The midpoint of The Lord Of The Rings, The Rings Of Power is upon us. With over 4 hours of television to sink our teeth into and analyse. For those who want a refresher, this post will give a quick run-down, scene by scene, of everything that has happened up until this point in the series. If you want a rundown of the history of the Second Age, according to the lore, as well as my hopes & fears for the show here.
││ PLEASE BE WARNED: THERE WILL BE SPOLIERS FOR THE RINGS OF POWER SERIES IN THIS POST ││
Episodes 1 – 4 Summary
We start the episode with a young Galadriel folding a paper boat and a scene of young elven children running along the stream. Galadriel sets her boat into the stream, while the kids mock her, declairing that the boat will not float. With a bit of magic, the boat transforms into a paper swan. The kids throw rocks at her swan, attempting to sink it. In a rage, she runs up to the kid who attempted to sink it and went to punch him in the face before a call from her older brother Finrod stops her from doing so.
Finrod has a word with her and attempts to give her some advice, declaring “a stone sinks because it looks down into the dark water; a boat floats because it looks up to the light”. To which Galadriel asks him,” How am I to know which lights to follow?”. He leans in and whispers something that we find out at the end of the episode.
We then get a montage of Galadriel explaining, what is essentially, the destruction of the trees of Valinor, the war of Morgoth, the destruction of Beleriand, and the rise of Morgoth’s most faithful servant: Sauron.
This montage, which aims to cover the events of the First Age in a way that doesn’t over-step the rights that Amazon has been given, concludes with a scene of Galadriel over-looking Finrod’s dead body that clearly has scratch marks, and a brand of the sigil of Sauron. Galadriel takes Finrod’s sword and from that point we see her on a quest for revenge.
Galadriel commands a small army under the leave of the High King Gil-Galad, into the icy wasteland of Forodwaith in search of Sauron. Despite the council of the group to return, Galadriel commands them forward into the an old stronghold that Sauron took after Morgoth’s fall. In this scene, we get the information, “This place is so evil, our torches give off no warmth”, Galadriel finds a chamber where an orc has been melted into the wall (depicting Sauron playing with combining the seen and unseen), and Galadriel finding the sigil of Sauron on an ice rock.
Then their army is assaulted by a snow troll, which Galadriel single-handedly takes down. The other elves have now had it with Galadriel, who continually forces them into dangerous situations and they commit mutiny, saying “if you continue on, you go alone”.
We are then introduced to the Harfoots, who live a nomadic life, hunting and hiding in the wild places of Rhovanion. In this scene we first see them hiding from some “big folk”, the wise elder Sadoc deciphering a book of his that shows the coming of the big folk is too early for this time of year, and an introduction of Nori and Poppy, who lead a group of Harfoot children into a berry thicket. There Nori notices a footprint of what seems to be a warg, and she advises the children to leave quickly. They all make it back to the camp safely, with an overshot of the warg sniffing around.
Back to Galadriel, and she is now in the elven kingdom of Lindon, where she speaks to Elrond about what she found in Forodwaith. Elrond asks her to speak to him as a friend, for her fight for vengeance is causing trouble with King Gil-Galad, and should she continue her fight, the king will not be so forgiving.
In the next scene, we see Gil-Galad honouring Galadriel and her team for their efforts in the Forodwaith and offers them leave into Valinor.
We then see Galadriel and Elrond in a forest that houses statues of honourable elves carved into the trees. Galadriel is standing in front of her brother Finrod’s memorial, but in the background, we can make out other elves, such as Luthien. In this scene, Elrond tells Galadriel to give up her sword, to which Galadriel exclaims, “you have not seen what I have seen”.
We then are introduced to the Southlands, with a scene of Arondir walking into a tavern. He is here on duty to keep watch over the men who live in these lands, as they sided with Morgoth in the First Age. However, we soon find out that it is not the only reason Arondir has been coming to this village, for he has a forbidden love interest with the Southlander woman, Bronwyn.
As he leaves the village, his elf companion warns him against his love for a human as it has only happened a couple of times successfully in the past.
We are then introduced to Bronwyn’s son, Theo, who goes into the owner of the tavern’s barn and pulls out, from under the floorboards, a terrifying-looking shard of a sword. On the blade we see the sigil of Sauron.
