‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’: Everything You Need to Know About Númenor

TL;DR:

  • The Rings of Power Episode 3 introduces the island kingdom of Númenor.
  • Númenor has an extensive history outlined in J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings.
  • The Amazon prequel will likely explain why Númenor isn’t in The Lord of the Rings.
A shot of Númenor in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' on Prime Video. It shows a tower and a keep on the side of a mountain.
The kingdom of Númenor | Prime Video

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is bringing fans back to Middle-earth, and it’s exploring what J.R.R. Tolkien’s world looked like during the Second Age. The Rings of Power Episode 3 introduces viewers to Númenor, an island kingdom that doesn’t appear in The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. But despite its absence from earlier projects, Númenor will play a prominent role in Amazon’s prequel. And it has an extensive history outlined in Tolkien’s writings.

What is Númenor in ‘The Rings of Power’?

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Númenor is one of the more interesting places to appear in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and it exists primarily because of the fight against Morgoth. After the Elves and men won the war against Sauron’s master, the Valar — who are essentially gods in J.R.R. Tolkien’s lore — granted the men this kingdom as a reward.

Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) explains this to Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) during The Rings of Power Episode 3, which takes the pair to the star-shaped island. She also reveals that the Elves once had a close relationship with those residing in Númenor. However, their allies eventually stopped engaging.

The men who call Númenor home are dubbed Númenóreans — also known as the Dúnedain — and they have longer life spans than normal men. Those who have seen the Lord of the Rings movies will recall that Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) is one of the Dúnedain. And The Rings of Power honors that by showing his ancestors living on the island.

Of course, viewers may find themselves wondering why Númenor doesn’t show up in the original trilogy. There’s a good reason for that, and it’s not because Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) don’t venture that far west. Spoilers ahead for those who don’t want to know where the show is headed.

Númenor falls during the Second Age of Middle-earth, long before Frodo’s quest to destroy the One Ring.

Why Númenor doesn’t appear in ‘The Lord of the Rings’

That’s right, Númenor doesn’t appear in The Lord of the Rings trilogy because it no longer exists by the time that story takes place.

As Polygon notes, the island sinks beneath the sea after the people there challenge the Valar. This, of course, is Sauron’s doing. The Rings of Power shows Númenor’s leaders making questionable decisions from the jump. And in J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings, advisor Ar-Pharazon (Trystan Gravelle) becomes corrupted by Morgoth’s successor. Sauron persuades Ar-Pharazon and his followers to take up arms against Valinor. He tells them they can obtain immortality this way — but if anything, it shortens their life spans instead.

As one might expect, a fight between men and gods leans heavily in the latter’s favor. The Valar call upon an even higher power — Eru Ilúvatar — who takes Númenor off the map completely.

It’s a tragic end for a kingdom built on the loyalty of the men living there. And The Rings of Power is poised to show viewers Númenor’s ruination before its run is through.

‘The Rings of Power’ will likely depict the kingdom’s downfall

Knowing what becomes of Númenor, it seems likely The Rings of Power will depict the kingdom’s downfall during its five-season run. After all, Númenor’s undoing marks an important piece of Middle-earth’s history. It also explains why Aragorn’s ancestors, Elendil (Lloyd Owen) and Isildur (Maxim Baldry), escape elsewhere, eventually coming to establish and rule Arnor and Gondor.

With that domino effect in mind, it’d be difficult for Amazon to gloss over this portion of the Second Age. Plus, the war between the Dúnedain and Valar will undoubtedly be an epic spectacle. If shown on-screen, it’ll be one for television’s history books.

New episodes of The Rings of Power debut every Friday on Prime Video.

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