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Old 09-08-2022, 03:15 PM   #1
Formendacil
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Leaf **Spoiler Warning 2: Electric Boogaloo** Rings of Power S1E2 - "Adrift"

Well, with Hui not having done so, and having just watching Episode 2 (look at that: I'm caught up!), I shall continue this mad streak of thread-starting and get something up for Episode 2, "Adrift." Once again, my content is nothing more than stream of consciousness blather:
  • Wait, is this a different intro, or did I just not pay any attention last time?
  • Still like the music, I think.
  • Not sure I needed "Merry, Pippin, and the fall into trouble" recapitulated with Norry and Poppy?
  • Did the Hobbits just say the word "human"--that sounds very wrong. Just say "man" if you want to be Tolkienian!
  • I have it! I have the origin! This is the Man in the Moon come down too soon! Eureka!
  • "ground shake" Was "earthquake" too modern? I am now genuinely curious what Shakespeare would have called it.
  • Is Eregion new? Old? I guess old, but it feels almost out of nowhere.
  • Why by spring, Celebrimbor? You're an Elf--what's the time crunch for?
  • Why is "aged parent" an Elven metaphor? How would Celebrimbor OR Elrond know it?
  • Pre-Narvi gates! I suppose that makes sense... but why--HOW--does Elrond have history with Durin?
  • Underground greenery? I need to digest this...
  • I suppose "Mahal" probably was Silm material, alas...
  • This Dwarven ritual thing is... corny?
  • Is that escargot? I think Tolkien would have hated that. :-P
  • Well, the Man in the Moon is properly frightening, that's for sure.
  • Okay, half-drowned sailor, you are clearly supposed to be our Aragorn-expy.
  • Okay, so do they have the rights to the Adventures of Tom Bombadil? First the Man in the Moon, now we have Fastitocalon?
  • Did Durin saying something about the Moon coming down? I didn't understand a word... I think I'm obsessed.
  • "Children" plural? I like the gap of understanding between Elves and Dwarves here, but 20 years is still not to a Dwarf what it is to a Man! It's like being missing 3-4 years.
  • Whose beard?
  • Honestly, the worst part of Dísa is that "a" on the end of her name.
  • Wait, is that a mallorn is or it the Laurelin version of the Gondorian mirrors of Telperion?
  • You pursued him before the sun? Since when did you give a thought to Sauron before you reach Middle-earth? Wasn't it all Morgoth then?
  • "Baldrick" Does everyone have a misplaced name in the Southland?
  • Okay, we've definitely got some claustrophobia horror here!
  • Actually, this whole Southland story seems like a slightly different genre. I'm not sure what genre it is, but it's definitely something different for now.
  • There are too many stories--it feels like an age getting back to the Man in the Moon.
  • Leaning into the "Arkenstone is a Silmaril" idea?
  • Theo is going to be a Nazgûl, isn't he? I mean... nine of the characters are, right? Halbarad is the Witch-king, right? Elrond, Galadriel, and Durin are all Ring-bearers... so we need the Men too.
  • Aaaaaand hello, Númenor, I assume.

Overall... I'm kind of enjoying myself. Despite knowing the big picture of how this must end, I really have very little idea where this is going in the small or medium scale. I definitely didn't think very much about the canon in this story other than the, erm, pedantic points above, whereas Episode 1 did have me thinking quite a bit about the legendarium. So I'm not sure what that says exactly.

