Ever since Amazon first announced that they were creating a new television series based on J R R Tolkien’s fantasy world of Middle Earth, fans of the Lord Of The Rings author’s world have wondered when we were going to see our first look of what the producers were planning. While that day has arrived, with Amazon releasing the first official image from the production along with the news that the show will debut on their Prime streaming service on September 2, 2022.
From here on, here be some potential spoilers.
The most important thing that the picture reveals is the two trees radiating light in the distance. A Tolkien fan will quickly recognize them as Telperion and Laurelin, the Two Trees of Valinor. They were the sources of light for the continent on Valinor, which lied to the west of the sea that bordered the west of Middle Earth. The inhabitants of Valinor were powerful spiritual beings – similar to angels but not analogous – known as the Valar, who came dow into the world after they helped create it.
The fuller story of the Trees can be found in both The Silmarillion and Untold Tales, two books that we recently learned had portions of licensed for use in the upcoming series. But it remains to be seen how much of material the producers have available to them and how much they wish to depict.
We do know that the show’s main setting is Middle Earth’s Second Age, a couple of thousand years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings. But that also places the show many more thousands of years after the time of the Two Trees and their fate. However, the story of the Trees is just a small part of the backstory that may be needed to help tell the key events of the Second Age that it is believed that the Amazon series will be telling. It is most likely that this picture is from a prologue or perhaps a flashback as someone is relating their story in the first episode, in the same way that Peter Jackson’s Fellowship Of The Ring adaptation opened up with a prologue describing historical events that served as background for that story.
Judging by the geography, the city is most likely that of Tirion, a home to many of the Noldar elves who had come from Middle Earth to live in Valinor. Tolkien wrote that Tirion lay inside the Calacirya mountain pass with one side of the city facing the Two Trees and the other side facing the sea.
As to the personage in the white cloak facing the city and the Trees in the distance? One of the Valar or perhaps one of the Maiar, the lesser spiritual beings who serve the Valar? Maybe. More likely, it could be one of the original elves of Middle Earth who had journeyed to Valinor.
But then again, Amazon isn’t about to give up all of the show’s secrets this far out. We still have thirteen to