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Old 10-14-2022, 05:06 AM   #1
Gil-Galad
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Ring **Spoiler Warning** Rings of Power S1E8 - "Alloyed"

We have arrived to the end of the beginning. RoP has generated a lot of discussion, and enflamed a lot of passion, both good and bad. As the show continues with, most likely, future seasons, it may become something to appreciate in hindsight.

Play by Play Thoughts:


- The "Halbrand is Sauron" theory is abound in this episode. He isn't even hiding his glee at being at Eregion.

- Are they ever going to say "Ring"?

- Glad to see some story progression of the Stranger, or at least the culmination. Still no name drop but looks like he is indeed one of the Istari.

- Assuming those cultists are wights or wraiths, but going around calling weird meteor man your overlord with no proof is no good basis of a sustainable cult.

- Wait, why did Sadoc die when there is literally a magic man with magic hands 10 ft away from him.

- Woop, there it is. Thought they said that Sauron wasn't going to be revealed this season.

- As critical as I am about Galadriel, I do appreciate the temptation of power for Galadriel and how it ties into the LotR.

- Also liked the usage of Finrod's dagger, that was a nice touch.

- Celebrimbor is making it hard to believe that he is one of the greatest smiths alive when he doesn't understand the basics of smithing.

- "The key to unlock the dam" is a bit cringe. What does that even mean? Dams aren't meant to be unlocked. That defeats the purpose of a dam.

- Given the Stranger's relationship with the Harfoots, it definitely feels like he will become Gandalf and i imagine in future seasons he will introduce the remainder of the Istari. (Okay, it is definitely Gandalf with that 'Always follow your nose' line).

- They really had to show the meaning of "long goodbyes"

- What's this? Rings of Power in my Rings of Power show!?!

So wait, Galadriel isn't going to tell anyone that Halbrand is Sauron, and that the whole Annatar plot in crafting the rings was condensed into less than 20 minutes of screen time. Now that we know the truth of Halbrand, looking back his whole encounter with Galadriel was rather silly. Just happened to be on a raft in the middle of the ocean, and Galadriel decided to call him the King of the Southlands and then bring him to Eregion. It feels like the reason why Halbrand/Sauron succeeded was cause everyone around him are idiots.

Future Seasons:

- Now that Sauron has been revealed, I imagine it will be more division between the elves and Numenor, with Sauron trying to placate himself to Numenor and sow the distrust.
- Also hope to see the rings of man and dwarves get fleshed out and we see more of the seven dwarven kings and nine human kings.
- I also expect more power plays in Numenor, with Ar-Pharazon usurping Miriel and welcoming Sauron, which will lead to its invasion of Valinor and its doom.
- Isildur will be back, maybe a slave in Mordor and will escape. Maybe as a hostage of Sauron.

Final Thoughts:

It has been quite a journey and we have reached the end of the first season. While I was impressed with and enjoyed some of the story elements, there was a lot that left me disappointed with. Time will tell if they grow and try new things in the future seasons, and where the fanbase will go with it.

