Although Sauron is generally regarded as The Lord of the Rings principal antagonist but The Rings of Power ultimately unveils Middle-earth’s true wicked mastermind.
Morgoth the dark name given to the fallen Vala, Melkor is referenced in JRR. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings several times, but the character’s presence is limited to vague allusion and myth, his actual name spoken only once. Even in Peter Jackson’s film trilogy, when Mordor’s flaming eye in the sky is firmly implied to be the end all and be all of evil in Middle-earth, Sauron is shown as the one and only greatest threat to Middle-earth.
Even during his Second-Age prime, Sauron never came close to Morgoth’s destructive capability, and while The Lord of the Rings villain seeks dominion over all Middle-earth, he never disavows his old master’s name. Make no mistake, Morgoth is the real enemy of The Lord of the Rings.
The Rings of Power episode one opening history lesson sequence shows the destruction of Telperion and Laurelin in Valinor, one of Morgoth’s most infamous crimes. The sky behind the fading trees changes dramatically into a huge shadow of a figure with spiked shoulders and a crown. This is the first time Morgoth has been portrayed in a live-action setting in The Lord of the Rings, and it matches the limited physical descriptions Tolkien gave of the original Dark Lord.
A previous edition of The Silmarillion, which contained the Dagor Dagorath prophecy, would have provided evidence of Morgoth’s return. J.R.R. Tolkien intended the Dagor Dagorath to be the last battle of all battles at the end of time, but his son Christopher ultimately decided to leave it out of the collection. Morgoth would plan to reopen the Door of Night and unleash the end of the world. The Valar once more meet him with an army that comprises revived historical figures.
However, because nothing can stay good in a world leading up to the reemergence of Sauron, a shooting star crashes outside the Harfoots camp, revealing The Stranger (Daniel Weyman). Galadriel jumps from the ship just before it reaches Valinor in the final scene of the episode, leaving her stranded in the middle of the ocean trying to figure out what to do.
Don’t miss Deadline’s Inside the Ring – The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power after the show. The first two episodes drop Saturday, September 2.