‘Rings of Power’ Deep Dive: Episode 5 as It Stands Up to Tolkien’s Writing

Episode 5 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is now out on the earth, and the talk amongst followers about how properly the present holds as much as their expectations continues. 

Folks involved that showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay plan to fill gaps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s collected works or to current issues in ways in which differ from the movies are pretty vocal — and never simply because Elves having brief hair feels odd (however is, the truth is, canon). 

The reality is that there have been doubts solid on each fashionable Tolkien story dropped at display, together with Peter Jackson’s beloved Lord of the Rings films. So if you happen to’re interested in how properly The Rings of Power matches in to what Tolkien wrote, I’m right here to assist.

Every episode of The Rings of Power may have a recap article courtesy of CNET’s Erin Carson, however I’m writing and updating this separate article devoted fully to the evaluation of how properly every episode sticks to what Tolkien wrote. Every week there will likely be an replace to go together with the discharge of an episode, and this week I’m taking a look at Episode 5: Partings.

 To be clear, this evaluation would not embrace:

  • Whether individuals of shade must be on display as dwarves, elves or Harfoots. (They ought to, finish of dialog.)
  • Whether dwarven girls ought to have full beards. (Tolkien was by no means clear on this, so I will not be taking a place.)
  • Whether Tolkien is OK with individuals inventing issues in his world. (This letter from Tolkien to his writer in 1951 makes his place clear.)

Episode 1: Shadow of the Past

Galadriel, swathed in gray fabric, crosses snow-covered mountains

Galadriel braves the weather.


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This episode broadly introduces the world, and a handful of the separate tales seemingly destined to intersect. Check out our full recap for extra.

Finrod Felegund’s Dagger

In our opening scene, younger Galadriel’s stunning boat is destroyed, and her huge brother stops her from beating the responsible occasion inside an inch of his life for being such a software. This scene is the primary time we see Finrod’s dagger, which Galadriel takes as her personal whereas she seeks out the enemy liable for his dying. 

This dagger is gorgeous, however there is no proof of it having existed in any of Tolkien’s work. Canonically, we all know Finrod had a sword and a bow. But we additionally know he was the Aristocracy, and within the few items of pre-Rings of Power artwork we now have of Finrod he is acquired some stunning nonstandard jewellery and weaponry on him, together with the Ring of Barahir, which ultimately finds its approach to Aragorn’s hand. The dagger is not one thing Tolkien wrote, however it’s additionally believable he’d have a dagger like this.

It’s clearly a illustration of Telperion and Laurelin, the dual timber of Valinor, which created daylight and moonlight for the world earlier than they had been destroyed and their final remaining fruit and flower had been become the solar and moon for Middle-earth. There look like three related spheres on the dagger, in between the silver and gold timber, which might nearly actually be a illustration of the three Silmarils. Finrod was a significant a part of the conflicts surrounding the destruction of the timber and the Oath of Feanor, so having an emblem of these occasions on him is completely believable.

Where issues get a bit fuzzy is Finrod having that dagger within the preliminary scene with Galadriel. According to Tolkien, Galadriel was born round 90 years earlier than the creation of the Silmarils. Elves bodily mature within the first 100 years of their existence, after which age far, far slower after that. At age 90, Galadriel would have regarded a minimum of just a few years older than what’s proven on display. 

Is this an enormous deal? Not in any respect. Do I nonetheless need a kind of daggers? Absolutely.

Crossing the Sundering Seas

There’s nothing technically incorrect about this scene. The elves left Valinor to wage a thousand years of warfare throughout a lot of Middle-earth, which led to Morgoth being stopped and Sauron going right into a type of hiding. 

But my goodness did this scene go away loads out. There may’ve been a whole season of this present devoted to only that handful of sentences, recapping how the elves discovered themselves in Middle-earth. If you are curious, learn the ninth chapter of the Quenta Silmarillion titled Of the Fight of the Ñoldor.

The village of Tirharad

If the identify of this village did not sound acquainted to you, you were not alone. Tolkien did not create Tirharad, however he did not create something on this space that will later turn into Mordor. We know there have been males dwelling in what was then known as the Southlands, as a result of Tolkien wrote of how Shelob would prey upon males and elves earlier than Sauron claimed the land as Mordor. 

