STRANGER IN THE ALPSon September 6, 2022, 10:22 AM | 190 comments
I watched the fist two episodes this weekend (did not watch anymore football after Friday night, could not bring myself to watch the other games) and I thought it was amazing.
Some of you are likely more versed in Tolkien and some of the books that this comes from so I am hoping you can shed some light for the rest of us on some of what is in this show which I believe takes place 2000 years before the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.
One big question I have is what are the traveling halfling species? Are they a precursor to Hobbits or another species entirely?
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I watched the first two episodes yesterday.
I'm not the most knowledgeable about Tolkien's universe, but I've enjoyed the series!
I think the "half foot" people are the Hobbits' ancestors. One of the last names is Brandyfoot which is eerily similar to the Brandywine River that passes through the Shire. After a quick Google search "Brandywine" is the Hobbit version of the elvish name for the same river.
I think you are likely right. I remember that Smegal/Golem was supposed to come from a "hobbit-like" species IIRC, so I guess they could be the early Hobbits, maybe before they settle in the Shire and are basically just traveling gypsies in this series.
Also, WTF is up with dude that came down in the comment?
The comet? Yea still trying to figure that out since I haven't done much reading of Tolkien's world outside of The Hobbit and starting the Fellowship. Do you think he could be a precursor to the wizards? Could've been sent down kinda like how Gandalf was brought back.
That might be the case. Dude obviously has some power. Not sure how old Saruman or Gandalf are supposed to be, but I don't think it would be either of them, I don't think they are 2000 years old.
I believe the guy in the comet is Gandalf. If I remember correctly all of the wizards showed up on middle earth in the second age as old men and initially did not remember there own name or purpose.
Gandalf and Saruman are Maiar spirits in the Middle Earth mythology, so basically same level as Sauron.
I forget when they come in the scene, it's been a long time since I read that, but safe to say they've been around a LONG time.
They are basically minor gods (Maia) who help the major gods (Valar). Pretty sure they all there from the beginning of creation by Eru Illuvatar (the one above all) as described in The Silmarillion. I'm 💯 this is Gandalf as well. Wished they had gone more into the events of the First Age but really enjoyed it.
Yeah I couldn't recall if the Istari (the Wizards) were around since the beginning or were summoned later to help Middle Earth against Sauron.
I also think it's Gandalf, but the first time he is mentioned as showing up in Middle Earth was the Third Age, so who knows
Maia can take all different kinds of forms and names-for example Sauron appears as an extremely beautiful angel that eventually deceives Celebrimbor (sp?) into creating the one ring-its likely he has already been deceived as of episode 2 when he appears for the first time
Yeah, in the First and Second age he was one of the Maiar in Valinor, and called Olorin. He was sent by the Valar (major gods) with other wizards (Istari) in the Third age to oppose Sauron.
The show starts at the beginning of the Second Age, so its possible the writers are tweaking the timeline a bit by having him show up earlier. Also possible, as mentioned above, that he is another Maiar, whose story isn't outlined in the Appendices or the Silmarillion. But his traits and confusion are in line with what happened to the Istari when they arrived in Middle Earth, so perhaps artistic liscence was taken to create a new character to help combat the enemy in the second age. Maybe he will be explained as like an Istari Beta.
Yeah but Isildur and Elendil weren't supposed to be alive during the show's time period, they weren't born until much later supposedly, and Sauron had been back for a while.
I'm cool w the man being Gandalf, he was around in Valinor since the beginning and I find it hard to believe he wasn't in Middle Earth for the big war and missed the whole alliance between elves and men
You'll have to take that up with Tolkien then...because he was pretty clear in when Gandalf and Saruman showed up in Middle Earth
Balrogs are Maiar that fell under Morgoth/Sauron's control.
I am looking forward to watching it with HokieEnginerd. We were going to watch it Sunday or yesterday but forgot. Maybe Mini-LancerHokie will end up watching too, she read The Hobbit on her own for the first time recently.
I enjoyed the first two episodes. I am not well versed in lore outside of LoTR and the Hobbit and I've read lots of complaints that it is really divorced of Tolkien's world, but since I am not so close to it, it doesn't really bother me that much. Especially since this series won't really touch on the events of LotR and the Hobbit directly. I'm sure there are plenty of superfans who feel differently though.
After so much of the fantasy genre in film has been just poorly made and not internally consistent at all, I'm willing to sacrifice some faithfulness to the material if the end product is worth watching. Really, the Hobbit movies were so bad that this series is going to be graded on a bit of a curve.
It's actually not very divorced from Tolkien at all (so far).
These people are upset about diverse casting and short-haired elves. Neither of which did Tolkien take a strong stance on in his books. The bigger casting blunder IMO (and with what's actually written in a book) is casting Galadriel and Elrond to appear the same age with Celebrimbor and Gil-Galad being much older. If anything Galadriel should appear similar in age to Gil-Galad while Celebrimbor and Elrond should be closer in age.
I have also seen some people upset that Durin's wife did not have a full beard. I found that funny.
People just look for an excuse to be upset.
I was pretty upset with that. Completely took me out of the episode
While this is a valid criticism, I understand why the showrunners went a different direction here lol
Apparently the Tolkien estate had veto power over certain plot points as part of the agreement to make the show in the first place-perhaps this was a casualty of that
I'm really enjoying the show so far (with what little has happened). It's beautiful, well acted, and the vibe has been right.
The only minor break in the canon so far is treating the return to valinor like it is a gift from the king. Not really the case in the books. I'm slightly concerned about the meteor man plot line. IIRC Gandalf, Saruman, and Radagast don't arrive in M.E till the 3rd age. He may be a blue wizard but even still, the major known plot points from the books do not involve the istari (wizards) at all. It's a little weird seeing middle earth with the pacing of a show instead of a feature film.
Glad I'm not seeing the overly toxic takes here. The show is good (so far) but it seems the combination of it being Amazon and the mere inclusion of diversity within the cast caused lots of people to write it off entirely before it even aired. Being a massive hater seems to be the trendy thing to do in online fanbases these days.
Yeah the online hate over diversity casting for this show, as well as House of the Dragon, is very unfortunate and sadly also very predictable in this day and age. The internet truly amplifies the worst of humanity.
Yea, it's honestly sad that simply seeing a black Harfoot invokes rage in people and immediately ruins the show for them when the books literally say Harfoots are darker in skin color and hair.
I get the feeling that such people are often full of rage about everything and don't enjoy a lot of things.
The casting doesn't bother me in the least. I will say though that overly diverse casting was an issue for me in the mess that was the Wheel of Time show.
And the only reason for that is that anyone that has read WoT knows that Robert Jordan was addicted to describing how a character looked (and what they were wearing all the time) in exquisite detail to the point of being a bit over indulgent. To see characters that were so different in appearance was an actual problem that had nothing to do with being too "woke" or anything like that. After reading physical descriptions of these characters countless times over thousands of pages, just made it very difficult to connect to them in the show.
You might want to go back and re-read some of the early character descriptions because the casting of the show is one of the least problematic departures from the source material. Really, Rosamund Pike's height is the biggest discrepancy casting-wise for the main cast and it isn't really an important one.
The story issues are another matter.
I think Rosamund Pike and her icy demeanor are a perfect fit for Moraine.
As for the other characters, the original descriptions are pretty clear and consistent on Two Rivers folks having a similar appearance except for Rand specifically. It's why Elayne, when meeting them all for the first time, pulls down Rand's sleeve to see that his arms aren't tan and pegs him from not being someone originally from that area.
You are correct it's a small problem in light of the show as a whole, but when you have a mess like that even small problems are noticeable.
