The Rings of Power 1.2: Adrift

Since episodes 1 and 2 of Rings of Power were released simultaneously last week, we watched the first one on Saturday night and the second one Sunday. I continue to be intrigued!

Invoke the appropriate ancient dwarven rite to access the spoilers beyond the fold.

I liked the entire plotline involving Elrond and Celebrimbor visiting the dwarves, and Elrond having to work his way back into Prince Durin’s good graces!

One: Elrond’s striking a balance between “eager young cinnamon roll” and “smooth-talking politician”, and I kind of love this. That’s a delicate line to walk, and yet, this actor seems to be pulling it off! I can see echoes of the Elrond we see much later once Rivendell exists, the same sort of kindly lord. But this Elrond is not yet tempered by the battles of the Second Age still to come.

(Sidebar: Very, very curious about if we’re going to get to see his brother Elros, though? Númenor is coming in this plot, we know this. But it’s still not clear to me when exactly in the Second Age we’re falling.

I just consulted a timeline of the Second Age, and according to that, Elros dies 442 years into the SA. The beginning of the forging of the rings of power isn’t until around year 1500, though. We also know though that this production is playing fast and loose with the timeline, and that by definition they have to condense stuff for purposes of television action. So at this early stage of the plot, we could be anywhere in the first 1,500 years of the timeline, including after Elros’ death.

But I digress! Back to the dwarf plot.)

Two: I adore Disa. Really loved her talking about her people’s custom of singing the rock of the mountains. Song is important all over the Tolkien legendarium, hell, singing is what brought Arda into being! So this, I feel, fits in very well with the overall spirit of Tolkien’s world.

But Disa in general was just adorable as well. She exuded warmth and charm. <3

Three: Both Elrond’s and Prince Durin’s actors did a wonderful job in a few scenes of setting up their friendship–and in particular, Durin’s frustration with how he hadn’t seen Elrond in twenty years. Elrond’s chagrin about this, with a dwarf throwing it in his face that twenty years is a blink to an elf but a lifetime to a dwarf, is palpable.

And it’s particularly interesting that it’s Elrond involved here. Elrond, comma, the Half-Elf. Who specifically chose to be an elf while his brother chose to be human. It’s interesting to me to consider here that Elrond did in fact have to be reminded of how the span of years for mortal races actually works.

I have no way of knowing, but I feel like this would suggest an Elrond who hasn’t yet actually lost his brother? I feel like that Elros dying of old age would be a heavier reminder to him, one which would have made Durin not have to resort to being cranky at him.

Four: The dwarves have a ritual about smashing rocks because OF COURSE THEY DO. And Elrond valiantly does his best, but my lord cinnamon roll, future founder of Rivendell, you do not have the stamina to match a dwarf. You just don’t. Sorry!

There are questions here though of whether Elrond even actually intended to win that contest. Or if this was entirely a stalling tactic to get close enough to Durin to talk to him. I would not put it past him. :D

Four: Real interesting little coda to that whole plotline, with Durin the prince (Durin IV, as I understand it) going to talk to his father, Durin the King (Durin III).

Very, very curious about what was in that chest Durin III opened for his son.

A Silmaril seems impossible, if for no other reason than it being too damned big an alteration to the timeline. I have some level of tolerance for how they’re having to shift things around here, but that would be too great a change. I couldn’t imagine the Tolkien estate would let them get away with that.

It also seems highly unlikely that the dwarves have started in on their rings of power yet. We know they wind up with seven of them. But Sauron needs to be involved in their creation. And it’s too damned early just within the confines of this plot for a ring of power to be showing up when Sauron isn’t even on camera yet…. maybe. More on this below.

Meanwhile: my main interest in Galadriel’s part of this plot is, a) who’s this guy Halbrand, and b) what ship finds them at the end of the episode?

It would not surprise me terribly much if this plot plays up a bit of romantic attraction with Galadriel and Halbrand here. Though if they go that route, it can’t go anywhere good. We know who Galadriel eventually marries. (And it’s of note to me that there is not a Celeborn listed in the IMDB credits.)

Even if they don’t play any serious romantic angle, I could see some minor romantic attraction made bittersweet if this guy winds up dying horribly.

Re: the Bronwyn/Arondir/Theo portion of the plot: welp, yep, that sword sure as he did get creepier, didn’t it? What with the whole reconstituting itself in response to his blood and all.

What the hell is that sword? Was it wielded by his father? Who was his father? Did Bronwyn flee a union that turned out to be very, very bad?

And ah shit, exactly how badly screwed is Arondir? And when is Bronwyn going to find out what happened to him?

