The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is a High Fantasy series created in 2022 by Patrick McKay and John D. Payne and produced by Amazon Studios in collaboration with the Tolkien Estate, the Tolkien Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema.
Loosely based off the Arda/Middle-earth mythology of J. R. R. Tolkien, it covers that world's Second Age, thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The series follows an ensemble cast of characters as they confront the re-emergence of evil in Middle-earth. Unlike the Peter Jackson trilogies and other prior adaptations, the series isn't directly adapting a single book of Tolkien's, but instead builds on lore or backstory from sources like the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings.
The cast includes Morfydd Clark as Galadriel, Robert Aramayo as Elrond, Benjamin Walker as Gil-galad, Maxim Baldry as Isildur, Charlie Vickers as Halbrand, Owain Arthur as Durin, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Nazanin Boniadi, Peter Mullan and Lenny Henry. The soundtrack is composed by Bear McCreary, with Howard Shore from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies composing the main theme, and the first season was filmed in New Zealand (like the Jackson film trilogies, again). Filming for future seasons will take place in the United Kingdom. The price tag of nearly $500 million for the first season alone note makes it the most expensive season of a series to ever be produced.
The series premiered on September 2, 2022 on Prime Video. It is slated to run for at least five seasons.
Previews: Title Announcement, Trailer 1, Trailer 2, Trailer 3, SDCC preview, Official Trailer
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power contains examples of:
- Accent Adaptation: As with the cinematic trilogies, a multitude of accents from all over The British Isles are used with great effect throughout the series to enhance characterization and establish social status:
- The high-ranking characters (particularly Elves such as Celebrimbor, Elrond, and Galadriel and high-status Men and Women like Miriel and Elendil) have RP (the King's English) accents, which lend them gravitas and enhances their authority.
- In a departure from the cinematic trilogies, where the Hobbits generally have West Country accents, the series' Harfoots are mostly voiced with Irish accents.
- The more humble, rustic Men and Women encountered (Bronwyn, Rowan, and the other inhabitants of Tirharad) mostly have Northern English accents.
- The Dwarves (of course) deploy the by-now prerequisite Scottish accent convention.
- As with most Middle-earth content, the Orcs here speak with Cockney accents.
- Action Girl: Galadriel. She makes short work of a snow troll at the beginning of the first episode.
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Of course, that at the heart of every heartwarming and peaceful moment are the hobbits. Their scenes, filled with joy and laughter, are intertwined with the other darker and more dramatic plotlines.
- Adaptational Diversity:
- Race Lifting (or else Colorblind Casting) is in effect for at least some of the series' original Elf, Dwarf, and Hobbit characters compared to the lore and previous adaptations, by having them played by actors who are people of color admittedly for diversifying the races, as desired by the Amazon showrunners.
- The first full trailer and accompanying articles reveal that this is the case for the humans (or Men) of Númenor as well (the ancestors of the Men of Gondor, Arnor, and Dol Amroth), generally described in the books as looking much like Elves with their dark or sometimes blonde hair and fair skin and having a less homogenous population in the show, and Tolkien's own creation Tar-Míriel the last queen of Númenor is played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson in the series.
- Adaptational Early Appearance:
- One of the three ancient clans of Hobbits — specifically the Harfoots — is included in the grand history of the Second Age. In-canon they only show up several thousands of years later in the Third Age.
- Episode 7 shows the Balrog later known as Durin's Bane awakening, though this did not happen until the Third Age in Tolkien's canon — the Balrog was the Bane of Durin VI, not Durin III or IV.
- The first season finale features the creation of the Three Elven Rings as the first Rings of Power ever made. In the source material they were made last and in secret by Celebrimbor alone.
- Episode 8 heavily implies that the The Stranger is Gandalf, making him appear an age earlier than in the books.
- Adaptational Hairstyle Change: Tolkien tended to describe Elves as having long and beautiful hair, male and female alike, though he did not outright or succinctly say that "all" Elves had long hair. In the show, very few Elves have their iconic long-haired looks as depicted in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, notably despite the show taking cues from the movie trilogy's depictions in many other aspects, with some haircuts being as short as buzz cuts with fades.
- Adaptational Location Change:
- During her initial voiceover Galadriel gives a very stripped-down explanation of how and why the Elves found themselves taking ships from Valinor back to Middle-earth for their war against Morgoth. However, the map shown onscreen depicts them leaving the Valinor of the First Age and arriving in the Middle-earth of the Second Age, with no sign of Beleriand, where the War of the Jewels actually took place. A scene of land sunken beneath the waves implies a reference to Beleriand but makes no reference to its location, and Arondir does mention Beleriand directly in the fourth episode but gives no further context.
- The first episode's depiction of the passage to Valinor as opening and closing like a Portal Network is also very inaccurate. Throughout most of the Second Age, Valinor was still a Physical Heaven that far-sighted Númenóreans could sometimes glimpse on the horizon. It was only removed to a more ethereal plane due directly to events to be adapted later in this show.
- When Galadriel and Halbrand arrive in Numenor, the magnificent city they disembark at would seem to be Romenna, the great east-coast port that housed Numenor’s fleets. But from the presence of the royal palace it would seem they have merged Romenna with Armenelos, the Numenorean capital that is supposed to be 50 miles inland at the feet of the great mountain Meneltarma, which can actually be seen in the distance.
- Adaptational Timespan Change: The show heavily compresses the millennia-long timespan of the source material's events to facilitate its writing. Nearly everything is designed to happen within about a single human lifespan instead of across many generations. For instance...
- The discovery of mithril is treated as a recent discovery when Durin reveals its existence to Elrond, but had been the foundation of the wealth of Khazad-dûm since at least the death of Durin I before the beginning of the First Age.
- Elendil and his son Isildur, the ancient Kings of Gondor who fought Sauron in the backstory of The Lord of the Rings, were both born long after all the Rings of Power were forged in the writings, but here they are around before the Rings.
- Durin III and IV of the Longbeard Dwarves are made father and son, living at the same time, instead of ancestor and descendant (and possibly the reincarnation of the same Dwarf, like all Durins). Durin III mentions that the ancestors of previous kings flow into the new king when he's crowned as the adaptational explanation for the change.
- Mordor had been Sauron's domain since at least SA 1000 when he begins building Barad-Dur with no reference to any preexisting inhabitants. Here what would become Mordor is inhabited by the Men of the Southlands well into the reign of Tar-Palantir in the late 3100s and early 3200s.
- Tolkien's Olórin/Gandalf is sent to Middle-earth in the early Third Age. Here the character appears in the Second Age.
- Numenor’s sea-faring culture lasted millennia, at first coming to the Men of Middle-Earth as mentors, then later, after the island’s people grew bitter and greedy for power, as conquerors and tyrants. Here the island appears to have been isolationist for generations and to have no contact with Middle-Earth. On the other hand, the colony of Pelargir is mentioned in a later episode, suggesting that the Númenoreans may only have been isolationist from the Elves, not Middle-earth in general.
- Adaptational Wimp: In the books, the Númenóreans are described as being physically superior to normal Men in almost every way. Not only are they far stronger, but also the average Númenórean is taller than 6 feet, while Elendil is described as being between 7 to 8 feet tall. They were also the direct descendants of the Men who fought alongside the Elves in their war against Morgoth and were capable warriors in their own right. In the show, the Númenóreans don't look physically distinct from normal Men and are shown to be incredibly inept at fighting, requiring Galadriel to train them personally.
- Adaptation Deviation:
- In the Season 1 finale, the Three Rings (Vilya, Nenya, and Narya) are forged before the other Rings of Power and with Sauron's direct collaboration in the early stages, whereas Tolkien's works state that as the culmination of Celebrimbor's smithcraft they were the last Rings to be created, and that they were the least evil explicitly because Sauron never touched them nor assisted in their making and wasn't even aware of their existence for a long time.