Despite its failings and misgivings, this show is a product of a world that has inspired countless numbers of us and gave us a fantasical universe that has shaped our thoughts and emotions. This is still a product of that love, and many people put their passion into it. Factors abound made it what it is. Like it or not, this is Tolkien for a new generation and hopefully it will rekindle and remind everyone new and old of what the writings of the Professor has meant for us.
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Old 10-14-2022, 01:04 PM   #2
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More sustained thoughts to come later... the TLR is that I generally liked things in this episode but generally feel--like last episode--that the pacing is wobbly and there are inexplicable adaptational choices made. I think it ends the season on a comparative high note, but that's not without many, many caveats.
  • Wow, it feels like ages since I watched this--the recap feels ancient, including stuff that JUST happened.
  • A mysterious apple-thief/spy? Haven't you introduced enough new--oh, oh never mind. It's the creepy white cloaks.
  • Well THEY think he's Sauron, anyway.
  • I will miss the opening credits being in my life each week.
  • Lindon looks impressive--or is that Eregion? Does Eregion exist in this world?
  • Oh, are the Rings supposed to be the back-up plan to the Mithril Sun-Baths? It's... quite the dramatisation, but...
  • Elrond, YOU are the healer, right? Why aren't YOU doing any healing?
  • "The only thing we can do" just doesn't hit--hackneyed writing!
  • Oh, do we get an actual Celebrimbor scene?
  • Even if Halbrand isn't Sauron, this is a good Annatar-baity scene.
  • "A gift"--okay, that's even more Annatar-baity.
  • "Forge a tomb"--you don't forge tombs, Pharazôn!
  • Why are you talking to Númenor's apprentices? This sounds very plot-convenient, Pharazôn. You should be talking to the island's master craftsmen.
  • While he's a bit atextual, crazy seer Tar-Palantír is effective.
  • Gil-galad being the one who DISLIKES this plan feels out of character for THIS Gil-galad, but closer to the book. I don't understand this Gil-galad's motivations.
  • "Return to Lindon"--okay, this hastily-erected city that looks ancient actually is Eregion. Gotta keep it.
  • More Halbrand-is-Annatar bait.
  • The fact that Galadriel is researching Halbrand's background feels like more Annatar-bait. But at what point do I have to admit it isn't bait but what the plot actually is.
  • Well, that was ominous, Halbrand--the point seems to be coming. So, of course, let's switch to the Starman plot.
  • Okay, but why are the stars strange in the East? That's not exactly how it works in this world. And, yes, Aragorn spoke of walking far in the east--but also the south!--where the stars are strange. Is this just bad research or a comment on the flatness of the world?
  • Look, Harfeet, at some point you should just consider him lost on the road--this seems a very bad--oh, hang on: we have Blue Wizards, me thinks! Or some sort of weird duplication.
  • Awww, no, it's not two Starmen--it's a disguise.
  • These White Cloaks continue to be sufficiently creepy.
  • Wait, the association with fire is supposed to be a Gandalf thing, isn't it?
  • Too much CGI.
  • "Istar" well, that would seem to be confirmed, whichever Istar he is.
  • This is an overly dramatic death scene--and your magic wizard is RIGHT THERE.
  • Also, doesn't dawn seem to have arrived really conveniently? Like, right after midnight?
  • "Does not merely mean one who loves the stars" is a nicely tight and understated--and unspoken--way of saying it.
  • Well THERE are the black, erm, sails of the Númenóreans--kinda. Context is all wrong. Dramatic, but not consistent.
  • "Ourselves," Galadriel? You're not quite part of the smithing, are you?
  • Well, Halbrand, I guess you're Annatar by default now.
  • I feel like Arondir or, say, Bronwyn should have told you this, Galadriel. The way they responded to "King Halbrand" makes this look like a last minute change.
  • But it is a dramatic reveal. The music works, and that's some of his better dialogue.
  • Oh yeah, that's what they thought Finrod looked like...
  • This is a nonsense dream? mind-invasion? scene--but the lies Sauron is whispering are fairly in character.
  • The Ring always offered power and rule, I suppose.
  • I don't know if we can believe a word this Sauron says... but if we could, it's got some textual support.
  • "Three Rings for the Elven-Kings," I guess.
  • Giving up her blade for the Rings is... unexpected, but I suppose I like it.
  • So we just need confirmation if Starman is Gandalf or a Blue Wizard--the indications would seem to be Gandalf. A Blue Wizard I'd enjoy... Gandalf annoys me: it's such a case of prequelitis (stuffing things into the prequel from the first story "because" when it doesn't have to be there.
  • I do sort of thematically like the idea of Gandalf getting to meet the Hobbits before they can possibly remember it, but it offends my sense of timeline--and how is Gandalf to get Narya from Círdan as he arrives at the Havens?
  • Hobbits imparting advice at parting is nice as a concept.
  • Was that supposed to be a Gandalf pre-quote?
  • You don't look hot next to this forge, Galadriel. An elf is supposed to always look cool, I suppose.
  • Travelled to Mordor rather quickly, didn't we, Halbrand?
  • It's weird getting end credits...
  • So, do we get a new set of Rings at the end of each season? Dwarves at the end of 2, Men at the end of three, Sauron at the end of 4--and then the Last Alliance in Season 5?
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Old 10-14-2022, 03:06 PM   #3
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Elrond seems to have become a healer in the Third Age.

However, the show established, in the first episode, that *Elves don't really have healers, as their bodies heal with out aid. They have artisan's who make works of art to heal the soul.
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Old 10-14-2022, 09:01 PM   #4
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I must admit that was a satisfying end to a season finale. It's just nice to have some key characters revealed and seeing a general direction of where the showrunner's creation is heading. There are issues I have mostly with the pacing and writing overall in Season 1. I'm not sure if it will get better, but at least the finale paid off to leave me interested and anticipating Season 2. I can enjoy a slow burn, if done well, but the middle episodes felt more like a slog and unnecessary time filler more than actually progressing anywhere. Now watching the pay off, my interests are piqued again to imagine where future seasons will go.

So, I was expecting to hate it if Halbrand turned out to be Sauron. Now that I know he is, I actually don't hate it. Part of it might be I just wasn't interested in the Galadriel/Halbrand plot. After the previous episode, I was wrapping my head around Halbrand is probably going to be Sauron, so let's see how they pull this "reveal" off. I think both actors stepped up and into their roles in the finale that I'm ok with it. I like a Sauron 2nd Age redemption fanfiction and glad they went that route with someone who was redeemed after Morgoth's defeat. They left open a potential that if Galadriel never brought Halbrand to Middle-earth, or even indeed if he was never brought to Eregion, perhaps events would have played out differently. I like the Halbrand is Sauron better than I thought I would, because of the Sauron 2nd Age "fair form" redemption after Morgoth's defeat is a good story.

It convinces me that the showrunners understand the source material and are inspired by the story they're adapting. I see it in their portrayal of the orcs, the trenches, the pay off in the Halbrand/Sauron plot. I would even say, I've seen enough where they understand the story more than Peter Jackson did. So, why am I still kind of disappointed and not immediately taken in like I was with Peter Jackson's films?

