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. 

Of us 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 quick hair feels odd (however is, in reality, canon). 

The reality is that there have been doubts solid on each trendy Tolkien story delivered to display screen, together with Peter Jackson’s beloved Lord of the Rings motion pictures. So if you happen to’re interested by how properly The Rings of Energy suits in to what Tolkien wrote, I am right here to assist.

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

 To be clear, this evaluation would not embrace:

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

Episode 1: Shadow of the Previous

Galadriel braves the weather.

Amazon Prime Video

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

Finrod Felegund’s Dagger

In our opening scene, younger Galadriel’s lovely boat is destroyed, and her massive brother stops her from beating the responsible get together inside an inch of his life for being such a instrument. 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 loss of life. 

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. However we additionally know he was the Aristocracy, and within the few items of pre-Rings of Energy artwork we’ve got of Finrod he is received some lovely nonstandard jewellery and weaponry on him, together with the Ring of Barahir, which finally finds its method 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 is 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 changed into the solar and moon for Center-earth. There seem like three comparable spheres on the dagger, in between the silver and gold timber, which might nearly definitely be a illustration of the three Silmarils. Finrod was a serious a part of the conflicts surrounding the destruction of the timber and the Oath of Feanor, so having a logo of these occasions on him is completely believable.

The place issues get somewhat fuzzy is Finrod having that dagger within the preliminary scene with Galadriel. In keeping with 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 no less than a couple of years older than what’s proven on display screen. 

Is that this an enormous deal? Under no circumstances. Do I nonetheless need a type of daggers? Completely.

Crossing the Sundering Seas

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

However my goodness did this scene depart lots out. There may’ve been a complete season of this present devoted to simply that handful of sentences, recapping how the elves discovered themselves in Center-earth. For those who’re curious, learn the ninth chapter of the Quenta Silmarillion titled Of the Struggle of the Ñoldor.

The village of Tirharad

If the title 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 might later turn into Mordor. We all 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 title 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 hold a detailed eye on them out of concern that corruption might as soon as once more enter their hearts. We all know that some males did serve Morgoth, whose fortress Udûn existed within the northeast a part of the realm that later grew to become Mordor, so it is not a stretch that males would’ve settled right here after the wars.

Galadriel’s return to Valinor

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

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

This scene reveals Galadriel being rewarded (type of) with the power to return dwelling, together with the remainder of her firm. Although Tolkien did write that some elves had been permitted to return dwelling after the Battle of Wrath, it was by no means explicitly said that Galadriel was amongst them. It was written that many excessive elves opted to stay in Center-earth at the same time as extra of their type 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 kinds.

Episode 2: Adrift

A small humanoid character called a Harfoot

One of many Harfoots, a race seen in The Rings of Energy and ancestors to Hobbits.

Amazon Prime Video

With a pair of mischievous Harfoots attempting to take care of The Stranger, Galadriel attempting to swim throughout the Sundering Sea solely to seek out a number of methods that may go mistaken, Tirharad experiencing a pest management difficulty and Prince Durin having an axe to grind with Elrond, this can be a busy episode. Check out the full recap here, and the lore evaluation beneath. 

Nori’s not-so-hot foot

It is simple 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 hearth to his hand, however the two nearly definitely aren’t associated. All through Tolkien’s works, there aren’t mentions wherever of magic fireplace that is not scorching, however there’s lots 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 fireplace is definitely the Flame of Anor or mild of the Solar. For now, it is unclear how this character and his powers match into what we all know of Center-earth.

The Ceremony of Sigin-tarâg

Not a ton is thought about what dwarves stand up to of their halls underneath the mountains, as a result of they do not usually invite folks in who aren’t of their kin. The few exceptions within the Second Age are largely elves who labored carefully with dwarven smiths to create a ton of various issues, which we’d get to see on this present however not on this episode. So, although Tolkien by no means wrote about Elrond claiming the Ceremony of Sigin-tarâg, there is a ton of empty house with regards to understanding what dwarves did in non-public. 