We end the episode with Galadriel being sent away to Valinor under the order of Gil-Galad, who explains to Elrond, “the same wind that seeks to blow out a fire may also cause it to spread”. This clearly reveals that he wanted to send Galadriel away, as her searching for the Dark Lord may cause the darkness to be rise again.
In this scene with Galadriel on the boat, we see their armour being taken off as the light of Valinor illuminates all the surrounding sea. Galadriel remembers what her brother told her (what we did not hear at the start of the episode) “Sometimes we cannot know until we have touched the darkness”. At this, Galadriel decides to jump off the boat as it goes into Valinor, taking her sword with her. We end the scene with Galadriel alone in the dark, vastly empty, Sundering seas, as a meteor flashes across the skies. Many of the characters that we have been introduced to, see this meteor, and even a golden leaf charred-black, falls from Lindon.
We start the episode where we left off in the last one, with Galadriel in the dark waters of the Sundering Seas. With no other option, she swims into the darkness.
In the next shot, we see Nori approaching the crashed meteor, which to her surprise, there is a man in the middle of it. Poppy tries to persuade her not to go near the strange man, but Nori curiously approaches him. When she touches him, he awakes, drawing in the flames, which twinkle in his eyes and then spits back out. Very strange stuff.
We then switch to Sadoc looking around curiously, and Nori and Poppy taking some clothes and a cart, which they use to transport the stranger away from the crash site and somewhere more secretive. Nori goes onto explain that she believes that she is meant to help the stranger.
We then cut to Arondir and Bronwyn who, after finding a cow that squirted out black, poisonous sludge instead of milk and went to the closest village to see what had happened in episode 1, search around the abandoned village. There they find a tunnel, to which Arondir jumps down as Bronwyn runs back to her village to warn the people.
We are then introduced to the land of Eregion, where Elrond and Celebrimbor discuss the hammer of Celebrimbor’s grandfather,Fëanor. Celembrimbor shares his plans to create something as fair and as legendary. He explains that he is in want of a forge tower by spring, and thus is why Gil-Galad sent Elrond there.
In this sequence, Elrond asks him if he is willing to seek help outside of their race.
Skip to the very next scene and Celebrimbor and Elrond are approach the gate of the Dwarven realm of Khazad-dûm. Here Elrond explains that he is good friends with Durin IV. He goes up to the gate and requests to see his friend, to which the reply is “no”. He then evokes the right of Sigin-tarâg, which is a challenge that the dwarves are obligated to allow.
We see the impressive realm of Khazad-dûm as Elrond is pushed by the dwarves through to a chamber hall, where Durin explains the terms of the Sigin-tarâg challange. Esentially, it is a rock smashing challange, a test of strength and endurance. Should Elrond lose, he would be banished forever from Dwarven realms, and if Durin lost, the elf would be permitted to his request.
In the end, Elrond gives in, and Durin offers to see him to the exit. On the way, Elrond expressed his amazement at the grandeur of the realm which, to his surprise, had developed so much twenty years. To this, Durin shows his anger for Elrond not having seen him in twenty years. He says that Elrond missed his wedding and the birth of his two children. He expresses that “twenty years is nothing in the eyes of an elf, but I have lived a whole life in that time”. The audience in this scene suddenly understands the anger behind Durin, the ignorance of mortality by the elves, and that he has missed his friend.
Elrond convinces Durin to allow him to personally apologise to his wife, Disa, and their children. Durin agrees, under the condition that Elrond try not to stay for dinner. Elrond meets Disa and we see the dwarf children running around in the background, and after a short time Disa exclaims that Elrond must stay for dinner. Despite Durin’s protest to this, Disa makes him stay and they have dinner together. In this scene, we see Disa and Durin’s love, and Disa explains how upset Durin has been to not see his friend sooner.
We see in the background a tree with golden leaves, which Elrond had given him from the land of Lindon. Disa goes onto explain that Durin has cared for it like it was his third son. A truly beautiful moment.
Next, we see the stranger and Nori have trouble understanding each other. The stranger uses what looks like magic when felt threatened by Nori’s approach; him carving out constellations, and Nori teaching him not only her name but also “friend”.
During this time, when Nori is away with the stranger, her father breaks his ankle while trying to set up for the upcoming festival.
