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Rings of Power ( No Book Spoilers) - Will I ever care about the Harfoots?


Raja
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I've found it difficult to really talk about the show from a show perspective in the thread, so thought I'd open this up for this who aren't as well versed with the books. Everyone is obviously welcome to post, but I feel like prolonged discussions about future events or how things are depicted in the show v books should be kept to the spoiler thread. That being said, gonna post what I posted in the spoiler thread below after watching episode 4

I actually liked that scene with Galadriel & the halbrand dude, I felt like it actually made her feel more like an actual character with flaws as opposed to the fairly wooden characterization of her in the first couple of episodes.

Still going to stick with this as there is plenty I like and I'm interested in - I think the dwarves stuff is good. I think there are some emotional beats that work and make me want to keep watching - these include Elrond & Durin & Isil's family, Halbrand ( he might be an aragorn look alike, but his character is not that at all and I think reducing him to 'aragorn lookalike' is a bit of lazy criticism) - these are characters I actually care about so I'm invested.

Is there any interest in a non spoiler thread? I feel like it's hard to even talk about this show in these threads

Also, this show has made me care about certain characters but I wonder if it can accomplish that with Nori & crew - I feel least invested in that storyline. And I feel like the elf v orc 'action scene' could have been better?

Edited by Raja
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Removed from spoiler thread, brought here:

Ep. 4 -- This was one heck of an episode, where all the elements of the first three come together. The female characters are particularly impressive, just starting with Disa, the Dwarf princess (what a voice; the writers having her sing to the stone was an inspired innovation in the lore), but the male principals are not slouches either, when it comes to that, just starting with the sylvan southern lands warding elf, Arondir. There was nothing in this episode that wasn't set up already in the first three, nothing confusing, nothing that I didn't like, a lot -- though we are still waiting for Meteor Man's reveal. They are quite toying with us there. It looked wonderful.  And again, the theme of making, the destruction the making may do, and the destruction by other forces outside of the most wonderful making.  The Regent's comment in her vision, "Our island must stretch at times, just like you, little one," addressing the infant, was splendid.

As with LofR had a multitude of heroes, we are seeing by this episode a multitude emerging for ROP too.

Edited by Zorral
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I've brought my reactions to the first three episodes here as well.

Ep. 1 - 2 -- The poetry that threads throughout LOTR concerning Middle Earth's distant past provided much to the reader’s sense of wonder and enchantment, the larger-than-life heroism of an age of history/legend. But the Rings of Power is the present of that Age of Legend. In this ROP present, it is not enchanted and lovely for those fighting the battles and run over by the wars, any more than is it is in the later poetry made from past battles and wars for those living and dying, and doing the fighting and surviving.

However, the first episode does provide us with the enchantment and wonder of the poetry, tales and epics composed about this age of Middle Earth via what we get to see of this truly beautiful world, presented to us living in an age in which the world’s beauty is decreasing by increasing destruction.  But it too is taken for granted by those for whom it is their world, just as we have taken for granted that beauty ourselves.  We are not nostalgic for what is, only what is gone.  And we know well, some of us even in our own time, how almost inevitable it is to craft our nostalgia into something particularly superior to our present, and always much more beautiful. 

We rapidly learn of the past catastrophes from the Dark, and the looming threat of its imminent return. We already know the earlier wars of Sauron in which he was ultimately defeated left in its wake immeasurable loss, grief, suffering and death. We recall it remembered and memorialized in poetry much later, in the waning days of elves in  LOTR’s Middle Earth. We are informed  without being told this is an eternal cycle of reformed, creeping corruption that inevitable overwhelms the world in Ragnarök. That scene with Elrond trying to describe and memorialize the wars that now are over, when we already know the wars are returning tell us that – not to mention that sign of the destruction of basics for the farmers, the corruption of a cow and her milk. During a different time in the Great Cycle Frodo and Sam even talk about his process while in the midst of their ordeal in Mordor – “Do you think they’re make a song of us, Mr. Frodo?” We see Bilbo and Frodo try to do much the same later after their parts concluded in the Great Cycle of \Wars Between Light and Dark.

So we are provided our knowledge via nostalgic enchantment, against a background of beautiful, fascinating spectacle to our own eyes’ currency. What I would love to know, which I never will know, is whether anyone who doesn’t know this material beforehand has this reaction?

Other reactions:
Additionally to Princess Disa, and once we got to see his face acting, instead of full body bombast  in second episode, in this one I was almost as immediately won by a a sort of Southlands Ranger elf, Arondir, part of  the elf border guard force overwatching a land of men who had been corrupted by Sauron.* As happens so often these outposts and forces are dismantled and disbanded just when they need to be enlarged. Dropping safety measures as the threat materializes … seems … familiar. That we see these humans view the elves as an occupying military force is important information because, of course they would!  So would we.

