are a major recurring theme. And so I think that's a thing to think about.
“The other thing I would say is Tolkien was writing about the British Isles. He was writing about his own backyard, and his description of the nature and the air here and the light here and the grass here is a huge part of those books.”
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