How Knowing There'd Be A Season 2 Impacted The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Writers Room

The great fantasy show face-off of 2022 ended weeks ago, with Prime Video's "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" and HBO's "House of the Dragon" each concluding their first season in October. However, we're still talking about both shows and how their streaming numbers matched up, among other things. Ratings don't mean as much, of course, when you're a franchise prequel with a built-in fanbase and a second season that has already been written and already began filming even before the first season concluded.

"The Rings of Power" was actually renewed as far back as 2019, and Prime Video invested almost half a billion dollars in the first season alone, so its immediate future was never in doubt. This put the show's writers in the unique position of not having to wonder whether they would be able to continue the story beyond the first season.

One of those writers was Gennifer Hutchinson, who penned the second episode, "Adrift," and co-wrote the season 1 finale, "Alloyed," with showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. In an interview with GameRant after the finale, Hutchinson addressed how securing "The Rings of Power" season 2 early on impacted the season 1 writing process.

"We talk about at least the broad strokes of where we're going, and then it's just figuring out the right pacing for reveals," Hutchinson said. "You don't want to rush a story, you don't want to try to answer too many questions at the end, but you also want to make sure you are answering questions at the end. So it's just figuring out the most important character arc that you need to close out here, where do we wanna be at the end of the season going forward?"

'To have those big reveals felt really good'

Hutchinson was responsible for writing the introduction of both the Stranger (Daniel Weyman) and Halbrand, or "Hal" (Charlie Vickers) in "The Rings of Power," and she had a hand in writing the reveal of each character's true nature in the finale. As she and the writers' room were plotting the first season — having the Stranger and Hal bounce off Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) and Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) — they weren't looking to stretch out the question of whether each character was good or evil. Knowing they had a guaranteed second season instead had them eyeing where the reveals might take each character after the audience learned which side they really were on.

"So much of it was about Galadriel and Hal and Nori and the Stranger," Hutchinson continued, "and wanting to make sure that we were at least answering the question of the season with them so that could then open up branches of where they could go from here and finding the right pacing for that. We spent so much time with them through the season building their relationships, so to have those big reveals felt really good, as far as pacing and making sure we know going into season 2 and beyond what's gonna happen now."

Hal is on his own journey going forward, and though the Stranger's real identity hasn't been confirmed yet, he was pretty adamant about declaring, "I am good!" Nori might have had her misgivings about him before, but they look to be in full-on team-up mode, headed to the Lands of Rhûn together in the show's second season.

The first season of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is now streaming in its entirety on Prime Video.