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THE RINGS OF POWER Season 2: Barrow-Wights Set to Haunt Middle-Earth

Published / Sat 6 Jul 2024

THE RINGS OF POWER Season 2: Barrow-Wights Set to Haunt Middle-Earth

Photo: THE RINGS OF POWER Season 2: Barrow-Wights Set to Haunt Middle-Earth  /  Credit: Empire Magazine

Middle-earth has always been inhabited by dark and dangerous creatures, and now the Barrow-Wights are set to haunt Middle-earth in “The Rings of Power” Season 2.

Known for featuring sinister entities like the Nazgul, the Balrog, the Uruk-hai, and the spider-demon Shelob, Middle-earth is no stranger to perilous beings. However, one foe from Tolkien’s lore that has not been significantly depicted on screen until now is the Barrow-wights.

These undead characters, who appear in “The Fellowship of the Ring” novel, were not featured in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation. This will change with “The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power” Season 2, where these ghoulish creatures will be introduced in all their terrifying detail.

The Barrow-Wights Make Their Screen Debut

The Barrow-wights, emerging from their tombs, will pose a major threat to the heroes, including Galadriel, as shown in an exclusive image. “The Barrow-wights are ancient, reanimated heroes, acting for evil against their will,” explains Rings of Power VFX supervisor Jason Smith to Empire.

“It was super-exciting to take on something I hadn’t seen before. We’ve seen undead before, but not like this. We’re doing a little horror movie in Middle-earth.” According to Smith, the Barrow-wights were once noble people such as “kings, queens, high-ranking officials,” and their past lives are reflected in their character designs as undead beings.

An additional look at some Barrow-wight concept art by Einar Martinsen is featured on Empire’s exclusive subscriber cover (See Below).

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Previously depicted only in a little-seen 1991 Russian TV adaptation of “The Fellowship of the Ring,” bringing the Barrow-wights to the screen presented both a challenge and an opportunity for the Rings of Power team, who revisited Tolkien’s writings for inspiration. Smith describes the feeling evoked by the passages as one of impending doom, not by speed but by being relentless.

“It’s a menace that is just going to encroach an inch at a time until you have nowhere to go and you die,” he explains. The first thing visible when the Barrow-wights are near are their glowing blue eyes, piercing through the darkness. “The eyes are one key thing we took from the writing,” says Smith. He recalls, “I used to walk around by my grandma’s farmhouse in Idaho at night, and there’s something about a forest at night that can be so frightening. And if you come across a tree and think you see a glimpse of eyes that are glowing blue, it’s just horrific.” The fear factor is certainly a significant element of their introduction.

“The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power” Season 2 premieres on Prime Video on August 29, view the official trailer below.

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