Rings Of Power: What LOTR Characters Will We See In The Series, How Was Númenor Created And Destroyed (Part 2)
We explain the Second, Third and Fourth Ages of Middle-earth, explain what Númenor is and how it fell, and look at the forging of the Rings of Power.
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In the previous article, we introduced you to the beginning of the world of Arda, in which Tolkien's stories take place. We looked at how the god Eru Ilúvatar created the planet, how his "angels" the Valar built Middle-earth and Valinor, how the First Age happened, the war with Morgoth, Sauron's lord and the first dark ruler of Middle-earth, who created dragons, orcs and another vermin.
Today we move to the events of the Second Age and the wars against Sauron. You will learn how Númenor (Aragorn's ancestors) came into being and disappeared, how and why the Valar physically separated Valinor from Middle-earth or how Sauron forged the rings of power.
Years of the Sun
At the beginning of the Second Age and after the defeat of Morgoth (you can learn everything you need to know about Morgoth here), the elf Gil-galad created the kingdom of Lindon, from which he ruled all the elves in Middle-earth. Lindon became the westernmost region of Middle-earth after the flooding of Beleriand. The Valar wanted to repay the humans for their sacrifice in the fight against Morgoth, so they did something special for them.
Birth of Númenor
They "pulled out" the island of Elenna from under the sea level and dedicated it to the people who built the kingdom of Númenor on it. The island lies between Valinor (the continent of Aman) and Middle Earth, but closer to Valinor. The people formerly called the Edain became the inhabitants of Númenor. They gained longevity (not immortality like elves) and other traits that gave them a bit of an edge over ordinary humans.
The first king of Númenor became Elros, son of the hero Eärendil, thanks to whom the Valar came to help in the fight against Morgoth at the end of the First Age. Like Eärendil, his sons were given the choice to be humans or elves. While Elros became the first king of Númenor as a human, his brother Elrond chose to remain an elf, becoming one of the right-hand men of Gil-galad (king of the elves living in Middle-earth) and later ruling Rivendell.
For centuries, Númenor was a paradise for humans, but only for those who fought against Morgoth. Compared to ordinary people, they were more advanced, much richer and were also better fighters.
Six hundred years after the beginning of Númenoran history, the people there returned to Middle-earth. They established good relations with the other races, improving Middle-earth and learning from the elves while they themselves taught the common people.
However, in the films The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, Númenor no longer exists and one of its last descendants is Aragorn. So what happened to Númenor?
Lindon, Eregion, Lothlórien, Rivendell, Khazad-dum
The elves continued to expand their kingdoms and cities. Eregion was ruled by Celebrimbor, descendant of Feanor, creator of the Silmarils. The Eregion was located at the western gate to the largest dwarven realm Khazad-Dûm, thanks to which the dwarves and elves there developed great business and friendly relations. We also see it in the first two episodes of the series Rings of Power, when the creators introduced us to the friendship between Prince Durin IV. and Elrond.
Elrond later married Celebrian, the daughter of Galadriel and Celeborn, the previous rulers of Eregion who left to rule in the elven forest of Lothlórien. Three children were born to Elrond and Celebrian, including Arwen, who later became Aragorn's wife. We didn't see Celebrian in the movies because even before their events, she was kidnapped by orcs and tortured so much that she decided to leave Middle-earth and heal her psychic wounds in Valinor.
Forging the Rings of Power
After the defeat of his master Morgoth, Sauron retreated into hiding for a long time and gradually built his own army, with which he wanted to dominate Middle-earth. He built the fortress of Barad-dûr in Mordor, as well as in Mount Doom, where he forged the One Ring. Sauron terrorized Middle-earth, but men, dwarves and elves resisted him, despite the fact that Sauron had armies of orcs, monsters, and people from the eastern part of the planet Arda at his disposal.
Sauron decided to try to get between the Elves and Men and win them over to his side. So he took on the form of Annatar (Lord of Gifts) and befriended Celebrimbor. They lived together in Eregion, but some elves did not trust Annatar.
Among them were Elrond, Galadriel and Gil-galad. Sauron, in the form of Annatar, captivated Celebrimbor and led him to create the nineteen rings of power. Nine of them were given to the kings of the nine human kingdoms and territories, seven to the dwarves, and three were forged by Celebrimbor exclusively for the elves. The nine human ring bearers became Nazgûl as they quickly and easily succumbed to the rings' power.
From the beginning, Sauron intended to use the rings to control the elves and other important figures in Middle-earth. The dwarves with their seven rings resisted and did not yield to the call of Sauron. However, it had a negative effect on them, as the rings made them even more greedy beings and accentuated their negative their qualities.
Finally, we have the three rings for the elves who sensed what Sauron was up to. These rings were never touched by Sauron and were possessed from the beginning by the highest elves such as Gil-galad, Elrond, Galadriel and even the wizard Gandalf. These rings were invisible, so Sauron never found out where they were or how to control them.
Finally, Sauron forged the twentieth ring in secret at Mount Doom. This ring had the power to control others, thanks to Sauron putting a piece of himself into it. As long as the ring existed, Sauron could never die. However, if he didn't wear it, he lost a substantial part of his strength and energy, so creating the ring was a huge risk for him. However, he decided to undergo it, as he knew that without the rings of power he would not rule Middle-earth.
