Comfort Entertainment: ‘The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power’ Episodes 1-2 Review

Screenshot of Megan Richards and Markella Kavenagh as Poppy and Nori in ‘The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power’. Copyright goes to Amazon Studios, Harper Collins Publishers, and New Line Cinema.

Hey! Hallie here!

We haven’t talked about ‘Lord of the Rings’ much on this blog, which is unfortunate because both my sister and I absolutely love it. I even finally got through the Silmarillion in order to prepare for anything ‘Rings of Power’ might throw at us. Though it definitely has a lot to live up to given how beloved the Peter Jackson trilogy is, the fact that it’s covering completely different content and filling in a period of time we’ve never seen before gives it a serious advantage. And so far, I think it’s doing a great job of taking advantage of the opportunity it has to both use characters we know and tread new ground. Before I get started though, know that I do not and will not tolerate any negative comments about this show on the basis of the people of color in the cast. Tolkien’s ideas on race don’t matter. What matters is that everyone gets an opportunity to see themselves in the media they consume, and the world of Middle Earth is fictional with nothing ever saying anywhere that people of color are barred from existing in it. Now that I’ve made that clear, let’s get to the review! SPOILER WARNING!

Galadriel:

This series is separated into four storylines at the moment, so I’m going to take some time to review each so far. Galadriel’s storyline was probably the most advertised of all of them. I was actually under the impression we’d end up spending more time with her than the other characters. I was surprised to see how well balanced all of the stories are. Galadriel feels more like one piece of a large ensemble cast rather than a main character, which I have no objections to. As far as her story itself, there’s some interesting elements. So far all of the epic fight scenes have gone to Galadriel, as they should. She’s badass and the fight scenes, especially the ones in episode two that take place on and in the water, are gorgeous to watch. I also like how accurate-feeling Galadriel’s characterization is here. Galadriel is established to be a warrior first and foremost in the Silmarillion. She’s one of the elves who supposedly took part in the Kinslaying, the battle where elves turned against each other in pursuit of the first main villain Morgoth, and her loyalty to both her family and the oath to defeat Morgoth makes her feel dangerous. We see all of that here. A woman who spent so much time fighting that she doesn’t know how to live a life without it, and a woman who’s so good at it that no one can compare. I especially loved that some of her motivations are tied to her brother Finrod, who is probably my favorite of the elven kings, because it further emphasizes her loyalty to her family and makes her a really empathetic figure. That said, I hope we get more characterization for her soon. Aside from being a badass, we don’t know all that much about her personality at this point and it makes it difficult to fully get behind her. But we’re only two episodes in so I’m confident we’ll get more character moments as the series goes on.

Nori:

This is one of my favorite storylines so far. The Harfoots are so easily likable that the day after the first two episodes of ‘Rings of Power’ started streaming, they completely covered most of my social media timelines. First of all, they’re precursors to Hobbits. Who doesn’t like Hobbits? And just like the Hobbits we’ve grown to know and love, their close-knit community and peaceful relationship with nature make them feel comforting. Nori is especially likable. Unlike some of the others in her community who are content to stay within the confines of their village, she loves to explore. She’s fearless and curious, making her an ideal character to follow. She’s also incredibly compassionate. When the man dubbed The Stranger falls from the sky and lights the ground on fire, she doesn’t hesitate to run over and see if he’s ok. She takes him in and comforts him. And when her curiosity for The Stranger takes her away from her father she shows genuine remorse for it. She’s such a fun, strong character already and I can’t wait to see where she goes next. As for The Stranger, I have a few theories about who he may be just like everyone else. Given his demonstrations of irregular powers, he has to be one of the characters in Middle Earth that’s gifted with magic. That would likely mean either one of the wizards sent to Middle Earth, or Sauron. I’m currently leaning towards Gandalf. I think it’s most likely the show set up all this build up for a large payoff, rather than The Stranger winding up being an unknown wizard, and I think his apparent relationship with bugs, his uttering of elvish that Gandalf uses in the Peter Jackson movies, and Gandalf’s relationship with Hobbits makes this my first choice. But we’ll have to wait and see!

Elrond:

This is the other of my favorite storylines so far. Elrond has always been one of my favorite ‘Lord of the Rings’ characters and he’s just so delightful here. The ways he attempts to encourage Galadriel are endearing, as is his excitement for the days to come. Although, knowing that Sauron’s power is on the rise and the rings of power are soon to be created, Elrond likely won’t be so optimistic for long. In fact, it’s Elrond’s storyline that’s introducing us to the beginning of the rings of power’s creation. For those who don’t know, Celebrimbor, the elf Elrond is currently trying to help, created three of the nine rings of power. Granted, these rings were the elven rings that were mostly kept away from Sauron. Celebrimbor notably stood against Sauron as well, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that the One Ring held power over these rings. In other words, this can only get worse for Elrond. That said, my favorite part of his story so far is Elrond’s friendship with Durin. Their relationship has given us a really good look at Elrond’s cunning and kindness, as well as the ways in which elves deal with their near-immortality. Our introduction to Elrond’s friendship with Durin is Durin showing animosity towards Elrond for missing the development of his kingdom, his wedding, and the birth of his children. At first Elrond is clearly confused by this, but as we see him spend time with Durin, and one of the best characters in the entire show Disa, we see his confusion turn into a somber acceptance. He missed everything because he hadn’t noticed how much time was going by. Would you if you lived as long as an elf? I really hope we get plenty more of Elrond, Durin, and Disa in future episodes.

Arondir and Bronwyn:

This is probably the slowest storyline for me at this point. I really like the idea of Arondir’s character. First off, his wooden chest plate? My favorite piece of costuming in the entire show. It looks so good. But beyond that, I really like the idea of an elf who’s been defending an area for so many generations that he doesn’t want to leave. And the fact that he fell in love with a human while doing his job is just the icing on the cake. But the relationship between Arondir and Bronwyn doesn’t really offer any intrigue yet. We know Arondir’s been pining for her for a while, and it seems like she might like him too, but we didn’t get to see how those feelings came to be and the two separated almost just as quickly as the story brought them together. Now the major intrigue for these two has to do with Orcs. We got to see our first Orc of the show when it showed up to kill Bronwyn and Theo, and Arondir followed the holes the Orcs left in the ground which may have lead to more Orcs or even to something worse. But other than the link to possible moves Sauron could be making, I’m not extremely interested in Orcs. Their storyline just isn’t pulling me in as much as the other ones are so far, possibly because of its slower pacing. I don’t dislike it, but I hope it picks up soon!

Those are my thoughts so far! The only thing I want to add is that this show looks absolutely gorgeous. The landscape shots alone are enough to get you hooked on ‘Rings of Power’. But everything so far is really promising! Some storylines are better than others, and some elements of the story have yet to interest me, but we only have two episodes so far! We only have six more episodes to go for a total of eight episodes, but even in that case the first two episodes don’t often cover a huge amount of ground. I’m not ready to give up on any character or story yet, and I’m really excited to continue watching this series!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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