What On Middle-Earth Is Happening In This New 'Lord Of The Rings' Series Photo?

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What On Middle-Earth Is Happening In This New 'Lord Of The Rings' Series Photo?

Finally: After what seems like a full Age of Arda, we not only have news of the release date for Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series, we also have a real, no-joke photo!

We’ve got a while to wait before Amazon drops the series on Prime, since the series won’t premiere until September 2, 2022. (Yeah, 13 months from now.) That gives us ample time to try to figure out why the first image Amazon released from this series seems to depict… the First Age?

Yeah. Ostensibly, the Amazon series takes place during the Second Age of Middle-earth, during the first rise of Sauron; most of the official statements have said as much. How do we know this photo is from the First Age, then?

These two trees (1):

These are very clearly the Two Trees of Valinor: Telperion and Laurelin. These are no ordinary trees — they were the primary sources of light for much of the First Age of Tolkien’s world, existing long before the Sun and the Moon. But these trees were on a continent to the west of Middle-earth, where the semi-gods of the world made their home, and where those semi-gods had brought a big chunk of Elves, to keep those Elves safe from the original enemy of all living things, Melkor (soon to be known as Morgoth). Telperion and Laurelin’s light, then, only reached the immortal beings in their home of Valinor, while Middle-earth lay under dim starlight for thousands of years. Here’s part of Tolkien’s description of the trees, from The Silmarillion:

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