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Old 09-02-2022, 07:15 AM   #1
Huinesoron
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Ring **Spoilers** RoP S1Ep1 - "A Shadow of the Past"

The first two episodes of Rings of Power dropped today! I watched Episode 1 over lunchtime, and figured I'd start the discussion off. The summary below is from memory; after the Forodwaith segment the story jumps around between three locations, but I've just kept each location to itself.

Obviously enough, spoilers abound!

Prologue

As adult Galadriel narrates ("There was a time when the world was so young" etc), we see child Galadriel being picked on for her origami skills. The other children tormenting her include a redheaded boy and a dark-haired girl, so I'm assuming it's Aredhel and Ambarussa. Sounds like them.

Finrod, her adult brother who looks a little bit like Davie Bowie, helps her up after she fails to knock the other kids down, and gives her a mystical speech about light and darkness and floating and sinking. I suspect it sounded better in his head.

We then montage our way through the First Age. We see the Two Trees, which get killed. A fleet of elvish ships ("the legion of the elves") sails east to Middle-earth. We see one battle with eagles fighting what look like the Fell Beasts from the Jackson films, and possibly another in which Finrod is fighting orcs and yelling in Quenya. Then comes the end of the age: a couple of destruction shots, and then (adult) Galadriel helping clear up a battlefield and piling up Noldorin helmets.

Narration Galadriel tells us about Sauron, Morgoth's chief servant, and that Finrod vowed to hunt him down. She later states that he died pursuing that vow, and when she took his dagger from his dead hands she took the vow on herself.

Forodwaith

Galadriel and her band of elves are out hunting orcs and/or Sauron, even though pretty much everyone thinks they're centuries gone. They climb that frozen waterfall from all the trailers, though her soldiers are not happy about it. Her second-in-command wants to turn back, but she insists on dragging them through a blizzard to - gasp! - a giant spiky fortress. It was real after all!

Inside is a lot of evil masonry, and Galadriel finds a mark burned into the rock - the same mark that Sauron branded Finrod with. She decides the mark was left for the orcs to follow, and insists on heading further north at first light. After a quick fight with a snow-troll, during which Galadriel out-does Orlando Bloom in the acrobatics department, the rest of the group force her to turn round.

Lindon

Herald Elrond (although amazingly, it sounded more like he was addressed as "Harold Elrond") is sitting in a tree, very Elijah Wood. A veiled woman shows up to inform him that he's not invited to the next council meeting, because "elf-lords only". She then mentions that his friend has arrived.

Yes, it's Galadriel, and they discuss her continued desire to go Sauron-hunting. Elrond points out that she defied the High King by spending so long out there, and that he might be quite grumpy if she keeps trying. He says that if she still wants a meeting after The Ceremony, he'll arrange one for her.

The Ceremony consists of Gil-Galad (who looks a bit like Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn) crowning Galadriel and her gang with wreaths for proving conclusively that the enemy is defeated. He grants them a great reward - they will get on a boat and sail to the Undying Lands, wow! Galadriel is Not Happy, but bows her head and lets him do it.

Rhovanion

Somewhere east of Mirkwood, the antler-wearing Meeples are hunting. One tells the other about Harfoots, but the second one scoffs - you're making it up!

Shockingly, he was not. After the Meeples leave an entire Harfoot community uncovers itself, going from unremarkable forestry to bustling proto-Hobbit village in under a minute. Sadoc, the elder, is worried that the Meeples are out too early in the year; Marigold is more concerned that her ?daughter Nori has gone missing.

Nori, it turns out, has gone with the little kids down to the old farm, where are are so many blackberries. They all act like... well, kids in a blackberry patch, until Nori discovers a large, wolf-like footprint. She shepherds the kids back to the village, while behind them a not-particularly-wolflike creature watches. It has spikes coming out of its chin.

Everyone gets back just fine, and Nori gets told she's far too adventurous to be a Harfoot - "are you sure you're not half-squirrel?". Also Sadoc thinks the stars have come out early.

Southlands

The map first implies this to be east of Mordor, but then indicates it might be future southern Gondor... it's a bit vague. Anyway, Arondir the elf is on patrol, passing through the mortal village of Tirharad. He's part of a team operating out of a watchtower, under the command of the High King; they're watching over the area because the mortals there are descended from supporters of Morgoth.

The locals aren't overly keen on their pointy-eared protector/guard, except for the healer Bronwyn, with whom he has romantic angst. They're the subject of local gossip - and also of grumpy advice from Arondir's elvish partner, who points out that the two elf-mortal relationships in history Didn't End Well.

