A Shadow of the Past

From Tolkien Gateway
The name Shadow of the Past refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Shadow of the Past (disambiguation).
A Shadow of the Past
Cover art for the episode's.
DirectorJ. A. Bayona
WriterJ. D. Payne and Patrick McKay
MusicBear McCreary, Main Title by Howard Shore
StudioAmazon Studios
Released1 September 2022
IMDbIMDb Profile
Preceded byNone
Followed byAdrift

Galadriel is disturbed by signs of an ancient evil’s return; Arondir makes an unsettling discovery; Elrond is presented with an intriguing new venture; Nori breaks the Harfoot community’s most deeply-held rule.

A Shadow of the Past is the first episode of Amazon Studios's television series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and it was released on 1 September, 2022.


In a voiceover narrative, Galadriel reminisces on a time during the Years of the Trees before the Elves had a word for death.

Throughout the narration, a group of elf children are seen playing before watching a young Galadriel building a paper ship. The children cause it to sink by throwing stones at it, causing Galadriel to try to attack them, only being prevented by her older brother, Finrod. Later, Galadriel talks to her brother, who tells her to follow the light and resist the darkness.

The older Galadriel then briefly relates the Darkening of Valinor, the War of the Great Jewels, and the rise of Sauron. Finrod was killed by Sauron and Galadriel takes his mission to hunt down and defeat Sauron upon herself. Leading a company of elves through Forodwaith, Galadriel finds a fortress within that was once occupied by Sauron, but one of the other elves, Thondir, refuses to go any further north in pursuit, and forces Galadriel to return to Gil-galad.

In the Norfield Glen, a community of Harfoots notice the passage of two travelling hunters through the hills of Rhovanion at an unaccustomed season. Elanor Brandyfoot and Poppy Proudfellow take a group of children out to hunt berries but soon return to the Harfoot camp to avoid a wolf. Elanor wonders about the world outside of the Harfoots' wandering, but her stepmother/mother Marigold reminds her that the Harfoot way of life is to avoid the cares of the wide world, stick together, and stay on the usual trail.

In Lindon, Elrond greets Galadriel on her return. In a welcoming ceremony, the king Gil-galad honours Galadriel and her warriors for their bravery and announces that, as a reward, they will be permitted to sail west to the Undying Lands. Galadriel confides to Elrond that she does not wish to leave Middle-earth until she has defeated Sauron, but he urges her to accept the gift and depart.

A Silvan elf, Arondir, arrives in the village of Tirharad in the Southlands, a land inhabited by Men who were once under the sway of Morgoth and are now watched carefully by a garrison of Silvan Elves. Arondir is not warmly received by anyone except the healer Bronwyn, whom Arondir appears to be falling in love with. Arondir tells an Elf, Médhor, who picks up on Arondir's feelings, that they should return to Ostirith, where Arondir is told by the Watchwarden Revion that the high king has declared that the war is over and the garrison is being recalled. Returning to the village to say goodbye to Bronwyn, Arondir encounters a man with a cow who got sick after wandering east as far as a village called Hordern. Arondir goes to investigate, accompanied by Bronwyn. Meanwhile, Bronwyn's son Theo shows another villager, Rowan, an old sceptre (bearing Sauron's emblem) that he found in Waldreg's barn.

In Lindon, Gil-galad admits to Elrond that Sauron may still exist, but Galadriel's presence only increased the danger. He then tells Elrond that the smith Lord Celebrimbor will need his help with a new project.

The Harfoot Trailfinder Sadoc Burrows wonders about strange signs in the stars. Arondir and Bronwyn arrive at Hordern, only to find that it had been burned down. Just before Galadriel's ship arrives in Aman, she realizes she is not ready to leave Middle-earth and dives overboard into the sea. Meanwhile, a meteor streaks across the sky and lands near the Harfoot camp. Nori investigates the crater where it fell and sees a bearded man lying there, surrounded by veins of hot rock.


In order of appearance (in episode credits)
Actor Role
Amelie Child Villiers Young Galadriel
Will Fletcher Finrod
Morfydd Clark Galadriel
Fabian McCallum Thondir
Kip Chapman Rían
Sir Lenny Henry Sadoc Burrows
Sara Zwangobani Marigold Brandyfoot
Thusitha Jayasundera Malva
Maxine Cunliffe Vilma
Dylan Smith Largo Brandyfoot
Markella Kavenagh Elanor "Nori" Brandyfoot
Beau Cassidy Dilly Brandyfoot
Megan Richards Poppy Proudfellow
Robert Aramayo Elrond
Benjamin Walker High-King Gil-galad
Ismael Cruz Córdova Arondir
Geoff Morrell Waldreg
Peter Tait Tredwill
Ian Blackburn Rowan
Nazanin Boniadi Bronwyn
Augustus Prew Médhor
Simon Merrells Watchwarden Revion
Tyroe Muhafidin Theo
Charles Edwards Lord Celebrimbor
Daniel Weyman The Stranger
Jagger Serafin
Eva Gardner
Oscar Beszant
Elf Children
Ashlee Fidow
Carl Van Roon
Sean Neary
Cameron Brown
Elf Soldiers
Andrew Cottle Veteran Elf
Kenneth Ransom Younger Hunter
Tom McCathie Ornery Hunter
Paula Nazarski Malva's Sister
Shelley Waddams Elf Attendant
Graham Rolls Whiskery Old Man
Justin Doble Milky-Eyed Southlander
Nicholas Foustellis Short Haired Elf


Actor Role
Marris Collins Village Man[1]


Below is a list of trivia from Amazon's "X-Ray" feature that accompanied the episode.

