Prime Video’s ‘The Rings of Power’ is a prequel to ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. The show is set in the Second Age, thousands of years before the events in Jackson’s films take place. It uses some familiar names from the films, the ones that had been mentioned here and there, often to give a quick background on the main characters or when it came to talking about the history of the rings. Their individual stories could not be explored in the limited time span of the films.
With the format of a full-fledged series, ‘The Rings of Power’ seems to be picking up all of these characters and charting their stories from the very beginning. In the third episode of Season 1, we meet a young man named Isildur, whose name sounds rather familiar. Who is he and what is his relation to Aragorn, one of the main characters of the ‘LOTR’ trilogy? Let’s find out. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD
The Connection Between Isildur and Aragorn
Isildur was first introduced to the filmgoing audience with ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, where it is revealed that he had been instrumental in ending the war against Sauron. He had cut Sauron’s finger on which he wore the One Ring to rule them all. With the Ring gone, Sauron’s corporeal form disintegrated and Isildur came into its possession. Elrond beseeched Isildur to destroy the Ring by throwing it into the fire of the forge in which it was made, but by then, the man had been corrupted by the power of the Ring, which later came to be known as Isildur’s Bane.
‘The Rings of Power’ starts Isildur’s story in the Second Age in Númenor. The Númenóreans were the descendants of Edain who befriended elves and helped them in the war against Morgoth. For their services, they were given the island of Númenor as a gift. Their first king was Elros, a half-elf and a brother of Elrond. Elendil, father of Isildur, was Elros’ descendant. Because Elros was a half-elf, his descendants had perks that are not enjoyed by normal humans. The Númenóreans were said to have a longer life span, greater build, and intelligence as compared to other normal men.
In ‘The Rings of Power’, we find Elendil serving as the captain of the ship that finds Galadriel and Halbrand, stranded at sea. At this time, Isildur is still very young. With the threat of Sauron looming over their world, war and destruction are brought to Númenor, with Elendil leading the group of survivors to Middle-Earth. Here, he and his sons, Isildur and Anarion, lay the foundation of what would become the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor. After Elendril’s death, his eldest son, Isildur became the king of Gondor and Arnor.
In between this, the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor joined the elves in their fight against Sauron. After his defeat, Isildur came into possession of the Ring and was later killed by orcs, and the Ring was lost. It eventually found its way to Smeagol, and then to the events of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’. After Isildur’s death, his kingdoms, one ruled by his son and the other by his nephew, slowly fell into ruin. Arnor was lost in a battle. Gondor remained, but after King Earnur died, leaving behind no heirs, it found itself in a severe lack of leadership and was, instead, ruled by stewards. The kingdoms were eventually reunited in ‘The Return of the King’ with Aragorn crowned as the ruler.
Tracking Aragorn’s lineage, it is revealed that he is the thirty-ninth direct descendant of Isildur and the only remaining one at that. The time difference between the two of them spans around three thousand years, which is also the time difference between the events of ‘The Rings of Power’ series and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies. Aragorn’s parents were Arathorn II and Gilrean. Arathorn II was killed when Aragorn was only two years old. Worrying that his true identity as the next-in-line would put him in danger, especially from orcs, who had killed his father, Aragorn was sent to Rivendell, where he was brought up by Elrond.
His lineage was kept a secret even from himself until he came of age and set out into the world to find his people and became the Chieftain of the Dúnedain and a Ranger of the North. Eventually, he crossed paths with and befriended Gandalf, which paved his way to joining the Fellowship of the Ring and fighting in the war to end Sauron’s reign once and for all.