Amazon has released the first image from their upcoming Lord of the Rings TV series. The grand vista shows a colossal city on the edge of a riverbank surrounded by lush greenery. In the foreground, a figure in a white cloak walks towards the river. At first glance, it’s difficult to know what this image is supposed to be, it could be any one of the countless grand cities from Middle-earth’s Second Age.
However, hidden in the background is a huge clue (literally) that reveals, to those who’ve read The Silmarillion at least, where this is. If you look at the background, hidden in what appears to be sunlight, you can see two massive trees, which have to be the two Trees of Valinor, Telperion and Laurelin. That would mean the picture Amazon released was of Valinor, aka the Undying Lands, where the elves bugger off to at the end of The Lord of the Rings.
In Tolkien’s lore, the island of Valinor was the realm of the Valar (Middle-earth’s version of angels) powerful beings who helped Eru Ilúvatar (God) when he sang the universe into being.
The fact that the trees are in the picture is very interesting, both Telperion and Laurelin – the Silver Tree and the Gold Tree – were what gave the world light, but they were destroyed before the first age by Melkor. Melkor, who is basically Tolkien’s version of Satan, is an evil Valar who seeks to warp Eru Ilúvatar’s creation for his own ends. Jealous of the trees’ light, he recruits the Ungoliant, a colossal spider (and the mother of Shelob), to eat the light of the trees, destroying them in the process.
On September 2, 2022, a new journey begins. pic.twitter.com/9tnR7WqDoA
— The Lord of the Rings on Prime (@LOTRonPrime) August 2, 2021
The other Valar attempt to heal the trees but are ultimately unsuccessful, only managing to revive Telperion’s last flower and Laurelin’s last fruit, which became the Moon and the Sun, respectively. Following their destruction, it’s said that the true light of the Trees now resides in the three magnificent jewels called the Silmarils, from which the Silmarillion takes its name.
All of this happened in the Years of the Trees, though, way before the time Amazon’s Lord of the Ring’s TV series is supposed to take place though. Amazon has confirmed that their series is set during the Second Age, which for the record, happens thousands of years after the destruction of the trees so why are they teasing ancient Valinor?
The most likely answer is that, like Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, the TV series will open with a prologue that will give the audience some context about the story they’re about to watch.
The Lord of the Rings will stream on Amazon Prime Video on September 2, 2022.