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Old 09-02-2022, 07:15 AM   #1
Huinesoron
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Ring **Spoilers** RoP S1Ep1 - "A Shadow of the Past"

The first two episodes of Rings of Power dropped today! I watched Episode 1 over lunchtime, and figured I'd start the discussion off. The summary below is from memory; after the Forodwaith segment the story jumps around between three locations, but I've just kept each location to itself.

Obviously enough, spoilers abound!

Prologue

As adult Galadriel narrates ("There was a time when the world was so young" etc), we see child Galadriel being picked on for her origami skills. The other children tormenting her include a redheaded boy and a dark-haired girl, so I'm assuming it's Aredhel and Ambarussa. Sounds like them.

Finrod, her adult brother who looks a little bit like Davie Bowie, helps her up after she fails to knock the other kids down, and gives her a mystical speech about light and darkness and floating and sinking. I suspect it sounded better in his head.

We then montage our way through the First Age. We see the Two Trees, which get killed. A fleet of elvish ships ("the legion of the elves") sails east to Middle-earth. We see one battle with eagles fighting what look like the Fell Beasts from the Jackson films, and possibly another in which Finrod is fighting orcs and yelling in Quenya. Then comes the end of the age: a couple of destruction shots, and then (adult) Galadriel helping clear up a battlefield and piling up Noldorin helmets.

Narration Galadriel tells us about Sauron, Morgoth's chief servant, and that Finrod vowed to hunt him down. She later states that he died pursuing that vow, and when she took his dagger from his dead hands she took the vow on herself.

Forodwaith

Galadriel and her band of elves are out hunting orcs and/or Sauron, even though pretty much everyone thinks they're centuries gone. They climb that frozen waterfall from all the trailers, though her soldiers are not happy about it. Her second-in-command wants to turn back, but she insists on dragging them through a blizzard to - gasp! - a giant spiky fortress. It was real after all!

Inside is a lot of evil masonry, and Galadriel finds a mark burned into the rock - the same mark that Sauron branded Finrod with. She decides the mark was left for the orcs to follow, and insists on heading further north at first light. After a quick fight with a snow-troll, during which Galadriel out-does Orlando Bloom in the acrobatics department, the rest of the group force her to turn round.

Lindon

Herald Elrond (although amazingly, it sounded more like he was addressed as "Harold Elrond") is sitting in a tree, very Elijah Wood. A veiled woman shows up to inform him that he's not invited to the next council meeting, because "elf-lords only". She then mentions that his friend has arrived.

Yes, it's Galadriel, and they discuss her continued desire to go Sauron-hunting. Elrond points out that she defied the High King by spending so long out there, and that he might be quite grumpy if she keeps trying. He says that if she still wants a meeting after The Ceremony, he'll arrange one for her.

The Ceremony consists of Gil-Galad (who looks a bit like Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn) crowning Galadriel and her gang with wreaths for proving conclusively that the enemy is defeated. He grants them a great reward - they will get on a boat and sail to the Undying Lands, wow! Galadriel is Not Happy, but bows her head and lets him do it.

Rhovanion

Somewhere east of Mirkwood, the antler-wearing Meeples are hunting. One tells the other about Harfoots, but the second one scoffs - you're making it up!

Shockingly, he was not. After the Meeples leave an entire Harfoot community uncovers itself, going from unremarkable forestry to bustling proto-Hobbit village in under a minute. Sadoc, the elder, is worried that the Meeples are out too early in the year; Marigold is more concerned that her ?daughter Nori has gone missing.

Nori, it turns out, has gone with the little kids down to the old farm, where are are so many blackberries. They all act like... well, kids in a blackberry patch, until Nori discovers a large, wolf-like footprint. She shepherds the kids back to the village, while behind them a not-particularly-wolflike creature watches. It has spikes coming out of its chin.

Everyone gets back just fine, and Nori gets told she's far too adventurous to be a Harfoot - "are you sure you're not half-squirrel?". Also Sadoc thinks the stars have come out early.

Southlands

The map first implies this to be east of Mordor, but then indicates it might be future southern Gondor... it's a bit vague. Anyway, Arondir the elf is on patrol, passing through the mortal village of Tirharad. He's part of a team operating out of a watchtower, under the command of the High King; they're watching over the area because the mortals there are descended from supporters of Morgoth.

The locals aren't overly keen on their pointy-eared protector/guard, except for the healer Bronwyn, with whom he has romantic angst. They're the subject of local gossip - and also of grumpy advice from Arondir's elvish partner, who points out that the two elf-mortal relationships in history Didn't End Well.

Luckily, they don't have to worry about that any more - the High King has declared the enemy defeated, and is shutting down all the far watchtowers. Great! Except Arondir refuses to go, and runs off back to Bronwyn. He is present when a farmer brings his cow, who is ill after wandering away to the east - specifically, her milk is now a vile black fluid, so Arondir and Bronwyn go to investigate. They travel to another village, which is a) where the cow might have ended up, b) known for its people's strong support of Morgoth (in the past), c) where Bronwyn was born, and d) on fire. Oops.

Meanwhile, Bronwyn's disgruntled son pulls a broken black sword out of a hidden compartment in a barn. It has the Sauron symbol on it, which flashes into fire in his mind.

Endings

Galadriel sails west on a swanship with her soldiers and a set of veiled maidens to ritually remove their armour when they reach the borders of Aman. Elrond watches from Lindon until the ship passes out of sight, and is then told by Gil-Galad that he's going to work with Lord Celebrimbor on "a singular project". Celebrimbor looks like an older David Tennant.

As Valinor comes into view, Galadriel has second thoughts. She doesn't join in the singing, flashes back to Finrod's whole light/darkness speech, refuses to hold hands with her second in command (who seems to think it's really important), and then jumps over the side of the ship into the Sundering Sea.

With no preamble, the Meteor flashes over Lindon, some scenery, an Ent couple with their Enting, Arondir and Bronwyn, and finally crashes just past Nori. She races to the impact site, where she finds a man in a loincloth curled up at the centre of an eye-shaped crater of fire.

Roll credits!

(Thoughts to follow.)

hS
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Old 09-02-2022, 08:04 AM   #2
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Okay! So, one episode in, what are my thoughts?

Overall - it's not as faithful as I'd hoped, but nowhere near as bad as people anticipated. To take one example: a recent complaint was about the trailer moment where Galadriel yells "No, we keep moving!" when one of her soldiers stumbles and she's asked to stop - in the actual episode, she says that, then looks back to see what happened, and immediately heads back to wrap a blanket around the struggling elf's shoulders. The trailers do not show everything (obviously!), and impressions based just on them are going to be off.

This thread from today features a quote about "witty banter, arch references to contemporary issues, graphic and often sexualized violence, self-righteousness" - I wouldn't say any of those appeared in this episode, though your interpretation may vary.

Overall I enjoyed the episode well enough that I'll watch the second. But yes - things have been changed, and some of them really wind me up.

The High King - This was going to be 'Galadriel', but actually I have no problem with Galadriel herself. I've never objected to her as a warrior, and her stubbornness is very House Finwe. Her continued quest for Sauron is similar to Gandalf's worries over the Necromancer down in the Third Age, despite Saruman's assurances that everything was fine.

But Gil-Galad... eesh. He's not only keeping a centuries-long intrusive watch over the mortals of Middle-earth because of what their ancestors did - he also rejects the advice of Galadriel when she finally has proof of her suspicions. They give him a line about how if she'd kept searching she might have perpetuated the evil she sought to destroy, but I think he just wanted rid of her.

Speaking of which:

Valinor - The episode couldn't make up its mind on Valinor. We saw the Trees die, but Galadriel always talks like they're still alive. Gil-Galad says that sending the soldiers there is an unprecedented honour, while Elrond says nobody has ever refused the offer - and both interpretations are at odds with Tolkien. You could make an argument that during the Second Age few/no ships sailed west (due to the elves of Lindon being those who refused to go after the First Age) - but under no circumstances would it be in the power of Gil-Galad to grant the right to sail.

The whole swanship sequence is weird. Galadriel and her soldiers sail the entire way standing in two lines. There are a matching number of veiled maidens along to take their armour off - if sailing is such a great honour, what did they do right? And then when Galadriel hesitates, her second in command believes she has to hold his hand or be... what? It's a boat! It's going to take you to the beach unless you do something ridiculous like jumping off it.

Yes of course she jumps off it. I don't know what her plan was.

Finrod - I'm going to put myself through a lot of narrative contortions to headcanon Finrod. What the show says is that he fought in the war, hunted Sauron, and was killed by him. It doesn't quite say that he was killed while specifically on the sole job of hunting Sauron, so I choose to believe "hunting Sauron" was more of a general state after the fall of Minas Tirith and Dorthinion to him, and that he was still aiding Beren when he died.

Also, he looks like David Bowie. I actually don't mind it overmuch, but:

Craggy Male Elves - Finrod, Elrond, Gil-Galad and Celebrimbor all have really weathered-looking faces. I kind of think it was a casting decision, but a weird one.

Smug, racist elves - Yeah... in this episode alone, we've got casual racism towards Elrond as half-elven, and hecka racism towards the mortals of the Southlands for having Morgothian ancestry. (Are they distant relatives of the Easterlings who showed up in the Silm and betrayed Maedhros? Are they transplanted descendents of those Easterlings who surrendered after the War of Wrath? Was all of Middle-earth under Morgoth's rule in this version? Dunno.) Every single elf is firmly convinced he or she is right about everything, which... actually, none of this is strictly wrong to the books. The Feanorians and Thingol were both anti-mortal, and every elf of the First Age had that arrogance. It stands out a lot against LotR, but it's a logical enough extension of the Silm.

And now, one thing that doesn't bother me at all:

Harfeet - The Harfoots are fun. They're simple and charming, and their village is Shire-like enough without looking like the Shire. They're in the right place on the map (way out east), they're migratory rather than settled, and Nori is specifically called out as being unusually adventurous. I have no objections to them at this time.

hS
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Old 09-02-2022, 08:34 AM   #3
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I've had a problem with "ackshun gurl" Galadriel ever since I saw the first hint that she would be swinging a sword. Galadriel never picked up a sword in any Tolkien story. Not even once.

Galadriel didn't have to because her massive power and wisdom were always implied, and briefly revealed when Frodo offered her the Ring.