Luckily, they don't have to worry about that any more - the High King has declared the enemy defeated, and is shutting down all the far watchtowers. Great! Except Arondir refuses to go, and runs off back to Bronwyn. He is present when a farmer brings his cow, who is ill after wandering away to the east - specifically, her milk is now a vile black fluid, so Arondir and Bronwyn go to investigate. They travel to another village, which is a) where the cow might have ended up, b) known for its people's strong support of Morgoth (in the past), c) where Bronwyn was born, and d) on fire. Oops.

Meanwhile, Bronwyn's disgruntled son pulls a broken black sword out of a hidden compartment in a barn. It has the Sauron symbol on it, which flashes into fire in his mind.

Endings

Galadriel sails west on a swanship with her soldiers and a set of veiled maidens to ritually remove their armour when they reach the borders of Aman. Elrond watches from Lindon until the ship passes out of sight, and is then told by Gil-Galad that he's going to work with Lord Celebrimbor on "a singular project". Celebrimbor looks like an older David Tennant.

As Valinor comes into view, Galadriel has second thoughts. She doesn't join in the singing, flashes back to Finrod's whole light/darkness speech, refuses to hold hands with her second in command (who seems to think it's really important), and then jumps over the side of the ship into the Sundering Sea.

With no preamble, the Meteor flashes over Lindon, some scenery, an Ent couple with their Enting, Arondir and Bronwyn, and finally crashes just past Nori. She races to the impact site, where she finds a man in a loincloth curled up at the centre of an eye-shaped crater of fire.

Roll credits!

(Thoughts to follow.)

hS
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Old 09-02-2022, 08:04 AM   #2
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Okay! So, one episode in, what are my thoughts?

Overall - it's not as faithful as I'd hoped, but nowhere near as bad as people anticipated. To take one example: a recent complaint was about the trailer moment where Galadriel yells "No, we keep moving!" when one of her soldiers stumbles and she's asked to stop - in the actual episode, she says that, then looks back to see what happened, and immediately heads back to wrap a blanket around the struggling elf's shoulders. The trailers do not show everything (obviously!), and impressions based just on them are going to be off.

This thread from today features a quote about "witty banter, arch references to contemporary issues, graphic and often sexualized violence, self-righteousness" - I wouldn't say any of those appeared in this episode, though your interpretation may vary.

Overall I enjoyed the episode well enough that I'll watch the second. But yes - things have been changed, and some of them really wind me up.

The High King - This was going to be 'Galadriel', but actually I have no problem with Galadriel herself. I've never objected to her as a warrior, and her stubbornness is very House Finwe. Her continued quest for Sauron is similar to Gandalf's worries over the Necromancer down in the Third Age, despite Saruman's assurances that everything was fine.

But Gil-Galad... eesh. He's not only keeping a centuries-long intrusive watch over the mortals of Middle-earth because of what their ancestors did - he also rejects the advice of Galadriel when she finally has proof of her suspicions. They give him a line about how if she'd kept searching she might have perpetuated the evil she sought to destroy, but I think he just wanted rid of her.

Speaking of which:

Valinor - The episode couldn't make up its mind on Valinor. We saw the Trees die, but Galadriel always talks like they're still alive. Gil-Galad says that sending the soldiers there is an unprecedented honour, while Elrond says nobody has ever refused the offer - and both interpretations are at odds with Tolkien. You could make an argument that during the Second Age few/no ships sailed west (due to the elves of Lindon being those who refused to go after the First Age) - but under no circumstances would it be in the power of Gil-Galad to grant the right to sail.

The whole swanship sequence is weird. Galadriel and her soldiers sail the entire way standing in two lines. There are a matching number of veiled maidens along to take their armour off - if sailing is such a great honour, what did they do right? And then when Galadriel hesitates, her second in command believes she has to hold his hand or be... what? It's a boat! It's going to take you to the beach unless you do something ridiculous like jumping off it.

Yes of course she jumps off it. I don't know what her plan was.

Finrod - I'm going to put myself through a lot of narrative contortions to headcanon Finrod. What the show says is that he fought in the war, hunted Sauron, and was killed by him. It doesn't quite say that he was killed while specifically on the sole job of hunting Sauron, so I choose to believe "hunting Sauron" was more of a general state after the fall of Minas Tirith and Dorthinion to him, and that he was still aiding Beren when he died.

Also, he looks like David Bowie. I actually don't mind it overmuch, but:

Craggy Male Elves - Finrod, Elrond, Gil-Galad and Celebrimbor all have really weathered-looking faces. I kind of think it was a casting decision, but a weird one.

