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TV The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power | ST | Pre-release discussion, trailers, etc

New Halbrand theory:

Halbrand unproblematically being a secret chosen king do-gooder is so boring I don't think that's what the show is doing. The parallel with Aragorn is obviously very deliberate, and at first glance seems designed to help audiences familiarise themselves with this different version of Middle Earth. However, one problem with Halbrand doing what Aragorn does thousands of years before Aragorn does it is that it makes Aragorn - who is meant to be the most exceptional Man since the time of Numenor - less special, less fated, less heroic and grand. What's the big deal about resisting Sauron if another fated king did it first?

So while I do think Halbrand will become a King of Men, I don't think his story has a happy ending. He's going to be one of the great Kings of Men given a ring of power, and who therefore (like his forefathers and unlike Aragorn) falls from grace and into the service of Sauron. That's a more interesting storyline, I think, and it'll allow the writers to try and pull some twists and turns.
I like this
 
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Episode 3 was the best one so far, I think. This just keeps getting better!

I loved the introduction of Elendil and Isildur. I wonder what's up with Anárion, as Elendil seemed bitter about something he did and it's looking like Isildur wants to do whatever it is his brother did.

I am fully aboard the "Halbrand will become a Ringwraith" train.
 
Episode 3 was the best one so far, I think. This just keeps getting better!

I loved the introduction of Elendil and Isildur. I wonder what's up with Anárion, as Elendil seemed bitter about something he did and it's looking like Isildur wants to do whatever it is his brother did.

I am fully aboard the "Halbrand will become a Ringwraith" train.
I'm wondering if Anarion still lives on Numenor's Western shores and welcomes Elves. Lorewise, Elves from Tol Eressea (the Lonely Isle, between Valinor and Numenor) visit Numenor's Western shores in secret. Maybe Anarion has something to do with that in Rings of Power, which risks Elendil's position in Numenor's court/navy?

I like how they hid Miriel's motives; she assigns the Elf-friend to watch the Elf, presumably hoping respect and friendship will blossom, while publicly making it look like she's abiding by official anti-Elf policy.
 
Absolutely loved the stuff with the orcs this episode. The films never really adequately conveyed that orcs hate sunlight, so really glad to see they've made it a pretty core part of their portrayal here: the tunnels, the helmets made of skulls, the hoods... It all feels like it fits in with what Tolkien wrote.
 
Absolutely loved the stuff with the orcs this episode. The films never really adequately conveyed that orcs hate sunlight, so really glad to see they've made it a pretty core part of their portrayal here: the tunnels, the helmets made of skulls, the hoods... It all feels like it fits in with what Tolkien wrote.
I loved the twist at the end of the escape attempt. Orcs outside the pit casually putting a stop to the escape attempt as if it's a bit of fun to them; very in keeping with the texts.
 
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I'm intrigued to see how the Army of the Dead fit into this series, if at all.

Canonically, their King pledged allegiance with Isildur in the Second Age and promised to fight as part of the Last Alliance. Then when they broke that promise, Isildur cursed them.

I've seen some speculation that Halbrand could turn out to be the king of the dead, which I don't know about... I can see him becoming a Nazgul after reclaiming his title as king, I'm not sure I can see him becoming the King of the Mountain who is cursed. But we'll see.

I'm also intrigued to see this show's version of Isildur progress from a sea cadet to someone who can curse the afterlife out of an entire kingdom.

Didn't mention it in my last post, but Elendil's casting is spot on. He's my favourite new character in the show, absolutely perfect portrayal by the actor.
 
In the interest of not having to hide discussion behind constant spoiler tags, I'm thinking of making this an Open Spoiler thread. Would anyone have any issues with this? I feel like most people here are familiar enough with the lore that they know which direction the story is heading, but if people would prefer, we can keep spoiler tags in place
 
Meteor Man latest thoughts:


I'm in two minds on Meteor Man.

I don't think it's Sauron: I think the flaming eye was a misdirect, and he's a Maiar, probably a Wizard. They've spent two episodes now setting him up as a powerful, but helpful and bumbling character, which I don't think jives with Sauron. I can't see any storyline in which Meteor Man becomes Annatar.

I'd like him to be a Blue Wizard.

I worry he's Gandalf.

If he's a Blue Wizard, then that sets his quest up in an interesting way: he needs to find the stars he's looking for. The Harfoots are going West, but if he's a Blue Wizard, that means he will need to head East. That would then mean Nori (if she joins him) having to make a conscious decision to leave the caravan. It would also mean we get more insight into the rebellion against Sauron in the East, which Tolkien said was of great importance but about which we know nothing.

All that is really promising and intriguing, and nothing lore breaking there.

