“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men, doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”
So begins the poem that leads to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, the quest to destroy the “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”
A teaser reciting the above verses — accompanied by real molten metal flowing through wooden ravines inscribed with Elven sigils — has already garnered a social reach of a billion impressions, Amazon told The Hollywood Reporter. The teaser also revealed the title of Amazon’s secretive project, The Rings of Power.
“This is a title that we imagine could live on the spine of a book next to J.R.R. Tolkien’s other classics,” showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay said in a statement. “Until now, audiences have only seen on-screen the story of the One Ring — but before there was one, there were many… and we’re excited to share the epic story of them all.”
The prequel series will follow the events that allowed the Dark Lord Sauron to forge these gold instruments of control, which would eventually lead to Gandalf’s recruitment of hobbit Frodo Baggins to carry the ring of power back “In(to) the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”
“The Rings of Power unites all the major stories of Middle-earth’s Second Age: the forging of the rings, the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron, the epic tale of Númenor, and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men,” Payne and McKay explained.
In Middle-earth mythology, the Rings of Power were 20 magical rings forged at Sauron’s bidding in the land’s Second Age. Rings of Power will follow fashioning of the first 19 — the masterwork of the Elven-smiths of Eregion headed by Celebrimbor, grandson of Fëanor. Sauron, disguised as a benevolent entity called Annatar, convinced and taught these Elves to create the golden bands.
Sauron would then forge the One Ring himself at Mount Doom. The 19 rings doled out to Middle-earth’s races were meant to submit to the power of the One, with its wearers controlled by Sauron.
The greatest of the three rings “for the Elven-kings under the sky,” Celebrimbor crafted alone, without Sauron’s knowledge. Narya, the ring of fire, gave its wearer unweary, long-lasting life. Círdan, the Elven lord of the Grey Havens, eventually would gift this to Gandalf. Nenya, the ring of water, was gifted to Lady Galadriel, who bore it to safeguard the forests of Lórien from incursion. Vilya, the ring of air, was given to Gil-galad, the High King of the Ñoldor Elves before being passed down to Elrond of Rivendell.
Sauron then presented “Seven (rings) for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone.” The subsequent seven dwarf clans accumulated their fabled treasure hoards with the rings. Though the great treasure attracted dragons (as seen in The Hobbit), Sauron himself was unable to force dwarven ring bearers to submit. It may be that the hardy dwarves were resistant to the Dark Lord’s control, especially the powerful clan leaders.
“Nine for Mortal Men, doomed to die,” were those rings divided among those mighty leaders of men doomed to become the Nazgûl — the Ringwraiths. As seen in the films, these men became phantoms. Their mortal sheaths gone, they continued on as Sauron’s evil servants, forever enslaved to the Elven bands.
Amazon’s multiseason drama will follow the rise of these rings and the many, many Middle-earth tales surrounding their progeny. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is slated to premiere exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories in multiple languages on Friday, September 2, with new episodes available weekly.
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