Smug, racist elves - Yeah... in this episode alone, we've got casual racism towards Elrond as half-elven, and hecka racism towards the mortals of the Southlands for having Morgothian ancestry. (Are they distant relatives of the Easterlings who showed up in the Silm and betrayed Maedhros? Are they transplanted descendents of those Easterlings who surrendered after the War of Wrath? Was all of Middle-earth under Morgoth's rule in this version? Dunno.) Every single elf is firmly convinced he or she is right about everything, which... actually, none of this is strictly wrong to the books. The Feanorians and Thingol were both anti-mortal, and every elf of the First Age had that arrogance. It stands out a lot against LotR, but it's a logical enough extension of the Silm.

And now, one thing that doesn't bother me at all:

Harfeet - The Harfoots are fun. They're simple and charming, and their village is Shire-like enough without looking like the Shire. They're in the right place on the map (way out east), they're migratory rather than settled, and Nori is specifically called out as being unusually adventurous. I have no objections to them at this time.

hS
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Old 09-02-2022, 08:34 AM   #3
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I've had a problem with "ackshun gurl" Galadriel ever since I saw the first hint that she would be swinging a sword. Galadriel never picked up a sword in any Tolkien story. Not even once.

Galadriel didn't have to because her massive power and wisdom were always implied, and briefly revealed when Frodo offered her the Ring.

‘You are wise and fearless and fair, Lady Galadriel,’ said Frodo.
‘I will give you the One Ring, if you ask for it. It is too great a matter
for me.’
Galadriel laughed with a sudden clear laugh. ‘Wise the Lady Galadriel may be,’ she said, ‘yet here she has met her match in courtesy. Gently are you revenged for my testing of your heart at our first meeting. You begin to see with a keen eye. I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired to ask what you offer. For many long years
I had pondered what I might do, should the Great Ring come into my hands, and behold! it was brought within my grasp. The evil that was devised long ago works on in many ways, whether Sauron himself stands or falls. Would not that have been a noble deed to set to the credit of his Ring, if I had taken it by force or fear from my guest?

‘And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!’

She lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illumined her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful.


People to whom I've brought this up have countered that Galadriel fought at Aqualonde, but there is no mention of her doing so.


But the Teleri withstood him, and cast many of the Noldor into the sea. Then swords were drawn, and a bitter fight was fought upon the ships, and about the lamplit quays and piers of the Haven, and even upon the great arch of its gate. Thrice the people of Fëanor were driven back, and many were slain upon either side; but the vanguard of the Noldor were succoured by Fingon with the foremost of the host of Fingolfin, who coming up found a battle joined and their own kin falling, and rushed in before they knew rightly the cause of the quarrel; some thought indeed that the Teleri had sought to waylay the march of the Noldor at the bidding of the Valar.

Thus at last the Teleri were overcome, and a great part of their mariners that dwelt in Alqualondë were wickedly slain. For the Noldor were become fierce and desperate, and the Teleri had less strength, and were armed for the most part but with slender bows. Then the Noldor drew away their white ships and manned their oars as best they might, and rowed them north along the coast. And Olwë called upon Ossë, but he came not, for it was not permitted by the Valar that the flight of the Noldor should be hindered by force. But Uinen wept for the mariners of the Teleri; and the sea rose in wrath against the slayers, so that many of the ships were wrecked and those in them drowned. Of the Kinslaying at Alqualondë more is told in that lament which is named Noldolantë, the Fall of the Noldor, that Maglor made ere he was lost.


There's no mention of her fighting at all. And, even if she did, what did she fight with? Magic, like the Istari? Song, like Luthien? It never says.

Her swordsmanship is only an assumption, mutated into an awful trope, and executed in the worst kind of wire-fu seen in The Hobbit films, and exists only because some people feel that women need to ape men in order to be equal. Galadriel had wisdom and latent power, like great waters behind a dam, in the stories and the first three films. It diminishes women, imho, to cast them in these silly swordsmanship roles.
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Old 09-02-2022, 09:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Andsigil
People to whom I've brought this up have countered that Galadriel fought at Aqualonde, but there is no mention of her doing so.
The passage you want is in Unfinished Tales, where Tolkien writes: "Even after the merciless assault upon the Teleri and the rape of their ships, though she fought fiercely against Feanor in defence of her mother's kin, she did not turn back." It's worth remembering that Galadriel was a late addition to the Legendarium (I think she only appeared with LotR!), so the source texts of the published Silm rarely mention her at all. That's probably why Tolkien tried so many different ways to send her away during the First Age - if she was around, the Lay of Leithian would look very different.

