One of the best things about the new TV trend of returning to places we’ve visited is finding connections to the older projects. It worked really well in Bel-Air and Saved By The Bell, and now, two episodes into The Rings of Power, we can safely say that it feels like it will work even if we do not know for sure yet.
The first two episodes have taken us back to places that feel familiar, but what is even cooler to see are characters who we meet here who will play a pivotal role thousands of years down the road in the fight against Sauron. In some cases, we are seeing what led to them being who they were when we first met them in either The Hobbit or the Lord of The Rings trilogies. And then there are brand new characters who, unless you have read Tolkien’s other Middle-earth pieces, are surprisingly connected to the more famous heroes of Middle-earth in different ways, including a LOTR veteran who we later see refuse a ring of power.
Galadriel and Elrond
Given the role both of these characters play down the road, it makes sense to lump them together. It’s even cooler that the older version of these characters, two of the greatest heroes in Middle-earth, are played by Hela and Red Skull respectively, two of the greatest villains in Marveldom. Galadriel was very much resigned to her fate when we saw her in The Lord of the Rings, but The Rings of Power finds her seeking vengeance for the death of her brother at the hands of Sauron, who she believes is not gone. In the source material, she actually is not allowed to return home because she rebels with her own army of elves with plans to rule over Middle-earth, and there doesn’t seem to be any mention of that here. Elrond, meanwhile, is a friend to the Dwarves and their King in a way that he does not appear to be in the films. In fact, utter indifference is probably the best way to describe his attitude towards Gimli and the dwarves who come to Rivendell. He’s definitely learning how to scheme here, whereas the Elrond we meet later on is very much content with letting the world end: at least until his daughter shares that she’s given up her immortality. Elrond is afforded a sort of reverence in The Rings of Power that can be directly attributed to the source material in which his parents played a key role in defeating Morgoth.
The High King of the Elves is actually only seen briefly in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, fighting next to Elrond and Isildur in the war against Sauron, but we are getting a lot of him here. In the source material, it should be noted that Sauron kills Gil-galad with his bare hands, so folks should not get too attached to a character that is highly respected and who has the most authority of any of the elves we meet.
Prince Durin IV
Prince Durin didn’t physically appear in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so we are seeing him for the first time in The Rings of Power. However, it is his father, King Durin, who rules over what would later become the Mines of Moria. Yes, we know what you’re thinking: who rules over the mines? Well, dwarves did when the mines were actually the Kingdom of Khazad-dûm and that’s where the Balrog resides. Prince Durin is also present when the secret box is shown, and while we don’t see what is actually in it our bet is that it is mithril: mithril is what Frodo’s chainmail was made from, and what ultimately saves his life.
A name only whispered as a cautionary tale in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but one who plays a pivotal role in how we even get to the end of Peter Jackson’s labor of love. Celebrimbor, who can also be seen in the critically-acclaimed video game Shadow of War, ends up being tricked by Sauron into creating the titular rings of power, a plot point for which the wheels have already started turning. He is, also, the one who created the three elven rings in secret, so his role (while small right now) will expand as the show progresses.
The sword of Elendil was reforged by Elrond and bestowed upon Aragorn so he could go into the mountains and return with a ghost army that had sworn an oath to the King of Men. Here, we meet the owner of THAT sword and the second to last King of Men. Elendil plays a pivotal role in Sauron’s defeat as well, as it is he who forges the last alliance between Elves and Men. He is not that person in The Rings of Power yet, but his ties to Aragorn and Numenor will most likely be explored further.
The last King of Men, who both defeated Sauron AND allowed him to return by not destroying the ring. We last saw Isildur in The Fellowship of the Ring face down in a river with arrows in his back. He succumbed to the temptation of the One Ring and didn’t destroy it when he had the chance, but he is also who helps discover Gondor (a place that plays a pivotal role in the original trilogy).