Earlier this year, Amazon Studios brought the first live-action depiction of Valinor, aka The Undying Lands, to life. And it caused a stir.
Along with announcing the 2022 premiere date for the long-awaited Lord of the Rings TV series, Amazon had released the first official image from the show. The image in question got fans talking as it appears to depict Valinor from before the First or Second ages of Middle-earth.
However, Amazon provided no additional information with the image’s release, which has made deducing the context of the scene itself difficult, to say the least. That includes the identity of a character who stands in the foreground of the image with their back to us — making it practically impossible to know who they are.
But that doesn’t mean Lord of the Rings fans don’t have some ideas of who the mystery character could be.
A Mysterious Figure — While the first image from the series didn’t come with an official caption, it reveals enough information to give us some idea of what we see in it.
Specifically, the image is clearly of a city in Valinor — likely Tirion — with the Two Trees of Valinor (Laurelin and Telperion) standing proudly in the distance behind it. That means whatever scene the image is from before the Two Trees were destroyed and, therefore, prior to the Years of the Sun and the First Age of Middle-earth.
So whoever is standing in the image has to be a character who is not only canonically alive during the Years of the Trees but also someone who could have visited Tirion and seen them at some point before the destruction of Laurelin and Telperion. Fortunately, a few notable Tolkien characters fill those requirements and are either already confirmed or expected to appear in the series.
Elvish Suspects — For starters, the character in that Lord of the Rings image could very well be a young Galadriel. The character, who Cate Blanchett played in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, is the only one who has been confirmed to be appearing in the series, and we even know that Saint Maud star Morfydd Clark will be playing her. Galadriel was also, notably, born during the Years of the Trees and could be the character looking out at them in the released image.
It’d make sense for the character to be Galadriel, especially if the series will pay homage to Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring film by opening with a prologue sequence narrated by the character, as some fans believe it will.
Alternatively, it’s possible that the character could be Celebrimbor, the legendary Elven smith who was tricked in the Second Age of Middle-earth into helping Sauron forge the Rings of Power. While little is officially known about Celebrimbor’s early years, the character is said to have been born during the Years of the Trees, which means he could be the character featured in the image.
Given Celebrimbor’s importance during the Second Age of Middle-earth, when the Amazon series is primarily set, it’d also make thematic and narrative sense for it to be Celebrimbor we see in the image. That possibility depends heavily on how much the character factors into the show’s early episodes, but his role in the forging of the Rings of Power is so important that we wouldn’t be surprised if part of the show’s prologue, which this image is heavily rumored to be taken from, focuses on the character.
The Inverse Analysis — There are other noteworthy characters that some Lord of the Rings fans suspect could be the figure featured in the image, including Melkor and Sauron. Still, there are some reasons to believe it’s not either of those villains. It’s also worth pointing out that the mystery character could very well be nobody truly important or known to us, and instead, someone who is merely serving as a vessel for us to see Valinor through.
That’s a legitimate possibility, though; it’d be pretty strange if the first image Amazon released from the series was of an unimportant character. So, for now, we’re just going to operate on the assumption that the mysterious figure is someone like Galadriel or Celebrimbor, both of whom happen to hold major weight within the world of Lord of the Rings.
Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series will premiere on September 2, 2022.