The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power takes us into the heart of Middle-earth’s Second Age. It’s a very different time than we’ve seen portrayed in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies. Some of the races of Middle-earth that existed during The Lord of the Rings don’t exist yet in The Rings of Power. And some races that do exist in Middle-earth during this new series, don’t make it into the next age or evolve into a different kind of people altogether. To help everyone keep their elves from their Ents, and their Harfoots from their Hobbits, here are all the races we’ve met so far in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Races; Jump to: Elves // Dwarves // Harfoots // Orcs or Uruk // Númenóreans // Ents // Wizards // Mystics

The Lord of the Rings‘ Race of Elves

The Lord of the Rings the Rings of Power featuring Galadriel and Elrond embracing
Prime Video

If you’re aware of The Lord of the Rings franchise, you’ll probably know its iconic elves. But in The Rings of Power, Middle-earth’s elves have a whole new lease on life. The Lord of the Rings‘ movies saw the time of the elves drawing to a close. But The Rings of Power reveals the elves at the height of their power in Middle-earth.

In any age, Middle-earth’s elves are an immortal race. Fair and wise, they shine with an inner grace and light. Among the speaking races of Middle-earth, they are the oldest to inhabit Arda, a.k.a Earth. The elves seem to have invented poetry and music. In Tolkien’s lore, the full history of the elves is a complicated one. But The Rings of Power‘s prologue sets us up with all the story we’ll to understand this race.

The History of Elves
A ship sailing into the distance in Middle-earth from The Rings of Power.
Prime Video

Galadriel walks us through the elven history lesson we need. At first, she shares in Rings of Power‘s introduction, the race of elves lived in bliss in their homeland Valinor, a.k.a the Undying Lands. But where there is light, a shadow always looms. And eventually, an evil Satan-like figure named Morgoth brought war to the elves. The fight against the darkness led the elves out of Valinor and took them to Middle-earth. Though some elves returned to Valinor after Morgoth’s defeat, others stayed to ensure the evil would not return and to hunt Morgoth’s apprentice Sauron. Others still remained to grow and build anew in Middle-earth. And the elves certainly flourished.

The Powers and Abilities of the Race of Elves 

In The Lord of the Rings’ world, elves appear to have the gift of telepathy or Ósanwe, literally the “interchange of thought.” Their powers are stronger than those humans possess but weaker than that of the Ainur or the godly spirits of Middle-earth. Still, according to Tolkien’s lore, the power of telepathy can become enhanced by several factors, including the relationship between people or the urgency of the matter at hand. Some elves also have the power of foresight or prophecy. This ability to see into the future manifests in varying degrees across the race. We will have to wait and see how this manifests in the series.

On The Rings of Power, we also see the elves enhanced senses of a more mundane kind such as preternatural seeing and hearing. We see Elrond employ these to spy on Durin and Disa. He also tells High King Gil-galad that the elves we meet refer to the idea of “sight.” Elrond also tells High King Gil-galad that Galadriel “has passed beyond [his] sight” as he watches her sail into Valinor from afar.

The Rings of Power‘s Elves
Lord of the Rings the Rings of Power character Arondir
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In The Lord of the Rings‘ movies, we mostly see the elves as a series of ethereal figures, the remnants of elven royalty. They seem somber and formal with one foot in a world the rest can’t understand. But in The Rings of Power, we have already met High Elves like King Gil-galad, ambitious upstarts like Elrond, elven generals and soldiers like Galadriel and Arondir, and craftsmen like Celebrimbor. With the elven cities of Lindon and Eregion acting as major settings for this Lord of the Rings series, we’re sure to get to know elves of all kinds on a much deeper level.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Races; Jump to: Elves // Dwarves // Harfoots // Orcs or Uruk // Númenóreans // Ents // Mystics

The Lord of the Rings‘ Race of Dwarves

Durin IV stands before soldiers of Khazad-dum on The Rings of Power
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Like elves, we have met dwarves before in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. And like elves, the dwarves were shades of the race we see in The Rings of Power. In The Hobbit, Thorin Oakenshield and his company are part of a scattered kingdom. And in The Lord of the Rings, the ruined remains of the dwarven stronghold at Khazad-dûm feature prominently. But in the Second Age, Middle-earth’s dwarves are just getting started.

When it comes to the races that inhabit The Lord of the Rings‘ world, dwarves have a pride and stubbornness to rival the elves’ own. In fact, in The Silmarillion, we learn that dwarves went largely unaffected by the Rings of Power and their evil. The hard-headedness of this Lord of the Rings race kept external forces from controlling them. But the rings did enflame their greed and anger.

The Rings of Power‘s Dwarves
The Lord of the Rings, Princess Disa, a member of the race of Dwarves
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A mountain-dwelling folk, the dwarves involve themselves in the business of mining and gold. And, of course, love all precious metals, gems, and minerals. This includes the precious dwarven Mithril. Mithril is a rare metal, both light and hard, that gleams but doesn’t tarnish. And we feel like we’re about to see the dwarven race discover it in The Rings of Power. We’ll certainly see the dwarven practice of resonating stone, or singing to it so it will reveal its secrets, come to life at some point. Additionally, as a race, the dwarves are masters of weapon-making and smithing, something we see The Rings of Power‘s elves are keen to learn more about.