‘You are wise and fearless and fair, Lady Galadriel,’ said Frodo.
‘I will give you the One Ring, if you ask for it. It is too great a matter
for me.’
Galadriel laughed with a sudden clear laugh. ‘Wise the Lady Galadriel may be,’ she said, ‘yet here she has met her match in courtesy. Gently are you revenged for my testing of your heart at our first meeting. You begin to see with a keen eye. I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired to ask what you offer. For many long years
I had pondered what I might do, should the Great Ring come into my hands, and behold! it was brought within my grasp. The evil that was devised long ago works on in many ways, whether Sauron himself stands or falls. Would not that have been a noble deed to set to the credit of his Ring, if I had taken it by force or fear from my guest?

‘And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!’

She lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illumined her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful.


People to whom I've brought this up have countered that Galadriel fought at Aqualonde, but there is no mention of her doing so.


But the Teleri withstood him, and cast many of the Noldor into the sea. Then swords were drawn, and a bitter fight was fought upon the ships, and about the lamplit quays and piers of the Haven, and even upon the great arch of its gate. Thrice the people of Fëanor were driven back, and many were slain upon either side; but the vanguard of the Noldor were succoured by Fingon with the foremost of the host of Fingolfin, who coming up found a battle joined and their own kin falling, and rushed in before they knew rightly the cause of the quarrel; some thought indeed that the Teleri had sought to waylay the march of the Noldor at the bidding of the Valar.

Thus at last the Teleri were overcome, and a great part of their mariners that dwelt in Alqualondë were wickedly slain. For the Noldor were become fierce and desperate, and the Teleri had less strength, and were armed for the most part but with slender bows. Then the Noldor drew away their white ships and manned their oars as best they might, and rowed them north along the coast. And Olwë called upon Ossë, but he came not, for it was not permitted by the Valar that the flight of the Noldor should be hindered by force. But Uinen wept for the mariners of the Teleri; and the sea rose in wrath against the slayers, so that many of the ships were wrecked and those in them drowned. Of the Kinslaying at Alqualondë more is told in that lament which is named Noldolantë, the Fall of the Noldor, that Maglor made ere he was lost.


There's no mention of her fighting at all. And, even if she did, what did she fight with? Magic, like the Istari? Song, like Luthien? It never says.

Her swordsmanship is only an assumption, mutated into an awful trope, and executed in the worst kind of wire-fu seen in The Hobbit films, and exists only because some people feel that women need to ape men in order to be equal. Galadriel had wisdom and latent power, like great waters behind a dam, in the stories and the first three films. It diminishes women, imho, to cast them in these silly swordsmanship roles.
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Old 09-02-2022, 09:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Andsigil
People to whom I've brought this up have countered that Galadriel fought at Aqualonde, but there is no mention of her doing so.
The passage you want is in Unfinished Tales, where Tolkien writes: "Even after the merciless assault upon the Teleri and the rape of their ships, though she fought fiercely against Feanor in defence of her mother's kin, she did not turn back." It's worth remembering that Galadriel was a late addition to the Legendarium (I think she only appeared with LotR!), so the source texts of the published Silm rarely mention her at all. That's probably why Tolkien tried so many different ways to send her away during the First Age - if she was around, the Lay of Leithian would look very different.

In fact, Galadriel fighting is mentioned in the last writings Tolkien ever made on Middle-earth, according to UT: that version, in the last month of his life has "she with Celeborn fought heroically in defence of Aqualonde against the assault of the Noldor". You can certainly imagine young Galadriel going full beautiful-and-terrible here, but given that she had yet to meet Melian and Luthien, and the Noldor were specifically forging swords, it seems logical to me that she would have one.

hS
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Old 09-02-2022, 09:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Huinesoron View Post
The passage you want is in Unfinished Tales, where Tolkien writes: "Even after the merciless assault upon the Teleri and the rape of their ships, though she fought fiercely against Feanor in defence of her mother's kin, she did not turn back."
Apologies, but it's still just surmising that she was any swordswoman. She could have stood her ground fiercely in defence of her mother's kin with songs, spells, or even exhortations behind a shield wall.

As I said, she never needed to use a sword to show she was powerful. Subtlety, like the idea of latent power, is lost on most people these days, after decades of Matrix-like action in cinema and video games.
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Old 09-02-2022, 11:07 AM   #6
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This show is not faithful to the backstory presented by Tolkien at all. Most of the problems of the first age were the fault of Feanor. Like, sure, Melkor was the catalyst, but Feanor stoked the fire out of control with his Oath and the Kinslaying.

Are those ships at 4:50 seconds supposed to be the swan ships? They completely skipped over the Oath and the Kinslaying and the March across the Wastes and solely laid the blame on everything that happened in the first age on Melkor.

Melkor was known for being a liar without shame.

GALADRIEL

Galadriel is the golden haired elf we see in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies. Now Amazon is bringing a younger Galadriel into the Rings of Power show to give her a more indepth backstory. Moyfrrd Clark looks and sounds like Cate Blanchett, but the similarities end there.

She is, in my opinion, one of the weakest characters in the Rings of Power. Some of her scenes make no sense. In one of her first scenes she is seen climbing up a cliff wearing a large billowing cloak. Why climb up a cliff while wearing a cloak? Take off your cloak for goodness sake. Also, wearing metal armor on your feet in freezing cold WILL cause frostbite. In another scene, she is seen holding a torch very close to her hair. Luckily for her that torch gives off no warmth since they were surrounded by evil. Hair fire averted.

Galadriel insisted on pushing on, but her company was growing tired. When she tried to convince them to continue, they turned on her and told her she would be going alone. This was immediately after they were attacked by a snow troll, which probably killed or severely injured at least 2 of them. She seemed to have gotten close to Sauron, but because of the waning strength of her companions, they turned back.

Galadriel's entire personality is chasing Sauron. There is nothing else of sustenance. "Put up your sword" said Elron. "Without it what am I to be?" she asked. That is exactly the problem. There is nothing else to her but a sword and a journey to defeat Sauron. The only persons of interest to her is her brother, who died in the wars against Morgoth. She needs therapy, not battle.

Then we find out that the High King Gil-Galad has a Galadriel problem and he is going to solve it by sending her back to Valinor. Elrond takes his side and convinces her to go.

She gets on the boat to Valinor and is undressed by a team of hooden female elves in what is kind of a creepy scene. As the light of Valinor starts to envelope she ship, she changes her mind, grabs her brothers dagger, and dives into the ocean.

At the same time the flaming comet seen in the trailers streaks through the sky. Gil-Galad watches an amber leaf fall to the ground. When he picks it up, blackness is decaying it.

ELROND

Elrond is introduced to us as an ear for Galadriel. And yet in his few short scenes he has more substance than she does. Or maybe it's not that he has more substance, but that he appears to be going to interesting places, but Galadriel is just destined to fight Sauron.

Elrond is a herald for the High King Gil-Galad. He is of lesser importance now than when he appears in the Fellowship of the Rings, but that is strongly hinted at changing soon.

He appears to be doing Gil-Galad's bidding, which almost makes it feel like Gil-Galad is manipulating things from behind the scenes and gives Gil-Galad a slightly evil vibe. Gil-Galad introduces Elrond to Celebrimbor, the elf that created the Rings of Power (but not the One Ring).

ARONDIR and BRONWYN

I'm grouping these two together since they share almost all of their scenes. Arondir is an elf that is on watch for Orcs and evil. Bronwyn is a human that lives in a small village with her son. They are in love, which is a sin for both of their kin.

After a cow comes back with black milk and some form of sickness, these two set out to another town called Hordern looking for answers.

Bronwyn is from Hordern which, according to Arondir, is known for their loyalty to Morgoth. Bronwyn gets offended since those people are her friends and kin.

They find the town destroyed and burning.

Also Bronwyn's son finds the evil black sword in a barn.

THE HARFOOTS

The Harfoots are actually adorable. The design of their homes and outfits are very much reminiscent of the Fellowship Hobbits. The one girl is a Brandyfoot, ah hem, Brandyfeet. She is not like the "modern day" Fellowship Hobbits, but is more like a Baggins. According to Sadoc she's not like a Harfoot either, she's more like a squirrel.

In my opinion, the Harfoots have the most personality. They're colorful and bright and the most unique of all of the character designs. They're also the happiest characters. A lot of the other characters scenes are dark, moody, and filled with drama. The Harfoots are light hearted and innocent.

Nori Brandyfoot is the closest to the comet when it lands and goes to investigate. Inside the fire is the mysterious stranger.

PROS

Beautiful outfits, locations, and overall designs

It's bright - even in the darkest scenes you can still make out detail and characters (take notes Winx Saga)

The dialog isn't as terrible as the trailer would have you believe

The trailers didn't spoil much since most of the scenes are in the first episode

CONS

Galadriel's is extremely obsessed with Sauron and obsession, historically, isn't a good thing

They have butched the Silmarillion

The opening lives of the Lord of the Rings are haunting and memorable. I can't remember one thing from the opening of the RoP.

The music, so far, isn't memorable either

OTHER THINGS

We haven't been introduced to the Numenoreans or the Dwarves or the white haired Eminem Sauron follower..
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Old 09-02-2022, 01:50 PM   #7
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I've had a problem with "ackshun gurl" Galadriel ever since I saw the first hint that she would be swinging a sword. Galadriel never picked up a sword in any Tolkien story. Not even once.
Hmm, I would argue that there's at least once:

Quote:
Even after the merciless assault upon the Teleri and the rape of their ships, though she fought fiercely against Feanor in defense of her mother's kin, she did not turn back.~The History of Galadriel and Celeborn
I don't think it's wrong if anyone interprets that to mean she fought against Feanor in the Kinslaying, as in having some kind of weapon and fighting "in the defense of her mother's kin." Interestingly, Elrond's actually the one that's never directly given the action of "fighting" against anyone, or defeating anyone in combat, or killing anyone. He's more noted as being a skilled healer, but no one seems to have a problem assuming he was skilled, or capable swordself. I mean that's a fair assumption to make, he commanded armies was in noteworthy battles, but "fighting" is something that's never an action given to Elrond. In the same way that it's said about Galadriel in Unfinished Tales.

More comments about the first 2 episodes to come later.
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Old 09-02-2022, 02:42 PM   #8
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As I said before it's still just surmising that she was any swordswoman. She could have stood her ground fiercely in defence of her mother's kin with songs (like Luthien), spells (like the Istari), or even exhortations behind a shield wall.

