Warning! Spoilers ahead for The Rings of Power season 1 finale.The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 1 finale ended with three of the titular artifacts being crafted, but when might viewers see the other 17 rings? With four seasons left in the series’ five-season plan, it’s likely other rings will play a role in the show’s overarching plot. With The Rings of Power revealing Sauron’s identity at the end of season 1, this could even include the One to rule them all and in the darkness bind them.
When considering when the remaining rings could appear in the show, it’s crucial to first note that The Rings of Power has already fudged the timeline for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth appendices, especially if, as heavily implied, Gandalf is the Stranger’s identity, meaning the wizard arrives an entire age before his appearance in the books. The show may do so again with the introduction of the nine rings that end up in men’s hands, seven in the dwarves, and of course Sauron’s all-powerful device for himself. But the appendices and structure of The Rings of Power so far at least provide the show with a roadmap for the remaining 17 rings and when they may appear.
Assuming The Rings of Power generally follows the narrative of Tolkien’s appendices, Sauron will create a new mischievous identity to deceive the Elves and directly influence the remaining rings’ creation, the One Ring excepted as he forges it himself. Even though the rings end up with both men and dwarves, all were originally forged for the Elves. It was Sauron who eventually seized the rings by force before redistributing them, all except the three created by Celebrimbor alone and one other, which went to the Dwarven kingdom of Khazad-dum in an attempt to elude some power from Sauron’s grasp.
The issue here is that in Tolkien’s appendices, Sauron’s true identity was not revealed until after he assisted and manipulated Celebrimbor in creating all the rings. By the end of The Rings of Power season 1 however, Galadriel has already uncovered that Halbrand is Sauron moments before the first three rings of power are made. In The Lord of the Rings’ original mythology, Sauron’s alias to trick the Elves into forging the rings was Annatar. The Rings of Power finale even referenced Annatar as an Easter egg during Halbrand’s dialogue with Celebrimbor. It is possible that in season 2 and potentially beyond, Sauron will return in a different form to Halbrand to influence the Elves once more into creating the remaining rings, potentially as the more Elven-looking Annatar. This could lead to many of the rings being shown over the course of the show’s five seasons, though the exact timeline is hard to pin down at this point.
Sauron’s One Ring could potentially appear sooner rather than later, and possibly even as early as The Rings of Power season 2. Forged in Mount Doom to command the bearers of the other 19 to his will while Celebrimbor finished creating the rest in Eregion, in the appendices, the Elves who wore the original three rings were alerted to Sauron and his schemes the moment he adorned himself with the one, Ruling Ring. Sauron originally intends to take over Middle-earth without violence by manipulating the ring-holders through the Ruling Ring, but he underestimates the ring-holders’ strength of will to recognize his machinations and subsequently marches against the Elves to seize the rings for himself. If The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 2 covers the remaining rings’ forging, it would make narrative sense that Sauron’s arc includes the forging of The One Ring in tandem, and the resulting conflict with the Elves could feature in the following seasons.
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