As the streaming wars heat up, Amazon is betting large on The Lord of the Rings. The corporation is spending hundreds of millions of dollars building a prequel series set lengthy ahead of the events of the films. This series will be set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, an vital time that actually reshaped the face of the planet.And now casting news is pouring in on the show, with Game of Thrones’ Benjen Stark, Joseph Mawle, hired to play — it appears — the series’ villain. Will Poulter, will play protagonist Beldor and Markella Kavenagh has been cast as Tyra.
If you are not familiar with the comprehensive backstory behind The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, do not be concerned. Here’s every thing you will need to know about Middle-earth’s Second Age and what it could imply for the plot of the prequel series.
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The Second Age: The Fundamentals
The fantasy universe designed by J.R.R. Tolkien is substantially larger than just the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. The land of Middle-earth is aspect of a bigger planet named Arda. More than the course of many decades of function (substantially of which was only published posthumously), Tolkien designed a detailed history of Arda, ranging from the creation of the universe all the way up to humanity’s modern day era. The recorded history of Arda is divided into 4 Ages, each and every of which span a lot of hundreds or thousands of years.
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The Second Age is a period only briefly glimpsed in the Lord of the Rings films. This setting spans a lengthy period of time in in between the banishment of Morgoth (the original Dark Lord) and the very first defeat of his servant Sauron. The Second Age is defined by essential events like the rise and fall of the kingdom of Númenor, the creation of the Rings of Energy and the formation of the Final Alliance that temporarily saved the planet from Sauron’s wrath. This is the setting of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings prequel series.
The Second Age: Main Events
The Second Age starts in the aftermath of a catastrophic war more than mystical jewels identified as Silmarils and Morgoth’s banishment from Arda. In this new era, each guys and Elves commence leaving Middle-earth and venturing west. A lot of Elves retreat to a location named the Undying Lands (the location Frodo and Bilbo are taken to at the finish of Return of the King), whilst a group of guys named the Edain settle on an island named Númenor. When initially benevolent, the Númenóreans turn into a lot more warlike due to their jealousy of the elves’ immortality.
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The Second Age is exactly where Sauron starts consolidating his energy and filling the void left by his master, Morgoth. Skilled at flattery and deceit, Sauron manipulates the Elves into building the Rings of Energy and providing him the weapons he requirements to dominate Middle-earth. The rings are forged by an Elf Lord and master jewel-smith named Celebrimbor. Only also late does he learn Sauron’s accurate nature and the genuine objective of these strong artifacts.
The reign of the Númenóreans culminates with the rise of a king named Ar-Pharazôn. Sauron convinces Ar-Pharazôn to turn against the Valar (essentially Tolkien’s version of angels) and try an invasion of the Undying Lands, exactly where the Númenóreans could possibly locate the immortality they so crave. This is one particular of the couple of situations exactly where Ilúvatar (or the God of Tolkien’s fantasy universe) straight intervenes in mortal affairs. Ilúvatar annihilates Númenor in an act so destructive it transforms Arda from a flat plane into a globe. This act also cuts off the Undying Lands from the rest of the planet, forever denying guys the likelihood at immortality.
The opening of The Fellowship of the Ring depicts the finish of the Second Age.
Sauron himself is almost destroyed in this attack, but his spirit survives and he quickly starts constructing a new army in Mordor. Thankfully, not all guys had been destroyed along with Númenor. A group named the Faithful, led by King Elendil (the distant ancestor of Aragorn), return to Middle-earth and develop the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor. Along with his sons, Isildur and Anárion, and the Elven kings Gil-Galad and Elrond, Elendil types the Final Alliance and wages a lengthy, expensive war against Sauron.
Lord of the Rings fans likely know what takes place from there. Sauron is defeated but not destroyed, Isildur claims the A single Ring and the Second Age tends to make way for the Third.
The Second Age: Amazon’s Prequel Series
Even understanding that Amazon’s Lord of the Rings prequel series is set in the Second Age does not inform us a wonderful deal about the plot. For one particular factor, the Second Age lasts for just about 3500 years. Extra importantly, this is an era of Middle-earth history that is not quite properly-defined. Tolkien never ever basically published any books following finishing the Lord of the Rings trilogy in 1955. Most of what we know about the Second Age is taken from posthumous operates like The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales and the History of Middle-earth series, all of which had been compiled by Tolkien’s son Christopher applying unpublished manuscripts and earlier drafts.
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Generally, there is not one particular set story or a precise cast of characters Amazon can rely on when building the prequel series. We could see specific essential events like the fall of Númenor or the formation of the Final Alliance play out more than the course of many seasons, but the series will also will need to introduce new plot points and characters to fill in the blanks and turn the broad strokes of Tolkien’s writing into a full, cohesive story.
We also do not know if the prequel series will try to chronicle the complete scope of the Second Age or concentrate on one particular, precise conflict. The series could concentrate on the Final Alliance and the war against Sauron, constructing on the opening flashback sequence from The Fellowship of the Ring. This would enable the series to include things like a handful of familiar characters and enable actors like Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett to potentially reprise their roles. A different alternative is to discover the creation of the Rings of Energy and frame the series about Celebrimbor. The series could even draw inspiration from the 2014 video game Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, which characteristics the wraith of Celebrimbor as a key supporting character.
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A different possibility is that the series will discover numerous time periods. Amazon has reportedly committed to 5 seasons and a prospective spinoff, so it is probable each and every season will concentrate on a various pivotal occasion from the Second Age.
Early rumors recommended the prequel series would concentrate on a young Aragorn. When Aragorn wasn’t born till many thousand years following the finish of the Second Age, these rumors could nonetheless pan out. The series could use Aragorn’s story as a framing device, with the king-to-be understanding about the history of his individuals and the errors produced by prior kings like Ar-Pharazôn and Elendil. This could possibly be an excellent way of introducing viewers to the complicated history of Middle-earth whilst providing them a familiar character to latch onto.
For a lot more on what we do know about the prequel series, study our breakdown of the inventive group, locate out how a lot of episodes will be in the very first season and find out why Orlando Bloom likely will not be back as Legolas.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Permit him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.