The Rings of Power isn’t ready to give up its plot-based secrets for a while – but it is willing to reward eagle-eyed Tolkien fans who might spot some unexpected Easter eggs and Middle-earth references throughout its first season.
The forthcoming Prime Video series, which is on track to be the most expensive TV show ever made, counts many Tolkienites among its extensive cast and crew. Unsurprisingly, then, there are plenty of intricate details and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it secrets hidden within The Rings of Power‘s multiple sets, costumes, and weaponry.
Speaking exclusively to TechRadar at The Rings of Power’s UK junket, co-showrunner Patrick McKay revealed that it would take multiple viewings of the first season’s 10 episodes to even crack the surface of the high-fantasy show’s immeasurable amount of secrets and Tolkien references.
“We wanted the visual language to be as rich and layered as we found the books to be,” McKay explained. “If you’re looking at any frame of the show, there are all kinds of stories being told that might not be apparent on first viewing. If you enjoy the first couple – or all of – the episodes, watch them again and you may find some really interesting secrets.”
Some Middle-earth references will be immediately obvious to viewers. The wood-based armor worn by Ismael Cruz Cordova’s Arondir, for example, is a clear nod to his silvan elf heritage (silvan elves primarily reside in forest cities including Lothlórien).
Others, though, will only be picked up on by the biggest Tolkien fans – McKay offered one example of the sheer amount of detail that went into every design for The Rings of Power’s considerable cast of characters and various realms.
“Look at every piece of jewellery that [Elven High-King] Gil-galad wears,” McKay said. “Each of his rings carry significance, and they even lock together to form brass knuckles, because he’s known as the Warrior King. Every single character throughout all of our locations has that level of imagination and detail in their costume.”
McKay isn’t being hyperbolic, either. Markella Kavenagh, who plays Nori Brandyfoot – a member of a nomadic Hobbit precursor race called the Harfoots – revealed how one particular element of each Harfoot costume symbolizes how important the themes of family and community are to Middle-earth’s halfling race.
“Each member of the Harfoot community has these necklaces of apple seeds,” Kavenagh explained. “Some members, such as the elders, have many more because they’ve lost more Harfoots during each migration they’ve embarked on. So the amount of apple seeds represents how many members of the Harfoot community have passed away during each migration. It’s such a small detail, but it’s pivotal to the unity within their community.”
Clearly, The Rings of Power has been painstakingly crafted to deliver a visual feast for the eyes. Established Tolkien fans, as well as newcomers to the franchise, will want to keep their eyes peeled for a seemingly infinite amount of big and small details in Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’s first two episodes will exclusively launch on Prime Video on Friday, September 2 in most world regions. However, US audiences will be able to stream the two-episode premiere on Thursday, September 1 – read our in-depth Rings of Power episode 1 and 2 release time guide for more details.
TechRadar will be bringing you plenty of content surrounding the Rings of Power over the next few days. Firstly, find out how you can stream both episodes in 8K with Samsung devices, or check out the show’s final trailer before launch day arrives.
Be sure to check back later today (August 31) for our spoiler-free review of The Rings of Power’s first two episodes, too, and keep an eye out for more from our exclusive chats with the show’s cast and crew later this week.