Image via Prime Video
More than five years after Amazon struck a deal with the Tolkien Estate to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screens, the first season of their most ambitious undertaking to date, The Rings of Power, finally premiered on Prime Video over the past few weeks and invited audiences back to the rolling hills of Middle-earth for yet another adventure, this time set in the Second Age.
Despite all its shortcomings, especially when stacked up against Peter Jackson’s timeless cinematic masterpiece, the show managed to end things on a high note, delivering a finale that not only touched on their most important questions but set up future storylines in such a way as to keep the furnaces of the online community burning as long as it takes the showrunners and their team to finish work on the second season. According to official reports, production is well underway, with the intention of moving as quickly as possible for a project of this scale. They couldn’t very well spend another 18 months shooting season two as they did with the first run now, could they?
But even with such measures, it’s going to be a long time until we see anything from season two, so imagine our relief upon learning that the brains behind the show are willing to talk about their creative process going into the next batch of episodes. We break down all of that and more in today’s The Rings of Power roundup.
The Rings of Power showrunner promises a darker and scarier second season
Tolkien stans hardly associate words such as “dark” and “gritty” with the Middle-earth they have come to know and cherish since the early ‘50s. It might even be a pain in the neck as far as The Rings of Power producers see it because it basically means going against the general current of the speculative and high fantasy genres.
That doesn’t mean they’re going to test the bounds of what does and doesn’t work, though, and they’ve said as much in a recent interview. “Season 2 is fundamentally different in that our main villain is out and about,” executive producer Lindsey Weber announced in a chat with Deadline. “It’s going to be grittier, more intense, maybe a little scarier.”
Sauron has unexpected plans for Middle-earth
While The Rings of Power isn’t exactly going for a redemption arc when it comes to Sauron, it seems that the writers have decided to take him down a more nuanced path. According to Halbrand’s actor Charlie Wickers — who was revealed as the titular big bad in the finale — Sauron’s goal is not to spread chaos, but “reorganize” and “rehabilitate” Middle-earth. In his own words: “I think his goal was to create an independent paradise separate from Valinor to spite the gods.” We could get behind that idea, except for the fact that he is, well, utterly and inconsolably evil.
Morfydd Clark didn’t know about that Sauron twist… just like Galadriel
Whether we’d like to accept that reality or not, there’s just no other way to explain what happened: Sauron played Galadriel like a fiddle. The Dark Lord appeared in the guise of the so-called King of the Southlands from the second episode and achieved almost everything he set out to do. Of course, to her credit, were it not for the Lady of Galadhrim’s vigilance at the last second, he might have corrupted the three Elven rings of power as well.
What helped sell this illusion further was Morfydd Clark’s own ignorance. The Welsh thespian recently revealed that she was in the dark about Halbrand for a long while, and even when they told her the truth, it was late in the production that she learned how her character was going to find out.
For now, all we can do is applaud the Dark Lord, if for nothing besides his guile, which is second to none. And yes, we are counting Morgoth. Well played, Sauron. Well played.