From Celeborn to the Witch-King of Angmar, who might appear in Middle-earth next?
Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series brought the audience back to Middle-earth in an eight-episode adventure following the events leading up to the battle against Sauron (Charlie Vickers). With the show renewed for season 2, fans are already anticipating more of the show. Despite the time gap between the stories, the series has already introduced many characters from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, including Elrond (Robert Aramayo), Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), Sauron, and (probably) Gandalf (Daniel Weyman). The long lives of elves and other beings in Middle-earth allow for character overlap even with the different settings. But they have not used all the possible characters yet. In fact, the list is still long. Amazon has the rights to any character that appears in the Lord of the Rings or Hobbit books, including in the appendices. And so many characters fit that description. Rings of Power has only scratched the surface in Season 1.
Celeborn is the husband of Galadriel. Much of his story takes place in other works by Tolkien, but he does appear in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, albeit briefly. This should mean that Amazon can use him but will likely have to make up some of his story. Celeborn got a mention in Season 1 of Rings of Power, but he never appeared. Because of this, we know that Celeborn and Galadriel are already married during the show. Celeborn is played by Marton Csokas in The Fellowship of the Ring. Although in the series, he is believed dead, he clearly lives beyond the Second Age. Therefore, his appearance in Rings of Power is necessary to explain why Galadriel thinks he’s dead.
Saruman is a wizard, but like elves, wizards seem to live for a long time. Saruman the White is a prominent character in Lord of the Rings as he betrays Gandalf for Sauron. Though not mentioned directly in Rings of Power, Saruman is one of the five Istar who the witches from Rhûn reference. As the chief of the Istar, Saruman could play a critical role in the Stranger’s journey to uncover his past. This time in Saruman’s life is not thoroughly chronicled, which works well for Amazon. Lord of the Rings depicts Saruman’s fall from grace, but in the time of Rings of Power, he should oppose Sauron. He is also supposed to know a great deal about the rings of power, so he should pop up as the rings become more prevalent.
Another Istar who could show up is Radagast. Radagast doesn’t actually appear in the books (though he does in The Hobbit films). However, his name is dropped several times. From these mentions, Amazon can likely use the character in some capacity. From the information in the books, he is close to animals, including the Great Eagles. He deals little with Elves or Men and instead fills a role as protector of the forest. But he is friendly with Gandalf. Radagast is another person who could potentially help the Stranger in the upcoming season.
By their appearance in Lord of the Rings, the Ents have been isolating themselves for a long time. Treebeard, the oldest of the Ents, should be around long before Rings of Power, so he could easily make an appearance. The Ents are a slow group, taking days to do just about anything, but when they decide to join the fight against Saruman in The Two Towers, they are a force. Treebeard references the war between the Elves and Sauron, which will likely take place in Rings of Power, but Ents didn’t play a part in it. However, it was around that time that the Entwives were lost, so perhaps that can come into play.
Another of the near-eternal elves who may make an appearance is Glorfindel. In the books, Glorfindel helps the injured Frodo Baggins make it to Rivendell. In other Tolkien works, Glorfindel fights a Balrog, dying in the process. His spirit returns to Valar. But during the Second Age, he is allowed to return to Middle-earth as an emissary for the Valinor. While he didn’t play a notable role in the fight against Sauron in the books, Amazon is free to use the character as they see fit, so it wouldn’t be surprising for Glorfindel to show up. Likely his lack of presence in the war has to do with the time he spent in Valinor, but Rings of Power has had no problems with changing the timeline around so far. More likely than not, Glorfindel will appear in the show at some point.
The Witch-King of Angmar (and Other Future Nazgûl)
While the face in the series won’t be familiar, the character certainly is. The Witch-King of Angmar is better known as the Lord of the Nazgûl, who no mortal man can kill. If he appears in Rings of Power, this king will not yet be in his Ringwraith form, but he will be just as dangerous. The exact identity of the Witch-King is a mystery. He is one of the nine lords who received the rings of men. Like the other future Nazgûl, he became obsessed with the power. The ring he received lengthened his life, but he eventually slipped into the shadow world to become a Ringwraith. Rings of Power has the opportunity to develop the identity of the Witch-King and the other Nazgûl. As Season 1 left off with the forging of the first rings, the rings given to men shouldn’t be far behind. As the most powerful Nazgûl, the Witch-King was likely a king and feared sorcerer in his lifetime. Due to his rank in the Ringwraith hierarchy, some suggest that he might be from Númenor, which would be another way to tie him into the series. The Nazgûl are present during the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, so the series has the opportunity to explore these characters as they become Nazgûl, which would be fascinating. Basically, an appearance from the Witch-King is a must.
Thranduil is another character meant to be present for the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, so his showing up in the series is likely. Fans know him as the king of the Woodland Realm and father of Legolas, but in this time period, Thranduil is still the prince. Thranduil appears in the Hobbit when Bilbo and company travel through Mirkwood. And who can forget Lee Pace’s performance in The Hobbit trilogy? The complication for Amazon is that Thranduil’s actions in the Second Age are mostly detailed in works that they don’t have the rights to. That doesn’t mean Thranduil won’t show up, but his story might look different.
Arwen is the least likely established character to appear in the series, despite her family playing a prominent role. Arwen is known mostly as the love interest of Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. She is Elrond’s daughter and Galadriel’s granddaughter (through her mother, Celebrían). Technically, Arwen could show up, but it would be strange for Galadriel and Elrond to talk so much about their friendship and not mention their shared family. For all we know, Celebrían may not be born as of Rings of Power Season 1, though her parents are married. Celeborn’s assumed death complicates matters, but it would be possible for her to be alive and not yet with Elrond. If this is the case, perhaps Arwen will be born before the end of the series. Still, Arwen is one character that may be better left alone.
King of the Dead
The King of the Dead, or the King in the Mountain, is the ghostly figure that aids Aragorn in reclaiming Gondor. The king and his army only do so because they are beholden to an oath they made to Aragorn’s ancestor Isildur, during the war with Sauron. The oath that they failed to complete keeps them from truly dying. The army once fought for Sauron before their pact with Isildur, so that is where Rings of Power should begin. The King of the Dead will be unrecognizable, as in the show, he will still be alive. The series includes a young Isildur (Maxim Baldry), meaning that the oath and subsequent betrayal are almost certainly going to play a role. However, that will be way down the line. If introduced in Season 2, the King of the Dead will most likely be a human servant of Sauron for the time being. But to build up his future role, Rings of Power should introduce him early.
Tom Bombadil is a particularly enigmatic character. He wanders Middle-earth with his river-woman wife, Goldberry. His wardrobe is as eccentric as the man himself: bright yellow boots, a blue jacket, and an old feather hat. Tom Bombadil exclusively speaks in rhymes. He meets Frodo and the other three hobbits while they travel to Rivendell. He hosted the Hobbits for a time, and Frodo allowed him to inspect the Ring. Trying it on had no effect on Bombadil. Tom Bombadil is one of his many names. This one is given to him by hobbits, but the other races are familiar with him as well. Elves call him Dúnedain, men use the name Orald, and Dwarves call him Forn. What all these names have in common is that they call him old. Bombadil claims to be the oldest living creature in Middle-earth before the coming of the Valar. What he is up to during Rings of Power isn’t known, nor is his allegiance in the impending conflict, but he’s definitely around somewhere. And his appearance, in any capacity, would be something to celebrate.
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