Amazon Studios released a first teaser for its blockbuster Lord of the Rings television series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power today, and while it was full of lush imagery from the show’s first season, it revealed very little about the show’s plot or characters.
Luckily, there’s plenty of Tolkien lore, casting information, and story hints that connect many of the dots. Read on, as we show you everything from the first teaser for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is secretly showing you without actually telling you.
A waterfront human city
We start off with a shot that evokes some of the most iconic imagery of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. This city on the shore has big Minas Tirith vibes, but the large striding statue with one hand out stretched will click for most viewers as related to the Argonath. The two massive statues featured prominently in initial posters advertising The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).
In Tolkien lore, the two Argonath statues are one of the great works of the kingdom of Gondor, which is what makes it such a good bet that this is a human city, rather than an elven one. But this definitely isn’t Gondor. It’s more likely that we’re looking at the island country of Númenor — the human civilization whose survivors founded Gondor.
Hunters with elk horns
All we know about these guys is that a Vanity Fair article described them as “nomadic hunters wandering the fields of Middle-earth.” But they do look pretty wild, huh?
A young Harfoot girl
All this time we’ve been listening to the trailer’s only dialogue, a female voice saying “Have you ever wondered ... what else is out there? There’s wonders in this world beyond our wandering. I can feel it.” As she finishes speaking, we cut to a shot of actress Megan Richards, which is editing language for: This is the character who said that thing. So, either she really does say that thing in the series, or the editors of this teaser want us to think she said that thing.
According to Vanity Fair’s feature, Richards’ character is a “lovable, curious” harfoot — a racial precursor to the modern Hobbit. Tolkien was clear in The Lord of the Rings that hobbits didn’t do anything worthy of record during the Second Age, but showrunners Patrick McKay and JD Payne have invented a specific harfoot culture that “thrives on secrecy and evading detection.”
That would fit right in with hobbits staying out of the spotlight of history, and is quite similar to how, in the books, Tolkien explains why nobody sees hobbits in modern times. “Even in ancient days they were, as a rule, shy of ‘the Big Folk,’ as they call us,” he wrote in the prologue to The Lord of the Rings, “and now they avoid us with dismay and are becoming hard to find [...] They possessed from the first the art of disappearing swiftly and silently, when large folk whom they do not wish to meet come blundering by; and this art they have developed until to Men it may seem magical.”
Galadriel climbs a frozen waterfall
Morfydd Clark is playing a younger Galadriel for The Rings of Power, seen here climbing up a massive frozen waterfall in armor and full kit. In Tolkien’s legendarium, Galadriel did indeed have a long history of badassery before she settled down to be queen of her own realm, and Rings looks like it’s here to take advantage of that.
We got a much closer look at her dagger in Amazon’s character poster, where we can see that it has a motif of gold and silver plant shapes intwined. This could either be intended to evoke the two magical trees that once gave Galadriel’s birthplace its day/night cycle — or as foreshadowing of her eventual rule over Lothlorien, a forest famous for its trees with gold and silver leaves.
A human guy lost at sea
This struggling man would seem to be the original character Halbrand, who is “a fugitive from his own past,” based on the Vanity Fair feature. A castaway, he will meet Galadriel while they are both adrift in Middle-earth’s western sea.
Arondir, an elf warrior
Here Ismael Cruz Córdova’s Arondir gets a set of hero shots, doing cool bow shit. This elven warrior hails from the forest rather than the great elf cities, and will apparently have a forbidden romance with a human woman — a village healer named Bronwyn. Tolkien was very specific about how many elf and human romances in the history of Middle-earth actually worked out. So if McKay and Payne are hewing to the letter of the Professor’s law, Arondir and Bronwyn may be doomed from the start.
A robed elf watches a meteorite
Though played by Benjamin Walker, we’re not sure who this elf is, and we’re not sure what that object in the sky is either. His outfit seems to match one shown in released character posters — golden robes, many rings — but as far as his identity, we only have conjecture. There are any number of elven heroes and leaders he could be, not to mention the potential for an original character. At the moment all we can say for certain is that even though he’s got a ton of rings, he is not the elven ring-smith Celebrimbor. He’s being played by Charles Edwards.
Galadriel on a horse
What would a Lord of the Rings show be without riders galloping across the plains of New Zealand? Looks like this is Galadriel, moving at a clip.
A character flees a cave troll-like monster
Here, a torch-weilding figure recoils from a monster. He’s dressed in the same greys as Galadriel was in the ice climbing scene, perhaps indicating some connection between the characters.
An elven location
Here’s a nice foresty elven location, which you can tell from the foresty-ness.
Prince Durin IV
This bushy-bearded man is prince Owain Arthur’s Durin IV, hailing from the dwarven city-state of Khazad-dûm. In Tolkien’s lore, Khazad-dûm was founded by Durin I, the eldest of the first dwarves, and by the Second Age, it had become Middle-earth’s greatest seat of dwarven culture and craft, supported by its rich mines full of mithril.
But Lord of the Rings fans know Khazad-dûm by a more notorious name, given to it after the dwarves within it delved too greedily and too deep: Moria. Tolkien placed the demise of Khazad-dûm during the reign of Durin VI, however, so we’re not by any means guaranteed a Balrog cameo in The Rings of Power.
Robert Aramayo has some big shoes to fill, portraying a young and untested Elrond to an audience that is used to Hugo Weaving’s charismatic turn as the character. Here he is ... next to a rock. Rockin’.
This singing woman is the dwarven princess Disa, played by Sophia Nomvete. Since she’s a princess and Durin IV is a prince, it seems likely they’re related by marriage or blood.
Galadriel at sea
A man’s — probably Halbrand’s — hand flips up Galadriel’s wet hair, revealing her pointed elven ears.
Every Lord of the Rings trailer is better with a man in the fire
A smaller, shaggy headed person reaches out their hand to what appears to be an old man with wild hair and beard — and they both appear to be in a pit of flaming wreckage. The smaller character’s silhouette aligns pretty well with Megan Richards’ unnamed Harfoot lass, and thanks to Vanity Fair, we know that her plotline in the series will begin when she and a friend “encounter a mysterious lost man whose origin promises to be one of the show’s most enticing enigmas.”
There’s only one thing that a bearded old man in the middle of danger means in the iconography of The Lord of the Rings. Is this Richards’ character? Is this her mysterious lost man? Is The Rings of Power hiding a wizard in its unrevealed characters? And if so, which one? Amazon isn’t revealing anything in this short teaser, that’s for sure.
Durin splits a rock
Hey, it’s Durin IV again!
Arondir’s got an axe
Arondir swings a primitive-looking axe into battle!
Wouldn’t be the Lord of the Rings without a battle
Elves battle orcs!
Small hand in big hand
The final image of the teaser is of a small hand grasping the fingers of one much larger — a child and an adult? A hobbit and a demigod? There’s no way to tell until The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres on Amazon Prime Video on Sept. 2.