At the end of Rings of Power Episode 8, The Stranger says he’s going to Rhûn – but where is that in Middle-earth, and what’s there? We’re going on an adventure.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1 has hopped, skipped, and swam across the map, even venturing beyond Middle-earth.
We sailed to Númenor, saw the volcanic formation of Mordor in the Southlands, visited the realm of the dwarves at Khazad-Dûm, and strolled around the lavish realm of Eregion.
By the end of Episode 8, The Stranger and Nori are setting off on a trip to Rhûn – let’s break down where that is, and what they’ll find there in Season 2.
Rings of Power: Where is Rhûn?
Rhûn is the name given to all of the eastern lands of Middle-earth, with very few known details about anything beyond the Sea of Rhûn in J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing.
While the western part of the region appears on maps of Middle-earth, including the Sea of Rhûn, barely any of its geography has been recorded, with the Land of the Sun in the far east of Arda being particularly elusive.
That’s not to say this area isn’t important – according to The Silmarillion, there’s the lands of Cuiviénen and Hildórien, where elves and men first awoke. There have also been four Dwarven clans in Rhûn.
Rings of Power: What happens in Rhûn?
While many traveled west, many of the men who remained in Rhûn fell under the dominion of Morgoth and Sauron, then known as Easterlings. During the Third Age – the period in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy – they led several attacks against Gondor.
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Saruman and the Blue Wizards (Alata and Pallando) also visited Rhûn, with the latter Istari remaining in the region after Saruman’s departure. They had hoped to help its people resist Sauron, but the extent of their success isn’t known, nor is it clear if they stayed there after the War of the Ring.
Sauron even sought sanctuary in Rhûn for 400 years, known as the Watchful Peace as he hid from the White Council and amassed a new army.
Rings of Power: Why does The Stranger want to go to Rhûn?
While the obvious implication is that The Stranger is Gandalf, he could be any of the Istari sent to Middle-earth to help the Free Peoples against Sauron.
Rhûn is an important place to start, given the connection between the Dark Lord and eastern men. “There’s a sweet smell on the air this way,” he says. “When in doubt… always follow your nose.”
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1 is available to stream in its entirety now. You can sign up for Amazon Prime here.