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Lord Of The Rings: Rings Of Power Teases Who Ciaran Hinds Plays In Season 2

In March of 2023, Amazon announced that it had made its final casting additions for "The Rings of Power" Season 2. The concluding trio of new series regulars included Ciarán Hinds, Rory Kinnear, and Tanya Moodie. Kinnear ("Skyfall," "The Imitation Game") was recently revealed to be portraying the enigmatic Tom Bombadil — including the powerful Lord of the Rings character is a big risk, big reward move. Moodie ("The Rise of Skywalker," "The Man Who Fell to Earth") still has an unknown role as of this writing, as did Hinds ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," "Frozen") until early June.

Now, an exclusive announcement from fan site Fellowship of Fans has shed light on at least part of Hinds' role in the second season. The reveal reads, "Ciarán Hinds plays a character from Rhun/ Rhun storyline in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' Season 2 according to our sources."

That last bit is important, as a rumor in early 2024 claimed Amazon Studios was deliberately leaking false information about the show. However, Fellowship of Fans has gone out of its way to confirm its inter-season scoops and remains one of the more consistent sources for accurate off-the-record information. If this latest announcement is true, it would be significant. While the details of Hinds' character are still unknown (for reasons we'll see in a minute), if he plays a role in Rhûn, it would place one of the show's most well-known faces in one of the least well-known areas of J.R.R. Tolkien's world.

Who will Ciarán Hinds play in Rings of Power?

While the exclusive reveal places Hinds' character in the Rhûn storyline, it doesn't tell us who he'll play. There's a likely reason for this too: J.R.R. Tolkien doesn't write about events in Rhûn very often. Certain things happen in the area over the millennia of Middle-earth history, but we get minimal details and virtually no named characters. This makes it impossible to make any specific guesses about what kind of individual Hinds will be playing before showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay decide to cough up the information.

However, there are a few things we do know, as of this writing. For instance, the Stranger (Daniel Weyman) and Nori (Markella Kavenagh) head east at the end of Season 1. There are also a few flashes of what could be the region of Rhûn in the first teaser trailer for Season 2, and we know the overpowered Tom Bombadil will meet the Wizard in the area as well. Don't forget that the three Mystics that the Stranger wasted in the finale of Season 1 likely came from the East, too.

Put all this together, and we can make some educated guesses about Hinds' role. If the Stranger is one of Tolkien's Blue Wizards (who operate in the East), Hinds could conceivably be the other one. He could also play a political leader or religious figure in the previously unexplored culture of Rhûn. Heck, he could even play a dwarf, as there are multiple clans of the short-statured subterranean dwellers in the area. Rather than guess at his identity, though, let's look at what we know about the area of Rhûn and its people.

What is Rhûn in Rings of Power?

Rhûn is a term that refers to the area of J.R.R. Tolkien's world that lies to the east of the classic Middle-earth map. The book "Unfinished Tales" translates Rhûn literally as "East" and describes the term by saying, "used generally of the lands of the further East of Middle-earth." If the description sounds vague, it is appropriately so. The region of Rhûn includes an absolutely massive swath of the Middle-earth continent. While large in scope, Rhûn is defined by a handful of primary features.

The Sea of Rhûn is the biggest geographical factor of the massive area. It is bordered by a forest to the northeast and a mountain range to the southwest. Apart from a few major rivers and more distant mountains and forests, the rest of Rhûn's geography is relatively blank on Tolkien's classic Middle-earth maps. Nevertheless, we know that several different groups live and thrive in Rhûn and there are references to things like cattle and cavalry, so it isn't a wasteland. It's simply an underdeveloped (creatively speaking) area of Tolkien's world.

That means it is that rarity of rarities: an area of Middle-earth that its author didn't have worked out in detail. For J.D. Payne, Patrick McKay, and company, that means "The Rings of Power" can have a relatively free hand in adapting it without altering or disregarding the source material (as was the case, for example, when they changed the Tolkien timeline to forge the Three Elven Rings before the other Rings of Power).

Who are the people in Rhûn?

While the specific look and feel of Rhûn is nearly non-existent in the source material, we have quite a bit more information (albeit still general in nature) regarding its inhabitants. Earlier in Middle-earth history, the Elves pass through the region as they head toward the Blessed Realm and the Undying Lands in the far West beyond the continent. Eventually, the earliest groups of Men follow a similar trajectory.

The book "The Peoples of Middle-earth" explains that four of the seven Fathers of the Dwarves awoke in the East as well, founding the groups known as the Ironfists, Stiffbeards, Blacklocks, and Stonefoots. These distant Dwarven enclaves remained in contact with their brethren in the West, which means if they enter the story of "The Rings of Power," they could be communicating with Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur) and his people. There are also the two Blue Wizards whom J.R.R. Tolkien had playing the roles of both villains and heroes at various times as he developed his world.

There are also humans everywhere. They are the primary people living in Rhûn. Tolkien regularly references the tribes and human peoples living away in the East. These groups are under the Dark Lord's control and send soldiers to fight in Sauron's armies during "The Lord of the Rings." That domination starts here in the Second Age, during "The Rings of Power" story. You can bet there will be quite a few mortal Men showing up from the East. The question is, will Ciarán Hinds be one of them? Fans may have to wait until the premiere on August 29 to get a solid answer.