A most brief Ent sighting in confluence of 'meteor' and Galadriel's Refusal.

The Harfoots appear to be a transhumance people, not nomads, strictly speaking. Which would explain how they eventually become hobbits and settle down. At this stage in their culture though, they seem proto/druidic, at least some of them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ep. 3 -- With this episode I'm coming to admire how at least one theme is beginning to emerge: that of building and making (which is quite related to the expressed outrage here), paired with destruction.  We see it coming through even with the orcs and whoever is animating them for these enormous building projects which are made out of destruction, but are made.  We certainly see it in Númenor, with both the man Halbrand, desperate to start smithing, and the Elendil's daughter, Eärien, who finally gets accepted into the Builders Guild. *


Look at the title: this show is about the making of the rings. Even in the second episode we got a whole bottle of Maker's Mark with what the Dwarves have done in Khazad-dûm.  It's the pushing of the making of things too far, via someone's intentional dark intent, that spells the doom of Middle Earth.  It's the confluence of certain figures out of each group -- excluding Harfoots -- that are responsible.  Even the elves, for the drive to make is always paired with the drive to destroy, as we see in the very opening scenes of the first episode, with other elf children destroying Galadriel's paper swan ship.  These peoples go from the utter glory of Númenor that we get to see with our own eyes on the screen thanks to the incredible efforts of the show and the people who come together to make it the very best they could -- and that they really tried is shown right there -- to Ragnarok's smoking ruin, the end of a world. 

Someone said Númenor feels like something more Mediterranean, more based on trade, and more classical -- a than medieval. Well, that’s because it’s not – see again the comment of the central palace’s architecture and the Haggia Sophia. It’s the Eastern Roman Empire, that later historians called Byzantium, the Seljuks (and others) called Rûm, and the Ottomans themselves called the Ottoman Empire.  I.e. not Mediterranean, but looking to the Sea of Marmara, Anatolia, the Black Sea. and the endless litany of previous empires including the Phoenician sea empire, the sun worshipping Assyrian empires,  reaching even further back, beyond even the Bronze Age into the prehistoric -- and generally, always looking east, not west at all, until the days of the Roman conquests.  The show did this beautifully with Númenor.  Additionally, Melkor brings to mind the Phoencian deity Melqart, also spelled Melkart or Melkarth, chief deity of Tyre and of two of its colonies, Carthage and Gadir (Cádiz, Spain).

Not to mention the endless streams about "MM" from the moment it appeared in a trailer -- gads.  And no, whoever the fellow found by Nori is, he's not Sauron (though I can be wrong!), and the fellow did not break her father's ankle.  

There are legitimate criticisms for sure -- the choice of cliff hangers and so on, the length of battle/fight scenes, the filler scenes of beautiful horses on a beautiful shore against a beautiful sea**, and so on.

If ROP continues as it has so far, I am very glad that I will have the whole series to re-watch as binge during one of the endless stretches of endless dreary winter ahead.  There is so much richness of detail in all the scenes – such as those that went by so briefly, the puppet show in one of the city’s public spaces, that I look forward to many rewatches of the entire show, when it is completed.  I don’t know about you guys, but one of the reasons for my own many re-reads of LOTR is that there is so much richness of detail and shading in the narrative and locations I couldn’t take in all of it, thus going back many times.  It seems the creators of this show are respectfully doing their best to do the same for the screen production.

*  His family and its dynamics were one of the other primary developments in this episode, and again it will be about the making or the destruction of something, yes?  Plus, yes, interesting, and relatable, not cringey or smarmy either.

** Edited to add that even there though, we see the sheer joy of making by the production teams come through: There is a beat when the camera is close-up of only the head in profile of Galadriel's mount, and I swear it is a vein perfect reproduction we're seeing of horse heads from the Elgin Marbles freizes -- which are indeed astoundingly beautiful, breathtaking beautiful, and it is one of the greatest privileges of my life that once I got to see them at the British Museum. So ya, in the end I liked it, and appreciated it for just what it was, but also for the thoughts of time and creation and destruction that beat provided within the context of the episode and show.  IOW, in many ways the show shows itself more than thoughtful of the subject matter and what it is doing, and does it creatively and thoughtfully.  But too slowly for too many, evidently.  It's not throw-away stoopid quipage.


