Amazon Studio’s upcoming Lord of the Rings series is largely shrouded in secrecy. We know it takes place in the second age, but it is still over three thousand years of fictional history. It does not narrow things down much.
But the show’s official synopsis, obtained by The One Ring.net, seems to indicate that the show will almost inevitably build on Númenor’s downfall, a catastrophic wrath scenario leading to the founding of Gondor and ultimately great battle prologue moviegoers will remember from the very first scenes in The community of the ring.
Here is the synopsis:
There is only one “greatest villain” in the second age. It’s Sauron, the same as in Lord of the Rings properly, but not as you would recognize him from the movies. In the Second Age, Sauron still had the ability to take physical form, and he chose to be, paraphrasing, completely hot and extremely charismatic. Far away from the 10-foot-tall armor suit that swings a lace from Peter Jackson’s first scenes The community of the ring.
A “long-feared resurrection of evil to the Middle Earth” can also only mean Sauron, but if the creators of the series follow the obvious battles, there are two to choose from. The Dark Lord’s first grip on power in the second age was to pose as a benevolent messenger of the gods and trick the elves into teaching him ring art so he could forge the rings of power. Eventually, they figured out that he was actually the really powerful servant of the last lord of darkness, and they kicked him out – that’s when he retired to Mordor, built the black gates, and began to be evil on Main.
The elves joined forces with the most powerful kingdom Men, kicked his ass and led him back to Númenor as a prisoner. Which brings us to the second possibility of prolonged resurrection of evil.
There are many kingdoms that “rose to glory and fell to ruin” in the second age, but there is only one that is fundamentally defined era. It is Númenor, the “breathtaking island kingdom” mentioned later in the synopsis, Aragorn’s very, very, very old ancestors. It was a very powerful and shining human land that the gods gave to the first king of Númenor as a thank you for his help in defeating Sauron’s ancient boss at the end of the first age.
From his prison cell, Sauron prepared a scheme to corrupt Númenor’s government from within, in Wormtongue style, and after many years and generations of kings was ridiculously successful. In Sauron’s ultimate triumph, Númenor’s last king tried to – paraphrase a little here – 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 quite a bit of Lindon, mentioned in the synopsis but best known for being the location of Gray Havens.)
Númenor’s fall is both Tolkien’s tribute to Atlantis, a mythological remnant of a certain interest in him, and his recurring childhood nightmare that his home is drowning during a massive wave. Only nine ships survived the disaster and carried, among other things, Isildur – who you may know as the guy from the very beginning The community of the ring who refuses to destroy one ring and then dies like a chump.
These two scenarios represent the known arcs from the Middle Ages’ 2nd age, as Tolkien described them in the background material from Lord of the Rings and posthumously in Silmarillion. Amazon’s series may not have to choose between them.
The show went green for a guaranteed five-season race, plenty of time to do one Game of Thrones-style the story of the multi- (multi-multi-) generation that eventually wins its way to the destruction of Númenor and Isilder’s escape – or even the founding of Gondor and the last battle against Sauron, which marks the end of the Second Age.