'Lord of the Rings' Fans Get Surprise Following Amazon's 'Rings of Power' Series Premieres

HarperCollins is publishing a new J.R.R. Tolkien book that should help even hardcore fans make sense of Amazon Prime Video's new series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The volume is called The Fall of Númenor, and according to The Tolkien Society, it collects all of Tolkien's writings on the Second Age of Middle Earth. It will be released just as the first season of The Rings of Power is coming to an end.

Tolkien is most famous for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which take place over the course of a few decades and trace the lives of a handful of main characters. However, most fans know that he expounded on his fictional world in great detail in some of his other writings including short stories and encyclopedia-style books like The Silmarillion. This can make it hard to determine which of Tolkien's works Amazon's new show will be based on, but HarperCollins may have just made it a bit easier. On Wednesday, the publisher announce The Fall of Númenor, a collection of Tolkien's writings about the Second Age of Middle Earth -- the very time period when The Rings of Power is meant to take place.

Tolkien described the history of Middle Earth in four Ages, with the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings taking place in the Third Age. Up until now, most fans knew little of the Second Age. Even die-hard readers would have had to have stitched together information from The Silmarillion, the appendices of various editions of The Lord of the Rings and other sources. Now, all of that will be collected in one convenient place.

The Fall of Númenor is edited by Brian Sibley and illustrated by Alan Lee. It will include Tolkien's writings about the forging of the Rings and the Last Alliance against Sauron, which was the battle against evil that essentially ended the Second Age. While this is literally ancient history as far as the main series is concerned, it will have plenty of relevant events and characters familiar to fans including the forging of the Rings, the building of Barad-dûr and the fall of the island-kingdom of Númenor -- the land of which Aragorn is the last scion.

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The Fall of Númenor will be released on Nov. 10, 2022 -- presumably around the time that The Rings of Power is wrapping up its season. The TV series premieres on Friday, Sept. 2 with new episodes airing each week after that. Amazon has not confirmed how many episodes are in the first season yet, but Nov. 10 is exactly ten weeks later. That should make it easier for new fans to dive deeper into Tolkien's work.