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Rings of Power Season 2 Could Fix Season 1’s Biggest Missed Opportunity

Introducing the Lord of Gifts.

Charlie Vickers as Sauron on a poster for 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power'
Prime Video
LOTR: The Rings of Power

For many Tolkien fans, watching the Season 1 finale of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power was a confounding experience. The episode changes the established timeline of its Second Age story by concluding with Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) forging the three Elven Rings of Power at the insistence of Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) in the aftermath of her discovery that her longtime companion, Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), was secretly Sauron all along.

This, to put it lightly, isn't how the Elves' Rings are made canonically. According to Tolkien, the three are forged last and in secret by Celebrimbor, who’d spent years unknowingly working with Sauron to forge the Rings of Power for the Men and Dwarves of Middle-earth. Celebrimbor's Elven Rings were said to have been forged free of Sauron's corrupt influence, but were ultimately still bound to the all-encompassing control of the One Ring because they were made using the same magic and techniques that Sauron taught the smith.

The Rings of Power's decision to significantly alter the timeline left fans scratching their heads. It also raised questions about whether the show would skip the story of Celebrimbor and Sauron. However, the first trailer for The Rings of Power Season 2 confirms that isn't the case.

The teaser features shots of Vickers' Sauron walking around Middle-earth with long, Elvish-esque hair and narrower features. His new appearance implies Sauron will indeed don his "fair form" in Season 2 and likely begin going by Annatar, the Lord of Gifts, the alter ego he assumes in Tolkien's books to trick Celebrimbor.

There are also brief shots of a bloodied and beaten Celebrimbor trying to melt a handful of forged rings in a fire and later standing before Sauron, who seemingly turns Celebrimbor's Elven soldiers against each other after they surround him. The teaser also features a brief moment in which Celebrimbor, while standing at his forge, looks toward a figure emerging from a bright outpouring of light.

Collectively, these moments imply The Rings of Power will adapt Annatar's initial deception, as well as his attempts to determine the locations of Celebrimbor's three Elven Rings through torture and abuse. Shots of Elves charging into battle and flaming boulders soaring toward Eregion also suggest the season will depict Sauron's siege of the Elven kingdom. These developments should be welcomed by fans, especially those frustrated by how little The Rings of Power's first season actually delved into the core narrative material of Middle-earth’s Second Age.

Charles Edwards’ Celebrimbor may soon learn that some mistakes can’t be undone.

Prime Video

If The Rings of Power wants to pull off its Annatar storyline, then there are some logical issues it unnecessarily created for itself and will now need to solve. Specifically, Galadriel's knowledge of Sauron's identity should make it impossible for him to trick Celebrimbor, who met him when he was posing as Halbrand, by simply changing his hair and name. In Tolkien's version of events, Galadriel is suspicious of Annatar from the beginning, but she and her fellow Elves don’t know he’s Sauron until he puts on the One Ring.

By ending with Galadriel's discovery of Sauron's identity before the forging of most of the Rings of Power, the series has created a problem. If Galadriel unwisely chooses not to tell Celebrimbor Halbrand's true identity, that would be a very odd move for Morfydd Clark's character. But if she is honest, having Celebrimbor immediately trust another stranger would make him look ridiculously naive. There will need to be a strong narrative reason for Annatar’s deception.

We'll have to wait to see how The Rings of Power meets that challenge. For now, fans can look forward to the fact that, after a season of set-up, the Prime Video series will finally bring one of Tolkien’s classic stories to life.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 premieres Thursday, August 29 on Prime Video.

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