How The Rings Of Power links to The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit movies

The Amazon series The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power is set during Middle-earth's Second Age. PHOTO: PRIME VIDEO/AMAZON STUDIOS

SINGAPORE - The three The Lord Of The Rings films (2001 to 2003) and three The Hobbit films (2012 to 2014) were smash hits that took in a combined global box office of US$4 billion (S$5.5 billion), so it is safe to say more people have seen the movies than read J.R.R. Tolkien's books set in Middle-earth.

The Amazon series The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power is set during Middle-earth's Second Age, roughly 3,000 years before the Third Age events shown in the films.

Tolkien did not produce a book specifically about the Second Age, so the show's writers turned to information found in books such as the lore collection The Silmarillion (1977). Mentions of that period's events are also scattered throughout The Lord Of The Rings novels, first published in 1955.

The show's Second Age begins before Sauron's creation of the fateful rings.

In the west is Valinor, also known as the Undying Lands, where elves live blissful, immortal lives.

West of it is the continent of Middle-earth, the place where the action of the films took place. It is where the Misty Mountains and the Shire of the hobbits are located. Here also live elves, who hold kingdoms such as Lindon, ruled by Gil-galad (played by American actor Benjamin Walker). Dwarves, too, have their own lands, ruled by leaders such as Prince Durin and his wife Princess Disa (played by Welsh actor Owain Arthur and English actress Sophia Nomvete).

Middle-earth is also where Sauron is rumoured to live, but whose exact location is unknown, causing anguish for the elves seeking to destroy him.

The stage is set for Sauron, in disguise, to create the rings that promise to give its wearers power, but which in reality will cause them to be his slaves.

In between Middle-earth and Valinor is Numenor, an island kingdom inhabited by a race of long-lived, technologically advanced humans elevated by the spirits who forged the world. This is where viewers meet King Ar-Pharazon (played by Welsh actor Trystan Gravelle) and his son Kemen (played by New Zealand actor Leon Wadham).

Outside Numenor, on Middle-earth and elsewhere, the race of men, as typified by the character of Halbrand (played by Australian actor Charlie Vickers), lives shorter, more agrarian lives. The race is the ancestor of the humans who, in the Third Age, will form the kingdoms that help defeat Sauron and his army.

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