Sigin-tarâg would not discuss with some sort of competitors. The phrase interprets to longbeards, which is the opposite title for Durin’s people or this specific sort of dwarf. On this context, the Ceremony of Sigin-tarâg is precisely as Durin explains it, a check of endurance his folks created to settle inner disputes. It isn’t 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 people, 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 stored from battle, and in consequence aren’t actually talked about a lot in any respect in Tolkien’s works. However we do know that dwarves had been stated to be one of the best mining people on the earth as a result of they had been created with that goal in thoughts. 

Tolkien by no means actually expands on what particular skills the dwarves have with regards to mining, solely that Aulë taught them particular expertise whereas creating the seven unique dwarf lords. 

Orcs underneath the floorboards

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

We all 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 underneath. 

Episode 3: Adar

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 get together. Take a look at the complete episode breakdown from CNET’s Erin Carson here, and browse 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 roughly 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 can be a very 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 plenty of Númenóreans had been sad with the best way her father was attempting to rekindle a relationship with the elves, however not rather more about that’s ever mentioned. 

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

Eärien, daughter of Elendil

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

There is 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 title of Elendil’s spouse, or her standing amongst their folks. Tolkien by no means mentions Elendil having a daughter, and neither does he describe Isildur and his brother Anárion having a sister. This can be a new character created for the sequence, so we actually do not know what is going on to occur to her, however there is a fairly good likelihood she by no means makes it to Center-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 underneath a single banner. However in very a lot the identical approach we have seen different folks 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 appearing because the chief of the armies Morgoth created.

Nothing about this character or his supposed lineage was ever written by Tolkien, together with his potential to put out 4 Númenóreans and nonetheless be capable 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

Simply 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 to be like very totally different from the creatures noticed in earlier movies. 

Tolkien by no means wrote about Wargs being current within the Second Age, however that is as a result of there’s not plenty of particular person storytelling occurring on this age. We all know Sauron corrupted Wargs to struggle 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 a couple of thousand years later in The Hobbit would’ve been bred to be bigger and extra deadly. 

Episode 4: The Nice Wave

Three ships leaving Nùmenor in The Rings of Power

Three ships depart Nùmenor.

Amazon Prime Video

Whereas Elrond will get to the underside of an Age-changing thriller in Khazad-dum, Galadriel’s tempestuous demeanor lastly yields constructive outcomes. The total recap of this episode can be found here thanks to Erin Carson, however from a Tolkien lore perspective this episode affords essentially the most vital deviations from written works to date. 

Pharazôn’s son, Kemen

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

Not solely did Tolkien by no means write about Kemen, however his existence alters what we find out about Pharazôn in a big approach. In keeping with 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 toddler as a result of Miriel desires nothing to do with him after he takes the throne, which implies the existence of Kemen is one in all a number of particulars concerning 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. Sadly, Lord Celebrimbor appears to not know why Durin is hiding from him and sends Elrond to seek out out. 

This can be a pretty vital departure from Tolkien’s works in two approach. The primary is the shortage of a relationship between Celebrimbor and the Dwarves. Whereas it is probably 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 an incredible relationship with Dwarves, and that has but to play out on display screen. As a substitute, 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 title Mithril comes from the Elvish phrases for gray and glitter mixed, however that is by no means the title the Dwarves have for the metallic. The truth is, no one who is not a dwarf is aware of the key title for Mithril. It is a carefully guarded secret in keeping with Tolkien, which Durin appears completely satisfied to share when he says his folks name the ore gray glitter within the present. Whereas that’s definitely one title for this ore, it isn’t the dwarven title for it. 

When Durin met Elrond

From a second occasion on this present of how unimaginable Elrond’s sight is to the descent into the Mithril shaft subsequent to the Mirrormere, this episode was stuffed with little nods to Tolkien lore that might make any fan smile. An incredible instance of that is when Disa asks Elrond to share his model of how he and Durin met, which after all differs from the story proud Durin shared along with his spouse. 

