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Rings of Power episode 3 Cannoli Send a noteboard - 11/09/2022 01:44:01 AM

3:29 I have a hard time remembering the names of the original characters (it’s not a fandom or race thing; I sat silent for 5 minutes in my physical therapist’s office today, because I had a question about the exercise I was supposed to be doing and I did not remember the name of the employee who was helping me and so could not call out her name to get her attention; I have exchanged greetings with her nearly every day in the Fitness Center [i.e. the gym] on the facilities for a couple of years. Still could not tell you her name, even though more than once, I heard someone address her by it, because I remember thinking “Oh, that’s her name, I’ll have to remember it.” ), so until I get a handle on it, I’m just going to refer to this elf protagonist as “Mori”.

3:51 I liked that Orc dialogue. It gives insight into how their society functions with a complete lack of any sort of virtue or principle or self-discipline. There is a lot to like that doesn’t involving actual book-named characters or touch on Tolkien’s lore.

6:24 I know there’s people who are more or less on my side on wokeness and whatnot who will have a thing about the multiracial crew of this ship (note the uniforms, so it’s not exactly a polyglot group of hirelings taken on at random in various ports), but I’m just going to write this off as explainable by the three Houses of the Edain, as Black, White, and Yellow. Let the House of Beor be one of the non-Whites even, I could really not give less of a shit.

6:57 This is just not Galadriel-like to fixate on a knife like this. Even if her attachment to Finrod’s memory is so great, she would be wise enough to understand the difference between his actual memory and a knife. And it’s not a plausible motivation, considering she is in this fix because she jumped off the boat that was taking her to meet him!

7:17 I feel like this can only be a Numenorean ship, but there is just something so sinister and off about everything to do with it.

8:52 Galadriel looks like she’s wearing a nightgown. Yes, it was fitting for what she was doing when she put it on, but it’s not like there have not been chances to put her in actual clothes, either salvaged on the raft or from the Numenorean crew.

9:44 There is something messed up here. I am pretty sure that it was much later in the Second Age that relations soured between the Elves of Lindon and Numenor. By the time they broke off contact with the Elves, as is depicted here, the kings had gone to regnal names in their own language instead of Elvish, but they were still friendly with the Elves, when Celebrimbor was alive. After his death they allied with Gil-Galad in the war against Sauron, under Tar-Ministir.

10:53 Chancellor Pharazon? Way too early for THAT guy to show up.

11:49 Commander of the Northern Armies of High King Gil-Galad does not fit for Galadriel, of the House of Finarfin. But to a contemporary audience that sees strength as the willingness and ability to deal out violence, Commander of…Armies is the most impressive thing you can be.

12:28 That’s bullshit. It was not because of the Elves that the Numenoreans were given the island. Yes, Elves helped them in their history, but the Edain came to Beleriand of their own accord, seeking the Valar and to escape evils in their past. The Elves took them in, sure, but humans repaid that by fighting and dying for the Elves, on more than one occasion, giving their own lives to allow Elves (including Galadriel’s brother Finrod) to escape a lost battlefield. They were given Numenor because in the War of Wrath, they rose up to fight with the armies of the West, without the leadership of the Elves of Beleriand, who by that time had fled to a couple of islands and were tapped out as a race.

13:29 Castaway guy is suddenly very persuasive, and determined to be diplomatic, from the moment they entered this court.

13:59 That was just about as obvious as the pickpocket who robbed Mat in Wheel of Time.

14:23 I guess maybe this guy thinks Numenor is awesome, a badass kingdom for Men, like Black people getting hot and bothered about the idea of Wakanda, but that seems a little too on-point a sentiment to give to a white guy in the Age of Woke. It’s like they just yanked this motivation out of thin air, that he suddenly wants to stick around in Super Man-Land.

14:52 And he’s super insightful, being able to tell Galadriel all sorts of things she needs to hear. I think. I am not sure what they are going for with her. Is she really in a bad head-space and needs to take a chill pill, or is she the Only One Who Sees the Real Danger? I feel like the latter is the intended characterization, but objectively, everyone mansplaining her has not been wrong, even if they are just some random refugee with no way of knowing her well enough to diagnose her problems.

15:14 There was a queen, sort-of, contemporaneous with a guy named Pharazon, and her name was Miriel, and Pharazon’s policies, particularly in regard to Elves, were 180 degrees in opposition to her father, so this dialogue almost makes sense, except it’s waaay too early in the timeline for them.

19:09 Okay, this timeline is all kinds of messed up. The rings of power have not even been forged. So far as we know, “Annatar” has not made contact with Celebrimbor. But Miriel is Queen-Regent of Numenor and Elendil and Isildur are running around. Also, the older guy in the court is called Pharazon, which was the name of Miriel’s husband, the last King of Numenor, and a friend of Elendil in their youth, which you would not get from his conversation with Miriel. The rings were forged in the second millennium of the Second Age, while these named Numenoreans were running around in the fourth. These are all characters from the final days of Numenor.

18:25 So Isildur has a sister, but no mention of Anarion.

19:28 Elendil was a cousin of Miriel. Not, like, close, but his father and Miriel were like third cousins, which is the sort of thing royalty keeps track of. And, again, his father was BFF with her husband. She should not need to ask him these questions.

