I watched Episode 4 of The Rings of Power last Friday and have been able to gauge my excitement by how often I’ve been bummed that the next episode doesn’t release until Friday. It’s been a minute since I’ve watched a show that isn’t all available to stream. Again, this post is going to involve major spoilers so if you aren’t caught up on all the episodes, don’t read any more. You can find my thoughts on the first two episodes here.1
The scenes in the ditch during the confrontation of the Orcs and the Elves in Episode 3 drove home the wreckage that evil can make of something beautiful. The Orcs are themselves deformed, twisted from what created beings should be and instead of creating good, they corrupt good into evil. It’s monstrous and they portray that well. That moment of stunted hope, when Revion almost got away and then was killed was heart wrenching. I felt that defeat in my bones. The portrayal of evil escalated and got more complicated at the beginning of Episode 4 when Adar talks to Arondir. Adar said, “ You have been told many lies. Some run so deep even the rocks and roots now believe them. To untangle it all would all but require the creation of a new world. But that is something only the gods can do. And I am no god. At least not yet.” The beginning of this is a true story of the world. There are lies bound so deep it is hard to disbelieve them. The recreation of the world (not the creation of a new one) will be necessary. But I think Adar and I have a different idea of what is truth and what is lie. This is an excellent example of the tiny twist from truth to lie, redefining good and evil. Adar is himself a complicated character and holds my interest. I was sad we didn’t get more of him but am anticipating learning more of him.
Halbrand also advised Galadriel “you’d do well to identify what it is that your opponent most fears…Give them a means of mastering it so that you can master them.” This seems like advice that can lead nowhere good. On the surface it might seem bland, but digging into that desire to master others, giving into it, cannot lead to good for ourselves or others.
-Political intrigue is high in Númenor. They fear the elves and if they will take their jobs. They change their decisions based on the petals of a tree falling. Pharazôn is courting the approval of the people in a way and seems willing to take down anyone who gets in his way. They have locked up their king and the queen has to walk a tightrope to avoid the same situation. Disaster appears to be looming and not just from the vision of the Palantír.
-The scene where Elrond encourages Prince Durin to make amends with his father by telling a story was beautiful. Almost as beautiful as when King Durin welcomed him without hesitation.
-When Isuldur’s name was first whispered, my eyes got so wide.
-The ships of Númenor are beautiful. I still love the visuals of the show.
-The different storylines of the show are starting to converge on a location: the Southlands. I’m glad they are defining a connection point to tie it together.
-Friends, I’m struggling to like Galadriel and I hate that. She’s arrogant. She does not attempt to understand anyone or see another viewpoint. This is not what I expected but I suppose even elves start somewhere.
-We saw every little of the Harfoots and what I saw made me uncomfortable. I didn’t like that they were willing to leave the Brandyfoots behind. I wrestle with that, while acknowledging the rules that are necessary for their survival.
-Anyone else cringe when Elrond made that oath with Durin?
Fielding my own questions:
I’ve already confessed that I’m not well-versed on the lore that surrounds this story. (Though I have read LOTR several times.) As I’m watching the episodes, I’m making a few short notes on my phone, along with writing down some questions. Questions like “What the heck are the Valar?” “Why did Númenor stop being allies of the Elves?” “Who’s The Stranger?” “Who is Halbrand?” (My friend Breanne holds the possibility that he’s Sauron and that blows my mind every time I consider it. Origin stories are so interesting.) Some of them I’ve looked up and some I’m waiting to discover as the story unfolds.
On to Episode 5, please!
1 In case you’re wondering, my 10yo has watched all three Hobbit movies and the first two LOTR movies. He asked if he could watch this and I told him I’d check it out. I won’t be letting him watch it right now.