The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1 – TV Series

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

The first season of the American fantasy television series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is based on the novel The Lord of the Rings and its appendices by J. R. R. Tolkien. Set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, it depicts the re-emergence of evil in Middle-earth. The season was produced by Amazon Studios in association with New Line Cinema and in consultation with the Tolkien Estate. J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay served as showrunners.

Amazon acquired the television rights to The Lord of the Rings in November 2017 and made a multi-season commitment for a new series. Payne and McKay were set to develop it in July 2018, and a large international cast was hired. Filming was confirmed to take place in New Zealand, where Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies were made, after negotiations between Amazon and the New Zealand government. The production intended to evoke the films with similar production design, and Wētā Workshop returned to provide prosthetics. Filming began in February 2020, but was placed on hold in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Production resumed in September and wrapped in August 2021, taking place in Auckland and on location around New Zealand. J. A. Bayona, Wayne Che Yip, and Charlotte Brändström directed episodes of the season. Post-production took place in New Zealand until June 2022, and Wētā FX returned from the films as one of the visual effects vendors. Bear McCreary spent a year composing the original score.

The season premiered on the streaming service Amazon Prime Video on September 1, 2022, with its first two episodes. This followed an extensive marketing campaign that attempted to win over dissatisfied Tolkien fans. The other six episodes were released weekly until October 14. Amazon said the season was the most-watched of any Prime Video original series, and third-party analytics companies also estimated its viewership to be high. Commentators compared the season’s viewership to that of the concurrent fantasy series House of the Dragon. The season received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise for its visuals and musical score but criticism for its pacing and characterization. Responses from audiences, including vocal Tolkien fans, were mixed; commentary on the audience response focused on backlash to the diverse cast. The season received various accolades, including six Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Award nominations. Production on the second season, which was ordered in November 2019, was moved to the United Kingdom.

the lord of the rings the rings of power season 1 1

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


Episodes 01

“A Shadow of the Past”

After the Dark Lord Morgoth is defeated, the Elf Finrod dies searching for Morgoth’s servant Sauron. Finrod’s sister Galadriel vows to continue the search and finds an abandoned fortress in the northern wastelands of Forodwaith which bears Sauron’s mark. Her companions insist on returning to the Elven capital Lindon where High King Gil-galad proclaims the war against Morgoth’s forces to be over. He grants Galadriel and her company the honor of sailing to Valinor where they can live an eternal life at peace. In the Southlands of Middle-earth, Elves watch over Men descended from allies of Morgoth. To the disapproval of the other Elves and Men, the Elf Arondir has grown close with the human healer Bronwyn. Together they discover that the village of Hordern has been destroyed, while Bronwyn’s son Theo finds a broken sword bearing Sauron’s mark. Near Valinor, Galadriel chooses to turn back and continue the search for Sauron, jumping from the ship into the Sundering Seas. At the same time, two Harfoots, Nori Brandyfoot and Poppy Proudfellow, discover a strange man inside a meteor crater.

Episodes 02


Swimming back to Middle-earth, Galadriel comes across a raft with human survivors of a shipwreck. They are attacked by a sea monster and only one survives—Halbrand of the Southlands who is fleeing from Orcs. He and Galadriel work together to survive a storm. Nori and Poppy keep the Stranger hidden from the other Harfoots and give him food and shelter. He does not speak their language but uses fireflies and apparent magic to indicate that he is searching for a constellation of stars that Nori does not recognize. Arondir investigates tunnels beneath Hordern and is captured. Bronwyn returns to her own village, Tirharad, where an Orc attacks her and Theo. They kill it and convince the rest of the town, including Waldreg the tavern owner, to leave. Gil-galad sends the half-Elf Elrond to Eregion to assist the great Elven-smith Celebrimbor, who is planning to build a powerful new forge. Elrond suggests they seek help from the Dwarves and goes to his friend Prince Durin IV in Khazad-dûm. Durin IV is angry that Elrond has not visited in 20 years, but his wife Disa convinces him to hear Elrond’s proposal.

