The Rings of Power: Season 1 at the halfway mark

Four episodes in, the lavish Amazon Prime series is delivering on at least some of its promise, but there’s room for improvement.

SDG Original source: Catholic World Report

Halfway through the eight episodes of the first season of Amazon Prime’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the pieces are starting to fall into place.

A story that started with such familiar names as Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), Elrond (Robert Aramayo), and Durin IV (Owain Arthur) might in principle have gone in many directions. With the introduction of Elendil (Lloyd Owen), here a ship captain of the island kingdom of Númenor, and his son Isildur (Maxim Baldry), the shape of the drama is suddenly more definite. Elendil, if the series follows Tolkien, will become the last lord of the Númenorean port city of Andúnië before Númenor is destroyed and suffers the fate of Atlantis, while Isildur is doomed to fall under the spell of the One Ring after cutting it from the hand of Sauron in the War of the Last Alliance.

Episode 3 (“Adar”) introduces us to Númenor in its glory, while episode 4 (“The Great Wave”) begins to presage Númenor’s downfall in connection with a strategically deployed Tolkienesque device. A sword is placed in Elendil’s hands in episode 3; is this Narsil, the blade that will be broken? The reason for the suspicious hostility of Durin and his father, King Durin III of Khazad-dûm (Peter Mullan), to the overtures of the younger Durin’s friend Elrond is satisfyingly unveiled in episode 4, and there are at least foreshadowings of how the Dwarves will eventually be driven to delve too greedily and too deep, and what will follow.

One of the more interesting elements of the show’s world-building is its depictions of ritual and orison in its various cultural settings.

Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), a capable human thrown together with Galadriel in episode 2 (“Adrift”), is revealed to bear a burden strikingly reminiscent—maybe too reminiscent—of more than one later Tolkien character. Halbrand hails from the Southlands, a realm of men that will come to be known as Mordor, the domain of Sauron. The Southlanders are viewed with disdain by occupying Elven forces as historic collaborators with the enemy, and even Galadriel regards her companion as a different breed from the Númenoreans, who allied with the Elves in the last war—though today public opinion in Númenor has turned against Elves. Meanwhile, in the doomed Southlands, the Elf warrior Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) and his human love interest, the healer Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi), do their best to weather the rising tide of evil, which coalesces in the enigmatic figure of Adar (Joseph Mawle), leader of the Orcs marauding through the Southlands looking for an uncanny artifact.

All Things Tolkien, Religious Themes, The Lord of the Rings

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