Who Are the Faithful in ‘The Rings of Power?’

Lloyd Owen as Elendil in The Rings of Power.

Image via Prime Video

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power already spends many screen minutes building Numenor and its political factions. One of those that gets thrown around quite a bit are the Faithful, a group of Edain who remain true to the will of the Valar and their blessings on humanity.

Amazon Studios has already teased us that their ambitious five-season take on Tolkien’s Middle-earth will depict the catastrophic downfall of Numenor. We even got a glimpse of it in the last episode, when a crushing body of water swept over Armenelos, their largest city, leaving only ruins in its path.

If all Numenoreans are doomed, how is it that Elendil and his kin – also Numenoreans and present in The Rings of Power– escaped this annihilation and founded their own kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor in Middle-earth? To know the answer to that, we need to take a trip down history and explain the importance of the Faithful movement.

Who were the believers?

When it became clear that some Numenoreans were deviating from the faith that had given them all their power, a party calling themselves the Believers decided to hold on to the old beliefs and continue learning the Elven languages. They even interacted with the elves in a time when such things were extremely frowned upon. While the other Numenoreans dreamed of eternal life and envied the elves, the believers believed in the principle that mortality was the gift of man.

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This rift between the two groups widened over the years until the later kings of Numenor launched a crackdown on the believers and their way of life. They brought those they called “Elven Friends” to the east coast of Numenor and prevented them from communicating with the elves of Tol Eressea.

Ar-Gimilzor and Tar-Palantir were kings who treated the believers more kindly than their predecessors, the latter even choosing a wife from among the elven friends and lifting the ban on speaking the Elvish languages. This sparked a rebellion in Numenor, but even Palantir’s daughter Miriel – a character in The Rings of Power– was a friend of the elves.

Without going into spoiler territory, things likely won’t go as well as they should for the Queen Regent, allowing the dissident faction to gain the upper hand. So great is their fall from grace that the Numenorians, deceived by Sauron, begin to offer human sacrifices to Melkor to avoid death.

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Elendil - Rings of Power
Image via Amazon Studios

The Dark Lord eventually convinces the last Numenorean king to raise a vast armada and attack the Immortal Lands themselves in order to gain immortality. Manwë, the greatest of Eru’s angels on Arda, consults with the Creator, upon which he destroys the proud island kingdom and most of its inhabitants, except for the faithful who are spared this downfall. Elendil and his son Isildur are among those who journey to Middle-earth after the destruction of Numenor, and there they found the two kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor, in memory of what was and what would have been lost forever had they not remained the loyal to Valar and their decrees.

Of course, not even these kingdoms would escape the tragedy of humanity, and their greed was always to overwhelm them in the end. During the War of the Last Alliance, Isildur managed to cut the One Ring from Sauron’s finger and defeat the enemy, but he could not destroy his power source, thus assuring that evil would one day return to Middle-earth. Isildur himself died soon after.

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Sometime in the Third Age, the Witch-king, Sauron’s greatest servant, reappeared in the north and grew in power, creating the realm of Angmar against Arnor and drawing all manner of dark creatures into his service. The three divided kingdoms of Arnor, named Arthedain, Cardolan and Rhudaur, were unable to stop the Witch-king’s attack and vanished from the face of the earth. As for Gondor, civil war and strife raged through the nation, until finally the line of kings was broken and the White Tree withered.

It was only when Aragorn, also known as Elessar, led Anduril and united the Dunedain against Sauron that the people of the west found hope again. After Sauron’s defeat and the destruction of the One Ring, Aragorn restored Arnor, bringing order to Gondor and birthing the idea of ​​a reunited kingdom.

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