But I am, generally, excited to see Episode 3 now, and I was DREADING the series a week ago... so, success? Good job, Amazon? Considering you had my household's Prime account before and will likely retain it after, I'm not sure this was worth your $150 million, but it was worth my two hours so far.
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Old 09-09-2022, 05:50 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
  • Why by spring, Celebrimbor? You're an Elf--what's the time crunch for?
  • Why is "aged parent" an Elven metaphor? How would Celebrimbor OR Elrond know it?
I remember being irked by both these two things. They just smell of sloppy writing. Is it just me, or does it seem like that these days (and to be fair, maybe earlier too) the Achilles' heel of many big money movies/ tv shows is that the writing is the weakest link? And without that, nothing else works either. I feel like - apart from the concept/character/plot writing not being as good as it should be - they could have really benefited from someone thoughtfully reading the final draft of the script once more, preferably someone with a good grasp of the Tolkien canon (I mean, not even a hardcore Tolkien expert #1, but say someone the level of an average barrow-'downer would have caught a majority of these jarring little oddities).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
"Children" plural? I like the gap of understanding between Elves and Dwarves here, but 20 years is still not to a Dwarf what it is to a Man! It's like being missing 3-4 years.
I really liked the portrayal of Durin and Elrond's relationship and the talk that revealed their different concepts of time. But I agree it would have worked better with a human or a little longer time (30 or 50 years) - but perhaps that's the kind of pedantry we have discussed on the other thread. Perhaps Durin is just a little prone to drama, or it's just that Elrond managed to miss the 20 most eventful years of his life so far. I mean, with humans, one might feel like their close friend missed a big part of their life if they didn't see for five years but during those five years one got married and had two kids. Especially if they used to see much more often and then the other party just disappeared and wasn't there for those big moments.

Overall I think episode 2 was much better than episode 1, which I found genuinely boring (which is something I had not expected). It had better pacing; things finally got going in all the plots. Durin and Elrond's friendship - which we will hopefully learn more of, since it is an interesting addition that has no backstory yet - added a lot of depth to the story, and we finally got some interesting crumbs (the Númenórean ship, the "reverse Morgul blade", more of The Stranger) that might lead somewhere.

I'm still in no particular hurry to see episode three though - if for any reason, then just to be able to come to the 'Downs to dissect it at the same time with everyone else. But without the communal aspect The Rings of Power would be one of those shows where you see a couple of episodes and then you think you might watch more later and it's a bit of a coin toss whether you do and how soon. If you ask me, one obvious shortcoming of good TV writing that the show suffers from is that they're doing very poor job of keeping the audience intrigued enough to tune in for the next episode. (I know I'm not alone in this, I just talked to a friend yesterday who said she nearly didn't finish episode 1 because it was so boring and all over the place and she was wondering whether to give episode 2 a try or not.)
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Old 09-09-2022, 07:30 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
  • I have it! I have the origin! This is the Man in the Moon come down too soon! Eureka!
Now actually I'd dig that (add this to my list of preferred explanations). Imagine if this was just a, say, three-episode thing where the Harfoots (HarFEET. Har har. Okay, I'm stopping now) eventually get the Man drunk and finally drive him up the hill to deposit him in the Moon. The end of sub-plot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
  • Why by spring, Celebrimbor? You're an Elf--what's the time crunch for?
That was really weird, in my opinion. Especially in the light of the subsequent conversation about time-perception between Elrond and Durin (still, I argue, the best dialogue thus far). I hope there will be a reason - even if it is something as questionable as "I actually had a vision that a stranger, a Giver of Gifts, will come in the spring and help me craft the greatest wonders the world has ever seen!" or somesuch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
  • Pre-Narvi gates! I suppose that makes sense... but why--HOW--does Elrond have history with Durin?
Yes. I certainly hope *that* will be explained. Because that scene seemed like a horribly arbitrary and unnecessarily convoluted setup of Elrond having to go and visit the Dwarves, but being rejected. Instead of the straightforward way of doing it, i.e. Celebrimbor saying something like "I know this guy named Narvi who lives next door, let's go meet him", he (who lives literally next to Khazad-Dum) calls Elrond from across the continent to ask him, conveniently find out that the one Dwarf he knows lives just there, and yet said friend slams the door in Elrond's face. I am sure there would have been a more logical setup. I can see how this was necessary to introduce the - so far in my opinion still the best relationship in the entire series - but I am sure that there was a smoother way to doing this.

On another note, I wonder if the rectangular window was an intentional callback to famous PJ's "rejection window" of Thorin talking to Bard from inside the mountain and very politely telling him to sod off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
  • Underground greenery? I need to digest this...
I actually liked that. Those huge mirrors reflecting light seemed like a very "Khazad-Dumish-at-the-height-of-its-splendour"-thing. If you are coming up with innovative ways of showing what a big, rich, "working" Dwarven kingdom looks like, then this is certainly better than just showing bigger and bigger piles of gold. (And mithril! Where is mithril, so far? Nothing against the Silmaril-Arkenstone thing, but mithril should be the main focus and it is Khazad-Dum's unique resource. Incidentally, I wonder whether the Silkenstone will be, in fact, broken into pieces and used for stones to set into the Rings...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
  • Theo is going to be a Nazgûl, isn't he? I mean... nine of the characters are, right? Halbarad is the Witch-king, right? Elrond, Galadriel, and Durin are all Ring-bearers... so we need the Men too.
That is what I am here for. That, and the transformation of Southlands into Mordor (I hope. Would explain all the digging under).

