Prime Video’s ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ takes you to the second age of Middle-earth, set thousands of years before J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It focuses on the forging of the titular rings alongside other major events of the time, including the rise of the evil lord Sauron.
Episode 1 recap: “A Shadow of the Past”
Not breaking tradition, The Rings of Power opens with a monologue from a young Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) who speaks about the world once being so young that no evil lurked in it.
We see her getting into a tussle with her peers as a little elf, only to be comforted by her brother Finrod (Will Fletcher). Moving on, she explains the inception of darker times as an evil lord named Morgoth rose into power.
An army of Elves went to war from Valinor to Middle-earth which lasted for centuries. Eventually, Morgoth was vanquished but his most loyal servant Sauron kept wrecking havoc across the lands with his army of Orcs.
Galadriel painfully elaborates that her brother took up arms against the powerful sorcerer but perished at his hands. Therefore, she vowed to carry on his will and not rest until Sauron was defeated.
Unfortunately, his trail grew thin and as years passed, her kind believed that Sauron was but a mere memory. However, Galadriel refuses to buy into this belief and we see her scaling the snowy peaks of Forodwaith with her company searching for the evil lord.
Despite some complaints from her soldiers, she carries on and reaches the temple where Orcs were seen after Morgoth’s defeat and finds Sauron’s symbol there. Things don’t go as planned because they are forced to fight a snow troll and her troops decide to end this expedition, much to Galadriel’s dismay.
We then travel to the Wilderlands of Rhovanion where the plot introduces Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) — daughter of Largo (Dylan Smith) and Marigold (Sara Zwangobani) Brandyfoot — and her friend Poppy Proudfellow (Megan Richards).
Finally, we get to see Elrond (Robert Aramayo) in Lindon, the capital of the High Elves. Upon hearing of Galadriel’s return, he goes to greet her. She warns him that the High King needs to stop being complacent and acknowledge Sauron’s presence.
Galadriel seeks an audience with the king who orders her to sail out West and give up her quest for vengeance. As a last resort of hope, Elrond promises to inform her if they get news about Sauron stirring.
The plot then shifts to the South Lands where an Elf named Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) has a cordial relationship with the locals of Tirharad (who happen to be humans). He even shares a romantic one with a woman named Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi).
As he arrives at his post, his fellow soldiers inform Arondir that the High King has ordered a retreat because he believes all evil has been triumphed over. This news disheartens the Elf.
The Watchwarden tries to comfort him by revealing that the people there supported Morgoth when he was in power and are still plagued by darkness. He still shows optimism about them and goes to visit Bronwyn for a last time.
In a curious turn of events, a farmer shows up to see Bronwyn complaining about an illness to his cow who has a black fluid pouring out of her udders. Arondir questions him about where the animal went grazing and learns it was East in Horden.
The duo decides to travel there to investigate. Meanwhile, Bronwyn’s son, Theo (Tyro Muhafidin), comes into possession of a broken sword with Sauron’s sigil on it which whispers to him in Black Speech.
Galadriel sets sail to pass over to Valinor as The High King has a conversation with Elrond and assigns him to Lord Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards). The Harfoot elder, Sadoc Burrows (Lenny Henry), tells Nori that there’s something weird and strange about the skies.
Arondir and Bronwyn reach Hordern and find it in ruins. As Galadriel’s ship inches closer to the Elf world, a fiery meteor flies over Lindon, Hordern, and crashes near Rhovanion.
Galadriel meanwhile thinks about her brother and abandons the ship as it passes over. The High King picks up a fallen leaf and notices that its veins are disintegrating like the tree in Valinor.
Nori approaches the crash site and finds a bearded man lying amid the fire.
Episode 2 recap: “Adrift”
The second episode of The Rings of Power opens with Galadriel floating in the sea and gazing at the stars. We then see Nori cautiously approach the man within the fire (Daniel Weyman). Poppy acts as the voice of reason but Nori pokes the stranger in the face.
Although he doesn’t respond initially, he eventually wakes up to grab Nori’s hand and starts screaming. This causes everything around them to float violently as Nori begs him to stop. She then slyly procures a cart and helps to take the man to safety.
At Horden, Arondir and Bronwyn investigate the ruins and find no bodies. They notice an underground passage nearby and the Elf instructs his lover to evacuate her village. He himself heads into the opening to probe further.
We then travel to the realm of Elven Smiths, Eregion and see Elrond in conversation with Celebrimbor. They speak about Fëanor’s hammer which was used to shape the Silmarils (the jewels housing the light of Valinor). Celebrimbor reveals plans for a tower with a forge that will hold the power to transform Middle-earth.
