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[SPOILERS] Rings of Power: Ah, Mithril, that's the good stuff!


Corvinus85
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I enjoyed episode 5- it feels like there's more direction to everything and the pace is picking up, though still maybe a little too slowly for where we are in the season. As usual, Durin was a delight (that table!) and the harfoots were enjoyable. But Numenor was also more interesting this week, from the Galadriel/Halbrand conflict to that fun training scene* to Pharazon's plotting.

(*Yes. That scene was fun. If we can have Legolas skateboarding down an olyphant in the movies and Legolas/Gimli killing dozens of orcs in battles in the books, there's nothing wrong with Galadriel taking on eight Numenorians, especially when it's scored by Bear McReary).

The Southlands was the Southlands, but Adar aside, I'm resigned to that being a boring plotline at this point. I just hope the arrival of other characters shakes it up.

A few things I'm confused or a bit perplexed by:

1. Isildur's sister: why is she suddenly anti-expedition? This came out of nowhere for me (and reading through posts here, for a lot of people).

2. Pharazon's son on the boat: what was happening there? Why was he trying to sabotage the expedition after his dad had just told him the ways they would benefit from it?

3. "We need mithril or the elves are going to die!" This seemed very, very silly to me- as silly as when in the ROTK movie Arwen suddenly was going to die if the ring wasn't destroyed. I very much hope that Elrond is being manipulated here.

These problems aside, I'm still really enjoying the show. It's so weird for me to go online and see the consensus is that it's terrible: everyone I know in real life is enjoying this show a lot more than HOTD, slow pace aside! Nobody thinks it's a masterpiece, but all this talk of "disastrous writing" online doesn't seem to reflect how much many people I know seem to be liking the show.

Edited by Caligula_K3
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12 hours ago, The Marquis de Leech said:

Makes perfect sense to me. Kemen's brain is going "I don't care what Dad thinks. If I pull this off, I am so getting laid tonight."

Don't really buy that since the boy should have actually told his 'girlfriend' there why the Middle-earth mission was a good idea for Númenor, reiterating his father's arguments.

If they want to fly with that thing they should have reversed the sequence, having the arsonist act after talking to the girl but before he was talking to his dad who could have then set his head straight.

The entire thing seems to be a waste of time, really, as are indeed most scenes in the show so far.

4 hours ago, Clueless Northman said:

Yes, like Isildur having a sister, or Ar-Pharazon actually having kids - specially before force-wedding Miriel.

Isildur's sister is kind of odd, it would have been much better to have Anárion in the show and give both of them girlfriends/wives, just as Elendil could also have a mother and they could have also have Amandil and his wife in the show.

They could also have given Elendil a daughter but that would have been the least of my priorities there.

I guess/hope that both the girl and Pharazôn's son as well as Isildur's buddies end up playing crucial roles in Nazgûl department. There are nine of them, after all, and the show should build them up before they become nameless weirdos.

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28 minutes ago, Caligula_K3 said:

1. Isildur's sister: why is she suddenly anti-expedition? This came out of nowhere for me (and reading through posts here, for a lot of people).

2. Pharazon's son on the boat: what was happening there? Why was he trying to sabotage the expedition after his dad had just told him the ways they would benefit from it?

2 is because 1. Isildur's sister is anti-expedition, she expresses her feeling to Pharazon's son, who, after failing to convince his dad, simply decides to take action on his own. The whole thing was also contrived to get Isildur to do something brave so he can book a legit ticket on the expedition. (And thus also have fewer ships to CGI)

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22 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Yes, some kind of time jump should have been there. And it would have been easily feasible. There are two distinct eras there - Eregion and the forging of the Rings ending with Sauron's shattering defeat at the hands of the Númenóreans and the Akallabêth events, basically.

Not trusting the audience to follow along has become a big red flag for me.  "Oh they'll get confused between Osha and Asha so we have to change their names" is very minor, but indicative of a mentality that they underestimate the audience.  Especially in the internet age when the audience talks things through, that's just unnecessary.