More ideas: Mr. Halbrand won't actually become a Nazgul, only his son (that's what Theo is, right? That seems to be the "big secret" of H's past) will, but Mr. H., by that time having become the king of some of the Southern folk, will refuse to go against his own son, thus forfeit his oath to Isildur, and will become the King of the Dead of Dunharrow. Dun dun dun.
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Old 09-12-2022, 04:46 AM   #4
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Thanks for starting this, Form! We finally got round to watching Episode 2 about six hours after you put this up.

And it was so much better. Partly that's the lack of the immensely irritating sailing to Valinor, but mostly I think Episode 1 suffered a lot from being an extended prologue. All of its stories consisted of 'here's some wandering around, and look! One scene suggesting the actual plot at the end'. Episode 2 takes those plots up and pushes them forward at exciting speed, and I actually have no (new) complaints.

I do have comments though.

Finrod - only in the 'previously on', but I happened to pause on his deathbed and noticed that he has what appear to be claw marks on his arm. Given the rest of the episode, these could be Orc claws, but I choose to believe it's the mark of his fight with the werewolf. You can't prove it's not. -_-

The Stranger - is deliberately ambiguous. They clearly want us to see Gandalf in him - his face, and his speaking firefly (a fantastic line from Nori) - but equally he killed the fireflies, suggesting something more sinister. The subtitles give his first words as "Mana úrë?" which would be straight Quenya for "what heat/fire?"; but it could also have been mána/manna, "blessed", the whole coming very close to meaning "Secret Fire".

Formhas jokingly suggested he could be the Man in the Moon, but I have my own crackpot theory: could he be Earendil? He fell from the sky and seems to want to get back there, and Earendil floating through the sky in a boat is in LotR, so they definitely have the rights. It would be extremely bizarre, but...

Harfeet - are adorable, no notes. I watched the LotR stage play many years ago, the pre-show part of which was hobbits running around the auditorium catching fireflies; I like to think the lanterns were a deliberate reference.

Halbrand - is from the Southlands, which (based on the Dunlendings) makes him distant kin to the Haladin, which makes his name actually appropriate. It's essentially a mix of Haldir and Brandir; the Haladin even have form for triple-consonant clusters, -nth-.

Given how separate he was from the rest of his raft crew, I almost wonder whether he was supposed to be a slave, and the rest of the Numenoreans. I don't think there was enough evidence to support that, though the fact that there are corsairs way out in Numenorean waters is puzzling.

Interesting that the 'lifting her hair' scene wasn't even Halbrand! It wasn't a Sudden Realisation that she was an elf, but just a "ha! You can't hide it." If they're Southlanders, Episode 1 established why they don't like elves: the elves are essentially acting as guards on a vast open-air prison, though whether that's in Mordor or Gondor is still unclear.

Galadriel - was apparently indeed planning to swim all the way home. I guess when you realise you shouldn't be going to heaven after all, you don't have many alternatives?

Eregion - or Ost-in-Edhil rather, is on the river? I guess that makes sense from the maps (and the fact that it has heavy industry!); I've been misled by the movies' glimpse of it on a hilltop. It looked very pretty, and I think we may have mistaken it for Numenor a few times in the trailers.

Elrond - likes to save up his conversations until the last second. It's pretty clear Gil-Galad sent him with Celebrimbor specifically so he could get Khazad-Dum involved, but they didn't discuss that until they reached Ost-in-Edhil, and they apparently didn't discuss why they were going to Moria until they reached its (pre-West Gate!) doors. That's slightly clumsy, but the actual events make sense. I enjoyed the squabble between Elrond and Durin!

There was a shot in one of the trailers that felt like they were playing off Legolas and Gimli for Elrond and Durin, and I think that's definitely the case. In an alternate LotR where Legolas was sent as messenger to the Lonely Mountain, you can imagine them having this kind of friendship.