The identify Tirharad is a mashup of “watch” and “south” in Sindarin, which makes some sense given the best way the village is basically policed by the Silvan elves from their watchtower. This episode lays out how the descendants of males who served Morgoth settled within the surrounding space, and the elves preserve an in depth eye on them out of concern that corruption might as soon as once more enter their hearts. We know that some males did serve Morgoth, whose fortress Udûn existed within the northeast a part of the realm that later turned Mordor, so it is not a stretch that males would’ve settled right here after the wars.

Galadriel’s return to Valinor

It’s lengthy been suspected that Galadriel was both banned from returning to Valinor or did not imagine she deserved to return to Valinor, due largely to this line in Galadriel’s Song of Eldamar:

What ship would bear me ever again throughout so vast a Sea?

This scene exhibits Galadriel being rewarded (type of) with the flexibility to return dwelling, together with the remainder of her firm. Though Tolkien did write that some elves had been permitted to return dwelling after the War of Wrath, it was by no means explicitly acknowledged that Galadriel was amongst them. It was written that many excessive elves opted to stay in Middle-earth whilst extra of their variety returned dwelling, and Galadriel’s actions at the moment aren’t properly documented, so this new story is filling in these gaps with new adventures of types.

Episode 2: Adrift

A small humanoid character called a HarfootA small humanoid character called a Harfoot

One of the Harfoots, a race seen in The Rings of Power and ancestors to Hobbits.


Amazon Prime Video

With a pair of mischievous Harfoots attempting to look after The Stranger, Galadriel attempting to swim throughout the Sundering Sea solely to seek out a number of methods that may go incorrect, Tirharad experiencing a pest management difficulty and Prince Durin having an axe to grind with Elrond, it is a busy episode. Check out the total recap right here, and the lore evaluation beneath. 

Nori’s not-so-hot foot

It’s straightforward to listen to Nori say the fireplace is not scorching and instantly consider Frodo’s response to the One Ring because it got here from the fireside to his hand, however the two nearly actually aren’t associated. Throughout Tolkien’s works, there aren’t mentions wherever of magic hearth that is not scorching, however there’s loads concerning the character recognized solely as The Stranger that does not fairly line up but. 

This scene has additional rumors that The Stranger is a wizard, and that fireside is definitely the Flame of Anor or gentle of the Sun. For now, it is unclear how this character and his powers match into what we all know of Middle-earth.

The Rite of Sigin-tarâg

Not a ton is thought about what dwarves stand up to of their halls below the mountains, as a result of they do not typically invite individuals in who aren’t of their kin. The few exceptions within the Second Age are largely elves who labored intently with dwarven smiths to create a ton of various issues, which we would get to see on this present however not on this episode. So, although Tolkien by no means wrote about Elrond claiming the Rite of Sigin-tarâg, there is a ton of empty area relating to realizing what dwarves did in personal. 

Sigin-tarâg would not discuss with some sort of competitors. The phrase interprets to longbeards, which is the opposite identify for Durin’s folks or this specific sort of dwarf. In this context, the Rite of Sigin-tarâg is precisely as Durin explains it, a take a look at of endurance his individuals created to settle inner disputes. It’s not one thing we have ever seen earlier than, and never one thing we might ever see within the Third Age due to what occurs to Durin’s folks, so it is believable a problem like this could exist. 

Disa’s resonance

As this is not a personality created by Tolkien, there is no document of the particular approach she helps dwarven miners do their factor. Dwarven girls had been saved from battle, and consequently aren’t actually talked about a lot in any respect in Tolkien’s works. But we do know that dwarves had been stated to be the perfect mining folks on the earth as a result of they had been created with that function in thoughts. 

Tolkien by no means actually expands on what particular talents the dwarves have relating to mining, solely that Aulë taught them particular abilities whereas creating the seven unique dwarf lords. 

Orcs below the floorboards

There are many examples of Orcs tunneling in Middle-earth, and people tunnels sometimes result in what Tolkien known as Orc-holds. Some of those Orc-holds had been small, like those seen on this episode, whereas others occupied complete mountains, like these seen in Mount Gundabad, which Orcs maintain for a lot of the Second Age.

We know Tirharad is not a spot Tolkien created, however its proximity to what would quickly turn into Mordor makes it an ideal place for Orcs to be digging below. 

Episode 3: Adar

Arondir, ax in hand, about to exploit a weakness.Arondir, ax in hand, about to exploit a weakness.

Arondir wields an ax.


