The Lord of the Rings: Dogs in Tolkien’s Middle-earth

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power /

In The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 1, “A Shadow of the Past,” we are introduced to the dog by a conversation between two hunters, wearing packs and humongous antlers on their backs, who are traipsing through a field in the Wilderlands, a region of Middle earth. One says how odd it is that there are no small animals but only wolves in every dense area of bushes and trees. Hearing a sound, the other says it is probably just a Harfoot, referring to a nomadic people who live off the land and who are generally afraid of outsiders. As they pass by, the Harfoots emerge from hiding.

Soon after, Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenaugh)  and Poppy Proudfellow (Megan Richards), who like to explore, are leading a group of younger Harfoot kids in searching for fruit by a farm. When her little sister, Dilly (Beau Cassidy), points out a canine footprint in a garden, Nori assures her that it just belongs to a dog since dogs like to snack on berries too, but she looks worried and tells everyone that they have to finish gathering and hurry back. A wolf is looking down upon them from a small cliff, and one comes into view and has tooth-like projections jutting out from under its jaw.

In a talk with her mom, Marigold Brandyfoot (Sara Zwangobani), Nori expresses concern at seeing hunters and wolves prior to the harvest. Nori speculates that this could mean there is something amiss going on south of the Wilderlands. The leader of the Harfoots, Sadoc Burrows (Lenny Henry) tells Nori that hearing creatures so late at night means that something is weird about the sky. Although they do not realize it, they are picking up on two things: the advance of the Orcs who want to conquer Middle-earth, and a celestial event, which is a comet bringing someone who is called “The Stranger” (Daniel Weyman) to the Wilderlands. Nori discovers him, and she and Poppy secretly take care of him.

What are dogs like in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power?

In The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 3, “Adar,” Arondir (Ismael Cruz Cordova), an elf, and others captured by the Orcs are fettered together and made to dig and widen deep trenches. Here, we learn that these wolves are called wargs. They are also in chains and made to guard the prisoners and attack any who try to escape. In a close-up, we see that the warg has a face that resembles a Chihuahua and what looks like a small mane. This resemblance makes one think of the conquistadors discovering the ancestors of the Chihuahua, the Techichi, when they took over the Aztecs, according to the American Kennel Club, since the Orcs are using the Chihuahua-like beasts.

Episode 5, “Partings,” of The Rings of Power gives a lesson about the Stranger and wolves. Nori teaches the Stranger, who is now known by her community and helping her family pull their cart on their migration. She tells him about their way of life and lists dangers on their journey such as weather, trolls, and wolves. While foraging for food in a forest, Nori and Poppy see paw prints and get Malva (Thusitha Jayasundera), and they are chased by a pack of wolves and jump up into a low tree. As a wolf pounces toward Nori, the Stranger grabs it and hurls it to its companions and then hits his palm on the ground which creates an energy burst that knocks the pack backward. As the pack retreats, the Stranger and the three Harfoots realize he has special powers.

The dog looks like a ferocious type of wolf in The Rings of Power, an adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s writings. Part of nature, its number and movements are seen as signs of what is going on in the world. The Orcs use them as a way to track and intimidate people. This installment takes place thousands of years before The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. We know that some evolution of the dog occurs because in the first film, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, there is a scene with a domesticated dog. Farmer Maggot (Cameron Rhodes) and his dog, a mix between a Doberman and German Shepherd, and he barks at a Nazgul, a servant of Sauron, and tries to protect his caretaker.