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Old 09-07-2022, 06:09 PM   #1
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Silmaril Cherry-Picking the Good Parts

In the Rings of Power First Episode Thread, in my stream of consciousness-esque list of first impressions, there were a few things I noted as genuinely liking. I'll start by quoting them here:

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Originally Posted by Formendacil
  • I like the round door "etymology."
  • First impression: I LIKE young-Elrond but cannot picture him as the same being as Hugo Weaving.
  • Graeco-Roman is far better for Elves than Celto-Nipponese
  • I do like Gil-galad as a presence. N.B. I **DID** half-retract this later
  • It's weird, but the in-between dynamic of Gil-galad's man and Galadriel's friend does seem right.
  • Well, at least Celebrimbor LOOKS like a mad scientist Elf.
  • Okay, the ship climbing the straight road is cool imagery, even if the dumbly-standing Elves are still ridiculous.
  • This feels more 1st Age Doom of the Noldor but it'd make a cool setpiece in an Eärendil retelling
That is heavily excerpted--everything I said that had a definite positive spin to me, and that's what this thread is about: just a similar "I LIKED this part of RoP!"

You don't have to agree with my list--you can even like things I found baffling or distasteful (the same British sound on Haradrim as Noldor? What is this nonsense!), but that's not the purpose of this thread. This thread is--solely--for things you genuinely liked. If you want to go long and detailed on why you liked it, I'd love to read it, but I'm open to mere lists.
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Old 09-07-2022, 06:34 PM   #2
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A few things that I haven't mentioned in the Spoiler thread, which I'm going to use more for my reaction/episode analysis. This one will be nice just to highlight the best tidbits.

-I appreciated that well made orc prosthetics are always superior to CGI. Also that orc was wicked strong, the entire scene I felt like the orc was a real threat. I hope this is how they do depict their orcs in the series. I got bored with The Hobbit's Legolas 101 ways to decapitate an orc. The orc scene in Episode 2, that orc was definitely not canon fodder.

-I loved the the "sinking" of Galadriel's origami boat and how it opened up into a swan. I thought it a clever nod to the Kinslaying of Alqualonde. With the copyright I don't think they could have gotten into details, but readers of the Silm I think would recognize what that scene represents.

-The best bit so far are the Harfoots (Harfeet?) How it showed simple hobbit "magic" to disappear, blend in with their environment and avoid the eyes of Big Folk blundering through. It was a nice and unexpected treat.
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Old 09-07-2022, 06:35 PM   #3
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Because folks have complained about the ship to Valinor--and even I had a stab at calling the situation a Rapture--I thought a good post here would be to a post I found elsewhere which really helped peopl (including me) appreciate how the scene/event could be understood within this new narrative interpretation. The people who responded positively to this are very knowledgeable, extensive readers of Tolkien and critical commentary on him.

Quote:
this isn't about #Tolkien lore per se, but more about mythic mood and a possible nod to one area of Tolkien's many influences.
For me, the #Galadriel on the boat sequence seemed to show her struggling with accepting some traditional/accepted eternity after service done/graceful retirement of responsibility, and peaceful acceptance as expected of her, whilst here still grieving for both her brother and her perceived removal of agency by being assumed to be grateful for this "prize" of returning to Valinor with a group of elven warriors who are all seemingly very happy/honoured to receive their final reward of eternal respite in splendor following years of glorious battle.
Here she is at once one of the glorious "slain" or battlefield chosen, rewarded, and here being ritually disarmed by spectre-like veiled women who have (at some point in the past) already accepted their ritual roles. As if both her and the veiled women were somehow both halves or severed aspects of the same classic Norse concept of the #Valkyrie or dísir.
While the veiled women are portrayed as the ritualistic, anonymous #psychopomps of those deemed worthy of reward in a shining Valhalla-like eternity, she becomes their other side, the fierce armoured #Erinyes-like female warrior, bent on revenge (even shown earlier gathering up arms of the dead on the battlefield herself, placing helms on a vast memorial).
Here she is split into two (almost in front of us, as she literally finds herself struggling with the veiled maiden over the knife), forcing her hand as to which one she must become... at least for now (all long before her transformation into the Norn-like wise and patient "goddess" of fate we meet in the Third Age by her mirror basin of things past, present and future).
I very much like the idea of drawing inspiration from possible Tolkien sources.
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Old 09-08-2022, 07:49 AM   #4
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"Stone Age" Hobbits

