The Rings of Power is set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, an entirely different time period from The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.
The Lord of the Rings franchise is easily one of the most popular, beloved and storied fantasy series in the world.
One of the reasons so many fans remain invested in the history of Middle-earth is the incredibly detailed lore that JRR Tolkien and his son Christopher produced for the franchise.
As Amazon Prime Video takes us back to Middle-earth with The Rings of Power, some fans are a bit confused as to why we don’t see Frodo, Aragon, Gimli, Legolas, or even Gollum in the series.
Indeed, The Rings of Power TV series is set in a completely different time period to the original films. So let’s briefly review the different ages of Middle-earth.
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The Second Age of Middle-earth
The Second Age of Middle-earth is the time period in which the new Amazon Prime Video TV series, The Rings of Power, is set.
The Second Age was the period immediately following the defeat of Morgoth in the Void by the Lords of the West and ending with the defeat of Sauron by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.
According to the LOTR Fandom page, this period spanned a total of 3441 years and was characterized by the rise of Sauron, the emergence of the Ringwraiths, the forging of the Rings of Power, and the alliance between Elves and Men.
As of September 2 and the second episode of The Rings of Power, it has not been revealed what the exact year of the show is.
However, an interactive map that was released as part of the show’s promotional campaign hints at the series taking place between SA 1500 and SA 1700 (SA meaning Second Age) – so roughly halfway through the time.
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The Third Age of Middle-earth
The Third Age of Middle-earth is the period in which the storylines of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings take place.
The period began with Sauron’s first defeat, when Isildur cut off the one ring from the Dark Lord’s finger in the Battle of Dagorlad, and ended with the departure of Elrond, Galadriel Bilbo, Frodo and Gandalf in the final scenes of Return of the King – lasting a total of 3021 years.
This age is known for its great peace during its first millennia, with the majority of groups and races having no major wars or Orc threats to deal with. Meanwhile, the rule of Men took precedence over the Elves who began to retreat into their territories as both Gondor and Rohan accumulated vast amounts of resources in their absence.
However, the shadow grew in Mordor until it reached boiling point, beginning with The Battle of Five Armies on the slopes of Lonely Mountain (The Hobbit) and continuing to rage on Middle-earth (The Fellowship of the Ring).
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The first and the fourth age
We have yet to visit the First or Fourth Ages of Middle-earth on the big screen or the small screen, having been the period following the awakening – the beginning of a populated, sentient Middle-earth.
However, they were actually neither the First nor the Last Age of Middle-earth, despite their names.
The planet in The Lord of the Rings is called Arda and began with a period known as Ainulindale, followed by two eras of Valian years called the Years of the Valar and the Years of the Trees.
We then had the Years of the Sun, before the start of the First Age of Middle-earth, followed by the Second, Third and Fourth Ages – finally by the Dagor Dagorath period, which included the Ragnarök style end times event. who ended Arda.
By Tom Llewellyn – firstname.lastname@example.org
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