 

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I really liked Elrond's speech to Durin about a chance of a conversation with his father, I feel like it's been the best bit of writing on the show so far, I think it could possibly come across as a little corny to some, but I liked it and gives that character a bit of humanity

Quote

“Would he be proud of what I accomplished with his legacy or disappointed by the countless ways I failed to live up to it? Then one night, it struck me that I would only be too happy to hear any judgment, so long as it the opportunity to have one more conversation with my father

 

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5 minutes ago, Raja said:

I really liked Elrond's speech to Durin about a chance of a conversation with his father, I feel like it's been the best bit of writing on the show so far, I think it could possibly come across as a little corny to some, but I liked it and gives that character a bit of humanity

 

I liked that very much too -- though I do admit believing Disa's Stone Song was more impressive and beautiful.

That one sees characters' personal integrity often in conflict with temptations, terror and even drive to personal power, with the characters working to overcome their less noble impulses, and maybe failing sometimes, and sometimes with some, we will know, failing all together and embracing the destruction of the dark, it's such a relief.  I mean, this is the real stuff of every person's life, whether magical persons or not.

In this episode we saw Galadriel start to wrestle with her own character flaws.  She has a long way to go with that, and she's only begun to fight.

 

 

Edited by Zorral
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Great idea for a thread, like I said in the other one, I'm tired of all the complaints about not matching Tolkien's vision. Judging the show on it's own merits, it's not a disaster by any means, but it's still missing that something that makes it can't miss stuff. There's probably too many characters to make anyone care for all of them.

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Do you always care for characters immediately upon their appearance in a work?  Is caring about characters the same thing as being interested in them, curious about them?

31 minutes ago, Winterfell is Burning said:

too many characters to make anyone care for all of them.

 

Edited by Zorral
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My last post regarding the 4th episode sounded quite negative. While I suppose I have a lot of issues so far, I should try harder here to focus on what's good. I had fun watching that and the other episodes so far, despite my mini rant. It's just a gorgeous show from top to bottom. The score is top notch, and has overwhelmed what were otherwise really mediocre scenes, making them feel far better conceived. 

I have a passing understanding of the Silmarillion, but not enough to really recall more than a cursory awareness of where this show's going. I don't believe they've yet shown Sauron, nor have they a need to. The plots all seem to be kick starting into gear now, and I have a hunch we will see Sauron make his appearance, I assume in disguise, in the season finale. 

Elrond's actor finally warmed on me. I have pretty much fully divested the show's depiction of Galadriel and Elrond from the movies'. So though he looks and acts nothing like Hugo Weaving, the guy's doing a fine enough job, if still as forced by the middling dialogue of the script. He and Durin are already superior to the caricatures that were Gimli and Legolas.

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46 minutes ago, Winterfell is Burning said:

Judging the show on it's own merits, it's not a disaster by any means, but it's still missing that something that makes it can't miss stuff.

Yeah, I agree with that. It hasn't hit that part of me yet where it's gone to the next level of 'can't miss'. You're also right in that when you've got shows like this, you're probably not going to be invested in every storyline and like we see in this thread, people will like some stuff and not other stuff.

I was curious to see how good the action on this show would be, and whilst I did enjoy the elves using the chains in the last episode, I felt like the elf 'fight' with the orcs in this one was a bit lacklustre

7 minutes ago, Argonath Diver said:

. It's just a gorgeous show from top to bottom.

Yeah, it's stunning, really. It makes GOT/ HOTD look really small in comparison in terms of how good it looks in certain scenes.

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1 hour ago, Argonath Diver said:

Elrond's actor finally warmed on me. I have pretty much fully divested the show's depiction of Galadriel and Elrond from the movies'. So though he looks and acts nothing like Hugo Weaving, the guy's doing a fine enough job, if still as forced by the middling dialogue of the script. He and Durin are already superior to the caricatures that were Gimli and Legolas

:agree: We saw the actor be what we may think of as being elven, i.e. effortlessly graceful.  He got there in this episode, doing what actors say is one the most difficult kinds of acting to master -- that of just sitting or standing naturally.  The lovely scenes he shares in Durin and Disi's home, while he simply sits on a bench with easeful grace  and talks -- and talks so charmingly -- he and Disi were matched equals in their versions of elegance. And intelligence.

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Indeed, Zorral. Not many of the cast are comfortable in their character's skin, yet. And agreed his sitting silent in affirmation of Disi's strength was great. I wish his lines were, well, better written, but he has managed to balance a bit of gravitas with his sense of wonder and empathy.

 

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3 hours ago, SuperHans said:

Are we all in agreement that Theo is Arondir's son?

Really? Hadn't picked up on this at all tbh.

 

45 minutes ago, john said:

near no.2 shave on the sides using (presumably) a knife?

Magic.

( I have no idea, tbh)

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