I will be one of apparently many who are saying that the Harfeet are really great. I shall repeat what I have said elsewhere: I love how the culture is built. They indeed feel like "Stone Age Hobbits", the pseudo-nomadic gatherers with their way of dealing with the world... it somehow managed to capture the essence of those aboriginal cultures (amidst the "civilised", sedentary cultures who inhabit Middle-Earth at the time!) in such a manner that it fits so smoothly into the setting and you do not even realise how well it is done until you start thinking about it, because it simply does not stick out in any way.

I also liked Largo's chronicle and proto-Hobbit-script, as a different, yet somehow appropriate nod to their future bookworms like Bilbo and their genealogical and other interests.

Elven vs Mortal Perception of Time

Elrond and Durin: I think picking up the theme of immortality and the different concept of time is something that is not often tackled in such a manner even in fantasy in general, and if it is, it is often in the very extreme form of "member of one race loved the other and we know that one of them has to die". This sort of "mundane" take on perception of time and which events are considered important is almost... well, even a neuroscientist would be happy!

I think what the writers did right was to pick up a theme that exists in Tolkien (immortality of one race vs mortality of another) and explored what it means in practice in a way that the source material never does. Well done! This is how expanding on existing lore should look like.

The "Reverse Morgul-Blade"

I liked the idea and the visual effect of the "reverse Morgul-Blade", even if I know not how it works, what it should be, or anything else about it. It is visually cool, it instantly calls back the imagery it (I assume) is supposed to (i.e. the Morgul-Blade that disappears), the way it "drains blood" looks cool and it alludes to it being something creepy, evil and "vampiric", i.e. that drains one's life force and transforms it into power that is able to kill others (also a metaphorical foreshadowing of the wielder's future life path, if he stays on it).

But I like simply the innovative effect of taking something familiar and just reversing it, and what it looks like. (In fact, it is also a sort of metaphor for the story itself - of Sauron's - and his servants' - rise, as opposed to fall; a blade forming as opposed to disappearing.)

Incidentally, I could say that all the weapons so far in this show look very visually appealing and I find them overall more interesting than PJ's weapons.
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Old 09-08-2022, 10:41 AM   #5
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I really like the Harfoots. I like the nod to Frodo and Sam / Merry and Pippin in Nori and Poppy. There is also a nod to the future in their last names: Proudfelllow and Brandyfoot (Proudfeet and Brandywine).

I also really enjoy all of the physical stuff. The sets look great, the costumes look great, the boats look great, the weapons look great. Each race is very distinctive looking. Kazad-Dum is amazing. The Harfoots houses are super cute and I like how they blend into their environment. You can clearly see the Hobbits that they will evolve into.

Orcs quietly digging under houses is creepy as heck... I don't like it but at the same time I do like it. Are they just trying to heist away that sword in the middle of the night via tunnels? Creepy. I dig it.

I like Durin and Dori better than I thought I would. She's so happy and friendly and talkative and he's gruff and stoic (somewhat).
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Old 09-08-2022, 12:00 PM   #6
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I actually can't get past their anachronistic and linguistically impossible names. Tolkien is all about the nomenclature, and if you can't get that right you have no business adapting Tolkien
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Old 09-08-2022, 01:19 PM   #7
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I actually can't get past their anachronistic and linguistically impossible names. Tolkien is all about the nomenclature, and if you can't get that right you have no business adapting Tolkien
While I don't disagree--this sort of thing bothers me more than the completely mashed timeline--I fear you have misread the purpose of this thread: you have to pick out the stuff you DO like.