Agreed--I think if they nailed one casting choice it was Rosamund Pike as Moiraine. I'm not sure about her height or whatever, but I'm currently reading Wheel of Time for the first time ever (currently on book 5) and I think that pick was a home run. The guy who plays (errr..."played" because evidently he left the show) Mat was also really good imo. As far as the other main characters, they might not look like they are described in the book but I think they play the part very similar to the book versions of their characters. Honestly I feel like the worst one unfortunately is Rand haha. He feels way more whiney on the show for some reason.
Yeah the actual characters themselves were close. Nynaeve was certainly like that in terms of attitude and strength. Perrin was close, although he certainly wasn't married let alone killing his wife in the books. I thought that was a really strange choice to exhibit his animalistic nature due to being a wolf brother. Seemed way out of character, especially how loyal he is to his actual wife later in the books.
Mat is a trickster, but I think they made him a bit more malevolent and craven in the show than his character actually was under the influence of the dagger. He was by far my favorite book character, and I didn't like him very much in the show.
I'm on a 2nd re-read of the WOT series and it is a very diverse world. The casting is fine. Having to replace a main actor is a big hit though. Also the writing for the show is questionable but we all knew it would be very difficult to fit to the screen.
Edit: the trollocs were awesome.
The "gift" of the return to Valinor made feel like they were dying.
It was essentially exile right? I wanted badly to see what was on the other side.
Exile in the sense that Gil-Galad wanted to get rid of Galadriel and her single minded pursuit. But definetely not a punishment.
But you already did see what is in the other side, that's where the scenes of Galadriel as a little girl took place.
Going to Valinor is not a bad thing. There is a reason Frodo got to go at the end of LOTR, it's a reward. It was a big deal when Arwen decided to stay in Middle Earth with Aragorn instead of living forever in paradise. The show made it seem like sailing to Valinor was something akin to death, but it really wasn't that at all.
Ah thank you! I am not well versed but really like the show. They most certainly do make it seem like it is not a good place to be.
I didnt read much about it, and only really saw the trailers. I was prepared for disappointment based on those clips though, and some initial reactions from friends a couple of days before I got to sit down and watch it.
But I love it so far. The neat thing about Lord of the Rings is it takes place at the end of the time of the higher beings, where middle earth (which becomes our earth) is becoming only inhabited by humans. Peter Jacksons movies brought home that feeling so well visually. The fellowship was constantly hiding out, or passing through ruins that were countless centuries old. You could sense that ancient peoples with crafts and magic beyond those in the contemporary story were responsible for creating those relics. You knew that eons had passed, and that knowledge had been lost. Great civilizations diminished by war. In the Rings of Power you get to see some of those older civilizations (elves and dwarves) in all their glory. The visuals are incredible. And I don't mind a little slower developing plot if there's backstory being built.
Meteor man definitely should not be Gandalf, as he (and the other 4 wizards) didn't arrive until the Third Age.
I've seen some good theorycrafting that meteor man is actually Sauron. That would be a hell of a reveal down the road, but I'm not sure how the timing works out.
The Wizards most definitely didn't come to Middle Earth until we'll into the third age after it was feared Sauron was already back.
We watched the first episode last night. The crash site with the Meteor Man at the end looked like the Eye...
That has to be a red herring.
Or could be adding to the idea that Sauron truly has not been defeated.
Dude sick username, welcome aboard!
Judging by the timeline that's canon to this point, Sauron is already back and starting construction on his fortress by this time in the Second Age. The Stranger might be the biggest question mark for this first season.
Love it so far. Only real issue is where is Galadriel's husband and child? I figured that would have come up with the whole being sent back across the sea and all that. Otherwise, really interested in where they take this.
Agreed. I assume they will show up, but there is definitely some license being taken with Galadriel's story. In the literature she more or less stayed in Middle Earth after the War of the Jewels because she liked being a big fish in a small pond.
There are definitely more knowledgable Tolkien experts than I am. But I did read The Hobbit as a small child, first read The Lord of the Rings in 8th grade (and subsequently re-read them at least 3 more times), and finally tackled the Silmarillion in college (with one re-read later). If that sounds like I'm bragging, I am. And if that sounds sad, it is.
First my quick take on the "controversy" and negative reactions from the interwebs: Completely ignore them. Like totally ignore all of it. There are some liberties taken, plot-wise. And yes, there are (gasp!) some brown folks playing some new major characters. But the Second Age when the show takes place is easily the most sparsely fleshed-out Age in Tolkien's work, and Amazon specifically only has rights to cover the Second Age.
Objectively speaking, the show has beautiful cinematography, the writing is good-to-excellent, and it's well cast and acted. Despite only comprising about 25 pages of Tolkien's novels, there are some epic events that take place in the 2nd Age, so there's plenty of awesome plot material to cover over the 5 seasons of the show. Subjectively speaking, I've really enjoyed the first two episodes. As a Tolkien fan, I'm not disappointed by any aspect of the show so far. So bottom line is, if you want to watch the show, great. If you don't, that's cool too.
As for some specific questions/theories people have posted so far, here are my takes:
--The Harfoots are clearly Hobbit precursors. Hobbits (more often referred to as Halflings in the books) are never mentioned in the 2nd Age. But they have to come from somewhere, right? And as reclusive as they are in the show, it makes sense they could have been left out of the history of that era. Side note: I wasn't thrilled about there being Hobbits in the show, but the actress playing the main Hobbit Nori is fantastic, and those scenes have been a real pleasant surprise.
--"Meteor Man" (officially called The Stranger in the credits) is a total mystery. He clearly shows Gandalf-ish traits, and could be any of the Istari (Wizards). But while the Wizards are lesser gods who existed since the beginning of time, they were not sent to Middle-Earth until about 1000 years into the 3rd age. Some have theorized that Meteor Man is Sauron (the flames surrounding him are cool like the elves' torches at the evil fortress at the beginning of the first episode), and some have predicted he's a Wizard (because, well, he looks and acts like a Wizard). But I have no idea.
--Galadriel is ancient in the LoTR movies. They take place in 3019 of the Third Age, while the Second Age ends with Sauron being defeated by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men (the first scene of the movies) in 3441 of the second age. Galadriel was born in the FIRST Age, which makes her a minimum of ~6,500 years old in the movies (my guess is she's closer to 10,000 years old). She is one of the most important characters in Tolkien's universe, and there is a lot of trepidation about how she'll be portrayed in the show. That's probably the most legit worry/criticism from Tolkien geeks, although I personally don't share that concern.
Great summation, I also read the hobbit and later the lord of the rings series as a kid, never tackled the Silmarillion, but I'm aware of most of the lore of the First Age. Just started a re-read of the lord of the rings to see if it still holds up to what my memory has it being. My major issue with the show (I've stopped watching at this point because the story progression and writing is not good/gripping, plus the timelines are janky) is the Galadriel issue that you raised, and to a lesser extent how weird Numenor is portrayed. I was super excited to see Numenor, and to see it's corruption by Sauron and eventual destruction, but they (the writers) have messed with the timelines of everything in a way I don't like. That's personal preference of course. At least House of the Dragon is worth watching.
So far the show has been great. Especially given that you know the end fate of 50% of the characters. I'm still invested in the how they get there though which says a lot about the writing through the first three episodes. My only nitpicks are the over use of slow motion and the lack of levity any point (outside of brief moments with Durin). To me one of the great things about Tolkien stuff is how sneakily funny it can be at times and I'd like to see some of that
I have nothing to base this off of except a weird gut feeling but. . . Somehow I feel like Halbrand ends up as the Witch King. He just has a witch-kingy vibe to him. Obviously after he's corrupted by one of the rings given to men but still.
Or the show could go really crazy and have Halbrand just be Sauron. I don't think that would happen, but Galadriel being adrift with the enemy she has been searching for would be quite something.