However, I worry that the higher ups will mandate that it's Gandalf, for maximum recognition. And this is meant to be how Gandalf first meets the hobbits and helps them find the Shire. I'm hoping it's not that obvious, and that over the next few episodes we'll see MM reveal more of his character and goals with those stars.
 
Putting Rings of Power in perspective:

We've had over 3 hours of screen time so far, and it took that long to introduce the major locations and the cast. That's one Jackson film done right there.

Yea. It just goes to show how much more ground this series is trying to cover. After the ten minute intro in the first film, Fellowship is largely focused on a single storyline, moving the ring towards Mordor. Except for the part where Gandalf visits Sarumon and gets his butt kicked, the film pretty much keeps all of the main characters together throughout. It isn't until Two Towers where things actually split off.

Rings of Power is more like OG Game of Thrones. We currently have 4/5 different groups of characters all over the board. Heck two of those groups weren't even in episode 3. On top of all of that, Galadrial's introduction took up half of episode 1 and spanned hundreds of years. I am really glad we are getting this as a TV series and not just a film.
 
Rewatching episode 3 and the accents are bugging me more. It's the uniformity across peoples that gets to me; I know that's obviously how accents work (given I come from the UK, where we sometimes have absurd accent diversity within small parts of the country, along with numerous obviously recognisable accents). The problem with accents - especially in the use of things like Irish accents for migratory rural peoples or for peasants - is that they reinforce stereotyping and problematic associations (peasants sound more Northern England, the Irish are unsophisticated rubes, and so on). It's not deliberate, but it bugs me a little.

In a fantasy world, are we obligated to stick with that kind of uniformity, or could we have a wider variety of accents within each race? Should each group be so obviously identifiable by a single accent (perhaps there advantages to this, given the multiple plot lines and vast geographical scope of the show)?

I guess what brings this into sharper relief is playing Xenoblade Chronicles 3, where my party of characters from two nations have a mix of accents between them, and where accent variety across people who live in the same location persists across the game. The voices aren't limited the way they are in Rings of Power, and I wonder if the show should have taken a similar approach. I'll always want to hear Sadoc Burrows speak with Lenny Henny's native Brummie accent.

That being said, two positive things really leapt out at me on a second watch. I'd realised it a little on a first watch that Numenor's architecture juxtaposes ancient Elven designs with newer human design, but I hadn't realised quite how much they'd baked that into a bunch of shots as Galadriel first arrives. It's really quite well done. Secondly, even if the accent issue is niggling away at me, the dialect and language is great; I love how each people has a distinct figurative speech, which is only natural.
 
-Episode 4 Spoilers-

Once again, I find myself begging for more. This was another good episode. Hard to think that we are already halfway to the end of season 1.

Nuemenor is being set up for destruction either way. Once Queen Mirel runs off with Galadriel, Pharzaon is going to sieze control of the Island. That is assuming the floods don't come first lol. The Elrond/Durin relationship is a fun dynamic, but it is feels like Durin doesn't fully trust Elrond.

Assuming that Adar is Saron (which I am betting heavy money on atm), the reveal was a bit of a letdown, but I guess that is the point. They are not at a position of strength at the moment, but that is probably about to change. The folks in the tower are likely headed for a painful death.

Can't wait for next week's episode!
 
-Episode 4 Spoilers-

Once again, I find myself begging for more. This was another good episode. Hard to think that we are already halfway to the end of season 1.

Nuemenor is being set up for destruction either way. Once Queen Mirel runs off with Galadriel, Pharzaon is going to sieze control of the Island. That is assuming the floods don't come first lol. The Elrond/Durin relationship is a fun dynamic, but it is feels like Durin doesn't fully trust Elrond.

Assuming that Adar is Saron (which I am betting heavy money on atm), the reveal was a bit of a letdown, but I guess that is the point. They are not at a position of strength at the moment, but that is probably about to change. The folks in the tower are likely headed for a painful death.

Can't wait for next week's episode!
Adar is most likely not Sauron imo. He's a red herring. But he's the father of the orcs.
 
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Yeah, I don't think we've seen Sauron yet, other than in Galadriel's prologue. I thought episode 4 was in danger of being too slow, but it picked up again by the end. Glad we had more time with Miriel - she's excellent. The Elrond/Durin/Dissa dynamic I love.

The pacing of events felt a little all over the place though. Khazad-dum and Eregion aren't that far apart, but Elrond was backwards and forwards very easily; two episodes ago Celebrimbor's forge was a sketch and a far off dream, this episode it's halfway built. It feels really unclear how the timeline of these plot lines is matching up, and I hope that's less of an issue going forward.
 
