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Is The Rings Of Power's Rhovanion The Same As Lord Of The Rings' Shire?

Contains spoilers for "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Episodes 1 and 2

Amazon Prime Video's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is a gorgeous big-budget look at the days when Middle-Earth was younger. This is an age when famous Elves like Elrond (Robert Aramayo) and Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) hunt Sauron and have rock-smashing competitions with Dwarves, and the titular, fateful Rings of Power are yet to be forged ... at least, for now. 

Though the show takes place in an earlier age than most "The Lord of the Rings"-adjacent projects, there are still several constants Middle-Earth just wouldn't be the same without. Apart from the aforementioned Elves and Dwarves, the first two episodes give us glimpses of Ents and Orcs — and, of course, the proto-Hobbits known as Harfoots. 

While every character in "The Rings of Power" walks their own path, Episode 2 deploys a very familiar J.R.R. Tolkien story trope, as a bearded, magical stranger (Daniel Weyman) appears to be recruiting young Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) in for an adventure of a lifetime. Still, before Nori heads out, it's good to know where, exactly, she's heading out from. What is this Rhôvanion place she and the other Harfoots reside in? Could it be that they're already living in the area that eventually becomes the Hobbits' beloved Shire?

Rhovanion and Shire are two different places

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" makes it very clear that Harfoots are very good at hiding, and that they're yet to settle in the comfy hobbit-holes that their descendants so enjoy. The fact that Harfoods seem to lead a nomadic existence may not be a bad thing, because their corner of the world is significantly bigger and more dangerous than the Shire. 

Rhôvanion is a large area east of what'll eventually become known as the Shire. By the events of "The Hobbit," it'll be known as the Wilderland, and it more than lives up to the name. Many of the dangerous places Bilbo Baggins (played by Martin Freeman in "The Hobbit" trilogy and Ian Holm in "The Lord of the Rings" movies) visits during his long and arduous trip to the Lonely Mountain — aka Erebor — are in the Rhôvanion area, including the frightening, spider-infested Mirkwood, the lake town of Esgaroth ... and, of course, the Lonely Mountain itself. The region also contains significant "The Lord of the Rings" locations, like the Elf realm Lórien and the Ent forest Fangorn.

During the era "The Rings of Power" takes place in, Lórien's future mistress Galadriel is still in full warrior-adventurer mode, but the place is already settled by other Elves. As the first episode of the show reveals, Ents are also very much around. As such, while the show's events happen well before "The Lord of the Rings," many of the Rhôvanion area's classic elements are already present. Who knows how many of them the Harfoots might meet over the course of the series?