In Tolkiens writing we only really know that Sauron shows up as "Annatar" to the Elves and Celebrimbor. He can take on any appearance he wants, so there's nothing to say this isn't the way he got himself back to Middle Earth to begin with. But it's already known the creation of the Ringwraiths will feature heavily in this series, and the allusions being made to him being a southern king, the Witch King seems like a very real possibility.
Watched the third episode and i am really impressed with most of the aspects of the show except that there is an awful lot of runtime and not a lot actually happening.
I feel like it is the exact opposite of the Wheel of Time problem (among that shows many problems) where they had way too much story and way to little time. Here they are moving the plot along at a glacial pace with too much time to fill.
This feels like a common complaint with a lot of short-form seasons. The pacing will pick up as we move forward (it has to), but it's pretty good practice to use early episodes to world build and set context. I've read The Hobbit, LOTR trilogy, and The Silm about a dozen times each, but it's easily been 10+ years since I've last read the silm and i find myself fuzzy on timelines etc. In a world as lore-heavy as this one, i think starting slow makes sense
Along with this, if the pacing isn't a slow burn during world building, you won't appreciate the actions scenes as much as they'll inevitably deserve.
With a show like this, you know shit is eventually going to hit the fan. You just hope they don't cram it all happening into the last 2 episodes of the entire series run. I do find it interesting that we're 3 episodes in and we really haven't seen much, if any, of the evil army and entity that we know is out there. Its all happening in the margins right now, which is kind of cool, but....
At the same time, I wonder if they're trying to have it play out with the same kind of build up and payoff that we all hoped the White Walkers would have done in GoT before they went on a speed run that last season.
I've read the Silmarillion 2 or 3 times, but it's also been a LONG time for me. If you want a quick refresher on the Second Age, here is a nice video on Sauron's shenanigans during that time. There's actually a lot of pretty epic storyline during this age, so I'll be surprised if the show doesn't pick up the pace pretty soon.
Sauron in the Second Age
For people who are not familiar with the Second Age and want to be surprised, there are a lot of spoilers in that video since it's pretty much a history of major events of that time.
yeah man, my first online community (before even social media) was a LOTR fan forum in middle school (2003?) that was dedicated to the gameboy advance video game "The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of the Ring" that was rpg/turn based combat and didn't have any movie licenses -- the forum was hosted by the game developer that had other boards dedicated to Diablo, etc almost like how 247 has different boards for different schools. But since the community had rights to the books via Tolkien estate, we weren't explicitly allowed to discuss the movies that were coming out at the time, so it was mostly video game chatter (it was a difficult game and had a very fatal flaw glitch, which is how i found the board to begin with, looking to see if anyone else was having it) and all the books. So read them and read them and read them I did. I tried the Unfinished Tales and Book of Lost Tales but they were pretty dense for a 14 year old. SImpler times.
Also, my grandmother read me The Hobbit when i was but a wee lad, and she was a librarian who had lots of older books. I still have her copy of The Hobbit and so look forward to reading it to my kids if I ever get to that point. Lots of nostalgia around LOTR + JRRT's universe.
In many ways, that online community put me on a path to being here on TKP -- someone on the LOTR forums posted about a different MMO video game they were playing, so i checked it out and immediately immersed myself in that (my second online community). That game singlehandedly absorbed my life in a very unhealthy way until I was a college junior and figured I should probably do something more useful with my life and took necessary steps to cut out video games entirely and also to go get a PHD -- which led me to tech and ultimately to TKP, my third real online community. It's been a wild ride.
What a wild ride man -- probably more than you bargained for in terms of a response but thanks for yeeting me into a trip down memory lane lol. and thanks for sharing the video, i'm WFH today so I'll check it out
KingJames just updated his spreadsheet to identify me as a total nerd lmao
Thanks for making me feel old. 2003 is when I graduated from Longwood, started grad school, and started teaching...
When I was in 9th grade (1995-96), I was in my school's drama club production of The Hobbit as Balin. I've read The Hobbit twice and read LOTR last summer.
That video was awesome. Thanks for sharing.
Glad you liked it! That YouTube channel (Nerd of the Rings, great name lol) has a bunch of really good Tolkien videos. Everything from the history of the Balrogs to some cool what-ifs (like what if Gandalf or Galadriel took the One Ring).
He's also done a lot of videos on the show, so it's a nice way to keep up with the various plot lines.
I'm really enjoying the show so far. At this point the biggest issue I have is the face on Galadriel during the slow motion horse ride this week. Reminded me of when my kids are insistent in making silly faces for a serious picture and we just have to resort to choosing the one that sucks the least.
Which is to say if that's my biggest complaint, the show is doing pretty good for itself so far.
Yeah, I'm a fan to this point. For starters, other than a few bits of wonky CGI, the visuals are stunning. Arda never looked so good.
Each story piece is interesting to me. I am all in on finding out who the Stranger is, and the Harfoots in general are characters I care about.
Elendil's character is awesome IMO. Learning more on him will be worth the time. I mean I know who he is, but seeing more of him on screen will be a good thing.
The action scenes, the few we've had, have been well done. The elves and orcs in this last episode was compelling, and Arondir feels like a great warrior without seeming like a superhero.
i am all in on the theory of Halbrand becoming the King of the Dead -- too much lines up with what we know for KotD vs Witch King. Perhaps could become one of the other Nazgul, but the Witch King is from the North. It's very easy to imagine a scenario where he returns to the southlands with the gang, takes up place as king (royal lineage having been hinted at), swears allegiance to Isildur, does not fulfill his oath, and is cursed (with his people) by Isildur for doing so -- only to later fulfill that oath to Aragorn son of Arathorn, Isiludur's heir, wielder of the sword of Elendil yadda yadda yadda
This is a very solid theory. I had been all-in with the prediction that he'd end up as the Witch King, but you're right, the Witch King was from a northern kingdom, and Halbrand has said he's from the south. I hadn't even thought about the King of the Dead, but the timeframe matches up. If I remember correctly, the books go into more detail about Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli's journey to fulfill the oath and control the army of the dead than the movies do.
The irony of the Peter Jackson movies is that they are so good, and I've seen them so many times, that I sometimes find myself forgetting that they do have some fairly major changes, and some key scenes that were left out from the books. When they first came out I immediately noted these discrepancies (No Tom Bombadil, Arwen rescuing Aragorn and the Hobbits from the Nazgul instead of Glorfindel, no Cleansing of the Shire, etc.). All these years later I've gotten more fuzzy on the details. I really need to read the books again lol.
Elves at helm's deep instead of the huorns, eomer being a jerk and rescuing helm's deep instead of erkenbrand, ghan-buri-ghan leading the rohirrim through the secret pass, the army of the dead actually being at minas tirith instead of just helping aragorn's company of dunedain capture the boats, faramir being a jerk to frodo and sam, frodo banishing sam to set up a dramatic return later, so on and so forth.
Omissions for the scourging of the shire and tom bombadil had to be for run time, there's just too much. If the movies were made now then they could easily be split into two each. Some of the other character tweaks were just to prevent having more characters to keep track of (eomer). The army of the dead being a swirling green deus ex machina at minas tirith really bothers me though.
Does anyone know the scope of this Series? Is it leading up to the War of Wrath?
War of Wrath already happened. That's when Morgoth was defeated.
I believe this is taking us to the Last Alliance of Elves and Men (the flashback scene that starts the LoTR movies)
Ahhh that's what I was thinking - the War of the Last Alliance not the War of Wrath.
It has been kind of cool to see Middle Earth in the heyday. When watching LOTR you will notice that there are just ancient ruins everywhere, so to see the vision now at the height before Saraun forges the rings I think is pretty cool.
