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Episode 3 “Rings of Power” summary: The Great Wave threatens Númenor

All is not well in Númenor, dear reader. Queen Regent Merrill suffers from dreams (or is it prophecies?) of the island being destroyed via the “Great Wave” that gives this episode its title, and a mob gathers in the town square to accuse her of being a “dwarf ‘lover’ – a serious accusation indeed. Her waking hours are no less stressful, as Galadriel puts this theory to the test by teasing Merrill again about Sauron.She also takes it upon herself to reveal that Halbrand may in fact be the exiled heir to the throne of the Southlands, a theory that Merrill neither believes nor cares about; what is her interest in being a kingdom Far away without its rightful king?

Self-interested kingdoms wishing to preserve themselves rather than join an uneasy alliance for the greater good is nothing new in Middle-earth. We may never find out where Gondor was when Westfold fell, but we will always remember Haldir appears in Helms Deep With 500 elves to fight alongside the men again. For all its lore and complex history, the fictional world of JRR Tolkien is very simple in its moral core: good versus evil, with the former triumph at the end. There’s loss and tragedy along the way, sure, but good people always do the right thing when it matters – which means it’s hard to see Númenor stick to isolationism for so long.

“Rings of Power” sometimes feels like Galadriel’s origin story, as the stubborn imp rush is a far cry from the sure-seeing version that sees almost everything for the character played by Cate Blanchett in the Peter Jackson movie trilogy. This cruelty puts her in a bind. When she sees that she is getting nowhere with the Queen Regent, she asks to meet the true King of Nemenor: none but Meryl’s elderly and sick father. Her rebellion leads to her being locked up for a short time, not that a few prison bars can keep Galadriel away, and after infiltrating the King’s chambers and seeing the truth for herself, the tension between these two powerful women begins to subside.

After a cliffhanger that ended last week’s “Adar”, we finally got our first real look at, well, Adar (Joseph Mawle) – and to our surprise and Arondir, he’s a dwarf! Well kind of. Far from the high-cheeked, ethereal creatures we’re accustomed to, he looks half-dead the same way Cold Hands did in ‘Game of Thrones’ and seems to know a lot that Arondir doesn’t; As for his name, it turns out that “Adar” means father. Orcs are said to have been made of Corrupt Elves, and with the advent of Adar it doesn’t seem so farfetched to suggest that it is some kind of primitive orc that leads the rest of them by virtue of some retained intelligence.

Adar also means trouble for Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin), son of Bronwyn’s lover Arondir, who is seen in Episode 2 picking up the grip of a mysterious sword that appears to have previously belonged to Sauron. He, his mother, and the rest of their people were driven from their village to the fortress-like Helm Deep, and Arundir was only freed from captivity after agreeing to deliver a message to them from his administration that they could stay in their homes if they swore allegiance to him. If they don’t, well…

Ordinary people who find strange and powerful things in the wild rarely do well in the end – just ask Sméagol. Theo has a target on his back the moment he encounters this sword, not because he realizes it, and it wasn’t long before some orcs try to retrieve it from him. This leads to one of the show’s most eye-catching moments yet: Arondir arrives just in time to rescue the boy from a barrage of slow-motion arrows, one of which comes out of the air and re-shoots her in a moment that would make Legolas proud; It’s nothing like the climax battle in Amon Hein that ended The Fellowship of the Ring, just without the endless sadness of the death of a conflicting heroic character at the end. Sure, viewers were impatient for “The Rings of Power” to deliver more sequences like this, but their divergence in the first few episodes made each one of them more impactful.

As for the subterranean narrative thread of the show, Elrond couldn’t help but notice that after agreeing to help with his top secret mission and that of Celebrimbor, his old friend Durin was nowhere to be found. After failing to get the truth from Disa, the dwarf prince’s eager wife, he does some light snooping and finds Doreen in a deeper mine. There, Moriah’s heir reveals what he and his companions have come up with: a precious new ore that magically sheds light and could mark a “new era” for the dwarves. In Elvish, said ore would be known as mithril – the same substance that saved Frodo’s life in “The Fellowship”. (This scene also happened in MoriaFor those of you who follow at home.)

These scenes still highlight the “Rings of Power,” and it’s certainly no coincidence that the comedy dynamic of friend Elrond and Durin brings to mind those of Legolas and Gimli. However, the dwarf couldn’t help but think that Elrond’s mission was more than he allowed, and after rescuing four of his fellow miners from a near-deadly cave, his father, King Dorin III, advised him to keep a vigilant eye on his dear friend.

That’s solid advice for everyone on this show, not to mention those of us watching.

The Rings of Power are in no hurry to reveal their secrets, and instead take a cue from Gandalf and arrive exactly when they mean it; However, few fantasy worlds have focused as much on the journey as they do in the destination, and so this remains an enjoyable walk through Middle-earth and beyond punctuated by occasional reminders of its epic scope rather than the other way around. It’s not likely to stay that way for long, of course. You don’t spend a billion dollars making a “Lord of the Rings” series without planning for more than a few fixed pieces on the Helm’s Deep scale, and once fan favorites start dropping into battle, we’ll likely look back on the relative calm of these early episodes with fondness More than we have now.

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