War of the Elves and Sauron
A hundred years later, Sauron attacked the Eregion empire with a huge army. Gil-galad, King of Lindon and the Elves, sent Elrond with a large army to help, but they arrived too late, and Sauron destroyed Eregion and killed Celebrimbor, maker of the Rings of Power. Together with the survivors, Elrond and his army had to retreat to the north, where he created Rivendell, which he ruled. The war between Sauron and the Elves would have ended with the defeat of the Elves, but then Númenor intervened.
Thirty years later, a large army from Númenor arrived in Middle-earth, which easily defeated Sauron's army and drove him to Mordor, together with the dwarves and elves, where he spent many centuries building a new army and gathering strength.
When does the series take place?
This cannot be determined exactly. The creators of the series decided to narrow the timeline so that they could tell more stories of the Second Age without changing the human characters and actors after each series. In the series, some events that were separated by hundreds or thousands of years in the books may take place over several decades.
This is because elves and dwarves live longer than humans, so while they may figure in stories throughout the series and the Second Age spanning thousands of years, human characters would die of old age after only a few episodes. As for the timeline itself, the series begins several hundred to a thousand years after the defeat of Morgoth at the end of the First Age.
The people of Númenor mocked Sauron
At the end of the Second Age, Sauron once again attempted to rule Middle-earth. But he made the mistake of proclaiming himself lord of the land and king of men, which angered all the people of Númenor. They decided to draw their swords against him and show him who is the king of men.
Meanwhile, Sauron had deployed his army across most of Middle-earth, but when the army of Númenor arrived on its shores, his forces were scattered across the land. King Ar-Pharazôn of Númenor arrived at the gates of Mordor without a single fight, as no one dared to stand against him.
The king humiliated Sauron and took him to Númenor as a captive. Within a few years, however, the captive became an important advisor to the king, and Sauron's plan to gradually disintegrate Númenor from within was slowly fulfilled.
The Fall of Númenor
The inhabitants of the kingdom of Númenor became more and more afraid of natural death. They lived for hundreds of years, but it was not enough for them, and they did not understand why the Elves could live forever and still inhabit Valinor, while the Valar forbade them to do so. The Númenóreans put more and more pressure on the Valar, mainly because of Sauron's machinations and lies. Sauron eventually convinced them to attack Valinor, defeat the Valar and seize their gifts and immortality.
The armies of Númenor reached the shores of Valinor, but here the god Eru Ilúvatar himself intervened. He killed some of them after a mountain slide and imprisoned others forever in the Caves of the Forgotten. Eru became angry and decided to destroy even the remains of these ungrateful people.
He sunk Númenor and killed Sauron, but his spirit survived thanks to the existence of the great ring of power, and so he returned to Mordor. Although Sauron lost his physical body and it took hundreds of years to recover, he got rid of enemies he could never defeat. The fabled Númenor fell, but some of its inhabitants survived.
Descendants of Númenor and ancestors of Aragorn founded Gondor
Amandil, the descendant of Eärendil, whom the Valar begged for help in the fight against Morgoth, washed up to Valinor to beg for the Valar's mercy for the people who remained loyal to them. It is not known whether Amandil made it to Valinor, but it is likely that he managed both to do so and to curry favor with the Valar. For when Númenor sank, Amandil's son Elendil and his sons Isildur and Anarion sailed safely to Middle-earth.
They were helped in this by an unusual storm and a great wave, which brought ten ships full of the people of Númenor to the shores of Middle-earth. Elendil and his ships ended up in the north, where he founded Arnor, the kingdom of men. His sons Isildur and Anarion, in turn, floated south, where they founded the kingdom of Gondor.
The Valar decided that no one would get a chance to attack them again and turned the flat planet of Arda into a round planet. At the same time, they physically cut off the continent of Aman and Valinor from the rest of the planet. Since then, only Elven ships could enter Valinor, and even then only with the permission of the Valar (before that anyone could theoretically enter Valinor).
Apart from the Valar and Maiar (the original inhabitants of Valinor), the bearers of the ring of power and the elves, no one got to Valinor with one special exception. But we will talk about that in the last part of this series, in which we will discuss the Third and Fourth Ages.
The last alliance of elves and humans
When Sauron regained his strength, he attacked Gondor. King of Men Elendil and King of Elves Gil-galad formed the Last Alliance of Elves and Men and fought together with the dwarves in a twelve-year war called the War of the Last Alliance.
Sauron and his forces suffered great losses, and the alliance of men and elves finally stood before Mordor, which they besieged for seven years. In the process, Isiuldor's brother Anarion also died. Sauron finally came out of his fortress to face his enemies.
He killed the king of men Elendil and the king of elves Gil-galad. Isildur managed to cut off Sauron's fingers with the ring of power, defeating him. Isildur kept the ring despite everyone advising him to destroy it. He argued that it was the price for the death of his brother and father in the war against Sauron.
Isildur was killed by orcs two years later and the ring was lost for over two thousand years. A thousand years after being "killed" by Isildur, Sauron entered the fortress of Dol Guldur and became a Necromancer. He gradually gained strength, which is shown in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy by director Peter Jackson. The second age is over.
Next time we will look at the events of the Third and Fourth Ages
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