Every time my wife and I have watched the LOTR trilogy or The Hobbit I always comment that they really need to do something that shows these vast communities and civilizations in their heyday. Seeing Khazad-dum in all its glory already was awesome. And even better, the showrunners didn't dwell on it. We were there, it was a setting, and then we left.
So far, this show has absolutely perfected fan service. Its just enough to scratch the itch without it overwhelming the experience.
Episode 4 was pretty good. We get our first look at Adar.
Wondering if we have seen Sauron yet, considering he was supposed to be able to take any form to disguise himself. I'm not sure if this character is supposed to be him or not. There was some foreshadowing in this episode that would suggest that the stranger is actually Sauron, but I am still not quite sure as that seems a little to obvious to me.
I took the comment about the stranger falling out of the sky as a prophecy sort of thing which pointed to the rise of Sauron, not that he himself was Sauron
That's the million dollar question isn't it? I guess it all comes down to whether the writers want us to be surprised/deceived by Sauron's appearance. Personally, I kind of hope we have not seen Sauron yet, but I guess these are the 4 possibilities:
1) It's the Stranger (aka "Meteor Man") - I really hope it's not, and I think this is the least likely possibility. To have the Hobbits unwittingly assist Sauron would be heartbreaking, and his innocence and confused kindness just don't fit. Nori said "it's like I was meant to find him," and it would be unforgivably un-Tolkien like for him to turn out to be Sauron.
2) It's Halbrand - More likely than Meteor Man, as Halbrand is also a mystery and seems to have a knack for persuasion, if not outright manipulation. As you said Sauron can take any form, so it's not impossible. But at some point Sauron will deceive first the elves (most of them at least), and then later the king of Numenor. Is that Halbrand? It doesn't feel like it to me.
3) Adar is Sauron - On the surface this seems to be most likely. I mean, he's leading the orcs in perverting the lands into what will eventually become Mordor. He's clearly evil, and he's clearly powerful. And yet it seems a little too obvious. And as I said, Sauron eventually needs to deceive and manipulate Celebrimbor and the elves of Eregion into crafting the lesser Rings of Power. I wouldn't buy a magazine subscription from Adar, much less let him come into my beautiful kingdom and craft some cool rings with him.
4) We haven't seen Sauron (aka Annatar, aka Gorthaur, aka The Dark Lord) yet - This is my hope. Sauron is to literature what Darth Vader is to movies, The G.O.A.T. of bad guys. He's pure evil. He commits atrocities like you and I blink, creates pain and despair because it's fun, and only the greatest heroes in Tolkien history could even stand in his presence. I personally don't want to see Sauron floating on a raft with Galadriel or working as an orc foreman on a digging project.
All that being said, Sauron will also bide his time for centuries, if that's what it takes to destroy the kingdoms of men and elves. So almost anything is possible.
For me it doesn't really make sense and would kind of annoy me if it's Halbrand. If it was, why did he say he had been driven from from his lands by orcs? And why would he dive in to save Galadriel?
I definitely think the elven king is already being controlled/manipulated in some way, and that his comment about fanning the coals comes true in some way.
My bet is we haven't seen Sauron yet, but another option is the advisor to the queen in Numenor. He clearly has ulterior motives.
To your last point, the advisor Pharazon ends up being another ruler that gets fooled by Sauron.
I'm with you that I don't think we've seen Sauron yet, or if we have it's going to be the last person we'd expect.
I have seen some people theorizing that Halbrand is possibly the Witch King.
I'm all in on King of the Dead (for now)
So I don't hate it as much as the internet channels do. I don't love it either. We really don't have an 'A' story yet, just about 4 'B' stories. So I'm going to be patient. I'm looking forward to Durin awakening the Balrog.
I am on the fence about made-up characters like Adar. If they push the story forward, OK. We'll see.
My biggest complaint is casting. With all the money you'd think they'd hire a few name actors. I knew probably half of the LOTR cast prior to the films. I know ZERO of the Rings of Power cast.
I agree with you on the pacing of the show, it's been a little bit slow so far, although I thought episode 4 picked things up nicely. On one hand, I think it's important to set up the multiple characters and branches of the plot. On the other hand there are "only" 40 total episodes, so things need to get going soon, and that can't truly happen until Sauron gets into the mix.
I'm not 100% sure Adar is a made up character. He seems to be an elf from the First Age, because when he asks Arondir where he is from, he talks about his travels in Beleriand (which was largely destroyed at the end of the First Age). I've seen it speculated that he is a corrupted elf (the First Age was pretty dark, so there's a lot of "bad" elves), and it's possible he could even be Maglor, a son of Faenor. Maglor did a lot of nasty stuff during the elf-against-elf Kinslayings during the conflicts over the Silmarils, but interestingly he spared the lives of Elrond and his brother Elros' when they were children.
Sadly, we won't get to see Durin awaken the Balrog in the show. That didn't happen until 1980 of the Third Age, when it killed Durin VI and drove the dwarves out of Kazad-dum, which the elves then renamed Moria ("the black pit"). But it's down there somewhere!
Him being Maglor would be interesting! Especially with Elrond being such a main character and Elros being mentioned so often.
For your point about the Balrog, I wouldn't be so sure we won't see it, there is a Balrog in the trailers for the show and the writers are on the record that they're basically condensing thousands of years into a much tighter timeline for the sake of a 4(ish) season show so there are likely going to be things happening much earlier than people expect it to.
And personally I am totally ok with this, but you know there will be several people out there that are hardcore fans that will get super pissed if you have 3rd aged events happening in the 2nd age, or any changes at all really. Which, honestly is really sad, just enjoy that you are getting more content and not nick pick the details.
This. I love Lord of the Rings and the lore, I read the books once a year since I was 13 (40 now).
But I'm not gonna get bent out of shape if the timeline gets smushed. The show is visually sumptuous. Give me the Balrog waking up and wrecking Khazad-dum. The Tolkien estate is well known for only allowing things that they approve. If the content is good enough for them, it's good enough for me.
I agree, the show is beautiful. I have not read more than the hobbit/LOTR so it is really cool just to learn more about this world and history of people those who haven't read the Silmarillion or any of the other things out there only know by name.
To your point about the Tolkien estate and the control they have, a podcast I was listening to earlier in the season mentioned this and how it wasn't necessarily Tolkiens intention, he really wanted to build a world where other people could come and play and write stories of their own. Not saying one way is better than the other, it's just something interesting that I never knew before.
I wonder if Amazon just backed up the Brinks truck for the family to allow them to use these books. Apparently there were several things that Peter Jackson was not allowed to mention at all in either LOTR or the The Hobbit movies because the estate would not allow it. I think it was mostly stuff from the Silmarillion.
Apparently there are a lot of things they aren't really allowed to touch from Silmarillion and other books. I think there is even restrictions on what they can reference as far as the movies go because WB owns the rights to the movies. The podcast I listened to talked about how they had to tiptoe through the prologue for the show because there's a lot of first age related things that they don't own the rights to. I think they're mostly restricted to what's in the appendices and the LOTR books themselves.
I would love to hear Tolkien's thoughts on one of the biggest companies in the world spending hundreds of millions of dollars to bring his work to the screen via a streaming service.
He was not anti-capitalism per say, but his writings clearly indicate a disdain for industrialization and technology coming in and replacing "how things used to be done".
The guy saw the horrors of technology at the Somme in WWI. He watched forests in the Midlands get clear cut to put up factories. It's no coincidence that Isengard and Mordor are shown as slag pits run by forces with no regard for the beauty or powe of nature.
Just an interesting meta thought on someone writing from that perspective...and his work being produced by one of the greatest technology disrupters of all time that goes into towns and cities all over and builds million square foot distribution centers.
Yeah, Tolkien would not be a fan of Amazon at all.