Well, I think to Jackson's credit, he put better people around him, and more qualified experts from the Tolkien community that at times he listened to. The pacing was far better (I'm speaking strictly of the LOTR trilogy, btw), but I also must admit pacing for 3, 3+hour films is going to be different than a 50-hour episodic series. That's part of it, but the main source of disappointment with Season 1 is it seemed to play this odd, middle-ground. I honestly think I would have liked it more if they had gone crazier with it, instead of this quasi-don't break too far from Jackson's films so we can appeal to those fans. They tempted us with some bold and crazy ideas (that from a fanfiction POV might have worked or completely bombed), but in the end decided to not want to stray too far from the films, or PJ's visions. Even hitting it over our heads with the similar movie quotes this episode. That's my main disappointment.

Maybe the story-telling kinks will get worked out in future seasons, maybe not? I don't know, but like I said I do know that the finale at least did its job to answer what I wanted answered at this point. They finally got to the forging of the 3 rings. The ring verse song in the end credits was wonderful as well.

That's kind of all I have time for at the moment, getting sleepy. There's more, smaller tidbits with the episode I enjoyed, that I'll put in the cherry-picking thread.
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Old 10-14-2022, 09:53 PM   #5
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"Lord Sauron" Huh. I'll believe THAT if it still stands at the end of the episode.

SUNFRUIT CALLOUT

"Six days ago. We rode wihout rest. Can you help him?"
"Well not anymore!!!"

"The master I apprenticed to" yeah yeah yeah everyone was apprenticed to Aule, you aren't special

"His hand never touched or sullied them"

Pardon me while I lay on the floor and groan for a while at Halbrannatarwurst inventing the elven rings to Celebrimbor's face.

"Call it.....a gift" EFFFFFFFF YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both 'hope is never mere' and 'it is a fool's hope'


Gil-Galad is cynical and doom-besotten as all get-out in this but I really like the actor's face. So you know, I'm perfectly balanced between two points and all that.


Galadriel's green dress is pretty.

"He weights all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice"

THE LANDS OF RUNE????? (I'm glad I get to hear one of my favorite lines "where the stars are strange")

Sadoc : (

Mothrandir strikes again!

Just tell them Galadriel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Poppy

"Nobody goes off trail" Except for Nori we're running her off the road byeeeee! (I know her name is "Brandy"foot but will she be the progenitors of Tooks or Baggins? Or will she meet them in season 2?)

Poppy

"Just follow your nose" Okay she is a proto-Brandybuck. Is it Tolkien? Not quite. Is it endearing? Yeah. (Also The Strangedalf lapsing into slightly more formal language - almost too much? Have they been using all of that terrible dialogue on purpose all this time?)

Celebrimbor: :}

So I'm not a metalsmith but I (used to be? will be again?) am a glass-smith, and that is my not-at-all professional opinion that that's a needlessly complicated apparatus.

Elven riiiiiiiiinggssssss (the jewels aren't cut???? those are some really small tanning beds. what will Sauron make the Seven and the Nine out of?)

Okay. I'mma say it since no-0ne else has yet. Elendil is a a little bit delectable even without the Helmendil. Thanks for coming to my T.E.D.talk. (The Elendil D.......emeanor)







So I agree with B88 that they revealed the Halbrand/Sauron not too terribly - I like the idea of Sauron thinking he's redeeming himself but still greedy and not quite able to grasp what "healing" actually is, still grasping for power over and not power to heal or preserve, looking forredemption in all the wrong places - he did try to repent out of guilt several times as I recall, not out of desire to do good in itself - and really, who could be considered his equal in Middle-earth if not Galadriel?


Quote:
Originally Posted by B88
Well, I think to Jackson's credit, he put better people around him, and more qualified experts from the Tolkien community that at times he listened to.

Jackson's greatest feat was the artisans he brought in - Howe & Lee, the craftsmen who wrought the armor, clothing, sets, jewelry and special effects/Weta workshop - as well as the the land that shaped him. I hear that future seasons will not be filmed in New Zealand for budgetary reasons (eff you and your budget amazon) which is incredibly sad, as nature and the preservation thereof is a core of Tolkien's beliefs and work. Not sure which thread to put that thought but there it is.
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Old 10-15-2022, 01:16 AM   #6
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I hear that future seasons will not be filmed in New Zealand for budgetary reasons (eff you and your budget amazon) which is incredibly sad, as nature and the preservation thereof is a core of Tolkien's beliefs and work. Not sure which thread to put that thought but there it is.
That is disappointing. They made a big fuss about having a 1 billion dollar(insert Dr. Evil voice) budget here but it really didn't feel like a 1 billion dollar budget show.
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Old 10-15-2022, 04:59 AM   #7
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Boro brings up an interesting topic: Jackson vs. the Amazon team: who does it better?

Honestly, I think it's not a fair comparison, if you're comparing the LotR movies to RoP--RoP relies so much on the movies for establishing what the cinematic "feel" of Middle-earth is (New Zealand, certain looks for the Númenóreans, Howard Shore's motifs, etc, etc, etc.). And to make an LotR movie, Jackson had to compress Tolkien's story.

