Prime Video’s "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is shaping up to be a sweeping adventure across the Middle-earth landscape. Set during the Second Age, the show follows a gargantuan main cast spread out across several different kingdoms and regions of the map.
While the show is busy juggling a lot of different storylines, the production team hasn’t neglected the little details. From intricate clothing to elaborate sets, everything in "Rings of Power" looks to have been handled with care. Actor Benjamin Walker (who plays Gil-galad on the series) even told Looper in an interview that he felt "gobsmacked" during his first day on set when he was greeted by an army of technicians and craftsmen and saw half-a-million hand-painted gold leaves on the ground.
The attention to detail extends beyond the quality aspect, too. Throughout the Second Age show, the talented writers’ room has also managed to find a lot of opportunities to hint at the larger legendarium that Professor Tolkien created. Some of these are small details that are easy to miss. Others are legitimate Easter eggs squirreled away for eagle-eyed fans to discover on their 10th rewatch. We’ve scoured the footage of the first season, and here are some of the most interesting Easter eggs and small details viewers may have missed so far.
If it doesn’t go without saying, what follows contains spoilers for "Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Season 1.
The Easter eggs don’t take long to start popping up. In fact, there’s one that appears during the show’s prologue. As Galadriel can be heard narrating about her fallen brother, Finrod Felagund, we see his corpse laying on a table under a cloth. His arms are out, and his flesh is scarred with numerous wounds. The video highlights one of these cuts specifically — the mark that Sauron puts on him.
It turns out that Sauron’s branding behavior isn’t actually canon. In the source material, the Dark Lord doesn’t go around burning a sign into people’s flesh. But he does leave quite a few marks on the heroic Finrod Felagund. In "The Silmarillion," Finrod helps the heroes Beren and Lúthien in their quest to reclaim one of the titular hallowed jewels called the Silmarils. In the process, he and his companions are captured by — you guessed it — Sauron. The villain, who isn’t the Dark Lord yet, kills off the group one at a time using a werewolf. Eventually, the text reads, "But when the wolf came for Beren, Felagund put forth all his power, and burst his bonds; and he wrestled with the werewolf and slew it with his hands and teeth; yet he himself was wounded to the death."
Yeah, those scratches? They aren’t from a scrape in battle. They’re not from swords or spears or arrows. Those are bona fide dying werewolf wounds. Talk about a way to go.
The Oath of Fëanor
Another Easter egg tucked into the early moments of "Rings of Power" appears when a bunch of tough-looking Elves draw their swords together in quick succession. For fans familiar with Tolkien’s lore, the scene immediately brings to mind the famous Oath of Fëanor from "The Silmarillion." Yes, Galadriel’s brother Finrod is amongst them, which is a little out of place considering the source material, but otherwise everything lines up.
The event, while skimmed over in the prologue of the show, is a watershed moment in Middle-earth history. The oath is taken by the famous Elvish character Fëanor (of all people) and his seven sons. It’s an irrevocable oath that leads to a lot of terrible stuff after the fact, and it reads in the book like this: "Then Fëanor swore a terrible oath. His seven sons leapt straightway to his side and took the selfsame vow together, and red as blood shone their drawn swords in the glare of the torches."
Their swords may not be blood red in the footage. And if it’s strictly the Oath of Fëanor (which, to be fair, isn’t directly stated) then Finrod shouldn’t be there. But the setting and actions, however briefly they’re depicted, seem to be a direct nod toward the oath that is so critical to the stories that follow.
Hinting at the Battle of Unnumbered Tears and the War of Wrath
"Rings of Power" doesn’t have access to "The Silmarillion," which is probably why its prologue is so quick and non-specific. It skims over many of the major events that take place in that book without clearly connecting the dots. Some are easy to spot, like the Oath of Fëanor. Others, though, seem to be a murky mash-up of multiple events presented at the same time, including a series of battles and violent conflicts. These start with a shot of a dragon throwing a giant eagle to the ground in a blaze of fire. This is an event that could have only happened during the Earth-shattering, age-ending War of Wrath right before "Rings of Power" starts. That’s the battle where Morgoth, the first Dark Lord, is finally defeated.
But wait. There’s more. When Galadriel picks up a helmet and puts it into a gigantic pile of other helmets, the scene calls another battle to mind. One of the most tragic events of the First Age of Middle-earth history is called the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. After the battle, which goes badly for the good guys, a giant mountain of carcasses is created called the Hill of the Slain. While it isn’t quite the same thing as a bunch of helmets, the feel of Galadriel’s sorrowful experience in the aftermath of the unnamed battlefield seems to hint at that famously tragic event.
