How The Rings Of Power Connects To Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor

After months of build-up, "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is finally hitting our eyeballs today in all its wildly expensive glory. While the first two episodes of the new series offer plenty of moments worth talking about, from the arrival of a mysterious meteor man to the ultra-cool adventures of young Galadriel, one burgeoning plot point already has fans making major connections between the prequel and the Tolkein stories we know and love. If you haven't seen the first two episodes of "The Rings of Power" yet, this is your cue to beware of spoilers.

"The Rings of Power" starts with Galadriel (Morfydd) on a quest the vanquish the last known remnants of Sauron's power. She's pretty paranoid about it, certain that the lingering evil isn't totally gone even when signs of it seem to have vanished. Then, in a bad move that will lead to repercussions for the people of Middle-earth for generations to come, her fellow elves declare her mission successful and send her off to Valinor, the heavenly elf land her people haven't been back to in generations.

While Galadriel is sent away, young Elrond (Robert Aramayo) is tasked with his own mission, to work with the famed architect Lord Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards). Elrond is more politically-minded than Galadriel, and is eager to help Celebrimbor with a task that seems like it could go down in the history books, and strengthen the relationship among Middle-earth's peoples. Except, Tolkein geeks and "Lord of the Rings" video game fans will recognize Celebrimbor, and not for good reasons.

A wild Celebrimbor appears

Ring-crafter Celebrimbor appears in "The Silmarillion," Tolkein's 1977 text that gathers up Middle-earth lore not included in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. While the Prime Video series uses some of Tolkein's legendarium to craft its story, it's actually not the first time Celebrimbor has appeared in a visual adaptation of the Middle-earth saga. He actually plays a major role in the 2014 video game "Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor," along with its sequel, "Shadow of War."

The game takes place much later than "The Rings of Power," between the events of "The Hobbit" and those of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, yet flashbacks to the Second Age reveal some story elements that could pop up in "The Rings of Power." The version of Celebrimbor we meet in this game isn't an ambitious architect, but a haunted wraith who wants to help the game's protagonist get revenge on Sauron. In "Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor," players can find artifacts that were forged by Celebrimbor, unlocking pieces of his past that are revealed in cloudy visions.

The game also diverges from canon

If you've somehow avoided both "The Silmarillion" and "Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor," we'll leave the details of Celebrimbor's story for the show to reveal, but even fans of Jackson's trilogy will know he's involved in the forging of the powerful rings that give the new series its title. In the video game, we see him help Sauron create not just the rings of power, but also the One Ring and the Nazg├╗l, the freaky, shadowy servants of Sauron.

While "The Rings of Power" so far seems to be honoring both Tolkein's and Jackson's work on the series, we shouldn't necessarily expect the new show to closely follow the "Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor" plot, or to see wraith Celebrimbor on the show. Aside from the fact that the bulk of the game takes place centuries later, the undead, Third Age version of the character was reportedly one of several details invented for the video game.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is on Prime Video, with new episodes available on Fridays.