Amazon Prime Video

Galadriel and Halbrand get very various things out of their first day in Númenor, it seems Arondir is in much more hassle than initially suspected, and the Harfoots have an uninvited visitor at their occasion. Check out the total episode breakdown from CNET’s Erin Carson right here, and skim on for what’s new to the Tolkien Legendarium. 

Queen of Númenor

Galadriel is not welcomed into this shining metropolis with open arms, a cold response she kind of expects as she and Halbrand are introduced earlier than Queen Tar-Míriel. We’re advised elves have not been welcome in Númenor for a very long time, and later that Tar-Míriel’s father remains to be alive however in exile. 

This is a really cautious dance across the language Tolkien makes use of to explain what occurs in Númenor. Tar-Míriel is described as having had her rightful place on the throne taken from her by Ar-Pharazôn, who seized the throne for himself when her father died. We additionally know that quite a lot of Númenóreans had been sad with the best way her father was attempting to rekindle a relationship with the elves, however not way more about that’s ever mentioned. 

What we’re seeing on display is totally believable, it matches what Tolkien wrote and provides to it respectfully, however if you happen to like this girl being queen, I’d counsel making ready for it to be a short-lived time on the throne. 

Eärien, daughter of Elendil

In this third episode, we see a lady in a vibrant costume method Isildur, and she or he’s greeted as Sister. In the subsequent scene, we see her seated along with her brother and father, having a heated dialog concerning the future. It’s clear Eärien goes to play an element in what comes subsequent, however what precisely that’s stays to be seen. 

There’s a good bit we do not find out about Elendil’s life earlier than leaving Númenor, as a result of Tolkien did not write it down. This contains the identify of Elendil’s spouse, or her standing amongst their individuals. Tolkien by no means mentions Elendil having a daughter, and neither does he describe Isildur and his brother Anárion having a sister. This is a brand new character created for the collection, so we actually do not know what is going on to occur to her, however there is a fairly good probability she by no means makes it to Middle-earth, the place the historical past of those characters turns into extra clearly outlined by Tolkien. 

Hail King Halbrand

Since Tolkien by no means wrote about particular peoples dwelling in The Southlands earlier than it turns into Mordor, there’s clearly no point out of there being an individual who united all of these peoples below a single banner. But in very a lot the identical approach we have seen different individuals on this space reject the notion that they are loyal to Morgoth, it isn’t unreasonable to counsel there would’ve been somebody within the race of males performing because the chief of the armies Morgoth created.

Nothing about this character or his supposed lineage was ever written by Tolkien, together with his capability to put out 4 Númenóreans and nonetheless have the ability to stroll away, however it’s a pleasant addition to part of this world that was by no means crammed in by Tolkien. 

Wargs within the Second Age

Just when it appeared like Arondir and the remainder of his firm lastly had a plan to make use of the solar to achieve the higher hand, the Orcs summon a well-known beast to counter. Wargs are a well-known evil to those that’ve watched or learn The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, however this little Warg appears very completely different from the creatures noticed in earlier movies. 

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Tolkien by no means wrote about Wargs being current within the Second Age, however that is as a result of there’s not quite a lot of particular person storytelling occurring on this age. We know Sauron corrupted Wargs to battle for him, we simply do not know when, so it’s very believable this course of began early and that ancestors to the Wargs we might see just a few thousand years later in The Hobbit would’ve been bred to be bigger and extra deadly. 

Episode 4: The Great Wave

Three ships leaving Nùmenor in The Rings of PowerThree ships leaving Nùmenor in The Rings of Power

Three ships go away Nùmenor.


Amazon Prime Video

While Elrond will get to the underside of an Age-changing thriller in Khazad-dum, Galadriel’s tempestuous demeanor lastly yields constructive outcomes. The full recap of this episode will be discovered right here due to Erin Carson, however from a Tolkien lore perspective this episode provides essentially the most important deviations from written works up to now. 

Pharazôn’s son, Kemen

In this episode, we see a younger man scolded by the correct hand of Queen Regent Miriel, and in the midst of that, he calls the person “my son.” This younger man is called Kemen, and when he isn’t watching his father bolstering the religion of the Men of Nùmenor, he is acquired eyes for Elendil’s daughter Eärien. Which is spectacular, for somebody who did not exist till The Rings of Power. 

