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Old 09-30-2022, 05:08 AM   #1
Gil-Galad
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Ring **Spoiler Warning** Rings of Power S1E6 - "Udûn"

Just finished the latest episode, and as always, I have thoughts:

What I didn't like:

- We finally get the showdown between the Southlanders and the Orcs(Sorry Adar, Uruks). It didn't really feel like the grand battles we are used to, and this i feel is because of the utilization of the scenes and characters. We have seen big and grand shots of beautiful places such as Numenor, Lindon and Khazad-dum, only to be stuck in a small set or room that never seems to break over fifty people. Which leads to the battle in this nondescript village being rather lackluster.

- I know I have critiqued the pacing before, but the editing here has been some of the worst. Having a quick cut to the Numenoreans charging along the plain really took away from the moment in the tavern when you hear the hoofbeats like thunder. Same with seeing Waldreg using the key to break the dam and release the river like a proud ent, and then switch to a heartfelt scene between father and son. This could very well be personal taste, but I can imagine better editing would do a great service.
Also, the whole switcheroo with the sword-key was silly, along with the "hiding it so nobody knows oh but wait this kid knows".

- The "save each other" cliche was running amok in this episode. I count at least four times where it happened. And this happened twice between Galadriel and Halbrand(been messing up his name before) and just felt like poor characterization. Even the one time where this cliche would make sense, with Isildur riding in to save his father, it gets undone with Halbrand saving him instead.

- Galadriel seems to have one emotion/face in this episode, and in past ones. I see they are using the Legolas style of spicing combat up with her saddle-dancing there.

What I liked:

- The star of this episode is Adar, who is making me root more for the Uruks then the elves or men at this point. I definitely feel like he will be set up as the false enemy as Saurons plots become unravelled.

- The VFX of Orodruin blowing up was really cool, but maybe overdone plotwise since the episode ends with the village being covered in volanic ash and of course all the named characters will survive this.

- I like the proto-Gondorian armour, and most of the costume design in general. Obligatory shout out to Elendil's helmet.

Predictions:

- I feel more and more that Halbrand is Sauron now, especially from his interaction with Adar. Adar believes that he killed Sauron, who is known to take multiple forms. While the acting leaves a lot to be desired if he is in fact Sauron, it fits in plotwise. Hoping this awkard, possibly sexual, tension between Galadriel and Halbrand peeters off soon.

- Everyone is going to survive cause that tavern is made of something stronger then mithril: plot armour.
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Old 09-30-2022, 01:56 PM   #2
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Overall, the episode was pretty good. Nothing was as memorable as the songs in the previous episode, but nothing was as weird as the silmaril/mithril plot either.

The action scenes were ok. They didn't really do anything for me, besides looking good. I was tense during the orc Theo/Bronwyn fight in Ep 2 and the trenches fight in Ep 3. I don't think this episode did as good of a job as building tension, prior to and during the fight sequences. When Adar entered the tavern and the orcs start slaughtering the survivors only then did it pick up. I also liked when the defenders realized that it was men that they were fighting and killed during the initial skirmish.

