Is Amazon’s ‘The Rings Of Power’ Based On A Book? – This September, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power makes its Prime Video premiere, and it promises to add intriguing new details to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The series will use Tolkien’s works to tell its plot and act as a prologue to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But is there an actual book on which The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is based? Let’s investigate.
What’s the storyline of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”?
The series is based on author J. R. R. Tolkien’s history of Middle-earth and takes place thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It opens in a period of largely calm and covers all of the significant Second Age events in Middle-earth:
- The creation of the Rings of Power
- The ascent of Sauron the Dark
- The destruction of the island kingdom of Nmenor
- The final union between Elves and Men
In Tolkien’s original stories, these events occur over a long period, but the series has shortened them.
Although it is vague, we can infer from the show’s timeframe that Sauron will probably play a significant part in the darkness threatening Middle-earth. But is there a single Tolkien work that The Rings of Power adapt?
Is ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ Based on a Book?
An upcoming American fantasy television series called The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s book The Lord of the Rings and its appendices. The Second Age of Middle-earth is where the series, created by creators J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay for the streaming service Prime Video, is set, thousands of years before Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It was made in collaboration with HarperCollins, New Line Cinema, the Tolkien Estate, and the Tolkien Trust by Amazon Studios.
But Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, a forthcoming Amazon TV series, isn’t a “direct” Tolkien adaptation. The Rings of Power uses passages from various Lord of the Rings books to describe a particular period in Middle-history. Earth’s The new LOTR show on Amazon doesn’t follow the same formula as previous iterations because Peter Jackson isn’t engaged either. The Rings of Power is essentially a television adaptation of Tolkien’s world-building concepts and intricate mythology from Middle-Earth works like The Silmarillion, many of which he never meant to develop into full storylines.
The Rings of Power will cover the Second Age of Middle-Earth. The Lord of the Rings flashback scenes showing the ultimate conflict between Sauron and the coalition of Men and Elves provide a previous glance at this period. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power narrates the tale of Sauron’s rise to become the Dark Lord of Mordor, the development of the rings of power, and—most significantly—The One Ring. J.R.R. Tolkien has written in broad strokes about these occasions and how they fit into the history of Middle-Earth.
Still, the Second Age of Middle-Earth has never been investigated with the same depth of character-driven intimacy as the Third Age (i.e. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings). The rise and fall of Sauron in the Second Age will be depicted in Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power for the first time from the viewpoint of the people of Middle-Earth, as opposed to as a detailed but detached account of historical events. Here is everything you need to know about how J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing, including the infamously challenging Silmarillion, was adapted for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Naturally, that doesn’t sit well with all Tolkien enthusiasts. Since Amazon announced it, the Prime Video prequel has drawn much criticism. Some people worry that the deviation from the original material won’t honor the author’s work.
Rings Of Power Source Material: An Explanation of the Silmarillion
The Silmarillion, which eschews conventional narrative style, is more of a compilation of made-up histories set in Middle-earth and beyond than a strictly literary work like The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. The legends of Nmenor, Sauron, Finrod, Gil-Galad, and Valinor in the part-textbook, part-Bible, may have all been modified for The Rings of Power’s plot. Some people even suggested that The Rings of Power might adopt an anthology style, adapting Tolkien’s words from The Silmarillion in scenes and perhaps even entire episodes in the same way that Peter Jackson did with the Fellowship entering the Mines of Moria or Gandalf the White’s dramatic Fangorn Forest entrance.
The Rings of Power, however, appear to be focusing on a particular historical period from the millennia-spanning Silmarillion — the conclusion of the Second Age of Middle-Earth. This is hardly surprising given that audiences are most likely to be familiar with this period of Middle-Earth’s before The Hobbit. Even though The Silmarillion is a comprehensive work, The Rings of Power will also reference other literary works.
— The Lord of the Rings on Prime (@LOTRonPrime) August 29, 2022
Tolkien revealed many details concerning Middle-pre-Bilbo Earth’s years in his letters to Humphrey Carpenter that were later published and included in the 12-volume The History of Middle-Earth as well as the Unfinished Tales of Nmenor and Middle-Earth. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will incorporate lore from several sources. Although Tolkien lovers haven’t seen a show or movie of The Silmarillion as closely as Amazon’s series, it shouldn’t be viewed as a pure page-to-scene reproduction.
That is especially true when considering how much fresh content The Rings of Power generates. While Peter Jackson had a clear plan to follow for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Amazon faced a more difficult task because Tolkien doesn’t describe the Middle-Second earth’s Age in quite the same level of minute detail. Although Tolkien had given them the dates, times, and events, nothing was known about the real-world identities of figures like Isildur, Elrond, and Galadriel.
Beyond Kings, Queens, and military leaders, he didn’t mention many other people. The trailers for The Rings of Power reveal that Amazon has significantly expanded the canon of Middle-characters, Earth’s with a very different Galadriel, now known as “Commander of the Northern Armies,” and a slew of fresh names like Halbrand, Disa, and Arondir. In actuality, The Rings of Power actually adapts a tiny portion of The Silmarillion. Still, it expands that tiny portion into a fully developed and nearly entirely unique plot, much to how 300 handled the actual Battle of Thermopylae.