Do You Need To Have Seen The Lord of The Rings To Watch Rings of Power?


It’s almost here: Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is just weeks away, and fans of the groundbreaking novels and equally monumental film series are brimming with excitement. For those who may not know, Rings of Power is based on the immensely popular literary world of Middle Earth, created by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Books within this world include The Lord of the Rings trilogy, their predecessor, The Hobbit, and several smaller stories that fill in narrative gaps and explore the vast lore of this universe. As one of the densest fictional worlds ever created, there is much that the Prime Video series could explore; while this is certainly thrilling for die-hard fans, newcomers to Tolkein’s mythos may be wondering if they’ll be left by the wayside.


Despite its highly anticipated nature, plot specifics have not been widely publicized, and may have been missed by casual fans or those otherwise not tuned in to the series. A common misconception online is that the series will cover the events of the trilogy — this is not the case. The series is seemingly steering well clear of both the events of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as the events of The Hobbit; this is likely because these events have already been depicted to near-unanimous praise on film by the legendary filmmaker Peter Jackson. The question is, then, is this based on the popular book series or a prequel or sequel?

The short answer is it’s a bit of a mixture. In the wake of The Hobbit series, Warner Bros. (the studio behind both film trilogies) and the Tolkien estate had a legal falling out, which was ultimately settled. As a result, the television rights to the source material began to be shopped around by the estate, with it eventually going to Amazon’s Prime Video. Thus, the series began its life based entirely on the literary source material. As production evolved, however, Prime Video sought to more closely align or altogether unify their series and the highly successful films, going so far as to talk to Peter Jackson about returning to helm the series. Ultimately, they partnered with Warner Bros. New Line Cinema, allowing them potential access to footage from the film — though the Tolkien estate still maintained more of a creative hand.


The bottom line is that the series is set thousands of years before the events of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, during Middle Earth’s Second Age. As such, there will be no sequential narrative information missing for those who have yet to read the books or see the films. However, with its close proximity to the films and Jackson’s respect for the source material, it would likely enhance one’s enjoyment of the series if they prepped by watching the original film trilogy.

The TV series is seemingly at the very least meant to evoke the aesthetic of Jackson’s series, though will likely primarily defer to Tolkein’s words. That being said, given the films’ widespread acclaim and appeal, fans would likely enjoy watching them even if they didn’t need to do so.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres on September 2nd, 2022, on Amazon Prime Video.

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