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The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power ended its first season with relatively good critical reviews, scoring an 83% on the Rotten Tomatoes critics meter. The first season has been highly controversial amongst the fan base though, as some fans enjoyed it while other longtime Tolkien fans felt it was too much of a departure from the source material that is considered to be sacred.  The Rings of Power season 2 is expected to debut this fall, with the season said to be darker and grittier. While it is unknown how the second season will be received by general audiences, many longtime fans are hoping for a more faithful adaptation to the Tolkien lore.

I’ll go over my thoughts here on what we might expect to see from the upcoming second season of The Rings Of Power. But first, I wanted to take this moment to share a quick homage to the recently deceased Bernard Hill, who portrayed the beloved Theoden King in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of The Rings trilogy. Many fans across the LOTR fandom were shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Bernard Hill. As one of my personal favorite characters, Hill’s portrayal as Theoden was honest and sincere, full of conviction and heart, and helped to ground an epic trilogy that felt larger than life in humanity. Any future LOTR actor should look to Bernard Hill’s performance as inspiration. 

[Warning: spoilers for season 1 and potential spoilers for season 2 discussed below.]

Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in armor
Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power (Prime Video)

Where we left off in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Season one ended with Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) finally learning the truth about Halbrand and his supposed lineage. In the season’s big twist, we learn that Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) is secretly one of the many forms of the dark lord himself, Sauron. Following the reveal, Galadriel has Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) proceed with forging three objects known as the first three Rings of Power. Sauron retreats to Mordor, the infamous land created by Adar (Joseph Mawle) and his Uruk minion army. 

Other storylines that should resume include Elrond (Robert Aramayo) and Durin IV (Owain Arthur) failing to convince Durin III (Peter Mullan), the King of Khazad-dûm, to have the dwarves assist the Elves in providing Mithril. We should also see the continuation of the Numenorian storyline, including the whereabouts of Isildur (Maxim Baldry) after the battle in the southlands.

Along with that, we should begin to see the rising tensions in Numenor between Pharazon (Trystan Gravelle) and Queen Miriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). One of the most mysterious storylines we’ll also pick back up on is the adventure of Nori (Markella Kavenagh) and The Stranger (Daniel Weyman). It’s presumed and hinted at that The Stranger is indeed Gandalf, but that secret has yet to be revealed. 

Review: The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1

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The backstory of the feud between Sauron and Adar

It was teased throughout the duration of season one that Sauron and Adar have some previous bad blood. In episode six of the first season, Adar says that he “killed Sauron”. Beyond that, no further explanation is provided other than a brief confrontation between Halbrand/Sauron and Adar in episode six that teases some more of their past history together. The Rings of Power season 2 will undoubtedly give us a look at what went down between these two foes. It would be a great opportunity to add some context to who Adar really is and how Sauron ended up taking the form of Halbrand. 

Charlie Vickers as Sauron in The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2
Charlie Vickers as Sauron in The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 (Prime Video)

Sauron is well known as “The Deceiver” and has the ability to take many forms. It’s no surprise that he was able to trick Adar into thinking he was dead. It appeared that after Adar supposedly defeated Sauron, he became the leader of the orc army in the Southlands. Adar’s main goal in the first season was to give the Uruks a true home, and as we saw in episode six, the eruption of Mount Doom brought forth the new land known as Mordor.

What some may not realize is that this likely was all a part of Sauron’s plan as The Deceiver. He likely wanted to use Adar as a means to bring forth Mordor and use it as his base of operations. As we see in the final scene of season one, Sauron approaches Mordor and Mount Doom. His plans for Mordor in season two are currently unknown, but we will certainly see that storyline explored in season two. 

The forging of the twenty Rings Of Power

One of the richest and potentially the most important storylines in all of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings is the story of the Rings of Power. The conception of the Rings of Power set in motion a storyline that takes place for thousands of years. By the end of season one, we’ve only seen Celebrimbor and the elven smiths of Eregion forge the three elven rings known as Nenya, Vilya, and Narya.

Who will wear these rings in the show is uncertain, but it’s almost a guarantee that Galadriel will wear Nenya. In the Tolkien novels, Narya is worn by Cirdan, a character yet to be introduced in the show. Vilya is worn by Gil-Galad but given to Elrond and It’s safe to assume they may go that route in the show as well, given both characters are already cast and play integral roles. 

