The issue facing Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series is important to the future of the platform. The show will primarily take place during the Second Age of Burning, an era in author JRR Tolkien’s vast fantasy world spanning over 3,400 years. It is the period that ends with Isildur severing the One Ring from Sauron’s finger but not destroying it, an event that paves the way for Frodo and Sam’s journey together in the Third Age.
Numerous important and compelling conflicts unfold in the Second Age, which means that the Amazon series could choose to focus on different characters and moments in time. The only problem is that many of the major events of the Second Age take place hundreds of years apart.
So how can the story of the Second Age be turned into an engaging television series when even Game of Thrones didn’t dare span thousands of years? The Lord of the Rings will have to work hard on the convictions about his stories so as not to fall a deep well from which he cannot recover (especially if we know that there is already a second season guaranteed for fans).
One of the main theories about Amazon’s Lord of the Rings show is that it will focus on a single Second Age story. Specifically, various unconfirmed rumors suggest that the series will focus on the corruption and eventual downfall of the legendary island kingdom of Númenor.
While that theory makes sense given the importance of Númenor in Tolkien’s myths, it runs counter to many previously proposed possibilities, including that the show would represent moments long before Númenor’s destruction. The most obvious possibility is that the series would begin with the forging of the Rings of Power and then enter the subsequent conflict that developed between Sauron and the Elves.
Given the fame and importance of that story, it’s not hard to see why fans of The Lord of the Rings assumed the series would start there. But the forging of the Rings of Power and the fall of Númenor take place nearly 2,000 years apart, making including both seem like a structural impossibility. We will have to wait to have the premiere in our hands to see how much all the fortune invested in the series really is worth.