If, perchance, that turns out to be nothing... well, there are other threads.
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Old 09-08-2022, 02:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bêthberry View Post
Because folks have complained about the ship to Valinor--and even I had a stab at calling the situation a Rapture--I thought a good post here would be to a post I found elsewhere which really helped peopl (including me) appreciate how the scene/event could be understood within this new narrative interpretation.
Looking at this with a very un-Tolkienic pair of spectacles, I can almost see ship-jumping Galadriel as a kind of warrior-Bodhisattva: She has been granted passage to the realm of eternal peace (Nirvana), but refuses it because she knows evil is still afoot in the world and she cannot/refuses to enjoy peace herself while others till suffer under evil.


Also I like the idea of this Galadriel and the veiled spectre-like psychopomps as severed aspects of one archetype. The Sorceress of Dwimordene is very much a spectral character herself, so she will have to integrate that other aspect at some time.


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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
I also liked Largo's chronicle and proto-Hobbit-script, as a different, yet somehow appropriate nod to their future bookworms like Bilbo and their genealogical and other interests.
Agreed. Even if Hobbits at this time didn't have script as per Tolkien, it's still a nice visual shorthand for legends and tradition.


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Originally Posted by Legate of Amon Lanc View Post
I liked the idea and the visual effect of the "reverse Morgul-Blade", even if I know not how it works, what it should be, or anything else about it.
My first thought about this blade was "Do we know what happened to the shards of Gurthang after Túrin's death?" We do, they were buried with him, and anyway they can't use it because rights, but I sense some use of the 'vampiric black blade' archetype (à la Tyrfing or Stormbringer) in the offing. Not sure how that will fit into the narrative.


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Orcs quietly digging under houses is creepy as heck... I don't like it but at the same time I do like it. Are they just trying to heist away that sword in the middle of the night via tunnels? Creepy. I dig it.
Have you ever played Skyrim? The tunneling Orcs reminded me very much of the Falmer there. I hadn't considered that they were after the blade, but that's actually a valid idea. I saw it as the Orcs literally went underground after Morgoth's defeat and are now resurfacing here and there.


I liked the angular style of architecture and ornaments in Khazad-dûm - very fitting for a people working in stone. And I love Sophia Nomvete's Dísa! I have no idea what her ethnicity is, but considering that Tolkien likened the Dwarves to Jews, I wish the makers had made all the Dwarves of a more levantine type (rather than Scottish, which is just regurgitating Peter Jackson's Gimli).
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Old 09-08-2022, 03:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Pitchwife View Post
My first thought about this blade was "Do we know what happened to the shards of Gurthang after Túrin's death?" We do, they were buried with him, and anyway they can't use it because rights, but I sense some use of the 'vampiric black blade' archetype (à la Tyrfing or Stormbringer) in the offing. Not sure how that will fit into the narrative.
In the character bio for Theo it says "As he struggles with the questions in life and seeks to prove himself, he finds himself tempted by a dark discovery."

So, I don't think you're too far off on predictions about the sword. This might be better to ask in the spoiler thread, but did they reveal whose barn that was where Theo found the sword? I can't remember


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I liked the angular style of architecture and ornaments in Khazad-dûm - very fitting for a people working in stone. And I love Sophia Nomvete's Dísa! I have no idea what her ethnicity is, but considering that Tolkien likened the Dwarves to Jews, I wish the makers had made all the Dwarves of a more levantine type (rather than Scottish, which is just regurgitating Peter Jackson's Gimli).
I particularly liked Disa talking about singing to the mountain. It will tell you where to mine, and which places to avoid. Not only foreshadowing, but I think it's a different idea that we didn't get with PJ's dwarves. Combined with Celebrimbor's "giddiness" telling Elrond how he's always wanted to see dwarves work their craft. The viewers probably weren't expecting to hear an elf immediately speak positively about dwarves.