While we’ve seen three rings forged, there are still a whopping 17 rings left to be forged. If we get too deep into the concept of all the rings, it may end up spoiling some plot points for the viewers who have not read The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales along with The Lord of The Rings and Appendices of The Lord of The Rings. All that can be said is there are still seven rings for the Dwarf lords, Nine rings for the kings of men, and the one ring for Sauron still left to be forged. It’s safe to assume potentially all of these rings could be forged in the second season. 

The continuation Of Nori and the Stranger’s adventures

The end of the first season saw Nori and The Stranger setting off to embark on a journey to Rhun, a place that lies in the far east of Middle-earth. The Stranger was seen searching for a constellation in the sky for the majority of the season. It was revealed by cultists of Sauron, who mistook The Stranger for Sauron, that he can learn more about himself and the mysterious constellation in a location called Rhun. We should see Rhun explored for the first time ever in live action, providing us with a look at another popular Middle-earth location.

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The Stranger (Daniel Weyman) in The Rings of Power. (Prime Video)

The great controversy about the character known as The Stranger is the potential that he could be the well-known grey wizard Gandalf. His final line in the season “When in doubt, Elanor Brandyfoot, always follow your nose” certainly seems to indicate that this character could be Gandalf, as that is a famous line uttered in The Fellowship of the Ring.

For better context, it is well known throughout Tolkien’s writings that the Istari, or the five wizards sent to Middle-earth to help defeat the dark forces, do not arrive until the beginning of the third age. Although, in The Peoples of Middle-Earth it was written that the two unknown Blue Wizards were sent to Middle-earth during the second age. This debacle has clearly become a hot topic amongst the fandom, with fans being split on the decision to include the wizards in this show. 

Picking back up with the Numenorian characters

The last we saw of Isildur, he was lost and presumed to be dead after the battle in the southlands and the eventual eruption of Mount Doom. Those who have seen The Lord of The Rings trilogy know that this is certainly not the case and that Isildur will undoubtedly be alive. Where Isildur’s season two plot takes him remains to be seen, but it’s safe to assume he’ll be doing his best to return to Numenor. Isildur is a character who is likely to see an expanded role this season, as his importance to the overall plot of the second age is hard to overstate.  

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Robert Aramayo as Elrond in The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power Season Two (Prime Video)

The last we saw of Queen Miriel, Elendil, and the Numenorian army, they were boarding ships to return to the island of Numenor. Queen Miriel was blinded by the eruption of Mount Doom and vowed to return to Middle-earth to assist the Elves in the coming battles against the Darkness. Back in Numenor, Queen Miriel will likely arrive and begin to deal with Pharazon’s secret political schemes.

As we saw in season one, Pharazon does not trust the elves and puts his faith in Numenor while Miriel is working towards an alliance between the Elves and Numenor. This political difference will certainly cause a large rift in the kingdom. 

Tease of an epic two-episode battle in The Rings of Power season 2

The popular Tolkien-based site Fellowship of Fans revealed in an exclusive last year that there will be a giant two-episode battle to culminate season two of The Rings of Power. It has been teased to be one of the largest battles on television ever seen. 

The Lord of the Rings trilogy set the standard for epic battles and blockbuster worthy action. From a personal perspective, the battle at Helm’s Deep is my favorite action set piece in any film. From Helm’s Deep, to the Battle of Pelennor Fields, to the Battle at the Black Gate, we have seen what true spectacle looks like in the LOTR universe. It’s safe to say that Charlotte Brandstrom, the presumed director of the two-episode battle, has her hands full with this task. The Rings of Power has a chance to make its mark on television if it can deliver a truly memorable and The Lord of the Rings worthy battle for the fandom. 

 

Overall, there are almost a dozen plot points that are set in motion for the second season of The Rings of Power. While Amazon Studios does not have the direct rights to adapt a 1:1 version of The Silmarillion, we should see a gradual progression in the story that that book tells.

For any fan that’s seen the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring, we know that this show is headed towards that moment for its series finale. Amazon has stated the show is planned to run for five seasons, and should have a culmination that leads directly into the original The Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 2 premieres on Prime Video this fall. Do you plan on watching it? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord!

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Drew Reed

Hey I'm Drew Reed, Staff Writer here at The Cosmic Circus. I love Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, The Lord of The Rings and many more fantasy and sci-fi universes. You can find me on twitter @ DrewReed1099

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