Is ‘The Rings of Power’ an adaptation of ‘The Silmarillion?’

Rings of Power - Galadriel
Image via Amazon Studios

Amazon Prime’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is one of the most highly-anticipated releases of 2022.

The upcoming entry into the Lord of the Rings franchise faces high competition from HBO Max’s recently-debuted House of the Dragon, but the weight of J.R.R Tolkien’s name, paired with favorable reviews, has already poised The Rings of Power to lay claim to the coveted title of best fantasy series. 

The Rings of Power takes place long before the events of The Lord of the Rings, focusing instead on the happenings of the Second Age of Middle Earth. The films fans have seen so far were largely based on the contents of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit books, but those books take place in the Third Age. The most popular of Tolkien’s books to depart from this time period is The Silmarillion, prompting questions from fans about whether Rings of Power is an adaptation of the five-part collection of stories.

Is Rings of Power based on The Silmarillion?

The Silmarillion is a collection of tales and mythos compiled by Tolkien and his son, Christopher. It is the most complete history of Middle Earth, and contains a huge amount of information about the world Tolkien created. It is separated into five parts, each of which takes aim at a different period in Middle Earth’s history. The book takes readers from the creation of Eä, the universe in which all of his tales are set, through the First, Second, and Third Ages, and even provides a description of the Valar and Maiar.

Prime’s series aims to tell many of the stories contained within The Silmarillion, but none of these will be taken directly from the book’s pages. That’s because, as showrunner J. D. Payne recently revealed, the Tolkien Estate still owns the rights to the book. That technically makes the story in The Silmarillion off-limits for Prime.

Thankfully, that doesn’t take the history contained in its pages off the table. Many notes about Middle Earth’s history are contained in other books, including the appendices for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. While they aren’t as complete as those contained in The Silmarillion, they provide enough of a roadmap to provide the Rings of Power creators with a jumping point.