‍The Rings of Power, whose first season is now complete, lands us in the second age of Middle-earth, centuries before Bilbo’s unexpected journey and Frodo’s destruction of the One Ring. But it’s not an entirely unfamiliar story. Based on 20th-century scholar and author J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional world, the show introduces characters that even casual fans know well, elves like Galadriel and Elrond, and possibly Gandalf, too. And the show gives life to other lands and peoples that were long gone by Bilbo and Frodo’s time on Middle-earth: We meet Isildur, ancestor of Aragorn the true king of Gondor, we see Numenor for ourselves, and we visit the region of the Southlands before it becomes Mordor. The showrunners meet the challenge of following Peter Jackson’s trilogy adaptation (

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