Not solely did Tolkien by no means write about Kemen, however his existence alters what we find out about Pharazôn in a big approach. According to Tolkien, Pharazôn wasn’t married till he compelled his cousin Miriel to be his bride in a profitable coup to grab the throne and turn into the final King of Nùmenor. He by no means has a baby as a result of Miriel needs nothing to do with him after he takes the throne, which suggests the existence of Kemen is one in every of a number of particulars relating to this character that differs considerably from the lore. 

All that glitters is definitely Mithril

We lastly have a reputation for the glowy materials seen in Durin’s chest from the primary episode, and it is precisely what lots of people initially guessed. This distinctive ore is an enormous deal for the Second Age, each for Dwarves and Elves. Unfortunately, Lord Celebrimbor appears to not know why Durin is hiding from him and sends Elrond to seek out out. 

This is a reasonably important departure from Tolkien’s works in two approach. The first is the dearth of a relationship between Celebrimbor and the Dwarves. While it is seemingly somebody with a decrease title like Herald would have been the go-between as an introduction between the Lord of Eregion and the Dwarves, Celebrimbor is thought for having a terrific relationship with Dwarves, and that has but to play out on display. Instead, Durin appears to solely belief Elrond and even then solely so far as his father will permit. Hopefully, this turns into simpler because the season progresses. 

The identify Mithril comes from the Elvish phrases for gray and glitter mixed, however that is by no means the identify the Dwarves have for the metallic. In reality, no person who is not a dwarf is aware of the key identify for Mithril. It’s a intently guarded secret in response to Tolkien, which Durin appears comfortable to share when he says his individuals name the ore gray glitter within the present. While that’s actually one identify for this ore, it isn’t the dwarven identify for it. 

When Durin met Elrond

From a second occasion on this present of how unbelievable Elrond’s sight is to the descent into the Mithril shaft subsequent to the Mirrormere, this episode was filled with little nods to Tolkien lore that will make any fan smile. An ideal instance of that is when Disa asks Elrond to share his model of how he and Durin met, which in fact differs from the story proud Durin shared together with his spouse. 

While Tolkien by no means describes a deep relationship between Elrond and Durin fairly like we’re seeing on display, the reference to them assembly over a battle with Hill-trolls is a enjoyable nod. Hill-trolls are recognized to inhapit an space of Middle-earth often known as the Coldfells, which is simply north of an space Elrond will ultimately name Rivendell. 

Galadriel and Miriel, off on a fateful journey collectively

We’ve beforehand established that Miriel is rarely dubbed queen in Tolkien’s writing, however the area is there for her to have had the title Queen Regent earlier than her father’s passing. That area now features a fleet of ships sure for Middle-earth so the Men of Nùmenor will help squash the rise of Sauron within the Southlands. It’s an effective way to begin pulling a few of these particular person threads collectively now that we have reached the midway level on this season, however it clearly deviates from Tolkien’s writing in some important methods. 

As it is initially written, High King Gil-galad is the one who asks Nùmenor to hitch the battle. That cannot occur on this story proper now as a result of High King Gil-galad appears unaware {that a} risk within the Southlands presently exists. It’s doable that invitation turns into official within the subsequent episode when all of this data is more likely to be introduced to the High King, however for the second that hasn’t occurred. 

Episode 5: Partings

Durin and Elrond walking in a forest near Lindon in The Rings of PowerDurin and Elrond walking in a forest near Lindon in The Rings of Power

Durin (left) and Elrond stroll in a forest close to Lindon.


Amazon

The Harfoots respect their unusual new companion simply in time for Nori to be terrified by his energy. Arondir tries to swap out being broody and scorching for uplifting and scorching, whereas Bronwyn falters. Nùmenor competes with Lindon for the political theater Heavyweight Belt. Check out the total recap and are available again for the lore evaluation. 

Adar’s Impending Glow-down

In a second of calm reflection earlier than marching off to an enormous battle, the corrupted Elf who insists on his Orc followers calling him Father implies he’ll quickly be burned by daylight similar to his followers. 

The origin of Orcs is an interesting matter amongst Tolkien followers, as a result of the writer himself appeared to alter his thoughts about how these creatures got here to be in a approach that results in confusion. It has been closely implied that corrupted Elves and corrupted Men can remodel into Orcs over time, as a result of the god of this universe has guidelines on who can create new life from nothing. Orcs usually are not precisely their very own species a lot as they’re corrupted types of different species, mainly. 

While Tolkien waffled on whether or not corrupted Elves turn into Orcs, that appears to be the suggestion Adar is making right here in regard to his private journey into darkness. That is until, in fact, he is planning to make use of that sword hilt, which is outwardly additionally a key, to do one thing spectacular to himself. But we’ll handle the sword later. 