I’m pretty certain that Meteor Man is Gandalf. It would be one heck of a curveball if he wasn’t.
 
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I stumbled upon a YouTube channel that has some pretty awesome LOTR content, and they have been doing an episode-by-episode recap of the show. One of their recent videos has some speculation on who Meteor Man is, and they came up with an interesting (and partially crazy) theory about who he could be.

I don't think they are right, but it's interesting speculation nonetheless.



They speculate he could be a Balrog.
 
I stumbled upon a YouTube channel that has some pretty awesome LOTR content, and they have been doing an episode-by-episode recap of the show. One of their recent videos has some speculation on who Meteor Man is, and they came up with an interesting (and partially crazy) theory about who he could be.

I don't think they are right, but it's interesting speculation nonetheless.



They speculate he could be a Balrog.

without watching the video, Balrogs and wizards like Gandalf are the same order of being - Maiar. However, it'd be pretty odd for a Balrog to end up in the heavens and fall to earth in the form of a human male. Tolkien writes that, after the end of the War of Wrath, Balrogs are either destroyed or go into hiding underground (hence what eventually happens to Khazad-dum).

Personally I remain hopeful that the Stranger is Istari (a wizard), but not Gandalf; either a Blue Wizard or an original character. The method of arrival would check: the meteor arrives as the "grey rain curtain" opens up to Valinor*, so it's entirely possible this guy, like the other Istari, came from there. It's possible this was like, Istari Version 1.0, so the delivery method is a little odd (the other wizards arrive by boat, gradually, in the Third Age). Given we know Gandalf only ultimately arrives in the Third Age - and that's explicit in the Tale of Years which is a major source for this TV show - I'd be surprised and honestly a little disappointed if shoehorn in a Gandalf appearance. At the very least, keep it ambiguous.

Tolkien does also suggest it takes the Istari some time to get used to mortal bodies, and that checks with the Stranger's confusion and inability to clearly articulate themselves.

*legitimately the Elves arriving in Valinor is my favourite shot of the show so far because of how it matches this passage from the end of the book as Frodo makes that same journey:

Lord of the Rings said:
And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.
 
So, I finally got round to watching Episode 4

Open Spoilers

I thought it would be Mithril that they found in the mines, and I was right. I like that they emphasize how dangerous it is too reach even at this early stage, rather than having the dwarves go hog wild with it early on. They've set up the fact that it's difficult to mine and they'll need to go deep to get it, but they really really want to. Hopefully they don't decide to portray the balrog getting released to soon.

Not entirely thrilled with them spoiling the sinking of Numenor as a Palantir vision. I think they might be leaning into the idea that Tolkien himself had recurring dreams of a great flood, and putting that onto the characters themselves, but personally I think the sinking of Numenor works better as a total unforseen fuck you from the Valar after Numenor gets too uppity. We'll see though. The actress portraying Miriel is doing a great job at selling her fear and unease, so I'm happy to see where this story ends up going.

Adar was... Cool, but underutilized. Your intro to the villain is a chance for them to make a really big impact, but he was just kind of there, in an evil sort of way. I'm sure there's scope for him to develop though, as having an elf outright dedicated to evil is such a new concept for a Middle Earth story.

They continue throwing money at the screen. I can't believe how good this show looks.
 
I am looking forward to watching it tomorrow once I am off work.

The Rings of Power has officially become my personal "start of the weekend" celebration.
 
I was very happy with the new episode.

My only complaint is that I almost screamed at the screen for Gil-galad to come clean with Durin. It seemed like the whole mess could have been avoided with some good-old talking, but in the end there was a very nice pay-off to the whole situation with the Durin and Elrond exchange.

I love their bromance, by the way.
 
Kinda mixed on episode 5, but positive overall. Will spoiler tag:

There's a tendency of stake-upping in this, which the Jackson films were also guilty of; the mithril being desperately needed because all the Elves will die by spring without it is unnecessarily rapid. The spiritual decline is enough, I think. Not everything needs to be imminent life or death. I do love the Elrond and Durin dynamic though.

I felt the pacing was again a little all over the place; some of the early scenes especially were rapid fire, and it wasn't always clear how different parts were fitting together. I think, even with such lengthy episodes, there are perhaps a few too many characters and smaller arcs running in and out of the major arcs; but if they capitalise on these things over time, it could well be worthwhile.

That being said, I really like how they captured the Southlands folk falling into despair and darkness; it's a common theme of Tolkein, but outside of Gollum, the films never really touched on it. Equally, the writings were always vague as to what happened to people in the south and east, other than that they fell into darkness. I think the show handled this really well this episode.

