The Rings of Power 1.4: The Great Wave

Yeah I better get this posted before episode 5 airs tomorrow, shouldn’t I! :D

But holy crap this episode. Other than one weirdly edited bit at the end, and a distinct lack of Harfoots, this one was stupendous.

Spoilers and portents behind the fold!

Where the hell were the Harfoots?

Dara, Paul, and I were all vaguely surprised that we got absolutely no Harfoot mileage in this episode. But on the other hand, everything else about it was so well paced, and there was so much else going on, that there kinda wasn’t room to pull the Harfoots back in in this episode.

We’re hoping we’ll get more Harfoot mileage with tomorrow’s episode though!

How creepy is Adar? EXTREMELY

I said this on social media and I’ll say it here, too:

As both a Tolkien fan and an Elfquest fan, it is distinctly fucking weird to hear a character in this plot being called Adar. As in, “Nonna and”, the human self-insert characters Wendy and Richard Pini did for themselves in their comic. Nonna and Adar were lovely characters, distinctly unlike the Adar we see here.

Moreover, this Adar is an elf. Which raises all sorts of interesting questions.

He is absolutely a plausible Sauron candidate at this point. Arguably the most plausible. Canonically, Sauron is captured by the forces of Númenor and brought to the island, where he commences to insinuate himself into their society and completely wreck it from within. And this Adar, whoever he may be, is in charge of a force of orcs.

However, my household has some competing theories as to who else this guy might be. Dara had a tantalizing idea that he might be the last surviving elf from Morgoth’s breeding of orcs–in which case, the orcs call him Father because he’s literally their forebear. It would also explain why he is, as we saw clearly during his conversation with Arondir, fairly physically fucked up. This is an elf who has clearly undergone severe torments.

Our friend Shanti relayed one other theory she’s heard going around: that he might be Maeglin. Silmarillion readers will know that name as the one who brought about the downfall of Gondolin. Certainly, surviving that particular disaster would be a legitimate reason for this Adar’s current physical state… but I have two concerns here.

One, canonically speaking, Maeglin died in the First Age. Now, as I’ve written in prior posts, this is an AU. So just because a character died in the First Age doesn’t mean he couldn’t survive into the Second Age in this version of the storyline, particularly if it was a character whose body was never canonically found. (I’d have to go back and read the relevant bits of The Silmarillion to confirm, I think…)

But two, more importantly, I don’t think Maeglin ever actually gets referenced in the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings. Which, as I’ve said before, is all the material this production has rights to.

So while I feel like his being Maeglin is plausible, it doesn’t seem likely.

Sauron seems most plausible to me at this point. I’m kind of hoping he’s a big red herring, though. Just because if it turns out that he’s not Sauron, that would be a masterful bit of redirection on the part of this plot. Which would be delightful to see play out.

Much will depend, I think, on who we see finally introducing himself as “Annatar” and when. Possibly at the end of this season. :D

But regardless of who this Adar guy actually is, I cannot stress strongly enough how compelling Dara, Paul, and I all found his scene with Arondir. He was supremely effective as a villain, not loud and domineering, because he didn’t need to be. He was eloquent, and almost understated in demeanor–but his every word resonated with menace.

It was glorious and I can’t wait to see more of him in action.

And as I write this out, I must admit the idea of his introducing himself as Annatar has appeal, just because he’s clearly got the charisma to pull off master-minding the creation of the Rings!

Speaking of Arondir (and Bronwyn, and Theo)

We’d kind of wondered if we were going to see him actually be released by his captors, and we were right. Adar deliberately let Arondir go.

And all of his mileage with hastening back to Bronwyn and her people, to bring them word of what was going on while Bronwyn strove to settle everybody into their new stronghold, was very well done. Particularly with the side thread of Theo being desperate to help and nearly getting his ass captured by orcs who are very, very interested in his creepy sword hilt.

