Even the title sequence in The Rings of Power reveals hidden secrets about the program

Even the title sequence in The Rings of Power reveals hidden secrets about the program ...

One of the most visually striking title sequences to premiere on television this year, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the Prime Video original series, is

Katrina Crawford and Mark Bashore of the Seattle-based film studio Plains of Yonder presented five ideas to the showrunners.

Bashore said in an interview with Polygon that his mind was glued directly to the Tolkien universe, citing sound and music as being fundamental to his world. One of the first things we said when we showed the showrunners some pictures was, What if we created a title sequence that was inspired by the world of sound?

Crawford, Bashore, and their colleagues drew their inspiration from the field of cymatics, the study of sound wave phenomena and their visual representation. The most common and best-known iteration of cymatics is the Chladni plate, invented by the 18th-century German physicist Ernst Chladni to visualize vibration modes.

Bashore told Polygon that the concept of cymatics was well-known. But we nevertheless had several moments of confusion early on as we tried to figure out how to get this done. Sand sounded like Gregorian chants, angel music, rock and roll, you name it. And when we looked at the video, we realized that we were on the right track.

From the initial proposal through to the final edit, the opening title sequence took a total of seven months to complete. The result is a mixture of live-action footage and CG animation with an emphasis on emulating the inherent flaw in cymatics.

We [were] always compositing that back in over and over again on the most CG-heavy shots, and we were always compositing more of that flawed, wild motion back in.

Crawford used a passage from Leonard Cohen's Anthem As another inspiration for the opening title sequence, we like it. It's very similar to Tolkien's creation myth of Middle-earth. There's this intertwined beauty in the music.

The title theme of The Rings of Power was composed by Howard Shore, well-known for his work on Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The opening images for The Rings of Powers are heavily influenced by Tolkiens' history, with Crawford directly mentioning the godlike Ainur as an influence that bridges the gap between the sequences' real-life inspiration and the fictional world of the series. So that sense of wonder and wonder is very inspiring and helped us to think about how to represent that in the sequence.

When the dwarven princess Disa speaks to Elrond about the dwarven ability to deduce meaning from songs sung by the mountains of Khazad-dum, the notion of resonance came up. These parallels, however strange, were not planned.

Crawford told Polygon that this was a happy coincidence; we saw nothing during the crafting of the sequence; we saw no scripts, nothing. All of our ideas stemmed from Tolkiens' writing.

Crawford sees similarities between the title sequence and the opening of episode 4, The Great Wave, in which the Numenorean queen regent Miriel fantasizes of the destruction of her homeland. That whole sequence about transitions and impermanence comes back to mind as well as Tolkiens' writing. Something may be forever, but it isn't permanent.

In the days leading up to the premiere of The Rings of Power, anticipation for every aspect of the show, including the title sequence, reached an all-time high. So much that a montage of the series' characters, originating from an Entertainment Weekly cover story, became viral.

When Bashore told Polygon, somebody sent him a copy of the Lord of the Rings comedy series. It's funny. The best one I saw was someone describing it as walking through downtown Portland at 11 p.m.

Crawford and Bashore are both relieved and excited by the reception of the actual title opening. We finished this project a while ago, according to Bashore, because it has to be translated into 60-something languages and so on. So it's nice to finally have it out there.

What Crawford and Bashore are most proud of is having created an abstract and artful opening for a highly successful television series, especially one with a rich and established history as The Lord of the Rings.

Crawford said, we want to respect that existing knowledge and expertise when it comes to a show like this. There are people who come to the program without any knowledge of Tolkien, and there are people who come to the program who are professors of Tolkien's world. Do you feel an epic timeliness when you watch the program? If so, then we did our job.