Thursday, September 1, 2022

A Second Age Primer


Amazon's new series Rings of Power debuts this week in the USA amid great fanfare and controversy. I have gathered some articles for those who are interested and still trying to decide whether to watch it. (I will be watching it.) Here is a Second Age Primer based upon Tolkien's writings which might help give clarity to the new series, which takes place in the Second Age of Middle-earth. From TOR:

Silmariën is the daughter of the fourth king of Númenor, Tar-Elendil (not to be confused with the better-known Elendil the Tall thousands of years later). Up until now, the eldest child of each king has taken the sceptre from his father—the sceptre being the symbol of rulership. But, up until now, the eldest child has always been a boy. So now what? Silmariën is the eldest and she’s a girl. Sadly, Númenórean law at this point hadn’t the good sense to allow for ruling queens. (It will . . . later.) Therefore Silmariën’s little brother, Meneldur, will be given the sceptre and the line of kings will proceed from him, not from her (or the middle child, another daughter).

So why is Silmariën on this timeline? Because her brother’s line will, over the centuries to come, lead Númenor down its ill-fated path. It’s a political divide, and a kind of turning point in history. Now, Silmariën’s own direct descendants will eventually be called the Lords of Andúnië (a port city on the northwestern part of the island, see the map above), and they will become the chief counselors to the ruling monarchs of her brother’s line. More important, it is Silmariën’s descendants who will establish the Faithful, the political faction that tries to remain loyal to the Elves and maintains respect for the Valar when the rest of Númenor goes off the rails. Silmariën is also given the Ring of Barahir and it will be passed down through many generations all the way to Aragorn! One can think of the Lords of Andúnië, Silmariën’s line, as the rulers who ought to have been the kings and queens. Maybe things would have worked out better.

Consider this summation of the family tree of Númenórean royalswhere the first king (Elros/Tar-Minyatur) gets things started, where the sceptre gets handed off the firstborn male, and where things end up after the last king seizes the sceptre. (Read more.)


An article on Galadriel and Celeborn, also from TOR, HERE.


Some early reactions to the series. From Variety:

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” Amazon Studios’ ambitious fantasy series based on the works of author J.R.R. Tolkien and reportedly the most expensive television series ever made, premieres Sept. 2 on Amazon Prime Video. But as the social embargo lifts, critics and fans who have seen the first two episodes ahead of time are flocking to Twitter to share their opinions on the highly anticipated series.

Eric Francisco, senior film/TV writer at Inverse, hailed “Rings of Power” as “big, bold and beautiful” but indicated uncertainty as to whether the prequel series will “sit alongside” Peter Jackson’s film trilogy or “deserve Tolkien’s name.” (Read more.)


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