Warning: spoilers ahead for The Rings of Power episode 6The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is already teasing Gondor for a potential debut in a future season. Taking place during J.R.R. Tolkien’s Second Age, The Rings of Power gets the privilege of explaining how some of Middle-earth’s most famous locations came into being. Already, audiences have witnessed Mordor’s genesis and Khazad-dûm in its prime, while Elrond’s itch to become an Elf-Lord sows seeds for Rivendell. The iconic Lord of the Rings realm of Gondor is also missing from The Rings of Power’s map, since the kingdom is only founded after Elendil and his sons (Isildur and Anárion) escape Númenor’s downfall and land in Middle-earth.
Amazon’s The Rings of Power episode 6 sees Elendil and Isildur sail to Middle-earth on a mission to rescue the Southlands. Naturally, the temptation to foreshadow their future on these shores proves too tempting to resist. Watching the sun rise over Middle-earth, Elendil solemnly utters, « We’re sailing into the dawn and yet, to me, it feels like the coming of night. » The line eerily symbolizes how, when Elendil makes this same journey in the future, darkness will fall over Númenor, and the sun will rise on Gondor. The Rings of Power previously implied Elendil knows Númenor’s destruction is nigh, since he understood the significance of Nimloth’s falling petals. It’s only logical that he’d foresee the coming of Númenor’s dusk and his destiny to build a brand-new kingdom in Middle-earth.
Elendil’s talk of the sun rising on Middle-earth and darkness settling over Númenor is the biggest Gondor hint in The Rings of Power episode 6, but isn’t the only hint, since his son also gets in on the act. As the Númenóreans collect themselves post-battle, Ontamo asks Isildur for his first impressions of Middle-earth. Though obviously somewhat deflated by the land’s lack of majesty compared to Númenor, Isildur eventually offers, « I like the mountains. » Though the comment is made partially in jest, it’s a sign of Islidur’s fate. The mountains he’s talking about are probably the Ephel Dúath, which is the very same range that will one day form the eastern edge of Gondor. It’s a good job Isildur likes the mountains – he’ll be seeing plenty more of them.
The interactions between The Rings of Power’s Númenóreans and Southlanders offer yet another hint of Gondor’s future. The disparity between these two strains of Men is very clear, with the Númenóreans obviously superior to their cousins in Middle-earth. The Southlanders are also so desperate for a proper king, they accept Halbrand as their ruler without even interviewing for the position. This subservient dynamic lays the groundwork for when Elendil arrives in Middle-earth after Númenor’s destruction, tells the locals he’s their rightful king, and is more or less accepted immediately.
Elendil, Isildur and nine ships containing other faithful Númenóreans are spared when Eru Ilúvatar destroys the island in retaliation for its Sauron-inspired heresy. Their boats are sent to Middle-earth, where Elendil promptly establishes himself as king. Elendil’s ascension is made easier by the fact Middle-earth had already been populated by Númenóreans who either left their original home or were exiled for their support of the Valar, so the new arrivals were warmly greeted. Elendil himself headed north and founded the kingdom of Arnor, which extended from Lindon to the Misty Mountains and incorporated areas such as the future Shire. Isildur and Anárion, meanwhile, sailed in the south and established Gondor, ruling in their father’s name.
The Rings of Power’s timeline is drastically condensed compared to J.R.R. Tolkien’s, so there’s no direct comparison that might indicate precisely when Gondor will appear in the Amazon series. There is, however, much ground to cover before reaching that point. Sauron hasn’t yet arisen, the Rings of Power aren’t yet created, and the Dark Lord’s corruption of Númenor is yet to begin. With so much story remaining, Gondor’s introduction is perhaps destined for The Rings of Power’s later seasons – even if foundations are being laid in episode 6.
Next: LOTR Explained Why The Rings Of Power’s Stranger Doesn’t Remember Anything
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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power continues Thursday/Friday on Prime Video.