A few replies to Form:
  • "ground shake" - Shakespeare used "earthquake" and "shake" in Romeo and Juliet.
  • why--HOW--does Elrond have history with Durin? - I actually don't think this needs explaining! He's a herald, he visited Khazad-Dum as an ambassador sometime in the last hundred years, and struck up a friendship. We're coming into a world already in motion, not everything needs to be laid out for us.
  • is that a mallorn - I've been assuming mallorn, but the 'no likeness of Laurelin' comment isn't in LotR as far as I know, so it could be that.
  • that "a" on the end of her name - if the dwarves' names are still Norse, then at least a few goddesses have -a names. Freyja is probably the biggest.

And a quick comment on dwarves... my view, from the Appendices and the family trees, is that the dwarven path through life is incredibly ritualised. They have their first child at almost exactly 100 years, and 2-3 more at exactly 5-year gaps. Tolkien goes so far as to say you can spot a daughter by finding brothers 10 years apart in the records. The glimpse we had of the boys looked maybe 10 or younger, so yes, Elrond has managed to miss the most significant part of Durin's life: his courtship, marriage, and the birth of all his children.

And a dwarf would have known that. They clearly hung out long enough that Elrond should know his age, so he would have known the 5 years or so in which he would get married (if he was going to). He would have known that there would be children immediately afterwards, and roughly how many. To dwarvish eyes, Elrond seems to have deliberately skipped over all the personal parts of Durin's life, and then swanned in in his frilly tunic to ask for a helping hand. I'm not surprised he didn't want to talk to him! I think he only caved in when it became obvious that Elrond didn't actually know what he'd done.

hS
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Old 09-14-2022, 07:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
And a quick comment on dwarves... my view, from the Appendices and the family trees, is that the dwarven path through life is incredibly ritualised. They have their first child at almost exactly 100 years, and 2-3 more at exactly 5-year gaps. Tolkien goes so far as to say you can spot a daughter by finding brothers 10 years apart in the records. The glimpse we had of the boys looked maybe 10 or younger, so yes, Elrond has managed to miss the most significant part of Durin's life: his courtship, marriage, and the birth of all his children.

And a dwarf would have known that. They clearly hung out long enough that Elrond should know his age, so he would have known the 5 years or so in which he would get married (if he was going to). He would have known that there would be children immediately afterwards, and roughly how many. To dwarvish eyes, Elrond seems to have deliberately skipped over all the personal parts of Durin's life, and then swanned in in his frilly tunic to ask for a helping hand. I'm not surprised he didn't want to talk to him! I think he only caved in when it became obvious that Elrond didn't actually know what he'd done.

hS
That's why I really enjoyed the "elevator" conversation the most. They give us an immortal's perspective of the world ("what it's only been 20 years?") and a mortal's ("I know 20 years is a blink of an eye to you, but not to me and you can't come barging into my mountain demanding my attention, friend.")

I hope that's the diversity they continue diving into. As well as, finding out why the Southlanders didn't like the Elves occupation. The Watchwarden said the land was a desolate wasteland when they first arrived and now it's a lush, growing valley. But the Southlanders joined Morgoth and still have "evil in their hearts." I don't think we've been given reasons they do not welcome the Elves other than they're just "bad people" for joining Morgoth.
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Old 09-14-2022, 07:28 PM   #6
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I hope that's the diversity they continue diving into. As well as, finding out why the Southlanders didn't like the Elves occupation. The Watchwarden said the land was a desolate wasteland when they first arrived and now it's a lush, growing valley. But the Southlanders joined Morgoth and still have "evil in their hearts." I don't think we've been given reasons they do not welcome the Elves other than they're just "bad people" for joining Morgoth.
I think this one is the Elves' fault. If you treat people like naughty children needing constant supervision, the people are gonna get miffed. And it may be true that without the babysitting these naughty children would have gotten into the tide pod drawer a long time ago, or it may not - we don't know, we only have the Elves' word for it - but regardless it doesn't help the relationship between the peoples. Even if these Men are like naughty children to the Elves. I guess they didn't like the Elves' occupation because people in general don't like being occupied, and that's exactly what that seemed like - the Witcher-*ahem*- Elves were not there as allies or friends or teachers, more like guards or policemen.
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