Celebrimbor's my favorite canonical character. Disa's my favorite non-canonical character so far.
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Old 09-09-2022, 08:08 PM   #10
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The best parts from Episode 3.

-How the Harfoots incorporate camouflage in their clothing to disappear in a moments notice, or in an emergency. Such as the Stranger being in camp.

-The orcs. The orcs are much better than in Peter Jackson's adaptations. They looked great in Lord of the Rings. I think they look even better in the Amazon series, but they are also developed better. Seeing them be hurt by sunlight and toying with their captives. They are wickedly cruel and feel like legitimate threats.
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Old 09-10-2022, 04:38 AM   #11
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-The orcs. The orcs are much better than in Peter Jackson's adaptations. They looked great in Lord of the Rings. I think they look even better in the Amazon series, but they are also developed better. Seeing them be hurt by sunlight and toying with their captives. They are wickedly cruel and feel like legitimate threats.
Absolutely true with the orks! That the sun actually hurt them was excellent.

I rather enjoyed the appearance of Númenor too: it was exceptionally full, I thought, of things one could nitpick, but the overall effect was very well done: larger, more glorious than the Gondor of the movies, older too and with greater wealth. But what I especially liked was the variety: there was different architecture in Rómenna/Armenelos (whichever the royal city is supposed to be) compared with Andúnie, and there were different locations and people: naval, royal, Faithful, common. Again, I think there was plenty to nitpick in Númenor, but I very much liked the breadth and depth of it.
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Old 09-11-2022, 10:28 AM   #12
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A couple things that I enjoyed:
  • Harfeet: much has been said about these proto-hobbits, and I agree - I found them surprisingly delightful. I liked the camouflage and secretive ways, and the hobbitish tendencies. I loved that they have their own mannerisms and expressions (oh great goats! The wheels have quite rolled off your wagon! - or somesuch). I even liked the revelation of the darker side of their society in Ep3. So far, my favourite setting/plotline.
  • Also agreed with all of the above about the Orcs disliking the sun.
  • The hints at actual Tolkien stuff. In the very first sequence, when Galadriel recounts a brief history of the FA, you see images which are not specific enough to outright violate any copyright, but a knowing person might recognize them as Oath and Alqualonde. Then there's a random one of a heap of helmets after a battle, which better not be the Haudh-in-Ndengin, because a bunch of things would not make sense if it was... But the two other flashbacks I think were very nicely done. "Generic battle stuff" for the general public, but a wink to specific events for those in the know. Likewise, I liked the reference to Elros, and the tapestry showing the parting and the different choices of Elrond and Elros. I enjoy these little references, and this kind of thing boosts the quality of the show for a Tolkien audience.
  • This one starts as a thing I hate, but I will explain why it turns into a thing I liked. I absolutely hate the set up with Finrod hunting Sauron being the reason Galadriel is now obsessed with him. It was just so unnecessary. If they wanted to have Galadriel chase up and down the countryside looking for ghosts, all they had to do was say that her brother was brutally murdered by Sauron, and she swore revenge. Instead, the convoluted thing where Finrod vowed to hunt Sauron, so Galadriel vowed to hunt Sauron, just leaves me asking... but why? HOWEVER. This did make me wonder about something I have not necessarily appreciated before about the books and other adaptations. Galadriel is a key player opposing Sauron in the TA, the Melian to his Morgoth. And it is natural that she should oppose him. But no matter how deeply you dig into analyzing Galadriel of the TA and her motivations, I feel like I've never once considered the connection to Finrod's death. I mean, I don't think that was anywhere near her driving force in the TA, but it would also not be amiss for a victorious Galadriel reflecting on the ruin of Sauron as the walls of Dol Guldur crumble before her in Tol-in-Gaurhoth style to add a thought about Finrod. I think that could make a good fanfic short story. At any rate, it is a plausible connection that I have not made before.
  • The attempts at Elvish are plausible attempts, and it shows they've made some effort at least to make the names make some sense. This point is not without caveats (*glares at "Isil"*), but at least the minimal effort of linking words to actual existing meanings is there - rather than just making up sounds.
  • Durin - so far his behaviour and temper and speech seem consistent enough with a Dwarf, it's believable.
  • The discovery of the sign in Ep3 - I liked the twist that the sign is actually a map. I thought it was well done: set up well for the audience, and kinda makes sense as a way to communicate to illiterate minions where to assemble.
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Old 09-11-2022, 02:14 PM   #13
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Episode 3