I agree with Gil-Galad that Adar was the standout performance in the episode. He gives us the uruk origin story and I like his conversation with Galadriel. Adar says they are creations of "the One," the Secret Fire, just like elves and are thus allowed to live in the world. Galadriel says they are corruptions from Morgoth, made in mockery. But it sets up the question of orcs and their redemption, making them more than just nameless slaves for the heroes to kill. I thought it was interesting the Numenoreans took orc prisoners, as well. Not something I was expecting to see in a traditional fantasy story.
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Old 09-30-2022, 06:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil-Galad View Post
- I know I have critiqued the pacing before, but the editing here has been some of the worst. Having a quick cut to the Numenoreans charging along the plain really took away from the moment in the tavern when you hear the hoofbeats like thunder. Same with seeing Waldreg using the key to break the dam and release the river like a proud ent, and then switch to a heartfelt scene between father and son. This could very well be personal taste, but I can imagine better editing would do a great service.
Also, the whole switcheroo with the sword-key was silly, along with the "hiding it so nobody knows oh but wait this kid knows".
I agree the Numenoreans charging over the plains ruined it for me, not only because it took away from the tavern scene but also because it made very little sense. I might have missed something, but how on earth would Galadriel/The Numenoreans know to hurry to this particular village? I mean you don't just gallop around the countryside hoping to run into a bunch of orcs up past their bedtime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil-Galad View Post
- I feel more and more that Halbrand is Sauron now, especially from his interaction with Adar. Adar believes that he killed Sauron, who is known to take multiple forms. While the acting leaves a lot to be desired if he is in fact Sauron, it fits in plotwise. Hoping this awkard, possibly sexual, tension between Galadriel and Halbrand peeters off soon.
Yes, please make that tension go away and quick.
Also completely unreleated, is Halbrand's kingdom supposed to compose of more than a single village?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88 View Post
The action scenes were ok. They didn't really do anything for me, besides looking good. I was tense during the orc Theo/Bronwyn fight in Ep 2 and the trenches fight in Ep 3. I don't think this episode did as good of a job as building tension, prior to and during the fight sequences. When Adar entered the tavern and the orcs start slaughtering the survivors only then did it pick up. I also liked when the defenders realized that it was men that they were fighting and killed during the initial skirmish.
I really liked them, but as Gil-Galad said it was kind of ruined by editing. While i enjoy a grand cavalry charge as much as the next person, I do think that these scaled down battles are more interesting than the big ones in the Jackson movies.
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Old 09-30-2022, 10:10 PM   #4
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Nice of Adar to bury his sunflower seed hulls.

Female orc confirmation???

GIMBATUL!

Ooh the blood color reveal was cool. The reveal of the townspeople's bodies reminded me of the passage in RotK where the army of Mordor tossed the heads of the fallen over the walls of Minas Tirith.

Yeah, seal the outside of the wounds so all the blood leaks inside where it's supposed to be!

Boy when I tell you I cackled when I saw the mountain that the river was flowing towards, I cackled when I saw the mountain that the river was flowing towards.



I like the idea of Adar as an anti-Sauron, I wonder if he will denounce or embrace Annatar/TotallyNotSauron when he appears?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rune
While i enjoy a grand cavalry charge as much as the next person, I do think that these scaled down battles are more interesting than the big ones in the Jackson movies.

I do too, though this did suffer a lot of the usual boring Gloating Enemy Suddenly Stabbed From Behind, Oh No This Character Is Dead No Wait They Aren't, and This Trap Won't Work Oh Wait Yes It Will moments.
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Old 10-01-2022, 01:07 AM   #5
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Nothing was as memorable as the songs in the previous episode
Not even this?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yW_ocZLaRdI
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Old 10-01-2022, 08:48 AM   #6
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I had time to watch this yesterday... but it didn't motivate me as much as doing the other things I could do, which continues to suggest this show doesn't super motivate me.