In fact, Galadriel fighting is mentioned in the last writings Tolkien ever made on Middle-earth, according to UT: that version, in the last month of his life has "she with Celeborn fought heroically in defence of Aqualonde against the assault of the Noldor". You can certainly imagine young Galadriel going full beautiful-and-terrible here, but given that she had yet to meet Melian and Luthien, and the Noldor were specifically forging swords, it seems logical to me that she would have one.

hS
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Old 09-02-2022, 09:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
The passage you want is in Unfinished Tales, where Tolkien writes: "Even after the merciless assault upon the Teleri and the rape of their ships, though she fought fiercely against Feanor in defence of her mother's kin, she did not turn back."
Apologies, but it's still just surmising that she was any swordswoman. She could have stood her ground fiercely in defence of her mother's kin with songs, spells, or even exhortations behind a shield wall.

As I said, she never needed to use a sword to show she was powerful. Subtlety, like the idea of latent power, is lost on most people these days, after decades of Matrix-like action in cinema and video games.
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Old 09-02-2022, 11:07 AM   #6
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This show is not faithful to the backstory presented by Tolkien at all. Most of the problems of the first age were the fault of Feanor. Like, sure, Melkor was the catalyst, but Feanor stoked the fire out of control with his Oath and the Kinslaying.

Are those ships at 4:50 seconds supposed to be the swan ships? They completely skipped over the Oath and the Kinslaying and the March across the Wastes and solely laid the blame on everything that happened in the first age on Melkor.

Melkor was known for being a liar without shame.

GALADRIEL

Galadriel is the golden haired elf we see in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies. Now Amazon is bringing a younger Galadriel into the Rings of Power show to give her a more indepth backstory. Moyfrrd Clark looks and sounds like Cate Blanchett, but the similarities end there.

She is, in my opinion, one of the weakest characters in the Rings of Power. Some of her scenes make no sense. In one of her first scenes she is seen climbing up a cliff wearing a large billowing cloak. Why climb up a cliff while wearing a cloak? Take off your cloak for goodness sake. Also, wearing metal armor on your feet in freezing cold WILL cause frostbite. In another scene, she is seen holding a torch very close to her hair. Luckily for her that torch gives off no warmth since they were surrounded by evil. Hair fire averted.

Galadriel insisted on pushing on, but her company was growing tired. When she tried to convince them to continue, they turned on her and told her she would be going alone. This was immediately after they were attacked by a snow troll, which probably killed or severely injured at least 2 of them. She seemed to have gotten close to Sauron, but because of the waning strength of her companions, they turned back.

Galadriel's entire personality is chasing Sauron. There is nothing else of sustenance. "Put up your sword" said Elron. "Without it what am I to be?" she asked. That is exactly the problem. There is nothing else to her but a sword and a journey to defeat Sauron. The only persons of interest to her is her brother, who died in the wars against Morgoth. She needs therapy, not battle.

Then we find out that the High King Gil-Galad has a Galadriel problem and he is going to solve it by sending her back to Valinor. Elrond takes his side and convinces her to go.

She gets on the boat to Valinor and is undressed by a team of hooden female elves in what is kind of a creepy scene. As the light of Valinor starts to envelope she ship, she changes her mind, grabs her brothers dagger, and dives into the ocean.

At the same time the flaming comet seen in the trailers streaks through the sky. Gil-Galad watches an amber leaf fall to the ground. When he picks it up, blackness is decaying it.

ELROND

Elrond is introduced to us as an ear for Galadriel. And yet in his few short scenes he has more substance than she does. Or maybe it's not that he has more substance, but that he appears to be going to interesting places, but Galadriel is just destined to fight Sauron.

Elrond is a herald for the High King Gil-Galad. He is of lesser importance now than when he appears in the Fellowship of the Rings, but that is strongly hinted at changing soon.

He appears to be doing Gil-Galad's bidding, which almost makes it feel like Gil-Galad is manipulating things from behind the scenes and gives Gil-Galad a slightly evil vibe. Gil-Galad introduces Elrond to Celebrimbor, the elf that created the Rings of Power (but not the One Ring).

ARONDIR and BRONWYN

I'm grouping these two together since they share almost all of their scenes. Arondir is an elf that is on watch for Orcs and evil. Bronwyn is a human that lives in a small village with her son. They are in love, which is a sin for both of their kin.

After a cow comes back with black milk and some form of sickness, these two set out to another town called Hordern looking for answers.

Bronwyn is from Hordern which, according to Arondir, is known for their loyalty to Morgoth. Bronwyn gets offended since those people are her friends and kin.

They find the town destroyed and burning.

Also Bronwyn's son finds the evil black sword in a barn.

