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Rings of Power: Elrond explained

Rings of Power: we've written a complete history of one of Middle-earth's most important elves, Elrond, from the First Age all the way to the Third Age

Rings of Power: Elrond explained

Who is Elrond? The fantasy series Rings of Power has taken us back to Middle-earth, but it’s not the land we think we know. Set during the Second Age, this Middle-earth is in a period of peace when elves, dwarves, and men are in their ascendancy. Each of the great races is working wonders, and it seems like this golden age will never end.

Yet, in the shadows, there are whispers and rumours that while Morgoth was defeated, his greatest servant, Sauron, still survives and is marshalling his strength in secret. Should the old enemy return, it could spell the end of Middle-earth, but thankfully some realise the danger and doing everything they can to protect the world from this growing darkness.

One such person is the elf Elrond, who has been busy convincing Durin and the dwarves on the TV series to help Celebrimbor build his great forge. But who is Elrond? Well, we’ve done a bit of reading to bring you everything you need to know about the future Lord of Rivendell.

Elrond’s early life and The First Age

Elrond and his twin brother Elros were born the sons of Eärendil and Elwing. Eärendil, Elrond’s father, was a great elven hero and explorer who made the arduous journey to Valinor. While there, he convinced the Valar to join the war against the great enemy Morgoth and was eventually rewarded with stewardship of the sun and moon.

The twin’s mother, Elwing, was a half-elf of great renown who made the journey with her husband to Valinor despite knowing she would be killed for treading in the Undying Lands. The Valar decided to spare her for her bravery and selflessness, and she was eventually allowed to live her life as a full immortal elf.

Rings of Power: Elrond explained

Despite their valiant heritage, Elrond and Elros did not grow up with their parents. The twins were captured while still young and brought up by the Sons of Fëanor, a group sworn to steal back the Silmarils from Morgoth.

It was Maglor the Mighty Singer who took in the boys after finding them in the ruins of a battlefield. The boys grew to become powerful half-elves like their parents, who were active participants in the War of Wrath against Morgoth.

As the First age drew to a close and Morgoth was defeated, the sons of Eärendil and Elwing were presented with a choice. They could not live as half-elves, so they had to decide, would they take the Gift of Men or live forever as elves? Elrond chose an immortal life, while Elros decided to become a human.

Rings of Power: Elrond explained

Elrond during the Rings of Power and the Second Age

In the early days of the Second Age, there was peace in the land with Morgoth defeated and his second in command, Sauron, missing and presumed dead. Elrond served as a captain in the armies of Lindon, eventually serving as the herald of The Rings of Power character Gil-galad, the High King of the Ñoldor, while Elros became the first king of Numenor. It was during this age that the Rings of Power TV series is set.

So far, we’ve seen that Elrond spent his days serving as a counsellor for his hot-headed friend Galadriel and working with Celebrimbor and the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm to build the greatest forge in Middle-earth. In the season finale, we saw Celebrimbor and Halbrand (actually Sauron) forge the titular Rings of Power aka, Sauron’s magic rings.

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From the books and the rather ominous Rings of Power trailer, we know the peace will not last. Eventually, Galadriel’s prediction that Sauron is simply building his strength will be revealed to be true, and the dark lord will move to conquer all of Middle-earth. Elrond will lead his people’s armies against the dark lord, but the strength of elves alone will not be enough to stop the armies of evil.

While the elves were saved from annihilation by Durin’s forces, they were in no shape to battle Sauron’s legions of monsters, and Elrond led his people to an area near the Misty Mountains. There he established the realm of Rivendell, a sanctuary and refuge for elves. Unfortunately, this new base was soon discovered, and Rivendell was besieged.

Rings of Power: Elrond explained

For four years, waves of orcs broke against Rivendell’s defences, but things grew desperate. The timely intervention of the Númenórean armies saved Elrond and Rivendell from destruction, and the elf lord wasted no time in calling together the White Council.

With Galadriel and King Gil-Galad in attendance, the elven council decided they would hide the three rings of power Celembrimbor had forged lest they fall into the hands of the great enemy. Though most of his time was consumed with the war, it was during this time he met and fell in love with  Celebrían (Galadriel’s daughter), who he would eventually marry.

After Sauron attempted to trick the Númenóreans into waging war against the Valar, their island home was destroyed, and Sauron’s physical body along with it; this significantly weakened the would-be conqueror, and the remaining armies of elves and men decided to take the fight to Mordor.

Rings f Power: Elrond explained

In what became known as the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, the armies invaded Mordor and met Sauron in open battle under the shadow of Mount Doom. It’s here that Elrond witnessed Isildur cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand, once again banishing the servant of Morgoth to an ephemeral form.

This should have been the end of Sauron, but the strength of men failed, and Isildur claimed the ring for himself. With the elven armies depleted and his strength failing him, Elrond did not challenge Isildur and instead returned home to Rivendell.

Rings of Power: Elrond explained

Elrond during the Lord of the Rings movies and Third Age

Soon after, Isildur was attacked by orcs, and the One Ring was thought lost, bringing the Second Age to an end. The Third Age was a mostly pleasant one for Elrond; he married Celebrían, and they had three children Elladan, Elrohir, and Arwen. Elrond’s children, like their father, had the ability to choose between mortal and immortal life.

He also fostered the line of Isildur, keeping them safe as children from the forces of evil. Of course, the best known of these was Aragorn, who would eventually fall in love with Arwen.

Choosing to love Aragorn would mean Arwen would have to choose a mortal life, and Elrond decreed she could only marry the mortal man when he was the King of Gondor, as anything else would be beneath her.

Rings of Power: Elrond explained

Eventually, Celebrían made the trip to the Undying Lands after being attacked by orcs and Elrond was left alone again. He spent these days, known as the Watchful Peace, with an eye out for Sauron and his ring. As such, he regularly met with the White Council, which now included the Maia, Gandalf, Saruman, and Radagast.

When Gandalf discovered the One Ring had been found and sent Frodo on his mission to destroy it, Elrond convened a great council where the Fellowship of the Ring was born. Elrond offered what support he could from Rivendell, reforging the shards of the sword Narsil into a new weapon known as Anduril. He also urges Aragorn to take command of the Army of the Dead.

After the One Ring was destroyed and the armies of evil dispersed, he travelled to Minas Tirith to see Aragorn crowned king and marry Arwen. As the Third Age entered its final days, Elrond, Galadriel, and the ringbearers Bilbo and Frodo travelled west to Valinor, never to be seen again.

Rings of Power: Elrond explained

What are Elrond’s powers?

Elrond decided to live an immortal life when offered the choice and, as such, enjoyed all the perks of being an elf. He was immune to the passing of time and possessed an almost otherworldly beauty and grace.

He could walk without leaving a trace and was so light of foot that he could walk on snow without sinking into the powder. Like all elves, he did not require sleep and only minimal sustenance to survive. Elrond was also a gifted politician and soldier who was instrumental in defeating Sauron during the Second and Third ages.

The elf lord also possessed one of Celebrimbor’s rings, specifically Vilya, the Ring of Air. Supposedly “the mightiest of the elven rings”, the exact powers of the Vilay are unknown, but it’s believed Elrond used it to hide Rivendell from the forces of evil and that it gave the elf great healing powers.

For another deep dive into Middle-earth and the answer to questions like ‘is Isildur really dead?What would have happened if Sauron got the One Ring, and more check out our guide to The Rings of Power season 2. If that’s not enough, we also have an article on the Rings of Power cast.