- The show inverts both the mechanics and the theme of the fading of the Elves. In this version, Elves are only immortal due to the Immortality Inducer of the Light of Valinor derived from the now-deceased Two Trees without which they will ultimately die, thus making their quest to create the Rings akin to Immortality Seekers striving for the Elixir of Life. Tolkien himself, in complete contrast, described immortality as just as inherent to Elves as mortality is to Men, and the Elves' fading as the ever-increasing weariness and sorrow inherent in their misguided and futile attempts to stop the changes wrought by time and embalm the living earth to preserve its beauty and thus assuage their own angst about existing forever, with the Rings as their most erroneous attempt to "fix" the mortal world by coercing it into a sterile facsimile of the bliss and beauty they knew in Valinor.
- Adaptation Expansion: The show adapts elements of the source material about the Second Age that Amazon has the rights to, but there is notably less lore tied to the Second Age than the First and Third Ages. note As such, the show's narrative takes inspiration from materials included in the condensed backstory, footnotes and descriptions, and a little dialogue, so expansion is required by default to turn it into a multiple-hour-long show. Elements that are expounded upon include entire subplots like the Elf-Human romance and everything else going on in the "Southlands", the early hobbits meeting a "meteor man", and Galadriel hunting Sauron to avenge her brother and ending up in Númenor.
- Adapted Out:
- During Galadriel's recap of the First Age, no mention is made of Ungoliant, the spider-like Animalistic Abomination who Morgoth allied with to destroy the Two Trees.
- Galadriel had several brothers who died in the books, but here she appears to have had only one, Finrod. In turn, Finrod died differently in the show, through hunting after Sauron instead of through joining the Mannish hero Beren on a quest due to a Life Debt and pulling a Heroic Sacrifice. Galadriel also pays her due to his body in the show, while in the books Finrod is buried close to where he died.
- Galadriel is already supposed to have a daughter by this point, who ends up marrying Elrond and is mother of Arwen.
- Also, it's mentioned that there have only been two Interspecies Romances between Elves and Men before - which must refer to Beren and Lúthien, and Tuor and Idril, all ancestors of Elrond. But this rules out another of Galadriel's brothers, Aegnor, who had a star-crossed romance (unlike the others) with Andreth, Beren's older relative.
- All for Nothing: Despite all the struggles of the Southlanders to defend their home from Adar and the last minute arrival of the Numenoreans, his plan to cause a volcanic eruption to create Mordor still succeeds. Worse than that, Galadriel finds out all her pushing to convince Halbrand to accept being crowned reignited Sauron's ambition when he was at his lowest point.
- All Trolls Are Different: A snow troll is encountered lurking in an abandoned evil fortress in Forodwaith in the first episode. Much like most of the other trolls seen in the franchise, it is a giant, brutish humanoid that seems to have animal intellect, but appearance-wise it is set apart by huge tusks and a hairy body.
- Alternate Continuity: The series doesn't share continuity with Peter Jackson's film trilogies, despite sharing certain iconography, New Line Cinema being involved with the production and Weta handling the special effects. However, the differences between the show and the movies are few enough that the show can be seen as a Broad Strokes prequel to the film adaptations.
- Ancient Evil: Morgoth, Sauron, the Balrog, Adar, are all extremely old and evil beings, with the first three existing before Arda.
- Angel Unaware:
- At some point in the story, Sauron, himself a Maia, took the form of human, Halbrand, impersonating the lost heir of the Southland's line of kings.
- Turns out that the Stranger is one of the Istari, who are also Maiar spirits.
- Antagonist Title: As always, the series takes its name from Sauron the Great, Enemy of all Middle-earth, forger of the One Ring to rule all others.
- Arcadian Interlude: The Harfoots are mostly disconnected from the main plot in Season 1, they are unaware of the big powers trying to decide the fate of the world. Their subplot is more relaxed and happy-go-lucky. Even in the final of Season 1, they don't meet any of the other main characters.
- Arc Symbol:
- Sauron carved his mark on the corpse of Galadriel’s brother, and it reappeared in the other episodes too. Turns out the mark was a Map All Along indicating the Southlands. The reason why he put the location where he would start a resurgence plan before he was even defeated and accessible to his enemies so they could decipher it remains a total mystery.
- Eyes imagery and symbolism, from held gazes between enemies, to characters using a proto eye symbol of Sauron.
- Arrow Catch: During a chase through the forest, Arondir catches an arrow out of the air before shooting it back at the attacker. This event is first teased in the second trailer.
- Art Imitates Art:
- In the prologue, Galadriel sits beside a big pile of Elvish helmets in a desolated forest. The visuals of that scene resembles a work of the 19th-century Russian painter Vasily Vereshchagin — "The Apotheosis of War".
- Not so easy to spot, but one of the Dwarven ladies witnessing the challenge between Elrond and Durin wears a headdress clearly inspired by the Iberian sculpture of the Lady of Elche.
- Some costumes seem to be inspired by art too, like Galadriel wearing the golden dress in Lindon, and Queen Regent Miriel wearing a white dress with golden applications with a blue paledamentum over her shoulder, pay homage to Girl With A Golden Wreath by Leon Francois Comerre, and respectively, to Zenobia's last look on Palmyra by Herbert Gustave Schmalz.
- Galadriel's armors are both inspired by different paintings of Joan D'Arc, such as "Joan of Arc" by John Everett Millais and Charles-Amable Lenoir, and the 1854 "Joan of Arc at the Coronation of Charles VII" by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.
- Elendil's white armor is very similar to the book cover made by Violet Oakley for the mythical hero Lohengrin, Knight of the Swan, in 1910.
- Word of God confirmed that the raft scenes were inspire by the painting of "Raft of the Medusa" by Théodore Géricault, while the throne room in Numenor by the fresco entitled "The School of Athens" by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael.
- Art Nouveau: Ramsey Avery implemented several Art Nouveau elements in the design of the Elves to show them being in harmony with the natural environment. The Elvish Kingdom of Lindon for example, has its architecture inspired by the decorative motives with soft whiplash lines, and naturalistic colours, only fitting for a kingdom scattered across a birch Forest of Perpetual Autumn.
- Artifact of Doom: Theo finds a black broken sword that turns out to be Sauron's sword.
- Artistic Title: The title sequence is a musical sequence of matter being formed into various shapes, based on the Middle-Earth Ainulindalë (Music of the Ainur) musical creation myth.
- Battle in the Rain: One of the many battles from the War of Wrath takes place during a powerful storm.
- Before the Dark Times: The events of the show take place in the Second Age. For the Elves, High Men of Numenor, and Dwarves, this era is their Golden Age. Numenor is the greatest and most advanced civilization in the world; Lindon and Eregion are flourishing Elvish Kingdoms with the implications they are extending quickly; Khazad-dum is the most prosperous Dwarf Kingdom. But, despite all the creative freedoms the show took, they will still have same fate, with the seeds of destruction already being planted from the first season. By the time of the Third Age, Numenor will have sunk under the sea, and the Elves and the Dwarves will have become extinct, with their great kingdoms being completely destroyed.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: The Moriondor, first race of Orcs, are former Elves from Beleriand, enslaved and tortured by Morgoth until they lost their minds.
- Big Badass Battle Sequence: The short sequence with the battle between Elves, Men, and Valar against the forces of Morgoth in the prologue, which came to be known as the "War of Wrath".
