For a massive show rumored to have a production budget of more than $1 billion, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’s first moments are decidedly small. Evocative of the quote from Bilbo in The Fellowship of the Ring, “Where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet and in good-tilled earth,” we see a small elven girl making a paper boat alongside a creek.

As the ship enters the water and floats downstream, it’s smashed by a rock. The metaphor isn’t quite as blunt as the rocketed stone which aims to push the boat off course, but its impact remains the same: In the land of Middle-earth, calm is often fleeting. The serenity briefly glimpsed soon gives way to a spectacle as a new chapter in Tolkien’s world unfolds in magnificent scope.

Set in Middle-earth’s Second Age, which takes places thousands of years before Fellowship, Rings of Power explores the events which transpire in the prologue audiences glimpsed in Peter Jackson’s groundbreaking trilogy: the alliance that came together to stop Sauron after his deception of the peoples of Middle-earth by creating the titular rings of power and the one ring to rule them all.