In The Rings of Power, we also get to see the city of Khazad-dûm flourish, impressing even the elf Elrond. There we meet Prince Durin IV, whom Elrond has a friendship with, and his wife, Princess Disa. Although traditionally, relations between the races of elves and dwarves are strained, in The Rings of Power‘s Second Age, the two races have what Tolkien refers to in The Silmarillion as “a friendship… such as has never elsewhere been, to the enrichment of both those peoples. ” We look forward to seeing that come to pass.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Races; Jump to: Elves // Dwarves // Harfoots // Orcs or Uruk // Númenóreans // Ents // Mystics


Lord of the Rings the Rings of Power character Nori Brandyfoot, from the 
Lord of the Rings race of Harfoots
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In The Rings of Power, we are introduced to a delightful race of people called Harfoots. While Harfoots share a resemblance to The Lord of the Rings‘ Hobbits, they are not the same. In Tolkien’s writings, it seems like Harfoots were a type of Hobbit. However, in The Rings of Power, the race of Harfoots are actually deemed the ancestors of Hobbits. Both Middle-earth races share a love of food, comfort, and nature. And both Hobbits and Harfoots lack a desire to meddle in the business of the greater world. But Harfoots are a nomadic people and do not yet live in developments like the Shire. Instead, their “paths are set by the passing seasons.”

Harfoots travelling
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We learn that Harfoots migrate yearly, they “winter in Old Forest, mid-summer, [they] make for Norfoot Glen to snail while the snailing is good, and at the first brush of the oak leaves, they head to the grove.” The Ringsof Power’s Harfoots are a people on the move.

The race of Harfoots we see in The Rings of Power also seems a bit more superstitious and more invested in reading the signs of nature than Hobbits. We see their leader, Sadoc Burrows, referencing a mysterious book of writings that reveals to him disturbances and omens in the stars and natural surroundings.

Additionally, although they seem like a unified group, Harfoots can be merciless when it comes to the good of the many versus the good of the few. During their migrations, anyone who falls behind or impedes progress is left, essentially, for dead. Harfoots also cleave to one way of doing things and do not take kindly to the disruption of their traditional ways.

Sadoc Burrows with other Harfoots
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Harfoots do share a particular brand of large, hairy, bare foot with the Hobbits, though. And we bet that, like Bilbo and Frodo before/after her, Nori Brandyfoot will prove crucial to the story at large.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Races; Jump to: Elves // Dwarves // Harfoots // Orcs or Uruk // Númenóreans // Ents // Mystics

Orcs or Uruk

The Lord of the Rings the Rings of Power race of Orcs
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Orcs are one of the darkest races we’ll see on The Rings of Power. Minons of Morgoth and then Sauron, the orcs have spread throughout Middle-earth during the Second Age. And they seem to be gathering together again as the Lord of the Rings series begins.

Although menacing, a main weakness of orcs is that they cannot be in sunlight for too long as the brightness hurts them. The orcs were created in darkness, both literal and symbolic, and thus light is their enemy.

The first orcs appear to have once been elves whom the evil Morgoth kidnapped and tormented into a twisted, evil form. We meet Adar, their leader, who was once an elf, but is now something completely different. Rings of Power‘s race of orcs are a different sort of orc that we’ve seen depicted on-screen before. Lindsey Weber, a Rings of Power executive producer, shares, “It felt appropriate that their look would be different, part of a wilder, more raw, Second Age, Middle-earth, closer to where the First Age ends. As we meet them, they’re not yet organized into armies, they’re a little more scattered and they’ve been scavenging. So it’s just a different time in their total story.”

The orcs, Weber offers, are still somewhat in their infancy in Rings of Power, not yet as battle-scarred and damaged as previous incarnations. Additionally, unlike previous renditions of The Lord of the Rings movies and media, The Rings of Power offers the orcs, or Uruk, as they prefer to be called, a more sympathetic spin. Through Adar, we come to see them as servents with little say or will, looking for a home. While, obviously, they are still sources of great evil, the orcs’ seem too to have been treated poorly by Morgoth and Sauron. Adar seeks a home, Mount Doom, for them, on The Rings of Power, but it’s not likely these orcs will get to live happily ever after.

The Rings of Power also confirms the existence of female orcs. When addressing his followers, Adar notes they are his “brothers and sisters.” An earlier interview about the show with executive producer Lindsey Weber also discusses this. “There’s some female Orcs that I truly loved,” Weber said. “But there’s one Orc in particular, who’s very, very tall and strong, who has a particularly enjoyable fight with one of our Elven characters that I suspect will be, or hope will be a favorite among fans.” We’re definitely excited to meet these mighty orcs.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Races; Jump to: Elves // Dwarves // Harfoots // Orcs or Uruk // Númenóreans // Ents // Mystics


The Numenorean characters we meet, including Elendil, Isildur, Pharazôn, and Queen Regent Míriel (1)
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In The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, we are introduced to the race of people that inhabits the island of Númenór. Though Númenóreans may seem like they belong to the race of man at first glance, there’s more to them than meets the eye.