In the next scene, we see Galadriel swimming when she comes across a shipwreck. This is when we are introduced to the character of Halbrand, who says something very ominous as she approaches the floating board of the destroyed boat, “looks can be deceiving”. One of the other humans helps Galadriel onto the board. Not long later, and a sea worm approaches. Galadriel jumps off into the water and swims off, and Halbrand abandons the rest of his crew onto a sub-section of the board (leaving them to be killed by the worm). Once the worm is gone, Halbrand sails up and offers her a spot on his board. Here we find a little more about Halbrand’s back story; that he was driven out of his lands in the south by orcs. Galadriel explains that she understands having lost ones due to Sauron’s darkness.
In the Southlands, Bronwyn goes back to the village to warn them about what they had found, but nobody believes her. She goes into her house where she sees the place torn up, a hole in the floorboards, and Theo hiding in a small cupboard. He says that she needs to leave, but thinking better about leaving her son alone, hides in a pantry. The next scene is something out of a horror movie, we are introduced to our first glimpse of an orc, that comes up out of the floorboards, sniffing around. In this scene we see Bronwyn and Theo fight against this hideous creature and after a terrible struggle, cut off its head and show the villagers. A sort of told you so moment.
And with that, Bronwyn suggests that they all make for the watchtower for safety.
We see Arondir going down the orc tunnels, where is chased town and snatched from behind.
Cut again to the Harfoots and they are outside with the stranger when he busts open their lantern full of fireflies, whispers to them all Gandalf-style, and they form a constellation in the sky with their light. It doesn’t last for long though, as the fireflies shortly after fall from the sky, theor lights dimming, until they die.
We end episode 2 with a literal mystery box as Durin and his father talk about what they have discovered. But of course, it wouldn’t be a mystery box if we weren’t kept waiting.
The final scene in this episode cuts to Halbrand and Galadriel, who are still shipwrecked, are approached by a ship. We do not see who is on the ship, just a shadow.
We open episode 3 with Arondir being dragged, half unconscious, through a shaded orc camp, and thrown into the sun. Here Arondir finds his elf friends from the watchtower. We see in this scene that the orcs have captured a bunch of men as well, and are using them as slave labour to create these trenches.
We then cut to Galadriel waking up in the ship with Halbrand, to which she asks “are they captures of savours?”. They are then taken to the deck of the ship and we are introduced to Elendil (though he is not named until later in the episode) and when asked where they are going, he replies “home”. This then prompts a wide pan to heads carved into stone, beautiful watch towers and clear architectural grandeur, as Galadriel explains the history of Númenor.
We then see a montage of the expansive lands of the island settlement.
In the next scene, we see Halbrand and Galadriel come before Queen Regent Miriel, where Galadriel shares her highly title and demands that they help her in her quest to go to Middle Earth and fight against Sauron. Obviously, this doesn’t go down well with Miriel and her chancellor, Arpharazon. Galadriel’s demands cause her and Halbrand to be kept under guard, “not as prisoners, but as guests”. Also in this scene, Halbrand comes in and persuades them to at least reconsider Galadriel’s request after three days, to which they agree.
Halbrand also, sneakily, swipes Galadriel’s sword from Elendil and gives it back to her.
We then get introduced to Isildur who is out at sea when he hears a woman’s voice calling his name. We see him look out at the mountain back on the island.This scene is quickly followed by the cadets pushing boats onto shore and we are introduced to Isildur’s sister, Eärien.
Next, we see Miriel talking to Elendil about the meaning behind his name, as not only ‘one who loves the stars’ but also ‘elf friend’ and she asks him if he is. It is critical that he does not give away too much information about his loyalty to the old ways.
We cut back to Arondir and his elf friends who devise a way to escape from the orc camp. It does not end well though and as a “reward for their courageousness”, the orcs hand the three elves a flask of water. Obviously, everyone is worried that it is in fact poisoned, but after drinking, they soon realise it was not. As the third elf is taking a drink, one of the orcs slices his throat and thus a fight ensues.
The orcs then release what most fans are saying is the most ridiculous looking warg ever onto the elves. They fight against and manage to get it stuck in the tree that Arondir refused to cut down. The watchtower warden elf manages to make it out of the trenches and makes a run for it but is, unfortunately, arrowed down. It is a heartbreaking realisation that there is no possibility of escape.
As Arondir watches the traumatic ordeal of his friend being shot, and that there is no escape, he is dragged down by one of the orcs, has a knife pulled to his neck, and almost killed, when one orc calls “bring him to Adar”.
