Fiona Apple’s The Rings of Power Finale Song Is a Massive Tolkien Callback
The Rings of Power finale ends with a big Lord of the Rings easter egg that celebrates one of J.R.R. Tolkien's most famous poems.
This Lord of the Rings article contains spoilers for The Rings of Power.
Whether The Rings of Power finale shatters your expectations or not will largely depend on how knowledgeable you are of Tolkien lore and the ways the series has remixed canon to hide a few secret identities. Even if you saw some of the big twists coming all along, it still feels cathartic to finally have some long-awaited answers for the show’s biggest mysteries.
And when the dust finally settles on the first act of this new Middle-earth saga — the Southlands have been turned into Mordor, the Elves have sealed their fate, and the Balrog is awake in Moria — we’re treated to one final Lord of the Rings easter egg as the screen fades to black and the credits roll.
It’s Fiona Apple’s beautiful voice performing an ominous song that foretells the events that lie ahead for all the races of Middle-earth, as one by one they fall under the manipulation of the evil Sauron. Longtime fans of J.R.R. Tolkien will immediately recognize the lyrics of the sinister tune composed by series composer Bear McCreary. After all, these aren’t verses written specifically for the show but the words of Tolkien himself.
The lyrics of both the song and the epigraph that opens The Lord of the Rings books read:
“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.“
This poem is of course meant to outline one of the key pieces of Middle-earth history from the Second Age, shorthand that summarizes the drama surrounding the One Ring before the Fellowship’s quest to destroy it. While Tolkien was a bit vague on the details concerning the ringbearers representing the Men and Dwarves, he spent much more time exploring the three rings that went to the Elves. It makes sense, then, that the first magical rings created by Celebrimbor in The Rings of Power finale are the three that will eventually be worn by Galadriel, High King Gil-galad, and Cirdan (who is set to make his debut in season 2). By the time of The Lord of the Rings books and movies, Galadriel is the only one of these original ringbearers still wearing one, which is something that could eventually be explored on the show.
It’s no accident that the season ends with Halbrand/Sauron making his way to the land of Mordor since it’s in the fires of Mount Doom where he’ll forge the One Ring with which to influence all the other ringbearers. Until then, the song is a bit of excellent foreshadowing for what’s to come. It’s a great postscript for this love letter to Tolkien.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.