Again, my various reactions:
  • That glove Adar wears is pretty Mordorian...
  • Night generally seems believable as night in this show.
  • Trap them in the falling tower is somewhere between shield surfing and The Hobbit movies for plausibility.
  • Isildur, that apple was not finished enough to waste throwing to the sea.
  • It is very unclear how long this voyage was--and that was a problem with the outbound voyage too: Númenor isn't clearly distant from Middle-earth.
  • It is not at all clear to me that this ruined village is a better stronghold than the tower was.
  • I still don't buy "Bronwyn, Leader of Men." She's more convincing as 21st century mom.
  • The seed-planting tradition is completely made-up for this show, but I do like the parallelism between Adar and Arondir.
  • The approach of the enemy in the dark--and the anticipation of them--is good. It reminds me tonally of Strider and the Hobbits waiting for the Black Riders to approach at Weathertop.
  • Bronwyn, there are torches everywhere--surely, some flame could have been prepared in advance. A light under a bushel basket, so to speak.
  • The horror of realising Men were sent in against Men is well done--as is the dying orkish delight in the same.
  • If Bronwyn actually dies here, with the proverbial arrow through her shoulder, that's actually quite gutsy of the writers--otherwise, rather trite.
  • Well, they're hitting GoT levels of bloodiness or trying to.
  • Looks like they've chosen gutsy!--nevermind. Trite it is (though all the gore is definitely helping them earn it a bit).
  • Ummm... for the size of those ships, this many horsemen seems improbable. Also, has no one read "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields"? The strength of the Númenóreans was largely in infantry.
  • Horse-tail helms? Come on! These are Númenóreans!
  • What kind of military nonsense is Míriel engaging in sending Isildur in solo? He has a duty--he should be hying to it. And Míriel seems like she ought to be quite competent--and strict.
  • Stopping mid-battle to stare in awe seems a good way to get yourselves killed, boys.
  • Well, there's some confirmation of a theory: Adar is a progenitor of the Orks.
  • Adar's recounting of Sauron's history is actually rather good.
  • As is his defence of the orks' worth--a very Tolkienian topic to grapple with.
  • Actually, Adar in general is pretty fascinating. A pity I can't say as much for Galadriel or Halbrand.
  • Fighting at someone's side seems... kind of a weird moment for deciding you are a different person. I'm not sure how I take this.
  • Also, why did Míriel come to observe what, at the scale of Númenor, is a mere skirmish? It's like the President of the USA doing a ribbon-cutting a new grocery store...
  • Your people are alive, Bronwyn? How many? Like... the scale of this world is inconsistent and weird, and a lot of people looked like they went over to the enemy and/or died.
  • I'd like a longer look at Halbrand's sigil.
  • You don't even stay to watch what he does with it, Arondir?
  • Evil Barliman, my beloved, you're alive!
  • I'd like to know how geologically accurate this is.
  • Well, that's definitely a cliffhanger.
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Old 10-08-2022, 10:45 AM   #7
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I've been finding myself putting off watching this, I'm watching along rather reluctantly, almost as a chore rather than something I would look forward to. I feel like that speaks to the quality of the show, really. Long past my actual anger at any inconsistencies has burned away, all that's left is, well, indifference mainly. There just isn't enough in this show to keep stimulating interest. I would not lose a wink of sleep if I never found out what happens next. And I fear this episode hasn't changed my mind.

This time, I decided to actually take notes like Form, rather than try to remember things after the episode.



