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New Rings Of Power Set Images Hint At Impending Doom For The Elves In Season 2

Contains potential spoilers for "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Season 2

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" has a massive story to tell. Showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay have already said that they have the entire five-season story arc mapped out, with Payne adding, "This was a big story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. There are things in the first season that don't pay off until Season 5."

Despite the oversized story, Season 1 of the show got off to a very slow start. A gargantuan cast of characters was introduced. Their disparate storylines inched forward over the first eight episodes, culminating in a handful of major events, like the creation of Mordor, the death of the aged King of Númenor, the forging of the Three Elven Rings, and the dual revelation that the Stranger was a Wizard and Halbrand was the Dark Lord Sauron.

A ton of stuff happened, and yet the story didn't seem to move forward much. To be fair, the first season of the show was hampered by things like Covid delays, story-altering recastings, and building up the initial infrastructure of the production. Now that they have momentum, Payne, McKay, and company have everything set to speed up the story timeline, and based on a recent leak, it seems like they may be doing just that.

New drone set photos circulating online indicate that the story is going to take a huge leap forward. The pictures show an Elven set that appears to be Eregion, where the Elven Rings were forged at the end of Season 1. The only problem? The set is destroyed.

What a destroyed Eregion could mean for the Rings of Power timeline

"The Rings of Power" takes place in the Second Age of Middle-earth history — thousands of years before "The Lord of the Rings." This is the period when Aragorn's ancestors, the Atlantian Men of Númenor, are in their heyday. All of the Rings of Power are forged at this time, too. Sauron initially rises to power as the Dark Lord, and his first downfall (the event depicted in the opening sequence of "The Fellowship of the Ring" movie) coincides with one of the last times the Elves flex their military might.

One event that takes place in the midst of the drama is the rise and fall of the realm of Eregion. This is a craft-happy kingdom led by the master artisan Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards in the show). The Elvish area is established and then rises to unprecedented glory during this time. It forges a unique friendship with the Dwarves of nearby Khazad-dûm and becomes a central spot in the relatively peaceful Middle-earth landscape.

Eventually, a pleasant fella named Annatar comes by and helps Celebrimbor forge some magical rings, which is nice except, wait — yeah. He's Sauron in disguise. Oops. Before long, he ducks out, heads back to Mordor, and forges the One Ring to rule them all. But this plan backfires. The Elves realize the trick and take off their rings, leaving Sauron with no option but to try to take them by force.

Sauron brings waste and ruin to Eregion

Before long, the Dark Lord unleashes a fearsome army with the intent of conquering all of Middle-earth. His first target? Eregion, where Celebrimbor has the Rings of Power. Sauron comes sweeping in and destroys the area. He captures the capital city of Ost-in-Edhil and defeats Celebrimbor on the steps of his great treasure house. The Elf-lord is captured, tortured, and killed. Most of the Rings of Power are taken (except for those precious Three Elven Rings), and Celebrimbor's kingdom is utterly wiped from the face of Middle-earth.

The area of Eregion becomes relatively desolate. Even after Sauron loses his Ring and stops being a threat, the Elves never rebuild their kingdom. The Fellowship of the Ring travels through the area thousands of years later before they pass through Moria. They notice a few ruined buildings, and Legolas makes a comment about how the rocks remember their Elvish builders. But other than that, Eregion remains a ruined realm, snuffed out in the midst of its glory.

The drone pictures shared online may not be Eregion, in which case, all of this speculation is moot. If it is Eregion, though, as it seems based on the architecture, then there's a good chance that we're already going to see Celebrimbor's downfall in Season 2, which would be a sudden jump forward in the source material. If that's the case, it lends credence to the idea that the show is deliberately scaling its story and speeding up its timeline now that the foundations have been laid in Season 1. As is the case with all of these rumors, though, we won't know for sure until "The Rings of Power" Season 2 finally hits the streaming current.