- Big Fancy Castle: The Royal Palace in Armenelos is the tallest and biggest building in the city. Its architecture is reminiscent of Hagia Sofia, having a huge golden dome possibly fashioned after Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and a tower where the old king resides. It also has its own courtyard atop the city build in the form of a Prow with a spout for a beautiful waterfall. You cannot get fancier than that.
- Binding Ancient Treaty: Discovering that Halbrand is a King Incognito and Sauron's forces are planning to attack the Southlands, Galadriel demands to speak to Tar-Palantir after Queen Miriel refused her plea to honor the alliance that once existed between Númenor and the Elves. Her actions land her in jail, but after escaping from her imprisonment, Galadriel heads to the king's chamber only to find Miriel already waiting for her. She learns from Miriel that shortly after her father became king, he was almost overthrown by the people for being Faithful to the Elves. And for this reason, Miriel had to adopt isolationist politics. But on the day Galadriel is ready to depart for Middle-earth, the Nimloth trees start to lose their petals, a sign Miriel interprets as the Valar's tears. She decides that helping Galadriel is what the Valar want from her, and spends the next days preparing for a military expedition in the Southlands.
- Black Knight: Sauron wears a suit of spiked armor with a black cape in Galadriel's flashback, similar to the one he wears in the cinematic trilogy.
- Blade Run: Galadriel uses the blade of Thondir's sword as an impromptu ramp to leap at the snow troll in episode one.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Slightly, when compared to the Jackson movies. While there's nothing that would push the show past a TV-14 rating, some of the violence in the series is bloodier than one might expect for an adaptation of Tolkien's work, with the victims of the Warg attack serving as one such example.
- Book Ends: In the Season 1 debut, Galadriel tells Halbrand to bind himself to her to try to save him while on a rickety raft during a fierce storm. In the season finale, Halbrand revealed as Sauron recreates the raft in Galadriel's mind and with a peaceful sky overhead says they should bind themselves to each other as ruling King and Queen to save Middle-earth.
- Braids of Action: Galadriel sports a thick and long braid during battles.
- Calling Out for Not Calling: Elrond goes to visit his old friend Durin in Moria and finds that he is no longer welcome there because he hadn't written to or visited his old friend once in the past twenty years, and is only turning up now because he needs a favor.Elrond: Their prince, Durin, is an old and dear friend - almost like a brother to me. [...] Oh, if I know Durin, he'll do far more than thatnote . He'll welcome us with open arms, rams' horns blaring, tables filled with salted pork, and enough malt beer to fill the Anduin.Dwarf Guard: [opens the peephole in the gate] What d'you want?Elrond: [smiling magnanimously] It is Elrond of Lindon, accompanied by Celebrimbor, lord of Eregion. We seek an audience with Prince Durin.Dwarf Guard: [beat] No.
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": The Harfoots call the predatory animals hunting them "wolves", but these creatures aren't even canine, but a species of prehistoric ungulate called Entelodont. Notably, they are an entirely different species from the warg seen in the Southlands, which is indeed a canine animal.
- Canon Foreigner: A lot of characters don't originate in Tolkien's body of work and were created for the series.
- All Elves who aren't named Galadriel, Elrond, Gil-galad, and Celebrimbor, with a few others like Finrod in the backstory.
- Halbrand, a shipwrecked man who follows Galadriel. It turns out he's Sauron, though his disguise is not from canon.
- Elendil has a daughter, Eärien, in addition to his two sons Isildur and Anárion.
- Pharazôn is given a son named Kemen.
- Everyone in Arondir and Bronwyn's subplot, including the place names. Which makes sense since all the villages in the Southlands will be wiped out when the land becomes Mordor.
- All of the Harfoots.
- All Dwarves who aren't named Durin.
- All evil creatures or beings who aren't Sauron or his master Morgoth or the Balrog.
- The meteor man seems to be one but has been repeatedly hinted by the show people to be a Canon Character All Along.
- Casting Gag: In the European French dub, Adar's voice actor Boris Rehlinger dubbed another Elvish leader, Haldir, in the Peter Jackson film trilogy.
- Cataclysm Backstory: The sinking of Beleriand is briefly shown in the Opening Monologue.
- Chance Meeting Between Antagonists: Galadriel spends thousands of years searching for Sauron, only to happen upon him on a raft in the middle of the ocean.
- Chekhov's Volcano: Finally, the most popular fictional volcano in all media has erupted, Orodruin, blanketing the Southlands in its pyroclastic flow that blots out the Sun.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: A requisite if you want to succeed in Mordor
- Sauron used to be The Dragon to Morgoth. After Morgoth's fall, he took over Angband and all his power
- Adar claims to have backstabbed Sauron, killing his then mortal form to become the new leader of the Uruk
- Sauron himself returned to backstab Adar, Galadriel and everyone else to retake Mordor from the first
- City of Canals: The capital city of Numenor, Armenelos, is meant to evoke Venice In-Universe, per production designer Ramsey Avery. The architecture of Venice served as main inspiration for how Armenelos would look like, having domes and suspended water channels, the material used to build the city being white marbles, and the location of the city being around a bay.
- Climb, Slip, Hang, Climb: In the Opening Monologue, Galadriel and her small company of elves climb a dangerous slope of the Forodwaith. One of the Elves almost falls when the icicle he was clinging to breaks. He looks down and then continues his road ahead.
- Comet of Doom: The meteor that falls at the end of the first episode, which hides one of the Istari inside, is mistaken for a falling star or a comet, and everyone interprets it differently. The Harfoots believe is a bad omen, The mages from Rhun mistakes for the coming of Sauron, and the Elves believe is a Sign Of The End Times. Most of the characters are right to link the falling meteor to The End of the World as We Know It, because the Istar was sent on Middle-earth by the Valar themselves now that evil regained its strength.
- Compressed Adaptation: The series compresses the timeline of events that took place over the course of centuries in the The Silmarillion into the span of less than a year, to avoid having to recast the human characters every few episodes. Two significant events exemplify the show's compressed timeline; in the books, the forging of the rings happens roughly 1500 years before Isildur's birth, while in the series Isildur predates the rings.
- Conlang: The show makes use of Elvish in conversations between Elves and background chorus lyrics. Some Dwarvish (a.k.a Khuzdul) is also used in a similar way for Dwarf-focused scenes.
- Convection, Schmonvection: A particularly egregious example: somehow, Galadriel and a number of orcs and humans manage to survive being directly hit by a pyroclastic flow. The heat alone should have killed them all; the pyroclastic flow that hit Herculaneum when Vesuvius erupted was enough to boil blood and make skulls explode.
- Cool Crown: Gil-galad wears a golden crown having the form of a chaplet made of leaves.
- Cosmetically-Advanced Prequel: Played with in regard of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The show takes place in an Alternative Continuity from the Lotr cinematic trilogy, but it borrowed so many elements and Mythology Gags from the movies that it counts at least as a Spiritual Successor or a Broad Strokes prequel.Ramsey Avery: "We know that the Peter Jackson films represent the Third Age, but the Third Age is a period of decay and decline. The Second Age that we're in is glorious and vibrant and everybody's pretty much at the top of their game. We extracted the DNA of that Third Age and made it bolder and more vibrant and more alive in the Second Age."
- Ost-in-Edhil is depicted here as city with many high towers surrounded by waters and lush vegetation. In the movies all that was left of the capital city of Eregion are several stones and plain fields.
- Khazad-dum is an Underground City thriving with life in the Second Age. In the Third one, is just huge, abandoned ruins inhabited by Orcs and a balrog.
- Costume Porn: The Elves, the Númenóreans, and the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm all wear absolutely gorgeous clothing with elaborate golden embroidery and jewelry, while still keeping their individuality. This reflects how those Races are at the apex of their power and prosperity.
