The novelist — and J.R.R. Tolkien’s grandson — serves as a series consultant for the show.

Lord of the Rings fans know that every good journey needs a traveling companion. So when showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay started shaping their new TV series The Rings of Power, they recruited an important ally to join them on their journey: Simon Tolkien.

Tolkien serves as a series consultant on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (premiering Sept. 2 on Amazon Prime Video), and Payne and McKay say his contributions to the show have been invaluable. Not only is Tolkien an accomplished novelist himself, but he also happens to be the grandson of original author J.R.R. Tolkien. The showrunners say he had a key role in helping to shape the show's story and character arc development, especially given his expertise and insight into his grandfather's work.

"The first time we met Simon Tolkien, we had to pinch ourselves — here we were, sitting across the table from the grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien himself," McKay explains. "And that was only the beginning of what has proven to be an extremely enriching and rewarding dialogue. His insights, attention to detail and passion for both the characters and the overall architecture of The Rings of Power are woven throughout the pages of our story. Working with Simon has been the experience of a lifetime."

In a statement to EW, Tolkien also celebrated the partnership, saying, "I have enjoyed assisting Amazon Studios in connection with the series, and in particular providing input to JD Payne and Patrick McKay on matters including my grandfather's original writing."

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Elendil (Lloyd Owen) in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power'
| Credit: Matt Grace / Prime Video

The eldest son of the late Christopher Tolkien, Simon Tolkien worked as a London barrister, specializing in criminal defense, before leaving to pursue a career as a writer. Over the last 20 years, he's published books including No Man's Land, Orders from Berlin, and The King of Diamonds.

Instead of adapting an existing Tolkien novel, The Rings of Power focuses on the Second, an epic span of time occurring thousands of years before The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. Tolkien chronicled the Second Age in the appendices to The Lord of the Rings, and McKay and Payne say they jumped at the chance to explore stories like Sauron's first rise to power and the original forging of the One Ring.

"We were not interested in doing a show about the younger version of the same world you knew, where it's a little bit of a prequel," McKay previously told EW. "We wanted to go way, way, way back and find a story that could exist on its own two feet. This was one that we felt hadn't been told on the level and the scale and with the depth that we felt it deserved."

For more on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, pick up EW's Comic-Con issue in San Diego, and stay tuned to for even more news about the series.

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