We cut back to Galadriel who, Assasin Creed style, escapes from the guards that were watching over her and is found by Elendil. He says to her, “I have a daughter who runs fast, and a son who runs blind. Your eyes bear a striking resemblance to both”.He then goes onto explain that there are still those that are faithful to the Valar and offers to take her to Númenor’s hall of records. We cut to a scene of the two of them riding, and a shot of Galadriel smiling for the first time in this series.
We then see Halbrand try to get work with a smith but is rejected as he needs to be in the smith guild first. He then goes to a bar and while sitting by himself is approached by some men who belittle him for being a low-man of Middle Earth. Halbrand notices that one of the men has the smith crest and offers to buy the whole bar a round of drinks. We cut to him laughing and clearly merry with the men before saying that he must be off. He walks away and down into an alley, he is then followed by the men who ask “did you not think I would notice?”. We then realise that Halbrand, during the drinking at the bar, managed to steal the crest from the man. Halbrand attempts to run away but the five or so men stop him.
Halbrand says, “please don’t make me do this”, and impressively takes down all the men single-handedly. Halbrand is then caught by the guards and thrown into prison for the violence.
Cut back to Galadriel and Elendil in the hall of records and we see a tapestry depicting Elros and Elrond. Here we also find information on the sigil that was marked on Finrod’s body, and found in the abandoned stronghold in the Fordwaith. It is in fact a map of the lands of Mordor, a secret message to the servants of Morgoth to meet there should Morgoth fall.
We are then brought back to the Harfoots who seem to be partaking in a festival, to which the leader, Sadocc, chants “nobody goes off tail, nobody walks alone”. We then have a scene where Nori takes Sadocc’s book and gives it to the stranger. He looks over some of the contellations and recognises them. We then see a scene of Sadocc giving a speech at the festival, naming all those that were left behind. The audience soon realises that Harfoots will not stop during their migration to help those that fall, and that Poppy’s whole family was killed by wolves.
The stranger takes the parchment from Sadocc’s book and brings it to the fire so that he can see it more clearly but gets too close and it starts to catch fire. In a panic he trips over into a rug and walks into the camp where they are having their festival, and frightens all the party-goers. When he reveals himself and sees Nori he says “Nori, friend”, which rats her out to the others. As punishment for bringing one of the big folk into their camp, Nori and her family are forced to be at the back when they migrate. This is basically a death sentence as Nor’s father has a broken ankle and if anything were to happen to them at the back of line, they would surely be left behind.
We cut back to Númenor where Isildur is having a chat with his father, Elendil about not wanting to join the sea cadets but Elendil is pressuring him to, and Eärien comes in, saying that she got into the builder’s guild.
In the next scene, we see Galadriel and Halbrand chatting to Halbrand in the prison cell. She tells him that she now knows the mark that was on his necklace once belonged to a king of the Southlands. Halbrand says that he found it on a dead man, but Galadriel has a hard time believing it.
In the final scene of this episode, we switch back to Arondir as he is approached by the “father” Adar. We see from the back Adar walking through the encampment, as all the orcs bow in reverence to him. We end the episode with a blurred image of Adar’s face, before cutting to the credit scenes. Way to leave a cliff hanger in an episode titles Adar.
We begin episode 4 with a dream sequence of Miriel blessing some children. A gust of wind blows in, and as she turns around, the petals of the white tree Nimloth, fall, a sign of the Valar’s tears.
We see the waves rise above the land and crash into Númenor, destroying everything in its path.
The waves crash in, drowning Miriel, who, from impact, wakes from her dream.
We cut to the same man who Halbrand stole the smith crest from standing in front of a large crowd, declairing that the elves will take their jobs. Pharazon steps in and calms the disgruntled crowd, telling them to trust in him. He then offers wine to the whole crowd.
Watching this speech, Eärien is approached by Pharazon’s son, Kemen, who shows a keen interest in her. He says that he would like to take her out sometime.
In the next scene, we see Miriel, Elendil, and Galadriel having a meeting whereby she explains the the sigil of Sauron and the rising threat that is likely to occur.
She also shows Miriel the mark that Halbrand was carrying and believes him to be the lost heir to the Southlands. Miriel is reluctant to believe the things that Galadriel shares. She goes on to demand once more that she needs to help her to go to Middle Eath. This does not land Galadriel well, as her attempts land her in prison with Halbrand.
