The Rings Of Power Just Set Up Major Conflict In Númenor

Spoilers follow for the seventh episode of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power."

The penultimate episode of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" slows down the pace after the action-packed battle for the Southlands, but still has major implications for the rest of the series. In the aftermath of the volcanic eruption, the people of Middle-earth reel from its apocalyptic effects, including those who visit on the behalf of Númenor. There still remains a sliver of hope for many who fought that day, but the cracks are starting to show in others. Despite renewed interest from their queen in slaying the evil that now conquers the Southlands, Númenor faces an uphill battle from here on out.

When the kingdom of Númenor first hedged its bets on the word of Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), it was no easy task to convince their people that helping Middle-earth was the right move. The loss of Númenorean life only compounds those initial doubts, bringing them back to the surface after briefly squashing them. And now with injured royalty at the helm, it seems to be a situation ripe for the taking.

Wounded royalty

The creation of Mordor decimated the Southlands, covering it in ash and fire as far as the eye can see. Queen Regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) and the rest of the Númenoreans met the destruction head-on, losing several valiant soldiers (RIP Ontamo). Míriel was especially affected by the event, both physically and emotionally. She is left with no eyesight and some pretty bad burns, but decides to stand tall amidst the first sign of adversity. Speaking to Galadriel, Míriel reaffirms her commitment to fighting the enemy and promises Númenor will return to Middle-earth. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way.

Captain Elendil (Lloyd Owen), fresh off the perceived loss of his son Isildur (Maxim Baldry), quickly shows regret for following Galadriel and saving her in the first place. The battle has shaken any confidence he once had in the mission. When the queen restates her interest in fighting the evil that killed their people, Elendil turns away to grieve, not just for who they lost, but what they will lose in the future. Though Elendil will eventually participate in the War of the Last Alliance, his current moral predicament does not help Míriel's case.

If Elendil could lose sight of the goal, imagine what awaits Queen Míriel when they get back to Númenor.

Trouble in paradise

Before the queen and her army set sail for Middle-earth, a conspiracy began to brew behind the scenes of the political landscape. Though many bought into the idea of joining the fight, others remained hesitant. Chancellor Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle) comes off as a supporter of the cause to the public, but he has his own ambitious intentions. He previously told his son Kemen (Leon Wadham) about moving with the shifting tides to always come out on top. Pharazôn will no doubt make use of the disastrous situation at hand, and perhaps make a push for the throne itself.

If the series closely follows the source material, expect a major shake-up to the hierarchy of the kingdom of Númenor. In the canon, Pharazôn took hold of the kingdom after usurping the queen, and things went downhill very, very quickly. After the return of Sauron, Pharazôn recklessly forged an alliance with the Dark Lord and eventually caused the destruction of Númenor (which drowned everyone in it). The vision Queen Regent Míriel saw earlier in the season would come to fruition, an inevitable outcome that sets up Middle-earth as we know it in the Third Age.

The season finale of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" arrives on October 14.