Loved the Harfoots wandering, and loved the departure from Numenor, too. Loved the song.
 
So, finally got round to watching Ep 5. (One of these days I'll have a free Friday so I can actually watch as it comes out)

Open Spoilers

- I think this episode has maybe skirted the line a little bit on how much the showrunners should be free to go with their own invention. The threat of Sauron returning is more than enough, he is the archetypal big bad fantasy villain. We don't need a tree sickness to add an additional timer to the elves storyline, and I don't think it adds a huge amount.

The additional twists on Mithril are also a bit mixed, in my opinion. It was already the hardest substance in Middle Earth, and incredibly valuable. That was fine. Making it an ore leftover from a fight between an elf and a Balrog is a bit over the top (I'm assuming this Balrog is Durins Bane). Making it so that the elves need the Mithril in order to bask in the light of Valinor again is... Hmmm. I can kind of see what they're going for, but at the same time... No? Mithril isn't a Silmaril, it doesn't cast light of it's own, it's not a magical protection against elf sickness. It's a really good, really valuable, really expensive metal. Unfortunately, this reminds me a bit too much of RotK where Jackson felt the need to add the Arwen dying because Sauron storyline, which was also needless and melodramatic.

I'm assuming Mithril will be a factor in the forging of the Rings of Power, but you don't need vast quantities of the stuff to make rings.

- It's a shame, because the rest of the episode I really enjoyed. I like the fact that Pharazon is foreshadowing Numenor's colonial attitude towards the rest of Middle Earth, and I'm hoping that story still makes it in despite the compressed timeline. Elendilf still rocks. I like that we've seen more of the Harfoots, and the story with the Stranger seems to be accelerating (Team Blue Wizard). The soundtrack was awe inspiring at certain points.

- Gil-Galad got an absolute banger of a line with "Hope is never mere, Elrond, even when it is meager"

- Wandering Song was phenomenal, but I can't help thinking it would have worked better at the end of Episode 3 rather than the beginning of Episode 5
 
So, finally got round to watching Ep 5. (One of these days I'll have a free Friday so I can actually watch as it comes out)

Open Spoilers

- I think this episode has maybe skirted the line a little bit on how much the showrunners should be free to go with their own invention. The threat of Sauron returning is more than enough, he is the archetypal big bad fantasy villain. We don't need a tree sickness to add an additional timer to the elves storyline, and I don't think it adds a huge amount.

The additional twists on Mithril are also a bit mixed, in my opinion. It was already the hardest substance in Middle Earth, and incredibly valuable. That was fine. Making it an ore leftover from a fight between an elf and a Balrog is a bit over the top (I'm assuming this Balrog is Durins Bane). Making it so that the elves need the Mithril in order to bask in the light of Valinor again is... Hmmm. I can kind of see what they're going for, but at the same time... No? Mithril isn't a Silmaril, it doesn't cast light of it's own, it's not a magical protection against elf sickness. It's a really good, really valuable, really expensive metal. Unfortunately, this reminds me a bit too much of RotK where Jackson felt the need to add the Arwen dying because Sauron storyline, which was also needless and melodramatic.

I'm assuming Mithril will be a factor in the forging of the Rings of Power, but you don't need vast quantities of the stuff to make rings.
Yeah agreed on this - and on the bolded especially. It really felt like over-adhering to Jackson's formula by adding pointless Elf drama and a determination to have world-ending stakes that aren't needed; especially not one episode after we've already had The Great Flood blatantly foreshadowed.

My assumption is they're gesturing here to the purpose of the three rings, which was to preserve and heal; this is why Rivendell and Lothlorien remain so beautiful and safe right at the tail end of the Third Age. It's also why those places fade when the One is destroyed - the powers of the Three to preserve the ethereal qualities of the Eldar and Valinor in Middle-Earth are gone at last.

Mithril is only used in one of the Rings, so it's certainly an over-invention for me. Gil-galad's purpose doesn't need to be any more dramatic than wishing to preserve and extend the light and spirit of the Eldar in Middle-earth; we've already had the longing for Valinor really well established in the story. We didn't need a fake origin story on top of that.
- It's a shame, because the rest of the episode I really enjoyed. I like the fact that Pharazon is foreshadowing Numenor's colonial attitude towards the rest of Middle Earth, and I'm hoping that story still makes it in despite the compressed timeline. Elendilf still rocks. I like that we've seen more of the Harfoots, and the story with the Stranger seems to be accelerating (Team Blue Wizard). The soundtrack was awe inspiring at certain points.

