Amazon’s confirmation that the dark title won’t feature in Season 1 of The Lord of the Rings causes a pacing issue directly related to Sauron.

Sauron’s confirmed absence from Amazon The Lord of the Rings season 1 brings up an early pacing issue that can hurt the series. With a firm release date set for September 2022, Amazon has started releasing information about its The Lord of the Rings prequel series, including excerpts from JRR Tolkein’s novels and reimagined maps of Middle-earth’s Second Age realm, Númenor. The streaming giant also posted a brief but potentially scintillating premise for The Lord of the Rings, which states: “Set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the series follows a set of characters facing the re-emergence of evil in Middle-earth.. “


Still, something of a paradox remains in this synopsis, given that Amazon also revealed that the titular Dark Lord, Sauron, will not be making an appearance in the inaugural season of The Lord of the Rings. Sauron is a central part of almost all of Middle-Earth Second Age history, shaping events that ultimately culminate in the first War of the Ring. Additionally, Sauron undergoes several form changes during the Second Age, going from a handsome Valar to evil-clad iron incarnate before his defeat at the hands of Isildur.

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In this way, Sauron’s absence in Season 1 causes a pacing issue for The Lord of the Rings series, with Amazon’s TV prequel looking increasingly prone to an extended narrative. The decision not to include Sauron in the first season suggests that there will be parts of the show’s preamble, especially given his centrality to almost every subplot of Tolkien’s original story about the Second Age. This omission also raises the question of what The Lord of the Rings Season 1 will actually focus on, with Sauron’s lack of screen time likely being a tactic to preserve the show’s long-term audience.

LotR-Sauron

Given The Lord of the Rings synopsis, and their subsequent facts confirming that Sauron won’t appear immediately, the show seems to be falling headlong into a big pacing issue. Sauron’s rise to power is a long, winding road that encompasses almost the entire Second Age, meaning that the scope of the series will initially have to be very limited to avoid clashing with Sauron’s narrative. The revelation of Sauron in his “beautiful” Valar form is the catalyst for Second Age conflicts between the worlds of men, elves, and dwarves, which means that withholding his appearance will delay vital narratives from the start.

With Sauron’s season 1 confirmed omission, the question then becomes what Amazon The Lord of the Rings will seek to portray instead. The fall of the original Dark Lord Morgoth seems like a good place to start, with the grandeur of this conflict bound to conjure up memories of Peter Jackson’s opening streak in The Fellowship of the Ring. The Amazon show may also be looking to use its first season to lay canonical foundations for The Lord of the Rings cinematographic trilogy, with the foundation of Númenor as an example. That being said, it seems a gamble to retain Sauron as the primary antagonist for the coming seasons given The Lord of the Ringsconfidence in the conflicts and traditions that he brings to almost every facet of Middle-earth history.

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