What To Expect in The Lords of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2

Three Elven rings have been forged, but that doesn't mean Sauron's next move involves forging the others. And what will Galadriel do next?

by | October 27, 2022 | Comments

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(Photo by Courtesy of Prime Video)

Spoiler alert: The following reveals details about season 1 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. If you haven’t watched the season and wish to avoid spoilers, stop reading here. 

With Sauron revealed, the Stranger (Daniel Weyman) on his way to a new land, and the three Elven rings forged in Eregion, Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power covered what feels like two or three chapters (and an extended prologue) of an unwritten Middle-earth book. And while it differs to an extent from the history author J.R.R. Tolkien sketched out for the Second Age of his mythical realm, The Rings of Power cannot help but find its way to similar paths. But even if it followed every greenway in lock-step, the how of it is the true journey.

So what will season 2 look like? Well, we have some guesses based on what transpired in the first season and, of course, Tolkien’s Tale of Years in the back of The Lord of the Rings – to say nothing of his other writings that the production team may or may not be able to access per Amazon’s deal with author’s estate. Nevertheless, we’ll shake the dust off some of those tomes to give you an idea of what to expect when The Rings of Power returns for its currently-in-production second season.

The Seven and the Nine

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power - 108 Charlie Vickers (Halbrand)

(Photo by Prime Video)

Although the Three Rings are canonically the last to be forged before Sauron (Charlie Vickers) crafts the One Ring in the fires of Mt. Doom, we’re inclined to believe the series will fudge the order in favor of Tolkien’s Ring Poem. In its verses, the three are mentioned first, followed by the seven for the Dwarves, the nine for mortal Men, and then Sauron’s ruling ring. This order better fits the sequence of events as depicted in Rings of Power and ties to the three’s purpose in the context of television show: stalling the diminishing of the Elves.

Presumably, further purposes for the seven and the nine will evolve across the second set of episodes. Perhaps the seven will be an attempt to smooth over relations with Khazad-Dûm following High King Gil-galad’s (Benjamin Walker) attempt to secure the mithril lode. Or maybe Elrond (Robert Aramayo) will be eager to share the good fortune of the rings with his dwarf friend, Prince Durin (Owain Arthur).

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The nine are a thornier proposition as we only know they come into possession of the kings of Men and, as seen in the first season, the Men of Middle-earth have no kings. Or, at least, the Men of the Southlands lack a ruler. Other regions, like Rhûn and the forest of Greenwood the Great, may have more organized kingdoms with an eagerness to claim Rings of Power for themselves. Of course, that desire is stronger in Tolkien’s lore, in which Númenór more freely subjugates their native Middle-earth cousins. But with Queen Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) promising to establish a greater Númenórean presence in Middle-earth, the so-called “low men” of the realm will reach for the rings sooner than later.

All that said, we cannot imagine season 2 ending without the nine crafted and gifted for lore reasons which now constitute spoilers. For now, we’ll say all of the rings should exist before a certain epic event we believe will close out season 3.

Also, we imagine Sauron will devise some way to enter Celebrimbor’s (Charles Edwards) good graces again to ensure a role in making the Seven and the Nine while allowing him more access to the Unseen World. If that means using the guise Tolkien created for him is anyone’s guess.

Shadows of Mordor

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Charlie Vickers is Halbrand

(Photo by Prime Video)

Of course, as Vickers mentioned when we talked to him about the finale, claiming Mordor for himself is a key part of Sauron’s plan and, we suspect, something that will either open the season or feature closely thereafter. Reestablishing his dominance over the Orcs and their de facto leader, Adar (Joseph Mawle), is a requirement — possibly the most pressing of all the Dark Lord’s to-do list. In fact, it is reasonable to say he cannot use that title until he deals with Adar. In that, we hope to get greater clarity in what transpired between them. Did Adar truly wound Sauron enough that he would flee into the sea or has it all been a ruse?

