Prime Video’s Lord of the Rings TV show is halfway through its first season. Here’s how it’s tee’ing up a tragic ending.
We’ve officially hit the halfway point in Season 1 of Prime Video’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power–and, make no mistake, there’s still plenty of mystery left on the table. The Second Age of Middle-earth is as ambiguous as it’s ever been and, with four more episodes left in this season–and a whopping five season run planned already–it’s safe to say we’re going to have to keep guessing for a while now. But be that as it may, with these four episodes under our belt, we’ve been given plenty of clues and hints to start making some educated guesses about the future of these characters.
Rings of Power has been layering in tons and tons of foreshadowing with every member of its massive ensemble cast–from tiny details to major plot points, it hasn’t been shy about teasing what’s coming. Some of these hints are easy to spot–it doesn’t take a Tolkien scholar to know that the Dwarves’ mining operations for Mithril are going to end in tragedy–but others have been a little more obscure. And some, we’d be remiss to not mention, might even be red herrings meant to play with our expectations for seasons in the future. There’s absolutely nothing to say that Rings of Power can’t dodge and duck around established canon elements of the Second Age and subvert some of our expectations. We simply don’t have enough information yet to know.
But we do have enough information to start speculating wildly, so naturally that’s what we’re going to do. Here are the biggest pieces of foreshadowing in the first half of Season 1 of Rings of Power, what they might mean, and how we can expect them to pay off down the line.
1.) Theo and the sword
You don’t have to be Columbo to start guessing that Theo is in for a dangerous road ahead with his apparent connection to the Sauron-flavored sword. Did you notice that the wound it produces in his arm when he stabs himself with the hilt is also in the shape of Sauron’s symbol?
2.) The great wave
Miriel’s visions of Numenor being swallowed up by the sea will, eventually, come to pass–Numenor is famously an Atlantis-style legend in the Third Age, having been completely drowned. The question for the show isn’t if but when this will happen–unless, of course, the show wants to pull a fast one on us and go a wildly different direction.
3.) Harfoot brutality
The Harfoot custom of just leaving their friends and family behind is as cold blooded as they get–and an interesting way to subvert our expectations from what we know about their ancestors, the Hobbits. It might take a while to get there, but we can expect them to learn the error of these ways–after all, we eventually have to get to a place where Samwise can believably refuse to let his best friend travel to Mordor alone, even if it means nearly dying himself.
4.) Mithril and the fate of the Dwarves
This might be the most obvious bit of foreshadowing in the whole show but the Dwarves and their prosperity will, eventually, bring about their downfall. We already know what happens when the Dwarves mine too deep, too fast, and awaken the Balrog–and while the timeline is a bit fudged here for the show, we can expect to see consequences coming very soon, after all the Balrog made an appearance in the trailers.
5.) Isildur’s failures
Poor, young Isildur just can’t seem to catch a break–a trend that will obviously continue for him for the rest of his life. Sure, accidentally screwing up on a sailing test and getting he and his friends kicked out of the guild is small potatoes compared to keeping the One Ring instead of destroying it when he has the chance, thus condemning the world to another potential age of darkness, but at least he’s consistent in being a disappointment.
You may have noticed that of all the familiar Middle-earth locations mentioned in the show, the name Mordor is conspicuously absent–that’s because it isn’t actually Mordor quite yet. Galadriel notes that the symbol Sauron has been leaving is actually a map–more specifically, a map to his base in the Southlands–which we know from the Third Age is eventually his base in a hellscape called Mordor. The Orcs are already hard at work terraforming the farmland, and we can expect to see more and more of that as the show progresses.
7.) Celebrimbor’s ambition
We haven’t seen much of legendary Elvish smith Celebrimbor in the show–but we’ve seen enough to establish that the dude’s got a bit of an inferiority complex. He wants to make something truly noteworthy, and he enlists Elrond’s help to make it real. What neither he nor Elrond realize just yet is that this ambition is going to blow up in just about everyone’s faces–Celebrimbor is being manipulated into forging the rings for Sauron. Hopefully, we’ll get to see just how that plays out soon–including some scenes between Celebrimbor and the man himself, even if he’s disguised at the time.
8.) Halbrand’s royal lineage
Like Theo, Halbrand is a character invented for the show who seems to have a deep connection to the lore in an interesting way–but unlike Theo, this has yet to tie him directly to Sauron just yet. Instead, Halbrand is apparently a lost king of the Southlands–or at least Galadriel is convinced that he is. This is potentially important, given that there are nine rings of power that eventually need to be handed out to the kings of men, and many of those kings were never named or established within the original canon.