The Rings Of Power Just Set The Stage For Some Major Lord Of The Rings Characters

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" isn't the first time trolls have tried to break up a fellowship, and it isn't the first time we've heard the name Isildur, either. With its sprawling cast, it could be easy to lose track of names and faces in the series, including who is new and who we've already seen in the Peter Jackson live-action adaptations: The "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" movie trilogies, adapted from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. In the third and latest "Rings of Power" episode, "Adar," there are two important new/old faces that pop up: Isildur and his father Elendil, while the name of Isildur's brother Anárion also receives a mention.

So who exactly are these guys? Well, let's backtrack to 2001, when Peter Jackson's first "Lord of the Rings" movie thundered into theaters. If you remember the prologue to "The Fellowship of the Ring," it begins with a voiceover from Galadriel (Cate Blanchett). The younger Galadriel, played by Morfydd Clark, is, of course, one of the main characters in "The Rings of Power."

As the older Galadriel narrates in "The Fellowship of the Ring," we see a map of Middle-earth and the Sundering Seas, which should be familiar to "Rings of Power" viewers — though some of the place names have obviously changed, since the show is set 3,000 years before "The Lord of the Rings" and it involves a fair amount of world-rebuilding. Galadriel explains how the rings were forged and how "a last alliance of Men and Elves" marched out to the slopes of Mount Doom to fight for the freedom of Middle-earth. On the frontlines are Isildur (Harry Sinclair) and his dad Elendil (Peter McKenzie), the latter of whom Galadriel refers to simply as "the king."

'It betrayed Isildur to his death'

The Dark Lord Sauron easily swats Elendil and other soldiers aside in "The Fellowship of the Ring" prologue, but as Galadriel tells us and as Peter Jackson shows us, "Isildur took up his father's sword" and cut off Sauron's ring finger. With that, Sauron is defeated and the One Ring passes to Isildur, who "had this one chance to destroy evil," but was corrupted by it. "It betrayed Isildur to his death," Galadriel says.

We later see in a flashback how Elrond (Hugo Weaving) led Isildur into the heart of Mount Doom and urged him to cast the One Ring into the fire, but "the strength of men failed" and Isildur elected to keep the Ring, sealing his own doom in the process. The prologue skips over this part and just shows Isildur being ambushed on the road, shot full of arrows by Orcs, and left to float away face-down in the river. 

The Ring falls to the bottom of the river, where it's later found by the hobbit Déagol (Thomas Robins) and his cousin Sméagol (Andy Serkis), a.k.a. Gollum ... and you know the rest. Fast forward (or rewind thousands of years) to Prime Video's "The Rings of Power," where we meet Elendil (Lloyd Owen) again as the captain of the ship that picks up Galadriel and takes her back to the island kingdom of Numenor. Queen Regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) puts Elendil in a tough position when she forces him to reveal that his name means "Elf-friend" in the ancient tongue, and then accuses him of treason for bringing an Elf to Numenor.

The sons of Elendil

"The Rings of Power" shows a younger, beardless Isildur (Maxim Baldry) training to be a sea guardsman like his father, though he's thinking about deferring for a year before he goes into the service, which doesn't please Elendil. "Adar" characterizes Isildur as a daydreamer who hears whispers in the wind as he and his friends train on the boat and beach for their sea trial. It shows his sister Eärien (Ema Horvath) and mentions his brother Anárion, who co-founded the kingdom of Gondor with Isildur in the "Lord of the Rings" canon.

In the Extended Edition of "The Return of the King," the Steward of Gondor, Denethor (John Noble), also mentions that he is "of the House of Anárion" before setting his funeral pyre on fire. Suffice it to say, seeing Isildur and Elendil in "The Rings of Power" does not bode well for their island kingdom, since it's only after the fall of Numenor that they make it to Middle-earth to fight Sauron. Though we haven't seen Anárion yet, it's a safe bet he might show up in a future "Rings of Power" episode as well.