Amazon Studios’ upcoming Lord of the Rings series is largely a secret. We know that this is in the Second Age of Middle-earth, but it is still over three thousand years of fictional history. It doesn’t narrow things down much.
But the show’s official synopsis, obtained from The One Ring.net, seems to indicate that the show will almost inevitably build on the fall of Numenor, a cataclysmic scenario for the wrath of the gods that led to the founding of Gondor and ultimately the big audience with a fighting prologue will be remembered from the first scenes of fellowship of the Ring.
Here is the summary:
There is only one “greatest villain” in the Second Age. This is Sauron, the same as in Lord of the Rings right, but not as you would know from the movies. In the second age, Sauron still had the ability to take physical form, and he chose to paraphrase completely hot and extremely charismatic. Away from the 10-foot armor waving a mace from Peter Jackson’s first scenes fellowship of the Ring.
“The long-feared reappearance of evil in Middle-earth” may also really only mean Sauron, but if the show’s creators follow the obvious rhythms, there are two to choose from. The Dark Lord’s first conception of power in the Second Age was to present himself as a benevolent messenger to the gods and trick the elves into teaching him a ringcraft so that he could forge the Rings of Power. Eventually, they realized that he was in fact this really powerful servant of the last Dark Lord, and they drove him out – when he retired to Mordor, he built the Black Gates and began to be the Evil One.
The elves united with the most powerful kingdom of humans, kicked him in the ass and brought him back to Numenor as a prisoner. Which brings us to the second possibility of a long-awaited reappearance of evil.
There are many kingdoms that “rose to glory and fell into ruin” during the Second Age, but there is only one that is essentially defined era. This is Numenor, the “breathtaking island kingdom” mentioned later in the summary, the land of many, many, many ancient ancestors of Aragorn. It was a very powerful and shiny human state that the gods gave to the first king of Numenor in gratitude for his help in the victory of the old chief of Sauron at the end of the First Age.
From his prison cell, Sauron devised a scheme to corrupt the Numenor government from within, in the style of a worm, and, after many years and generations of kings, was absurdly successful. In the final triumph of Sauron, the last king of Numenor tried – paraphrasing here slightly – to invade the sky. In response, the gods raised a giant wave, crushed his fleet, and buried the entire island under the sea. (The wave also drowned a lot of Lyndon, mentioned in the summary, but best known as the location of the Gray Sanctuaries.)
Numenor’s fall is both Tolkien’s homage to Atlantis, a mythological remnant that interests him, and his recurring childhood nightmare for his home, drowned in a massive wave. Only nine ships survived the cataclysm, carrying, among others, Isildur – whom you might know as the one from the beginning of the fellowship of the Ring who refuses to destroy the One Ring and then dies like a lump.
These two scenarios represent the famous arcs of the Second Middle Ages, as Tolkien described them in the back of Lord of the Rings and posthumously in The Silmarillion. The Amazon series may not have to choose between them.
The show was lit for a guaranteed five-season run, enough time to do Game of Thronesa stylish multi- (multi-multi) history of generations that ultimately winds towards the destruction of Numenor and the escape of Isildur – or even the founding of Gondor and the last battle against Sauron, which marks the end of the Second Age.