  • Scene 2 - "Most of the details and elaborations told herein are derived from 'The Lord of the Rings', its prologue entitled 'Concerning Hobbits', and its Appendices, A through F, where the intrepid traveller may journey to discover even farther horizons."
  • Scene 3 - "Both Galadriel and her brother, Finrod Felagund, were High Elves, or Eldar, of the royal house of Finarfin. (Appendix F)"
  • Scene 5 - "Galadriel was the noblest of the High Elves known as the Exiles, a branch of the Eldarin kindred called the Noldor who left Valinor to go to Middle-earth. (Appendix F)"
  • Scene 8 - "Morgoth was known by many names, including the Dark Power of the North. His was a bitterly cold realm, and the snows linger still in the Forodwaith, long outlasting him. (Footnote, Appendix A)"
  • Scene 10 - "Trolls were made in mockery of Ents by the Dark Powers of the First Age. (Book III, Chapter 4) Snow-trolls are merely one variation of them that long ago adapted to the harsh climates of the cold northern realms they call home."
  • Scene 12 - Long before Hobbits became a single group of people, whose most ancient legends hardly looked further back than their Wandering Days, there were halflings called Harfoots. They were travellers of highlands and hillsides. (Concerning Hobbits)."
  • Scene 15 - At the end of the First Age, Elrond was given a choice - he was one of the Peredhil, or Half-elven, and had to decide between the fate of the Eldar, or of Man-kind. (Appendix A)"
  • Scene 17 - Harfoots are little people, and while the later Hobbits ranged between two and four feet tall, in their ancient days they were slightly taller. They were beardless, bootless, and browner of skin. (Concerning Hobbits)"
  • Scene 19 - Gil-galad was acknowledged as the High King of the Elves of the West, for he was the last heir of the kings of the Noldor in exile. (Appendix B)"
  • Scene 20 - Valinor is the Land of the Valar, the angelic Guardians of the World. Their land goes by many names, among them: The Undying Lands, the Blessed Realm, Eldamar, or the Uttermost West. (Appendix A, etc.)"
  • Scene 26 - "Different from the Eldar, the Silvan Elves or Wood-elves lived further east from the Sea, in forest realms such as Greenwood the Great. (Appendix B)"
  • Scene 29 - In Middle-earth the Two Kindreds, the Firstborn elves and later humans, became estranged as each kind walked further down their sundered roads. (Book IV, Chapter 5)"
  • Scene 34 - From the Grey Havens, or Mithlond, the elves set sail into the West, never to return to Middle-earth. (Book I, Chapter 2)"
  • Scene 34 - It is said that on the High Sea while sailing to the Blessed Realm, a sweet fragrance on the air and the sound of singing voices comes over the water to meet the elven-ships - then the grey rain-curtain turns to silver glass and rolls back to reveal white shores and a far green country under a swift sunrise. (Book VI, Chapter 9)"


The episode was directed by J. A. Bayona and written by J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay.


"We have a long way to go, and there is time ahead for thought." — Treebeard
This article or section is in the early stages of construction and should not be viewed as complete, or even close to being finished.

In the series, the Silmarils are not mentioned and neither is the Oath of Fëanor, although Finrod is said to have taken a vow to fight Morgoth.

He is shown to be taking an oath resembling the Oath of Fëanor, which is a major departure from the source material, as he was opposed to the Fëanorians both before and after coming to Middle-earth.[2] The manner of his death is also changed: the Appendices tell us he died saving Beren whilst helping him to find a Silmaril.[3] While in The Silmarillion it is specified he died wresting a wearewolf the series says he died "hunting Sauron" and shows claw marks on his body, no mention of his connection with Beren or his hunt for the Silmaril is made. The Silmarillion tells is was buried at Tol Sirion, so none of his siblings could mourn over his body.[4]

The impact of Finrod's death on Galadriel is never mentioned in any source, much less the idea of her ever desiring revenge. In fact, we are told he was almost immediately re-embodied in Valinor, and once Galadriel learned of that, she would have been relieved and comforted. She did have, however, have concerns about the Shadow rising during the Second Age, which moved her to political affairs.[5] The same concerns resurged during the Third Age following Sauron's apparent death at the hands of Isildur at the end of the War of the Last Alliance. As a result she and Celeborn made journeys into various parts of Middle-earth to investigae before settling in Lothlórien.[6] Beyond this, anything related to Galadriel's quests as told in the series are complete inventions.

In the legendarium, the ban on the Noldor was lifted after the War of Wrath and all were allowed to sail back to Valinor.[7] This was a personal decision and not a reward or punishment doled out by the high king, Gil-galad. Galadriel was free to return on her own but continued to choose a self-imposed exile for other reasons. In fact, Galadriel could have never been a subordinate to Gil-galad: she apparently helped him to become king,[8] she was at least a generation above him,[9] and she was born in Valinor during the Years of the Trees,[10] while he was born in Middle-earth thousand of years later.[note 1]

All the Harfoot and Southland characters were invented for the show.


  1. Gil-galad's birth and parentage are a difficult matter, but in anycase, in all its different versions, his relation with Galadriel is always inferior.



External links

The Rings of Power series' episodes
Season 1 1. A Shadow of the Past · 2. Adrift · 3. Adar · 4. The Great Wave · 5. Partings · 6. Udûn · 7. The Eye · 8. Alloyed
Season 2 TBD ·