Tar-Palantir’s… Palantíri

We’ve mentioned beforehand that Tolkien by no means explicitly wrote Miriel as Queen Regent whereas her father was locked in a tower, or her quest to Middle-earth with Galadriel whereas Pharazôn fixes his gaze on being the subsequent King, so it ought to come a no shock that Tar-Palantir by no means warns her away from Middle-earth. This complete thread within the present is an fascinating approach to fill the gaps in Tolkien’s timeline with out significantly deviating from his works up to now.

There’s quite a lot of small particulars about Nùmenor that do not line up verbatim with what Tolkien created, largely as a result of the present has messed with the timeline of the Second Age to inform a greater story. So whereas it is compelling to see all of those individuals attempt to kind out going to Middle-earth for the primary time in without end, within the unique writing there had already been settlements on the principle continent and commerce between Nùmenor and Middle Men at this level. It also needs to be Gil-galad asking for Nùmenor to hitch the battle, however extra on that later.

Tolkien describes Tar-Palantir as being “far-sighted both in eye and in mind,” so it is fully doable that him being locked within the tower has not stopped him from realizing concerning the day-to-day issues occurring in his kingdom. The warning to not go to Middle-earth might be a warning away from open warfare, or it might be a warning that Pharazôn will not be the devoted servant she believes him to be. It’s all uncharted territory, which suggests it must be fascinating to see how the writers join this thread to what Tolkien has already outlined.

The Black Sword Key Thing

The extra we see of Theo’s black hilt, the extra seemingly it’s this isn’t some beforehand well-known sword like Anglachel, Anguirel and even Gurthang. There’s no beforehand described blade in Tolkien’s works that strains up precisely with what this blade is or what it does. For the second, it seems this sword was created for this collection.

If I had been to take a position on what this hilt is, I might say it is an early Morgul Blade. Those who’ve seen or learn Fellowship of the Ring will keep in mind Frodo was stabbed by one in every of these magic blades and it began to drag his soul into the Unseen World like a Ringwraith. We noticed within the first episode of this present Galadriel and her firm stumble throughout a magic lab with Unseen World experiments. It’s fully doable this blade is a continuation of that analysis. Taking that hypothesis one step additional, it is doable from the carvings Arondir uncovers at Ostirith that Adar’s plan is to stay himself with this Morgul Blade and be a part of the Unseen World as a servant of darkness that’s way more tough to kill. But to be clear, that is all fully hypothesis. 

Gil-galad’s Deception

Of the various diversifications this present has made, the best way we expertise the High King of the Elves is my least favourite. Tolkien describes Gil-galad as a warrior king who faces off with Sauron with Elendil within the Last Alliance of Men and Elves, however what we see in The Rings of Power is a scheming politician who appears to keep away from battle wherever doable. 

There’s loads about what we see on this episode that doesn’t line up with what Tolkien has written. The panic over the corruption seen within the timber would solely make sense if this “great tree” as Elrond described it was one of many Mallorn timber, which don’t develop in Lindon. In reality, Tolkien stated the seeds of this tree got to Galadriel and she or he makes use of them to create Lórien. For this tree to be such a revered factor worthy of this a lot panic and subterfuge, Gil-galad must be tending to a tree we all know would not develop in Lindon (or in Khazad-dûm for that matter). 

But the most important deviation from Tolkien’s lore on this episode is the dialogue round Mithril. Gil-galad asks Elrond to recite the “song of the roots of Hithaeglir” that tells an apparently apocryphal story of an Elf warrior and a Balrog combating over a tree believed to carry a misplaced Silmaril. This music claims lightning struck the tree and despatched the sunshine of the Silmaril into the roots of the mountain beneath it, which Gil-galad believes to be the Mithril wanted to save lots of his individuals. 

I used to be initially stunned by this scene largely as a result of I’d by no means heard of this music being so deeply described on display, and to the perfect of my analysis that is as a result of it would not exist. Tolkien by no means wrote an official origin for Mithril and, so far as I can inform, by no means wrote a couple of highly effective Elf warrior squaring off towards a Balrog over a tree on the prime of the mountains above Khazad-dûm. This origin, together with the urge to present Mithril to each Elf in an effort to keep the sunshine of the Valar and keep their immortality, is not part of Tolkien’s writing primarily based on my analysis.



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