Thoughts on Rings of Power – E03 and E04 

Thoughts on Rings of Power – E03 and E04

Second episode of my very rambly, very disorganised thoughts on Rings of Power. The first episode was here (click).

Spoilers ahead!

Episode 3

Númenor – location

What a lot of people, including me, were most excited about for this episode was Númenor, and that did not disappoint. The opening sequence with the ship entering the island took my breath away and I dearly wished for a bigger screen and an additional pair of eyes to take everything in. Armenelos is grandiose, and I could fully appreciate how the designers went from Minas Tirith and reversed-engineered it to see what city could have inspired the one in The Lord of the Rings.

Of course I have a couple of reservations, and the first one is the same I have with the series as a whole: it’s gorgeous, but it’s not exactly original, and the overall design could have fit very well in something like Game of Thrones. That being said, I’m in awe of the set design and every sequence taken in the streets took me right there.

Being an art historian, I was a little taken aback by the variety of artistic styles in the city and its port. And the mouth of the river we have these massive heads, which look fabulous, and very inspired by ancient central-american and south-american civilisations. Then the city itself evokes Byzantium, and after that, in the middle of the main prison room, you have the very baroque statue of a woman with lots of flowing fabrics captured in stone. And in episode 4 we can spot Art Déco / 1930s bas-reliefs. To me, all these are beautiful on their own but they don’t add up. I can’t see a single civilisation producing such different artworks even over the course of centuries.

Númenor – characters

Décor aside, I loved the character writing in Númenor. Míriel is regal, and her costumes are for now my favourites by far. There is so much detail and harmony, and those blue scales catching the light and contrasting with the gold… *Happy sigh*

The library of course made my library-loving heart happy, but the scene to get there, on the beach with the super slow motion made me uneasy. There is one shot I’d keep (seen from the back, with only Galadriel’s dress flapping against the horse’s sides), which I thought was glorious, but I would have far preferred for the rest to be at normal speed. That being said, Galadriel’s pleasure was communicative and it was very welcome to see her enjoying herself so much when the rest of the time she has to be on her guards and defiant.

I hate that they’re making Halbrand a new Aragorn, the lost King that has the potential of reuniting a scattered people. I don’t need a new Aragorn, especially when I don’t trust the character one bit. The way everyone seems to gloss over the fact that he sent four men to hospital really bothers me (well, except the fact that he’s actually in jail, but it’s for such a short time!). I can’t wait to have Halbrand revealed as the baddie I’m sure he is.

Finally for Númenor and Númenórean characters, please have Lloyd Owen (Elendil’s actor) read audiobooks of every Tolkien book, thank you. At least the Akallabêth. His voice is a delight.

The wave in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' has an even deeper  connection to Tolkien | Mashable

Arondir & the digging place

Onto Arondir and his poor fellow captives. If the Watchwarden suggests Adar is Sauron then it’s probably not the case, and the mystery of Sauron’s identity is still going strong.

Arondir’s selflessness and his apology to the tree feel very Elven to me, and I really love how it played out.

The chiwaWarg did not impress me, it looks a little too comical.

Although I found the Warg too CGI-y, I was here for all the gravity-defying stunts Arondir pulled. What can I say, I’m a person of contrasts.

The Harfoots

The Harfoots’ ceremony introduced a darkness I was not expecting but which was fascinating. I don’t have much to say about them otherwise, they are still a mixture of cute and intriguing.

Hopes & expectations for episode 4

At the end of episode 3, after I’d stopped shouting ‘Come on! Show me Adar!’, I had 3 main questions I was hoping episode 4 would answer:

  1. How Elrond was banished but still invited to dinner by Disa & Durin?
  2. Where are the Numenoreans sea shanties?? 
  3. What does Adar look like??? 

What I loved most about episode 3 was how it kindled my sense of wonder, which had only briefly been tickled by episodes 1 & 2, simply because I was often wondering how and why they were making each choice of being faithful to Tolkien or on the contrary taking a different route. Episode 3 had me gazing raptly at the screen, and that was exactly what I was hoping for. I’m now content with enjoying the series as its own thing, or as a variation on the themes Tolkien laid out, rather than an adaptation, since it was clear from the start that it wasn’t one.

Episode 4

I spent the week between the episode wondering about Adar and the blurry silhouette we get. It felt very Elven, but that was about all I could guess. By the day episode 4 dropped, his character was the one I had the highest expectations for. So let’s start with him!