- Gil-Galad got an absolute banger of a line with "Hope is never mere, Elrond, even when it is meager"

- Wandering Song was phenomenal, but I can't help thinking it would have worked better at the end of Episode 3 rather than the beginning of Episode 5
Yeah, pretty much agreed. I'm 100% sure they're going to show Numenor become more militaristic and colonial. They're setting up a lot of ideas in every episode, even if at least one of them (elves dying need mithril) feels like a huge clunker. Numenor feels on surer ground; no pun intended.
 
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Elves: We need Mithril tanning beds asap or we're going to die

Anyway: one other thing I'll add is that we finally saw the Morgoth cultists, but I have to say they felt rather underused. If they're tracking the Stranger then I can't help feeling they should have appeared earlier, as Ep 5 made it clear that the Harfoots have trampled all over the place since the meteor.

Contrast that with the Southlanders this episode, which I think actually made good use of the cult of Sauron idea. Perhaps they could have linked the two more definitively: Adar forces the Southlanders to join the Cult of Sauron, and at the same time sends out the Morgoth cultists to search for the Stranger.
 
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Finally caught up last night. This week's felt like more of setting up the last few episodes rather than really advancing most of the story lines. I will say that I thought the mithril bit was off so I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking the same.

P.S- I'm still of the belief that the Stranger is Sarumon.
 
P.S- I'm still of the belief that the Stranger is Sarumon.
Saruman arrived in the Third Age though

I mean I know the show it taking liberties but that'd be a pretty big contradiction to the lore. Way more so than balrogs having wings.
 
In a way I knew that this show being set during the Second Age would mean it would basically amount to "slowly everything goes to shit", but I don't think I was prepared for last night's episode. Awesome stuff!
 
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So yeah episode 6 was excellent. Really, really good stuff. Gonna watch it again tomorrow and will put out some thoughts then.

But I think that episode was what they needed after two episodes where the number of characters, locations, lore dumps and narrative threads was beginning to spill out of control and lose focus.
 
So yeah episode 6 was excellent. Really, really good stuff. Gonna watch it again tomorrow and will put out some thoughts then.

But I think that episode was what they needed after two episodes where the number of characters, locations, lore dumps and narrative threads was beginning to spill out of control and lose focus.
I was shocked by the thing that eventually pulled it all into focus
I almost feel the need to go back and see if that was foreshadowed and I just missed it because of all the pretty
 
I was shocked by the thing that eventually pulled it all into focus
I almost feel the need to go back and see if that was foreshadowed and I just missed it because of all the pretty
It certainly gives a new perspective on the Orks building underground tunnel systems.
 
Great episode all around! The way that the showrunners handled the switcharoo with the dagger probably could have been done a little better, but otherwise I have no real complaints. The final sequence was mind blowing. Like @Earthbounder said, we know that things were going to get ugly at some point, but WOW.

Also, this was the first time we say two different groups of characters coming together.
 
- For me this was exactly what the show needed: zone in on fewer characters, crystallise some of the narrative, and provide some clear imminent stakes. I didn't expect the transformation to Mordor to happen so suddenly, though I had expected it to be a big plot point; Mount Doom's true name (Orodruin) is name dropped earlier in the season, and it featured in a shot when Arondir was in the Elvish tower in episode 1 or 2. I really liked that it looms over Theo in the background, just before Arondir hands him the fake sword. I assumed the trenches the Orcs were digging would gradually be poisoned over time, and that's how Mordor would come into being; this more dramatic and sudden shift was spectacular, and a good curveball. But I do wonder how they build on it. My assumption is that Sauron's identity and whereabouts remain a mystery, and despite the 'success' of Adar's plan, people continue to doubt Sauron's return.

- The southlands now being a flaming hellscape needs to somehow result in thing settling down if they want to effectively raise tensions again in the future. I think maintaining authentic feeling tension is something the show might struggle with, judging by the decision to have Mithril somehow be essential to the Elves' survival. And, in a future season, Numenor is going to need to come to the rescue again, in a bigger way. The show needs to make that happen authentically, without just retreading the same ground (reluctant Numenor enters the fray, saves the day at the 11th hour). It's a tough task, really. I guess the events of this episode do mean that Numenor's great military strength will now be developed and realised in an authentic manner - knowledge of the threat in Middle Earth can convince both the isolationist faction and the Elf-friend faction of the need for more soldiers and ships.

- The switcheroo tactic seemed a little lame at first, but on second viewing it works for me. Nobody - especially not the Elves - would want to touch a magical object of Sauron's. They detest such things, much in the way Orcs and creatures like Gollum detest Elven food and items etc. It's notable that, when it's handed to Theo, he immediately senses something is wrong because, having bonded with the weapon already, he feels the absence of its power.

- I loved the music, especially for the calvary ride and then Galadriel chasing Adar. Superb stuff.

