Númenor in The Rings of Power, its secrets and its concept art: a fantastic Venice


When the creators of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power began describing the series, they ran into an obvious problem: it’s set in the Second Age, so that world hasn’t been depicted other than in the works of Tolkien. This includes the island of Númenor, one of the kingdoms that will appear in the Prime Video series. Production designer Ramsey Aveney reflects on all of this while sharing stunning concept art of the island territory, much like a fantasy Venice.

“It is a civilization that has existed for thousands of years” and which has developed. “My hope in creating Númenor is to evoke a sense of wonder. A sense of mystery,” he said. I wanted to create a real sense of ancient history,” even shape the kingdom into “a current time and place where real people live, work, play, and love.”

A technologically advanced kingdom

Númenor is first and foremost a technologically advanced city – in JRR Tolkien’s universe, of course. One of the images shows the port, symbol of the privileged situation of the kingdom: “It is a flourishing culture”, so it shows “its vitality” and how “it is easy”. If you look closely at the image, you will find some important themes in the imagery:

“The horse hoisted onto a ship in the upper left of this image shows two things: first, the Númenóreans respect and love their horses; and second, they belong to a technologically advanced culture,” he explains in the interview. “They came up with these pulley and crane systems to be able to move products and goods up and around. It’s an important feature of civilization. They have more advanced technology in some ways than some of the other realms. “

Avery also points out that the bluish colors of the ships symbolize the aesthetic of Númeror itself. “We have moved away from the elegance of the elven world” to a “bolder” expression of this realm. They were inspired by art books from Egypt, North Africa and the Middle East to draw the shapes. “rich colors and geometric ornaments that are in the center” to emphasize the Mediterranean influence of the island.

Hard architecture, but without losing an ounce of beauty

The seat of power of Queen Regent Míriel, the following image sketches the houses of the members of the court. “There is a quote from Tolkienn” which says that “on the last high hill the Númenóreans built their powers”, continues the decorator. “The courtyard is depicted high on the hills”, boasting heavily male-influenced architecture, which “reflects the evolution of culture over time”.

While on the left side of the image the structure is more Elvish, as it is the part of the kingdom built by the Elves 400 years ago, “the humans of Númenor” left their mark on their palace, which demonstrates the power of men. “The structure is powerful, solid and imposing.” Technological advancement is also appreciated in this art:

“The left and right towers are equipped with a cooling system,” he explains. To combat such a hot climate, one must create ingenuities that allow the high temperatures to be dissipated. “We discovered that [buildings in] Countries in North Africa and the Middle East have these “windcatchers”, in which the wind gets trapped, gets hot and then blows out of the tower. When it flies out, it blows air cold below.” So throughout the city you’ll see those towers; this is how the Númenóreans discovered how to keep the city cool. »

Númenor in The Rings of Power, its secrets and its concept art: a fantastic Venice

Númenor, a bit like Venice

In the third image, Avery points out that Tolkien did not describe Númenor in detail, but one of the sentences he spoke gave them the clue. “I have just returned from Númenor, I mean from Venice,” said the professor. According to the production designer, this revealed how he envisioned the kingdom. “A city like Venice that was built on water with multiple influences over time.”

Númenor controls the sea thanks to its privileged position, so they turned to the shipbuilding industry. The long triangular sails evoke Elvish ships, “we kept trying to find something” that was characteristic of the inhabitants of Númenor. “One night I was looking at pictures and I saw the crown of Gondor. I had always thought of that crown as eagle’s wings, but I looked at it again and thought ‘My God, it’s a boat sail over there.’ ”

His intention from the beginning was to create a world that started from reality. “It would be really difficult to navigate these ships, but it is doable.” They spoke to experts who helped them stay true to reality. As for the bridges, each of them has a canal, which functions as a transport system in the city and goes to the port.

Númenor in The Rings of Power, its secrets and its concept art: a fantastic Venice

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will be released September 2 on Prime Video.

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