In Amazon Prime’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, it’s not clear how old Maxim Baldry’s Isildur is or how long he will live as a Númenórian. Isildur is the son of Elendil and an ancestor to Aragon in The Lord of the Rings. His tale in the history of Middle-earth is one of glory and tragedy, tied fatefully to Sauron’s defeat in the Second Age and the unfortunate survival of the One Ring. Though, in season 1 of The Rings of Power, he is simply a sailor and a son and not yet the heroic Isildur of Peter Jackson’s movies.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
The Second Age of Middle-earth in Tolkien’s lore spans well over 3,000 years and is therefore extremely difficult for a show like The Rings of Power to adapt into a cohesive, continuous television series. Because of this, and because Amazon does not actually have the rights to The Silmarillion or Unfinished Tales, showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay have expedited the timeline to retrofit events, characters, and newly devised storylines together. This truncated intersection of history makes finer details like character ages difficult, but not impossible, to glean.
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In season 1 episode 3 of The Rings of Power when Isildur is introduced, it seems that he’s supposed to be no older than his late teens or early twenties. He is still under the authority of his father Elendil, and he has yet to pass the trials needed to become a full-fledged sailor. The kingdom of Númenor is special, and its Men are blessed with long life, but the context of Isildur’s situation makes it clear he’s still very young. In Tolkien’s timeline for the Second Age, Isildur lives in Númenor for around a century before he and his family and the other few Númenórians who remained friendly to Elves and faithful to the Valar depart their doomed nation and sail to Middle-earth. Isildur lives a total of 234 years before he’s killed by Orcs early in the Third Age, but it’s already clear The Rings of Power isn’t sticking to this exact timeline.
How Can Isildur Live For So Long?
After the War of Wrath against Morgoth, the great Men who had fought alongside the Valar were gifted with longevity and an island continent far to the west of Middle-earth. Elros, Elrond’s brother, chose to live as a Man, and he became the first king Númenor, reigning for 410 years. Isildur is descended from these Men, and shares in their gifts himself.
Though Isildur is in his 50s when events take a turn in Tolkien’s Númenor, he’d still appear young due to his divinely extended life. Casting 26-year-old Maxim Baldry works well for the fresh-faced figure who has yet to become a tragic hero. It will be interesting to see how the future king’s timeline unravels in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.