In requirement of a lot of working hands for the project, the duo travels to the land of the Dwarves, Khazad-dûm. They hopes to be welcomed owing to Elrond friendship with Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur) but are shocked when the Dwarf prince refuses to see them.
Realising that Durin IV won’t let them into Moria, Elrond invokes the Rite of Sigin-tarâg. Before he can answer what that is, the Dwarves come out to escort Elrond in and he asks Celebrimbor to wait for him back in Eregion.
During IV mocks the Elf for invoking the rite which is a Dwarven test of endurance. It entails a competition involving hammering large blocks of stone and the first one to stop is the loser. Elrond is warned that if he loses, he’ll be banished from all Dwarves lands forever but if he wins, he’ll be granted one boon.
The two get to breaking stones and we move to Nori again who tries once again to communicate with the stranger. The man has another screaming fit but the girl calms him down. She feeds her but still is unable to talk to him.
Unfortunately, before she can try again, Poppy informs her that her father has met with an accident which has made him unable to migrate (as Harfoots do). Elsewhere, Galadriel is met by a group of people afloat broken pieces of a capsized ship.
They decide whether to bring her onboard owing to their limited supplies, but that conversation is cut short by a monster attack which kills nearly everyone. Fortunately, the Elf is saved by one of the survivors who helps her onto his raft. The saviour is named Halbrand (Charlie Vickers).
Back in Moria, the hammering contest continues and seeing that he’s making the Dwarf prince look bad, Elrond willingly forfeits. Durin IV tells him to leave as he’s lost but Elrond requests him to walk with him to the doors.
That is when the Dwarf lets out his anger and reveals that Elrond hasn’t seen him in 20 years, missed his wedding, the birth of his two children and now when he needs him for work, he showed up.
Elrond realises his mistake and apologises. The prince then takes him to meet his wife Disa (Sophia Nomvete) who invites him for dinner. Their conversations get merrier and During IV asks him about the king’s proposal.
At sea, Halbrand and Galadriel have heated exchanges when the latter notices a strange symbol on his pouch. Halbrand eventually reveals that he was hunted out of his home by Orcs. This shocks Galadriel as it proves the existence of Sauron. They again have a disagreement about their destination and head into a storm, barely making it out.
Elsewhere, Bronwyn warns her village folk about an impending attack but her pleas fall upon deaf ears. Later, Theo and Arondir come across Orcs in different places. Bronwyn saves her son and decapitate the Orc’s head to use as proof for her people.
Eventually, Nori and Poppy too return to try and talk to the strange man and this time he uses fireflies in lanterns to create a constellations. Nori deciphers that she needs to help him find a place under that pattern of stars.
After Elrond leaves, King During III (Peter Mullan) warns his son about his friendship with the Elf and shows him a mysterious weapon. In the South Lands, Theo looks at the broken sword with Sauron’s symbol one last time and it starts sucking the blood from his open wound.
The symbol glows bright as the blade reforms itself. Before something worse can occur, Bronwyn calls out to Theo to join the evacuation. In the final scene, Galadriel and Halbrand are saved by a mysterious person aboard a massive ship.
- All the apprehensions can be put to rest as The Rings of Power almost succeeds in capturing the feel of the original films by Peter Jackson.
- The series is grand, has beautiful set pieces and features a cast that stands out. Special mention goes out to Morfydd Clark who brilliantly portrays Galadriel’s younger self.
- Her character is drastically different to the one played by Cate Blanchett (which might tick off a few die hard fans of the originals) and showcases a more reckless and fierce side to Galadriel.
- The visual effects, CGI and music are sublime to say the least. Every frame looks like a piece of art and both episodes feel like individual feature films because of the excellent visual and sound quality. It is safe to say that the Rings of Power is peak fantasy fiction.
- The plot is immensely gripping and comprises a lot of parallels storylines. It does well to make everything feel connected and the writing has enough exposition to make sense of potentially confusing developments.
- However, it can be a lot to digest for viewers who are new to the franchise. For someone who has never watched The Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy, The Rings of Power can easily be overwhelming. They will also probably not recognise many references to the originals.
- Lastly, the pacing is quite sluggish as of now. It can be forgiven considering the show has a lot of world building to do, but, hopefully it picks up in future episodes.
- The show has not hit its stride yet but has a lot of potential. Whether it lives up to it or not remains to be seen.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episodes 1 and 2
Director: J. A. Bayona
Date Created: 2022-09-03 00:40