  • Adar talking to Orcs in immaculate “Elvish accent”… *shrug* Orcs should have Orcified the Elvish geographical names, it just gives a smidge of dissonance. In other words – the Orcs use Black Speech amongst themselves, but their awed and revered leader speaks Elvish, and chooses to use the Elvish forms of the words, and that’s just their norm?
  • What is Nampat? They keep saying that.
  • Why are the Orcs invading so cautiously? Storm the tower, don’t creep slowly like you’re confused sheep.
  • Clever Home Alone style tower defense. Aside from the physics of bringing down an entire tower (how shabby was it supposed to have been?), I like that – at least the concept of the ploy.
  • Why do the “good guys” have Orc heads on spikes? Or is that meant to anger the Orcs and lure them in to rush to whatever position they want them in? Or the good guys have an evil streak as well?
  • Planting Alfirin before battle seems like a somewhat grim but believable tradition. Approve. “We shall plant the rest together”, all 3 of them – well, now that he’s said it we clearly know they won’t.
  • Did Arondir stab that Orc in the head and he still didn’t die? The thing with that fight scene… Arondir gets his ribs kicked in pretty convincingly, but at the same time I feel no tension whatsoever, because I know he’s not actually gonna be killed. And when he just gets up after like nothing happened… What was that whole sequence for? Like, limp, or something! Make it real! Make me believe that you can actually be hurt by this!
  • Double Orc assault! Adar is actually a strategic planner too! Woohoo! And of course it would be the Men who pledged themselves over who go in the first wave. That makes perfect sense, and is pretty well done.
  • So they just have time to deal with Bronwyn’s arrow while the orcs are charging? Sure… Also, is she really the only wounded one to make it into the tavern? Did the others all flat out die?
  • What part of “stem the bleeding” do you not understand?! Also, that is a terrible example of getting lay people to do medical tasks for you. Tell Theo exactly what he will need to do. “Put pressure here when I say so” is a good instruction. “Stem the bleeding” is not. PSA: pressure is the first and best thing you can do for bleeding of most kinds. Making Theo cauterize his mom’s wounds? Worst idea ever. Get literally anyone else in the tavern to do it. Why is it that only the few select characters are able to do actions, and the rest are NPCs? It’s like they don’t exist as people, they don’t have agency of their own. [Here I went on a rant about why cauterizing the bejeezus out of the external tissues doesn’t stop internal bleeding, especially if there was damage to her subclavian vein (if it was the artery I expect bleeding to be heavier and with their level or coordination she would have been dead), but I took it out because it actually has little bearing on the actual show and is just a professional gripe]. Alfirin seeds to staunch bleeding? That is interesting.
  • *Orcs attack* ……Ladies and gentlemen, and that is why you leave an arrow inside the wound until after the battle is over and you have the time to deal with the bleeding and all that jazz.
  • Seriously, what is Nampat?
  • A homage to PJ-Elrond’s tradition that commanders have no helmets, commanders need no helmets. And late season GOT for ignoring such mundane concepts as “time” and “distance” and “horses are not supersonic” and "why are they specifically here as opposed to literally anywhere else in the vast south-east corner of ME".
  • Is that Isildur by Miriel’s side? “Go” – where? To where the rest of the cavalry is? Why? He doesn't have a message or any other task. Isil, are you not a stable sweep? What are you even doing by Miriel’s side?
  • Captions insist that Arondir and Galadriel are speaking Quenya. Why would Arondir be speaking Quenya? I can’t make out enough words to confirm the language, but why on earth would they be speaking Quenya? And then when Galadriel switches to a whispered “noro lim”, then she switches to Sindarin. Should be the other way around really. No, the recognizable phrase should be in its language, though it could conceivably be in Quenya, but Arondir doesn’t have any good reason to be speaking Quenya.
  • Where is Halbrand riding from? Adar and Galadriel were riding away from the fight. How does he suddenly appear in front of them?
  • Rich talk, Galadriel, for someone who spent the first 6 episodes fueling her rage and vengeance.
  • Captive Orcs. That is interesting. I don’t think there’s any precedent for that. Captive Men – yes. I don’t remember captive Orcs. There always seemed to be a dynamic of no quarter asked / no quarter given when Orcs were concerned.
  • Who woulda thunk it that “Father” could have been a literal Orc father. Whoever was betting on that can collect. I suppose this could arguably retrospectively justify the Elvish – “Adar”, and why he is so fond of it, and why the other Orcs tolerate his use of the Elvish.
  • Interesting discussion on the nature of Orcs.
  • What the hell is going on with the dynamic between Halbrand and Galadriel? Also, that feeling they felt fighting at each other’s side – it all sounds like empty words to me, I have no idea what significance this has for them, especially for Halbrand. You can’t both keep his entire past a teasing mystery, and expect the audience to feel the profoundness of such a moment. I simply do not understand what feeling they are talking about and why that would change them both so profoundly.
  • True King of the Southlands could have been developed better, I think. It’s an element bereft of backstory. It’s just kinda random. And in this case, you can’t even fill in the gaps with existing Tolkien lore. It comes like a dry fact or “plot twist” of history that everyone just accepts. I don’t feel the significance of his coming for the different parties involved. At the time of this scene, I can’t really see how life with a king is different than without a king.
  • Who is that dude again, the one who got the Lugrom blade? Is that the evil barkeep? Also, did anyone catch at what point they actually swapped the blade out?
  • Is this how the Sea of Nurnen forms? Someone literally floods the whole area? (edit: never mind)
  • Why are they chanting Udun now? Seriously, do the Orc chants have any significance, or are they just chanting random words for the sound effect?
  • Can you actually trigger a volcanic eruption by pouring water into it? A bunch of steam – yes. If enough water vapourizes quickly enough in the right space, it could even make the rock explode. Would it trigger a full eruption? Dunno. Anyone know enough geology to comment?