- Counterpart Artifacts: Initially, Sauron wanted to create two rings of power for himself and Galadriel, but Galadriel learns his true identity just in time, causing him to flee. Celebrimbor still creates three Rings of Power for the Elvenkind, at Galadriel's request: Vilya, Nenya, and Narya.
- Crystal Ball: The show features one of the seven Palantíri, held by Míriel in her father's chambers, while the other six are missing.
- Crystal Spires and Togas: Armenelos, the capital city of Númenor is just so breathtaking that even the stubborn Galadriel is left open-mouthed by its grandiosity. With its buildings made of white marble with blue mosaic and gilded domes, its architecture takes inspiration from Venetian, Roman and Hellenistic cultures. The Men of Númenor are dressed up in clothing resembling togas, peplos, and paludamentum, with the aristocracy leaning toward the Byzantine style and colors. Halbrand immediately notices the superior civilization of Númenóreans and cannot believe that actual humans could build such a place. Galadriel informs him that the island was a gift from the Valar to Númenóreans for joining forces with the Elves and fighting against Morgoth.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Finrod, Galadriel's older brother, is murdered by Sauron, instigating her to descend into an obsessive quest to find Sauron and kill him, even at the cost of her own men.
- Dark Reprise: Halbrand is instroduced as a Mysterious Stranger that Galadriel meets in the middle of the sea. First hint that he is from the Southlands, comes from the hardanger fiddle performing same instrumental as the Southlands theme. His melancholic and rustic theme, gets a twisted and ominous arrangement in the final episode of Season 1, right before acknowledging he is Sauron.
- Death Is Such an Odd Thing: Before Morgoth, the Elves of Valinor did not know anything about the concept of death, but after the War of Wrath, a war that lasted centuries with the death of Elves being proportional to its length, the Elves came to know many words for death.
- Debut Queue: As almost every episode introduces multiple plot lines, there are also many new characters.
- The first episode features the debut appearance of Elves Galadriel, Elrond, the High King Gil-galad, Celebrimbor, Arondir; the Harfoots Nori Brandyfoot, Largo Brandyfoot, Marigold Brandyfoot, Poppy Proudfellow, Sadoc Burrows, The Stranger, and the Men of the Southlands like Haldreg, Bronwyn and her son, Theo.
- In the second episode, Elrond's subplot introduces the dwarf royal Family of Khazad-dûm, King Durin III, Prince Durin IV, and wife Disa, and their children, Gamli and Gelda, while Galadriel meets the mysterious Halbrand.
- With Galadriel and Halbrand in Númenor in episode three, we finally meet Queen Miriel, her cousin and nephew, Pharazon and Kemen respectively, and Elendil with his children, Isildur and Earien.
- In the fourth episode we meet one of the main villains, Adar.
- In episode five, another three mysterious characters make their debut; The Dweller, The Ascetic, and The Nomad.
- Decade Dissonance: Halbrand notices there is a huge technological and cultural difference between the advanced Númenor and the race of the Men in Middle-earth, who go now through The Dark Ages, have no large cities and live in dirty towns built of wood only.
- Decapitation Presentation: Bronwyn cuts the head off the Orc that attacked her and her son and uses it to convince the rest of the town that there really is something evil coming and that they need to evacuate before they're all killed.
- Dies Differently in Adaptation:
- In this series Galadriel's brother Finrod is said to have been killed seeking Sauron sometime after the War of Wrath, whereas in the source material he died in a barehanded Mutual Kill with a werewolf to repay a Life Debt by saving the human hero Beren decades before the War of Wrath, an act so virtuous that he was the first Elf ever to be reincarnated in a new body back in Valinor.
- Arondir is told by a companion that both previous romances between Elves and Men ended unhappily with death. While this is a more-or-less valid (if cynical) Elvish interpretation of Beren and Lúthien (who were Together in Death twice, being resurrected once after he died violently and she died of grief, and then both dying again of old age, her having lost her Elven immortality), it doesn't apply at all to the fate of Tuor and Idril unless their fate is completely different from the source material where Tuor is effectively allowed to become an Elf and live forever with Idril in Valinor. It should be noted, though, that this is considered an unconfirmed in-universe legend in the source material, so it's possible that more cynical Elves might believe that Tuor and Idril simply died at sea.
- Disposable Woman: Male example. Finrod is killed extremely early on in the first episode to give Galadriel a reason to get revenge on Sauron.
- Does Not Like Shoes: The Harfoots go barefoot all the time. Justified, they are an ancient nomadic community of hobbits, and still in the early stage of their civilization.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- The show doesn't shy away from analogy to real-life situations. In episode 4, some Númenóreans rally to express the fear the Elves will take their jobs and trades and are ready to start a mutiny against Miriel, accusing her of being an Elf-lover.
- Whilst on Numenor, Halbrand pulls Galadriel in close with her hand ending up on the dagger between the two. She's left breathless when he leaves.
- Doing In the Wizard: The inception of Mordor. Waldreg's Ancestral Weapon is inserted into a mechanism, which works as a key that opens a series of dams. The resulting torrent of water is driven via tunnels the Orcs have been digging, ultimately flowing deep into Mount Orodruin and hitting its magma chamber, causing a volcanic eruption that covers the Southlands in fire and ash, paving the way for its transformation into the blackened land of Mordor.
- Don't Celebrate Just Yet: The Men of Numenor and the Southlands prematurely celebrate installing Halbrand as the new king of the Southlands and the defeating Adar and his hordes of Orcs. Too bad Orodruin erupts and destroys the Southlands, turning the tides in Adar's and indirectly Sauron's favor.
- Doomed Hometown:
- Galadriel narrates how Morgoth destroyed the Two Trees of Valinor and turned the city of Tirion into a wasteland. After that, the Elves had to leave Valinor for Middle-earth.
- Tirharad and other unnamed towns from the Southlands have same fate, being completely destroyed by Orodruin's eruption.
- Dramatic Unmask: A variation appears with the survivors of a shipwreck pulling back Galadriel's hair to reveal her Elven ear.
- Dungeon Punk: Khazad-dûm has shades of this in contrast with the "in touch with the nature" Elvish kingdoms. the Dwarves have a more industrialized civilization, thriving in a terra-formed Underground City, where they have complex technologies driven by hydraulic power and gears like huge 19-century looking elevators, and even automatic doors made of stone.
- Enchanted Forest: After an accident involving a falling tree branch in episode 7, Sadoc Burrows suggests sending The Stranger away toward the "Greenwood the Great", which is yet to become the Mirkwood. In episode 8, the fight between the three witches from Rhun and The Stranger happens in Greenwood.
- End of an Age: In the first few minutes, we learn about how Morgoth destroyed the Two Trees of Valinor and turned the city of Tirion into a wasteland. As a result, the Elves had to leave for Middle-earth where they fought in the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age against Morgoth and His servant, Sauron.
- Enslaved Elves: Adar's Orcs are former Elves from Beleriand, captured, tortured and mutated by Morgoth into what would become the Moriondor, the first Orcs.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold: The evil fortress in Forodwaith is so cold that the fire from torches stops giving any heat at all. Furthermore, Galadriel is able to find the inner sanctum by following the coldest path.
- Evil Overlord: Sauron. He can be seen in his black-armored Dark Lord form in the prologue of the first episode. Morgoth is name-dropped as his boss and is also glimpsed as a shadowy outline in the first episode.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: After climbing a sheer cliff in the Forodwaith, Galadriel finds one of Sauron's fortresses just when everyone was ready to give up. The fortress is enormous, made of conical and tall black towers. There, she finds a redoubt where dark magic has been practiced and the sigil of Sauron, recently carved in cold stone.