THE HARFOOTS

The Harfoots are actually adorable. The design of their homes and outfits are very much reminiscent of the Fellowship Hobbits. The one girl is a Brandyfoot, ah hem, Brandyfeet. She is not like the "modern day" Fellowship Hobbits, but is more like a Baggins. According to Sadoc she's not like a Harfoot either, she's more like a squirrel.

In my opinion, the Harfoots have the most personality. They're colorful and bright and the most unique of all of the character designs. They're also the happiest characters. A lot of the other characters scenes are dark, moody, and filled with drama. The Harfoots are light hearted and innocent.

Nori Brandyfoot is the closest to the comet when it lands and goes to investigate. Inside the fire is the mysterious stranger.

PROS

Beautiful outfits, locations, and overall designs

It's bright - even in the darkest scenes you can still make out detail and characters (take notes Winx Saga)

The dialog isn't as terrible as the trailer would have you believe

The trailers didn't spoil much since most of the scenes are in the first episode

CONS

Galadriel's is extremely obsessed with Sauron and obsession, historically, isn't a good thing

They have butched the Silmarillion

The opening lives of the Lord of the Rings are haunting and memorable. I can't remember one thing from the opening of the RoP.

The music, so far, isn't memorable either

OTHER THINGS

We haven't been introduced to the Numenoreans or the Dwarves or the white haired Eminem Sauron follower..
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Old 09-02-2022, 01:50 PM   #7
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I've had a problem with "ackshun gurl" Galadriel ever since I saw the first hint that she would be swinging a sword. Galadriel never picked up a sword in any Tolkien story. Not even once.
Hmm, I would argue that there's at least once:

Quote:
Even after the merciless assault upon the Teleri and the rape of their ships, though she fought fiercely against Feanor in defense of her mother's kin, she did not turn back.~The History of Galadriel and Celeborn
I don't think it's wrong if anyone interprets that to mean she fought against Feanor in the Kinslaying, as in having some kind of weapon and fighting "in the defense of her mother's kin." Interestingly, Elrond's actually the one that's never directly given the action of "fighting" against anyone, or defeating anyone in combat, or killing anyone. He's more noted as being a skilled healer, but no one seems to have a problem assuming he was skilled, or capable swordself. I mean that's a fair assumption to make, he commanded armies was in noteworthy battles, but "fighting" is something that's never an action given to Elrond. In the same way that it's said about Galadriel in Unfinished Tales.

More comments about the first 2 episodes to come later.
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Old 09-02-2022, 02:42 PM   #8
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As I said before it's still just surmising that she was any swordswoman. She could have stood her ground fiercely in defence of her mother's kin with songs (like Luthien), spells (like the Istari), or even exhortations behind a shield wall.

I don’t understand this zeitgeist in which everyone wants sword-swinging, 120lb women who duke it out with 180-200lb men. It’s both culturally obligatory and a very tired trope.
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Old 09-02-2022, 03:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andsigil View Post
As I said before it's still just surmising that she was any swordswoman. She could have stood her ground fiercely in defence of her mother's kin with songs (like Luthien), spells (like the Istari), or even exhortations behind a shield wall.

I don’t understand this zeitgeist in which everyone wants sword-swinging, 120lb women who duke it out with 180-200lb men. It’s both culturally obligatory and a very tired trope.
And that's fair. I just wanted to point out I don't think it's wrong to interpret those quotes as she took up arms and fought in defense of her mother's kin either. Take that in combination with Elrond, who is not mentioned as having a weapon or performing the action of fighting against anyone, but no one seems to mind Jackson's portrayal of Elrond armored up with a sword.
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Old 09-02-2022, 03:09 PM   #10
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Episode 1:

I loved the Harfoots the most. The way they were introduced, and blending in with their environment as Men come passing through was well done. I also liked the comment from one of the men about being careful if you see a Harfoot. I don't love the naming but I do like Nori's character to be a curious and adventurous hobbit (erm Harfoot). It feels like a proper community. It was a perfect way to show simple hobbit "magic," or well their aptitude to disappear and blend in with their environment when the Big Folk come through.

I also loved the visuals, which I expected aught to be good for the money spent, but I feel it's proper to point out I wasn't disappointed. I loved the visual of the two trees being destroyed. I don't care for Galadriel's story in Episode I (more on that later) but I do love how they showed the entrance into Valinor. That was cool visually, showing what appears to be endless ocean, but the appearance of the birds and the transition to gates opening/a bright light coming through. The Forodwaith (and I'm assuming Utumno?) was neat too. But I agree with BG that so far the music isn't memorable.

Arondir and Bronwyn invented characters, but I'm curious and interested in their journey, where their characters go in the show. Arondir being warned about a joining of Elves and Men always ending in death and tragedy. I don't know if we need yet another union between the two races storyline, but I do want to see where they go with them.