I don’t understand this zeitgeist in which everyone wants sword-swinging, 120lb women who duke it out with 180-200lb men. It’s both culturally obligatory and a very tired trope.
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Old 09-02-2022, 03:09 PM   #9
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Episode 1:

I loved the Harfoots the most. The way they were introduced, and blending in with their environment as Men come passing through was well done. I also liked the comment from one of the men about being careful if you see a Harfoot. I don't love the naming but I do like Nori's character to be a curious and adventurous hobbit (erm Harfoot). It feels like a proper community. It was a perfect way to show simple hobbit "magic," or well their aptitude to disappear and blend in with their environment when the Big Folk come through.

I also loved the visuals, which I expected aught to be good for the money spent, but I feel it's proper to point out I wasn't disappointed. I loved the visual of the two trees being destroyed. I don't care for Galadriel's story in Episode I (more on that later) but I do love how they showed the entrance into Valinor. That was cool visually, showing what appears to be endless ocean, but the appearance of the birds and the transition to gates opening/a bright light coming through. The Forodwaith (and I'm assuming Utumno?) was neat too. But I agree with BG that so far the music isn't memorable.

Arondir and Bronwyn invented characters, but I'm curious and interested in their journey, where their characters go in the show. Arondir being warned about a joining of Elves and Men always ending in death and tragedy. I don't know if we need yet another union between the two races storyline, but I do want to see where they go with them.

The one character I'm not interested in so far, is as others said in their comments...Galadriel. I just don't get where they're going with her story yet. In the lead up I got my head around she was going to be a much different Galadriel to the Galadriel we are most familiar with in Lord of the Rings. And that's fine for a different medium to want to show character development (particularly in their main character). But even in a fantasy setting it's too ridiculous to be believable. Like is she just hoping to swim hundreds of miles of ocean? (I know this is obviously where she runs into Halbrand, but Galadriel must not expect to come across anyone else? So yeah, I guess just swim hundreds of miles of ocean?) I hope it gets better, because showing a different Galadriel and how she becomes the Galadriel in LOTR can be good. Currently it's too silly for me to be invested in her story.

In fact I didn't care much for the whole dynamic between Elrond-Gil galad-Galadriel. I think we must be left with the feeling Gil-galad purposefully wanted Galadriel out of Middle-earth to get rid of a rival, I guess? And the Elrond-Galadriel friendship is weird to me as well. If the series plan is to show how the powerful and significant friendship between the two begins and develop that could be interesting. But Elrond's being a bit creepy in what seems like a courting of Galadriel, and Galadriel is does like a "friend zone" thing. What's with adapters hating on Celeborn all the time? It's like people are trying to ship Galadriel with everyone else, except her husband. And the fact Galadriel becomes Elrond's mother-in-law, I hope the series sticks to that canon at least. I could just be over-reacting, like people did with Galadriel kissing Gandalf's forehead in The Hobbit, but it feels like adaptations have no love for Celeborn.

Episode 2. **Below contains Spoilers for the 2nd Episode "Adrift"...so if you haven't seen it and don't want it spoiled, STOP**

------------------------------------------------------------






I liked Episode 2 better than Episode 1, and it all comes down to Khazad-dum. Khazad-dum was truly phenomenal not only visually, but a proper, solid look at dwarf society. I loved everything Khazad-dum. The look, the light and splendor, a vibrant dwarven civilization prior to them "digging too greedily and too deep." Like the Harfoot society, I got a clear idea from the show's creators what their vision of Khazad-dum life is. It's a far clearer picture than Jackson managed to show in 3 whole films. I was disappointed by the dwarves in The Hobbit (other than Thorin, Balin and maybe Bofur), but in the TV series dwarves have proper beards and it's so far the best thing they have done.

I like Celebrimbor so far too, his casual dismissal of Feanor, even though there is an admiration for Feanor's skills of craft (something we know Celebrimbor shares). We see his motivations are (he argues) different from Feanor, but it's a shared familial trait that leads to bad things, despite the good intentions.

As much as I didn't like the dynamic between Galadriel-Elrond-Gil-galad, I love the dynamic between Celebrimbor-Elrond-Durin IV and Disa. Durin being hurt over Elrond not coming to the wedding or being in contact with him for 20 years, could have been silly, but I think Durin did excellent delivering why that was upsetting for someone who is supposed to be "his" friend. It's a nice way to show the difference of 20 years to a mortal (even though dwarves live longer compared to men) and 20 years to an immortal. And I'm interested to see where the show goes with this cliffhanger at the end between Durin III and Durin IV. Plus, Elrond trying to rebuild a friendship with the dwarves of Khazad-dum.

Still don't care for Galadriel's storyline, now she's adrift on a plank of wood with some guy name Halbrand, fleeing from the Southlands. Why he was in the middle of the ocean, I mean they explained his ship was attacked, but what are they doing out there in the first place? How they were even in the vicinity of Galadriel? I don't understand the geography at all.
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Old 09-02-2022, 03:13 PM   #10
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As I said before it's still just surmising that she was any swordswoman. She could have stood her ground fiercely in defence of her mother's kin with songs (like Luthien), spells (like the Istari), or even exhortations behind a shield wall.

I don’t understand this zeitgeist in which everyone wants sword-swinging, 120lb women who duke it out with 180-200lb men. It’s both culturally obligatory and a very tired trope.
And that's fair. I just wanted to point out I don't think it's wrong to interpret those quotes as she took up arms and fought in defense of her mother's kin either. Take that in combination with Elrond, who is not mentioned as having a weapon or performing the action of fighting against anyone, but no one seems to mind Jackson's portrayal of Elrond armored up with a sword.
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Old 09-02-2022, 08:51 PM   #11
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Old 09-03-2022, 04:22 AM   #12
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Re Galadriel, I disagree. The several variants (some of which include Finrod and/or Celeborn/Teleporno) of Galadriel fighting at Alqualonde are too indicative of physical combat. It is also quite in keeping with Laws and Customs of the Eldar where Tolkien notes elf-women abstain from war but will fight in desperate defence. Whether she used a sword or not eh... I mean she could have gotten a bow from the Teleri or grabbed an oar or boat hook, or whatever

Also Elrond, while Tolkien does not outright state he defeated anyone in physical combat, Tolkien does have him in the War of Wrath, and leading an army in the War of Elves and Sauron.

I did notice that one of *Galadriel's warriors, portrayed by some guy named Kip Chapman, is named Rian (Queen).
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Old 09-03-2022, 07:12 AM   #13
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Smug the Drag Queen

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Re Galadriel, ... I did notice that one of *Galadriel's warriors, portrayed by some guy named Kip Chapman, is named Rian (Queen).
The Drag Queen with the Guy Tattoo, a.k.a., Smug.
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Old 09-03-2022, 08:19 AM   #14
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Re Galadriel, I disagree. The several variants (some of which include Finrod and/or Celeborn/Teleporno) of Galadriel fighting at Alqualonde are too indicative of physical combat. It is also quite in keeping with Laws and Customs of the Eldar where Tolkien notes elf-women abstain from war but will fight in desperate defence. Whether she used a sword or not eh... I mean she could have gotten a bow from the Teleri or grabbed an oar or boat hook, or whatever
But, in this billion-dollar turkey of a series, is she remotely Tolkien portrayed her, re: martial accomplishments and abilities?

We have her at one battle, where, possibly, she picked up a sword. In this risible series, however, she’s nothing but yet another carbon copy of Daisy Ridley’s character in “Star Wars,” itself a carbon copy of other carbon-copies of a silly trope.
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Old 09-03-2022, 09:54 AM   #15
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But, in this billion-dollar turkey of a series, is she remotely Tolkien portrayed her, re: martial accomplishments and abilities?
No.
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Old 09-03-2022, 10:09 AM   #16
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I just finished episode 2 and I just want to say that everyone's accents turn on a dime. Are they British? Scottish? Irish? They can't seem to make up their minds. The female dwarves don't have beards. That's sad. And Galadriel is still obsessing over Sauron. At least my dog has 2 things she obsesses over: food and tennis balls. Galadriel has literally nothing besides Sauron. Isn't she supposed to be married at this point? Where is Celeborn in all of this?

*possible potential spoilers; discussing who characters might be*

Was that the Arkenstone? It can't be a Silmaril unless they're really botching continuity.

I read where it is believed that the Stranger is Gandalf and Halbrand is Sauron. I don't know about the Halbrand = Sauron one, yet, but the Stranger being Gandalf seemed believable. This could be his backstory as to why he loves the halflings so much. The Darkness he created in the first episode with the trees was similar to the Darkness created in the Hobbit house to Bilbo ("I'm not trying to rob you; I'm trying to help you"). Plus there are similarities between the moth at Isengard and the fireflies.
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Old 09-03-2022, 01:40 PM   #17
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I had earlier opined that the writing would be "third-rate fanfic." I was wrong.

It is at best fourth-rate fanfic.
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Old 09-03-2022, 02:09 PM   #18
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The female dwarves don't have beards. That's sad.
Even after the producer in answer to one of Colbert's softballs, said yes. And then went on about how she was personally there while the facial hair was being applied.

Quote:
Isn't she supposed to be married at this point? Where is Celeborn in all of this?
Yes. She is at the latest married to Celeborn at the start of the Second Age.
Rumour has it that *Celeborn is believed dead and this will be alluded to in episode seven.


Quote:
Was that the Arkenstone? It can't be a Silmaril unless they're really botching continuity.
In the box? Probably *mithril. Though Eregion was founded because mithril had been discovered. But the show already has *Eregion.
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Old 09-03-2022, 04:33 PM   #19
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Even after the producer in answer to one of Colbert's softballs, said yes. And then went on about how she was personally there while the facial hair was being applied.
The character Disa does have very long side burns that you see when she's facing side ways, and it appears scruff growing below the chin. I wouldn't call it a proper dwarf beard, but it might be more facial hair than Kili had in The Hobbit?
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Old 09-03-2022, 05:02 PM   #20
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I wanted to like it, but found it extremely disappointing. It's not only a poorly-written fantasy tv show, but it feels completely disconnected from anything Tolkien wrote (throwing in a couple of characters named Galadriel & Elrond isn't enough). Don't think I'll be watching anymore.
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Old 09-03-2022, 05:35 PM   #21
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I wanted to like it, but found it extremely disappointing. It's not only a poorly-written fantasy tv show, but it feels completely disconnected from anything Tolkien wrote (throwing in a couple of characters named Galadriel & Elrond isn't enough). Don't think I'll be watching anymore.
No wargs, amirite? Ah well, as ever it's still good to see your posts around here, even if I get the feeling you won't be sticking around long.