However, if you want to compare the Amazon team to Jackson's Hobbit movies, then I think it's a much fairer comparison: both are making prequels that rely on the LotR movies for Middle-earth's cinematic feel and both have a LOT of blank-filling (whether that was necessary in Jackson's case is another matter--let's pretend that it is). I think on that front that it's clear that the Amazon team has a deeper knowledge of Tolkien's lore and themes--and I'm not saying that Jackson doesn't love Tolkien, but I think Jackson loves The Lord of the Rings specifically whereas it's clear the Amazon team knows more than just the LotR--it's clear they know The Letters, the Silm, Unfinished Tales, and possibly more given their clear awareness of Tolkien's themes and ideas.

If you compare RoP to the The Hobbit movies, I think RoP comes out looking quite good in comparison (literally, if you remember the 48 fps decision), but it's not without flaws. For all that I want to praise the showrunners for their clear awareness of Tolkien's lore, I'm not at all convinced they're good writers or experienced storytellers. When I say "good writers," I mean their dialogue, which was rarely memorable, sometimes baffling (even just from an in-universe perspective), and just rarely sounded to my ear like "Tolkien." Granted, he's a HARD writer to mimic, but it should surely have been easier to get in the ballpark.

I also think that they simultaneously did very little this season and crammed too much in: when we FINALLY get to the making of the Rings in this final episode, it felt like this rushed by incredibly quickly and that we'd wasted most of the season getting to this point. The fact that Arondir, Bronwyn, Theo, Adar--i.e. the entire Southlands plot, was missing from this episode had that entire, time-consuming plot feeling overblown and digressive, and I think Númenor has been given the shortest shrift of the canon elements--so far, it has borne nearly the entire burden of the time distortion, and the motivation for this massively large civilisation sending a (tiny? powerful?) fleet to Middle-earth is hard to understand and really feels like it happened because "that's the plot."

My final verdict, I think, is that I overall liked the show (faint praise that I nonetheless only remember giving to one of the The Hobbit movies), found it quite flawed, yet nonetheless found it had enough interesting things and well-done things to hold my interest. Given how much that was through the lens of a Tolkien fan who enjoys dissecting this here, I'm not sure I'd recommend it for the general public, but I probably would defend it against the indiscriminate haters.

One thing that I find almost baffling, though, is how it cost so much--the most per episode of any television show ever. How? They're not paying famous actors. They're clearly not paying the most expensive writers. There are ample complaints I've seen (admittedly, on the Tumblr-verse) of how Amazon cuts corners with costume designers, CGI artists, etc (you know, basically, Amazon is the World's Worst Capitalist Excesses Evil Overlords™--in other words, they'll do everything that Netflix and Disney+ do to keep costs down and then some, because they are The Most Evil). I'm not saying that Amazon made this on a shoe-string budget, and it's clear that a lot of resources were poured in here, but... it's eight episodes. Perhaps it's simply a case of "money can't buy success," because the result feels exceptionally middling and it hasn't had the cultural impact Amazon wanted.
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Old 10-15-2022, 07:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Form
However, if you want to compare the Amazon team to Jackson's Hobbit movies, then I think it's a much fairer comparison: both are making prequels that rely on the LotR movies for Middle-earth's cinematic feel and both have a LOT of blank-filling (whether that was necessary in Jackson's case is another matter--let's pretend that it is). I think on that front that it's clear that the Amazon team has a deeper knowledge of Tolkien's lore and themes--and I'm not saying that Jackson doesn't love Tolkien, but I think Jackson loves The Lord of the Rings specifically whereas it's clear the Amazon team knows more than just the LotR--it's clear they know The Letters, the Silm, Unfinished Tales, and possibly more given their clear awareness of Tolkien's themes and ideas.
That is an excellent point and I think your post has pinpointed the source of my disappointment in the series. Trying to compare it to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, out of perhaps an expectation that it could have the same impact as that trilogy did when I first watched them. It fell short, I agree there is hardly anything memorable (in a positive way) about the dialogue. The music is memorable, the visuals are memorable. The acting isn't memorable, but it's not a detriment for me either. That is aside from some of the peripheral characters. I think Megan Richards (the actress playing Poppy) was an absolute star among the Harfoots. I also enjoyed Lenny Henry (sad his character has died). I will be said when Durin Sr. leaves the screen for good. Robert Aramayo's Elrond has grown on me. Despite Celebrimbor not looking like the greatest Elven smith of the age, I loved Charles Edwards' take on being more of a mad scientist, with a passion for craftsmanship that leads to obsession. At this point, the only one I would call memorable (from an acting standpoint) in Season 1 is Poppy.

The letdown is comparing it to LOTR, when I agree with your point that The Hobbit is a fairer comparison. Comparing the series to The Hobbit, I would say the series is better. They demonstrated an understanding and a passion for Middle-earth's 2nd Age and hitting on Tolkien's themes about people working together for the common good, developing the orcs in ways that was far superior to Peter Jackson (or really any fantasy story I've seen), mortality vs. immortality, the glimmer of a Sauron redemption story (the reveal wasn't done terribly, it was just rushed).

The only bits of dialogue that are memorable (in the non-cringe, but actually good) was Elrond and Durin's elevator conversation and Elrond and Gil-galad's conversation about oath breaking and hope (but that has the cringe "we need vast quantities of mithril immediately!" plot mixed in with it ).