The one character I'm not interested in so far, is as others said in their comments...Galadriel. I just don't get where they're going with her story yet. In the lead up I got my head around she was going to be a much different Galadriel to the Galadriel we are most familiar with in Lord of the Rings. And that's fine for a different medium to want to show character development (particularly in their main character). But even in a fantasy setting it's too ridiculous to be believable. Like is she just hoping to swim hundreds of miles of ocean? (I know this is obviously where she runs into Halbrand, but Galadriel must not expect to come across anyone else? So yeah, I guess just swim hundreds of miles of ocean?) I hope it gets better, because showing a different Galadriel and how she becomes the Galadriel in LOTR can be good. Currently it's too silly for me to be invested in her story.

In fact I didn't care much for the whole dynamic between Elrond-Gil galad-Galadriel. I think we must be left with the feeling Gil-galad purposefully wanted Galadriel out of Middle-earth to get rid of a rival, I guess? And the Elrond-Galadriel friendship is weird to me as well. If the series plan is to show how the powerful and significant friendship between the two begins and develop that could be interesting. But Elrond's being a bit creepy in what seems like a courting of Galadriel, and Galadriel is does like a "friend zone" thing. What's with adapters hating on Celeborn all the time? It's like people are trying to ship Galadriel with everyone else, except her husband. And the fact Galadriel becomes Elrond's mother-in-law, I hope the series sticks to that canon at least. I could just be over-reacting, like people did with Galadriel kissing Gandalf's forehead in The Hobbit, but it feels like adaptations have no love for Celeborn.

Episode 2. **Below contains Spoilers for the 2nd Episode "Adrift"...so if you haven't seen it and don't want it spoiled, STOP**

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I liked Episode 2 better than Episode 1, and it all comes down to Khazad-dum. Khazad-dum was truly phenomenal not only visually, but a proper, solid look at dwarf society. I loved everything Khazad-dum. The look, the light and splendor, a vibrant dwarven civilization prior to them "digging too greedily and too deep." Like the Harfoot society, I got a clear idea from the show's creators what their vision of Khazad-dum life is. It's a far clearer picture than Jackson managed to show in 3 whole films. I was disappointed by the dwarves in The Hobbit (other than Thorin, Balin and maybe Bofur), but in the TV series dwarves have proper beards and it's so far the best thing they have done.

I like Celebrimbor so far too, his casual dismissal of Feanor, even though there is an admiration for Feanor's skills of craft (something we know Celebrimbor shares). We see his motivations are (he argues) different from Feanor, but it's a shared familial trait that leads to bad things, despite the good intentions.

As much as I didn't like the dynamic between Galadriel-Elrond-Gil-galad, I love the dynamic between Celebrimbor-Elrond-Durin IV and Disa. Durin being hurt over Elrond not coming to the wedding or being in contact with him for 20 years, could have been silly, but I think Durin did excellent delivering why that was upsetting for someone who is supposed to be "his" friend. It's a nice way to show the difference of 20 years to a mortal (even though dwarves live longer compared to men) and 20 years to an immortal. And I'm interested to see where the show goes with this cliffhanger at the end between Durin III and Durin IV. Plus, Elrond trying to rebuild a friendship with the dwarves of Khazad-dum.

Still don't care for Galadriel's storyline, now she's adrift on a plank of wood with some guy name Halbrand, fleeing from the Southlands. Why he was in the middle of the ocean, I mean they explained his ship was attacked, but what are they doing out there in the first place? How they were even in the vicinity of Galadriel? I don't understand the geography at all.
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Old 09-05-2022, 01:42 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Andsigil View Post
I've had a problem with "ackshun gurl" Galadriel ever since I saw the first hint that she would be swinging a sword. Galadriel never picked up a sword in any Tolkien story. Not even once.

Galadriel didn't have to because her massive power and wisdom were always implied, and briefly revealed when Frodo offered her the Ring.

....

There's no mention of her fighting at all. And, even if she did, what did she fight with? Magic, like the Istari? Song, like Luthien? It never says.

Her swordsmanship is only an assumption, mutated into an awful trope, and executed in the worst kind of wire-fu seen in The Hobbit films, and exists only because some people feel that women need to ape men in order to be equal. Galadriel had wisdom and latent power, like great waters behind a dam, in the stories and the first three films. It diminishes women, imho, to cast them in these silly swordsmanship roles.
I take it then that your objections to the depiction of Galadriel are based on two points: that Tolkien never said she was a swordsman and that swordsmanship and fighting diminish femininity.

