Those cunning marketing bods at Prime Video sure know what they’re doing. They’ve released 23 character posters for their new Lord of the Rings series, The Rings of Power – but there are no name labels on the posters, and we can’t even see the characters’ faces, just their hands and a bit of a robe. And so we will all spend the next few weeks picking the posters apart, trying to work out who we’re looking at – which, considering we only really know three characters who will definitely be appearing (Sauron, Galadriel, and Celebrimbor, the forger of the Elven Rings), is going to keep us talking about this for a while.
Well played, Amazon. Well played.
So, bearing in mind that we still don’t really know much more about what this series will cover beyond “the forging of the Rings of Power and something about Númenor”, here are our best guesses at who we might be looking at in these posters.
(Incidentally, we’re assuming from the teaser that season one will feature the forging of the Rings of Power, and therefore that none of the characters are wearing Rings of Power in the posters, because they haven’t been made yet).
We Know Who This Is
This is Sauron. (We’re reasonably sure we’re right about this). The gauntlet matches the gauntlet Sauron wears in The Fellowship of the Ring, and of course, we’ve never actually seen his face anyway so this one was a bit easier to take a stab at. During the Second Age Sauron put on a “fair” appearance and presented himself as Annatar, the “Lord of Gifts’, but he was also settling in Mordor and building the tower of Barad-dûr, so it seems he is revealing his true self in this image.
We’re Expecting To See These
There are a few characters we’re pretty sure will be appearing in this series and have major roles to play in the story. They include Galadriel, Celeborn, Celebrimbor, Elrond, and the Elven-King Gil-galad.
However, we’ve got to say that none of these posters look like Galadriel. Very few are women, and of the three that are, the young woman holding some kind of tablet is wearing a fairly plain dress and is probably human, the woman with her hands across her middle is wearing even less Elf-like clothes, and the woman in white – the most likely candidate – is holding a flower from Nimloth, the White Tree of the human island civilization of Númenor (the ancestor of the later White Tree of Gondor).
We are going to guess that the male character with orange sleeves, a brown belt, and a greenish tunic is an Elf, on the grounds that his hands are much cleaner than most of the others, and Legolas was always the only member of the Fellowship who looked like he’d seen a bath in the last year. So he could be Celeborn, or possibly Elrond, or Celebrimbor. None of the posters really resemble Celebrimbor from the video game Middle Earth: Shadow of War, so just about any Elf could be him (or Amazon are waiting to reveal Galadriel and Celebrimbor at a later date).
Similarly, the man in very rich red and gold clothes holding a scroll with Elvish script on it could by any of those three as well. And we think the Elven-style armor with hands holding a long, thin sword might be Gil-galad. Gil-galad’s sword was depicted more like a lance in his brief appearance in the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring, but we suspect no one is too bothered about that – his sword’s name is Aeglos, which means icicle, and we think this very thin sword suits that name rather well.
We Think We Know Who These Are
The character whose sword and breastplate both bear images of the sun is probably Glorfindel, the Elf-lord whose role in rescuing Frodo in The Lord of the Rings was given to Legolas in Ralph Bakshi’s film and to Arwen in Peter Jackson’s, to many fans’ dismay. Those fans will be delighted if Glorfindel makes an appearance in this series, and since he was sent back to Middle Earth around the time of the forging of the One Ring, that seems quite likely. The symbol of his House of the Golden Flower was a rayed sun, so we’re pretty sure this is him.
The woman in a blue dress holding a sickle is probably Yavanna, one of the Valar (immortal angelic beings). She usually wears a green dress, but perhaps this one looks more green in a different light! She is essentially a fertility goddess (except Catholic Tolkien wouldn’t call her a “goddess”); she is Queen of Earth and responsible for all growing things, like the Greco-Roman goddess Demeter/Ceres. She was eventually responsible for sending the wizard Radagast the Brown to Middle Earth, but that happens after the events of this series.
