To be fair Amazon Studios’ first two episodes The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power amazed me. The method JD Payne and Patrick McKay took to adapt JRR Tolkien’s World in “A Shadow of the Past” and “Adrift” makes me feel paradoxically too redundant and immature, with too many plot themes and too few new ideas. Where is the well-defined task set against a living world brimming with new unexplored vistas that define Tolkien’s own work? Just a little bit of a wait in the third episode of the Prime video series, “Adar,” when it comes out.
First and foremost, “Adar” is much more focused than one of its predecessors (especially aptly named “Adrift”). Written by Jason Cahill and Justin Doble and directed by Wayne Che Yip, “Adar” zero on Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), while making room for new characters Elendil (Lloyd Owen) and Isildur (Maxim Baldry). While there register with Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) and Nori (Markella Kavenagh), however, this episode is more concerned with strengthening the core story of “hunting for Sauron” rather than enhancing each of the show’s redundant subplots.
Putting the spotlight back on Galadriel and those close to her doesn’t just make for a tighter, faster-paced hour of television – though it certainly does. It also gives Yip, Cahill and Doble space to expand Rings of PowerMiddle-earth vision. Notably, “Adar” provides our first glimpse of Númenor on screen, and as depicted here, the island kingdom makes for a fittingly dramatic location. It is reminiscent of Minas Tirith as described by Tolkien and later recognized in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy of worksbut still has a look and feel of its own.
Setting Rings of Power Episode 3 mainly in Númenor also gives Yip, Cahill and Doble the opportunity to explore the subcultures that exist in the world of men. Certainly, Jackson’s films made it clear that the inhabitants of Gondor (descendants of the Númenóreans) were a completely different group from their neighbours, the Rohirrim. However, “Adar” takes this to a whole new level, showing us Númenor at its peak and really emphasizing how strange this society is compared to the ruins that washed up on the Central coast. Geography. The little taste we get of Númenórean’s seafaring – unseen in Jackson’s largely landlocked adaptations – promises to also add a welcome naval dimension to the installations. Future.
It’s not just the Númenor segments that bring something new to the table in “Adar”. The Elven gang’s Arondir finds himself part of it, while hardly the greatest elaboration of Middle-earth lore out there. Rings of Power must provide, acting as a narrative springboard for Yip, Cahill and Doble to create Orc culture. That’s right, we didn’t learn anything particularly profound (spoiler: Orcs are horrible jailers). Even so, it’s still clear that the quasi-religious grip Sauron has over his minions is more than just suggestion, so hopefully, this will be explored in more detail in the future. . And hey, what’s not to like about finally seeing the orcs’ aversion to sunlight scripted on screen (something only paid lip service has in Jackson movies? )?
A few short action phrases in “Adar” are also welcome, as they do a lot to assuage my nagging worries that Rings of Power could end a bloodless affair. Sure, it would be nice if the show relied less on weightless lines and less convincing visuals, both of which undermine much of its setup. Still, it’s reassuring to know that Payne and McKay, like Jackson before them, appreciate Middle-earth – although not as bloody as George RR Martin’s Westeros – there’s always a certain “appetite” to it. it. Even HobbitsA book originally written for children, pinched by odd stabs, so the flesh-and-blood shards and claws of volume 3’s hand-to-hand fights are a welcome combination.
Then there’s the harfoot bit of the equation, which has by far proved to be the most uneven, arguably the least. Incredibly, even these parts of “Adar” contribute something new and meaningful to our understanding of Tolkien’s world. Purists may balk at the idea of a migratory hobbit, and must say, Rings of PowerThe action of the classic stretched harfoots is set (which refers to them crossing the Misty Mountains this time) to the breaking point. But the concept pays off when you finally see it in action in “Adar,” instantly distinguishing the hunters from the uncharacteristic Shire folk in the books and movies and even permeating them. imbued with their community history in a surprising amount.
The result of all this is Rings of Power volume 3 feels closer to the spirit of Tolkien’s books – above all, to the sense of wonder they convey – than volume 1 or 2, even if “Adar” plays fast and loose with the lore. author’s theory (which it does most of the time). I have to admit that it’s been a long time since I missed it Lord of the Rings‘addendum or choose a copy of Silmarillionbut I seem to remember that the plot story of Elendil and Isildur didn’t take place completely how it works here. The same goes for Galadriel’s part, which is more true to Tolkien’s conception of the character than his detractors are willing to admit but still has elements – such as the burgeoning erotic thunder that we we get in “Adar” – that should come as a surprise to the devotees of Middle-earth.
Your mileage will vary depending on whether the increase in disloyalty under this rule represents a positive or negative change, but “Adar” seems to indicate the program is on track, building a world of its own in the legend of Middle-earth. For one thing, Clark continues to excel as the younger, leaner Galadriel. The Welsh actor not only mastered the spectacular serve and deliberate rhythm we associate with elves, but she also proved effective in the few moments she had. enough to show the less-faced side of Galadriel. The same goes for Vickers as Halbrand, who introduces some necessary swagger into the proceedings, while Cynthia Addai-Robinson impresses as Númenor’s queen regent, Míriel.
With all this acting talent on deck, it’s a shame Ring of Power still couldn’t seem to capture Tolkien’s voice. The inconsistent dialogue is bad, but the lines that come out (“The sea is always right”? Yikes…) are the howls in the margins. Furthermore, for all the lore expansion and amazing world building in this volume, Yip, Cahill, and Doble still manage to recycle at least two more Tolkien tropes, which culminates in them adding not one which is two exiled kings into the mix – because the previously uncrowned characters Aragorn and Thorin Oakenshield were clearly not enough. It’s like they’re afraid to make their own entire route for Middle-earth, for fear of deviating too much from a route they already know works so well.
This, more than anything, is the stopping thing The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power from realizing its full potential. Otherwise, the show has everything in place to tell a story – and importantly, explore a world – that Tolkien fans have never seen before. In “Adar,” we get a feel for what that story might be; With five episodes left, here’s hoping the main course will follow.