Episodes 03


Galadriel and Halbrand are picked up by a ship captained by Elendil. He takes them to Númenor, an island kingdom ruled by Men descended from Elrond’s brother Elros. Relations between the island and the Elves have grown strained, and Queen Regent Míriel denies Galadriel’s request for a ship back to Middle-earth. Galadriel visits a library of lore with Elendil and discovers that the mark of Sauron is actually a map of the Southlands where a new realm for evil forces is planned. She also learns that Halbrand, who is imprisoned after fighting some Númenóreans, is heir to the throne of the Southlands. In the Southlands, Arondir has been captured by Orcs and taken to a construction camp digging underground passages. His Elven compatriots have also been captured and are killed during an attempted prison revolt. Arondir is taken to the leader of the Orcs who they call Adar, which means “father”. As the Harfoots prepare for their seasonal migration, the Stranger is revealed to them all while trying to read some star maps. They let him join them and he pushes Nori’s wagon since her father is injured.

Episodes 04

“The Great Wave”

Míriel refuses to help defend the Southlands and has Galadriel imprisoned. Adar releases Arondir with a message for the Southlanders: forsake their claim to the area and swear fealty to Adar, or be destroyed. Theo returns to Tirharad for supplies and is attacked by Orcs who are searching for the broken sword. Arondir saves him. Waldreg tells Theo that the sword is a gift for Men from Sauron. In Eregion, the Elves and Dwarves begin building the forge. Elrond learns that Durin IV has been mining a powerful new ore, mithril, and promises to keep this secret. Galadriel escapes prison and goes to the tower of King Tar-Palantir, who is in ill health. Míriel explains that there was a rebellion because the king wanted to renew relations with the Elves, and Míriel was placed on the throne. This gave her access to a palantír (crystal ball) that showed her a vision of Númenor being destroyed in a great tsunami. She believes Galadriel will bring this about, but when the petals of Númenor’s White Tree begin to fall Míriel sees this as a sign from the Valar and instead decides to accompany Galadriel to the Southlands.

Episodes 05


The Harfoots are saved from a wolf attack by the Stranger, who injures himself using magic to scare the wolves off. He later uses more magic to heal himself and nearly hurts Nori in the process, frightening her. In the tower of Ostirith in the Southlands, Waldreg convinces half of the refugees that they will be better off joining the Orcs. Theo shows the broken sword to Arondir who believes that it is some sort of key designed to enslave the Southlanders. In Lindon, Gil-galad reveals to Elrond that he knows of the existence of mithril and believes it can counteract the fading power of the Elves in Middle-earth. Elrond tells Durin IV and the pair return to Khazad-dûm to try convince his father, King Durin III, to help the Elves. As the Númenoreans prepare to depart for Middle-earth, Tar-Palantir warns Míriel not to go. Galadriel tells her that Halbrand will be accompanying them to claim the throne of the Southlands, but he does not want to and accuses Galadriel of using him. Galadriel later apologizes and opens up to him, and Halbrand eventually agrees to go. Númenor’s ships depart for the Southlands.

Episodes 06


Adar and his Orcs find Ostirith abandoned but this is a trap and Arondir collapses the tower on them. He and the refugees return to Tirharad to prepare for the next assault while Galadriel, Halbrand, and the Númenóreans make their way towards the Southlands. Arondir is unable to destroy the broken sword and hides it instead. That night, a group of Orcs enter Tirharad and are killed by the townspeople, who are horrified to learn that some of the enemies they just killed were the people who followed Waldreg. Orc archers fire on the town and wound Bronwyn. Adar arrives and Theo reveals the location of the broken sword to save Bronwyn’s life. Adar attempts to flee as the Númenóreans arrive on horseback and kill or capture the remaining Orcs. Galadriel and Halbrand capture Adar and interrogate him. Halbrand is hailed as the King of the Southlands. Theo realizes that the broken sword is missing: Waldreg has it and uses it to unlock a dam beside Ostirith, sending water through the Orcs’ tunnels and into a lava chamber beneath the mountain Orodruin. The resulting eruption covers the Southlands.