Somewhat related, it always makes me laugh seeing people wearing a Che Guevara tee shirt that they probably paid $50+ for.
I would say very related. The message gets lost once the $$$ comes along. In most everything.
College athletics, literature, music, whatever
Wholeheartedly agree! I understand that for some people these stories mean so much to them that they want it portrayed accurately but at a certain point, like you mentioned, just sit back and enjoy that we're getting something like this at all.
Regarding casting, I too had no idea who any of the people were going into it. But that being said, I think they're all doing a pretty fantastic job. Especially Durin. That guy just exudes Tolkien dwarf energy.
I watched ep 5 yesterday and durin + elrond are carrying this show
Not sure who the androgynous blue haired elf(???) looking thing is that looks at The Stranger's crater and sees the Harfoot tracks
This was the first episode that was kind of meh for me. I didn't need a whole episode showing me Galadriel and Elendil getting ready to leave. Just get get to the point already with that storyline.
The Harfoots and Stranger still have me quite interested though, and I agree Durin and Elrond and their interactions are the highlight of the show to this point. Durin tricking them on the table was gold.
As for the three new wanderers, The Dweller, The Nomad, and the Ascetic were the character names in the credits. The show runners have said in an interview that they have come from the Far East (Rhun), which is an area that Tolkien really never described in the books at all.
So unlikely that one of them is Sauron, but clear connection to The Stranger.
The whole Numenor segment of the show so far has been absurdly forgettable. I just don't care about their inner turmoil, I don't. And they pulled a Return of the King when they finally set sail where it was like they had 4 or 5 endings planned, couldn't decide which one to use, and just decided to use them all.
Totally agree that the Elrond and Durin dynamic is the best part of the show, and I think the relationship between the dwarves of Khazud-dum and the elves of Eregion (Celebrimbor) and Lindon (Gil-Galad) is going to be the most interesting plot line going forward.
Since no one asked, I guess 5 episodes in is as good a time as any to give my opinion of what I like and don't like so far. First, what I like:
--As you mentioned, the depiction of the elves and dwarves. The has been the most on-the-nose as far as what I expect from Tolkien's second age. The characters are majestic yet relatable, and the kingdoms (Khazad-dum in particular) feel ancient and fantastic. The mithril origin story is made-up, but hey, anything with a fight between an elf lord and a Balrog is always welcome.
--References to Earendil. For anyone who doesn't know, Earendil is arguably the greatest hero in the history of Tolkien's work. He is the father of Elrond, as well as his brother Elros, who was also half-elven but chose mortality and became the founding king of Numenor. Earendil essentially saved the world from Morgoth, by sacrificing himself to beg the Valar to help the elves and men. For his selflessness, he was turned into a star. Link to Earendil history -> Earendil was awesome
--Elendil, Halbrand and Nori. I just really like these characters in the show so far. The Hobbit/Stranger story has been better than I would have expected, and I think the actors playing Elendil and Halbrand are great. There are some casting choices I'm on the fence about (Gil-Galad and Isildur), but these 3 are great so far.
Things I'm not a huge fan of:
--To me, the depiction of Numenor has been underwhelming. The people of Numenor were given great gifts by the Valar for their heroism in the battle against Morgoth that sank the rest of Beleriand under the ocean. Numenoreans have 3 times the life span of "lesser" men - Elros himself lived to be 500 years old and even Aragorn, descended from Numenoreans, was like 90 years old during the LOTRs - and they were the mightiest of all mankind in stature (like 7-feet-tall) and intelligence. The Numenoreans were seen as almost godlike when they later settled Middle-Earth (Gondor, etc), but their depiction in the show is...well, not that.
--The slow pacing. This is all about the producers' decision to seemingly make the entire first season a slow-walk reveal of Sauron. Personally, I'm not interested in an "oh-my-god!" moment where we find out who Sauron really is. For me, it will be satisfying enough to see him cruelly deceive the elves, dwarves and men of Middle-Earth to their ruin. I just want to see Sauron doing, you know, Sauron-y things.
Finally, speaking of The Great Sauron mystery, here's my guess - and we'll see how well this ages lol. Halbrand is definitely not Sauron. And apparently Adar is not Sauron either. That would leave the Stranger, but wait! He's not Sauron either, he's a blue wizard. The creepy, white-robed people are looking for him because they know he's a Maiar and fear him. If I had to guess, I think the one digging around in the Stranger's crater (The Dweller) is Sauron. I know it's a woman (I thought it was a man because of the short hair, but it's not), but she looks perfectly menacing as Annatar, the Lord of gifts, the name Sauron goes by in the second age. As AZHokie22 mentions above, they are from the Far East land of Rhun, which while not fleshed out in any of the books, is where Sauron repeatedly fled when he was temporarily defeated.
I'd restate the pacing issue this way: there is no real plot. They need an A story to drive the plot and they don't have that yet.
You said in five words what I said in like five hundred. :-)
I am confident that it's gonna pick up dramatically, because there are just so many dramatic events in the second age to cover. I'm honestly perplexed why the writers/directors chose a slow build up. They could have almost immediately started with Sauron tricking the elves into crafting the rings of power, followed by multiple wars to conquer middle-earth.
only 3 episodes left I think so they really need to start picking things up here soon
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Completely agree though. Starting in Numenor with a handsome silver-tongued devil, that you didn't immediately recognize as Sauron would have been great. And if it was done in a way that you even agreed with his points and thought him a wise leader/advisor until you discovered his poison. That would have been an epic show.
I'm no good with photoshop but this is my best attempt at my summary of the show.
Genuinely enjoying the show and really excited to see where it goes. To all those who are triggered by the show I direct you promptly to the clip below.
Dank meme, sick reference
Appreciate it. My skills in paint suck but I did my best. Couldn't stop thinking it 5 episodes in how obsessed she is
I've only seen the first three episodes so far, but some coworkers were saying that episode 6 is getting some awesome reviews.
Episode 6 takes the cake folks. That ending is chefs kiss levels of fucking story material can you say hello we to mount doom ladies and gentleman?
Holy gazoones that was intense 😳
So I guess they just made Mt. Doom right in front of us. I did not see that coming.
I knew that area eventually becomes the blasted lands of Mordor, but I thought it would have been a more gradual, corrupting process. Not BANG!
I liked it. Fingers crossed we find out who the Stranger is here soon, and I will be pleased with this first season.
That was pretty awesome. Bronwyn did mention Mt. Doom by its other name (Orodruin) in a previous episode when she mentioned the refugees had come to the guard tower from all across the region. But I don't think almost anyone saw THAT coming.
Also a cool fake out by Adar to get the Morgul blade out of the village before the Numenoreans arrived. It's now obvious Adar is definitely not Sauron, but he's turning out to be a really interesting character himself.
I kept calling it a Morgul blade in my head too. But I guess...Minas Morgul doesn't exist yet. So I don't know what you'd call that thing.
Would have likely been made in Angband, which was Morgoth's fortress before he was defeated for good.
Oh, you're right! It's technically not a Morgul Blade. I saw one YouTube channel refer to it as a sort of a "reverse morgul blade." Definitely ancient and evil though!
One thing I'm enjoying about the show is the detail and internal consistency. Two great examples in this last episode:
Arondir getting a face full of black orc blood, and then just a few moments later the revelation of the red blood for most of the "orcs" they fought and killed. Great detail there.
I've heard some people complain this AM that how did Galadriel and the Numeanorens show up at exactly the right spot. Felt too cliched , they said. Except that they already let us know she realized the mark she saw was a map, and did have an idea of exactly where to go. And Halbrand would certainly have some inkling.
There are areas it can tighten up for sure, but bringing together the narratives is a move in the right direction, and I'm enjoying the show.
