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Does The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Teaser Help Narrow The Time Period For Amazon's Show?

Amazon Studios' "Lord of the Rings" project has been incubating behind the scenes for what seems like forever. The company bought the rights to the books all the way back in 2017 (via Deadline), originally hoping to meet a 2021 release date for the "Lord of the Rings" series that was in the works. Over time, that release date turned into September 2022, which was officially announced way back in August 2021 (via Deadline). With the series still months away, no one was on the lookout for much of anything of substance in January, nine long months before the show was set to air.

Then, when fans were least expecting it, Amazon went and surprised everyone by dropping a surprise teaser on its Twitter profile on Wednesday, January 19. The announcement is primarily designed to reveal the official title of the series, which happens to be "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power." It's a nifty title that goes right along with the Ring-focused themes of "The Hobbit" but more so "The Lord of the Rings."

However, the title also offers a little insight into another factor: How long of an era the show will likely cover.

Confusion over the show's time period has been ever-present

Up until the reveal of the official title, fans struggled to figure out just what period of time the show will cover. The timeline for director-writer Peter Jackson's two trilogies — "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" — was easy. Each series of films primarily played out over the course of months, even if they were set to the backdrop of a rich history that stretched back tens of thousands of years.

In the case of Amazon's show, though, the story will be taking place right in the midst of that rich, long history. Thus far the studio has only officially expressed ( via Twitter and then a leaked-yet-confirmed synopsis) that the show takes place during the Second Age of Middle-earth history. That's all well and good, but the Second Age is almost 3,500 years long. That's an awfully long time to try cover in a handful of seasons. To complicate things even further, the first series image from Amazon's forthcoming show seemed to come from before the First Age — i.e. many hundreds or even thousands of years further back in Middle-earth history. Very early in the production process, sites like TheOneRing (via Twitter) reported on rumors that the show could also include a younger version of Aragorn, who lives 3,000 years into the Third Age.

While most of this has been speculation, it's all led to a very complicated and confusing set of guesses for when the show is going to take place. Will it cover the entire Second Age? Will it have flashbacks before that era? Will it connect to the Third Age, thousands of years later? Fortunately, we finally have some clarity to these questions, thanks to the teaser reveal of the title and a press release that accompanied it.

The Rings of Power title finally tells us what the show will cover

Amazon's latest teaser has officially revealed that the show is titled "The Rings of Power." This is clearly referencing the set of magical rings that dominate so much of the later period of Tolkien's world. Everyone is familiar with the One Ring, and the Black Riders have the Nine Rings. There are also Seven Rings for the Dwarf-lords, most of which are lost, devoured by Dragons, or reclaimed by Sauron. And then there are the Three Rings for the Elven-kings. These are never touched by the Dark Lord, and the Elves keep them safe right to the end of "The Lord of the Rings."

Taken altogether, these twenty overpowered trinkets make up what is known as the "Rings of Power." They're an essential part of Sauron's rise — and guess what? They were made during the Second Age. In fact, in the appendix to J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Return of the King," it explicitly states that roughly 1,500 years into the Second Age "the Elven-smiths instructed by Sauron reach the height of their skill. They begin the forging of the Rings of Power." In other words, the Rings of Power are forged about halfway through the age.

What's more, in a press release from Amazon, the showrunners for RoP, JD Payne and Patrick McKay, explicitly state that "The Rings of Power unites all the major stories of Middle-earth's Second Age: the forging of the rings, the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron, the epic tale of Númenor, and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men." This finally gives us a mostly-definitive set of events that the show will cover. The Rings of Power are forged 1,500 years into the Second Age. They spark the rise of Sauron as a conqueror, draw in the island nation of Númenor, and culminate in the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. In other words, all of these events primarily take place halfway through the Second Age or later.

Nothing is set in stone quite yet

Between the title of "The Rings of Power" and the showrunners' rundown of the events that they'll cover, we're finally able to point to the mid-to-late Second Age as the primary focal point of the show. And yet, this far out from the release, there's still plenty of wiggle room that could allow the show to cover other portions of Middle-earth history.

For instance, the event of the creation of the Rings of Power is the culmination of centuries of Sauron's devious planning. He starts seducing the Elves and teaching them his craftsmanship around 1,200 years into the Second Age, 300 years before the rings are actually made — a period of time that isn't that long in a world of immortals where everything moves at a snail's pace.

A case can easily be made for Sauron beginning his "rise to power" hundreds of years before that time, too. For instance, he starts to build up Mordor into his headquarters around 1,000 years into the age and begins stirring as a force of evil 500 years before that.

Another example is the Númenóreans. The Island of Númenor is a big deal later in the age, but it technically starts its history way back at the beginning of that era. The point is, even with the clarification from the showrunners, the timeline of the show could still bleed far past the actual creation of the Rings of Power themselves.

Amazon will likely spend most of its time in the mid-to-late Second Age

With all of the caveats said, there's still a good chance that, if the show is going to focus on the Rings of Power, it won't be spending too much time earlier in the Second Age. It will need to fast forward to at least the year 1,500 if it wants the Rings of Power to be part of the story. Again, that doesn't mean the studio can't include plenty of flashbacks and the like. They also have at least five seasons to work with (Season 2 was confirmed in 2019 by Deadline), so the first season or two could be spent building up to the forging of the Rings of Power.

Nevertheless, if Amazon wants to make a show about the Rings of Power, there's a darned good chance that it'll be happening in the middle-to-late portion of the Second Age. That's when the rings are created and the avalanche of epic events that they spark takes place. This is still a period of time that covers almost 2,000 years, but it's a far cry shorter than the expansive, 7,000-plus chunk of time between early Middle-earth history and the Third Age that fans have been speculating about for years now.