- torn a little on whether the show is too directly echoing the Jackson films; the aforementioned chase was clearly meant to evoke Arwen being pursued by the Ringwraiths in Fellowship (she uses the same Elvish phrase, the chase goes through the trees etc) but Galadriel is Arwen's grandmother so the echo is appropriate; Arondir telling Theo "be free of it" evokes Theoden telling Wormtongue "be free of him" in Return of the King, and so on. Other examples happened which I forget. There was a clever use of "gimbatul", which turns up in the Ring verse as part of the line "one ring to find them" - at the start of this episode, an Orc shouts "gimbatul" as they begin the search of the tower. Maybe it's because I've watched the films obsessively, but I had a slight feeling they were leaning a little too much on iconography and language from the films.

- a highlight for me is that, yes, this episode does tension, pacing, action, stakes and twists and turns well, but it also nails character and relationships. Elendil and Isildur's relationship feels clear, and real, and complex. While the show has had to do a massive amount because of the size of the cast and the world, for me, it has succeeded more than it's failed: I bought the dynamic between Arondir, Bronwyn, and Theo. Theo especially I really liked in this episode - he made his choice to stand with his family and he stuck with it, even when his mum tasked him with rear guard duty. Good on him. On another convincing character note, Galadriel is composed and at peace before and during the mission, because she's returned to her position as a commander - she's shaken and unclear again afterwards, bereft of clear purpose. While some might speculate on Halbrand/Galadriel romance, I think the shared feeling they have is one of joy in battle, rather than romantic love. It's a concern for both of them. Halbrand seemed like a berserker in his Numenor alleyway fight; Galadriel's lack of purpose outside fighting is exactly the lack that others have identified in her (Elrond, Gil-galad), and it also points to how she can and will grow into the Galadriel we see in the Third Age (a wise, responsible ruler who understands the Elves' Long Defeat, rather than someone itching to wage war and claim revenge).

- speaking of Galadriel, I am so glad we got to see more of her composed and in control. In episodes 2 through 4, I felt she spent too much time frantic, irritated and in confrontation. I get why that happened; it's because she truly is lost without resuming her hunt for Sauron. It's notable that her composure is fully there even when she's on the ship, heading to Middle Earth. The scene with Isildur and her was great, and it did some nice work with the idea of Numenor. Isildur is happy to leave it because of what it is becoming, and Galadriel sees him as an heir to the good aspects of Numenor. Like Aragorn, Isildur is the Heir of Numenor, and an Elf-friend.

- Raving about Galadriel, again kind of, but Adar for me finally felt like a realised villain in his confrontation with Halbrand and then especially with Galadriel. Ostensibly, Adar has lost, but he remains sure of himself (for obvious reasons, after the twist). His apparent calm in those moments, and his confusion about what crime he committed against Halbrand, made him a more effective villain. What I loved most about the confrontation between Galadriel and Adar is how extreme Galadriel feels, and it becomes a little uncomfortable. It's not enough that Adar is seemingly beaten; Galadriel wants to wipe out all Orcs. They're evil, yes, but as Adar says, they are as much a part of creation as everything else (which is true, because Morgoth interrupts and corrupts the Music of the Ainur before time begins, which means that corruption and evil must and will exist, even if good and love always win in the end). A really strong scene for me, grounded in the lore, but comprehensible without it.

- the lighting! How good was the lighting after the fight? The sunlight on Arondir and Theo; Adar's angular, pale face finally properly revealed; the shadows on Galadriel as she interrogates him; the sun vanishing before the hills as the Orcs head to the village; the cavalry arriving with the dawn (classic Tolkien).

- this episode got a lot right in bringing two major plot lines together and, not only resolving them, but immediately catapulting things forward. It did it not only with kick ass action and music and production values, but with characters whose motivations and emotions felt grounded, authentic, and connected to one another and the world. I have my concerns about how the other plotlines will resolve this season - especially the Elves, Dwarves, Mithril stuff - but this was a high point for the show. It was in danger of collapsing a little under the weight of everything it was trying to do, but it's shown there's the skill and the vision to bring some substantial parts of this together.

I love that we've had two consecutive episodes of men seeing Galadriel for the first time, and then staring at her in absolute awe. Yes, Galadriel is the greatest of the Elves left alive, perhaps ever, and the show revels in that.
 
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How good were the orcs, again? I could drop the accents happily, but the looks, the sounds, the movement, the casual brutality, the treachery of turning villagers against villagers; not quite Children of Hurin Tolkien, but darker than anything we've had on screen yet. First Age Orcs are brutal, fiercesome things, and these Second Age Orcs want to get there.

The music and chanting were especially excellent.
 
