This synopsis is a bit paradoxical, as Amazon also announced that Sauron, the title dark lord of the Lord of the Rings, will not be appearing in the first season of The Lord of the Rings. Sauron plays a key role in almost all of Middle Earth’s Second Age history. He shapes events that ultimately culminate in The War of the Ring. Sauron also undergoes several forms changes throughout the Second Age. He is transformed from a Valar to an iron-clad evil incarnate prior to his defeat by Isildur.
This means that Sauron’s absence in season 1 causes a pacing problem for The Lord of the Rings series. Amazon’s TV prequel looks increasingly prone to a long narrative. Given his centrality in Tolkien’s original Second Age story, the decision to not include Sauron on the first season implies that there will be lots of preamble. This begs the question of what The Lord of the Rings season 2 will actually concentrate on. Sauron’s absence from screen time is likely to be a strategy to maintain long-term viewership.
The The Lord of the Rings synopsis and subsequent factoids confirming Sauron’s appearance won’t be immediately revealed that the series is running into serious pacing problems. The path to Sauron’s power is long and winding. It spans almost the entire Second Age. Therefore, the series’ scope must be limited at first to avoid conflicts with Sauron. The Second Age’s conflict between men, elves, and dwarves is triggered by the revelation of Sauron as his “beautiful Valar form”. Therefore, it will be difficult to delay the start of vital narratives.
Now that Sauron has been confirmed as being absent from season 1, the question is what Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings will portray instead. It seems that the original dark lord Morgoth’s death is a good place to begin, as the conflict’s grandeur will evoke the opening sequence of The Fellowship of the Ring. The Amazon show might also use their first season as a way to establish canonical ground for The Lord of the Ringsfilm trilogy. This would include the founding of Numenor. It is risky to keep Sauron out of future seasons as the main antagonist, given The Lord of the Rings‘ dependence on the conflicts and legends he brings to nearly all aspects of Middle Earth’s past.