Celebrimbor is the only canon-character that interests me at this point. Charles Edwards portrayal of him in Episode 2 was good. His casual dismissal of Feanor crafting the Silmarils. His motivations and ambitions at craftsmanship are with good intentions, even though this will lead to very bad things. And the way the actor was describing his admiration for dwarven craftsmanship, the way he was speaking in awe of wanting to see dwarves work their craft was performed well by the actor. He told me more about Celebrimbor's character in 5 minutes than I know about Galadriel's character at the moment.

The other canon characters verge on a scale of "meh" to "oh I hope this gets on the rails quickly."

It's actually the non-canon characters and this invented story line of an elven occupation over the Southlands (watching over ancestors of people who sided with Morgoth) that is interesting to me. Honestly it kind of shows the creators might have been able to create a compelling generic fantasy story. But instead, they have to attach Tolkien's name and branding to create a bigger hype and profits.
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Old 09-03-2022, 05:50 PM   #22
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No wargs, amirite?
Didn't they tease one in Ep1?
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Old 09-03-2022, 08:57 PM   #23
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a dragon-less drag?

What about dragons (or the Great Worms)? Anything about them, tattooed or otherwise?

I ask because of the poetic/polemical possibilities suggested by The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo (Hardcover – September 1, 2011) by Adam Roberts (Author). A brief synopsis:

Quote:
Lizbreath Salamander is young and beautiful. Her scales have an iridescent sheen, her wings arch proudly, her breath has a tang of sulfur. And on her back a tattoo of a mythical creature: a girl. But when Lizbreath is drawn into a dark conspiracy she will have to rely on more than her beauty and her vicious claws the size of sabres ...A dragon has disappeared, one of a secretive clan. As Lizbreath delves deeper into their history she realises that these dragons will do anything to defend their secrets. Welcome to the world of The Dragon With The Girl Tattoo. A world of gloomy Nordic dragons leading lives uncannily like our own (despite their size, despite the need for extensive fireproofing of home furnishings), a world of money hoarded, a world of darkness and corruption. A world where people are the fantasy.
This reminds me of Bilbo Baggins using flattery and riddles to talk his way out of becoming a dragon appetizer for Smaug in The Hobbit:

Quote:
"This of course is the way to talk to dragons, if you don't want to reveal your proper name (which is wise), and don't want to infuriate them by a flat refusal (which is also very wise). No dragon can resist the fascination of riddling talk and of wasting time trying to understand it."
And then, in very much the same, but more comedic, vein we have Donkey (in Shrek) talking his way out of a similar predicament with a dragon about to devour him:

Quote:
Donkey: “Oh, what large teeth you have. I mean, white, sparkling teeth. I know you probably hear this all the time from your food, but you must bleach, ‘cause that is one dazzling smile you got there. Do I detect a hint of minty freshness? And you know what else? You’re girl dragon! Oh, sure! I mean, of course you’re a girl dragon. You’re just reeking of feminine beauty. What’s the matter with you? You got something in your eye? [Dragon blows pink, heart-shaped smoke ring at Donkey] Man, I’d really love to stay, but, you know, I’m, uh … I’m an asthmatic, and I don’t know if it’d work out if you’re gonna blow smoke rings. [Dragon picks Donkey up by the tail and marches away with him]. Shrek!”
We have some real possibilities here, especially for a "female perspective" applied not just to yet another Mary Sue killer Elf chick with swords and armor but slinky, seductive winged lizards, as well. So, I for one, would find mention of these creature/caricatures most interesting. My thanks in advance for anyone taking note of dragons in this series of ... whatever ...
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Old 09-05-2022, 03:33 AM   #24
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The Eye Warning: EPISODE 2 SPOILERS

(because I don't remember what exactly was in each episode and it's hard to separate my thoughts about episode 1 of those from episode 2... which was considerably better, by the way)

So, our Barrow-Downer family (Nogrod, A Little Green, Legate of Amon Lanc and myself) watched the two first episodes together yesterday. Verdict? Not impressed. Actually, personally I thougt it was worse than I expected. When the first reaction started to appear online on Friday, most of the negatives seemed to be from those decided on hating the series from the start. The rest of the audience seemed to have a positive or at least a mixed reaction.

But oh dear... what a mess it was. It cannot be called a Tolkien adaptation in any way, and the writing is pretty abysmal. They somehow managed to borrow the worst parts of Peter Jackson without the redeeming qualities.

WHAT I LIKED

- the visuals, for the most part. The sets and sceneries were breathtaking (Valinor, Lindon, Khâzad-dûm) and I liked a lot of the costume/makeup as well. (Not the male Elves' hair though!) The music, when it was present, was nothing innovative but quite pretty. There were some nice visual gimmicks as well (the evil blood drinking sword and the unfolding paper swan ship, for instance).

- the diversity. It was nice to see a Middle-Earth populated by people who are not all white; it made it seem much more real. Not to mention that it was a welcome 21st century touch. (Funny how the show has been criticised for it, too, when 90% of the main cast are still white or white-passing. One could rather criticise it for not being diverse enough.)

- the cast for the most part. Most of them were doing their best with the terrible dialogue, and while some were quite terribly miscast, it was nice to see a batch of fresh faces. If this had been another Harry Potter/ Game of Thrones ensemble of most prominent British actors again, it would have really broken my immersion.

- the parts with the least bit Tolkien were the best. The adventures of the Harfoots were fun, and I was intrigued at least partly with the Tirharad villagers and their Elvish protectors. Whenever I saw Galadriel/Elrond/Celebrimbor, I was suffering.

WHAT I DISLIKED (...pretty much everything else)

- it was obvious they don't have the rights to The Silmarillion. The fan fiction they replaced it with? Very bland and lacking in depth. The portrayal of Finrod (??) and Galadriel was very cringeworthy in terms of character writing (or at least it had nothing to do with their canon counterparts). You could feel the disconnect when Celebrimbor is talking about Fëanor and cannot even make a reference to the fact that he was his grandfather. Not to mention the little tale of Morgoth weeping over the Silmarils, what the hell was that?

- I just can't get behind the portrayal of Galadriel, Gil-Galad and Celebrimbor when it comes to their ages and personalities. Reeks a bit of sexism to have to make the lady the young and pretty one while she should be the oldest of them by far. (Like, they didn't state their relative ages of course but the casting choices send a powerful message nonetheless.) I would have rather seen a young warrior king Gil-Galad hunting Sauron, and "middle-aged" Galadriel playing the politics in the background. (Or even 30-40-something-looking "career mom" Galadriel juggling raising her daughter and trying to build her own realm at the same time. ) And why is Celebrimbor the eldest of them all? Shouldn't they rather portray him as this young radical craftsman attempting something elder masters would consider a folly?

- the dialogue was just terrible. Half of the time it literally didn't mean anything. They couldn't even stick to the pseudo-Tolkien style - suddenly in the middle of a poetic monologue someone would throw in a word like "project" or "politician" and it would sound incredibly jarring.

- the plot really didn't get going until the second episode. The first episode was actually boring. And after s1e2 the plot is pretty much still all over the place, and there is very little incentive for the audience to care what happens next.

- generally the vibe? Most of the time, I didn't feel like this was Middle-Earth. It could have been any generic Tolkien-inspired fantasy world. The worst individual moment was when one of the human villagers used the slur "knife ears" at Arondir - that was literally straight out of the Dragon Age games!

I'm unsure if I even want to watch the show further, to be honest. Certainly I'm not in a hurry to do so. Quite disappointing, really...

(now I will read the rest of this thread and comment)
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Old 09-05-2022, 04:23 AM   #25
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warning: EPISODE 2 SPOILERS INCLUDED

Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron
The whole swanship sequence is weird. Galadriel and her soldiers sail the entire way standing in two lines. There are a matching number of veiled maidens along to take their armour off - if sailing is such a great honour, what did they do right? And then when Galadriel hesitates, her second in command believes she has to hold his hand or be... what? It's a boat! It's going to take you to the beach unless you do something ridiculous like jumping off it.