Overall impression:

I like Adar and the Orc philosophizing. The Orcs in this show are definitely a plus.
I like the Alfirin traditions - plant the flower before battle which will either grow on your grave or stanch your wounds... It just seems appropriate.
I am profoundly unmoved by any of the emotional or epic stuff - it's hard to be invested when you know the characters are gonna live, or to feel the emotional suspense when you lack the characters' backstory. And I agree that the scene sequences and the pacing was not great - and the dialogue remains predictably so.
The volcano cliffhanger loses all its cliffhanginess because you know all the important characters will live.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil-Galad
Everyone is going to survive cause that tavern is made of something stronger then mithril: plot armour.
Lol. Yes. But - at some point in the show, one of Isildur's buddies is gonna die. My money is on the one that decided fighting is not for him after all, and he wants to dedicate himself to peaceful prospects.

Agree with everyone saying Halbrand is becoming increasingly Sauronian.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rune
Also completely unreleated, is Halbrand's kingdom supposed to compose of more than a single village?
Yes, that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oddwen
Yeah, seal the outside of the wounds so all the blood leaks inside where it's supposed to be!
Thank you!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
Isildur, that apple was not finished enough to waste throwing to the sea.
Lol, indeed. It looked big enough to still give Bill Ferny a black eye.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
If Bronwyn actually dies here, with the proverbial arrow through her shoulder, that's actually quite gutsy of the writers--otherwise, rather trite.
I feel like in part the dynamic of the show could be redeemed a little if they did even one gutsy thing. Kill a Ned Stark, for goodness sakes, so that we start believing that there is actual real danger to named characters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
I'd like a longer look at Halbrand's sigil.
Me too.



So - I feel like my impressions are pretty consistent with everyone else's so far on this thread. I absolutely agree that the Adar storyline was the best of this episode. And that the scale of the world and its people seems utterly arbitrary. And pretty much all the other points. Only thing I would disagree with is that I would call the volcano an anti-cliffhanger, as it doesn't really hang you very much. I am also seriously considering not watching any further at this point - but equally might just finish the season for the purpose of being able to discuss it here. If not for the social aspect of discussing it, I wouldn't be watching any further. Heck, I probably wouldn't even have watched this episode.
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Old 10-08-2022, 04:58 PM   #8
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I didn't watch this one until yesterday morning. I'm less enthused by it than I was, and to be honest real life in the UK is like a particularly absorbing grimdark fantasy right now so I've been occupied with that dystopian story. Though I was definitely lined up to watch House of the Dragon on Monday night at 9pm - that show is really hitting the marks - and have watched that episode three times, it was so good.

Anyway...it was packed full of action and there was a lot I really enjoyed in it, but I'm finding myself getting infuriated about logic holes in the plot so let's get that out of the way.

Reading Tolkien, I never once felt the urge to go and look up scientific information of any kind but after this episode I spent a good couple of hours looking up Vulcanology (I used to work with someone with a doctorate in this but thought she maybe wouldn't appreciate me hassling her about it, you know...). Nobody can face out either pyroclastic flow *or* pyroclastic surge (more likely with a water-meets-magma eruption - it has a proper name, and we saw an example of this with the recent big eruption in Iceland). They'd both likely burn you to a crisp, if you weren't asphyxiated. You have next to no chance of survival, and if you do, you are going to be very badly burnt with lung damage.

It didn't end up in the next episode with it all being a dream that Galadriel had in the shower. At least Dallas writers had that. They need to sharpen this kind of stuff up. We can deal with dragons, magic etc but we *know* how cataclysmic volcanic eruptions work, we have them in the real world.

I really enjoyed the angle of where Adar came from and what he was trying to do, that has legs. I liked how he tricked them by sending in their former neighbours in the Orc armour. And I liked the interrogation scene with Galadriel. This has potential.

I also enjoyed the scenes with Elendil and Isildur, as they developed the father-son relationship, and the 'horse lore' part was great too.

And I watched the next episode soon afterwards, which I found better, in my Netflix-addled, instant gratification needing mind.
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Old 10-18-2022, 04:43 AM   #9
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Slowly but surely catching up... thank goodness the plot threads are colliding! I'm very happy to have Galadriel + Numenor + Southlands all in one place now, makes keeping track of them much easier.