- Evil Weapon: The mysterious broken sword hilt found by Theo seems to be one, as it seems to grow by consuming blood, and the symbol of Sauron is etched on it with fire.
- Eye Motifs: Eye-themed imagery of Sauron is a recurring element, signifying his looming presence as the 'Lidless Eye', despite his disappearance.
- The crater formed by The Stranger's arrival is the shape of a giant flaming eye.
- The Dweller's Magic Staff features an Eye of Sauron symbol.
- Episode 7 is named "The Eye", and Queen Miriel loses her sight — perhaps permanently — when she's hit with a blast of burning cinders after Mount Doom erupts.
- All of Halbrand's Meaningful Looks and Held Gazes with Galadriel, after we learn he is Sauron.
- The Mithril thrown onto Finrod's melted dagger suggests Hellish Pupil.
- The final scene of Season 1 is a transition from the Three Elven Rings to Mount Doom reflecting in Sauron's green eyes.
- Fakin' MacGuffin: In "Udûn", it turns out Adar switched the vital sword of Sauron with an axe. After a chase to retrieve it, Galadriel recovers an object enveloped by a cloth, but nobody notices the different shape nor bothers to check inside the cloth before Arondir gives it back to Theo so he gets rid of it. The boy, unhealthily attracted to the artifact, is the first to open it, but by then it's already too late.
- Fantasy Metals: Durin is secretly mining for Mithril, a fabulously beautiful, resistant, and lightweight metal.
- Fantastic Racism:
- The Men of Middle-earth have no love for the Elves, and the feeling is largely mutual. The Elves believe that the Men's ancestors' service to Morgoth has left a permanent stain in their bloodline and that they might return to the service of evil if they ever had the chance. And the Men, in turn, consider the Elves as oppressors and occupiers whose purpose is to keep them weak and subservient.
- The Men of Númenor aren't especially fond of the Elves, either, and look down on all the Men of Middle-earth to boot, seeing them as natural inferiors.
- Unsurprisingly the Orcs hate the other races every bit as much as they hate each other.
- Fantastic Slurs:
- Tying in with the above Fantastic Racism, there are a lot of unflattering terms thrown at members of other races such as humans using "knife-ears" and "pointies" to refer to Elves.
- In Númenor the locals derisively dub Halbrand a "low man" due to being one of the Men of Middle-earth.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Númenor incorporates many cultural elements from different civilizations across the Mediterranean. Tolkien based Númenor on Plato's legends about Atlantis, what with them both being island-based, superior civilizations. The city-state has canals like Venice and Greco-Roman aesthetics, like paved roads, stuccoed buildings painted with blue accents, mosaics, and gilded domes. The temples and other large buildings are Byzantine in design, clearly inspired by the Hagia Sophia. Them being a maritime suggests the Phoenicians, who were amongst the first people to master sailing. The rocky corridor that leads to the city and the city itself is filled with massive statues carved in rock, in Egyptian fashion.
- Feminist Fantasy: The producers wanted for the female characters to play a more prominent role than they did in the source material which resulted in Canon Foreigner female characters and canon characters receiving more focus and their own subplots. Galadriel is turned into the the protagonist of the show and goes through some serious Xenafication, becoming a Warrior Princess wearing armor and wielding a sword.
- Fights Like a Normal: Galadriel, despite being the most magically powerful Elf left since the fall of the Valinor, in this continuity uses swords and daggers to fight and slay creatures such as the Snow Troll and orcs. In the source material she never really needs such tools to fight being powerful enough to destroy places such as Dol Guldur with her magic alone. Although there are actually some unfinished tales from Tolkien's appendices that suggest Galadriel may indeed have been more athletically inclined like she is in the show at some point in time.
- Fighting for a Homeland: The Orcs' whole plan was to create Mordor by causing a volcanic eruption. The resulting ash would protect them from the sun's rays, allowing them to prosper and have a home where nobody would abuse and enslave them anymore.
- Fire/Water Juxtaposition: Galadriel and Sauron. Even from her first introduction as a child living in Valinor, Galadriel was associated with water for her mirror leitmotif. As for Sauron, he is associated with fire in a few instances. As Halbrand, he wants to be a blacksmith, the priestesses from Rhun that are searching for him use fire-based magic, and he ends the first Season with a contrasting shot of him returning in Mordor.
- Flynning: Galadriel gives a demonstration to the Númenórean sea cadet recruits on how agility is more important than strength versus their Orc enemies. Her exaggerated, flashy movements look cool enough, but present a number of easy openings to exploit and strike her body, and as well as politely taking turns to attack her, the recruits mostly opt to aim for her sword, where some of her blocking maneuvers could easily be shattered by a strong opponent.
- Foe Romance Subtext: Given that Galadriel had no idea that the fella she met in the open sea is Sauron in disguise, all the Ship Tease between her and Halbrand come as this. From the very moment they met, their quarrels reeked of Belligerent Sexual Tension. As they began to slowly warm up to each other, they started Holding Hands for whatever reason, staring at each other longingly, and bonding over their mutual feeling of belonging nowhere. After defeating Adar and his Orcs, they finally confess what they feel for each other, but is left ambiguous, if it was romantic or a Platonic Declaration of Love. Anyway, all culminates with Sauron caressing Galadriel's face and outright asking her to be his Queen and co-rule Middle-earth, whatever he meant by that.
- Forced Perspective: The filmmakers revealed that they used forced perspective several times. One example would be the conversation between Nori and The Stranger when they sit on the rocks. The scene was actually pulled off totally in camera without the aid of any digital tricks.
- Foregone Conclusion: As a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, some things are a given even from the start.
- Galadriel won't succeed in her quest to defeat Sauron in this Age, and he'll instead greatly expand his power through forging the One Ring. Galadriel and Gil-galad become powerful Ring-bearers.
- Celeborn, Galadriel's supposedly dead husband, is still alive somewhere, because he's still alive in the trilogy.
- Any Tolkien fan who knows their geography and history can tell you that the "Southlands" will fall to the Orcs and become Mordor, while Númenor will be destroyed and sink into the depths. The former happens before the end of the first season, while the latter is foreshadowed in a nightmare that Míriel has.
- Isildur, founder of Gondor, famously cuts the ring from Sauron's finger at the end of the Second age, so he's not dying in some Season one skirmish.
- Foreshadowing: Enough to guarantee its own page.
- Forging Scene: As expected of a work adapting Tolkien's Legendarium. Halbrand gets to show off his blacksmith skills several times. In Numenor, he forges swords, impressing the very people that doubted his skills and refused him earlier for not having the smith guild crest. And then in Eregion, where he sweet talks his way into Celebrimbor's new forgery, and helps him and Elrond to find a way to harness mithril's properties. He secretly plans to forge two rings, for him and Galadriel, but he cannot carry out his plans to the end because Galadriel finds his true identity.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: In the summation of Galadriel's life, there is no reference to her husband Celeborn at any point. Neither is he mentioned when it's being discussed whether or not Galadriel should return to the Undying Lands, despite the fact that by this point in the timeline their daughter Celebrian had already been born. Galadriel later reveals in episode 7 that she is married to Celeborn but that he disappeared after going to war, but he is never mentioned to be connected to her centuries-long search for Sauron, and it is never stated if her quest included finding about his fate.
- Four Lines, All Waiting: The show has around four different plot threats happening at the same time, and some characters don't even meet. Galadriel and Halbrand in Númenor, Elrond's subplot with the Dwarves, the people of the Southlands dealing with orcs, and the most isolated from the main plot, the Harfoots.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- During Elrond's visit to Moria, a helm reminiscent of the legendary Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin can be spotted in the house of Durin IV.
