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How long before Lord of the Rings does The Rings of Power take place?

The long-awaited prequel series is now available to watch on Amazon Prime, but some fans are unsure of the LOTR timeline.

When does The Rings of Power take place?

For the very first time The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power brings to life the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth. The epic drama series was released on Prime Video earlier this month and new episodes are being released on a weekly basis.

Essentially a distant prequel to the much-loved film trilogy, The Rings of Power is based on the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien and the lore that precedes the events of Lord of the Rings.

So where does the latest offering from the world of Tolkien fit on the timeline? The original trilogy begins in the year 3018 T.A. (Third Age) and we know from those portrayals that the physical Rings of Power were crafted sometime between 1500 and 1600 S.A. (Second Age).

The Second Age lasted a whopping 3,441 years, so we can deduce that the new television show takes place at least 4,959 years before the events of Lord of the Rings.

After Morgoth’s reign is brought to an end the Second Age begins with a period of relative peace. However soon the prosperity enjoyed across Middle-earth is disrupted by the return of a dark presence in the realm.

What will Rings of Power offer for die-hard Lord of the Rings fans?

In creating the long-awaited series, director J. A. Bayona had to combine the need to take the story in a new direction, while also staying true to the principles and the cinematography that drew audiences to Middle-earth in the first place.

Having directed The Impossible and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Bayona is well-versed at creating a fantastical yet natural environment for the story to play out. He opted to use only natural light wherever possible, giving the show an earthy and distinctly un-Hollywood feel.

In an interview with Collider, Bayona explained that his direction was born from a desire to reintroduce audiences to the Lord of the Rings:

“I will be very excited if people is as excited again about Middle-earth. Because being such a fun of Tolkien books, I think all the values that you can find in those books are so needed nowadays.”

The visual portrayal of Middle-earth, during a period five millennia before the other cinematic representations, offered both an opportunity and a challenge to the director. Bayona turned, predictably, to the original text for guidance.

“From the moment you choose the cinematographer, you are defining the style of the show. So basically, it was going back to the books and try to understand them and how they will translate visually.”


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