Amazon’s new Lord of the Rings series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, takes us back to the fantastical realm of Middle-earth. As we dive into the show, we’ll head deeper into this world and explore some corners of it that have never been brought on-screen before. And that means meeting a whole lot of new and exciting creatures from Middle-earth. Alongside the many races that populate the universe live a slew of Tolkien’s coolest creations, some enchanting and some terrifying. Here is every one of Middle-earth’s creatures we’ve met so far in Rings of Power.
The Creatures We’ve Seen in Rings of Power
In episode one of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Galadriel pushes her company of elves to the far reaches of northern Middle-earth. The viewers are along for the ride as the elves enter the chilly arms of Forodwaith, the Northernmost Waste, in search of a stronghold of orcs and Sauron. While the orcs have long vanished, as has their dark lord, the evil in the stronghold remains. The only thing that flourishes there is a Snow Troll.
We don’t get to learn too much about this foul The Rings of Power creature. But we know the troll contains tough stuff because no light reaches this area of Middle-earth… And certainly very little living. The snow troll viciously attacks the elves, although, to be fair, it probably wasn’t expecting visitors. But Galadriel dispatches it before it can do much harm.
Snow-trolls are mentioned once in Tolkien’s work, a reference in The Lord of the Rings‘ Appendix A. But the denizen of Middle-earth has been brought to life in video games a couple of times, and now in The Rings of Power. With ill-omens growing and Sauron’s sigils appearing around every corner, we may not have seen the last of the snow troll.
Valinor’s Spirit Birds
Of course, Middle-earth and the rest of Tolkien’s world is also a place of magic and great beauty. Thus, some of its creatures have to fill us with joy. And we get a taste of this wonder as The Rings of Power reveals to us Valinor, the elven homeland. Earlier in the episode, Elrond describes the journey into Valinor. He notes, “When you cross over, you hear a song, one whose memory we all carry, and you are immersed in a light more intoxicating than any sensation in all of Middle-earth.” And this is exactly what we see before us. But what Elrond doesn’t mention are some of the most beautiful creatures we see in The Rings of Power.
As Galadriel and the rest of the elves prepare to cross over, a flock of glorious sea birds fills the air. These birds appear to come from Manwë, who represents a kind of chief god in Middle-earth’s mythology. In The Silmarillion, we learn that “all birds are dear” to Manwë. So it makes sense he welcomes the elves back home with a flock.
The Worm (Sea Serpent)
Another new location that The Rings of Power introduces us to is the Sundering Seas. These waters lay west of Middle-earth, and elves must cross them in order to reach Valinor (they depart from the Grey Havens). Of course, like any other ocean, Middle-earth’s seas contain creatures lurking in the deep that you’d probably rather not meet.
Although Galadriel is at peace with her decision not to journey to Valinor, she finds herself stranded in monster-filled waters. A sea serpent, known in The Rings of Power as “The Worm,” slithers through the Sundering Seas, wreaking havoc. Galadriel meets a group of people whose ship this Rings of Power creature destroyed, and she nearly ends up in the belly of the beast herself.
Although the Worm seems to attack indiscriminately, we suspect the Middle-earth monster may be under the sway of Sauron.
Wolves (Possibly Werewolves)
Wolves are on the prowl in this Lord of the Rings series. But Middle-earth’s wolves may not be ordinary creatures in The Rings of Power. Nori Brandyfoot and a group of other Harfoots almost meet one of these wild beings in a berry field, but luckily they spy a warning track. The track is massive, though, and when we see the wolf… It feels like something greater is at work.
We get the same feeling when the wolves attack the Harfoots as they migrate through an eerie forest. There are a few different wolf-like creatures in The Lord of the Rings‘ world, including werewolves and wargs. In Middle-earth’s lore, werewolves are wolves Sauron bred for evil. In each wolf, Sauron imprisoned an evil spirit creating a new kind of creature. Now that we’ve met a warg, though, we know this wolf is something else. So we’re back to betting on this The Rings of Power being a werewolf.
In episode three of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, we meet the loathsome creatures known as the wargs. These wargs are also wolflike in nature and are being used as attack dogs by the Orcs. The wargs have a powerful snarl and even deadlier teeth. As compared to the sleek menace of the (potential) werewolves, they appear to be a much more savage Lord of the Rings creature. The warg we meet in Rings of Power attacks on a pure evil instinct and a hunger for blood.
In Tolkien’s lore, wargs are a specific breed of wolf that lives in the Misty Mountains. In The Lord of the Rings books, wargs were associated with orcs and sometimes goblins. And in The Rings of Power, they definitely follow that tradition… And that is bad news for our favorite Harfoots, elves, or any other creature.
In episode seven of The Rings of Power, a dark creature emerges from the depths. It looks like all that dwarven mining for mithril has awakened a grave danger in the depths of their mines, the Balrog. In The Lord of the Rings‘ lore, the Balrog is a a powerful spirit that becomes demonic at the hands of Morgoth. Famously, a Balrog nearly destroys the wizard Gandalf in an epic battle during The Fellowship of the Ring. The Balrog of Khazad-dûm has awakened a little earlier than we expected it to, but we have not doubt it will soon bring a lot of trouble to the dwarves and many others.
As The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power continues to air, we’re sure we’ll see many more of Middle-earth’s creatures. Hopefully, a few less that would eat us and a few more we can admire. Either way, we’re excited to continue this new journey through Tolkien’s world.
Jump to: Snow Troll // Valinor’s Spirit Birds // The Worm // Wolves (Possibly Werewolves) // Wargs // The Balrog
Originally published on September 1, 2022.