Yes of course she jumps off it. I don't know what her plan was.
This sequence was visually gorgeous but as you aptly describe, very silly. I'm still confused whether Galadriel intended to swim all the way back to Middle-Earth (and how long did she actually swim before being picked up by the shipwrecked humans on the raft).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andsigil
I've had a problem with "ackshun gurl" Galadriel ever since I saw the first hint that she would be swinging a sword. Galadriel never picked up a sword in any Tolkien story. Not even once.
Personally, I have more problem with "gurl" part than the "ackshun" part - I still think she shouldn't have been framed as the young hero in this story but rather as one of the older "players of the big game". Like I said, if they wanted a young Elf lord hunting Sauron, Gil-Galad would have fit the bill better. But that being said, I don't mind that they gave her a sword. It isn't in contradiction with what is written about her, even if she was never particularly described as a swordswoman (but an athlete yes!) Also what I find sexist about the whole thing is that she's the only Elf woman who's a warrior, and Not Like Other Girls. If they already decided to make her a sword-swinging warrior, why not the other Elf women? I couldn't help noticing every single other Elf warrior was male. That's very tired, and maybe it could have been a progressive take 50 years ago but not now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88
And the Elrond-Galadriel friendship is weird to me as well. If the series plan is to show how the powerful and significant friendship between the two begins and develop that could be interesting. But Elrond's being a bit creepy in what seems like a courting of Galadriel, and Galadriel is does like a "friend zone" thing. What's with adapters hating on Celeborn all the time? It's like people are trying to ship Galadriel with everyone else, except her husband. And the fact Galadriel becomes Elrond's mother-in-law, I hope the series sticks to that canon at least. I could just be over-reacting, like people did with Galadriel kissing Gandalf's forehead in The Hobbit, but it feels like adaptations have no love for Celeborn.
Yeah, the Elrond/Galadriel thing makes me a little uncomfortable and knowing how the story ends just makes me think of Twilight... (the daughter of your crush as an eventual consolation prize for the friend zoned dude... romance plot twists don't really get more cringy than that.) I would have liked to see Celeborn and Celebrían already, but I hope the reason we haven't seen them is that they will actually write a storyline about the Galadriel/Celeborn romance and not so that they can sprinkle in some romantic/sexual tension with her and other characters (which was awkward both with Elrond and Halbrand).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88
I liked Episode 2 better than Episode 1, and it all comes down to Khazad-dum. Khazad-dum was truly phenomenal not only visually, but a proper, solid look at dwarf society. I loved everything Khazad-dum. The look, the light and splendor, a vibrant dwarven civilization prior to them "digging too greedily and too deep.
Yes, it was beautiful, and I was intrigued by the ending suggesting they have just, in fact, dug too deep. Also the relationship between Prince Durin and Elrond was one of the few actually interesting/nuanced ones on the show. That all being said, I was disappointed they decided to go the PJ route of using the Dwarves as comic relief. The boisterous Dwarves so prominent in contemporary fantasy never sat right with Tolkien's portrayal of them - where is the dignity of the Dwarf lords (that PJ's Thorin at least had) or the reclusive manners of the traveling Dwarves in Tolkien's writing? Dwarves drinking and burping and playing silly games with an Elf present, or freely displaying physical affection (Durin and Disa) with someone else present just doesn't sit right with me. They should be more stiff, hierarchical and secretive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Boromir88
Still don't care for Galadriel's storyline, now she's adrift on a plank of wood with some guy name Halbrand, fleeing from the Southlands. Why he was in the middle of the ocean, I mean they explained his ship was attacked, but what are they doing out there in the first place? How they were even in the vicinity of Galadriel? I don't understand the geography at all.
Yes, and presumably he's Theo's missing father? At least there's some intrigue of what actually happened, but as you say, the geography part is very messy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tar Elenion
Also Elrond, while Tolkien does not outright state he defeated anyone in physical combat, Tolkien does have him in the War of Wrath, and leading an army in the War of Elves and Sauron.
And the iconic description of him in The Lord of the Rings likens him to a warrior:

Quote:
The face of Elrond was ageless, neither old nor young, though in it was written the memory of many things both glad and sorrowful. His hair was dark as the shadows of twilight, and upon it was set a circlet of silver; his eyes were grey as a clear evening, and in them was a light like the light of stars. Venerable he seemed as a king crowned with many winters, and yet hale as a tried warrior in the fulness of his strength.
Personally I would think that for either of Elrond or Galadriel the "warriorness" isn't the primary thing they are, but something in their repertoire. The Elf-lords of old were very "renaissance men" and why wouldn't they be, with all that time to hone various skills in their disposal...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blind Guardian
the Stranger being Gandalf seemed believable. This could be his backstory as to why he loves the halflings so much. The Darkness he created in the first episode with the trees was similar to the Darkness created in the Hobbit house to Bilbo ("I'm not trying to rob you; I'm trying to help you"). Plus there are similarities between the moth at Isengard and the fireflies.
Our watch group was very baffled as for why did he fall from the sky instead of arriving on a ship with the other Istari, but the Stranger has to be Gandalf. The connection with hobbits and fire, and the not-very-subtle ian-mckellen-y mannersisms (and look) of the actor make it rather obvious. I kind of hate the absolute blasphemy of the plot, but I admit it's one of the few plotlines I'm genuinely curious about in the show.
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Old 09-05-2022, 09:33 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Thinlómien View Post
- I just can't get behind the portrayal of Galadriel, Gil-Galad and Celebrimbor when it comes to their ages and personalities. Reeks a bit of sexism to have to make the lady the young and pretty one while she should be the oldest of them by far. (Like, they didn't state their relative ages of course but the casting choices send a powerful message nonetheless.) I would have rather seen a young warrior king Gil-Galad hunting Sauron, and "middle-aged" Galadriel playing the politics in the background. (Or even 30-40-something-looking "career mom" Galadriel juggling raising her daughter and trying to build her own realm at the same time. ) And why is Celebrimbor the eldest of them all? Shouldn't they rather portray him as this young radical craftsman attempting something elder masters would consider a folly?
Good to see you here Lommy. I hope the series gets interesting enough for you to keep watching and sharing your opinions. But it would be unfair to ask you to continue watching something that is genuinely a waste of time or too aggravating.

Anyway, Celebrimbor is the only canon-character I thought was pretty close to what I imagined. (Aside from the look. The Look is all out of whack, particularly with the ages of elves in relation to Galadriel's look). But I think his demeanor, motivations, ambitions are pretty much spot on. I loved when he was walking to Khazad-dum with Elrond and speaking in admiration of the dwarven craft, and a genuine "giddiness" to want to see dwarves work their craft. He is described in UT: The History of Galadriel and Celeborn as inheriting the family skill, but not being covetous with his creations. So in the series when he was talking about wanting to bring "beauty" to the world, make the world "unchanged, unmarred" that sounds like Celebrimbor's demeanor. And indeed it is the power of the Elven rings he creates, to preserve the elven way of life, stop the decay of time.

But, I see what you mean how the look just doesn't fit. In talking to Legate I think he said "old mad scientist" which I can't get that out of my head now.

Then we get to Elrond's and Durin's conversation on the elevator and if the show takes it the route of their conversation, then it can be quite interesting. I liked when you were talking about earlier wanting to see diversity with a purpose, something deeper than just the physical differences. We catch a bit of that between Elrond and Durin when Elrond's like "oh it's only been 20 years" and Durin was genuinely upset. How the races view the world differently because of Elven immortality vs mortality and how that causes strain between the races (and actually how Men's desire of immortality is their downfall). More of that, less "let it go knife ears!"
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Old 09-05-2022, 01:42 PM   #27
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I've had a problem with "ackshun gurl" Galadriel ever since I saw the first hint that she would be swinging a sword. Galadriel never picked up a sword in any Tolkien story. Not even once.

Galadriel didn't have to because her massive power and wisdom were always implied, and briefly revealed when Frodo offered her the Ring.

....

There's no mention of her fighting at all. And, even if she did, what did she fight with? Magic, like the Istari? Song, like Luthien? It never says.

Her swordsmanship is only an assumption, mutated into an awful trope, and executed in the worst kind of wire-fu seen in The Hobbit films, and exists only because some people feel that women need to ape men in order to be equal. Galadriel had wisdom and latent power, like great waters behind a dam, in the stories and the first three films. It diminishes women, imho, to cast them in these silly swordsmanship roles.
I take it then that your objections to the depiction of Galadriel are based on two points: that Tolkien never said she was a swordsman and that swordsmanship and fighting diminish femininity.

Both of these points can be rather easily dismissed. First of all, Galadriel was not an original character in the Silm. She appeared first in LotR and then Tolkien himself had to back write her into the mythology. This situation caused many confusions, as Christopher Tolkien himself noted in "Unfinished Tales": "There is no part of the history of Middle-earth more full of problems than the story of Galadriel and Celeborn, and it must be admitted that there are severe inconsistencies 'embedded in the traditions': CT calls this a "continual refashioning". (UT294). The chapter "The History of Galadriel and Celborn" recounts those many inconsistencies and refashionings. This is just one example of how Tolkien's efforts at worldbuilding worked against his efforts at storytelling. So it is hardly a grievous error or wrong for subsequent writers to try to flesh out earlier characteristics of Galadriel. After all, CT himself recounts that only after her desire for "the Ring of Power and the dominion of Middle-earth" were fulfilled did she turn away from those desires towards wisdom (P.298UT). CT also uses "fight" several times to describe her early actions in a context which could easily include swordsmanship or military tactics at least. It is not beyond possibility that the "athleticism" ascribed to Galadriel could have included martial arts.

She is also referred to as of "Amazon disposition" (Letter 348). The Amazons were well known figures in Greek mythology of women (cf. Penthesilea) who were renown for physical fighting. And there are many more female figures in Northern mythology and literature who were fighters, particularly the "giantesses" (how many times are we told how great Galadriel's stature was?) Hildiganner, Brana, Yma, Githr. Then in Britain's own history there is the famous Boudicca. Then there are several woman in the Bible known for killing enemies, including decapitation. Is their womanhood diminished?

Is Eowyn's womanhood diminished by her taking up concealment? Even if Tolkien does retract her desire for fighting, turning her into a domestic healer of sorts, that does not change the fact that with a sword she slew the Witch King. She is certainly attractive enough to earn Faramir's attention.

Neither of your arguments hold water, the latter in particular is mere opinion.
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Old 09-05-2022, 02:02 PM   #28
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I don't think it's helpful to try to back-project onto Tolkien's thinking rather anachronistic 21st-century notions which to his mind - conservative even for his generation - weren't really present. Yes, Eowyn fought; but she was a clear and notable exception, her presence on the Pelennor a surprise to all. (Note her bitter response to being told to stay in Edoras "You have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will have no more need of it": an acknowledgement of and objection to "normal" Rohirric gender roles). It's also worth noting that the Witch-King had apparently never even considered the possibility of facing a woman in battle.

Tolkien's comments about Elven women fighting - as a last defense of their homes and children - is taken directly from the observed behavior of the women of the Cimbri and Teutones- who stayed with said homes and children (or the wagons and children if in "horde mode") and did not join the men in the war-band. He repeats the trope for the women of the Wainriders. This is certainly not uncommon worldwide; found among some Native American peoples as well.

Boudicca: nowhere in the sketchy historical information we have is it ever suggested she fought herself. She was Queen, and her tribe and its allies wreaked havoc among the Romans, but the pictures of mail-clad Warrior Woman driving her chariot over dying legionaries are artistic imagination.

Amazons- who only exist in myth. Same with Valkyries and shieldmaidens (this latter point has been contested recently; but even if the contestors are right the argument only arose long after JRRT's death).

There is furthermore a comment by Tolkien in one of the latter HME volumes which states that an Elf's capacity as a healer was negatively impacted by fighting; somehow one needed to stay out of the the "takes life" side of the karma balance to be successful on the "preserves life" side. (Note that Elrond was a herald, i.e. a noncombatant, during the WLA).