The man wearing a lot of gold might be the Númenorean king Ar-Pharazôn the Golden, the last king of Númenor. However, we have to say, we don’t think it is, because we doubt the series will reach the time of his birth for a while, unless they do some flash-forwards. It could perhaps be an earlier Númenorean king.
The large war hammer held by gold-dusted hands has Dwarf-runes on it and may belong to Narvi, Dwarf-Lord of Khazad-dûm (Moria) and friend of Celebrimbor. You can just about see what looks like a rich red beard as well, and of course, we always expect to see beards on Dwarves.
We Can Make an Educated Guess at These
Speaking of Númenor, as we mentioned above, the white flower the woman in a white dress is holding is from the White Tree of Númenor, though that doesn’t really tell us who she is. It could be Tar-Ancalimë, the first Ruling Queen of Númenor, depending how early in the timeline the series starts. The person holding a sceptre is also probably a King or Queen of Númenor, as this is probably the Sceptre of Númenor, held by the monarch.
Rohan and the Rohirrim don’t exist this early in Tolkien’s mythology, but the person whose sword has a horse head on the hilt is probably one of their ancestors, the Northmen later known as the Éothéod. The man holding an arrow has an image of what looks like an Ent on his armour, and could be from Dunland, which in the Second Age was inhabited by Men who lived in the forests before the Númenoreans chopped down the trees, and who may also have been ancestors of the Rohirrim.
The sword with all the spiky black bits looks a bit sort of Mordor-y and sort of Nazgûl-y, so this might be the unknown King of Men (which group of Men is never specified) who eventually became the Witch-King of Angmar, the leader of the Nazgûl, or Ringwraiths.
Finally, the character wearing blue and carrying what could be a staff may be one of the two Blue Wizards, Alatar and Pallando, who may have been sent to Middle Earth earlier than their better known fellow wizards Gandalf the Grey, Saruman the White, and Radagast the Brown.
We Can Guess Which People These Characters Belong To, But That’s About It
We can sort of guess that the dirty hands holding fruit and nuts belong to Halflings, the ancestors of Hobbits. Dwarves and Halflings tend to have the dirtiest fingernails in Middle Earth, and Halflings are surely as keen on food as their descendants will be, but maybe these are just dirty humans from the north.
We’re suggesting the guy carrying rope might also be a Halfling purely on the basis that Sam Gamgee is a Hobbit, and therefore a descendant of Halflings, and he really likes rope. Unless it’s an Elf carrying the “real Elven rope” Sam liked so much – his hands are quite clean, after all.
The dark-skinned man holding a scroll which has letters in a script that does not match one of Tolkien’s invented scripts for Elves or Dwarves could be one of the Haradrim, humans from the south and east who were enemies of Númenor and often enslaved by Númenoreans. The character wearing a completely different style of clothes with gold-dusted fingers may also be Haradrim, or this could be Ar-Pharazon the Golden, the last king of Númenor, mentioned above. Or it could be someone else entirely. It’s possible that Gold-Dusted Fingers Dude is another Dwarf, like the equally gold-dusted Narvi.
We Honestly Have No Freaking Clue
The young woman holding a tablet of some kind is probably a Númenorean – these are a people inspired by Greek mythology, and her dress looks vaguely Greco-Roman. She’s also clean enough not to be a Halfling or a Dwarf, but her dress is too plain for an Elf. We don’t know who she actually is, though.
We honestly have no clue whatsoever about the woman with her hands folded across her middle (is she pregnant? That doesn’t really give much away anyway). Could it be Galadriel moving around undercover for some reason?
The well dressed man in blue robes might be a Númenorean, but then again, he might not. That was informative, wasn’t it?!
We Really Hope This Is Tom Bombadil
I mean, it could be any Dwarf or Halfling really, more likely a Halfling considering he’s holding fruit. But the apple maybe also suggests someone ageless, someone who comes from the creation of the world, someone absolutely in tune with Nature – wouldn’t it just be awesome if it was Tom Bombadil, squeezing himself into a Tolkien adaptation at last?!
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power lands on Amazon’s Prime Video on September 2nd.