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Can Amazon's The Rings Of Power Use Annatar's Name In Season 2?

Summary

  • The Rings of Power’s adaptation of Sauron’s Elven form could be limited by legal rights to Tolkien’s works.
  • Season 2 features Sauron’s elf form, likely Annatar, without explicit mention due to possible legal restrictions.
  • The series may be able to explore more from Tolkien’s works beyond The Lord of the Rings and Appendices if Amazon reached a deal with Tolkien’s estate.



The Rings of Power season 2 has finally unveiled Annatar, though he may not be called this in the Prime Video series. The legal rights regarding Tolkien’s estate are tricky, and this has meant that screen adaptations have only limited access to the author’s written works. It’s for this reason that The Rings of Power season 1 had to tip-toe around certainty topics, names, places, and plotlines, and this could continue to be an issue as the Lord of the Rings series attempts to dive into Sauron’s Elven form.

The trailer for The Rings of Power season 2 sees Sauron, who had been called Halbrand in season 1, take a new form. The elf seen in the teaser looks much more like the character Tolkien fans had expected since this was the only Sauron form described in much detail in The Silmarillion. The character’s name is Annatar in Tolkien canon, which means “Lord of Gifts” in Quenya, one of Lord of the Rings‘ Elvish languages. It’s a name that holds a lot of meaning considering Annatar’s role, but Rings of Power may not be allowed to mention it.


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Which Parts Of Tolkien’s Work Amazon’s The Rings Of Power Has The Rights To Use

Amazon’s Prime Video Can’t Use The Silmarillion

Sauron-From-The-Lord-of-The-Rings-Franchise-and-imagery-from-The-Rings-Of-Power
Custom image by Yeider Chacon

The Rings of Power is set during the Second Age of Middle-earth, and the stories that played out during this time were primarily described in Tolkien’s The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales of Numemor and Middle-earth. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t have legal access to anything contained exclusively within these publications. The home of Prime Video can instead adapt places, characters, and events mentioned in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings (all three books), and their Appendices.


This complicates adapting a Second Age story since Tolkien didn’t go into nearly as much detail in these publications as in The Silmarillion. This is why much of the story had to be changed in Rings of Power season 1, and it was assumed that Sauron taking the form of Halbrand was a consequence of this as well. However, the trailer for season 2 seems to suggest otherwise since that certainly looks like Annatar on the screen.

The Rings Of Power Can Use Annatar (But Possibly Not His Name)

Sauron’s Elf Form Is Mentioned In The Lord Of The Rings, But Not The Name Annatar


The specific character, Annatar, was never mentioned in The Lord of the Rings or its Appendices. However, it is stated that Sauron took the form of an elf to deceive the smiths of Eregion into making the Rings of Power. This means that The Rings of Power can legally make actor Charlie Vickers look like an elf and manipulate Celebrimbor and the rest, but he may not be able to call himself Annatar. The season 2 trailer never mentions the name, which supports the fact that it is off-limits. However, there is still a chance that Amazon found a way around this.

Prime Video may not have rights to The Silmarillion as a whole, but it’s possible that a deal was reached regarding specific aspects of the published works.

Prime Video may not have rights to The Silmarillion as a whole, but it’s possible that a deal was reached regarding specific aspects of the published works. It has been rumored that Amazon was granted permission from the Tolkien estate to use material from works aside from The Lord of the Rings and its Appendices, which could include Annatar’s name. Overall, this would be great news, especially since it could mean that other avoided topics, such as the Silmarils themselves, could play a more prominent role in The Rings of Power season 2.


The Rings Of Power Season 2 Is Clearly Adapting Annatar’s Story (With Or Without The Name)

He May Go By A Different Name, But It Will Still Be Annatar

Annatar in Shadow of Mordor and Charlie Vickers as Halbrand in Rings of Power

Regardless of whether The Rings of Power can use the name Annatar, it shouldn’t have too much impact on the story. It’s clear who this character is supposed to be in the season 2 trailer, and though his story is playing out in a different order, Sauron’s elf form is still following the same general path. He and Celebrimbor are sure to develop something of a relationship, the Rings of Power will be made, and, as teased by the trailer, everything will begin to fall apart for Eregion when Sauron’s true identity is revealed.

The Rings of Power
season 2 will begin streaming on Prime Video on August 29, 2024.


Of course, if The Rings of Power season 2 is forced to use a name other than Annatar for Sauron’s fair form, it could become a problem. Prime Video has already been criticized for its changes from canon, and even if this isn’t something that can be helped, it’s sure to garner complaints. The best route forward might be to translate “Lord of Gifts” into another of Tolkien’s Elvish languages and draw attention to the meaning when this version of the character is introduced. Still, the original name of Annatar would be preferred in The Rings of Power season 2.

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