Amazon have released a new trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which is now only six weeks away from airing.
The trailer is one of the more confusing that's been released so far, mainly because it surprisingly confirms that Sauron is in the season in a villainous role, already playing some kind of priest or religious figure. Although he does take up this role in the Second Age in Tolkien's books, it's not until near the end of the age when he is a prisoner on the island of Numenor. Here he seems to be in that role in Middle-earth many years earlier.
The trailer opens with Galadriel (Morfyyd Clark) placing an elven helmet on a very large pile of other elven helmets, declaring that the elves thought the war was over, a reference to the War of the Jewels in the First Age when the elves, humans and dwarves of Middle-earth fought against the first Dark Lord, Morgoth, a war which ended in Morgoth's exile from the world and the destruction of an entire subcontinent. Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker) sets a laurel crown on Galadriel's brow and declares that the days of peace have begun. Galadriel then says they thought a time of peace, plenty and prosperity had come and would never end.
We then see clips from earlier trailers, where Harfoot chieftain Sadoc Burrows (Sir Lenny Henry) declares that "the skies are strange," and we see a meteor ploughing across the sky. On the island of Numenor we see Tar-Miriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) showing a palantir to Galadriel, which Galadriel grasps. We see a flashback to the War of the Jewels, where Galadriel's brother Finrod (Will Fletcher) was slain, and Galadriel tending to her brother's body.
We are told that "evil does not sleep" and we get our first glimpse of Sauron (Anson Boon) as a white-clad human, apparently some kind of cult leader or religious figure (in the books, Sauron corrupts those around him by playing the role of a priest of Morgoth).
We also see King Durin III (Peter Mullan) talking to Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur), something sure to rankle fans of the books, where each dwarven king named Durin is separated from the last by decades or centuries, and may be reincarnations of the same dwarf (so two of them being around simultaneously is an impossibility).
We see Galadriel in the ruins of a burning port and shots of an ominous evil castle (not Barad-dur, at least not yet). An old man claps the hand of a young boy called Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) and asks him if he has ever heard the name "Sauron."
We see orcs on the loose, Theo grasping a black sword that seems to form out of the air, a boat bursting into flames, Theo embracing his mother Bronwyn (Nanzanin Boniadi), orcs showing deference to a leader, Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) in Numenor and Bronwyn rallying a village.
Most intriguing is a sequence where several elves are shown unsheathing their swords. It seems probable that this is a depiction of the Oath of Feanor, when Feanor, leader of the Noldor, and many of his sons and followers swore an oath to follow Morgoth to Middle-earth and recover the Silmaril jewels he had stolen. This event is depicted in The Silmarillion, offering further credence to the idea that Amazon has at least limited access to that book to depict events in this series.
We then see Galadriel boarding a ship, Arondir (Ismael Cruz Cordova) fighting various enemies, Tar-Miriel carrying a child, the dwarven Princess Disa (Sophia Nomvete) singing, Durin IV holding aloft an item of mithril, Bronwyn and Arondir together, Galadriel joining a Numenorean cavalry charge, orcs fighting in a forest, Galadriel escaping a shipwreck caused be a sea serpent, troops marching in Numenor, Durin IV leading dwarven warriors and Nori Brandfoot (Markella Kavenagh) helping the Stranger (Daniel Weyman) from a fiery crater.
We see more of Arondir fighting in a pit with orcs, Sauron casting some kind of spell and apparently speaking, "You have been told many lies of Middle-earth," Arondir being accosted in a forest (maybe by Ents?) and, finally, a Balrog roaring.
There's a lot going on in this trailer and the chronology seems confused: the name "Sauron" being openly bandied around is odd given that the elves of the First Age would know him by that name and seek his immediate destruction. Sauron also appears to be in his priest guise many years than was the case, even before the Rings of Power are forged. There's also a curious mix of styles: the palantir looks different to those in the Jackson trilogy, but the balrog is a dead ringer for the one in Moria in the movies.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power debuts on 2 September and hopefully will clear up these confused story points.
UPDATE: It's been clarified that Sauron does not appear in the trailer, and the "cultist" figure is another character played by Bridie Sisson. Anson Boon does play Sauron, presumably in his Annatar guise, but is not shown in the trailer.