"Oh they'll never be able to follow a story across thousands of years and switching characters, so we have to compress the timeline to a few years" is a very major issue.  So now we have the Elves in danger of fading away in a few years?  Their mistrust of the audience is crippling their story. 

 

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

Not trusting the audience to follow along has become a big red flag for me.  "Oh they'll get confused between Osha and Asha so we have to change their names" is very minor, but indicative of a mentality that they underestimate the audience.  Especially in the internet age when the audience talks things through, that's just unnecessary.

"Oh they'll never be able to follow a story across thousands of years and switching characters, so we have to compress the timeline to a few years" is a very major issue.  So now we have the Elves in danger of fading away in a few years?  Their mistrust of the audience is crippling their story. 

 

 

 

 

These are the realities of TV. In a book, you see a name over and over again and can internalize it. You can flip to the appendix or a recent chapter whenever you want. In a TV show, to remind the audience of a name, you have to insert it into dialogue over and over again, sometimes very awkwardly. It therefore makes sense to change a name if it's too similar to another character's name (especially when Osha and Asha are not wildly different characters).

Most audience members of these shows are not on the internet discussing them ad nauseam like we are. Very intelligent reviewers of a show like House of the Dragons complain because you have characters named Rhaenys and Rhaenyra. These kinds of adaptation choices are simply necessary in television and not an indication that the showrunners think the audience is dumb.

Similarly, compression is a valid adaptation choice. For Rings of Power, it means that you don't need to do casting for 3/4s of your characters every season. It means you don't need to waste time every season setting up a cast of new characters. And it allows events and plot and characters to build off each other in a novelistic way.

I'm no creative genius- maybe it's the wrong choice for this show to compress events of the Second Age into one generation. But I don't think it's a straightforward choice- you can already see some of the downsides of having constant time jumps in Season 1 of HOTD, and those so far have been jumps of months and years, not generations. Both these shows aren't even adaptations of novels, but quasi-historical and mythic texts. Making decisions to turn them into television shows doesn't mean they don't trust their audience.

Edited by Caligula_K3
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24 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

Not trusting the audience to follow along has become a big red flag for me.  "Oh they'll get confused between Osha and Asha so we have to change their names" is very minor, but indicative of a mentality that they underestimate the audience.  Especially in the internet age when the audience talks things through, that's just unnecessary.

"Oh they'll never be able to follow a story across thousands of years and switching characters, so we have to compress the timeline to a few years" is a very major issue.  So now we have the Elves in danger of fading away in a few years?  Their mistrust of the audience is crippling their story.

Completely agree there. This is nonsense. It is the internet age and this is Tolkien. People can research this stuff if they want to.

HotD does it pretty well right now - no name changes, no compressed timeline but rather time jumps between episodes (this could have been done better, of course, but still...), and no cut characters (so far).

And it is not that any of the Elven characters would have to be switched. Elrond, Galadriel, Gil-galad, Círdan, Celeborn, Celebrían (if they ever show up), and any that they might invent could stick around until the very end. The same with the Nazgûl characters.

Proto-Hobbits and Men would have to be switched, but this could have been easily feasible.

 

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40 minutes ago, Caligula_K3 said:

I'm no creative genius- maybe it's the wrong choice for this show to compress events of the Second Age into one generation. But I don't think it's a straightforward choice- you can already see some of the downsides of having constant time jumps in Season 1 of HOTD, and those so far have been jumps of months and years, not generations. Both these shows aren't even adaptations of novels, but quasi-historical and mythic texts. Making decisions to turn them into television shows doesn't mean they don't trust their audience.

I think having as many time jumps as the actual events in the books would be a non-starter, but a good compromise would be condensing into two time periods. The events from c. Second Age 1500 to 1700, starting with Annatar/Sauron teaming up with the elven smiths of Eregion and ending with Sauron's defeat to the elven-Numenorean alliance, are could easily be condensed to a few years or even a few months with no issue. I see this like the condensing of the 17-year time gap in Lord of the Rings, and the original events probably took place over too slow a time anyway. You could also bring up some events so they happen during this first time period, like the Nazgul first showing up (as otherwise they canonically don't until around 2251).