It was interesting to compare Galadriel and Arondir's fighting styles. Galadriel continues to use 'be where the enemy isn't' as her primary tool - witness that bizarre falling-off-a-horse maneuver she used twice(!). Arondir, meanwhile, is, uh... rubbish in close combat, and just got beaten up until Bronwyn saved him. But he has a solid 'use the architecture as a weapon' theme that Galadriel doesn't use (she just charges).

A few more "Commander"s thrown at Galadriel this time. I think it is actually the only military title even vaguely applied to her - is it in UT that it says she "looked upon the dwarves with the eye of a commander"? It's also the primary translation for Quenya "cáno", so it's definitely the most appropriate rank, but still feels very weird.

One big issue was the repetitiveness of the Southland fight. No less than three times, they celebrated their victory only to find that Oh No! it's not over yet. That's a pacing problem.

I would also have preferred to see the battles. The biggest offender was the whole 'gasp, my hand is wet' sequence. I... assume we were supposed to be seeing that the blood was red rather than black? But a) it was dark and everything looked black, and b) it was firelit so any red looked like reflection. Very badly played.

I did comment to my wife that there was nothing actually proving that Galadriel and Bronwyn were in the same timeframe. It would have been hilarious if the Numenoreans had shown up and discovered the remains of a battle a thousand years earlier. ^_^ Alas.

I've been assuming the tower and village are somewhere around Minas Morgul. That means the Numenoreans sailed up Anduin to future Osgiliath, from which they could probably see the smoke/fire rising over the village. It would be, what, ten, twenty miles to the village then? That's reasonable. But the Orodruin sequence makes it clear that the geography is tower - village - Orc camp - volcano, so I guess the village has to be on the Mordor side. Is there a pass behind Minas Morgul? They obviously didn't take Cirith Ungol, but I've never been clear whether there's a main access route to go with the Spider-infested cave.

Um, what else... disappointed that Adar isn't a named canon character, but proto-Orc (sorry, Uruk) is pretty interesting. I feel like the writers assumed an emotional investment in individual Southlanders that we never had - oh no, Treadmill or whatever, we literally didn't know thee! I wonder if they chopped some stuff out - a scene giving us a reason to care about Fake Barliman and Treadmill, and maybe introducing the Promised King stuff as something other than Galadriel's weird obsession.

Favourite moment was Arondir breaking a hammer on the hell-forged sword. I was convinced he was about to declare a quest to take it to a volcano and set out to kidnap a couple of Harfeet to drag along. ^_^ Weirdest moment was Bronwyn suddenly spouting what I'm sure was Sam's narration in Mordor about light the Dark can't touch. It's nice that they tried, but it didn't fit, and didn't deserve the lampshade they hung on it.

Oh, and my wife the nurse was just as appalled by Bronwyn's "treatment" as everyone else. "But WHY are they cauterising it? She'll just have internal bleeding!"

hS
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Old 10-18-2022, 12:27 PM   #10
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I did comment to my wife that there was nothing actually proving that Galadriel and Bronwyn were in the same timeframe. It would have been hilarious if the Numenoreans had shown up and discovered the remains of a battle a thousand years earlier. ^_^ Alas.
That would have been both hilarious and actually a great twist. Not to mention that this way they could have done the Second Age as a longer and more sensible timeline than whatever they are trying to cram now.
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Old 10-22-2022, 04:29 AM   #11
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Certainly better than episode 5, but still not the greatest... the logistics and logics were rather confusing (why was it day where the Númeoreans were charging and night inside the tavern??), and I also am not a fan of Galadriel/Halbrand sexual tension (or their dynamic in general with her pressing him to be a king). Also the battle scene was nothing special, and Arondir and Galadriel's battle moves (in the whole series) are getting rather ridiculous, as is the excessive use of slow motion.

Adar was certainly the best thing in this episode - or to be honest, in the whole series. He's an interesting character and an interesting concept, and Joseph Mawle is doing a great job portraying him. I hope he didn't die. He made me root for the orcs, which was well done. Galadriel, when positioned against him, seems like a concerningly genocidal elf supremacist on the other hand. He had a point about her being corrupted by darkness.

I was confused about why the alfirin seeds needed to be stuck into the wound before the cauterising. Seems a little unhygienic and counterproductive to me, but I guess it is Elven magic. And I'm not even starting about the geological plot twist in the end because I can't pretend I understand how volcanos work, but I would think it's not like this...