Adar

I wasn’t that surprised by his appearance. Thinking about it in the days after, I was mostly disappointed that the showrunners had once again used the trope of “character with a disfigurement = bad guy”. I’d really hoped we had moved past that. It’s at best useless, at worst harmful when characters coded as good are all so good-looking.

Looking past his appearance, I was hooked by the character writing. His compassion for his servants, the way he speaks, how he plays with Arondir… It was so nuanced and mysterious, and it went beyond my expectations. A really good point!

Back to Númenor

I still love Míriel just as much, and the details of her speech are exquisite. I love that she’s the only one using thy / thou for instance. But why did they have to introduce the motif of the wave so soon? It won’t be half as impressive when it does happen I’m afraid.

I’m very happy to hate Pharazôn and the way he manipulates crowds to his benefit. This man is dangerous, it’s written all over him. Thankfully he wasn’t present during Galadriel’s audience with Míriel, which was already tense enough. I love this scene and the power contest between these two women. They never lost sight of their respect for one another and it felt so good!

I love poor, headstrong Isildur but I think I must have slept when he explained why he doesn’t want to pass the test and become a sailor because I absolutely do not understand his motivation. Like, he wants to be a sailor but he doesn’t want to officially become one? Can someone explain? Apart from that he’s a very precious, lost young man and I’m not ready to see him grow old and proud.

The Rings of Power" a présenté le légendaire Isildur - Qui le joue ? -  Noufelle FR

Galadriel managing to imprison three guards was very enjoyable and I’m more than happy she didn’t use the opportunity to release Halbrand because not only is this man a danger, but he also managed to mansplain to Galadriel, Daughter of Finarfin, who knows a lot more about everything than he will ever do. Sweet Eru, I hate this character. That’s a testament to the writing I think, because other people may find him quite likeable and I love a good nuance.

The Southlands

The scene when the humans take refuge in the Elven tower felt like a copy-and-paste of the scene at Helm’s Deep with Bronwyn replacing Éowyn. That was a disappointment, especially since I find the humans quite bland. Also, Theo is both too smart and too stupid for his own good. How can someone in their right mind enter a seemingly-deserted building at sundown when Orcs are prowling all around the place? When you already have a cartful of food to take back to your people?? It took me out of the story for a while. Thankfully there was the evil-looking witchy blade to spark my interest again. I’m really curious to know more about that and how it works / if it responds only to Theo or if other people can use it.

Eregion & Khazad-dûm

There is no way I can believe Celebrimbor’s tower sprang from the ground in a couple of days like it seems to be the case. Even with the cumulated knowledge of Elves and Dwarves, it makes no sense and it certainly doesn’t help raise Celebrimbor in my esteem. I do not like how this character is written and presented, and although I’ll often support a character bringing a little levity to a dark story, I think it is not Celebrimbor’s part. Elrond does that wonderfully, and that’s saying a lot from me who was ready to dislike him on the sole ground of his haircut.

Then we have another flash journey to Khazad-dûm, which really irks me.

First, I was definitely not sleeping when Elrond was banished after the rock-splitting contest, so how is he welcome again there?

Then, I know Elves barely sleep, but if the timeline is roughly the same throughout an episode, we have little more than a couple of days in Númenor and we’re supposed to believe Elrond can make several journeys from Eregion to Khazad-dûm while workers build half of a tower??? I’m not against the way the global timeline was shrunk to make space for humans and Hobbits, but this is going much too fast for me.

Then Disa started singing and I stopped grumbling.

Does it matter what Tolkien would have thought of The Rings of Power? – The  Tolkien Society

Hopes & expectations for episode 5

I just realised we hadn’t yet seen the cult-like group of very white people, possibly from Númenor, who make an appearance in the trailer, and now I’m excited again and I dearly want to see who they are and where their loyalty lie.

I want to know more about Adar.

I want my Númenórean sea shanties and I won’t stop until I get one.


OpenEdition vous propose de citer ce billet de la manière suivante :
Marie Bretagnolle (18 septembre 2022). Thoughts on Rings of Power – E03 and E04 . Tolkien & illustration. Consulté le 13 juillet 2024 à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/v8v7


Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse e-mail ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *

Ce site utilise Akismet pour réduire les indésirables. En savoir plus sur comment les données de vos commentaires sont utilisées.

Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search