You can then jump forwards from 1700 to around 3250 before Pharazon seizes the throne and run from there through taking Sauron captive, being corrupted, the Downfall, the Realms in Exile and the Last Alliance, and thus condense the events from 3250 to 3441 to again a few years. Each of these story arcs provides tremendous amounts of story material for between 2 and 3 seasons apiece, no problem, and introducing a few new characters mid-series will not be a major problem because plenty of major players - Gil-galad, Elrond, Galadriel, Sauron - will exist in both time periods.

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57 minutes ago, Caligula_K3 said:

Similarly, compression is a valid adaptation choice. For Rings of Power, it means that you don't need to do casting for 3/4s of your characters every season. It means you don't need to waste time every season setting up a cast of new characters. And it allows events and plot and characters to build off each other in a novelistic way.

Confusing the audience is not an original sin.  Lots of stories pride themselves on keeping things from the audience to add intrigue, as ROP itself does, so obviously the showrunners intend to confuse the audience on some things but tell themselves it's terrible to confuse them on other things that the audience would take two seconds to adjust to.  Making huge structural changes based on assuming the audience are incapable of following along is the problem.  We have plenty of examples now to show people follow along with time jumps and switching actors and enjoy these shows.   Foundation, The Witcher, and HOTD being the most recent.  You may not like some or any of those, but you no doubt were not confused by the end of season.

 

Edited by SpaceChampion
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Witcher season one is a particularly egregious example of time jumps. At times I found it completely incomprehensible as to what was going on and when. Now some of that is on me for not paying enough attention, but the show itself did a very bad job at grounding the viewer and giving cues as to what is going on. I think we over estimate how much attention the average viewer is giving this stuff 

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Don't really buy that since the boy should have actually told his 'girlfriend' there why the Middle-earth mission was a good idea for Númenor, reiterating his father's arguments.

If they want to fly with that thing they should have reversed the sequence, having the arsonist act after talking to the girl but before he was talking to his dad who could have then set his head straight.

The entire thing seems to be a waste of time, really, as are indeed most scenes in the show so far.

Doing it this way gives Kemen a rebellious streak. He's not simply a puppet of his father.

I saw the whole thing as a shout-out to Losgar and Amrod myself.

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57 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

Witcher season one is a particularly egregious example of time jumps. At times I found it completely incomprehensible as to what was going on and when. Now some of that is on me for not paying enough attention, but the show itself did a very bad job at grounding the viewer and giving cues as to what is going on. I think we over estimate how much attention the average viewer is giving this stuff 

Yup, but The Witcher Season 1 gave no indication of time jumps and it also went backwards and forwards at random, and never oriented the viewer in the correct time period. You either figured it out from context or casting, or the viewers who'd read the books more or less knew what was going on (although the books move forwards linearly, not bouncing back and forth).

With Rings of Power, we'd have been talking about one single time jump somewhere around Season 2 or 3, and it could have been explained pretty well. Hell, the only date given in the LotR movie trilogy is a date for events in the Second Age.

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7 hours ago, fionwe1987 said:

All will be revealed when we see Gil-Galad's backup plan of a grand total of two ships that will carry the entirety of the Eldar to Valinor. 

Those who cannot fit into the ships will, of course, take a pleasant swim across the Sundering Seas.

The Kemen-Earien storyline is the worst, for me. They aren't even characters, at this point, and it is bizarre to drive any kind of plot without giving some semblance of motive. Why is Elendil's daughter against the war, and yet never spoke to her father about her fears, but did speak to some random guy she met when she started her recent studies? The whole thing is shoddy crap. 

The mithril story isn't far behind. 

She's speaking to Kemen because he's the son of the mighty Chancellor. Her own Dad has very little clout - and seems overly dutiful.