Galadriel’s swan boats
In Peter Jackson’s extended edition of "The Fellowship of the Ring" Galadriel sails a swan boat in Lothlórien. In "Rings of Power," we see Galadriel sailing to Valinor in a boat with a similar bird-like prow. In the opening scene of the show, kid-Galadriel also makes a fantastical paper boat that doesn’t just float — it sails. And as it does so, its wings, neck, and head pop up in glorious fashion.
Okay, so what’s up with all of the swan boats? For the answer, we turn to Tolkien. Without going too overboard with details, one group of Elves that lives in Valinor is called the Teleri. They mostly dwell in a place called Alqualondë, which loosely translates to — drum roll, please — the Haven of the Swans. "The Silmarillion" explains this group and their home, saying, "For that was their city, and the haven of their ships; and those were made in the likeness of swans, with beaks of gold and eyes of gold and jet."
Much later in the book, it explains how the Elves visited the island nation of Númenor, too, saying, "And thence at times the Firstborn still would come sailing to Númenor in oarless boats, as white birds flying from the sunset." From the get-go, bird-shaped boats, and especially swan-shaped boats, are a trademark of Elvish maritime activity.
A gray rain curtain and a swift sunrise
When Galadriel and her company set sail for Valinor in the first episode of "Rings of Power," they arrive in a foggy, rainy sea. As the clouds roll back, it slowly reveals a glorious, blinding light, which all of the Elves but Galadriel willingly enter into. This isn’t necessarily how the process of Elves leaving Middle-earth looks in the books, but there’s a lot left open to interpretation here. As far as small details are concerned, though, there’s one specific aspect that is worth calling out.
Twice in "The Lord of the Rings" books, Frodo experiences arriving in the Blessed Realm. The first time is in a dream in the first book. The second time is for real when he sails there at the end of "The Return of the King." Here’s how that book describes the experience: "And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the gray rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise."
We may not actually see Valinor in the scene from "Rings of Power," but we do see a gray rain curtain, and it definitely rolls back as they approach.
Are Harfoots Halflings … or birds?
When we first meet the Harfoots in "Rings of Power," they’re running circles around a couple of wary hunters. The Little People are able to lay low and avoid being seen without any issues. As the Big Folk move along, one of the Halflings blows a whistle of sorts to signal that the coast is clear.
The casual activity makes sense, but for diehard Tolkienites, it may also bring another incident to mind — a time when Théoden, King of Rohan, has a conversation with a couple of Hobbits in Isengard in "The Two Towers" book. Merry, Pippin, and Théoden all bond over the fact that their ancestors came from the same area of the world — an area close to where the Harfoots are currently living when "Rings of Power" begins.
In the discussion, Théoden mentions that the Halflings in the apocryphal stories that his ancestors remember have some interesting skill sets. He adds that they can vanish in a twinkling. In addition, he says, "They can change their voices to resemble the piping of birds." While that is clearly an exaggeration, it would appear that the "Rings of Power" writers may be hinting at how that legend came about.
Halfling children really like to eat fruit
The Harfoots of "Rings of Power" and the Hobbits of later stories may be distantly related. But there are a lot of differences that set them apart, not the least of which is the fact that one group is living a wandering, nomadic lifestyle and the other is living in undisturbed, domesticated comfort. Even so, some of the throughlines are already visible, even when the setting is so different. Case in point: their food.
Harfoots are already shown with the Hobbitish appetite for good food. Sure, the food is prepared and consumed hunter-gatherer style, but there’s no denying that Harfoots still like a good meal. And when Nori leads a group of youngsters to a berry patch, their affinity for food is on full display. Interestingly, the scene also offers a cool parallel to the last pages of "The Return of the King."
In that book, Tolkien explains the happy aftermath of the War of the Ring, pointing out how much the Shire thrives after Sauron is defeated. At one point, this is illustrated through — you guessed it — kids and fruit. The text says: "The fruit was so plentiful that young hobbits very nearly bathed in strawberries and cream; and later they sat on the lawns under the plum-trees and ate, until they had made piles of stones like small pyramids or the heaped skulls of a conqueror, and then they moved on." The Harfoots will change a lot before they become Hobbits, but it looks like the kids just keep on eating fruit throughout the entire evolution.
Hinting at the shepherds of the trees?
In the first episode of "Rings of Power," there’s a point when Marigold Brandyfoot has a serious talk with Nori about her downright intrepid behavior. In the talk, the Halfling mother breaks down how the world works for the younger, less experienced Nori by saying, "I’ve told you, countless times. Elves have forests to protect. Dwarves their mines. Men their fields of grain. Even trees have to worry about the soil beneath their roots. But we Harfoots are free from the worries of the wide world."
