Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power takes place during Middle-earth’s Second Age. But the show’s premiere opened before that era, with a look back that provided a brief glimpse at Galadriel’s older brother before he died during the great war of the First Age. The show did not use his name, but Finrod Felagund was a noble hero beloved by all races of Middle-earth. And his death is why Galadriel cannot forget the terrible evil that still exists in her world.
The elves are the first “children” of Iluvatar, the supreme being who created everything. Elves originally came from Middle-earth, but many departed their home land for Valinor in the realm of the Valar. ( The Valar are the most powerful entities after Iluvatar.) Valinor is where we first saw a young Galadriel and Finrod talk about ships and stones.
Their family was also the most important of the Ñoldorian elves. Their grandfather Finwë was the first High King of the Ñoldor.
Finwë’s oldest son and heir was Fëanor. (Elrond admired Fëanor’s hammer in the show’s second episode.) But Middle-earth’s first Dark Lord, Morgoth, made the proud and skilled Fëanor suspicious of the Valar. He also made Fëanor weary of his brother Fingolfin, whom Fëanor wrongly believe wanted to usurp his position as heir.
When Morgoth—himself one of the 14 Valar—murdered Finwë, Fëanor and his sons swore a vow that cursed their house forever. But the Oath of Fëanor ultimately led to the death of his nephew, Finrod.
Fëanor led the first of the three Ñoldor hosts that returned to Middle-earth chasing Morgoth. His brother Fingolfin led the second and largest group.
Finwë’s third and wisest son Finarfin—the only one who had blonde hair (as did his offspring)—also went to Middle-earth after Morgoth. His children, including Finrod and Galadriel, went with him. But when Finarfin turned back after hearing of a prophesy of doom, his is children stayed in Middle-earth. They joined Fingolfin’s host.
Morgoth killed Fëanor soon after and Fingolfin became king of the Ñoldor on Middle-earth. But the elves war with Morgoth lasted for centuries. Eventually Fingolfin died in single combat after challenging Morgoth to single combat.
As for Finrod, he never married. But he founded the original Minas Tirith (not the one from The Lord of the Rings). He also founded Nargothrond with the aid of the dwarves and ruled over his own kingdom on Beleriand. Finrod rewarded the dwarves with great jewels, and they in turn made him the legendary Nauglamír necklace.
Finrod was also the first elf to meet Men in Ossiriand, the western part of Beleriand. He spent a long time with these new children of Iluvatar and became a dear friend of the great House of Bëor. Finrod taught Men his Elvish language and vice versa. He also protected them from elves worried about Men replacing them.
Finrod nearly died during a great battle with Morgoth. But Barahir of House Bëor saved Finrod’s life. As thanks, Finrod gave Barahir his ring. (The same ring given to Aragorn during the Third Age.) But years later Barahir’s son Beren came to Finrod for help, so the elf set aside his kingship and went with Beren to repay his debt to the family.
Finrod used magic to hide their true identities. But Sauron, Morgoth’s most dangerous and powerful follower, caught the small party in a trap and ultimately forced Finrod to reveal himself to save Beren.
Finrod killed a werewolf with his barehands and Beren escaped. But the elf king suffered mortal wounds and died. Finrod was so noble, though, he was the only elf exile allowed to return to endless life in Valinor. There he forever reunited with his lost love who had never left the Valar’s side, Amarië.
It will be a long time before Galadriel joins him in the Undying Lands, though. Sauron marked Finrod’s face with a dark sign. It’s a sign to his sister that while Middle-earth defeated Morgoth at the end of the First Age, they did not defeat evil. Sauron lives, and thus does her desire to defeat the Dark Lord who killed her brother.