Which brings us back to Galadriel- could she fight? Yes. Did she fight? Once, at least- but in defense of kin and their homes (depending of course on one's version of canon). Did she command armies, or rove around as a wandering knight-errant or Witcher? No. In the Chronology Tolkien wrote that Celeborn led the army of Lorien against Dol Guldur; G's role was to use sorcery to tear the place down, much like Luthien (presumably after hubby had taken out the orcs). Luthien is another example to consider: possibly the most badass female Elf ever, but not once do we see her wield weapon. Galadriel was remarkable sedentary, a next-gen Melian. Her might was great, but not expressed in arms (compare Feanor, the other "greatest of the Noldor," who also was not especially noted as a fighter (and was a rotten general)). The basic problem with the recent fashion for Ackshun Gurls and Waryer Wimmen is that it really is a cop-out; instead of emphasizing feminine power, it just turns women into ersatz men.
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Old 09-05-2022, 04:53 PM   #29
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Went in with an open mind and a closed mouth. Whatever appeared on scene is what it is, regardless of what might be in my head or in a book.


Watched the first 2 episodes with my favorite non-book fan (my wife), and despite much temptation, resisted commenting on/clarifying anything onscreen that 'wasn't in the books.'


Some observations:
  • When S1E1 starts, I see and hear Hermione Granger. Actually thought that the other children were humans.
  • Nice to see Galadriel using her wit (and some elvish magic, as you people call it), when making the swan boat. Hope that this character characteristic shows up again.
  • Those other kids were just mean. Did the Valar have the chained Morgoth supervising daycare?
  • Finrod already had a dagger in Valinor. Those words for death were about to be spoken.
  • The thing about the ice climb thing is that, how did the fortress get supplies? Did the orcs fly up the wall? Or were the elves just being stealthy entering through the back way?
  • A snow troll? Will we see beach trolls (they're pretty laid back, but might spill your drink when they walk past with their surf boards...dude!)
  • I wished that they'd lingered longer on the 'Sauron symbol' on that rock/alter/forge. Here Amazon could have shown us that same Galadriel wit and magic that 'sees a little deeper.' And then she could have killed the troll.
  • Seemingly moments after declaring 'the war's over,' the High King realizes that it's not. Are the writers just being lazy, as it's obvious that the war isn't, so that makes the HK (and everyone listening to them) look stupid.
  • The 'elves on a boat' scene was creepy. Did they all have to stand 6 feet apart? It looked more like a punishment. You get to go to paradise and it looks more like the 'renew' scene from Logan's Run. Are the other elves like airline stewards? "We'll be arriving at Valinor in a few moments, so please stow your tray table and look about the cabin for any loose items...especially daggers.
  • And that dagger has seen some stuff! From Valinor to ME and almost back again? Heck, would not be surprised if Turin gets to use it in Dagor Dagorath.
  • Swim, Galadriel, swim! You built a swan boat from paper. If only the writers permitted you to be smart and clever again.
  • Wasn't sure what was going on on the shipwreck scene. Guess everyone died.
  • Please, writers, don't pretend that Galadriel's ever in mortal peril. I've see the other movies.
  • So the shipwreck savior guy watches the rope being pulled into the water, the same rope that's pulling Galadriel down (not worried that she's going to drown - see above). Wouldn't it have been smarter for shipwreck guy to secure the rope before going into the water to rescue Galadriel? That same weight (or sea dragon) could pull him down as well.
  • Would like to see how many people's DNA is on that dagger handle, as now shipwreck guy uses it.
  • In other parts of ME, didn't the watch tower elves ever reach out to their 'cousins' and teach them the art of making soap?
  • Or maybe they did, and the villagers are using 'goat's milk,' from, you know, goats that grazed out east...
  • Please don't make that sword thing that the well dressed elf courting woman's son's playing with be possessed. We already did the One Ring thing in a different movie. And hopefully Dragon Sickness is strictly a dwarven thing (which hopefully we'll see the Golden Dwarf being built in the background).
  • Nice to see Khazad-dum with the lights on.
  • What door did they enter? And why is there never any worn foot paths to these doors. Dwarves don't travel light.
  • Would have been nice to see Elrond not use his strength to break rocks. When he set his hammer down, I actually thought that he was going to some 'magic,' but nope.
  • Was surprised to see 'Starman' show up. If it's Gandalf, I'll hate it. If it's Annatar, I will never think of him as scary again, having seen him eat *snails* dished up by a cute hobbit (who also holds him at bay).
  • Please don't be Gandalf.
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Old 09-05-2022, 05:19 PM   #30
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That was (raw) snails, not clams...
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Old 09-05-2022, 05:35 PM   #31
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That was (raw) snails, not clams...
Thanks - now snails.



That beach troll image is still clouding my thinking...do they where board shorts?
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Old 09-05-2022, 07:12 PM   #32
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I may have to re-evaluate my low opinion of The Wheel of Time (as in, the worst fantasy TV show imaginable). Clearly I'm not imaginative enough.
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Old 09-06-2022, 05:12 AM   #33
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correct but incomplete

coup de grâce - French ku də ɡʀas - noun - a final blow or shot given to kill a wounded person or animal.

Quote:
(1) Bêthberry: "...with a sword she slew the Witch King."

(2) William Cloud Hicklin: "... The Witch-King had apparently never even considered the possibility of facing a woman in battle."
Both of the statements above, correct as far as they go, overlook the positively critical role of Merry the Hobbit and the rather special sword gifted to him by Tom Bombadil when Tom rescued the Hobbits from the tombs of evil barrow wights early in The Fellowship of the Ring.

As regards Eowyn and her confrontation with the Witch-King at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields (as related by Professor Tolkien):

Quote:
Out of the wreck rose the Black Rider, tall and threatening, towering above her. With a cry of hatred that stung the very ears like venom he let fall his mace. Her shield was shivered in many pieces, and her arm was broken; she stumbled to her knees. He bent over her like a cloud, and his eyes glittered; he raised his mace to kill.

But suddenly he too stumbled forward with a cry of bitter pain and his stroke went wide, driving into the ground. Merry's sword had stabbed him from behind, sheering through the black mantle and passing up beneath the hauberk had pierced the sinew behind his mighty knee."

...

"So passed the sword of the Barrow-downs, work of Westernesse. But glad would he have been to know its fate who wrought it slowly long ago in the North-kingdom when the Dunedain were young and chief among their foes was the dread realm of Angmar and its sorcerer king. No other blade, not though mightier hands had wielded it, would have dealt that foe a wound so bitter, cleaving the undead flesh, breaking the spell that knit his unseen sinews to his will."
With Professor Tolkien's authoritative text in mind, then, a more complete rendering of introductory statement (1) above would say that Eowyn administered the coup de grâce to a fatally wounded Witch-King made vulnerable to ordinary swords by Merry's blade of Westernesse.

A more complete rendering of introductory statement (2) would say that the Witch-King had apparently never even considered dealing with a Hobbit in battle, either, especially one armed with the only blade that could fatally wound him and render him vulnerable to the ordinary swords of ordinary persons, human or Hobbit, "not-man" or otherwise.
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Old 09-06-2022, 03:38 PM   #34
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So, I have seen Episode 1 and deliberately held off on Episode 2, so as to allow my thoughts to percolate. I made a running list of notes as I was watching, which I present lightly edited and even more lightly expanded. I warn that it's quite stream-of-thought.
  • Musical cue = very movie. Did they get Howard Shore?
  • Elven children throwing rocks = this does not feel right. The Fall of the Elves is at the end of Valinor; this is too much in its noon.
  • Darkness of the Ocean should not bother the Elves--and "up" should mean Stars, not Lights.
  • ears seem less pointed
  • "they said it would be over quickly" = clearly a "home by Christmas WWI reference, but why? The War of the Jewels was not WWI sublimated, but Tolkien's ANSWER to WWI--his escape. Odd.
  • Forodwaith is too tall: should not be uber-Rockies
  • "Commander Galadriel" "other commanders"--too Latinate! Tolkien never uses the word, does he? Certainly not as an address.
  • zero tension: if this is your Galadriel, she SHOULD not find anything** Okay, expanding here: I think what I meant is that since we KNOW that Sauron is out there, we, as the audience, should either be allowed to cut to the chase OR it needs to be more clear that Galadriel is really chasing after nothing--instead, we have plenty evidence in a single episode that she's right. So what was the point of this? There's no tension.
  • Is reflection-Galadriel here to help make you think "wow, she really looks like Kate Blanchette?"
  • "a trail for orks to follow--were they supposed to follow Finrod's shoulder?
  • Troll: replaying Moria sequence? Or trying to show that Elves are so much cooler?
  • WHY the giant antlers? A Thranduil-call sideways?
  • I like the round door "etymology."
  • Nori is actually linguistically appropriate, but still stupid.** My meaning was that Dwarves take outer names from the human peoples around them, and the Mannish tongues of Rhovannion in the 2nd Age are a not-implausible source for the names Dori, Nori, and Ori--it's just still stupid when the audience is going to think immediately of a Dwarf. How was that the point?
  • Elrond is Bilbo/Frodo-writing?
  • "Elf-Lords only" is too 21st century
  • First impression: I LIKE young-Elrond but cannot picture him as the same being as Hugo Weaving.
  • Graeco-Roman is far better for Elves than Celto-Nipponese
  • Galadriel being junior in any way to Gil-galad distorts the family tree so much!
  • Downfall of New Zealand: not enough flat! (Quoth the prairie lad)
  • Why "Harfoot"? What was wrong with "holbytla"?
  • Why is the ceremony in nature? This is the High King of the Noldor--"only the stones remembered them" in Eregion. These are the builders of Gondolin and Nargothrond! Why is this a proto-Lorien?
  • I do like Gil-galad as a presence.
  • Why is he talking about "granting" passage--the Exiles TOOK passage? But potentially complicated and interesting to explore the tension around accepting the Pardon of the Valar.
  • Did not expect fireworks!
  • He literally just walking in, Nerwen!
  • How would Elrond know what Finrod would think? Because your great-grandfather was there at his death?
  • It's weird, but the in-between dynamic of Gil-galad's man and Galadriel's friend does seem right.
  • "No one in history has ever refused the call"--what are you talking about, Elrond? Though Galadriel's refusal is very true to character.
  • Why the ears (other than Hugo, of course)? Can't you make more clear that he's half-man?
  • Tired of the map already. A strength of the Jackson movies was living IN the geography and capturing the book's labourious movement through it. Not so here!
  • Harad looks no further south than Lindon or Rhovanion--because all of them are New Zealand.
  • Bree with funny hats.
  • Why British accents in Harad? Okay, I know why: all fantasy beings speak British--so no American accents--and you must avoid Evil Stereotypes, so real world English-as-a-Second-Language accents are out, but I don't like it.
  • Is that a Return of the King motif for Sauron? A twist I'd not expected, but he did portray himself as an heir of Morgoth, I suppose.
  • This Harad-woman seems too much "modern woman." Do I think this because of visuals or because she seems to be straight of a Netflix romance?
  • Should have said "leaf-mould" instead of "rotten leaves." Missed opportunity!
  • Where is this Elven outpost? The High King is Noldor--who acknowledges him so far out? And the design is all Silvan!
  • Does the cow have the Black Death?
  • Are we going to get a Sauronic "shards of Narsil"--Narsil itself barely got the shards of Narsil!--Nevermind, it's a proto-Morgul blade.
  • The standing on the ship has to be Elrond's stupid dream, right?
  • Ugh, Gil-galad is not so good this scene... regretting my earlier approval. Why is he PRO-Celebrimbor?
  • Well, at least Celebrimbor LOOKS like a mad scientist Elf.
  • Are the good people in your bad village SUPPOSED to make me think of Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah?
  • That ship looks so CGI.
  • Are they in a trance?
  • What happens to the Elven-servants taking their armour off? Why the two tiers of shipmates?
  • Is trip to Valinor actually an artistic depiction of ritual suicide?
  • Okay, the ship climbing the straight road is cool imagery, even if the dumbly-standing Elves are still ridiculous.
  • Is Sauron a meteor? Is this a dinosaur extinction metaphor?
  • Flashback-Finrod has made me decide he cannot be Finrod. Looks, sounds, and talks nothing like my mental image. Could be Aegnor.
  • This feels more 1st Age Doom of the Noldor but it'd make a cool setpiece in an Eärendil retelling
  • Kind of a Stardust ending.
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Old 09-06-2022, 05:34 PM   #35
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I take it then that your objections to the depiction of Galadriel are based on two points: that Tolkien never said she was a swordsman and that swordsmanship and fighting diminish femininity.
There is a third alternative I abide by. By this time in the 2nd Age, Galadriel didn't need a sword to be utterly dangerous. She was born in Valinor, daughter of the Noldo (and eventual king) Prince Finarfin and Indis of the Vanyar, she survived the crossing of the Helcaraxë, and then spent the better part of the 1st Age under the tutelage of Melian the Maia in Menegroth.