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

Galadriel and Miriel, off on a fateful journey collectively

We have beforehand established that Miriel isn’t dubbed queen in Tolkien’s writing, however the house is there for her to have had the title Queen Regent earlier than her father’s passing. That house now features a fleet of ships sure for Center-earth so the Males of Nùmenor will help squash the rise of Sauron within the Southlands. It is a good 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 vital methods. 

Because it’s initially written, Excessive King Gil-galad is the one who asks Nùmenor to hitch the struggle. That may’t occur on this story proper now as a result of Excessive King Gil-galad appears unaware {that a} menace within the Southlands presently exists. It is attainable that invitation turns into official within the subsequent episode when all of this data is more likely to be introduced to the Excessive 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 Power

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


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 full 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 a captivating matter amongst Tolkien followers, as a result of the creator himself appeared to vary 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 Males can rework into Orcs over time, as a result of the god of this universe has guidelines on who can create new life from nothing. Orcs will not be precisely their very own species a lot as they’re corrupted types of different species, principally. 

Whereas 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’s until, after all, he is planning to make use of that sword hilt, which is outwardly additionally a key, to do one thing spectacular to himself. However we’ll deal with the sword later. 

Tar-Palantir’s… Palantíri

We have 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 Center-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 Center-earth. This whole thread within the present is an attention-grabbing method to fill the gaps in Tolkien’s timeline with out significantly deviating from his works to date.

There’s plenty 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 folks attempt to type out going to Center-earth for the primary time in eternally, within the unique writing there had already been settlements on the principle continent and commerce between Nùmenor and Center Males at this level. It must also be Gil-galad asking for Nùmenor to hitch the struggle, however extra on that later.

Tolkien describes Tar-Palantir as being “far-sighted each in eye and in thoughts,” so it is totally attainable that him being locked within the tower has not stopped him from understanding concerning the day-to-day issues occurring in his kingdom. The warning to not go to Center-earth may very well be a warning away from open warfare, or it may very well be a warning that Pharazôn is just not the devoted servant she believes him to be. It is all uncharted territory, which implies it must be attention-grabbing to see how the writers join this thread to what Tolkien has already outlined.

The Black Sword Key Factor

The extra we see of Theo’s black hilt, the extra probably it’s this isn’t some beforehand well-known sword like Anglachel, Anguirel and even Gurthang. There isn’t any beforehand described blade in Tolkien’s works that traces up precisely with what this blade is or what it does. For the second, it seems this sword was created for this sequence.

If I had been to take a position on what this hilt is, I might say it is an early Morgul Blade. Those that have seen or learn Fellowship of the Ring will keep in mind Frodo was stabbed by one in all these magic blades and it began to tug 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 is totally attainable this blade is a continuation of that analysis. Taking that hypothesis one step additional, it is attainable 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 rather more tough to kill. However to be clear, that is all totally hypothesis. 

Gil-galad’s Deception

Of the various variations this present has made, the best way we expertise the Excessive 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 Final Alliance of Males and Elves, however what we see in The Rings of Energy is a scheming politician who appears to keep away from battle wherever attainable. 

There’s lots 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 “nice tree” as Elrond described it was one of many Mallorn timber, which don’t develop in Lindon. The truth is, Tolkien stated the seeds of this tree got to Galadriel and he or she 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). 

However the greatest deviation from Tolkien’s lore on this episode is the dialogue round Mithril. Gil-galad asks Elrond to recite the “track 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 track 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 folks. 

I used to be initially shocked by this scene largely as a result of I would by no means heard of this track being so deeply described on display screen, and to one of the best 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 few 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 with a purpose to preserve the sunshine of the Valar and preserve their immortality, is not part of Tolkien’s writing primarily based on my analysis.

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