- Both Adar and Gil-galad wear matched neck plates.
- The scene where Galadriel and Miriel use the palantir has a number of interesting items in the background: Tuor's axe Dramborleg and the shield left for him by Turgon in Vinyamar; a painting depicting Beren and Lúthien; and the Peter Jackson movies' version of Narsil.
- When the Númenoreans sail, oiolairë branches can be glimpsed on their ships (in reference to a Númenorean custom referenced in the Tale of Aldarion and Erendis).
- Sauron's watery vision of him and Galadriel shows her hand on her stomach, implying Sauron was thinking about making some more hybrid maiar-elfs like Luthien.
- God: Eru Ilúvatar is invoked opaquely as the One, the Keeper of the Secret Fire, the father of all sapient beings of Middle-earth.
- Gold and White Are Divine: The Elves of Lindon are mostly dressed in Ethereal White Dresses with golden applications. Lindon itself is surrounded by a forest of birch trees with leaves that are golden all the time.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Morgoth. The prologue of the first episode is set in the First Age, and Morgoth's shadow can be seen after he and Ungoliant, neither of whom make a debut, destroy the Two Trees. After he's now cast into the Timeless Void after the War of Wrath, his servant Sauron prepares to conquer Middle-earth.
- Happily Married:
- Durin and Disa are always shown being loving to each other and working as a team. As Elrond says, they are a very happy match.
- Largo and Marigold Brandyfoot are another example of a happy marriage. Marigold is Largo's second love, and she is shown being very affectionate and carrying to her step daughters.
- From what she had related to Theo, Galadriel and her husband, Celeborn, used to be very happy together until he disappeared during the last great war. Whenever she remembers him, her harsh eyes become kinder.
- Head-in-the-Sand Management: After Galadriel returns to Lindon with proof that Sauron might still be out there, King Gil-galad holds a celebration to announce that her quest has revealed that the war is over.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Sauron's name keeps popping up, but he never makes any appearance save for a flashback. At least, he never makes any appearance as Sauron...
- Hidden Elf Village:
- Ironically not by the Elves but by the Hobbits. They are shown to be a deeply secretive and nomadic people that will spend some time in one area before moving on and will hide whenever someone gets too close to their current location. This is the likely inspiration as to why they didn't appear in recorded history till the Third Age.
- Galadriel points out that for some obscure reasons, Númenor adopted an isolationist politic and cut ties with the Elves.
- Hiding the Handicap: In Episode 7, Tar-Miriel goes blind and tries to hide it for a while. When Elendil notices it, she tells him that no one else needs to know it. Later, on the trip back to Númenor, she stands on deck with a blindfold in full view of the expedition, so she apparently changed her mind.
- Hobbits: The Trope Namers are seen in the trailer, with one hobbit's hand being contrasted with a human or otherwise non-hobbit hand, to show their size difference. In the books, Hobbits do not show up in recorded history until around the middle of the Third Age, while the series follows a group of Harfoot hobbits on their journey across Middle-earth.
- Hollywood Tactics:
- When preparing to defend against Adar's forces, Arondir chooses not to fight in the elf fortress, which is only accesible via a narrow, small bridge and instead lures Adar into a trap inside the tower and makes the tower collapse, crushing Adar's forces. It's a sound tactic if one expects this move will destroy the whole enemy army, but he's expecting the fight will continue, so he decides to make a stand in the village, which is at the bottom of an open valley and is exposed by all sides, with a small bridge that can be bypassed and no real chokepoints. The remaining orcish forces easily overwhelm the villagers, who are only saved by the arrival of Númenor.
- One Númenórean rider jumps from his horse to tackle an orc in the middle of a combat, foregoing the tremendous advantage of being mounted.
- Ultimately, the villagers migrate to a Númenórean colony, which in hindsight questions the wisdom of a bunch of peasants presenting battle to a horde of orcs to defend a village they always had the option to abandon.
- Hostile Weather: The snowstorm on the mountains of Forodwaith. No wonder Forodwaith means "the Northern Waste".
- I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You!: When Gil-galad prods Elrond for information on whether the dwarves have found Mithril or not, Elrond responds he swore an oath not to reveal it. The mere existence and necessity of a non-disclosure agreement imply there was something to be kept a secret in the first place, all but confirming Gil-galad suspicions.
- Interspecies Friendship:
- Elrond and Durin IV have been friends for over 20 years.
- A close bond flourishes between Nori and the Stranger from the sky.
- Interspecies Romance: Arondir the Elf and the human woman Bronwyn have obvious feelings for each other, to the disgust of her son and the other townsfolk.
- Informed Species: The wolves that attack the Harfoots in "Partings" more closely resemble entelodonts, possessing tusks and hoofed feet.
- Kick the Dog: Galadriel is given a nasty character-darkening scene when she interrogates Adar about his plans. He states his desire to create a homeland for the orcs, and she retorts that the orcs are nothing but a mistake of creation and vows to kill them to the last and save him for the end, so he can see the slaughter.
- Kraken and Leviathan: The wyrm, a mysterious giant creature inhabiting the waters of the Sundering Seas. It attacked a ship wandering in the middle of the sea and hunted down the survivors, smashing their raft and devouring them.
- Legend Fades to Myth: In the opening, Galadriel narrates how after many centuries, as the lead on Sauron grew thinner and thinner after the death of her brother, the Elves "began to believe that Sauron was but a memory."
- Lady of War: Galadriel appears often in full armor, still looking as elegant and regal as you would expect from a Queen of the Elves.
- Language of Magic:
- The Stranger, now revealed to be one of the Istari, is chanting spells several times by using words like "Á keuta" (Restore, renew, refresh), "Á envinyata" (Heal), "Lótë" (Flower), "Á kuita" (Live) from he Elven language of Quenya.
- Galadriel herself whispers “noro lim,” (run swift) to her horse while she is chasing Adar.
- Light/Darkness Juxtaposition: The inability Of Galadriel and Sauron to distinguish light from darkness is a recurring theme in their dynamics. Galadriel is often associated with the light, while Sauron is a Tin Tyrant whose moniker is the Dark Lord. But the juxtaposition also signifies the characters' inner struggles. Galadriel is a Knight Templar struggling with her own darkness, her hatred for Sauron pushes her to threaten Adar with the genocide of the Orcs to the point where Adar tells her that the search for Morgoth's successor should have ended in her mirror. Sauron begins his journey for penance as Halbrand. At first he aims for a Humble Goal such as becoming a blacksmith in Numenor and spent the rest of days there, but Galadriel rekindles his thirst for power and order and genuinely believes that what he wants to do is going to be good for Middle-earth. He wants to earn the forgiveness of the Valar by binding himself to Galadriel's light, while she thinks he would turn her into a tyrant. It's no coincidence that the first Season starts with child Galadriel in the Eden-like Valinor, and ends with a shot of Sauron heading for the hellish Mordor.
- Light Is Not Good: The Orcs all bone white and wear all white clothes (albeit very dirty ones) and among the more human-looking enemies are an albino wearing white robes similar to a monk.
- Little People: The Harfoots invoke this arguably more so than the Third Age hobbits in that their talent for hiding makes them mysterious creatures of legend to the race of Men, akin to beings from folklore such as fairies or leprechauns.
- Logo Joke: The Amazon Prime logo in the Title Announcement is made out of forged metal just like the rings and the series' title.
- Magic Meteor: The fall of a mysterious meteor is witnessed by King Gil-galad in Lindon and it subsequently comes down in Rhovanion near the Harfoots' camp. There it turns out to actually be a mysterious man with powerful magical abilities.
