One Tragic Tolkien Character Is Finally Making His Comeback

This should have happened in the first place.

Charles Edwards as Celebrimbor in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' Episode 8
Prime Video

For all of its many highlights, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1 often felt more listless and languid than it should have. The season tried to split its focus between a few vaguely defined storylines, including the Elves' interest in the Mithril found in the mines of Khazad-dûm, the emergence of a fallen Elf named Adar and his Orc army, Galadriel's (Morfydd Clark) obsession with finding Sauron (Charlie Vickers), and the construction of Mordor.

The inclusion of all of these subplots resulted in The Rings of Power's eight-episode debut season not only rushing through the forging of the three Elven Rings of Power, but ultimately focusing very little on the show's eponymous, powerful artifacts. That came as an unfortunate surprise to a lot of J.R.R. Tolkien fans, many of whom understandably presumed that The Rings of Power would begin by telling the story of, well, the Rings of Power.

Instead, it chose to do the opposite. That decision left The Rings of Power's first season feeling like an extended prologue to the show's actual story — one that couldn't ever focus on a single plot thread long enough to give the series a sense of narrative momentum or cohesion. Fortunately, it doesn't sound like The Rings of Power Season 2 is going to make the same mistake. And it’s all because one underrated Tolkien character is about to correctly take the limelight.

By briefly bringing Sauron and Celebrimbor together, The Rings of Power’s Season 1 finale gave fans a teaser of what’s to come.

Prime Video

In a new interview with Total Film, The Rings of Power showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay revealed that Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) will be the “principal protagonist” of the show's second season and teased that his bond with Sauron (Charlie Vickers) will be the season's “central relationship.” These comments, notably, confirm what many Tolkien fans had already begun to suspect about The Rings of Power Season 2 following the release of its first trailer, which prominently features both Celebrimbor and Sauron.

What does all of this mean? Essentially that The Rings of Power's second season is going to be what the show’s first should have been. Payne and McKay’s desire to use the Prime Video series’ first season as a vessel to engross viewers in the Second Age of Middle-earth was admirable, but it didn't result in an entirely successful season because, frankly, the show didn't need eight hours to do that. Even more importantly, the forging of the Rings of Power could have done that more effectively than any of the other stories the series told throughout its first season.

Celebrimbor is, after all, the grandson of Fëanor, the creator of the Silmarils and the Elf whose rivalry with Morgoth, Sauron's predecessor (and boss), basically led to all of the biggest moments of the First Age of Middle-earth. Had it focused on Celebrimbor's connection to Fëanor, The Rings of Power's prologue could have, therefore, not only quickly established the state of Middle-earth at the start of the Second Age, but also foreshadowed how Celebrimbor's ambition eventually leads him, much like it did his ancestor, to making many foolish mistakes and causing countless people to lose their lives.

Instead, The Rings of Power's first season chose to focus primarily on Galadriel. While Galadriel plays an undoubtedly important role throughout the Second Age, too, making her the primary protagonist of its first season forced The Rings of Power to bend Lord of the Rings canon, as well as its own story, in ways that weren't always convincing or dramatically satisfying.

In the first trailer for The Rings of Power Season 2, Celebrimbor sees a vision of stunning, terrifying power.

Prime Video

Celebrimbor is one of the most interesting and tragic characters that Tolkien ever created. He could have easily anchored The Rings of Power's first season, especially if it had focused on his relationship with Sauron, which brings out all of his worst and best traits. The two characters’ forging of the Rings of Power may have seemed, in other words, like the most obvious starting point for the Prime Video series, but there was a good reason for that. Not only does it serve as the inciting incident for nearly everything of note that happens throughout the Second Age, but it's also a story that would have given The Rings of Power the chance to organically introduce other storylines, characters, and kingdoms along the way.

The Rings of Power chose to go a different route, and its first season consequently failed to be the wholly successful launching point that everyone wanted it to be. The series' second season has a strong chance to be that, though, and its promised focus on Celebrimbor and Sauron's forging of the Rings of Power is the biggest reason why. At long last, the show is finally going to tell the story that it should have told to begin with.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2 premieres Thursday, August 29 on Prime Video.

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