Episodes 07

“The Eye”

Galadriel wakes up, covered in ash and surrounded by fire, and finds Theo. Míriel loses her eyesight, and Elendil’s son Isildur is presumed dead. The Harfoots arrive at their destination, an orchard that has been destroyed by the nearby volcano. The Stranger attempts to fix it but endangers Nori and her sister. Scared, the Harfoots send him away, only to find the orchard regrown the next day. A trio of mysterious women arrive in search of the stranger and destroy the Harfoots’s caravans when Nori attempts to misdirect them. Galadriel and Theo are reunited with Bronwyn, Arondir, and a gravely injured Halbrand. Galadriel takes him to receive Elvish medicine while the Númenóreans depart on their ships. Míriel vows to return for revenge. Meanwhile, Elrond and Durin IV fail to convince Durin III to help the Elves. They are caught mining mithril in secret and Elrond is banished, taking a small piece of mithril with him. Durin IV is stripped of his royal status and Durin III seals the mine. Unbeknownst to them all, a Balrog lives deep below the mine. The Southlands, now a land of Orcs, is renamed Mordor.

Episodes 08


The three women find the Stranger and tell him that he is Sauron. Galadriel and Halbrand arrive in Eregion and the latter receives medical attention. As he recovers, he grows interested in Celebrimbor’s work and suggests a way to create a small object with Elrond’s mithril. Míriel and Elendil return to Númenór to learn that Tar-Palantir has died. The Harfoots find the Stranger and attempt to rescue him from the women. The Stranger, receiving encouragement from Nori, uses magic to banish the women to the unseen world. Regaining some of his memories, he explains to Nori that he is a Wizard and needs to travel east to the land of Rhûn. Nori decides to go with him. Galadriel reviews records on the Kings of the Southlands and realizes that Halbrand is not who he says he is. She confronts him and he reveals himself to be Sauron. She refuses to join him and he flees to Mordor. Choosing not to reveal this, Galadriel encourages Celebrimbor to move forward with the plan but make three objects instead. Elrond finds the records and deduces what happened, but too late: three Rings of Power are forged.


  • Morfydd Clark as Galadriel: an Elven warrior who believes evil is returning to Middle-earth. The showrunners based her depiction on a letter in which Tolkien described a young Galadriel as being of “Amazon disposition”.
  • Lenny Henry as Sadoc Burrows: a Harfoot elder. Henry described the Harfoots as “the traditional Tolkien little guy… the little people in this world provide comedy but also get to be incredibly brave”.
  • Sara Zwangobani as Marigold Brandyfoot: a Harfoot and Nori’s stepmother
  • Dylan Smith as Largo Brandyfoot: a Harfoot and Nori’s father
  • Markella Kavenagh as Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot: a Harfoot with a “yearning for adventure”
  • Megan Richards as Poppy Proudfellow: a curious Harfoot
  • Robert Aramayo as Elrond: a half-Elven architect and politician. Elrond goes from being optimistic and eager to world-weary and closed-off throughout the series.
  • Benjamin Walker as Gil-galad: the High King of the Elves who rules from the realm of Lindon. Walker highlighted the character’s “odd gift of foresight. He’s prescient, and… can kind of feel the pulse of evil rising.”
  • Ismael Cruz Córdova as Arondir: a Silvan Elf with a forbidden love for the human healer Bronwyn, similar to Tolkien’s love stories about Beren and Lúthien and Aragorn and Arwen
  • Nazanin Boniadi as Bronwyn: a human mother and healer who owns an apothecary in the Southlands
  • Tyroe Muhafidin as Theo: Bronwyn’s son
  • Charles Edwards as Celebrimbor: the Elven smith who forges the Rings of Power, he is a “brilliant artisan” known throughout Middle-earth
  • Daniel Weyman as the Stranger: one of the Istari (Wizards) who falls from the sky in a flaming meteor and befriends Nori
  • Owain Arthur as Durin IV: the prince of the Dwarven city of Khazad-dûm
  • Charlie Vickers as Sauron: the former lieutenant of the Dark Lord Morgoth who disguises himself as the human Halbrand to deceive Galadriel and the rest of Middle-earth
  • Sophia Nomvete as Disa: Durin IV’s wife and princess of the Dwarven city of Khazad-dûm. Disa and the other female Dwarves have facial hair, but they don’t have large beards like the male Dwarves in the series.
  • Lloyd Owen as Elendil: a Númenórean sailor and Isildur’s father who will eventually be a leader in the last alliance between Elves and Men
  • Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Míriel: the queen regent of Númenor, an island kingdom ruled by Men descended from Elrond’s half-Elven brother Elros
  • Trystan Gravelle as Pharazôn: a Númenórean advisor to queen regent Míriel
  • Maxim Baldry as Isildur: a Númenórean sailor who will eventually become a warrior and king. The writers wanted Isildur’s story to end in tragedy rather than foolishness as in the source material.
  • Ema Horvath as Eärien: Isildur’s sister, who was created for the series
  • Joseph Mawle (season 1) and Sam Hazeldine (season 2) as Adar: a fallen Elf and the leader of the Orcs
  • Leon Wadham as Kemen: Pharazôn’s son