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Isildur, that apple was not finished enough to waste throwing to the sea.
Not to mention that he let the horse bite from it first, then took a bite himself??

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might just finish the season for the purpose of being able to discuss it here. If not for the social aspect of discussing it, I wouldn't be watching any further. Heck, I probably wouldn't even have watched this episode.
This pretty much summarises my feelings about the whole show. I would like it to be better but it just isn't. It has been particularly striking how bad the witing is after catching up with it after only having watched House of the Dragon and Andor recently... both are so much better written. (Actually, so is even The Walking Dead season 11 even though season 11 of anything can't be good in general...)
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Old 10-22-2022, 06:38 AM   #12
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This episode had some fairly interesting stuff. The whole action part was fairly entertaining, despite some stunts that Mongolian raiders could pull off, but not sure about someone in full plate armour, and despite the unnecessarily-long-ugly-stabbing-Orc-in-the-eye and switching of daylights.

Obligatory slow motion even felt right about two times. Otherwise there were quite a few boringly predictable scenes ("now someone is going to stab the Orc from the back to save the protagonist") and a couple of ridiculous ones (turn the key to start the flood... to start the mountain... okay).

On the other hand what I fairly liked was the entire Halbaradsson-Galadriel-Adar triangle (also their chase). As in the previous episode, the Galadriel-Harbingerman dialogue felt like it makes sense in spirit, if not in canon: it reflects some aspects of Galadriel that generally are true. At the same time Adar and everything about the Uruks was very interesting in terms of uniqueness. If the show has brought anything new, then it was this angle. Definitely something I did not expect. I hope it will continue to somehow be addressed. As Elrond says in FotR: "For nothing is evil in the beginning. Even Sauron was not so." This is very much in the spirit of that. (And I recall here on the 'Downs some thread about the irredeemability/redeemability of Orcs, and I think this could serve as a nice illustration for one side of it.)

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Adar was certainly the best thing in this episode - or to be honest, in the whole series. He's an interesting character and an interesting concept, and Joseph Mawle is doing a great job portraying him. I hope he didn't die. He made me root for the orcs, which was well done. Galadriel, when positioned against him, seems like a concerningly genocidal elf supremacist on the other hand. He had a point about her being corrupted by darkness.
Basically this. I was really surprised, because it is both very Tolkien and very un-Tolkien (in the sense that Orcs are usually the evil cannon fodder). It is a new approach also because it steps out of the shadow of the previous adaptations and the default setup. I dig it (no pun intended).

I am not personally sure however about Galadriel being portrayed as the horrible racist, but I assume - or I am pretty certain, because it is inevitable - that the show is going somewhere with this and that she will change her mind at some point. (In fact, it is pretty good for character development, if we consider e.g. Galadriel's canonical fluency in Dwarvish, that she is somehow very welcoming of other races, so perhaps here we are going to witness an explanation how it became thus - perhaps some big eye-opening [ahem, again, no pun intended] experience.)

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Reading Tolkien, I never once felt the urge to go and look up scientific information of any kind but after this episode I spent a good couple of hours looking up Vulcanology (I used to work with someone with a doctorate in this but thought she maybe wouldn't appreciate me hassling her about it, you know...). Nobody can face out either pyroclastic flow *or* pyroclastic surge (more likely with a water-meets-magma eruption - it has a proper name, and we saw an example of this with the recent big eruption in Iceland).
Thank you. That was my major question at the end of this episode.

Anyway the entire thing with the sword being The Key did not make any sense. I will now ignore the whole "we are looking for a sword. It is somewhere here. It is under the floorboards and thus we will never find it!" The whole system
- so who made it? Morgoth? For what? To "start up" Orodruin - for what? And if he made it, why did he not already do it? And why did he hide the key? Or if whoever hid or lost the key, why did they put it just in the area, not too far, but not too near to Orodruin itself either?
- the entire mechanism seems ridiculous. Okay, if such a thing is geologically possible, fine, but does that mean it will keep flowing like that forever, or else Orodruin would stop? Interesting that, say, the Gondorians did not just bar the river after conquering Mordor later, in order to stop the thing? (Or is that what Gandalf and co. mean when they say that Orodruin starts again in the Third Age after Sauron's previous absence?)
- what did Adar want to do with the key anyway? What good is it to him? When I saw Mr. Evil Butterbur turning the key and unleashing the river, I thought it would create Lake Núrnen that, you know, Adar could use to make a foundation of his future Uruk Paradise State, starting with farming.