She was a natural leader of the Elves, not some silly Mary-Sue shieldmaiden. To me, the Amazon depiction of an Amazon (ah, the irony!) detracts from the power and wisdom she would have possessed at the time, even before having a Ring of Power. She repulsed Feanor, she distrusted Annatar. True power is not some heavy metal tart waving about a scimitar, but having uncanny insight, an iron will, centuries of training in Doriath, and the innate ability to wield all three to exert her dominion.

Please recall that at the end of the 3rd Age, after the One Ring was destroyed, she stood before Dol-Guldur and "threw down its walls and laid bare its pits, and the forest was cleansed." No claymore necessary.
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Old 09-06-2022, 08:02 PM   #36
Michael Murry
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Extreme Elvish Elks?

Formendacil: "WHY the giant antlers? A Thranduil-call sideways?"

Thank you so much for that. When I told my Taiwanese wife about it, she had the same reaction we both did to Thranduil and his absurd choice of ride in The Hobbit: "You call yourself a Wood Elf? How do you expect to get through the forest with those monstrous wardrobe racks catching on every tree trunk and branch along the way?"
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Old 09-06-2022, 11:15 PM   #37
Michael Murry
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Woke "Warriors" Awaken!

William Cloud Hickin:

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I don't think it's helpful to try to back-project onto Tolkien's thinking rather anachronistic 21st-century notions which to his mind - conservative even for his generation - weren't really present
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huinesoron:

The whole swanship sequence is weird. . . . It's a boat! It's going to take you to the beach unless you do something ridiculous like jumping off it.

Yes of course she jumps off it. I don't know what her plan was.
Reply courtesy of Thinlómien:

Quote:
This sequence was visually gorgeous but as you aptly describe, very silly. I'm still confused whether Galadriel intended to swim all the way back to Middle-Earth (and how long did she actually swim before being picked up by the shipwrecked humans on the raft).
Just what I needed. More poetic inspiration "based on" (or "adapted from") commentary on the Barrow Downs discussion forum. I've got verse compositions from 2011 to 2021 but I really hadn't gotten anything for 2022 -- until now. Many thanks for all the reviews, critiques, and opinions.

WOKE "WARRIORS" AWAKEN!

With knife in hand [they] dove into the sea
To sink or swim without a clue or plan.
But never worry. Just no "her" or "she".
Another shipwrecked castaway -- a man --
Turns up according to the script decree
To save Galadriel. Does this stuff scan?
The cargo-cultists watching on TV
Seem to accept the latest pronoun ban.
It's just how sequel/prequels ought to be:
Some "after," some "before", much also-ran.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2022
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Old 09-07-2022, 08:04 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Thinlómien View Post
I would have rather seen a young warrior king Gil-Galad hunting Sauron, and "middle-aged" Galadriel playing the politics in the background. (Or even 30-40-something-looking "career mom" Galadriel juggling raising her daughter and trying to build her own realm at the same time. )
I think they needed a protagonist with a personal grudge against Sauron, and neither Gil-galad nor anyone else would have filled that bill as well as Galadriel. Agreed though that they might have kept this aspect and still portrayed her differently, like you suggest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
I don't think it's helpful to try to back-project onto Tolkien's thinking rather anachronistic 21st-century notions which to his mind - conservative even for his generation - weren't really present.
Why not? Don't we do that with other works of world literature all the time? Christa Wolf wrote Kassandra against the grain of the Ilias, criticising male martial heroism from a female pacifist perspective which wasn't really present in Homer's mind. Why should Tolkien be exempt?

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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
Amazons- who only exist in myth. Same with Valkyries and shieldmaidens
Whereas Galadriel -?

Quote:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
There is furthermore a comment by Tolkien in one of the latter HME volumes which states that an Elf's capacity as a healer was negatively impacted by fighting; somehow one needed to stay out of the the "takes life" side of the karma balance to be successful on the "preserves life" side. (Note that Elrond was a herald, i.e. a noncombatant, during the WLA).
No.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LotR Book Two, The Council of Elrond
'Alas! yes,' said Elrond. 'Isildur took it, as should not have been. It should have been cast into Orodruin's fire nigh at hand where it was made. But few marked what Isildur did. He alone stood by his father in that last mortal contest; and by Gil-galad only Cirdan stood, and I. But Isildur would not listen to our counsel.'
Emphasis mine. Assisted Gil-galad in the last fight with Sauron himself - you can't get much more combatant than this. But evidently Elrond's healing capacity wasn't much diminished by this, and it is he who is portrayed as the great healer by the narrative of LotR, not Galadriel. So your point is?
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Old 09-07-2022, 09:35 AM   #39
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Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
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That ship looks so CGI.
Are they in a trance?
What happens to the Elven-servants taking their armour off? Why the two tiers of shipmates?
Is trip to Valinor actually an artistic depiction of ritual suicide?
Okay, the ship climbing the straight road is cool imagery, even if the dumbly-standing Elves are still ridiculous.
This whole bit freaked me out, I won't lie.

Alfie's opinion: "Eww, are they going to get naked? Erm, no."

I liked it in one regard, they were showing something that's a deeply profound moment in Tolkien's creation, passing to Valinor, so that's very special indeed. But it was nothing like the "swift green sunrise" I imagined. I found it creepy. If anyone was a fan of The Leftovers, there's a moment in the final series, where, without spoilers, a service is offered to those left behind which looks like absolute madness, it requires the most immense leap of faith, and any old heathen like me is thinking "Noooo, don't do it!"

This was like that and yes, it looked like ritual suicide even though it can't be that in Tolkien's creation for many reasons.

Why did they have servants undressing them?

I need to watch it again to see if it still gives me that creepy feeling, but it really did not in any way gel with the concept of a "swift green sunrise". That part was probably the part that bothered me the most.
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Old 09-07-2022, 09:41 AM   #40
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Legate of Amon Lanc is spying on the Black Gate.Legate of Amon Lanc is spying on the Black Gate.Legate of Amon Lanc is spying on the Black Gate.Legate of Amon Lanc is spying on the Black Gate.Legate of Amon Lanc is spying on the Black Gate.Legate of Amon Lanc is spying on the Black Gate.
Pipe Behold, The Red Book of Legate!

Disclaimer: I, like others before me, am writing about both E1 and E2, since I'm not sure what was where. Beware spoilers therefore.

***

Hope I am not late for the party... but it took me a while to gather the stamina, and have the time, to write.

*ahem* *opens page 1 of The Great Book of Legate*

"It all began with the..."


For TL;DR, super short summary:

- my development of expectation levels for this show went like this:
1. "new LotR show is coming" - I never care about adaptations, why should I care now one way or another. Just another Peter Jackson-type high-budget thing.
2. "here are the trailers" - less PJ than I thought, but more PJ than I would have wished. But overall it does not really show much. May be decent, may be terrible, let's wait and see.
3. First episode - opening *much* more PJ than I thought, but that seems to be a "selling" strategy. There is no plot: aside from "clearly, Sauron is somewhere, and the characters just don't know it yet", nothing that would make me interested or care. Aside from - surprisingly - Harfoots (elaboration below).
4. Second episode - we are slightly picking up *some* plot as opposed to zero plot.
5. Current state: I am intrigued to watch further because I want to know what happens - who is the Meteor-Man (we all suspect but we want confirmation), what happens with him, and what happens to the Southlanders (see below).

And now, for the novel-length review:

The Good: Stone Age Hobbits: 9/10

After watching Elves running about pretty landscapes for a while and observing some random villagers, the "now THIS is interesting" moment came from totally unexpected direction: the proto-Hobbits. The scene with pseudo-Merry-and-Pippin stealing berries looked like just one more irrelevant same old, but in fact, it had about 200% more characterisation than all the Elves (see below). Then it only kept getting better.

