Maxim Baldry as Isildur in LOTR: The Rings of Power

Here’s Why You Might Recognize This Name From LOTR: The Rings Of Power

His sister’s important too.

by Ani Bundel
Matt Grace/Prime Video

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power throws a lot of characters at viewers in the first two episodes. There are Elves, Dwarves, Humans, Harfoots, and even a man who falls from the sky. With a cast of two dozen major speaking roles, it can be hard to figure out which ones audiences should remember out of the gate. But one human character has a name that viewers may recognize from the Lord of the Rings films: Isildur. Here’s what to know.

Warning: Spoilers for LOTR: The Rings of Power Season 1, Episodes 1 and 2 follow. With 24 characters over two episodes, it can be challenging for fans to remember who is who. Elrond and Galadriel at least had significant roles in the original LOTR trilogy (and The Hobbit), so fans will hopefully remember them. The Harfoots, especially Nori, seem important when she starts helping a Stranger who fell from the sky. Also, Prince Durin IV and his wife, as the dwarf friends of Elrond, will probably stick in people’s minds.

But that leaves the human characters to take a backseat in a crowded field. There’s the healer in love with an elf (she’s Bronwyn) and her son, who finds a piece of Sauron’s weapon. (His name is Theo.) There’s the sailor who rescues Galadriel. (His name is Halbrand.)

But there’s another set of humans who viewers need to pay attention to. Led by Elendil, these are the humans who are Númenórean and whose lineage dates back to the first men. As those who first had contact with the elves, they are the section of humanity that fought on the side of good, despite most humans weakly choosing to follow Morgoth and Sauron.

But Elendil, who is friends with the Elves and Galadriel, is no ordinary sailor. He’s the father of Isildur and Eärien. That second name won’t ring a bell (and it shouldn’t, since she’s a character made up for the series to flesh out the family). But Isildur is well-known to those who watched the Lord of the Rings films, especially Galadrial’s prologue intro describing the battle against Sauron at the end of the Second Age.

Warning: Explaining Isildur’s backstory from the books (and films) may spoil future LOTR: The Rings of Power events, so don’t read on if you want to remain unspoiled.

If you skip to the 2:50 mark in the clip above, when Sauron enters the battle, you’ll see why his name sounds familiar. As the man referred to only as “The King” falls, Galadriel tells of how Sauron fell “in that moment, when all hope was lost, Isildur picked up his father’s sword.” He then slays Sauron by cutting the One Ring from his hand.

But as the prologue shows, Isildur’s heroism is short-lived. His inability to destroy the Ring causes Elrond to harden his heart against humans and the Elves to withdraw from interacting with Middle-earth’s residents.

Knowing that Isildur is a flawed hero who will avenge his father but disappoint the world makes him a fascinating story to watch. At present, it’s not even clear if Isildur and his father are close. The addition of a sister also changes things, as now there is someone who will be close to him after his father’s passing. Though Isildur’s failures will ultimately lead to both the events of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, watching this tragedy unfold in real time gives a whole new dimension to Galadriel’s sad tale.

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1 continues with new episodes streaming every Friday on Prime Video.