Folks in my barrow here found this a more interesting episode than either of the first two. It secured our continuing interest.

Numenor is stunning, not just aesthetically but also sociologically. We see not only palaces and regal homes and pubs but the entire range of a culture--ports, navies, smithies, markets, jails, libraries, workers and labourers as well the aristocracy. The shades of blue work well. Gorgeous and clearly a highly developed culture, not a static depiction.

The orcs are also given a fuller sociology, greater depth to their hateful and hurtful culture, with their brutalising of men (and likely women as well). Their faces aren't black but ashen white and their fear of the sun/light palpable. The warg's CGI was cartoonish but these orcs are clearly opponents to be feared, intelligent and not only physically threatening. No lower class slang to make them ridiculous.

The Harfoots continue to be developed in credible ways especially as a migrating tribe.

I think this is repeating what others have found good.
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Old 09-14-2022, 08:57 PM   #14
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Along the same lines of G55 likes the little hints to actual Tolkien stuff. The orc work camp scenes reminded me of these quotes.

The trenches the captives were digging, and the landscape above the trench reminded me of reading about WW1 trench warfare, as well as Tolkien's experiences. The experiences of soldiers who knew they'd probably die if they left the trench. Then all of Arondir's friends dying in the trench or trying to escape.

I find it hard to believe the critics who have said the series creators never read Tolkien or don't understand it, after scenes like the orc work camp. The buildup of hope, to all of Arondir's friends are dead, and the industrialization of warfare to a ruined landscape above the trenches.
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Old 09-18-2022, 04:10 AM   #15
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I have to second, third, fiftee... nthise... ?!? Sorry, my English has failed me here... the sunlight and the Orcs. Yes, going over the top and capitalising it, actually a great plot device, making the Orcs more distinct - because after all, what would they be otherwise than just ugly men?

And the Uruk-Hai lover that I am and always have been, I so much appreciate this portrayal of the "inferior", pre-Saruman Orcs, who cannot even be in the sun! (And I like to think that given how far in the past we are, maybe these are even "less evolved" and take the sun worse than their Third Age versions. Maybe by the time of LotR, even the basic Orcs can be in the sun without totally dying - they have some years of Dark Power-enhanced evolution for that. But the Uruk-hai, now there is a pinnacle of Making [as opposed to Creation, see what I did there] and always shall be!)
Compare to PJ, who sometimes half-heartedly ran along with it in LotR, but by the time of the Hobbit at the latest he stopped giving a damn and his Orcs can stroll in the sun and not even notice.

So for all the Uruk-lovers in the world, and all Orc-lovers in general I guess, well done!

***

As we delve deeper into the Harfoot culture, I like (even though with some reservations) the more sinister aspect of it, ie leaving others behind. It gives them sort of a rough edge that balances out all the merry poppy fluffy stuff we expect and know also from the sedentary Hobbits. (But then, perhaps this is a way to show the hidden rough edge of the Hobbits, too - thinking of the Scouring of the Shire.)

At the same time, the memorial service is amazing. And I still love the entire "worldbuilding" of the Harfoot culture the more we learn about it, the migrations, the way of camouflaging even their vehicles, etc.

***

Míriel's headdresses. They are just beautiful and I'd wear all of that.