Both of these points can be rather easily dismissed. First of all, Galadriel was not an original character in the Silm. She appeared first in LotR and then Tolkien himself had to back write her into the mythology. This situation caused many confusions, as Christopher Tolkien himself noted in "Unfinished Tales": "There is no part of the history of Middle-earth more full of problems than the story of Galadriel and Celeborn, and it must be admitted that there are severe inconsistencies 'embedded in the traditions': CT calls this a "continual refashioning". (UT294). The chapter "The History of Galadriel and Celborn" recounts those many inconsistencies and refashionings. This is just one example of how Tolkien's efforts at worldbuilding worked against his efforts at storytelling. So it is hardly a grievous error or wrong for subsequent writers to try to flesh out earlier characteristics of Galadriel. After all, CT himself recounts that only after her desire for "the Ring of Power and the dominion of Middle-earth" were fulfilled did she turn away from those desires towards wisdom (P.298UT). CT also uses "fight" several times to describe her early actions in a context which could easily include swordsmanship or military tactics at least. It is not beyond possibility that the "athleticism" ascribed to Galadriel could have included martial arts.

She is also referred to as of "Amazon disposition" (Letter 348). The Amazons were well known figures in Greek mythology of women (cf. Penthesilea) who were renown for physical fighting. And there are many more female figures in Northern mythology and literature who were fighters, particularly the "giantesses" (how many times are we told how great Galadriel's stature was?) Hildiganner, Brana, Yma, Githr. Then in Britain's own history there is the famous Boudicca. Then there are several woman in the Bible known for killing enemies, including decapitation. Is their womanhood diminished?

Is Eowyn's womanhood diminished by her taking up concealment? Even if Tolkien does retract her desire for fighting, turning her into a domestic healer of sorts, that does not change the fact that with a sword she slew the Witch King. She is certainly attractive enough to earn Faramir's attention.

Neither of your arguments hold water, the latter in particular is mere opinion.
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Old 09-05-2022, 02:02 PM   #12
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I don't think it's helpful to try to back-project onto Tolkien's thinking rather anachronistic 21st-century notions which to his mind - conservative even for his generation - weren't really present. Yes, Eowyn fought; but she was a clear and notable exception, her presence on the Pelennor a surprise to all. (Note her bitter response to being told to stay in Edoras "You have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will have no more need of it": an acknowledgement of and objection to "normal" Rohirric gender roles). It's also worth noting that the Witch-King had apparently never even considered the possibility of facing a woman in battle.

Tolkien's comments about Elven women fighting - as a last defense of their homes and children - is taken directly from the observed behavior of the women of the Cimbri and Teutones- who stayed with said homes and children (or the wagons and children if in "horde mode") and did not join the men in the war-band. He repeats the trope for the women of the Wainriders. This is certainly not uncommon worldwide; found among some Native American peoples as well.

Boudicca: nowhere in the sketchy historical information we have is it ever suggested she fought herself. She was Queen, and her tribe and its allies wreaked havoc among the Romans, but the pictures of mail-clad Warrior Woman driving her chariot over dying legionaries are artistic imagination.

Amazons- who only exist in myth. Same with Valkyries and shieldmaidens (this latter point has been contested recently; but even if the contestors are right the argument only arose long after JRRT's death).

There is furthermore a comment by Tolkien in one of the latter HME volumes which states that an Elf's capacity as a healer was negatively impacted by fighting; somehow one needed to stay out of the the "takes life" side of the karma balance to be successful on the "preserves life" side. (Note that Elrond was a herald, i.e. a noncombatant, during the WLA).

Which brings us back to Galadriel- could she fight? Yes. Did she fight? Once, at least- but in defense of kin and their homes (depending of course on one's version of canon). Did she command armies, or rove around as a wandering knight-errant or Witcher? No. In the Chronology Tolkien wrote that Celeborn led the army of Lorien against Dol Guldur; G's role was to use sorcery to tear the place down, much like Luthien (presumably after hubby had taken out the orcs). Luthien is another example to consider: possibly the most badass female Elf ever, but not once do we see her wield weapon. Galadriel was remarkable sedentary, a next-gen Melian. Her might was great, but not expressed in arms (compare Feanor, the other "greatest of the Noldor," who also was not especially noted as a fighter (and was a rotten general)). The basic problem with the recent fashion for Ackshun Gurls and Waryer Wimmen is that it really is a cop-out; instead of emphasizing feminine power, it just turns women into ersatz men.
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Old 09-06-2022, 05:34 PM   #13
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I take it then that your objections to the depiction of Galadriel are based on two points: that Tolkien never said she was a swordsman and that swordsmanship and fighting diminish femininity.
There is a third alternative I abide by. By this time in the 2nd Age, Galadriel didn't need a sword to be utterly dangerous. She was born in Valinor, daughter of the Noldo (and eventual king) Prince Finarfin and Indis of the Vanyar, she survived the crossing of the Helcaraxë, and then spent the better part of the 1st Age under the tutelage of Melian the Maia in Menegroth.

