Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What Character Is In The First Look Image Of Amazon's Middle-Earth Project?

In early August, Amazon released a stunning first series image for its upcoming Middle-earth project. The gorgeously detailed photo consisted of a white city perched atop a hill, nestled between two great mountain ranges. The primary source of light for the scene appears to be coming from the Two Trees of Valinor, which can be seen glowing in resplendent glory off in the distance. In the foreground, though, we see a grassy knoll, with a white-clad figure standing on top, back to the camera, surveying the panoramic view. The individual is largely covered up in a white cloak that hangs from their shoulders down to the grass below. Above that is a head of golden hair that is either cut short or has the hair pulled up. The figure appears to have their hand on their hip and may even be holding onto a sheathed sword.

The question is, who is this mysterious caped person? Of course, when you're talking about a world as expansive as Tolkien's universe, there's really no end to the speculation here — at least until we get a bit more context. That said, we've done some digging and narrowed things down to a handful of likely candidates.

To clarify, we're going to operate on the assumption that the giant, technically unverified light source is, indeed, the Two Trees of Valinor. If that's the case, it rules out some scenarios, such as the scene taking place on the Mannish island of Númenor or the person being Eärendil the Mariner, the Half-elven hero who saves the world at the end of the First Age.

If this is bonafide Two Trees territory, it narrows the playing field, at least a little bit. So, without further ado, let's play guess the random Middle-earth inhabitant, shall we?

Galadriel quickly comes to mind

The easiest guess here is Galadriel. After all, we know that the character is going to be in the show — in fact, she was one of the first confirmed characters to be cast. She's also ancient, having lived through thousands of years of Middle-earth history. She would have witnessed the Two Trees and been around during the First Age that follows.

That said, one of the biggest red flags here is the lack of hair. The Elven heroine is well-known for her luscious golden locks. In fact, in "The Silmarillion" it literally introduces her by saying that "her hair was lit with gold as though it had caught in a mesh the radiance of Laurelin." What's Laurelin, you ask? Why one of the Two Trees. See? It tracks.

That said, the lack of long, flowing tresses does seem to point away from it being Galadriel. Still, there's a chance that this is just Galadriel on a day when she felt like wearing her hair up. Other than the hair bit, it really would make sense for the future leader or Lothlorien to be shown in the Blessed Realm away in the West, back in the earliest days of Middle-earth history. If that's the case, it looks like we're in for some pretty sweet youthful Galadriel exposition.

It technically could be Gandalf

Alright, we get it, this one's obviously a stretch, at least at first glance. But before you start throwing full wine bottles at your computer screen (and yes, that's a Strong Bad reference), let's break it down for a second.

For starters, we're not talking about Gandalf as in the old dude who puttered around Middle-earth for several centuries on his superpowered walking stick. We're talking about Olórin, the Maiar (read: spiritual being) that was eventually packed up into an old man's body and shipped off to Middle-earth to help resist Sauron.

In "The Two Towers," Faramir quotes Gandalf as saying, "Olórin I was in my youth in the West, that is forgotten." Tolkien never wrote a lot about Gandalf's mysterious "youth" in the West. But we get a few important tidbits in his book "Unfinished Tales." There, it says, among other things, that though Olórin "loved the Elves, he walked among them unseen, or in form as one of them..."

In addition, "The Silmarillion" explains that spiritual beings like the Maiar can take on a physical form "as we use raiment" and that they can "take upon them forms some as of male and some as of female..." It also tells us that Olórin lived and traveled often throughout regions near to the Two Trees. Maybe the team at Amazon Studios saw the connection to the existing "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" material and couldn't resist connecting the dots.

Is it Finwë or Fëanor?

If Amazon is really planning on heading back to the First Age, even in flashbacks or some other minor manner, they could be opening up Pandora's box. That era of Tolkien's writings is filled with characters, places, and events that won't be easy to translate to the silver screen. That said, there are a ton of characters that the figure in the picture could be who are important during this time in "The Silmarillion" ... but who would be completely new to the audience. We're going to resist the urge to go down that rabbit trail, as it would make for some pretty dense reading (after all, there's a reason even countless LOTR fans have failed to read through "The Silmarillion" material.) Still, there's one pair of characters that we can't help but bring up: Finwë and Fëanor.

Finwë is the grandfather of Galadriel and the father (through a different marriage) of one of Middle-earth's most infamous heroes: Fëanor. The son is a truly gifted individual. He creates the hallowed jewels, the Silmarils, as well as the palantiri (the seeing stones from the LOTR trilogy.) He's also a firebrand who is at the center of most of Middle-earth's troubles throughout the entire First Age.

Finwë isn't as fiery as his son. However, he does serve as the King of the Noldor, a large faction of Elves. Both characters live during the time of the Two Trees, and either one could be the character in question in the picture. However, the one thing that throws this off is the fact that Fëanor, at least, had black hair. Unless we're talking about a little exercising of an artistic license (or really bad lighting,) that doesn't seem to be the case in the picture.

Could it be Glorfindel?

Another tempting nominee is the character Glorfindel. The name may sound foreign to movie fans who have never read the books. However, one need only read halfway into "The Fellowship of the Ring" to meet Glorfindel in the flesh ... and spirit, too. The Elf-lord is the original hero who helps Aragorn and the Hobbits escape the clutches of the Black Riders at the end of their flight from Bree to Rivendell. It's pretty wild. Read it.

Though replaced by Arwen in the films, Glorfindel has always been a fan favorite of book readers. He is clearly an ancient character who has muscle when it matters. He also operates powerfully in the spiritual and even has wise words during the Council of Elrond. He's even the one who prophesies that a woman will end up killing the Witch-king of Angmar. What really takes Glorfindel up a notch, though, is the fact that he's a reincarnated Elf who already died a hero's death during the First Age. In "The Silmarillion," Glorfindel dies saving a bunch of refugees from a Balrog (much like Gandalf, in fact).

In "The Peoples of Middle-Earth," Tolkien breaks down the fact that this Glorfindel is likely reborn into a new physical body and spends some time living in the Blessed Realm. From there, he makes his way back to Middle-earth to help in the same work that Gandalf and the other wizards are tasked to accomplish — defeating Sauron.

It's hard to pin down when, exactly, Glorfindel was originally born. However, it is revealed that the Elf was definitely involved in several events that happened at or around the same time when the Two Trees are lit. Maybe the folks at Amazon couldn't resist the idea of finally adapting this larger-than-life character.

Dare we say ... it's Morgoth?

This last one is a wild card that we have to throw into the mix just for fun. We already covered the fact that Gandalf could be a candidate since his spiritual being is able to take physical form. Well, the same logic can be applied to arguably the greatest villain that Tolkien ever penned.

Morgoth, also known as Melkor around this time, is the original Dark Lord of Middle-earth. In fact, Sauron is Morgoth's right-hand man before the master is defeated at the end of the First Age and the pupil takes over.

Morgoth is the big baddie that most of "The Silmarillion" revolves around. However, there is a point early in the story when he's temporarily defeated and put in chains for three ages — which is as long as it sounds and then some. After a crap-ton of years spent in spirit jail, Morgoth is released after pretending to be a changed man — er, changed spirit, anyway.

This leads to a chunk of time, during the Two Trees era, no less, when Morgoth is roaming around the Blessed Realm, basically on parole. While this spectacularly blows up in everyone's faces (Morgoth is literally the guy who hatches the plan that leads to the destruction of the Two Trees) there's still a chance that the seemingly innocent character that we're looking at in the picture is none other than the Dark Lord himself. Maybe that's him, finally free, ambling about in a fair form, looking out on the world he's about to destroy.