This Lord of the Rings article contains spoilers for The Rings of Power.
The tale of the Second Age is only beginning in The Rings of Power. When we join Galadriel, Elrond, Durin, and the little Harfoots, the events of The Lord of the Rings in the Third Age are still many years away. Sauron’s plan for world domination is in its early phases, and by season’s end, only the first three Rings of Power have been forged by Celebrimbor and his Elven smiths. Much still has to happen before the Fellowship of the J.R.R. Tolkien books and Peter Jackson movies is formed.
But The Rings of Power isn’t just about how the events of the present will shape the dark future ahead. It’s also about how the past haunts the show’s central characters. We only get to see hints of the First Age in the prologue that opens the series, but it provides a very clear picture of the death and destruction Galadriel witnessed during the war against Morgoth. There are also glimpses of the Elven warrior’s life as a little girl on Valinor, before the death of her brother Finrod, and her quest to find and kill Sauron.
Yet, even this prologue can’t completely capture the extensive history of the Elves in the mythical early days of Middle-earth, when they lived in a land in the northwest called Beleriand (which by the time of The Rings of Power has been almost completely destroyed). Tolkien wrote down plenty of tales set in this land and of Valinor, where Elves were said to live in eternal bliss beyond the Sundering Seas.
On the show, and in Tolkien’s writings, Galadriel is one of the key characters whose story runs through all of these different places and ages. Born in the Years of the Trees, an era that predates even the First Age, Galadriel witnesses much of the history of Middle-earth during her lifetime. And although she wasn’t a legendary warrior in Tolkien’s original stories, The Rings of Power tweaks her backstory, putting her on the frontlines during the War of Wrath, giving her a more active role than ever before in the lore of The Lord of the Rings.
There’s so much Middle-earth history to explore with Galadriel based both on Tolkien and the lore set up by the show — including her time in Valinor and Beleriand, the many battles she fought against Morgoth’s forces, her meeting with Elrond, and her marriage to Celeborn — that you could make an entire First Age prequel series about it. In fact, when Den of Geek asks The Rings of Power star Morfydd Clark whether she’d be interested in being the subject of her own prequel spinoff, she’s enthusiastic about the possibility as well as the stories she’d love to see explored.
“Well, I’d be happy to be in Middle-earth forever. Unfortunately, I’m not immortal. So I think I only have about 10 years [to play Galadriel],” Clark jokes as she considers the many possibilities provided by the sheer size of Tolkien’s legendarium. She immediately turns to Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion, two Tolkien collections that chronicle the early histories of Middle-earth, while imagining what a prequel could look like. (They’re among the books that Clark used to prepare for her Rings of Power role.)
“I’ve always loved The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings since I was little because my parents read them to me. But I’d never gotten into Unfinished Tales or any of that. And they’re just such incredible stories,” Clark says. “What I would like to explore, even if we don’t go back to them, would be The Silmarillion [and] the history of the Elves in the First Age. They’re so strange!”
Which specific stories would Clark like to see on screen? To start, one of the most famous short stories from the “Quenta Silmarillion.”
“I don’t think you could do this, but this type of moment: Melian and Thingol when they meet in the woods and fall in love and they just stare at each other for 50 years. Exploring that type of behavior would be what I would love…Just that they are not human.”
Clark is, of course, referring to the love story of the Elven king who was enchanted by a beautiful, singing Maia. While Galadriel doesn’t play a part in Thingol and Melian’s union, Tolkien did establish that Galadriel and (probably) her brother Finrod spent time in their court in Beleriand when they arrived on Middle-earth from Valinor in the First Age. That would certainly make an interesting setup for a prequel series which could also lead to other fan-favorite stories we’ve yet to see on screen, such as the legend of Beren and Luthien — a tale of forbidden love between a Man and an Elf that directly connects to the Silmarils, the magical jewels only hinted at on The Rings of Power.
Of course, the decision to make a First Age-set Lord of the Rings series is not in Clark’s hands. It’s not even in Amazon’s. While the studio has the rights to adapt material from The Lord of the Rings and its Appendices, those rights don’t extend to The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, or The History of Middle-earth. In fact, the legal situation between the Tolkien estate, publisher Harper Collins, New Line Cinema, and several other parties is quite complicated, and Amazon would have to clear a few hurdles before being able to outright adapt the works that chronicle the First Age. (The Rings of Power does at least flirt with this material in the first season, such as when it flashbacks to the story of an Elven knight who’s clearly meant to be Glorfindel.)
For now, we’ll get more of Clark’s Galadriel in The Rings of Power season 2, which is currently filming. While Clark won’t say too much about what’s next for Galadriel, she does tease those three Elven rings will have something do with it.
“I feel that in the next season, the rings are created and that’s going to bring power to the Elves. And Galadriel has just been made aware of how dangerous her power is. So I’m interested in exploring the duality of that.”
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.