These people must hate the Deus Ex Machina that happens constantly in Lord of the Rings, too
I've really enjoyed this show. It's what I look forward to at the end of my work week.
I'm increasingly being led to believe that Halbrand is Sauron. The "do you remember me" line to Adar. The pause before saying "yes I am king". It all seems a little suspicious.
Of course it could just all be coincidence.
Episode 6 was awesome, all the action we've been waiting for since the series started. The Mount Doom reveal was interesting. Not sure what the next move for the Numenor army will be. Overall loving this show, better than HOTD imo
All I am saying is that I wouldn't mind if we replaced our Emma Gifs with Bronwen. Holy smokes.
She is well qualified but Galadriel is head and shoulders above the rest. It's unreal
They're both gorgeous, but I think I'd also have to give Galadriel the top prize as well.
Galadriel is a bit cracked and obsessed with sauron to me. No matter what you'd be doing she's drop it at the utter mention of sauron
I enjoy how she's fighting battles wearing something you'd see at an Oktoberfest party not a midevil battle.
Here is something interesting I just read in an article talking about how Season 2 is already filming.
So for anyone complaining it is slow, all 5 seasons are planned out so it seems this season has been mostly set up. Mt Doom was a big reveal last week, and I'm sure we will get some big events in the last two episodes but I'm starting to think we won't see Sauron this season.
I have always assumed the unveiling of Sauron was going to be the very last cliffhanger scene of Season 1
No chance. Sauron still has to con the elves into making the Rings for him, and to turn the Numenoreans into devil worshipers to their island will sink in the sea. That is a lot to pull off in 2-3 episodes.
I think he just means the show revealing which character (if any) Sauron actually is. Obviously the stuff you mentioned will take place in future seasons.
Episode 6 was pretty good, and a nice change of pace from the rest of the episodes. If you ignore the holes in logic it is thoroughly entertaining. I'm tired of the "the bad guy is only captured because he wants to be" trope in shows and movies though. It's pretty lazy writing.
Read some interesting theories about Halbrand possibly being Sauron due to his exchange with Adar. Him being all like "Remember me?" and angry with Adar + Adar stating that he killed Sauron does make sense, plus with him being king of the Southlands (aka Mordor), but I feel like that would be a weird reveal. It will be interesting to see what happens in the final two episodes.
Personally I see it a lot more likely that Halbrand becomes the Witch-King or one of the other Ringwraiths, seeing as how he is a king of men and the 9 rings for humans were given to kings of men...
If you'd like to watch Rings of Power take a massive pummeling, the Critical Drinker is happy to oblige:
When he showed the Wargs in the video my thought went: "Wait where did I see those used?"
It's funny, every time I see people online go to what seems to me like a LOT of trouble to bash back Rings of Power, I'm always reminded of the wise words of William Shatner:
"For crying out loud, it's just a TV show"
I mean, seriously, the only thing sadder than being totally obsessed with a show you love is being totally obsessed with a show you hate.
Exactly. That's how I felt about the Halo show. So many people bashing it to the point of rage. If it's that upsetting stop watching. Side note, Rings of Power is infinitely better than the Halo show.
Without making any comment on the show itself (which I've actually enjoyed), having never seen one of these guys videos...he is not nearly as clever as he thinks he is.
Like his "why does Sauron disappear...don't know!" comment with the guy shrugging, a few moments after complaining that the show doesn't respect the source material. The show gave exactly the same reason for him going into hiding as the written material does.
Just kinda bugged me. There is plenty to pick on the show for, but it just came across as a guy that was gonna bitch for the sake of it.
The neckbeards in the comments section are even more insufferable.
Any self-proclaimed "critical thinker" online is rarely one themselves.
This dude cares more about riling up haters (very easy and very lucrative) much more than he cares about Tolkien.
Probably he found more views the more outrageous he acts in the video-wouldn't be unusual at all. More views means more $$$
This latest episode was better, but still not great. I don't really have a problem with them arriving at the right time to save the day, but it would have been nice had there been a reason stated that they came to this one town which has no particular reason to be on their radar at all. They already showed that other town which was destroyed previously and they made no effort to visit that one. Why was this town special?
Also, they galloped their horses all the way from the shore for a day's ride (over a mountain range in the map?) after delaying their departure and happened to arrive in the nick of time when they didn't even know about an attack happening? Why was there this urgency to arrive at that particular town? How did they know? There was certainly plenty of runtime to give us some kind of plausible hint.
And while the Mt Doom reveal was kind of cool, who set up this ruin with a switch that would release a dammed river into a volcano? And to what end? Pretty looking sequence, but it seems a bit of a crazy rube-goldberg machine left sitting around that relied on a lot of moving pieces being in the right place at the right time.
Okay I think I can answer most of these. The rode to that one town because Galadriel saw it on the map right at the base of the mountain shown in the symbol.
There was urgency because they're riding into battle and trying to liberate the southlands while as many people are still alive as possible to unite them under Halbrand. There were also several large structures burned in the intial battle, the Numenorians would have seen the smoke and realized that's where the action was. As well as also being headed that way initially.
The orcs dug the tunnels that allowed the water from the dam to flow into Mount Doom. Hence why they kept so many villagers alive and forced them to dig.
I thought they did a good enough job of making it clear that once Galadriel realized the "symbol" was in fact a map, that would have led them to that location with intent. They knew it was a place close to the specific spot on the spur of the mountain range where Orodruin was. (Hence why they were so close to Mt. Doom when it was created)
Not to mention, Halbrand would have personal knowledge of the area and where important towns that fit for that location would be.
Also as mentioned above, the switch was just there to open the floodgates. The orcs digging the tunnels was needed to make the plan actually work. That was Adar's part in all this.
In one of the previous episodes, there was dialogue (I think Galadriel actually said it) that it was believed there was a plan to create a home for the Orcs that had been laid out. I think the implication being that that was part of what Sauron was up to after he went into hiding. At the very least, that's what Galadriel believed. I can distinctly remember hearing that in the show.
Perhaps I'm wrong but wasn't there an earlier mention of Ostirith in the discussion surrounding the map?
Ep 7 hoo boy
Freaky white-clad people are hella freaky. But the harfoots showing some initiative as a result is an interesting development.
Miriel becoming blind and resolved to fight is probably key to how Pharazon comes into power eventually. Elendil assuming Isildur is dead and reacting to the resolve to fight is well acted and tough to watch -- we know he's not dead. Big headfake for the casual viewers who dont make the connection with LOTR movie flashbacks.
Southlanders intending to resettle in Pelargir is big checkmark for Halbrand as King Of The Dead. I'm all in on it.
I had Tho pegged as future nazgul given the way he talked about the reciprocal Morgul blade at the end of the last ep.
Has there ever been a more competent evil minion than Waldreg? Homey came through big time and is still rollin alongside Adar.
My nitpick-- what a stupid and lame way to show that the southlands have become what we know as Mordor. Just have Adar say it.
Moria/mithril storyline is absolutely the best of all the different lil threads to pull on. Lots of love upthread for Galadiel and Bronwyn etc etc but Disa is easily the best female character on the show. Durin's interactions with King Dad have been acted on point. Incredible.
Agreed on the south lands->Mordor text burn away. Lame lame lame.
I feel like the balrog is too early. I mean, didnt Gimli talk about Moria being a thriving dwarven kingdom? Kind of hard to be that 1000 years later when ole flame skull is already awakened by a...checks notes...leaf? Guess this could be a plot line later (re-banishing him?)
Elrond/durin story has been fantastically acted and written to me it's been the best part so far minus the mount doom reveal. Disa plays her part perfectly to me is galadriel could learn to act with similar attitude I'd be happier, galadriel almost acts robotically at times obsessive to extreme levels over sauron.
