Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for all of The Rings of Power Season 1.The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power explores a number of topics from the critically acclaimed books (the original source material for the insanely popular series) that its juggernaut predecessor barely mentioned, if at all. The Unseen World is one of the concepts in the books that Rings of Power touches on, albeit quite succinctly. Since the show seems to be ready for a new season, it’s safe to assume that the subject will be explored in more detail in future episodes. But what exactly is the Invisible World and what do we know so far about it?
Is the invisible world a vague reference or does it announce something else?
The Unseen World first appears in the series when Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) catch Adar (Joseph Mawlé) to extract the whereabouts of Sauron. Adar is the leader of the Orcs and one of the first of their kind, the one who attacked Southland. According to him, Sauron exploited the unseen world in his experiments for his own selfish reasons. After Morgoth’s death, Sauron and his forces embarked on a journey to the far north (this is where Galadriel and company are seen at the start of the show), apparently with the intention of “curing” Middle earth. What was “flesh” had apparently exploited and ruined Middle-earth beyond repair. Sauron would then set everything right by employing a power ‘over the flesh’ – or so he claimed. This power “over the flesh” that Sauron sought after Morgoth’s demise was probably rooted in the unseen world. Although mentioned very briefly, it is safe to assume that power rings plans to explore the unseen world in more detail in the future in the series.
What exactly is the invisible world and how do you see it?
As its name suggests, the Invisible World is, literally, invisible in the eyes of ordinary beings, such as mortals and elves. Unlike the more abstract concepts discussed in power rings, the invisible world is invisible but very real. In fact, it is the realm from which creatures like the Valar, Maiar, and the Wraith exist in their spirit forms. What most people don’t know is that Sauron and even Gandalf came from the unseen world because the true essence of their nature is imperceptible to physical beings. This enigmatic and mysterious realm is accessible by acquiring and wearing the One Ring.
The One Ring has many names, each more intimidating than the next. The decision ring. The Master Ring. Bane of Isildur. Created by Sauron in the fire of Orodruin, the One Ring is Middle-earth’s most powerful artifact. Not only does it bind all of the power rings together, but it also allows the wearer to partially “escape” the physical world and transcend into the realm of the unseen. The wearer would also become invisible to physical beings, but as a result would become extremely easy to track for invisible creatures, such as Ringwraiths. The One Ring is essentially a vessel of the Dark Lord’s essence, and since its master comes from the Unseen World, the Ring seems to be able to lift the veil between the two worlds.
Are the Nazgul invisible creatures?
Wraiths, commonly referred to as Nazgûl (Black Speech: Ringwraiths, sometimes spelled Ring-wraiths) are perhaps the most apt example of invisible creatures. Draped in dark robes, the Nazgûl are the nine Ring-Wraiths, whose sole purpose in life is to seek out the One Ring to return to their master, Sauron. The Nazgûl, also known as the Black Riders or The Nine, were mortal men before they were corrupted and turned into Sauron’s most feared servants by the Nine Rings of Power. The Nazgûl, after being transformed, became spirits – envelopes of their old versions, and they therefore belonged to the Invisible World. They could, however, take physical forms like their master to cross the veil between the visible world and the invisible world.
What is important in the invisible world?
Different creatures in the invisible world possess different powers, depending on the nature of their being. The Valar and Maiar, for example, are capable of unspeakable things when in their spirit forms in the realm of the Unseen. As for the Nazgûl, they are able to sense the One Ring and all the beings that come from the Invisible world. Since they are not entirely invisible by nature, given that they were once mortal men, the Nazgûl differ from most creatures in the invisible world, though they are mortal in their own way. As seen in the events of The Hobbit, the Nazgûl are also immune to earthly weapons. This is exactly why no one could kill the Nazgûl and the Witch-King. Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), who could travel between the visible and invisible world when in possession of the One Ring, could see the Nazgûl as well as the Elves in their spiritual forms. The elves, as depicted in the books, appeared to be luminous in their original, invisible forms.
The Unseen World is home to a number of powerful creatures. It’s safe to assume that Sauron will eventually exploit the realm of the unseen – since that’s how the Nazgûl are brought to life.