It’s a very Hobbitish pep talk that leaves Nori squirming and doesn’t even put a dent in her desire for adventure. But it also may be the first time in the series that Tolkien’s Ents enter the conversation, too. The Ents are referred to at different times as the Shepherds of the Trees. They were originally created to not just to look like trees, either. They’re made to protect them. In "The Silmarillion," the Ents are explicitly made as a way to guard trees against other creatures that may want to harm them. The presence of Ents in the "Rings of Power" storyline is already established later in this episode, too. They make a quick cameo when the meteor streaks overhead and three Ents are shown clearly moving amongst the trees.
When Galadriel returns home from her very overextended pursuit of Sauron, the High King Gil-galad is convinced to welcome her as a hero. Despite her rebellious disregard of his orders, the king puts on a celebration to rival the likes of Bilbo’s 111th birthday party. No, seriously — it even has the same kind of fireworks.
As the Elves party in Lindon, the sky lights up with fireworks that take on many different shapes. Some swirl, while others look like flowers. One even takes on the distinct shape of a butterfly … and then flaps its wings.
In contrast, the "The Fellowship of the Ring" book describes Gandalf’s fireworks at Bilbo’s party by saying they included singing bird sounds, trees losing their leaves, eagles, sailing ships, and much more. It also has the line, "There were fountains of butterflies that flew glittering into the trees." Sound familiar? Of course, the question of who’s better at the craft of making fireworks is something that would have to be solved with a head-to-head contest between the wizard and the Elves. But alas, it’s a competition we’ll never get to see.
After Galadriel discovers that she’s going to be shipped back home to Valinor in Episode 1, she retreats to a peaceful area of the Lindon forests where Elrond finds her, and the two characters proceed to have a long talk. As they chat, they’re surrounded by a string of very Elvish-looking lamps and a series of statues carved right into living trees.
One of these statues depicts Galadriel’s brother Finrod, who is an epic First Age hero in his own right, but several others appear as well. We’re willing to guess that at least one is the Human First Age hero Túrin Turambar. There are plenty of candidates for who the others could be, but there’s one statue whose identity is without question.
At one point, the camera flashes past a living wooden statue of a woman with long, flowing hair and a shaggy dog in front of her. There’s no doubt that this is an image of the immortal maiden Lúthien and the dog Huan. Lúthien is one of the iconic heroines of Tolkien’s legendarium; she was inspired by the author’s wife and her Elvish name was even put on her gravestone. She’s known for her hair and also happens to be Elrond’s great grandmother. The dog, Huan, is also the greatest woflhound in Middle-earth history. He talks multiple times and even defeats Sauron in a duel at one point.
A childish Stranger
When The Stranger crash lands near the Harfoots, Nori and Poppy try to take care of him. This ends up being more difficult than it seems at first glance due to the fact that the fellow initially acts like a child. He can’t even talk and doesn’t know how to take care of himself.
For those who know their Tolkien, this seems to point very heavily toward The Stranger being a Wizard. Apart from the fact that he’s clearly supernaturally powerful, the whole infantile start to his Middle-earth tenure points to his Wizarding origins.
In the book "Unfinished Tales," Tolkien’s son Christopher brought together most of his father’s notes about the Wizards or "Istari" as they’re called in Elvish. In that collection of random facts, it says, "For it is said in deed that being embodied the Istari had need to learn much anew by slow experience, and though they knew whence they came the memory of the Blessed Realm was to them a vision from afar off, for which (so long as they remained true to their mission) they yearned exceedingly."
If The Stranger is a Wizard, it would make sense that after his arrival, he would need to relearn some basic things, like talking and eating. Add onto that the fact that he clearly knows some stuff, like constellations, and we must ask ourselves, who is The Stranger from "Rings of Power?"
The Stranger whispers to animals
As Nori and Poppy wrangle their mysterious, powerful friend, they slowly start to get some clues about who he is. Particularly toward the end of the second episode, he manages to communicate by using fireflies to form the shape of a constellation in the sky. Nori gets excited when she realizes that he wants to find a similar shape of actual stars.
During this scene, there’s also a small Easter egg that points back to Peter Jackson’s films. When Ian McKellen’s Gandalf is trapped on top of Isengard, he catches a moth and whispers a message to it in an unintelligible language. The Stranger talks to the fireflies in a very similar manner in the second episode of "Rings of Power." This could signal a direct connection between the characters — for instance, maybe they’re both Gandalf?
It could also simply be a magical behavior that they’re both displaying. This could be meant to showcase how both characters are Wizards, or at least have a similar spiritual power that enables them to talk directly to animals. Whatever the answer, the way The Stranger chats up the fireflies looks so similar to Gandalf’s discussion with the moth, it’s difficult to think it’s anything less than a direct Easter egg.