This is random but I just thought about it -- when the main elf guy got captured and forced to dig, were the other elves that were there (the ones who got killed) the elves he was guarding the Southlands with? Was it explained that they were captured at some point? I remember thinking these things when watching the episode but promptly forgot afterwards lol.
Yes they were the same elves
Since it looks like we're finally going to get our first glimpse of Sauron in the season finale, I thought this would be a good time to link to a nice summary of just how nasty a son of a bitch Sauron is at the time the show takes place.
Sauron in the First Age
This video talks about the history of Sauron leading up to the show, which takes place in the Second Age. It touches on the story of Beren and Luthien, who were among Tolkien's greatest and most important heroes of the First Age. It also shows how Galadriel's oldest brother Finrod was killed by Sauron, as he gave his life to save Beren.
The video helps explain why Galadriel hates Sauron so much, and as a bonus tells the story of Huan, arguably the most heroic and bad-ass dog of all time.
Still really want to like this show and I'm still not getting there. That text on screen reveal was pretty terribad. Just needed Adar to look at the camera, wink and say, "I'm the bad guy" to complete the picture.
I don't think that Adar is Sauron. It was not made that clear in the show, but in the books Galadriel has the ability to sense Sauron's presence. It's why she knew to look at the table/forge in that old fortress in the first episode and find the mark. Specifically, she says that Sauron can not perceive her mind, but she can perceive his. The Silmarilion also goes out of its way to say that one of her greatest powers was to see into the hearts of people. Hence the tests she gives the Fellowship in LOTR.
It would be super unlikely that she could interrogate Adar directly and not pick up on him being Sauron. Same reason Halbrand isn't Sauron either.
Whoever Sauron turns out to be, it's a character Galadriel hasn't met yet in the show in my opinion.
You make a great point about Galadriel-my dark horse Sauron pick was Pharazon but she was in his presence a fair bit as well so probably not him either then. Can't wait for the final episode of the season-been really enjoying the show so far.
It's interesting, because of the three (Halbrand, Adar, Pharazon), Pharazon is the only character that has a history already and wasn't a creation for the show. So I would agree, it's unlikely it's him. He's already got a part to play.
There is one specific character that Galadriel has had no interaction with, however. Actually a whole storylines worth. Maybe this show goes full nuclear and has the leader of the Harfoots turn out to be Sauron. He does seem to know A LOT about signs that evil is returning. Maybe he goes with them to catch up to the Stranger because he recognizes the threat after The Stranger was actually able to bring their grove back to life.
Sadoc = Sauron. Heard it here first
That would be one helluva twist. But Sauron has a history (future?) of completely disregarding hobbits and thinking they aren't capable of doing anything. Doubtful he would feel that way if he spent so much time with them. Unless the Harfoots end up being complete stooges
You make a good point about Sauron and Hobbits, I REALLY don't think it's Sadoc. I also don't think Sauron is Adar or Halbrand or the Stranger, all for various reasons. But mostly, even though Sauron is capable of shapeshifting and is a master of deception, he's also an immortal power literally older than the world. The idea that he would skulk around as any of these characters seems below him.
I still think it's the menacing looking woman (the Dweller) who torched the Harfoots' carts. First of all, magic like that is not super common in Tolkien - even Nazgul and elf lords can't do things like that. That's Sauron/Gandalf/Saruman level sorcery. The Dweller definitely gives off a Sauron vibe to me. But of course, like everyone else I have no idea.
Keep in mind, the Witch King was able to set fire and break Gandalf's staff with no issue, so the Nazgûl do have some of that power. If Rohan hadn't shown up...
I feel like the Dweller being Sauron would be very unsatisfying however. Just from an entertainment standpoint, that character hasn't "earned" it yet. I'm not sure which one has, and frankly that seems to be the actual point of the season, keep us guessing to the end.
It's kind of cool for me, after reading LOTR every year since I was 12 or so, to be able
To have speculative conversations about it.
I don't think Adar is Sauron either, just that the text on screen was such an audience handhold as to be completely absurd.
Shit wrong show. Sorry
Not gonna lie that was the worst episode by far, and I really do like the show. But the dialogue was super corny and barely anything of significance happened outside of the Elrond storyline. Also Galadriel and Theo are really dumb for some reason and completely ignored the other survivors to go off on their own and get lost in the dark.. but then their splitting off ended up having zero significance at all. First instance of really bad plot writing for me so far.
The Harfoot storyline is by far the worst I'm sorry. First of all they should focus more on expressing coherent sentences than on doing the fake Irish accent. But worst part is nothing ever happens. They do some chores, have some emotional monologue, then special ed Gandalf does his magic trick of the week. (Side note I really hope this isn't Gandalf because I can't stand the idea of the wisest most well spoken character in the LOTR universe spending all that time wandering confused making grunting noises. But honestly I do think it is him because it would explain his fondness for Hobbits.)
The Mordor text was really bad, amateur hour really. The scene after I actually thought was really cool, but did the Balrog have to wake up for the leaf? Maybe they could've shown it sleeping way below then something happens later to wake it up? Either way that will end up being a cool storyline for next season. Sets up for the dwarves having to team up with the elves to defeat it and in exchange giving them the mythril. Or maybe Gandalf the slow will help them defeat it and return as Gandalf the grey. Wouldn't even surprise me.
Just watched the latest episode last night (I'm always behind lol). A few thoughts:
1) If they're bringing in the balrog then I think that the wizard with the Harfoots is probably Gandalf. Not for any related reason, but just because in the lore the balrog isn't awakened until Durin VI and we are on Durin III/IV currently, so clearly they don't care about timeline that much. And Gandalf didn't appear until the Third Age and we're in the Second Age now, so who cares about that timeline either?
2) I loved how the show writers retconned some initial flack the show received by revealing that Galadriel is in fact married to Celeborn in the show, which is something people complained about not being a thing in this show when it started.
3) The whole "we all got split up" thing was pretty dumb. The village was like 10 buildings, and a volcano isn't going to blow people away so why exactly couldn't everyone find each other?
This was definitely a return-to-normal episode in terms of quality. Hopefully something really interesting happens next episode! I think unless the weird lady in white is Sauron then we haven't seen him yet.
You answered your own question, he's not gandalf as it isn't his time yet same with the balrog. It's more of a foreshadow to me as we all know it's still a ways to go before the balrog ruins the dwarven kingdoms.
Yeah, I think the Balrog was more of a foreshadowing.
It's one of the more powerful beings ever created, if it could get out by itself it already would have. There will be quite awhile until the dwarves dig deep enough to release it.
I guess I saw it as less of an easter egg for fans and more of a teaser as to what we can expect to happen in the season finale, but maybe it was just an easter egg. And my understanding of the Balrog is not that it is "trapped" in the depths but rather has basically gone into hibernation, because there are plenty of references in LotR to the dwarves digging too greedily/deep and awakening the balrog. It would definitely be a good way for them to inject some action into what has been the calmest plot line so far.
OK, I'm not as steeped in the lore as most on here but isn't this Balrogs name Durins Bane? Additionally they were Morgoths lieutenants in the First Age during the War of Wrath (as was Sauron) so it definitely could be the Balrogs time. And since Morgoth couldn't create new things weren't they originally Maia that he perverted into the beings they are now? Just asking the questions as they seem pertinent to where we are in the show.
It is Durin's Bane...but Durin VI. Who it kills almost 2000 years into the Third Age.
The Durins that we see in the show are III and IV, respectively.
And yes the Balrogs are Maiar spirits. Same as Gandalf, Saruman, Sauron as well. I've got no problem with the dwarves having to deal with the Balrog in the show, but the timeline is not right. And I'm ok with that too.
