What happens in the first episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power?
We’re diving right in, so pay attention: follow along from here SPOILERS.
The beginning of everything
We begin The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power with a voiceover by Galadriel, who says she can remember a time before it all went wrong. The world was so young that there hadn’t even been a sunrise.
Young Galadriel turns out to have been quite the fighter, and it was up to her brother Finrod to calm things down. He interrupts a fight between Galadriel and another evil elf who sank her little boat. Then follows a brief summary: we see that the elves traveled from their idyllic life in the west to Middle-earth to fight Morgoth and his armies. We also see that Finrod is killed and Galadriel swears to fulfill her task, which is to kill Sauron.
A few centuries later, Galadriel is still hunting Sauron in search of signs, which she travels around Middle-earth with her company for. But her companions no longer trust it, which is expressed by Thondir. Even after Galadriel kills a snow troll, they give up and end their journey.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power also immediately introduces us to the Harfoots. A people who turn out to lead wonderful lives, in a rather unpaced whole. And they have special Irish accents.
At the very end of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 1 we see that the story of the Harfoots is about to take off because The Stranger falls from the sky. A character that would be crucial in the creation of the Rings, so is it secretly Sauron?
Back with the elves, Galadriel learns that she has been granted permission by High King Gil-galad to return to the immortal lands of Valinor. But at the end of the first episode, just before she is allowed to enter the light of Valinor, she jumps from the ship, without a plan, food or drink, into the sea. Fortunately, Halbrand can save her in the next episode.
In the Southland we meet Arondir and the other elves who have watched over a human race for centuries (almost a thousand years!) because they once fought for Morgoth. Arondir has been there for 79 years and has fallen in love with the human Bronwyn. So he doesn’t care too much that he can leave after Gil-galad decides to call an end to the war.
We already know that the war is far from over, partly because of the broken sword in the hands of Bronwyn’s son, Theo, who has Sauron’s symbol on the charter. And there’s a dangerous monster hunting it!
The mines and the dwarves
In Khazad-dûm we meet the dwarves. Celebrimbor (with a k sound at the beginning, not the c you might expect) and Elrond hope to enlist the help of King Durin to build the greatest forge ever. Only Elrond is allowed in and manages to bond with his former friend Prince Durin through a clever game. The moments between Elrond and Disa, Durin’s wife, are particularly funny.
What were we thinking?
Great start: Well, actually, it’s a pretty good start to the series. The first episode starts quite slowly, partly because there are so many characters to be introduced to us. We see a lot of Galadriel, who is clearly the main character of the series. And it all looks beautiful, especially Lindon and later also the city of Arondir.
Fast pace: Of course it’s not Middle-earth as we know it from Peter Jackson, but is it so bad? If the rest of the series is at the same pace as episode 2, you’ll be fine!
Beautiful music: Kudos for the music on: every moment has a chorus it seems, which couldn’t have been cheap. Composer Bear McCreary (who composed all the music except for the theme song which is by Howard Shore) manages to make beautiful music!
Brilliant opening titles: They look really amazing. There is a deep history behind it, from the creation of Middle-earth to the forging of the rings. Smart by Amazon because it shows a deep knowledge of the history of Middle Earth!
Practical map: Somehow it is convenient that in new places we hover over the map of Middle-earth. At the same time, it feels a bit cheap, maybe because of the superimposed New Zealand helicopter shots?
The eagles!: At the beginning of Galadriel’s prologue we see the great battle against Morgoth and the Eagles are there too. Only one is cruelly killed.