Fëanor’s hammer … and family tree
When Elrond arrives in Eregion in the second episode of "Rings of Power," he hits things off with Lord Celebrimbor, whose craftsmanship he’s greatly admired from afar. As they get to know one another, they talk about a crafting hammer on display in Celebrimbor’s workshop. And it’s not just any hammer. It used to belong to the master Elven craftsman Fëanor. While the show makes that fact clear, the quiet context left out of the dialogue is Celebrimbor probably has the hammer because he’s Fëanor’s grandson.
The little details don’t stop there, either. As the conversation carries on, the two Elves look at plans to build a giant, overheated new addition to Celebrimbor’s workshop. The Elven master craftsman says that he wants to build "A tower. One that could host a forge more powerful than any ever built. Able to birth a flame as hot as a dragon’s tongue and as pure as starlight."
The subtle reference brings to mind a line from "The Fellowship of the Ring" book where Gandalf says, "It has been said that dragon-fire could melt and consume the Rings of Power, but there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough." The reference to a forge as hot as a dragon’s tongue is a fitting description because, chances are, Celebrimbor has plans to use his new forge to create some tiny little ring-shaped trinkets in the not-too-distant future.
Khazad-dûm has some delicious food
When Elrond and Celebrimbor head over to Khazad-dûm to recruit the help of the Dwarves, the Lord of Eregion informs his companion that he’s always admired the Dwarves and wonders if he’ll be able to see them at work in their forges up close and personal. Elrond sets some rather lofty expectations in response, pointing out that he thinks they’ll do a lot more than that. From there, he launches into a description of Dwarven hospitality that includes blaring Ram’s horns, tables full of salted pork, and lots and lots of malt beer.
If the depiction sounds familiar, it’s because Gimli talks about the same kind of Dwarven welcome thousands of years later during "The Lord of the Rings." In "The Fellowship of the Ring" movie, as Frodo and company enter Moria, Gimli warns Legolas to prepare for the fabled hospitality of the Dwarves, adding that the Master Elf should expect "roaring fires, malt beer, ripe meat off the bone." Later on, in "The Return of the King" movie, Pippin also references salted pork to Gimli’s interest and great delight.
Tying these references to Dwarves is a fun way to create some continuity between the two distinctly different versions of Middle-earth. Both may be their own adaptations that march to the beat of their own drums. But when it comes to Dwarven hospitality, everyone’s on the same page.
Dwarves, their masks, and their maker
The Dwarves have an interesting creation story. Unlike Men and Elves who are created by the God-like supreme being Eru Ilúvatar, Dwarves are initially formed by the angelic being Aulë. While he makes them, though, Aulë can’t give his Dwarves sentient life. That’s something that only Ilúvatar can do, and he eventually gets around to it. Even so, the Dwarves always have a special affinity for Aulë, and it shows in "Rings of Power."
In the rock-breaking scene, Durin IV references his semi-maker when he describes the event as "The Dwarven test of endurance fashioned by Aulë himself." Later on, when Durin and Elrond are arguing, Disa expresses her disapproval by referencing Aulë’s beard. For most viewers, it’s a random and odd name. For Tolkien fans, it’s a clear and well-placed reference to the greatest being in all of Dwarven culture and history.
It’s also worth pointing out that the full Dwarven face masks worn by many of the guards of Khazad-dûm get their inspiration from "The Silmarillion." At one point, the Dwarves take on a bunch of dragons, which they can do because, "It was their custom moreover to wear great masks in battle hideous to look upon; and those stood them in good stead against the dragons." It’s a one-off reference, and it’s fun to see the famous head gear translated into the garb of Durin’s guards.
Badly ending Elven-Human love affairs
When we first meet Arondir in the Southlands of Middle-earth, he’s visiting a town of Men with a fellow Elven warden. While there, he interacts with the Human woman Bronwyn and it’s clear that the two are crushing on one another. As they leave, Arondir and his fellow Elf verbally spar back and forth, like any good pair of soldiers would do. Eventually, though, the talk turns more serious, and Arondir’s companion says, "My point is this. Only twice in known history has a pairing between Elves and Humans even been attempted. And on each occasion, it ended in tragedy. It ended in death."
The reference is to two distinct pairings. The first is the mortal man Beren and the immortal Lúthien. They get hitched and end up dying … twice. Kind of. It’s complicated. The other pair is the Man Tuor and the Elf-maiden Idril. While they have a happier ending, there’s no doubt that their tale is filled with some epic and tragic stuff.
Love affairs between Elves and Humans are never common in Tolkien’s writings. In fact, it’s a topic that Looper discussed with Arondir and Bronwyn actors Ismael Cruz Córdova and Nazanin Boniadi, respectively. Wherever they choose to go with their characters’ romance, though, it’s cool that the writers used the opportunity to indirectly reference two of the most important mortal-immortal couplings in all of Tolkien’s writings.