I'm glad Form brought up this point about comparing the series to Lord of the Rings trilogy vs. The Hobbit. While I agree with the point, I think the flaw in the series is they are trying to actually build it up as a comparison to the LOTR trilogy, and Season 1 underdelivered. They could have gone further in creating an interesting AU, or fanfiction story, but they played this safe middle-road to not stray too far from PJ's LOTR vision. They've done some things better, but I don't like the sense I'm getting about The Stranger being Gandalf.

I would like it better, if the Stranger was one of the blue wizards, or because of copyright maybe can't be the blue wizard, but a generic Istar that was sent during the same time as Sauron's coming to confront him. Go crazy with the AU, have The Stranger go East and either try to weaken Sauron's growing power (maybe even form an alliance with Adar?), or join Sauron to defeat Adar, or whatever you want to do. My point is, it doesn't have to be Gandalf and the disappointment is it seems like that's the way they're going by blatantly ripping Gandalf's lines from the films.

Anway, there are a lot of kinks to work out, but overall I agree with Form's comment:

Quote:
My final verdict, I think, is that I overall liked the show (faint praise that I nonetheless only remember giving to one of the The Hobbit movies), found it quite flawed, yet nonetheless found it had enough interesting things and well-done things to hold my interest. Given how much that was through the lens of a Tolkien fan who enjoys dissecting this here, I'm not sure I'd recommend it for the general public, but I probably would defend it against the indiscriminate haters.
In my case, I would go even further and say that is not something that I felt the need to do with The Hobbit trilogy. I never felt a desire to defend those movies from the critics, because it just didn't interest me enough to do so. I've found the Rings of Power to have several kinks to work out (I'm not sure they're capable of doing it) but the Season 1 finale sparked enough interest I can imagine its potential and intrigued by the possibilities. I hope future seasons break more from PJ's LOTR, and they create a different vision. Higher risk, but also higher rewards.
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Old 10-15-2022, 03:35 PM   #9
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All I can say us that I don’t in the least regret having given this a miss.
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Old 10-15-2022, 04:44 PM   #10
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All I can say us that I don’t in the least regret having given this a miss.
I can understand and respect that adaptations aren't everyone's cup of tea (or whatever particular drink of choice you prefer). For what it's worth, you don't strike me as a person who shames fans like myself, or think that somehow enjoying adaptations make me a 'lesser' Tolkien fan.

I understand members on this forum who don't think film and media adaptations are necessary to bring Tolkien's story to life. If I was brought up and introduced to the books first, maybe my opinions would be the same. I share similar opinions to the gripes on Hollywood, towards Amazon and Disney...etc. Why put in the hard work of creating an original story, when you can just smack on Tolkien branding and make higher profits (or believe that it will make more money)? Adaptations, fanfiction, "remakes" are here and don't appear to be going away anytime soon.

As Form and Oddwen have said, I think it's accurate to say Peter Jackson loved The Lord of the Rings. It shows if you've watched the documentaries about the making of LOTR. And to his credit he put together a more talented, and knowledgeable team and cast of actors around him that were just as passionate (if not even more so) about Lord of the Rings.

With Season's 1 conclusion, I would argue with anyone that it's clear to me Payne and McKay read about and we're inspired by the Middle-earth's 2nd Age; particularly the Rings of Power and Fall of Eregion and Numenor. I agree with Form and everyone else here, that the Amazon team, leaves a lot to be desired. I don't know if they'll get the warts out to elevate the series to have the impact the LOTR trilogy did. But the finale did it's job for me, in the way of "ok it's finally going somewhere" and answered the questions that needed answered. I'm intrigued by the possible paths future seasons can follow.

-The Stranger (might as well just call him Gandalf now ) is heading East. I'm interested to see what they do with Rhun.
-I want to see how Celebrimbor and Sauron's relationship plays out. I like Charles Edward's take by truly showing Celebrimbor's craftsmanship is leading to an obsession and tragedy. His interaction at meeting Halbrand (and someone with shared passion). His facial expression when Galadriel says they're never to treat with Halbrand again was spot on. It was an "about that...yeah that's not going to happen and who are you to give me that advice?"
-I'm most intrigued by what alliances will form? Sauron and Adar are heading for a collision course. Who allies with Adar? Does Sauron "steal away" the loyalty and reverence the orcs have for Adar? What part does Numenor play during Sauron and Adar's confrontation?
-And obviously more rings need to be forged.
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Old 10-16-2022, 06:49 AM   #11
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I want to bring up another point I was thinking about with the season finale, that has been brought up. With Sauron being in Celebrimbor's forge and the process being underway, how is it they're dealing with the fact Sauron "never touched or sullied the 3 Elven Rings."