Aside from one minor letdown (I shall return to), the Harfoots are a very believable depiction of "Stone Age Hobbits". I like the fact that it isn't just a copypaste of the Shire in another time and place, but you can SEE how this would transform into the Shire (and yes, into PJ's Shire especially, but I don't mind). The somewhat nomadic, reclusive, but skilful folk... I mean, even the opening scene with the weird antler-guys introduced the Harfoots by effectively putting Tolkien's description of Hobbits (Big Folk don't notice them to the point that they think they do magic etc.) into narrative. THAT is how film is done!

And then the Stone Age Proto-Hobbits can WRITE. Yes! This is the screenwriters READING and PAYING ATTENTION to the original. Because the Hobbits' affinity for books is somewhat counterintuitive (merry, simple farmers, or in this case gatherers, are not what you'd associate with literacy as one of their chief values), it would be easy to miss this one. But look! They have books AND their own proto-script! If Tolkien the linguist were to cheer at anything, I daresay it would be this. Well done!

On the other hand and sadly, what Tolkien the linguist would be likely as disappointed with as I was, is the name choices for the proto-Hobbits. To give them the same names as Third Age Hobbits is a boring choice. They should be something along the lines of Déagol, Sméagol etc. True, someone could say that those are Harfoots, not Stoors, but other arbitrary decisions of the same type have been made in the series.

I also understand that having a protagonist named Déagol or some similar "weird" name is not as "appealing" and fan-friendly as something more "normal", but I am sure you'd be able to come up with some cool-sounding, easy-to-pronounce nicknames. Besides, with your billion-budget, you could hire an expert on some proto-Anglo-Saxon-whatever who would help you with that.

Also - even on top of all this - I don't know why the authors named the main character Elanor (Nori). It's straightaway dumb to name a character whose name is similar to two existing Tolkien characters, i.e. Sam Gamgee's daughter, whose name was supposed to be specifically new and un-Hobbit-y, AND a Dwarf! That's as if they named one of the new Men characters Gwindor, nickname Dori.

The Bad: Elves: 2/10

Let me make one thing clear - I am okay with many aspects of the Elven storylines. The main letdown is that it seems like Galadriel's motivation to stay in Middle-Earth is not gonna include my favourite thing about her, i.e. the fact that she wilfully followed the Noldor into exile, then wilfully - oh the daring! - refused the mercy of Valar because she wanted to build herself a little empire and then matured into her Third Age self who refused the Ring of Power itself! That would have been an amazing character arc to explore, but sadly (also obviously because of lack of rights to Sil etc) this seems to be, at worst, reduced into "she refused because as a goody two-shoes she wanted to stop Sauron" or at best, reduced into "she refused because she wanted to avenge her brother" (that is a "bad" motivation to refuse divine mercy, but the original was better, also because it was dealing with the main concept of the Ring story - power).

Otherwise: Elrond looks good, Galadriel looks okay (she should be like half a meter taller... I have one really tall friend who, in response to the casting, complained about lack of representation for people like herself. It was a joke, but there is some truth to it). Gil-Galad has completely wrong colours (should be silver and blue), but whatever. Celebrimbor (while nothing against the actor, he's of course good) is too old. I would have preferred a young innovator to an "old mad scientist", even though it has its charm.

But the age inconsistency is the chief problem for me. I understand that the authors wanted to make the main protagonists young, so that you can show that they are younger than their Third Age selves. Makes sense. But then be consistent, and if 2000-y/o Galadriel is 30, then Celebrimbor and Gil-Galad should be too, if not younger. (Elrond can be excused for being half-elven, so maybe he "caught up" faster.) I personally dislike "all young casts", but here there would have been an excuse for it. On the other hand (Legate 180 coming), this way it at least does not look like "oh these people didn't manage to stop Sauron in time just because they were young and inexperienced".

What has been the worst about the Elven storyline was the dialogue in the supposed "High Elf" manner, which has been just abysmal (with one notable exception). I am sorry, but that is a fact. Elrond and Galadriel talking sound like someone who cannot write trying to imitate Shakespeare. It reminds me of the infamous scene from Star Wars Episode II where Anakin expresses his love to Padmé. Incidentally, just one day later I watched House of Dragon and there was also a "posh noble antiquated-speech" dialogue, and it sounded absolutely realistic, unlike this. So it can be done. Why didn't the makers with their extra millions hire some professional writer just to proofread, I don't know.

That is not to say that the dialogue has so far been any marvel, which is a pity for a show based on the works of one of the greatest writers. Obviously nobody could easily measure up to Tolkien, and PJ had the advantage that he had the original to work with (also you can tell the difference between Tolkien's original script and "Orcs!" "A diversion!" "Toss me!"). But knowing what kind of a task this was, and knowing that it would come under the more scrutiny, one would have expected the text to have come under much stricter scrutiny before it was released than it seemingly did.

Dialogue should also outline the characters, express their personality, their relationships. Very little has come out on that front. Sure, it is early on, there has not been enough time for subtle nuances, but then again, two hours already is the length of an average (non-PJ) film. "I want to finish what my brother started" or "I am in a star-crossed romance with a human/Elf" is preciously little.

The Dwarves: The Dwarves (6/10)

In the first two episodes, there was one instance of really cool dialogue: the "elevator dialogue" between Elrond and Durin. This is what writing should look like. It had characterisation, it felt realistic (unlike when eg Elrond and Galadriel talk to each other), and the theme was something that is not directly addressed in the source material, but that totally could be. Well done writers! If there was more like this...

Sadly I am as disappointed, if not offended, as probably many others by degrading the Dwarves into "yarr let's get drunk and smash rocks". It would have been okay to show a little of it. But not to devote an entire scene to it. Certainly not as the introductory scene of the Dwarves.

I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised with Disa. Given that we have not seen a Dwarven woman before, this came across as a rather successful attempt. She is regal, she comes across as a person, her relationship with her husband is fleshed-out...

The Hotman, aka The Meteor-Man... (?/10)

...aka I Have Many Names In Many Lands. Now my impressions from this storyline oscillated between "what in the name of?... okaaay, is this Sauron?... no... NO WAY... YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS?!??... okaaaay... but this is actually somewhat interesting..."
Since this is not a speculation thread, I will leave it at that. After two episodes, I am intrigued to see what becomes of it, because I seriously have no idea. At least so far (besides the fact that whichever way this goes, it is likely a breach of canon, but hey, it won't be the first nor the worst - in *any* adaptation) there is nothing I can really complain about in that story. Let's wait and see where it goes before I evaluate anything.

(But just saying, one thing that crossed my mind, it would be cool if it turned out to be a triple-trick... by which I mean, it looked a little like it could be Sauron, then Gandalf [or even Radagast], but it would be epic plot twist if it turned out to be the Balrog. I mean... think about it. Hypothetically, why not. A Maia could do a degree of morphing, and the Balrog is known for it. If we are this deep in non-canon elements, let it at least be interesting!)

The Weird: "Southlands" storyline (1/10 with potential, see below)

In terms of how interesting it is, I find it somewhere between the Elf storyline and the Harfoot storyline. It started in the same way of "why should I care about these people" (and in fact, I still don't care about them), then it slowly started getting some plot. The plot is on the level of any generic fantasy, but, meh, whatever.

I don't particularly care about the fact that those poor people are getting overrun by Orcs, either. What COULD make it interesting, eventually, would be if the "those people are evil" prediction came entirely true and they just teamed up with Sauron. (Even though of course the nicer twist would be if they didn't, since being evil is what seems to be expected of them. I expect the end result will be some sort of division, half of them will become evil, half of them won't.)

I am not particularly impressed with their names. Theo is a terrible name - I assume it is meant to be a nickname for some Théoden-type thing, but ugh... What are they supposed to be anyway? Théosomething and Bronwyn would point towards some pre-Eorlinga-mismatch, "generic Northmen", I guess; but if they are this far South (not sure where exactly anyway), wouldn't something else been better? I am imagining a similar ethnic to the White Mountain folk.

Now, potential spoilers for those who have not thought of it. What makes this storyline potentially cool - the only thing that makes it potentially cool - is where it seems to be going. One thing that seems clear as Night to me is that the little boy will become a Nazgul (WK himself?). That is what I think about the sword. The sword, incidentally, being a sort of "reverse Morgul-blade" was a cool trick. And I like the "blood-powered" system (no matter I have no idea how it's supposed to work and what it is doing there. It is cool, I like it).

And it is all very ominous. A pity I don't care about the kid at all otherwise. But hey, I want to see someone turn into Nazgul. And it inevitably leads to some horrible tragedy of his mother being good (obviously) and him being evil and whatever. Then she, with broken heart, kills him, but he rises back as undead. You know, that kind of drama. (Heck, you could even put there something cool like the "no living man can kill him" prophecy! Now how about that!!! Okay, I called it.)

Another element, which would be really really cool, would be if the beautiful land this all is taking place in was actually Mordor. It would be really really cool to see this pretty green landscape turn into fire and brimstone. It would at least explain all the digging by the Orcs.

And finally, based on that it somehow seems that, wink wink, Mr. Halbrand is the runaway father of the boy, and now he seems to have been picked up by the Númenoreans, may be that what if he comes back home with the Númenoreans. What if they now come as colonists and subjugate these poor Bronwyn&co. people, Mr. Halbrand being also dragged into it, either intentionally or not. That would be a good excuse for some family drama. I sadly supect I may be mistaken about this happening but it would be cool. I am imagining this kind of development:

Theo: "You Númenoreans are evil colonisers! Oh and I saw an Elf in the background, Númenoreans and Elves are evil!"
Halbrand: "No, no, I agree my new friends are a bit heavy-handed, but they are here to bring civilisation."
Theo: "Shut up dad, you left us when we needed you! We don't want you nor your Númenorean friends here, go away or we'll chase you out by force!"
Bronwyn: "Now now, my son, I agree that the Númenoreans shouldn't colonise us, but let's not make this come to violence..."
Theo: "That will get us nowhere, mum! Oh if only I had the power to drive those invaders out, I'd show them to leave our people alone!"
Annatar: "Well hello there, young Skywalker..."

Absolutely fine by me. Sadly, again, not convinced that this would happen and secondly, really a pity that I don't give a broken blade about these characters.


And that ends my massive treatise, fellow Wights. I am pretty sure I have forgotten several things that would deserve mentioning, but, this is already long enough...

Until next time.
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