She was a natural leader of the Elves, not some silly Mary-Sue shieldmaiden. To me, the Amazon depiction of an Amazon (ah, the irony!) detracts from the power and wisdom she would have possessed at the time, even before having a Ring of Power. She repulsed Feanor, she distrusted Annatar. True power is not some heavy metal tart waving about a scimitar, but having uncanny insight, an iron will, centuries of training in Doriath, and the innate ability to wield all three to exert her dominion.

Please recall that at the end of the 3rd Age, after the One Ring was destroyed, she stood before Dol-Guldur and "threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed." No claymore necessary.
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Old 09-06-2022, 08:02 PM   #14
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Extreme Elvish Elks?

Formendacil: "WHY the giant antlers? A Thranduil-call sideways?"

Thank you so much for that. When I told my Taiwanese wife about it, she had the same reaction we both did to Thranduil and his absurd choice of ride in The Hobbit: "You call yourself a Wood Elf? How do you expect to get through the forest with those monstrous wardrobe racks catching on every tree trunk and branch along the way?"
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Old 09-15-2022, 06:00 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
I take it then that your objections to the depiction of Galadriel are based on two points: that Tolkien never said she was a swordsman and that swordsmanship and fighting diminish femininity.
Yes.

Quote:
Both of these points can be rather easily dismissed. First of all, Galadriel was not an original character in the Silm. She appeared first in LotR and then Tolkien himself had to back write her into the mythology. This situation caused many confusions, as Christopher Tolkien himself noted in "Unfinished Tales": "There is no part of the history of Middle-earth more full of problems than the story of Galadriel and Celeborn, and it must be admitted that there are severe inconsistencies 'embedded in the traditions': CT calls this a "continual refashioning". (UT294). The chapter "The History of Galadriel and Celborn" recounts those many inconsistencies and refashionings. This is just one example of how Tolkien's efforts at worldbuilding worked against his efforts at storytelling. So it is hardly a grievous error or wrong for subsequent writers to try to flesh out earlier characteristics of Galadriel. After all, CT himself recounts that only after her desire for "the Ring of Power and the dominion of Middle-earth" were fulfilled did she turn away from those desires towards wisdom (P.298UT). CT also uses "fight" several times to describe her early actions in a context which could easily include swordsmanship or military tactics at least. It is not beyond possibility that the "athleticism" ascribed to Galadriel could have included martial arts.
"Could" doesn't mean "did," like "can" doesn't mean "should," as in the logic you used here.

Quote:
She is also referred to as of "Amazon disposition" (Letter 348). The Amazons were well known figures in Greek mythology of women (cf. Penthesilea) who were renown for physical fighting. And there are many more female figures in Northern mythology and literature who were fighters, particularly the "giantesses" (how many times are we told how great Galadriel's stature was?) Hildiganner, Brana, Yma, Githr. Then in Britain's own history there is the famous Boudicca. Then there are several woman in the Bible known for killing enemies, including decapitation. Is their womanhood diminished?
The fact that they can be named shows how few they are in history. Yet it's a silly trope pushed by modern media for the last 30+ years. One people seemingly can't even recognize as a trope, and will go to the mattresses to shoehorn into disbelief suspension.

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Is Eowyn's womanhood diminished by her taking up concealment? Even if Tolkien does retract her desire for fighting, turning her into a domestic healer of sorts, that does not change the fact that with a sword she slew the Witch King. She is certainly attractive enough to earn Faramir's attention.

Neither of your arguments hold water, the latter in particular is mere opinion.
Ah, as opposed to your non-opinion.

Having one "shieldmaiden" among about 300 male, warrior/fighter characters seems to fit the demographics/statistics. Everyone should have stopped there, instead of pushing the notion of backflipping sword gymnast, Galadriel.
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Old 09-15-2022, 04:53 PM   #16
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Huinsoron, out of all the discussions here about Galadrien, I thought this comparison would best suit your thread on the first episode. My thanks to the Downer formerly known as Lush for bringing the second image to my attention. And sorry for the sizes but with limited time for internet today I could not find smaller ones.

Galadriel with the elven helmets from RoP.



And this painting by the Russian artist Vasily Vereshchagin, "The Apotheosis of War". The 19th C painting is famous for its alleged criticism of the Russian military; it and a second painting by Vereshchagin were not allowed in a Moscow exhibit.



I leave comments to any who might wish to interpret the conjunction.
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