Which characters will appear in Amazon’s Lord of the Rings TV series?
That question has been on the minds of J.R.R. Tolkien fans ever since Amazon first announced the series and later revealed it will take place primarily during the Second Age of Middle-earth — far before the events of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
However, the recent revelation that the series will also depict moments from periods before the Second Age has only made fans that much more curious to learn more about its mysterious cast of characters — and it’s not hard to see why. Indeed, with the series’ scope set to extend, at the very least, from the Years of the Trees through the Second Age of Middle-earth, the door is open for the project to bring some truly beloved Lord of the Rings characters to life on-screen for the first time.
That includes some characters that writer-director Peter Jackson may have left out of his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films.
The Theory — While Amazon is keeping specific plot details about its Lord of the Rings series very close to its chest right now, many fans believe that the show will focus mainly on the original creation of the Rings of Power. Assuming this theory is correct, that means the series will, in addition to sharing a strong thematic link with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, focus heavily on legendary characters like Celebrimbor, Galadriel, Elrond, and Sauron.
It also means that none other than Glorfindel could play a role in the series as well.
Glorfindel’s Return — Born during the Years of the Trees, Glorfindel is one of the coolest and most accomplished Elves that Tolkien ever created. One of the Elves who followed Fëanor out of the Undying Lands, Glorfindel achieved legendary status when he fought a balrog all on his own while trying to protect his people. This battle ended with both Glorfindel and the balrog dying after plummeting into an abyss together. (Sound familiar?)
However, Glorfindel’s noble actions resulted in him being brought back to life more powerful than he was before by the Valar (i.e., Tolkien’s angels) and sent back to Middle-earth during the Second Age. The character is said to have returned to Middle-earth in the same year that Sauron finished forging the One Ring and subsequently waged war against Celebrimbor. Additionally, it is noted that Glorfindel was sent to Middle-earth to help Elrond and Gil-galad in their fight against Sauron, though not much is known about what Glorfindel did while in Middle-earth during the Second Age.
Fortunately, the mystery surrounding Glorfindel’s actions in the Second Age doesn’t mean that the Amazon series can’t feature him prominently at some point in its story. That ambiguity should give the show’s creative team the ability to provide him as large a role as it wants to — especially if the series does focus on the forging of the Rings of Power and the conflict that followed between Sauron and the Elves.
Notably, Glorfindel is, perhaps, more well-known for his actions during the Third Age of Middle-earth. It was Glorfindel, for example, who first said that no mortal man would destroy the Witch-king of Angmar — a prediction that came true when Éowyn later killed the villain near the end of the War of the Ring. Also, in the Lord of the Rings books, Glorfindel, not Arwen, helped shepherd the injured Frodo to Rivendell.
The Inverse Analysis — While Glorfindel appears in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy (where actor Jarl Benzon plays him), the character has no lines of dialogue in any of the films exists solely as a background character. Given the large ensemble of characters that Jackson already had to juggle in those films, that decision is difficult to criticize, no matter how disappointing it is.
But with more time available to it, Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series doesn’t have to worry about cutting characters nearly as much as Jackson’s films did. Fortunately, that means a character like Glorfindel could very well get the time in the spotlight that he deserves.
Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series will premiere on September 2, 2022.