***

And yes, definitely happy to see more of the "trees vs. cutting down living things" theme. I feel like it should be an automatic thing, something to inherently Tolkien, but it is certainly something done right.
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Old 09-25-2022, 07:00 PM   #16
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Faithfully adding to this thread (so that, maybe, if all the things here were combined into a single episode, it would actually make a good movie):
  • Numenor anthem song: firstly, that there is one, and secondly, the lyrics are actually appropriate - a land created in the Sundring Sea for mortals, the Land of the Star, etc.
  • The Harfeet Walking Song: and in particular the "not all who wander are lost" reference.
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Old 10-01-2022, 09:04 AM   #17
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A comment on Facebook mixed with my latest stream-of-thoughts in the Episode VI thread has made me realise that I think RoP's writers have spent a lot of time absorbing the Tolkienian ideas: I really like their decisions to include things like the origin of orks (and what this says about them morally), Light and Shadow, the clash of understanding that comes from immortals and mortals interacting, the political tug-of-war and insularity of the King's Men vs. the Faithful. There's a lot of Tolkien in this sort of stuff--more so, I think, than the PJ movies ever invented. It's pretty much never expressed in a plot or dialogue I would call Tolkienian, but it's still there to be recognised.
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Old 10-07-2022, 07:18 AM   #18
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I concur with most of the sentiment posted here so far: While it may drift away from many Tolkienisms, I can see where the inspiration has come from. Ultiamtely, they are taking chances and some will work out but others will not.

I do like the focus for the Uruks, both story and costume, and giving them something of a tragic backstory. This is supposed to be an origin story of Middle-Earth, so at least there is some "Origin-ing" going on.

The long location scenes of landscapes harkens back to the trilogy, and are always beautiful.
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Old 10-08-2022, 08:55 AM   #19
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The Harfoots remain the best parts of the series. I really enjoyed Malva's character in Ep. 7

I like how she was sort of a Lobelia character...crotchety and antagonistic towards the main protagonist hobbits. In an earlier episode there was a mention of either Poppy or Nori playing a prank on Malva. So, I imagined something like a Bilbo/Lobelia dynamic, and I liked getting a bit of a darker, antagonistic hobbit character.

But at the end of the day, Lobelia wound up in jail by standing up to Sharkey's ruffians, and Malva here admits to being wrong and supporting the younger hobbits. Malva's motivations and character are more convincing than Galadriel randomly deciding she wants to give up her sword to Theo now.
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Old 10-14-2022, 09:55 PM   #20
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So, I wish Celebrimbor looked and sounds more like the greatest Elven smith, who inherited his grandfather's skill. He doesn't, but I have to highlight Charles Edwards' acting, because it's a nice little treat.

I loved his introduction and how he spoke highly of a desire to watch dwarves work their craft. (I think that was Episode 2)

And I loved his interactions this episode with Halbrand. It sets up nicely for their future friendship and I want to see how their relationship plays out, and ultimately how it ends in tragedy. But I particularly liked Charles Edwards' expression when Galadriel says "We are to never treat with Halbrand again." It files under the subtle Tolkien nods that I like the best. Galadriel rejects Sauron/Annatar's "gifts," Celebrimbor welcomes it and his look after Galadriel's words is spot on.
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Old 10-23-2022, 12:11 PM   #21
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I think this thread would be the right place to point out that while some of the actors on the show failed to convince me, after seeing the whole season 1 I can genuinely applaud others. I was originally very sceptical of Robert Aramayo's shot-haired (gasp!) "cunning politician" Elrond, but he managed to win me over. One of the more nuanced and likeable performances. Lloyd Owen as Elendil also stood out, and my definite favourite was Joseph Mawle as Adar. Other highlights were Megan Richards as Poppy and Trystan Gravelle as Pharazôn. I was also positively surprised by Charlie Vickers being able to pull off the Sauron reveal; I did not expect that after seeing him as "Walmart Aragorn" (or what was the great term someone here coined ) for several episodes.
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