It's easy to miss because of how rushed and crammed the finale was, but they didn't decide to forge 3 rings until almost the very end. When Halbrand was helping and aiding Celebrimbor in the forge, the plan was to make 1 crown that they would give to Gil-galad. It wasn't until after Galadriel's temptation and refusal of Sauron that Galadriel, Elrond and Celebrimbor decided to forge 3 rings. Galadriel says something like "1 is too powerful for a single person, 2 will divide, 3 there's balance." So, that's why Galadriel doesn't stop the forging of rings process, and how I think they are addressing the "Sauron never touched or sullied the 3 Elven Rings." It wasn't going to be 3 rings until like the last 5 minutes of the episode. Which is problematic from their decision to cram this all into the finale, but not as problematic as Sauron telling Celebrimbor "hey let me help forge some rings." I actually do want to see the finale again relatively soon, because I think it's Celebrimbor who brings up it should be rings for their "circular form". The idea of a circle being the most powerful shape in the world sounds very Tolkienian. I recall old lore threads about the symbolism of circular forms and rings. So, that was a nice touch.
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Old 10-18-2022, 03:49 PM   #12
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Well! I did not expect actual Rings of Power, though the props are very pretty. I guess Elrond's getting Vilya straight out of the gate?

I do actually remember thinking that the best way to pull the Annatar surprise would be to have him enter Eregion under another name, and be given the name Annatar later, so that people who knew the books would also be surprised. I... didn't expect all that to happen in 20 minutes, though. o.O

I feel like they wrote Halbrand so that you can go back and rewatch him, to see whether he ever lied (I'm guessing not). I remembered him yelling at Adar about the unspecified terrible thing he did to him - which came, in hindsight, not long before Adar confessed to killing Sauron. Should have listened, Artanis...

I confess to a moment of sudden horror when Elrond walked in to find Galadriel smiling at the new Rings, because... evil characters had been shapeshifting in this very episode, and what if 'Galadriel' was actually Halbrand now??? But she wasn't, so that's fine. Would have been a fun twist though.

I might come back and do a rundown of where everyone ended up and how I feel about it, but for now I'll just say that this house ships Miriel/Elendil, but Nori/Poppy even harder.

hS
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Old 10-18-2022, 07:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huey
I feel like they wrote Halbrand so that you can go back and rewatch him, to see whether he ever lied (I'm guessing not). I remembered him yelling at Adar about the unspecified terrible thing he did to him - which came, in hindsight, not long before Adar confessed to killing Sauron. Should have listened, Artanis...
Indeed, I do want to rewatch Season 1 at some point (just not sure when that will happen, because I still want to watch Andor and House of the Dragon...plus all my sportsball stuff

But, I do want to rewatch in the context knowing now Halbrand is Sauron. I think that will make the times when Halbrand is giving advice to Galadriel and Celebrimbor less jarring than at the time when you just think, why is this guy that Galadriel found on a raft teaching Galadriel?

Also, going back to one of my comments in Episode 4. Should have taken the clear foreshadowing for what it was...

Quote:
I rather think that "advice" to Pharazon from within a jail cell scene, was foreshadowing and revealing more into Pharazon's character, than figuring out the Halbrand mystery. My current theory after Episode 4 is Halbrand becomes acclimated in Numenor and to Pharazon. Maybe becoming an advisor/general/captain under Pharazon and becoming a future Nazgul. I can see a future Nazgul being formerly important members of the King's Men. Anyway, I think this episode to be more revealing into Pharazon's and Miriel's character. The "Halbrand advising Galadriel and then Pharazon from within a jail cell" is foreshadowing for Pharazon's storyline, and doesn't answer the question of who is Halbrand? At least, that's my personal theory.
That is why I'm just going with it and admitting the Stranger is clearly Gandalf. Looks like Gandalf, sounds like Gandalf, he's with hobbits, there's no more ambiguity.
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Old 10-22-2022, 02:10 PM   #14
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Well... that was some finale. I had been spoiled about the Halbrand plot twist and I wonder at what point would I have seen it coming. Before I got spoiled (after seeing episode 4) I still thought the theory was ludicrous, mostly because the plot twist wouldn't make much sense. Should have known the writing in this show doesn't make much sense anyway, duh.

So, some thoughts based on the finale, the previous episode and the season overall:

Halbrand and Galadriel plot
Well, let's say that in retrospect it's entertaining, intriguing even. I'm not up for a thematic dissection, but I do like the idea of Sauron trying to corrupt Galadriel as Morgoth once corrupted him. I also find it very funny that basically Sauron's return is Galadriel's fault. So I hope Form isn't right and she didn't just arm the Witch-King too! Do I still think Halbrand's characterisation was weird and intentionally misleading? Yeah. And do I think it was stupid to make the whole season about "guess who's Sauron, here's 20 red herrings"? Certainly. I'm also extremely baffled by Galadriel not telling anyone who Halbrand was. Was she too ashamed to admit how she'd been fooled? And also, why on earth after centuries (?) of hunting Sauron, she suddenly gives up on it when she finally knows who he is and he's fleeing from her with just minutes of a head start??

The rings of power
Like others, I was not a fan of the forging of Elven rings speed run. I did like Saurobrandatar's part in it, but not Galadriel's. Still wishing they'd have gone in a different direction with Celebrimbor's portrayal, but whatever. (Give the bond of trust and sexual tension to Celebrimbor/Sauron, not Galadriel/Sauron, please. Also younger Celebrimbor's crush on the older and married Galadriel would have been fun to see. And more of some Feanorean passion too. Ah well...) I'm not going to deign the mithril solarium plotline with any further commentary, but it's nice to have the Elven rings now. I wonder how they're going to distribute them for starters. One for Galadriel, one for Elrond and one for Gil-Galad which will pass on to Gandalf later? Also wondering when we'll see the other rings being forged.

