The story is starting to come around for me, friends. Instead of just being intrigued, I’m on the edge of my seat.
I am finally liking Galadriel’s character. I’ve struggled a lot with her but maybe she is simply at her best when she is protecting and fighting and waiting for people to decide to take action pains her. Now that she’s back in motion, she’s in her element. I always love a strong female lead who is recognized for her capabilities and when Arondir was asked who Galadriel was, the reverence with which he said “the commander of the northern armies” was breathtaking.
Galadriel’s character is complex. She wants to eradicate the evil she sees and realizes that fighting that evil has changed her, not always in the best ways. She pointed out in episode 5 that the elven leaders lost the ability to “distinguish me from the evil I was fighting.” Whether that is because the two were linked in their minds or because some of the poison has seeped into her is left vague. Adar definitely thinks she needs to spend some time looking in the mirror before she calls him evil.
Adar is another complex character. He’s chilling actually. The contrast between him planting seeds of “new life, in defiance of death” with Arondir and Bronwyn doing the same again pointed out that Adar has a different set of ethics. He sees his position as right and good (or at least has convinced himself of that). These scenes managed to evoke some pity for these orcs who have no home and are undesirable and yet highlighted all the reasons for their position. The orcs seem to have no compass but violence and hate. Adar purposefully burned the arm of one of the orcs in the sun. His maniacal plan to send the villagers into war against the villagers was a heart stopping moment when what he had done was revealed. Adar and the orcs seem to be all destruction and no flourishing. Galadriel’s point that they are malformed is accurate but I wrestle with whether redemption should be possible.
Bronwyn and the villagers
In episode 5, the scenes with the villagers gives space for the viewer to consider how they make decisions. The power of persuasion is strong. When Bronwyn and Waldreg gave opposing speeches to the people, the deciding factor was not who was right or what was good but instead who was the more believable and had the most social pull. The ability to persuade people is a gift that should be used cautiously. Who we listen to should also be carefully considered.
Even at the end of that episode, Bronwyn recognized the likelihood of defeat and wavered. That was a powerful moment for me because haven’t we all been there? It wasn’t just her life at stake but the life of the villagers as well. They seemed to stand no chance. Wouldn’t survival be the best course? But some things truly are worse than death. Bronwyn is interested in redeeming the legacy of her people and Arondir believes that is possible.
Episode 6 was at the limit of what I’m able to handle in a tv show. The pace never let up. Every time victory was present for the villagers it was dashed away. I think I held my breath for at least half the show and the tension I felt in my body took a while to ease.
-I paused Episode 5 minutes into it to look up the song the Harfoots were singing. It has been placed on one of my most played playlists. (Listen to it here.)
-Galadriel’s fighting lesson with the soldiers of Númenor was one of my favorites of the whole series. Again, I love seeing a woman highlighted for her skills and she was so challenging but also gracious when Valandil did draw blood from her arm.
-Arondir giving Theo an archery lesson was tender. This whole Arondir/Bronwyn/Theo saga is giving me life and I’m going to be devastated if they kill off one of them.
-Bronwyn is another fierce female lead. When she paused after Theo asked her to repeat what she told him after bad dreams, I wouldn’t have imagined what was next. She looked him in the eye and said, “in the end, this shadow is but a small and passing thing. There is light and high beauty forever beyond its reach. Find the light and the shadow will not find you.” One, it’s a major recall of the LOTR and second, Theo has wrestled so much with the shadow and the power it offers.
-Bronwyn saving Arondir from the orc calmed my fear of one of my favorite story-lines being disrupted already.
-I loved Galadriel’s scene with Isuldur on the ship but even more than that, Isuldur’s scene with his father. Finally, they make an attempt to repair their relationship and I want that for both of them.
-The eruption of Mount Doom was quite foreboding.
-I did not like how they handed over the Southlands to Halbrand without a second thought. I’m much too skeptical for behavior like that.
-I do not like the elven king either. Period. Just drawing that line in the sand.
My schedule prevented me from being able to watch Episode 6 when it came out and I was left in anticipation until Sunday night. I intended to watch only half (these episodes are long!) but of course could not turn off that episode in the middle. I haven’t watched a show that releases slowly in a long time and I like that it forces me to wait. The pace also gives me time to consider what I’ve seen. Writing these reflections is fun and I wouldn’t get to do this if I could sit and watch an episode every night. My Hebrew grade would suffer from that too.