Actually, yes a volcano can do that. It's called pyroclastic flow. That's exactly what it looked like was happening at the end of the episode. Knowing how destructive it can be, I was surprised to see so many ppl get up and walk away. The folks of Pompeii would like to know their secret!
you think the writers changed episode 7 after the show released?
Not after the show released, but maybe while they were writing episode 7 they decided to throw Celeborn in there as a potential future plotline? Because in the beginning episodes Galadriel is really torn up about her brother being killed but you'd think she'd at least mention Celeborn too since she assumes he is dead from the war as well lol. I was just pointing out that it conveniently smoothes out one fan complaint.
LOTR is the greatest Trilogy ever written - and that is the only reason I continue watching RoP. Peter Jackson built up a ton of equity that is quickly being destroyed by Amazon's writer's and show-runners. The most recent episode was a return to sub-par writing and boring story-lines. I truly hope S2 is better but I am not holding my breath.
Yeah, I'm holding out hope for the last episode, but if they wanted to do something else with this season wouldn't they have done it in this episode. Unless they go action cliffhanger in the last episode which I doubt
Goddamn. I mean I have my complaints sure but sheesh episode 8 was wild.
I haven't watched it yet but I checked early reviews this morning and it was almost as high as episode 6, so I'm looking forward to it!
Bold checking the comments in a spoiler thread. Shit goes down I can tell you at the very least
Bold spoiler: Sauron is indeed revealed and he was hiding in plain sight all along
Yeah, I won't go full spoiler until people have had a couple of days to watch it. But man they really jerked me back-and-forth there with Sauron's identity.
I also have some issues with a couple of details, both in the finale and the season in general, but overall I really like where Season 1 finished up.
I'll wait a few days too, but my main issue was pacing. The events in episode 8 could easily have been drawn out over 5-6 episodes, especially with how the pacing went earlier in the season.
I think one thing the show is suffering from is not enough material to allow for both the correct pacing of each storyline and for them to all correctly align with one another. As a Tolkein fan I see so much that they could set up and easter eggs they could add in order to have a more complete show. A few tweaks could make this show so much better
Overall, I liked the first season. Not LOTR great, but not Hobbit terrible. It found a nice middle ground that laid some good ground work for them to work with in future seasons.
The reveals in the last episode were..... Obvious. But that's not a bad thing. Just looking forward to seeing where they go with it all next.
I'm sort of on the fence with what they are doing with the timeline, but overall enjoyed the first season. Since they already have five seasons planned, I'll trust they have some good ideas with where this is going.
Thought it was a good touch with the misdirection on the Sauron reveal. And loved that The Stranger said literally the exact line to Nori that Gandalf says to Merry in LOTR.
From a pacing standpoint I look at this first season as the fellowship film in the original trilogy-I expect subsequent seasons to pick up the pace since the groundwork has been laid.
The timeline itself, not so much the pacing.
There are a lot of things happening much earlier (and much later) than they happened in the source material. That in and of itself isn't a huge deal, but it does create some weird potential plot issues.
Best example is if The Stranger is Gandalf, and that's the heavy implication, it changes A LOT. We already saw in The Hobbit with Gandalf figuring out the Necromancer in Dol Guldur was Sauron. And that happened 2000 years after the events of this show. But Gandalf was sent to assist Middle Earth until the Third Age specifically to help with this task (rooting out Sauron). If he's already on Middle Earth, what exactly is he going to be doing. It makes Gandalf an entirely different character than the one we are familiar with.
Another...Annatar (Halbrand in this version) had already helped make the rings of power for the Dwarves and Human kings at the same time the Elves made theirs free of his corruption.
I'm not saying it's a bad thing to change things up and tell a slightly different story. It just feels like it might rob us of some interesting story threads that would make no sense in the timeline the show has now established.
They easily could've done the Halbrand reveal with the elves over 5-6 episodes not just one. That's my issue with the pacing.
I don't mind them modifying the timeline slightly, but they've stepping all over it so far. The pacing honestly further screws with the modified timeline because here Sauron was with the elves for like a week or two where in the books it was much longer
Gotta say, I did not see the Tom Bombadil tie in coming
EDIT: I'm sorry. I am a bad person. This was just posted to screw with people. There is no Tom Bombadil tie in...yet
I think I completely missed this somehow. When did they reference or show Tom?
Edit: Boo this man
Yeah I missed that as well.
You got me too, lol. I wasn't really thinking that I had missed it, I was just wondering what you had seen that you thought was a Bombadil reference.
But seriously, why not? This show has already shown that it's not afraid to stray away from minor canon plot lines (Halbrand as Annatar, Galadriel as a main character, etc), which I'm fine with. Tom Bombadil is ancient, so he'd definitely fit into the timeline. That would be a huge bone to throw to the Tolkien fans.
You had me on a wiki wild goose chase after that
if RoP can somehow incorporate Tom Bombadil into the story at some point that will be legendary and I think would give them a lot of credit with skeptical LotR fans. Even if it was just a one-off scene with Galadriel or someone who is passing through his area, that would be epic.
Are you referring to Istar?
Really enjoyed the first season and the last few episodes were fantastic. Sure this does alter the timeline a little bit as a non lore freak how in stone is the whole they all got the rings at the same time?
In the lore all of the rings were made by the elven smiths, but the 3 for the Elves were Celebrimbor alone free of Sauron's influence.
So they are going to just have to come up with some way for Sauron to convince the Dwarves and Humans how to make the rings I guess, because why would the Elves help now? It's a pretty significant story departure.
The point is that Sauron got the Elves to make the Seven and Nine for the Dwarves and Men while making the One Ring in secret to control them.
I think the elves originally made the other 16 rings for themselves too, and then Sauron began a war with the elves and captured the 16 rings and then gave them to men and dwarves, so that could still work for the current story I guess. Who the heck knows what they will do though lol
Honestly thought that they were going to pull Celebrimbor in as a sauron tease for a second but to me I think some of his quotes suggest he may still be willing to smith more rings of power. Appreciate the insight it seems Halbrand is a decent smith and could probably forge the rest in season 2 and find a way to get the dwarves to take them.
Now that Sauron is out of the bag so to speak, I hope they keep the shape shifting, many faces thing either obvious or to a minimum when possible. I don't need this to go full Westworld of "is that actually Celebrimbor or was that sauron in disguise" every scene.
Overall, it was a good season, entertaining at the least. The Sauron reveal Followed the classic detective story arc of oooh I suspect you early on, then rule you out, but oooh it was you the whole time. I was hoping the Stranger would be Saruman (I honestly don't know his timeline) but that nose line really slants Gandalf. But it would be badass to see still good Saruman at some point in the show.
Season 2 wants: more about Isildur, he's obviously alive and up to something. The Harfoots to found the shire (this may be a series arc, but seems like it's headed there). Destruction of elven cities/founding of Rivendell. Less Numenor. And finally, More damn Dwarves!
All the dawrven stuff they want to show I'm all for always were my favorite parts in the trilogies.
I was willing to reserve judgment on a whole til after S1 ended -- i was underwhelmed. Dwarves carried the show.
Same here. The scenes in Moria were some of the best. I thought the actress who plays the main Harfoot also put a lot into her performance and brought that Frodo energy so that was good. I watched the entire season and still have trouble remembering anybody's names other than Galadriel/Durin/Elrond/Nori/Halbrand/Elendil/Isildur, and half of those are just because they're in the main books, so though so that definitely says something coming from a Tolkien nerd like myself. For a show that moved so slowly at the beginning, they really didn't accomplish much character-building IMO.
That lady with the son who knows the stuff and loves whatshisface
Characters Who Seemed Cool In Their Brief Appearances:
Mr. 2nd-in-command elf
The not-dead friend of Isildur
Dat Moria Fireboy Leafkiller
Is anybody else thinking that Theo becomes the Witch King down the road?