We cut to Isildur back out at sea with his other cadets when he again heres the voice calling him from the mountain. He then let the rope slip, hoping the cadet master would dismiss him from the navy, which he does. However, he is not the only one dismissed, but also his two friends.
The direct effect of Isildur’s actions causes his friends to be extremely upset with him, claiming that Isildur didn’t need to work as hard as them to be in cadets as they have. They have wanted to be there since they could hold an oar.
We then get to meet Adar, and straight away we can see that he is an elf, scarred greatly across his face.
Adar goes up to the wounded orc and looks like he is praying over him. The combined reverence of the dying orc displays, and the compassion that Adar has for him. He then pulls a blade and outs the orc out of his misery, all while Arondir is watching. The orc dies, and the other orcs take off his breastplate, which has been fashioned from what we see on the likes of Arondir’s armour.
Adar asks Arondir in Quenya where he is from. Arondir shares that he is from Beleriand, which is pretty funny because Belriand was a big portion of land, so where? Adar seems to be from the same area and they converse about “the river” (the river Sirion perhaps?) Arondir asks him who he is, and before he answers, he replies, “go to the watchtower and givem a message”. He whispers in his ear.
Now back to Khazad-dûm, Elrond is suspicious as to where Durin is but Disa tries to alleviate his worries through some white lies. While walking around, he sees Durin and Disa talk on a bridge obout going to the mine under the Mirrormere.
Through his elven far-sightedness and hearing, he was able to hear the entire conversation and went to the mine to discover what Durin is hiding.
He is able to get through the hidden door and is caught by Durin. Durin is angry and demands he swear an oath on the mountain if he wants to know what he is hiding. Elrond one ups him and says on his father Eärendil. Oaths are a serious deal in Tolkien’s world, so it will be interesting to see whether Elrond can keep his oath or not.
We then see what it is that Durin has been hiding, Mithril (of course)! He says that we call this “grey glitter” but in your language it must be “mithraud”, which means grey metal. Elrond corrects him on it, naming it “mithril”, which means grey brilliance.
In the next scene, we go back to Númenor where Galadriel breaks out of jail and climbs the tower where Tar-palantir and Miriel are waiting for her. Miriel takes her to a room where we see in the background what looks like Narsil, the sword that Elendil will use in The Last Alliance which Isildur will cut the One Ring from Sauron, and given to Aragon in the Third Age.
Simultaniously we get two more easter eggs; with what looks like the sword of Dramboleg, the famous axe of Tuor, and a painting of Luthien and Beren holding a Silmaril.
Miriel shows Galadriel the palantir, one of the seeing stones, and in it Galadriel is shown the same vision that Miriel dreamt about.
With rashions low for the people of the Southlands, Theo goes with his friend Rowan back to the village they had escaped from. They go in the daytime to avoid the orcs, but unfortunately the clouds come over and while Rowan runs away, Theo runs inside the tavern. Here is assaulted by an orc but escapes by falling down a well. He stays in there while the orcs are looking for him and the hilt that he is carrying, and for some reason, decides that nighttime is a good time to leave the well and make it back to the tower.
In his escape, he is found by an orc who attempts to kill him, but Arondir comes in the nick of time to stab the orc. The two of them run off into the wood and we see an epic shot of orcs chasing them.
As they come out of the wood, the sun rises and the orcs are not able to come out into the sun. In this scene, the background singing intensifies as it cuts to Disa singing to the mountain to realase some miners that were trapped when mining for mithril.
This scene was truly beautiful and seemed very Tolkien-ess.
In the scene after Khazad-dûm, we see Celebrimbor and Elrond in Eregion. Here we see the combined efforts of the elves and dwarves creating the forge tower coming along nicely. Celebrimbor confesses to Elrond that he thinks Durin is hiding something from him.
Back to Durin and we see him talk to his father about wanting to go to Lindon with Elrond. In this touching scene, we see Durin’s father tell him to trust his intuition.
We end the episode with Miriel sending Galadriel away on a ship as the white leaves fall from Nimloth. Miriel goes to the court and declares that she will help in the fight in Middle Earth while Eledil rallies those will to join the army. Intersstingly, Pharazon is on board with this move, perhaps he will take rule over Númenor while Miriel is away.
Well that is it folks for the mid-point summary, refer (here) for my midpoint review.