Rings of Power: Realms Explained

August 29, 2022

Rivendell

Rivendell, also known as Imladris in Sindarin, a peaceful, sheltered Elven town and the house of Elrond located in Middle-earth near the edge of a narrow canyon of the river Bruinen, but well hidden among the moorlands and foothills of the Misty Mountains. In reference to Valinor, which was located in Aman west of the Great Sea, it is referred to as “The Last Homely House East of the Sea.”

Throughout the First and Second Ages, Rivendell was a hub of knowledge and prosperity. The story of the Second Age revolves around the city of Rivendell, and The Rings of Power’s portrayal of Elrond taking stewardship of the city during the horrors of the struggle against Sauron is probably one of the series’ most important plot points. Rivendell’s existence after the Last Alliance’s triumph also enables Elrond to increase its population in order to once again serve as “The Last Homely House East of the Sea,” where Frodo seeks refuge during The Fellowship of the Ring.

Tirion

Tirion, known fully as Tirion upon Túna, was the city of the Ñoldor in Aman. The Quenya term “Tirion” means “Watch-tower.” Tirion was where Finwë ruled and where his sons Fëanor, Fingolfin, and Finarfin resided. The people of Tiron are known as the Ñoldor, also known as the Deep-elves; they were the second clan of Elves to join the Great March and travel to the West.

In the First and Second Age stories of Middle Earth, Tirion plays a crucial role as a doorway to the Two Trees of Valinor. Melkor and the Ungoliant siphon the life from the trees in the First Age, ushering in the first great wars of Middle Earth, while Ar-Pharazôn raids the shores of Aman in an attempt to besiege Tirion in the Second Age. Tirion will therefore presumably play a significant role in The Rings of Power’s most key plot developments, giving viewers their first glimpse of the Undying Lands that Frodo and company sail off to at the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Númenor

Númenor was a kingdom of Men that the Valar first raised out of the sea as a gift to the Fathers of Men at the dawn of the First Age, following the utter annihilation of Beleriand. The realm of the Númenóreans, the Dúnedain, located on an island in the Great Sea between Middle-earth and Aman. Initially named Elenna or the Isle of Elenna (“Starwards”) because the Dúnedain were led to it by the star of Eärendil and because the island was shaped like a five-pointed star. The Dúnedain built a temple for Ilúvatar atop the mountain Meneltarma in the island’s center. Armenelos was the largest city and capitol of Númenor.

The Númenorians who lived on the isles lived long lives—three times as long as Men did in Middle Earth—and forged a powerful coastal kingdom along the shores of the central realm, yet many of them still coveted the Elves’ immortality above all else. This envy was exploited by Sauron to urge the Númenorian king Ar-Pharazôn to attack the Valar, this led to Númenor sinking to the bottom of the ocean and being condemned as “the drowned kingdom.” Númenor is the birthplace of Isildur and his father, Elendil, who fled Númenor’s destruction and lived on Middle Earth with their loyal men.

Khazad-dûm

Khazad-dûm, also referred to as Moria or the Dwarrowdelf, was a realm that existed below the Misty Mountains. The most renowned of all dwarven lands, it was known for being the ancient home of the Dwarves of Durin’s Folk. Founded in the far distant past by Durin “the Deathless,” long before the Sun and Moon were made in the Years of the Trees. Early in the Second Age, Khazad-dûm’s realm of Longbeards was enriched in culture, talents, and people by enormous numbers of refugees from Belegost and Nogrod, cities ruined at the end of the First Age along with most of Beleriand in the cataclysmic final battle against Morgoth.

Durin IV and Disa, two of the main protagonists in The Rings of Power, are members of the Khazad-dûm royal family, and Durin III, Durin IV’s grandfather, is the bearer of one of the seven Dwarven Rings of Power. Khazad-dûm also plays a significant role in Sauron’s conflicts with the Free Peoples of Middle Earth during the Second Age, with Durin III’s surprise attack on Sauron saving Rivendell’s Elven armies and enabling the Last Alliance to defeat the Dark Lord in battle. Long after Khazad-dûm was destroyed by armies of goblins and the balrog Durin’s Bane in the Third Age, it reappears in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring under the darker name Moria.

Gondor

Gondor (meaning “Land of Stone”) was the most powerful kingdom of Men in Middle-earth. The brothers Isildur and Anárion, who were exiles from Númenor, founded Gondor. Gondor was the sister kingdom of Arnor. Due to the ships and military prowess that its forces possessed, Gondor was at the height of its power in its early years. However, ongoing invasions from Sauron’s allies, civil war, and a terrible plague led to a steady fall throughout the length of the Third Age, which ended with Sauron’s ultimate demise and the crowning of Aragorn II Elessar. After then, Gondor’s authority grew once more, and the former Arnorian kingdoms were merged with it under the name of the Reunited Kingdom.

The realm of Gondor is certain to feature due to the inclusion of Isildur and Elendil Númenor tales, even though it isn’t explicitly shown in The Rings of Power trailer. After Númenor is destroyed, Elendil and his son travel to Middle Earth, where they found the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor in The Lord of the Rings with the help of their few surviving faithful followers (known as The Faithful). Gondor may appear in The Rings of Power’s later confirmed seasons because Isildur is specifically tasked with overseeing a growing Gondor, cultivating the White Tree, and fortifying the city’s fortifications.

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power starts on Prime Video on September 2nd, 2022.

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