- Mayfly–December Friendship: Deconstructed in the case of Elrond and Durin IV. Elrond is Really 700 Years Old, while Durin has the life span of a Dwarf. Because he is this old, Elrond didn't realize how valuable time is for mortals and is genuinely baffled at Durin being so upset for his twenty years absence. As Durin points out, "twenty years might be the blink of an eye to an Elf, but [he've] lived an entire life in that time", in which he got married and had children.
- A Minor Kidroduction: The show opens up with Galadriel as a child, while adult Galadriel narrates the Opening Monologue.
- Mordor: The Title Announcement video mentions Mordor by name, as the land of "the Dark Lord".
- Mythology Gag: See here.
- The Needs of the Many: The Harfoot's mantra about "not leaving anyone behind" seems at times to be more of a guideline than an actual code, a utilitarian way that at its worst can come off as Informed Kindness:
- When Largo gets a broken ankle, a tractable injury that only makes his walk slower, his family is deadly worried they'll be thrown under the bus for it.
- Deceased members of a family who were stung to death by bees are remembered with chuckles and derision.
- Malva, who doesn't like the Stranger helping the Brandyfoots, approaches village leader Sadoc to propose that the group should take the wheels off the Brandyfoots' wagons and cut them out as punishment for it. Sadoc doesn't condemn the suggestion.
- Nominal Importance: The majority of people we explicitly see to have survived a pyroclastic flow hitting them are all named characters.
- Oddly Small Organization:
- The military might of Númenor is somewhat lessened, they don't seem to have a standing army or barracks, training and enrolling people outdoors instead, and also need to enlist volunteers to form an expeditionary force of a few hundreds, which are then transported in a few ships.
- The governing body of Númenor is shown in several meetings to be comprised of three people; Queen Miriel, Chancellor Pharazón and Sea Guard Commander Elendil. They are joined by Galadriel and Halbrand in the decision-making during the crisis of The Southlands.
- Oh, Crap!:
- When Arondir ends the chain tug-of-war by destroying the orcs’ canopy that shields them from the sun, it briefly appears that the captives will have enough time to break their chains and escape. Then one of the orcs gives the order to “Release the warg!” and all of his comrades run for cover. Arondir and Revion stare in horror as the warg emerges from the shadows.
- Galadriel has a massive one when she finds out that the line of the Kings of the Southlands has died out centuries ago and Halbrand is not who she thinks he is. It gets even bigger when he confirms that he is indeed Sauron.
- The Mystics get one when they realize that The Stranger is not Sauron and he's an Istar (wizard).
- Opening Monologue: Once again, Galadriel does the honors:Galadriel: Nothing is evil in the beginning. And there was a time when the world was so young, there had not been yet a sunrise. But even then there was light.
- Our Angels Are Different: Valar and Maiar are loose equivalents of Archangels and Angels in Tolkien's lore. While the Valar are briefly mentioned, major characters Halbrand and The Stranger are Maiar, though those identities are not revealed until episode 8.
- Our Orcs Are Different: They are pale and cover their entire bodies to shield themselves from sunlight, as they have been hiding literally underground for centuries.
- The Outside World: Nori is very curious about the wonders of the world and resents the Harfoots' fearful and secretive culture. Her mother has to remind her that adventuring is generally frowned upon because that's how the Harfoots always ensured their own survival.
- Plot Parallel: In the first season, Galadriel and Nori befriend two mysterious strangers who are the biggest candidates to be Sauron in disguise. They spend the rest of the season getting closer only to find in the last episode their mysterious strangers are not what they seem. Galadriel learns that Halbrand is Sauron himself, and Nori that the Meteor Man is one of the Istari.
- Power Crystal: The many properties of Mithril include healing the ailment that Elves and their lands are suffering.
- Pragmatic Adaptation:
- Due to being based on a series of historical summaries rather than a conventional novel, as well as lacking direct rights to certain parts of the lore, the showrunners made certain changes and additions to the timeline and characters to tell the stories they had in mind.
- Many characters' canonical heights are ignored since they would either massively limit the pool of available actors or require extensive use of forced perspective in any scene they are in, and make it extremely awkward to make them fit in the same frame with shorter characters. For instance, Galadriel in the books stands 6 feet 4 inches, while Elendil would be a whopping 7 feet and 11 inches! Needless to say that Morfydd Clark and Lloyd Owen don't come near to those numbers.
- Prehistoric Animal Analogue: The wolves are based on the entelodonts, a family of large boar-like even-toed ungulates related to hippos — also called "hell pigs" — that lived 38 to 19 million years ago, such as Daeodon. Notably, the creatures have hooves, and even the bony knobs entelodontids are known for.
- Prequel in the Lost Age: The show is set in the Second Age of Middle-earth when the Elves were still ruling over many kingdoms, the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm were not a Dying Race; while Númenor, the most powerful kingdom ever created by Men, was at the height of its Golden Age.
- Pride: Pride is a major theme in the show, with it being the thing that not only drives Sauron but what he uses to manipulate so many characters. Galadriel, Celebrimbor, Prince Durin and Disa, pretty much all the people of Numenor and many others have this as a character flaw.
- The Queen's Latin: The Elves and Men speak with a variety of English accents, the Dwarfs speak with a Scottish accent, while the Harfoots use an Irish one. According to Sophia Nomvete, who plays Princess Disa, this is a deliberate choice on the part of the showrunners. It also fits with conventions established by the cinematic trilogies, and in many fantasy works in general.
- Quest to the West: The show inverts it For Galadriel and Númenor as they have to sail east toward Middle-earth and then travel to the Southlands where Sauron's forces have gathered.
- Race-Name Basis: Galadriel is often referred to as 'Elf' in Númenor as a means to insult or subdue her.
- Recurring Camera Shot: Galadriel repeatedly looks at Halbrand over her left shoulder, with the camera following her gaze to focus on him. In the 1st season finale, Halbrand, now revealed to be Sauron, uses his hand to forcibly turn her face towards him as she had willingly done throughout the season, but this time the camera cuts to intense closeups of the two, showing how their relationship has irrevocably changed with the revelation.
- Resurgent Empire: The Orcs led by Morgoth lost the war against the alliance of Men, Elves and Valar. Galadriel mentions in her Opening Monologue that with the help of Sauron they multiplied in the dark again. Yet, nobody can find their whereabouts, and Galadriel herself spends centuries trying to find them and Sauron, while in the Southlands, Gil-galad has a faction of Silvan Elves watching of the Southlanders to make sure that this trope doesn't happen. Everybody's efforts are rendered to nothing, because the Orcs manage to build their strength back anyway and turn the Southlands into their homeland without Sauron's help.
- Rewatch Bonus: Rewatching the series reveals a lot of more Foreshadowing about Halbrand's true identity as Sauron.
- Ring of Power: The Title Announcement video mentions the three rings created for the Elven-kings, the seven rings given to the Dwarf-lords, the nine given to the Men, and the One created by "The Dark Lord" (Sauron).
- A Round of Drinks for the House: Facing some Fantastic Racism as a Middle-Earther in Numenor, Halbrand tries to make friends with the locals by buying everyone in the tavern drinks. It works, but Halbrand steals a man's guild crest and winds up in a street fight with him and his friends.
- Rule of Symbolism: In the opening credits, the grains of sand vibrating and shifting to music in The Rings of Power echo the Ainulindalë's song of creation.
- Runic Magic: Sauron's emblem is a fiery three-pronged sigil branded on the corpse of Galadriel's brother, on an anvil in the frozen fortress, and on the hilt of a broken sword Theo finds hidden in his village.
- Running Gag: Elrond is seen drinking wine in almost every episode.