Yeah this past episode was absolutely fantastic. The perfect kind of plotting where all the clues were there and built towards logically but it was only that very last second shot of
the mountain
where I pieced it all together just before it unfolded in real time and I audibly said "oh shi-" before the proverbial hammer dropped. Amazing stuff. I can't get over how good this show is 😭
 
How good were the orcs, again? I could drop the accents happily, but the looks, the sounds, the movement, the casual brutality, the treachery of turning villagers against villagers; not quite Children of Hurin Tolkien, but darker than anything we've had on screen yet. First Age Orcs are brutal, fiercesome things, and these Second Age Orcs want to get there.

The music and chanting were especially excellent.

Sooooooo much better than CGI Hobbit trilogy characters.
 
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Reading Polygon's latest Rings of Power article and I feel people are making a significant mistake in their analysis.

The mistake is assuming that Adar is correct to say what he says; I don't think Adar's arguments about the Orc's role in the world is meant to be taken at face value, as a significant lore change. It's there for the effect this has on Galadriel, who already harbours doubts about her mission; it's Adar inserting a chisel in the cracks he's found in her composure. The information is there for character development, I think, and not to drastically rewrite the rules of the world.

Adar isn't on the level. He was corrupted millenia ago by an evil god. It's bizarre to me seeing fans and journalists take this at face value, because the film adaptations do a good job of teaching us to be wary of corrupted servants. We wouldn't take Wormtongue, Saruman, or the Mouth of Sauron at face value, because deception is a tool of evil in Tolkien's world.

Adar is lying either to cause Galadriel to doubt herself, or to try and obscure the fact he's paving the way for Sauron's return; or both.
 
Reading Polygon's latest Rings of Power article and I feel people are making a significant mistake in their analysis.

The mistake is assuming that Adar is correct to say what he says; I don't think Adar's arguments about the Orc's role in the world is meant to be taken at face value, as a significant lore change. It's there for the effect this has on Galadriel, who already harbours doubts about her mission; it's Adar inserting a chisel in the cracks he's found in her composure. The information is there for character development, I think, and not to drastically rewrite the rules of the world.

Adar isn't on the level. He was corrupted millenia ago by an evil god. It's bizarre to me seeing fans and journalists take this at face value, because the film adaptations do a good job of teaching us to be wary of corrupted servants. We wouldn't take Wormtongue, Saruman, or the Mouth of Sauron at face value, because deception is a tool of evil in Tolkien's world.

Adar is lying either to cause Galadriel to doubt herself, or to try and obscure the fact he's paving the way for Sauron's return; or both.
Agree. And regarding the last part in particular:
I actually thought Adar was trying to plant the seed of belief that Sauron is dead and gone, so that when he comes to the Elves as Annatar for help with forging the Rings they will feel fairly secure and be less inclined to question him.

Though I gotta admit if people are taking Adar at face value and he is trying to plant that seed, that's sorta interesting that it's not just working on Galadriel, but on the audience as well. 😅
 
Reading Polygon's latest Rings of Power article and I feel people are making a significant mistake in their analysis.

The mistake is assuming that Adar is correct to say what he says; I don't think Adar's arguments about the Orc's role in the world is meant to be taken at face value, as a significant lore change. It's there for the effect this has on Galadriel, who already harbours doubts about her mission; it's Adar inserting a chisel in the cracks he's found in her composure. The information is there for character development, I think, and not to drastically rewrite the rules of the world.

Adar isn't on the level. He was corrupted millenia ago by an evil god. It's bizarre to me seeing fans and journalists take this at face value, because the film adaptations do a good job of teaching us to be wary of corrupted servants. We wouldn't take Wormtongue, Saruman, or the Mouth of Sauron at face value, because deception is a tool of evil in Tolkien's world.

Adar is lying either to cause Galadriel to doubt herself, or to try and obscure the fact he's paving the way for Sauron's return; or both.

Interesting. I haven't been following the discourse around the show very closely (or at all tbh haha) so I hadn't considered folks were thinking about it like this and not just in it's own bubble as it's own work. It makes sense though that people will hold it up against the movies and the books and how logically x follows on as it's portrayed. For context I'm a big stan for the movies and I've dabbled in the books here and there but I'm probably as big a fan as you can be while also not being beholden to the source material at all, and I would be just fine with whatever changes they make to make the characters a bit more three dimensional or modern. All of which is to say, I wouldn't really be too concerned personally if what Adar said was the canon for this telling of the story however I didn't even consider for a second that he's isn't lying or at least telling his story in a certain way to destabilise Galadriel's resolve. It's unlikely events are straight up or as straightforward as he represents. I guess folks have to write about something if they need to cover the show weekly so it's a fine avenue to look at but I would agree with a lot of what your interpretation is above Spo.
 