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On 9/24/2022 at 8:51 AM, DMC said:

NONE of the characters we've met are Sauron.

Aye. We've not yet met

Spoiler

Anson Boon's

character, who is allegedly in the show without appearing in any official cast listings.

 

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The mystery box thing is far and away what's upsetting me most about this show. I just can't stand any of it. If they'd simply introduced Annatar as a good guy through season one, and let it simmer while bookreaders knew who he was, that would have been lovely. then the big turn, ring forging, and the like. Instead, the entire foundation of this silly show are mystery boxes and mystery people. It's suffocating all the joy I'm getting watching the environs and the score and Durin being terrific. 

I absolutely agree with Werthead's mark-up of a proper television-appropriate timeframe splitting the entire Age into two long sequences with mortals - even if both those spanned 30 years, it would have been a simple, straightforward passage of time.

All this stuff crammed together, and with all this rampant Abrams garbage has surely set up an action packed final three episodes, if nothing else. The mythical fans in Middle Earth will soon be soured by flung filth.

edit:

  

3 minutes ago, Spockydog said:

Aye. We've not yet met

  Hide contents

Anson Boon's

character, who is allegedly in the show without appearing in any official cast listings.

 

That is my main concrete evidence to my hunch that Halbrand will be the Witch-King to an unmet Annatar. Leaked spoilers y'all keep talking about without Spoilers be damned.

Edited by Argonath Diver
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Just finished the last episode... I have no clue what I have just watched. When this show started, it was quite clear this wasn't going to become an artistic paragon for the ages, but I enjoyed it in all its glorious BBC Fantasy silliness for the first three episodes.

After teetering on that "so bad that it is good" edge for three episodes, I felt they took a decided step to the wrong side last episode and with this episode they completely went off the deep end. I had to fight an urge not to send some emails for work tomorrow, which is not the way you should feel about a billion USD series based on beloved IP and pushed by one of the world's most dominant corporations.

Seriously, the series lacks any hint of internal cohesion (Kemen's antics on the boat and then Isildur's inexplicable decision not to rat on him). Characters constantly do things that do not make sense and change completely in a split second (the whole Southlands storyline with Bronwyn wishing to give in). The same thing is true for organizations (who the fuck promotes people into a leadership role based on how good they are at cutting someone in a 1 v. 8 duel? That's a stupid idea to begin with, but they could have done something interesting with it if the character had done something clever to gain the upper hand, but no that is beyond this show). The motivations feel forced (Fighting cause you cannot stop? can they really not make this character work).

The scale of action is too small (three ships do not make an army). The dialogue is so purple, if it suddenly became a person they would be emperor of Rome. The performances suffer because I think the actors themselves struggle to make sense of it all (when Elrond was explaining to Durin why he needed the Mithril, I earned a few laughs by pointing out that Elrond's baffled face seemed to indicate that even the actor was not buying what the showrunners wanted him to sell).

The show was also visually not very inspiring this week. Someone already remarked that Numénorean soldiers looked terrible in the white outfits. I wasn't inspired by any of the vistas and I just feel they completely lack the sense of scale that is needed to make this era work. Forget about the books for a moment and just take a look at PJ's first trilogy. Gondor might not make any sense (where does the food come from?), but it looks so grand in comparison with the Nomenorean city.

I'll probably finish this seeason, but not sure whether I'll tune in next season if it keeps dropping in quality likes this.

 

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5 hours ago, Werthead said:

Each of these story arcs provides tremendous amounts of story material for between 2 and 3 seasons apiece, no problem, and introducing a few new characters mid-series will not be a major problem because plenty of major players - Gil-galad, Elrond, Galadriel, Sauron - will exist in both time periods.

Exactly. It's not our world's history: they actually have the luxury of being able to split the show into 2 eras, separated by centuries, and still be able to keep half their main cast, since Elves were still the dominant power in Middle-Earth by the time of the forging of the Rings (Sauron obviously was still hiding his forces and Numenor was only beginning to get seriously involved).

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