Gandalf and the hobbits

This plot had the best characters but the least development (and the most annoying red herrings). Can't say I'm very interested to see Gandalf and Nori's adventures in Rhûn next season. Seriously, what are they going to do for four more seasons? *yawn* (Gandalf will go east, then south, then take a boat and circle around to the Gray Havens to arrive on a ship? I sure hope not.)

The Dwarf plot
Interestingly enough, it probably has the most fleshed out relationship dynamics between characters. Not a fan of how stuff ties up to the mithril solarium plot (and what will they do with it now that the Elves won't need those anymore?) and curious about the friendship of Celebrimbor and Narvi and whether we're going to see that. The balrog was a huge letdown, you put that in the trailer and we see it for 0.5 seconds? Guess we'll see it again in season 5 or something... *another yawn*

The southlands and Adar

A displaced people without a leader? A boy with a (potentially) dark destiny? A star-crossed romance between an Elf and a human? That's a bunch of archetypes I could have found interesting. Alas, thanks to the clumsy writing with very little buildup anywhere, I don't really care about any of that. Cool, go to Pelargir and found a city. But how's that gonna provide plot for four more seasons? As I've said before, Adar on the other hand is the best character in the show by far. I'm genuinely curious about what will happen to him and his orcs, how they will be portrayed, and what the inevitable power struggle between Adar and Sauron will look like.

Númenor plot
Here we barely got started. What role will Míriel's blindness play? When will isildur come back from his fake death - or Anárion, for that matter? And there's a lot of story to tell about Pharazôn and Sauron, as well. I feel like this is probably the plotline that has the most material for future seasons.

All in all, I sadly found the series pretty subpar. The writing - pacing, dialogue, characters - is simply bad, which is a pity. I'm not convinced I will watch the future seasons. I cannot fathom how there will be material for four more seasons. They must be even more drawn out and boring than this one was at its worst. Sure, there are still some rings to forge and balrogs to wreak havoc and Celeborns to reappear (he can't be really dead) etc, but that won't be enough to hold my interest for 32 more episodes. My verdict is that this is a laudably ambitious project and not without merits, but overall a failure. Maybe it was always doomed to be one, given the (lack of) source material.
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Old 10-22-2022, 03:22 PM   #15
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Pipe

Okay, that was it. Let's cut to the chase.

Bad things: again unnecessary slow motion, and too many PJ referrences (staff-battle having person in white throwing Gandalf around, rotating him 90 degrees etc.). I am beginning to realise that this was actually never a show for Tolkien fans, this was a show for the movie viewers, not even those who have read the books (and therefore Appendices) afterwards. Because despite the fact that the showmakers had the access to the books, what they put in is literally just stuff that could be prequel to the movies, but not to the books. That is it. It makes perfect sense.

This is probably the time when the steeds are yet noble and speedy like Shadowfax, since after in the previous episode the Númenoreans somehow got from Anduin to Gorgoroth in one day, now Galadriel and Mr. Halbardsson got to Eregion in six days.

Questionable things:

So this show (or season) is about Galadriel encouraging a future Nazgul to become a fighter and Sauron to become Sauron. Well done.

The Galadriel-and-Harbinger sequence by the brook (apparently Glanduin, as attested by Elrond later) leaves me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I do like that THIS IS FINALLY ANNATAR. This is how he should have been all the time, Master Deceiver, blah blah. Not some pseudo-aragorn who crawled out of a ditch.

I am somewhat freaked out by the near-romantic suggestions between the two of them. Though I admit that the suggestion of the alliance is cool. It is a different take on Galadriel's primary temptation, but it maintains the spirit. It is only a pity Galadriel did not have the "will to power" manifested basically at all throughout the entire season and, just like every plot here, it came pretty much out of the blue (ie, if you hadn't known about the Frodo-offering-the-Ring-temptation-scene, you'd probably be "where did this come from?").

The scene ending with them screaming at each other however was just ridiculous. If it was in a parody of PJ, I'd accept it, but this was meant to be serious. (I assume.)

Speaking of pseudo-aragorn who crawled out of a ditch. I do not know what I would have thought of the show had I not been spoiled about his identity beforehand (thanks Nogrod). I think I would have opposed the notion to the very last because it simply goes against everything I believe to be in the fundaments of Tolkien's world that Sauron would disguise himself as a "Strider". Meaning, just like the Hobbits tell Strider in Bree, an agent of evil would seem nice and clean on the outside and be foul on the inside, not the other way around.

Things I don't give a broken horseshoe about:

Sadly probably Nori and Mr. Mysterious Stranger. I kind of hope that their journey in the next season (if such season comes) will take them to proto-Erebor and proto-Dale where their plotlines could converge on, say, the plot of two out of Seven and Nine Rings (that's what I'd do if I was given this setup, probably).