- Scenery Porn: Continuing the tradition of having breathtaking landscapes from the original trilogy, we are blessed with wide shots of the mountains; seeing the trees of Valinor; the beautiful valleys of Rhovanion where the hobbits live; Lindon, the capital city of the High Elves; the picturesque Southlands; the splendor of Eregion, Khazad-dûm before being destroyed by Orcs and cherry on the top, the Shining City of Númenor.
- Screw You, Elves!: The Elves have very few friends at the dawn of the Second Age. The Dwarves resent them for letting the old friendships lapse, the non-Númenórean humans hate them as conquerors over the fact that they fought on opposite sides in the great war of the First Age, the Númenóreans have severed ties with the Elves for unspecified reasons, and while the Harfoots don't have anything against the Elves specifically, they distrust all non-Harfoots equally.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Durin IV is a Fiery Redhead part of a Proud Warrior Race such as the Dwarves, while Elrond is a patient Elvish scholar. This doesn't stop them from getting along.
- The Show of the Books: The show is primarily based on the Second Age references of The Lord of the Rings.
- Shrine to the Fallen: In Lindon, the Elves have a shrine of statues carved in wood to honor the fallen ones. Among the thousands of them, some of the statues belong to well-known heroic figures like Finrod, Beren, Luthien and the wolfhound Huan.
- Signs of the End Times: There are different signs that something bad is approaching: Galadriel finds dark magic being used in the mountains of Northern Wastelands; the humans wandering around Rhovanion notice the lack of animals to hunt and wolves' attacks increasing; Sadoc Burrows comments that travelers should not be around Southern Rhovanion so early in the year (and Nori accurately wonders if they're being driven there by trouble farther south); Gil-galad finds a birch leaf blackening, and the falling meteor has different meanings to the people who saw it.
- Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: The series is a Type 2 (Recognizable Adaptation). It covers the Second Age, and took a lot of freedoms from the source. The Tolkien Estate forbade Amazon to adapt anything that has to do with Silmarillion. Amazon paid the Estate with $200 million to secure the rights to the The Lord of the Rings's appendices about the Second Age. In the same time, the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien allowed time compression, and gave Amazon plenty of creative freedom for new characters and plots, but they were not allowed to contradict or change anything about the age in which the original story takes place."It is impossible to change the boundaries which Tolkien has created, it is necessary to remain 'tolkienian,'" — Token scholar Tom Shippey
- Stepping-Stone Sword: Galadriel uses a dagger to climb the wall of an icy mountain near a waterfall.
- Super Swimming Skills: Zig-zagged. Upon reaching Valinor, Galadriel changes her mind and decides to jump ship and start to swim all the way back to Middle-earth. She begins to fail halfway.
- Swan Boats: Galadriel and her ranger company sail back to the Undying Lands on a boat having the shape of a swan.
- Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Used in tandem with Compressed Adaptation. It takes 6 days for Galadriel and a critically injured Halbrand to gallop from the Anduin region west of Mordor to Eregion. A somewhat similar journey in Tolkien's works - Boromir travelling alone from Minas Tirith to Rivendell, but losing his horse halfway - takes almost four months, and Gandalf in Shadowfax is able to reach The Shire from Rohan - roughly half the distance - in six days.
- Travel Montage: Every time a new location must be shown, the transition is done with Epic Tracking Shots of Middle-earth that are used to convey the epic scale of the characters' journey in a similar fashion to the movie trilogy.
- Underground City: As expected from one of the oldest and grandest dwarven cities, Khazad-dûm thrives with life. The city is flourishing and has its own ecosystem maintained by dwarfs.
- Unnervingly Heartwarming: Whether it was a romantic Love Confession or a Platonic Declaration of Love, Halbrand and Galadriel share a very sweet scene at the end of "Udun", where they finally admit their feelings to each other. Galadriel tells Halbrand that he should be free of his Dark and Troubled Past. Halbrand agrees with her and confesses that he would love to bind to his very being everything that Galadriel makes him feel. Galadriel responds that she feels the same way which leaves him speechless. Unfortunately, the scene was just foreshadow for the revelation of Halbrand being Sauron in disguise, deceiving her at every turn. In episode "Alloyed", he finally reveals what he meant, inviting Galadriel to be his Queen Regent and rule over Middle-Earth, turning her into the very thing she fears she would be, a tyrant. And this being Sauron, Galadriel would have most likely ended up like the Witch King of Angmar, never as someone of equal status, just his very powerful minion, enslaved to his will for eternity.
- Unrelated in the Adaptation: In Tolkien's Legendarium, Galadriel is probably one of the most interconnected characters of the entire cycle, being Gil-Galad's great-aunt and first cousins of some degree to both Celebrimbor and Elrond (who is also Galadriel's third cousin twice removed on their mothers' sides, not to mention his future mother-in-law). No mention of this complex web of kinship is made in this series, either between Galadriel or any of the other Elven lords.
- Villainous Face Hold: In Season One's final, after showing an illusion of a possible future together, Sauron gently holds Galadriel's face and turn her head to him while telling her that he is the only one who sees her value.
- Visual Pun: Galadriel has a copious amounts of Ship Tease with Halbrand on the raft of a ship, and then on Elendil's ship. And later, she ditches any possibility of a future romance with Halbrand aka Sauron, after refusing his offer to be his Queen Consort, on the same raft of a sunken ship.
- Wandering Culture: Unlike the beautifully bucolic village of Hobbiton, which comes complete with a watermill, a pub, and a variety of cute little Hobbit homes — all with beautifully tended cottage gardens — the Harfoots of the Second Age survive via stealth, moving from place to place, setting up temporary camps and moving on when resources run out, or danger approaches.
- We Hardly Knew Ye:
- From the second episode, Halbrand's entire group gets killed by the wyrm.
- In the third one, the orcs kill several companions of Arondir; Revion and Medhor.
- Wham Episode: "Udûn". Just as it seems like the heroes have won and freed the Southlands, it's revealed that Adar has accomplished his goal. A chain reaction begins that causes Mount Doom to erupt, thus turning the landscape into what will soon become known as Mordor, an environment where the Orcs can prosper.
- Wanderlust Song: Poppy's song "This Wandering Day", from the title to having "That not all who wonder or wander are lost" verse as a reference to the line "Not all those who wander are lost" from "The Riddle of Strider" in The Fellowship of the Ring.
- Won the War, Lost the Peace: After centuries of waging war against Morgoth; the Elves, Men, and Valar won the greatest war on Arda, but at a big cost for Middle-earth. Centuries later, the aftereffects of the war start to wear down on the peace, the orcs multiplied in secret for centuries, Sauron is still looming somewhere in Middle-earth, affecting everyone in different ways, the light of the Eldars might disappear, the Harfoots are tracked down worshipers of Sauron, with the biggest blow being the orcs claiming the Southlands for themselves.
- The Worf Effect:
- Galadriel's combat skill is established when she effortlessly dispatches an Ice Troll, a creature that was trouncing her party and the kind of foe that would give more than pause to the Fellowship, composed of some the best combatants of the third age.
- After Galadriel has been spending much of the series easily defeating anyone who tries to fight her, when she finally confronts Sauron, he renders her utterly helpless, easily stopping her from stabbing him, warping reality around them to trap her in illusions, and pushing her into the ocean without Galadriel being able to put up a fight against him. Justified in that while she was stated to be capable of opposing him, that's when he was weakened due to not having the One Ring, and since Sauron hasn't created the One Ring and is at full power, as a Maia at full strength, even a powerful Elf like her wouldn't have a chance.
- Wrecked Weapon: Theo finds a broken jet-black sword marked by Sauron's emblem hidden in the cellar of one of the townsfolk, and is drawn to it. The sword starts repairing itself when his blood — which flows towards the blade — touches it.