It is an important place which is shown in episode 3 of the rings of power. But it is an unknown place which is not mentioned in The Hobbit and almost not in The Lord of the Rings. Yet it is crucial.
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Episode 3 of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is available on Amazon Prime Video since September 9, 2022. Like the previous ones, it features new places and characters, but also new situations. We leave it to you to discover everything for yourself, but there is however an element of this episode on which it seems useful to return.
Know that we will cheerfully reveal what is happening in episode 3 of the series. Therefore, we kindly ask you to leave the article if you are not up to date. If you want to know more about the characters, places, context or series of rings of power, we refer you to the corresponding articles. Ditto to decipher the credits of the series inspired by Lord of the Rings.
But before that, our traditional warning.
Númenor, the isle of Men loyal to the Valar
Númenor is a name that readers of Tolkien will no doubt know, as will those who have seen the films of Peter Jackson. But it’s quite a mysterious name for many: after all, it’s never mentioned in The Hobbit and referred to indirectly in The Lord of the Rings. It is in fact mostly talked about in the appendices.
Númenor is an island, therefore, located far from the coasts of Middle-earth, towards the West. It lies in the Great Sea, which separates Middle-earth from Valinor, the other great continent, and beloved land of the Elves. This is also where they seek to go, like what we see in episode 1 – except Galadriel, who will delay this trip by a few thousand years.
Númenor is an island and Armenelos is its capital. It is she that we see on the screen of episode 3 and it is there that resides the queen regent Tar-Míriel, daughter of Tar-Palantír and wife of Ar-Pharazôn. It is also in this city that we find well-known characters, namely Elendil and his son Isildur. These two will play a major role in the continuation of the story and in the history of Middle-earth.
The island looks like a five-pointed star. She rose from the depths of the waters by the power of Ossë, a lesser deity—a Maiar serving as Valar. Together with her peers, Aulë and Yavanna, they shaped and enriched her. All this is recorded in The Silmarilliona Tolkien roman.
Númenor is intimately linked to the history of the Second Age, the one in which the series of rings of power. We can also observe that its foundation, its glory and its fall almost cover the dates of the Second Age. Men arrived in the year 32 of the Second Age and the island was submerged in 3319, 122 years before the end of this era.
Sure enough, the island was submerged. Only a handful of the inhabitants — the Númenóreans — were able to survive this shipwreck. Among them, Elendil and his family. A chance, moreover: because without it, the kingdom of Gondor would never have been founded in Middle-earth. And Aragorn, distant descendant of Elendil and Isildur, would never have been born.
It should be noted that before this destruction (which explains why the island is almost erased in The Hobbit et The Lord of the Rings, for it is one of Atlantis lost for millennia), the City of Men appears extremely advanced, refined and civilized. Far more than many places occupied by Men in Middle-earth.
This situation is partly explained in the series, since the Númenóreans are the Men who remained loyal to the Valar against Melkor (or Morgoth), the master of Sauron, and who were rewarded for it. Moreover, this is also why these Men have a longer lifespan: it is also a gift received for their choice of Good in the face of Evil.
Sauron is said to have placed himself in Mordor first for fear of the military power of Númenor, in the year 1000. It was then that he undertook the erection of his tower, Barad-dûr . In 1700, Númenor goes to war against Sauron, who is ravaging Middle-earth. But a hundred years later, the dark lord’s evil influence begins to reach the island.
That’s why the island disappeared in the Third Age. Corrupted by Sauron (who was captured on Númenor, but wielded his influence over the then-king, Ar-Pharazôn), the inhabitants believed they could achieve immortality by challenging the Valar. A fleet was raised to assault. Valinor, the sacred continent. The gods then rose and annihilated the island. Thus was lost Númenor.
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