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



Amazon acquired the global television rights for J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings in November 2017. The company’s streaming service, Amazon Prime Video, gave a multi-season commitment to a series based on the novel and its appendices, to be produced by Amazon Studios in association with New Line Cinema and in consultation with the Tolkien Estate. The budget was expected to be in the range of US$100–150 million per season.

In April 2018, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film director Peter Jackson had begun discussing his potential involvement with Amazon, but by June he was not expected to be involved in the series. Later that month, Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke said discussions regarding Jackson’s involvement were ongoing, and added that the deal for the series had only been officially completed a month earlier. The studio had been meeting with potential writers about the project and hoped that it would be ready to debut in 2021. Amazon hired J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay to develop the series in July. The pair were an unlikely choice, having only done unproduced or uncredited writing before the series, but their vision for the project aligned with Amazon’s and they were championed to the studio by director J. J. Abrams who had worked with them on an unproduced Star Trek film. In December, Jackson said he and his producing partners would read some scripts for the series and offer notes on them, but otherwise he would enjoy watching a Tolkien adaptation that he did not make.

Bryan Cogman joined the series as a consultant in May 2019 after signing an overall deal with Amazon. Cogman previously served as a writer on Game of Thrones and was set to work alongside Payne and McKay in developing the new series. In July, J. A. Bayona was hired to direct the first two episodes and serve as executive producer alongside his producing partner Belén Atienza. Later that month, Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss were in discussions with several outlets regarding signing an overall deal, including with Amazon who were interested in having the pair consult on The Lord of the Rings; they ultimately signed a deal with Netflix instead. At the end of July, Amazon confirmed that Payne and McKay would serve as showrunners and executive producers for the series, and revealed the full creative team that was working on the project: executive producers Bayona, Atienza, Bruce Richmond, Gene Kelly, Lindsey Weber, and Sharon Tal Yguado; visual effects producer Ron Ames; costume designer Kate Hawley; production designer Rick Heinrichs; visual effects supervisor Jason Smith; and illustrator/concept artist John Howe, who was one of the main conceptual designers on the films. Special effects company Wētā Workshop and visual effects vendor Wētā FX were also expected to be involved like they were for the films. Additionally, Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey was revealed to be working on the series, and he stated that he believed the first season was supposed to consist of 20 episodes.

In January 2020, Amazon announced that the first season would consist of eight episodes. Shippey was no longer involved by that April, and was believed to have left the project after publicly revealing information about it without permission. Other Tolkien scholars and “lore experts” remained onboard the series. Heinrichs was eventually replaced as production designer by Ramsey Avery, while Yguado left the series when she exited her role as Amazon Studios’ head of genre programming. Cogman and Kelly also left the project following development of the season. Callum Greene joined as a new executive producer by December 2020 after previously serving as producer on Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013). In March 2021, Wayne Che Yip was announced as director for four episodes of the season, and was set as a co-executive producer. Charlotte Brändström was revealed as director for another two episodes in May. Prime Video announced the series’ full title, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, in January 2022. That August, Jackson said he had not been contacted again about seeing scripts for the series. Amazon explained that the deal to acquire the television rights for The Lord of the Rings required them to keep the series distinct from Jackson’s films, and the Tolkien Estate were reportedly against Jackson’s involvement in the project. Despite this, the showrunners had privately discussed the series with Jackson and Yguado had championed his inclusion before her exit.


September 1, 2022


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