Things that do not make any sense whatsoever:

Galadriel, who had been "vengeance, vengeance for my brother" the whole season, hunting for Sauron who everyone was convincing her was not around anymore, finally gives up her dagger the moment right after she actually found Sauron and had a confirmation that he lives. NOW would be the moment for her to don her shiny armour and ride out chasing him on a horse, screaming "vengeance!" But no. She casts away her dagger.

Continuing along the same plotline, I am able to feebly understand that Galadriel would want to hush-hush the fact that she had been trotting along with Sauron. But I do not understand that she does not say "ok, guys, abort the Ring-making process now, this is shady" and/or say "ahem, Mr. Harbsson disappeared pretty quick, don't we want to send a patrol after him? What if he stole something? (Such as your copyright, Celebrimbor?)" Or "ah guys, I just remembered I forgot my comb in Míriel's camp, can I just borrow the fastest horse? Be back in a moment."

Things that I sorta like:

Despite everything I have said about Mr. Hurdle-burdle, if I take a step back and cast away my presuppositions, I have to say that they handled Sauron pretty well in terms of not making him the stereotypical villain, and not even the stereotypical sneaky tempter (a la e.g. Chancellor Palpatine). I think the show has decidedly played on "everyone has good intentions": Sauron wants to heal, Adar wants his Orcs to have living space, Galadriel wants vengeance for her brother (ahem, that's actually a "bad" motivation... but let's say she wants justice upon the perpetrator of evil and his neutralisation for future... or wanted to), even the Dwarves seemingly will want to dig mithril not out of greed, but out of friendship.

So basically this show can be summed up as: everyone's motivations are good. But the means are what corrupts. Which is actually pretty cool.

And overall the show preserves the spirit, like I have said numerous times. Events do not happen in the chronological order that is in the books, they even happen completely differently, etc. But somehow the themes, the spirit as opposed to the letter, are preserved in one way or another.

I am glad that the plot had a focus from point A to point B, which is sadly not a given these days (looking at Star Wars sequels. Basically: if SW sequels had the pre-planning and focus this has, they'd have been ok. And vice versa, had RoP had at least the writing of dialogues and characters the SW sequels had, it would be a decent, okay show too.)

Yes, sadly, what sucks is the writing.
-no foreshadowing in plot, lots of red herrings that serve no purpose
-no buildup, things just happen and people just decide to do stuff,
-characters arbitrarily switch their priorities (we must do X - no wait I am breaking down and I am not doing X - ok no I am doing it after all; this all often happening within a single scene - I'd be okay with it if it at least happened during the span of an episode or ideally the season. See: Elrond's admission to Moria, Bronwyn giving up to the Orcs, Nori deciding she's leaving the Stranger, among many other things)
-the audience is given no explanation as to why someone is doing something or why is it important (the Key etc.)
-especially Elven dialogues sound 90% of the time like someone gave 5-year-old a thesaurus of fancy-sounding words and told them to write a story.

Final verdict? Will I watch another season (if one happens)? Honestly can't say. Probably would watch for interest's sake, or for the sake of a BD discussion.

If I had to express some thoughts in one sentence... Since I said that this show works in the spirit, but not in the letter, I would say this: I hope that on the long run, this show will bequeath its spirit, but will be forgotten in its form. (But I am similarly critical of PJ. In his case, I wish that about 50% of his form and 100% of his spirit - meaning everything that he brought in that was not Tolkien - was forgotten. So RoP really did much better on the spirit level, it brought new themes that are Tolkien-esque yet have not been touched before - e.g. the whole Orc redemption thingy, or the take on "everoyne had good motives", or the mortals-vs-immortals perception of time-dichotomy.)
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Old 10-23-2022, 05:39 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinlómien View Post
One for Galadriel, one for Elrond and one for Gil-Galad which will pass on to Gandalf later? Also wondering when we'll see the other rings being forged.
[B]
They have said Cirdan is coming in Season 2...and a bearded Cirdan:

https://time.com/6205027/cirdan-the-...ower-season-2/

If I recall correctly, from the books (not that this will be at all relevant to how they do it in RoP), Gil-galad at one time had Vilya and Narya. It was before the Last Alliance that Gil-galad gave Vilya to Elrond and Narya to Cirdan.

I'm not sure how or if they'll work Cirdan into getting Narya, but apparently he's coming i in Season 2. If I had to guess Cirdan gets Narya right away, after randomly appearing in Eregion (because that's the MO of how they're writing this), Gil-galad gets Vilya, Galadriel Nenya.

This is also part of the reason why they could have just cut Numenor out of Season 1. There was no need for Galadriel to be in Numenor, or Sauron to be there at this time. Apparently, they had to be for the "Numenor rides to save the Southlands" plot. It's so scatter-brained. Maybe, it will all come together, but why leave Cirdan for Season 2 if he's (I'm assuming) going to get Narya? Why not establish his character in Season 1 with the other prominent Elven "kings?"
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Old 11-06-2022, 05:21 PM   #17
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What would have made this episode perfect

I was satisfied with the season finale and how they wrapped it up. But I wished Halbrand would shaved his beard and the forging of the rings would be longer. The show could have cut down the Harfoot goodbye scenes and gave us more Sauron-Celebrimbor.
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