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Rings Of Power Writer Gennifer Hutchison On The Temptation To Expand The Story East Into Rhûn - Exclusive

The Season 1 finale for "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" had a couple of key revelations. The biggest and most obvious of these is the fact that — spoiler alert! — Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) is Sauron. It wasn't too hard to guess, but the confirmation that the Dark Lord is officially on the board was a dark and unsettling revelation that sets the table nicely for a fascinating second season.

The other reveal had to do with the Stranger (Daniel Weyman). Also a candidate for a potential Sauron reveal, meteor man ended up being an Istari, one of Tolkien's elite crew of uppercase "W" Wizards who come to Middle-earth to fight against Sauron. In the final episode, the three Mystics that had been tracking the Stranger throughout the show finally catch up to him and try to bring him back to their homeland of Rhûn. Eventually, they put two and two together and realize that this guy isn't their returned lord Sauron. In fact, he's quite the opposite. They discover their mistake too late and are blown to supernatural butterfly bits.

The episode ends with the Stranger trying to figure out his next step. He's realized many things, but as he tells Nori (Markella Kavenagh), "More has come. But to discover the rest, I know I must go to Rhûn." The adventurous Harfoot joins him, and the two set off toward this mysterious and unknown portion of Tolkien's world. How mysterious and unknown? Well, let's just say Tolkien himself barely wrote anything on the subject. We recently talked with finale writer Gennifer Hutchison about this decision to send Nori and the Stranger into this uncharted region, and her thoughts on the subject were tantalizing, to say the least.

Gennifer Hutchison loved the idea of exploring Rhûn

When asked about the decision to officially name-drop Rhûn in "The Rings of Power" and set the stage for further adventures in the East of Middle-earth, Gennifer Hutchison was quick to point out what we all know: that Rhûn is a bit of a mystery, even to the Tolkien elite. "That's a world that exists in the Legendarium," the writer said, "and we know a little bit about. We don't really get to see as much in the primary text."

Hutchison went on to explain that the vague, undefined nature of Rhûn didn't turn the show's story creators away. On the contrary, it was a massive selling point that made the enigmatic eastern region an area they had to explore — especially within the more generous storytelling format of a longer, serialized show. "When you're doing a show that you have that space, it's such a temptation to go into that world and get the opportunity to expand it since it's there," she said. "We love the idea of exploring it."

Rhûn is primarily known as an area filled with Men, although there are also some Dwarves and Elves in the surrounding areas. The Humans are always vaguely talked about as being under Sauron's control, and their soldiers fight in the Dark Lord's armies when they attack Minas Tirith in "The Return of the King." While certainly a presence, though, Rhûn is always "on the edge" of Tolkien's tales, and the fact that "The Rings of Power" is planning on taking a closer look opens the doors for plenty of novel Middle-earth stories in the seasons to come.

All eight episodes of "The Rings of Power" Season 1 are streaming on Prime Video.