Most of all, ad The Key Plot (see my comment to ep. 5), it would have been so much better had we been told more about the sword before. Before we had no idea why it was so important and this aftermath did not make it make much sense in retrospect.

Not bad, but nothing super-amazing either. Certainly about 200% better than the previous episode, but an average okay-but-not-special TV series episode with some ridiculous stuff and a couple of better scenes thrown in.
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Old 10-22-2022, 09:25 AM   #13
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I mean you don't just gallop around the countryside hoping to run into a bunch of orcs up past their bedtime.
You don't just gallop around the countryside, period. Horses are not dirt bikes; they get tired- and tire very quickly when running, just like people. Cavalry does NOT gallop in transit. Jackson got the great charge close to right: the Rohirrim started at a walk, accelerated to a trot, and only went to a gallop as they got within bowshot. The images of the Numenoreans coursing across the countryside for hundreds of miles from the coast to Mordor(!) as if the fox was in sight was just silly.
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Old 10-22-2022, 01:36 PM   #14
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And I'm not even starting about the geological plot twist in the end because I can't pretend I understand how volcanos work, but I would think it's not like this...
Not that this redeems the scene in any way, but I have walked in a hot volcano field, about three miles away from the volcano cone, which was not erupting with fizzy fireworks. There were gurgling mud pots and the air was hot and we didn't stand in one place too long as the heat penetrated the soles of our shoes but it is possible to be that close to a volcano. Folks close to Mount St. Helen when it erupted, however, did tend to die even when farther away.

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This pretty much summarises my feelings about the whole show. I would like it to be better but it just isn't. It has been particularly striking how bad the witing is after catching up with it after only having watched House of the Dragon and Andor recently... both are so much better written.
I agree about Andor, very much (to me, who has not seen Rogue and generally who does not like much SW after the original three). Andor seems believable as a depiction of the Empire prior to A New Hope even though its tone is much different. Not that my thoughts have much to do with RoP, except that it is possible to create a prequel that bears some relationship to what follows while being different. Then again, with Andor I am not constantly recalling known characters. That I think is part of the proble with RoP.
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Old 10-25-2022, 04:39 PM   #15
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My ideas for what the Battle of the Soutland could have been.

Loved this episode, but I think it could have been much better. This is how I would have done it to make it more grandeur in scale:

-Have the battle occur in the Ostirith tower. Adar will lay the tower under siege. They will eventually break in and rest of them will flee to a nearby forest. The orc numbers will be greater than being reduced by Arondir destroying the tower.

-Numenor sends 7 ships. 3 of them will only transport horses.

-There will be two brigades going: One regular soldiers like we see and the other one is the Queen's elite guards. They will wear the same color as Miriel's armor.

-After the orcs has taken over the tower and drive the southlanders to the open field and surrounding them, the Numenoreans in a huge numbers and fight.

-More close combat between the orcs and numenoreans. A truly forest battle.

-No fake out death with Brownyn.

-Few elite guards will show how powerful Numenor really is by taken out orcs left and right with ease.

-Have dozens of silvan elves fighting alongside with Arondir.

-A short and brief fight between Adar and Halbrand.
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Old 10-26-2022, 06:13 PM   #16
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According to some of the Prime video extra features, "Nampat!" translates to "Death" in Black Speech. So, I suppose they were trying to draw the parallel to the Rohirrim's "Death!" charge?

I don't mind it for these orcs. Even if the Southlander defenders didn't understand Black Speech, just hearing an orc battle-chant approaching would be intense and terrifying. I think the portrayal of the RoP orcs is superior to Jackson's (even in the LOTR trilogy). It's truly the standout achievement of the series, up to this point, in my opinion. Giving them a terrifying war chant adds another layer to them.
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