Related: The Rings of Power Stars Daniel Weyman and Charlie Vickers on Sauron’s Reveal and Embodying Shadow and Light

Beyond the battle ahead, the shadow in Mordor also requires the foundations of Sauron’s stronghold, Barad-dûr, an early establishment of keeps like the Morannon — where Aragorn, Gandalf, and some of the other Fellowship members will fight Sauron’s forces one last time in The Return of the King (the novel and Peter Jackson film adaptation) — and maybe even a discussion between Sauron and the great spider Shelob over at Cirith Ungol.

As it happens, video game fans have already seen a version of such an interaction between Sauron and Shelob in Middle-Earth: Shadows of War, which theorized a surprisingly intimate connection. Perhaps Rings of Power will follow suit as its Sauron seems at least dimly aware of romance and attraction. But then again, they may only be further tools in his habit of manipulating everyone and everything around him.

The Land of Rhûn

Daniel Weyman (The Stranger) in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

(Photo by Prime Video)

Perhaps the most intriguing place the series will go next season is to the land of Rhûn, in the East of Middle-earth. The region is one of the least-sketched by Tolkien (matched only by the lands to the south, Harad, and a far southeastern continent referred to as “the Dark Land” or “the South Land”). But what we know of Rhûn always aligns itself with the Enemy — whether it be Morgoth, Sauron, or the “orc-cults” of Tolkien’s abandoned Lord of the Rings sequel.

Of course, that association between evil and the East has some nasty implications in our real world, which is meant to be the destiny of Middle-earth, so we expect the Stranger and Nori (Markella Kavenagh) will meet a few Men in the region who chafe under their ancestral fealty to the Enemy, much like Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) did in the first season. Also, as those who play The Lord of the Rings Online have discovered, the East is filled with its own cultures and customs for the traveling duo to encounter and attempt to understand.

Markella Kavenagh as Nori in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

(Photo by Prime Video)

Nevertheless, evil will await them there. Expect more Mystics or Men capable of rudimentary sorcery with plans of their own for the Stranger and his halfling companion. Perhaps they will even use the Stranger as a bargaining chip once Sauron makes an inspection of his holdings there.

And if the Stranger and Nori avoid trouble, they will likely learn the purpose of the constellation burned into his memory. It could be anything, but if our current primary guess at his identity proves true, it is possible they will find another Meteor Man when they reach their destination.

Of Celeborn and Glorfindel

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With the three in the possession of the Elves, it would seem their story is done for now. But their folk always have another tale to tell. One suggestion: Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), now free of some of her grief, may seek out the whereabouts of her husband, Celeborn. Her grief clouded her perception of Halbrand (Sauron’s human disguise), so it may have prevented her from perceiving Celeborn’s survival following the First Age wars.

Then again, he could have died. But death is not the end for Elves. With their consciousness ever bound to the earth, a slain Elf finds their way to the Halls of Mandos on the northern shore (or far west) of Valinor. There, an Elf spends a time before resuming corporeal life in the Undying Lands. A chance few are even permitted to return to Middle-earth.

One such Elf is Glorfindel, who faced down a Balrog and saved many Elves during the Fall of Gondolin in the First Age. Such was his renown that he sailed back to Middle-earth around the same time as the Blue Wizards, circa 1600 of the Second Age. We suspect the character will appear in the series at some point and if the Blue Wizards arrive by other means, Celeborn could make a perfect traveling companion for the legendary Elf hero. In this scenario, Galadriel may continue to pursue the Enemy or help build up better defenses for the eventual war between the Elves and Sauron.

Then, of course, there is the matter of Galadriel and Celeborn’s daughter, Celebrían, who will absolutely matter to the story later on. But, maybe, not in the second season.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

(Photo by Prime Video)

When we spoke with Edwards ahead the finale, he expressed a hope the currently frosty relationship between the Elves and the Dwarves of Khazad-Dûm will warm up enough in the short term for Celebrimbor to design the inlay upon the Doors of Durin — an image the actor remembers vividly from Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 The Lord of the Rings.

“I just remembered seeing those doors light up and I thought they were beautiful and iconic. And I didn’t know that Celebrimbor had done the inlaid ithildin in those doors until I started my research when I got the job and I thought, OK, that’s great! … I’m very much looking forward to that if it is covered, which I hope it will be.”

