Warning: spoilers ahead for The Rings of Power episode 6Isildur’s mother sure seems important in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – here’s everything we know about her, and what her story significance may be. Because Amazon’s The Rings of Power bunches up its Second Age timeline, the likes of Isildur (Maxim Baldry) and his father Elendil (Lloyd Owen) are alive before Sauron’s return to Middle-earth. The Rings of Power also mentions Isildur’s canon brother Anárion, and introduces Ema Horvath’s non-canon Eärien as a sister. The only remaining family member is Isildur’s mother, who has passed away by the time The Rings of Power begins. We know Isildur has been greatly impacted by this tragedy (his best friend cruelly pointed out how he’d « brood and blabber ») and The Rings of Power episode 6 also sees Elendil mention that his wife drowned.
Similarly to Eärien, The Rings of Power is sailing into TV-original territory with Isildur’s mother. He did have one in the source material, obviously, but she goes entirely unnamed, and Tolkien doesn’t even reveal whether she survived the downfall of Númenor. Based on the Númenórean traditions Tolkien does describe, readers can assume Elendil married a woman who both shared his social standing, and belonged to the Faithful – the group of Númenóreans loyal to the Valar and friendly toward Elves. Though Isildur’s mom may not have much going on in Tolkien’s lore, The Rings of Power is clearly making her more relevant to its Númenórean narrative.
There’s an emotional chasm running through Isildur’s family, and it’s woven into the wider divide within Númenor itself – the Elf-friends vs. the Elf-skeptics. The Rings of Power already explained how Anárion disappeared to the island’s west searching for the « real » Númenor, despite his father dismissing these dreams as a flight of fancy. Now Isildur is feeling that same restless urge, but how does the brothers’ mother factor into their ennui? Previously in The Rings of Power, Isildur heard a woman’s voice calling his name from the western edge of Númenor, and while the source hasn’t yet been revealed, one popular theory suggests Maxim Baldry’s character is hearing his mother.
In Tolkien lore, western Númenor is the home of the Faithful, where Númenor’s traditional values remain intact. The « true Númenor » line means this likely applies in The Rings of Power also, and if Isildur is hearing his mother’s voice from that region, she was likely a devout follower of the Faithful. Since Elendil is doing his best to suppress any kinship toward the Elves (he even denies being an « Elf-friend » when questioned by Queen Regent Míriel), Isildur and Anárion’s thoughts may be turning westward because their mother’s beliefs and wishes are currently being ignored. Going west may reveal to Isildur what his mother really stood for, and inspire him to fight for Númenor’s old ways.
The way Elendil dismissively tells Galadriel « she drowned » when discussing his deceased wife in The Rings of Power episode 6 suggests he’s not being entirely honest. Either Isildur’s mother died in a completely different way, or there’s much more to how she drowned than Elendil is letting on.
The Rings of Power previously mentioned a Númenórean civil war during the reign of Tar-Palantir, with the Faithful and Elf-skeptics coming to blows. If we assume Isildur’s mother was firmly rooted in the former camp, her beliefs might’ve somehow resulted in her death. This would explain the mystery of why Elendil shies away from openly declaring himself an « Elf-friend » despite very clearly being one, and why he doesn’t want his children heading west – he’s trying to protect Isildur, Anárion and Eärien from the same fate as their mother.
Next: Why Numenorians Hate Elves In The Rings Of Power
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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power continues Thursday/Friday on Prime Video.