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Agree. And regarding the last part in particular:
I actually thought Adar was trying to plant the seed of belief that Sauron is dead and gone, so that when he comes to the Elves as Annatar for help with forging the Rings they will feel fairly secure and be less inclined to question him.

Though I gotta admit if people are taking Adar at face value and he is trying to plant that seed, that's sorta interesting that it's not just working on Galadriel, but on the audience as well. 😅

Lmao this is a good point. We're all under the eye of Sauron now...
 
Agree. And regarding the last part in particular:
I actually thought Adar was trying to plant the seed of belief that Sauron is dead and gone, so that when he comes to the Elves as Annatar for help with forging the Rings they will feel fairly secure and be less inclined to question him.

Though I gotta admit if people are taking Adar at face value and he is trying to plant that seed, that's sorta interesting that it's not just working on Galadriel, but on the audience as well. 😅
I'm 100% agree with you here. It's no coincidence Adar is trying damn hard to fool Gaaldriel, or to at least undermine her credibility in the eyes of others; Galadriel is the one being in Middle Earth that Sauron is afraid of.

And you're right - the show has perhaps successfully hoodwinked a lot of viewers!
Interesting. I haven't been following the discourse around the show very closely (or at all tbh haha) so I hadn't considered folks were thinking about it like this and not just in it's own bubble as it's own work. It makes sense though that people will hold it up against the movies and the books and how logically x follows on as it's portrayed. For context I'm a big stan for the movies and I've dabbled in the books here and there but I'm probably as big a fan as you can be while also not being beholden to the source material at all, and I would be just fine with whatever changes they make to make the characters a bit more three dimensional or modern. All of which is to say, I wouldn't really be too concerned personally if what Adar said was the canon for this telling of the story however I didn't even consider for a second that he's isn't lying or at least telling his story in a certain way to destabilise Galadriel's resolve. It's unlikely events are straight up or as straightforward as he represents. I guess folks have to write about something if they need to cover the show weekly so it's a fine avenue to look at but I would agree with a lot of what your interpretation is above Spo.
I think it's important to say that, technically, Adar is 100% correct to say Orcs have a place in the universe. What he doesn't say, and what Galadriel seemingly doesn't know, is that's because the song of creation (the Music of the Ainur) that created the material universe was corrupted by Morgoth. So yes, Orcs are a part of the world; but they're a manifestation of evil, and not an intentional creation of Eru (the creator god), who only permitted the presence of evil because evil will always be defeated. It makes sense that Adar, corrupted by Morgoth himself, knows a version of this story. Adar might genuinely believe that Orcs were also made by the creator; or he might even view Morgoth as the creator of all life (I think the scene is deliberately ambiguous).

But the material comes from Silmarillion, which the show can't overtly use because of rights issues, which I think explains why this scene plays out as it does.
 
This show is incredible. I’ve been in absolute awe of it every week. We finally caught up with it tonight, and my god. They’ve got themselves a masterpiece here. I absolutely love how, as someone who has read the Silmarillion and the appendices, I have a lot of context for what’s going on, but I still don’t know everything. I guess that’s due to the new characters like Adar (who is incredible by the way). Also the production here is off the charts; visually, it’s the prettiest show ever made and I won’t here any arguments to the contrary, the casting and acting are so good, the dialogue is great… it’s all good. It’s basically perfect.

Yes, Galadriel is the greatest of the Elves […], perhaps ever, and the show revels in that.
This is Fingolfin erasure and I won’t stand for it.
 
Advertising for the final 2 episodes is going heavy, and leaning especially on a Sauron reveal. Interesting.

Also, I've been thinking about Halbrand and
I think there's another exciting possibility other than Nazgul Halbrand: King of the Dead Halbrand. Halbrand can't be King of the Southlands now that Mordor is the Southlands.

Before he's the King of the Dead, the character is the King of the Mountains, and they lead a people who live in the White Mountains (the mountain range west of Mordor, which one day separates Gondor and Rohan). When Isildur, as King of Gondor at the end of the Second Age, requests his aid in the War of the Last Alliance, the King of the Mountains refuses the call, and hides, and is cursed. He eventually fulfills his promise to Aragorn at the Battle of the Pelennor fields.

Crucially, the King of the Mountains is said to have once served Sauron, and so did his people; which could be connected to Halbrand and the Southlands folk having historically served Morgoth and Sauron. Personally I'm wondering if we'll see Halbrand and the Southlands folk 'gifted' the land around the White Mountains by Numenor, in exchange for their allegiance.
 


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