A Bane for Durin

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

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Since the first season ended without resolution of the Dwarf plot, Prince Durin remains disowned and disinherited by his father, King Durin III (Peter Mullan). Audiences also saw the mithril lode turn out to be the resting place of the Balrog that will come to be known as “Durin’s Bane.” Of course, as Tolkien lore fans know, the Durin who lends his name to the Balrog is a much later descent of the current king, but it is possible a bane of some sort will come for him.

A lingering illness has a certain Westerosi quality to it, so perhaps something sudden — like a cave-in — will see the prince elevated as the succession may not be Durin III’s to deny. If the prince is crowned king, expect the mithril lode to be exploited. He was eager to make a fortune with it and share it with the Elves, which is still in the future. Also, consider Edwards’ hope for the Doors of Durin, a symbol of the amity between the two groups.

Of course, it is always possible Durin III will meet a more violent and potentially fiery end. Why establish the Balrog is there with the mithril unless it will be motivated to action later?

Pharazôn’s Next Move

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The first season ended on a curious note for Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle) as he stood over the body of the late Númenórean king, Tar-Palantir (Ken Blackburn). While some might interpret the moment as the first sign of Pharazôn’s growing ambition, there is something else to consider: Pharazôn confronting his own mortality.

Although not a big issue in the television series so far, the Númenóreans are longer-lived than their “low men” counterparts — particularly among the royal line — but that life expectancy has been shrinking with successive generations. And although we spied some inkling of Pharazôn’s long-term goals (the re-establishment of colonies and trade within Middle-earth), the death of the king is a signal that time is running out. That sense of his own impending death may motivate Pharazôn to a more extreme plan; particularly once he discovers his cousin, the Queen, is blind.

Then again, it is possible Eärien (Ema Horvath) will serve as the Queen’s eyes just as her father, Elendil (Lloyd Owen), serves as the Queen’s faithful advisor. Will they be strong enough a team to keep Pharazôn from reaching his ambitions? Lore fans know the answer, but the how of it all could be extremely interesting. Particularly with Eärien and Pharazôn’s son, Kemen (Leon Wadham), as wild cards in the narrative. Will they take their families’ sides or break out on their own?

Isildur in the Wild

Maxim Baldry in The Lord of the Rings: The RIngs of Power character poster

(Photo by Prime Video)

And while we’re discussing the sons of Númenór, what of Isildur (Maxim Baldry)? Presumed dead by Elendil and the Queen’s expeditionary force, he is somewhere in the wilds of Middle-earth if not the guest of Adar in some Orcish pit.

Presuming he is wandering free, he could come upon Bronwyn, Arondir (Ishmael Cruz Cordova), and the others journeying to Pelargir, the abandoned Númenórean port on the coast of what will one day be called Gondor. If that is the case, he may come to love the region, which will be of significance to him as the series grows closer to its end.

If he is a prison of the Orcs, then he will at least learn some new things about the Enemy. And that’s all presuming that he is alive. The lore tells us he lives, so we assume that to be true, but as Rings of Power sails close to waters some would call heretical, it is always possible the character breathed his last saving some Southlanders from a collapsing building. In that case, who takes his place in the grander story of the Second Age?

Lloyd Owen is Elendil in a poster for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

(Photo by Prime Video)

Back on Númenór, Elendil’s grief may lead him to reconcile with Anárion, his other son obliquely referenced throughout the first season. Following what little is said about him, it appears he lives in the west of the island and may be hording the missing palantirí Míriel mentioned to Galadriel. According to Tolkien, the western part of Númenórean is still predominantly faithful to the Valar and the Elves, so Anárion’s convictions may have caused a split with his more pragmatic father. But now that Elendil’s experience in Middle-earth has reaffirmed his conviction as a member of the Faithful, a combination of that renewed belief and the grief over Isildur will likely send him west to reunite with Anárion.

Whether or not this means Anárion takes Isildur’s place in the story remains to be seen. After all, he has his own role to fulfill. But, perhaps, we’ll talk more about that after season 2 debuts.

83% The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Season 1 (2022) is now streaming in its entirety on Prime Video.

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