Ever since Amazon announced its billion-dollar Lord of the Rings prequel series, the fans all over the world started wondering about a lot of things. Most of the headlines were about whether Peter Jackson is participating in some capacity or not, while some even predicted that the story will actually be about young Aragorn or based on The Silmarillion a collection of myths written by J.R.R. Tolkien and published after his death. And now, in a series of tweets, the official LOTR on Prime account may give out a clue when will the story take place and that is the Second Age of Middle-earth which also points out to certain lore we can expect.
On March 7, the official Twitter of the TV series published a tweet with famous Ring Verse:
“One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”
The haunting verse was followed by a map that is somewhat different than the previous one the account posted. The maps started showing up from February 15 and every subsequent one revealed more details like names of the cities and regions. The final map from March 7 seems to be a zoom out which shows a much wider area than before. But some Twitter users pointed out that the latest one may not feature the same items, namely city of Minas Ithil is missing and Laurelindórenan is marked under a different name. But the biggest reveal is the island in the South-East which is none other but Númenor. And this revelation was followed by the message “Welcome to the Second Age” which seems to settle the discussion when will the plot take place.
Now, when it comes to Middle-earth history, it is complex and only hardcore fans may be acquainted with it in detail. Basically, the history of Middle-earth unravels through four ages, where The Hobbit and The Lord of the Ring take place in the Third Age. The Second Age started from the defeat of Morgoth and lasted until the first defeat of Sauron. This is the time when Elves went to islands of Númenor and Eressea instead to the West to Valinor, and dwarves flourished.
Sauron became the new dark lord after Morgoth’s defeat gathering around himself the leftover armies of goblins and Orcs with an intention to rule over all living beings. This is when he built Barad-Dur in Mordor and tricked Elves to forge rings of power so Middle-earth can be as beautiful as Valinor. He himself has forged the Ring of Power in the fires of Mount Doom in Mordor which controlled all others. This all led to the battle of the battle of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men in Mordor and defeat of Sauron when Isildur cut off the One Ring from his hand. After Isildur drowned in River Anduin, the One Ring was lost for more than two millennia until Smeagol found it and over time turned into Gollum due to its corruptive powers.
There are many things that TV series can include from the Second Age like rise and fall of Númenor, Sauron coming into power after Morgoth’s banishment, forging of the One Ring and creation of the Ringwraiths led by the Witch-king. This is the age when Elendil and Isildur were born, Galadriel and Celeborn came to Lórien and Elrond created Rivendell as a refuge. So you see, there is a lot of ground to cover so Amazon may choose to focus on one small portion of the Second Age or create a saga that will deal with the rise and fall of Sauron and forging of the One Ring. However, since the last map included Númenor, the creators may want to focus on Aragorn’s bloodline and the kingdom of Men.
Númenor was created as a gift to Men and this is where the Dúnedain are from, also known as Men of the West and Aragorn ancestors. So, while we may not have a TV series about young Aragorn, the story may deal with his heritage and if proves successful, subsequently with him since he was born in the Third Age. However, since the map includes Númenor, which was sunk by Valar before the formation of Last Alliance, it is possible that the plot will focus on the rise of Men and their downfall when Sauron corrupted them and created discord between them and Valar.
In a way, it’s exciting to go over the Middle-earth’s history of the Second Age and try to pinpoint when will the TV series take place and how it will all be connected to the Lord of the Rings story. One thing is for sure, it offers a lot of content for creators to use and do something good with it that will make every LOTR fan proud. And there are so many other things to find out like the cast, whether Peter Jackson will take any part in the project and will we see any of the original actors that appeared in the movies. Amazon announced the TV series for late 2021 release, so there is plenty of time to speculate and theorize and I’m sure, we will see more teasers in future that will make us come up with different scenarios.