In Tolkien’s lore, the Middle-earth race of Númenór hailed from the Edain, or Fathers of Man. This group of men assisted the elves against the evil Morgoth during the War of Wrath, which marked the end of the First Age of Middle-earth. Though they were decimated in the war, the survivors of the Edain were given the island of Númenór by the Valar, or gods, for their aid in the war. Thus, the people who settled in the island country became Númenóreans. 

Every LORD OF THE RINGS Race We've Met So Far on RINGS OF POWER_1
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In addition to the gift of Númenór, the race of Númenóreans were blessed by Eönwë, herald of Middle-earth’s chief god Manwë. This blessing enhanced their bodies and their minds. Though they did not become immortal, the blessing significantly extended their life spans and slowed their aging. On average, they lived three times longer than average men. 

Though this facet of the Lord of the Rings race is not a part of The Rings of Power, the people of Númenór were also very tall. Elendil, father of Isildur and ancestor of Aragorn, exceeded a height of seven feet. 


Rings of Power races Ents
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We get but a brief glimpse of this Lord of the Rings race in The Rings of Power. But that likely means we will see Ents again soon. As a strange comet streaks through the sky, the Ents stop to watch it. We also got to see the Ents in an ad for the show. But who are the Ents?

Rings of Power Ents
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If you’ve seen The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, you probably remember this Middle-earth race of tree-people. In Tolkien’s lore, the Ents were an ancient race created by Eru at the request of the Valar named Yavanna as a foil to dwarves, who are naturally inclined to chop down trees with their axes. The Ents or Onodrim are “shepherds” of trees and protect forests from evil and harm. Though always sentient, Ents could not always speak, but the elves taught them spoken language. The Ents do not forget this powerful gift. We wonder if the two Middle-earth races will meet on The Rings of Power.


The Stranger looking confused in the Rings of Power
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Although it seemed likely from the beginning, now we know that the race of Wizards, or Istari as they are known in Tolkien’s lore, has arrived on The Rings of Power. From the very first episode of the show, the character known as The Stranger has displayed magical powers. Initially, we see The Stranger manipulate energy to lift rocks and soil, and he even sucks fire into himself. The Stranger is also able to control fireflies, moving them with his will, but also inadvertently kills them in the process. After injuring himself sending a blast of power at menacing wolves, The Stranger heals himself using water that he turns into ice. All of this points to his true identity being that of a wizard. 

In The Lord of the Rings’ world, the race of wizards didn’t arrive on Middle-earth until the Third Age. However, it would seem the show has taken some liberties with this timeline. In the lore, Istari were Maiar spirits, primordial beings who helped shape the world. The Istari came to Middle-earth in the form of old men to help aid the fight against Sauron. And thus, they came to be known as Wizards. 

The Stranger from The Rings of Power
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Five Istari came down to Middle-earth in the Third Age. They included two blue wizards, Radagast the Brown, Saruman the White, and, of course, Gandalf the Grey. Although we don’t know for certain, we suspect The Stranger to be Gandalf himself

Like The Rings of Power’s Stranger, Tolkein’s race of wizards is gifted with immense power. In a sense, they are immortal because upon death, they are simply incarnated by the Valar, or gods, until their task is completed. In addition, the Istari possess powers such as telekinesis, healing, illusion-making, lightning-summoning, and more. Of course, one of the greatest strengths of The Lord of the Rings’ wizards is their wisdom. 

We can’t wait to understand more about The Rings of Power’s take on wizards and how it fits into the Istari-lore we already have. 

The Cult of Sauron/Shape-Shifters

The Dweller sneers in the trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power never clarified exactly which Middle-earth race the white-cloaked cult of Sauron belonged to. The trio of powerful characters are not wizards, but they are clearly magic users, ones who can shape-shift and wield flame. We see the members of the cult redirect fire and transform themselves into different forms. Canonically they cult claims the title of “mystics” and hails from the land of Rhûn. It’s possible they are skin or shape changers, similar to The Hobbit‘s Beorn. This would make them human with the ability to change form. However, skin-changers typically transformed into animals, not other beings, and the Cult’s powers seem to transcend beyond simple transformation.

The death of the White Cloaked cult of Sauron on The Lord of the Rings The Rings of Power
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The Stranger or Istar kills the cult, but their death does appear especially bound to forces beyond the natural. Potentially, the cult may return in season two of The Rings of Power. And even if they do not, The Stranger and Nori will likely travel to Rhûn, where we may come to understand more about these mysterious figures.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Races; Jump to: Elves // Dwarves // Harfoots // Orcs or Uruk // Númenóreans // Ents // Wizards // Mystics

Originally published on September 1, 2022.

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