Last but not least, the harfoot side of the plot, and Nori and Poppy trying to deal with the mysterious stranger that crashed down out of the sky.

I found it highly interesting that there were echoes of Gandalf in the stranger whispering to the fireflies–and for that matter, there are echoes of Gandalf just in the fact that this guy is tall, lanky, and bearded.

But then the fireflies he was talking to die.

It’s almost certain that this guy is not one of the wizards–because the wizards don’t show up in Middle-Earth until the Third Age. Again, too damned big a break to the timeline if they chose to do that.

But playing with viewer expectations by having a deliberately wizard-like guy remind you of Gandalf, but turn out to be something else entirely… yes, that’s good. And this would play in well with what I said in my last post about how they were basically screaming THIS IS SAURON at the end of episode 1.

So I am absolutely continuing to give this guy the side-eye, and waiting for when this is going to go horribly, horribly wrong and poor Nori is going to be in deep, deep shit.

Here’s the thing that intrigues me here, though. The stranger is acting mostly non-verbal and feral. So if this is Sauron, what’s going on here? Is he playacting the whole situation? Or is he legit feral right now? If so, what happened to him? Did he put himself into this state deliberately as part of a long game?

This is the Second Age, and Sauron is still capable of disguising himself. So it would be within the range of his powers to set up this kind of a long con. I’m thinking of the Doctor and the Master deliberately disguising themselves with those watches that conceal their identities as a parallel in Doctor Who, here.

It is also possible, though less likely, that he was forced into this state by the Valar, who would be the only powers capable of imposing that on him. But I could see this being an attempt on their part to make him serve penance for supporting Morgoth?

Lots to mull over here! Looking forward to episode three!

4 Replies to “The Rings of Power 1.2: Adrift”

  1. I think there are two better candidates for Sauron in this episode.

    Several of the named Maia of the Silmarillion are associated with fire and flying across the sky. And while Sauron could share those traits, we know a few things about him. He walks among men on disguise, and he gets close enough to Celebrimbor to bend the forging of the rings to his will. And he is charismatic.

    I cannot see the fire messenger as capable of that role. But Halbrand is. And you can make a case for Theo, though he is for now too young. So my bet is on Halbrand, who will take Theo as an apprentice and use his charm to corrupt the forging of the rings.

    And the stranger from the sky? A Maia we haven’t met yet, though it could be the same spirit as Gandalf in a pre-Istari form.

    1. Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. I dunno, those fireflies all keeling over dead still is ringing a warning bell to me.

      But that said, you put up a good argument re: Halbrand being our potential Sauron, too. And it’s worth noting that he DID cut and run from the other survivors in order to save Galadriel. Which, good for Galadriel’s survival–but still a pretty cold maneuver on his part, if he left the others to die. Which also rings a warning bell.

      And I appreciate that we have good food for thought in both directions here! Who Sauron is should definitely NOT be an easy call to make too soon!

      As to the identity of the stranger–yeah, I could buy him being some other Maia. That he is some kind of Maia seems pretty apparent, he’s packing too much visible raw power for him to be anything but.

      But I kind of expressly don’t want it to be Gandalf, or at this stage of the game I guess he’d be Olórin. Just because wedging him into this plot would, like trying to wedge in a Silmaril, feel to me like too big an alteration from Tolkien’s canon timeline. It’s certainly possible. But that would be a less satisfying choice to me.

      Something else to consider here–how many Maia are actually identified by name in what Tolkien put into the LotR appendices? If that’s all this production has got rights to, this limits the number of choices amongst characters Tolkien named and wrote about himself.

      But it doesn’t bar the option of an OC Maia. The show could easily come up with a Maia character that fits the profiles of stuff they’re allowed by the Tolkien estate to use, and not break the timeline too hugely by trying to go “this is totally Gandalf”.

      Hmm. I think of the choices available, if this guy isn’t actually Sauron himself, I’d prefer it to be an OC Maia.

      Good things to think about, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    2. And oh yeah one other thing that crosses my mind: if this guy IS an OC Maia… I could see a scenario here where whichever of the Valar he serves could have decided to send him as an emissary, a game plan they could use to better effect later with the Istari. But maybe this is the first time this guy has been physically instantiated into a body. And he doesn’t know how physical bodies work yet. Which would explain why he’s feral and non-verbal so far.

    3. OH OH OH one more thing:

      I just now realized exactly why I am now Team Halbrand is Totally Sauron: just because of the magnificent irony of Galadriel having been hunting Sauron for however long she has, only to wind up ON A BOAT WITH HIM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN.

      And I just imagine the sheer towering majesty of her rage when she finds out. :D

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