I very much appreciated seeing Bronwyn step up to the plate as the person getting shit done and organized here. They damn well better name her leader of their people. #BronwynForChief

I get more concerned about Theo though every time he gets that sword out. Please don’t grow up to be a Nazgul, Theo! You’re a nice, brave kid! You don’t want to be a Ringwraith!

Meanwhile, down in Khazad-Dûm

Check out the pipes on Disa! I was alarmed to hear her doing that singing, though, for a few seconds. I thought Durin IV had died diving down into the passage to rescue his fellow dwarves. :O

But thankfully nobody actually died. And we got a real interesting plot element now in play: the discovery of mithril.

We know Khazad-Dûm eventually becomes Moria, and that they delve too greedily and too deep, and find a Balrog. I strongly suspect we’re going to see that play out in this plot. I’ve heard rumors of potential Balrog action in this show. Not sure it’s time for it yet in this season, but it could definitely come later.

And with mithril now in play, this raises questions of how this will work into the creation of the dwarven Rings. How many of those are going to be crafted out of mithril?

Splendid Elrond and Durin mileage here, and for that matter, between Durin the son and Durin the father. I really loved the strong yet restrained emotion the two dwarves showed to each other when the son came to speak to the father. And especially how Durin III was approving of his son’s intuition about there being more than meets the eye to Elrond’s visit to his people.

Halbrand

I am still not entirely giving up on the idea of Halbrand being Sauron in disguise. He was awfully interested in that forge he passed.

And he’s really dead set on staying on Númenor.

Plus, I found it highly intriguing that he said exactly the right thing to Galadriel to get her to go and try to visit Míriel’s father–which, of course, led to that powerful scene with the queen. But this is an example of why I’m still keeping an eye on this guy. He clearly understands how to manipulate the powerful.

If he’s truly the lost heir to the Southlands, it would be plausible for him to understand these things by right of upbringing.

But I note with interest that at no point has he ever actually called himself any such thing. Galadriel, not Halbrand, identified him as that. He has at no point actually confirmed or denied her assertion.

And he showed zero interest in returning with Galadriel to Middle-Earth. If he is the heir to the Southlands, he is showing an astounding lack of fucks to give about his homeland getting obliterated. So either he’s developed one hell of a thick shell around his psyche, which may or may not crack violently later….

Or else he’s the one masterminding the obliteration.

It would be real interesting to see if he’s on hand if they capture Adar and bring him to Númenor. And how he reacts to that.

In the meantime, though, let it be noted that I also loved his scene with Galadriel, in which he not only pointed her at going to visit the ailing confined king, but also pissed her off enough to make her order him to stop comparing her to a horse. Their dialogue crackled on both sides. It was delightful. :D

Signs and portents on Númenor

Whoo boy.

This, the biggest part of the plot action, definitely grabbed me the hardest.

Míriel’s vision of the watery apocalypse to come was superbly and ominously done, as was her big scene with revealing her palantir to Galadriel. Galadriel’s reaction to the vision off that stone was equally powerful–and heh, lady, get used to seeing things like that, you’re going to have a fountain of your own someday that’ll do much the same!

But wow I loved seeing this two powerful women confront each other. And Galadriel clearly made a powerful pitch to the queen–one which, when she finally got the omen at the end of the white petals blowing off the tree, made her revoke her own decision and send a force to Middle-Earth instead.

That last bit was the only bumpy thing about this episode for anyone in our house. We were very confused that it looked like Galadriel was being sent off alone only wait no she’s not, there’s a force going? The timing and editing of that scene was very strange.

All in all though it was a splendid halfway point for this season, which is supposed to contain eight episodes. So now we have a force from Númenor heading to Middle-Earth, and isn’t that going to have all sorts of interesting results.

Particularly on Númenor while the queen is gone. GOSH I WONDER WHO’S GOING TO TAKE OVER IN HER ABSENCE?

Pharazon, clearly Large and In Charge, is now in a prime position to start being a serious problem.

Bring on tomorrow’s episode!

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