20:45 Narsil? I was never sure whether or not Miriel was one of the Faithful. I know she had reasons to not be friendly with Ar Pharazon, who married her by force and usurped her throne, but I don’t recall anything about her retaining her father’s loyalties.

22:00 So these Elves know that Mordor is the homeland of the bad guys, but Galadriel was completely ignorant of this in the first episode?

28:25 Okay, I have to say, this version of Galadriel is a miserable piece of work. On the one hand, I am glad the narrative so far does not seem to be validating her horrible attitude and demeanor, but on the other hand, why does Galadriel need so much mansplaining? Between Elendil and the boat-guy, as well as Elrond back in Middle-Earth, there’s a lot of people dishing out wisdom at her and setting her straight. This woman is older than the Sun and Moon. She should not be maturing and getting over her snotty emo phase in the middle (end? ) of the Second Age. I’m not saying the Lady of Lothlorien should be the version we get on this show, suggesting she is spending two whole ages in a kind of emotional stasis, but she should be well past being compared to a couple of adolescent humans.

29:31 Her first real smile seems to be from suddenly discovering a faster method of travel than her feet.

31:21 This guy looks a little like Uncle Owen from the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” show.

32:21 I am guessing there will be a shocking reveal that he stole Owen’s guild medallion, because show writers think such things are magic tokens and he won’t actually get in MORE trouble trying to work under someone else’s credentials. Especially when he is widely known as the new arrival, and not a guild member in good standing.

32:42 Well, he was openly tossing it in the air on a public street. I’d say he wanted to be noticed.

33:45 He’s an awfully good warrior for a smith, who is desperate to get back to his trade. And I think the narrative is not trying to make him look badass, but rather troubled by his temper and quick resort to violence. He might have been provoked and defending himself but the arm break was clearly deliberate, and not framed in a “got to keep him from getting up to attack me again while I deal with his buds” type of way.

And before Halbrand started fighting back, I was thinking the guildsmen were starting to walk away, and it seemed to me that he was getting off light for being caught in the act of attempting to practice a craft without the approval of the guild and fraudulently pass himself off as a guild member. The way he seems to be begging them not to hit him suggests he has a Hulk thing going on that he can’t totally control, or he begged because he’s a ginormous pussy.

Finally, for a guy who is so persuasive and good at ingratiating himself in ALL his prior scenes, to walk away from the place where he stole the guild badge, openly tossing it in the air, seems like he was asking to get caught. If he’s slick enough to steal a dagger from a trained officer with no one noticing in a very public place, you’d think lifting a badge from a smith would be child’s play. But the guy he stole it from WAS in the court scene. But he didn’t reference the other pickpocketing feat.

I can’t tell if this is just inconsistent writing or if there is something I am supposed to find suspect.

34:30 Don’t tell me Galadriel needs a library of Men (even of Numenor) to get intel on Sauron. Like, her mentor was a peer of Sauron. Melian usually had great advice, and her daughter rather notably ran afoul of Sauron. You’d think this would have been something Melian knew about and passed on to Galadriel.

37:00 Planning for Morgoth’s defeat does not seem like a thing that would happen. It seems like a great way to end up on the boss’s shit list, plus we are talking about a veritable god here. Canonically, Sauron was so gobsmacked by witnessing the power of the Valar when they actually defeated Morgoth, that he repented and pleaded for mercy, sincerely, but then skipped his court appearance after fearing the sentence he might receive and then fell back into his evil. The implicit corollary is that Sauron had not remotely conceived of a power strong enough to defeat his master, and that, furthermore, didn’t consider his own separate agenda or survival outside of Morgoth’s regime.

The rest of this isn’t bad, they need to have some ideas for their plans and to drive the story, but they didn’t need to have bureaucratic stuff like that in the court of Morgoth.

38:35 Entirely too much of the writers’ efforts were focused on creating the Harfoot culture.

39:00 If only the Brandyfoot family had some way of pulling their cart like, a very large creature, like a livestock beast, or perhaps a giant person…

40:30 It sounded like Nori said “best go piss in that book”

42:00 Before paper, I don’t think people wasted parchment or vellum or hide to make notes for speeches.

43:07 The comic scenes with Nori and the plump one are kind of amusing, but they feel like they don’t belong in this show, especially the darker undertones. These are a migrant people who have a very narrow margin of survival. They’ve kind of acknowledged that in the background stuff, and maybe it’s a twist on the Hobbit character, that they maintain this lightness of spirit even in such grim circumstances. Maybe it’s just cognitive dissonance.

45:18 Like this, where they have this practice of acknowledging the people killed by their lifestyle and circumstances.

46:34 Those papers catching fire were clearly foreshadowed, but then, assuming this guy has amnesia, his only experience with light is fireflies, and the fire around his crash site that did not burn.

48:54 You’re a damn Hobbit! Fleeing every danger is the only possible alternative to dying! This is not a sane mentality for them to have, rather, she is voicing sentiments that make her appear brave to a human audience, who would have those beliefs, except as members of the dominant species on the planet, with no evidence of more powerful entities. It’s a suspect attitude from humans in a more dangerous time, or a world with things more powerful than they. It makes zero sense for a Hobbit.

And bear in mind, that this is Tolkien, where people who say things like Nori did, except with some validity, end up encountering disaster. Like Turin and Nargothond.

49:47 “Sun-sliver” is actually a decent chronology reference for a low-tech people.

50:00 The problem here is that while Nori should be taking a lesson in that her antics affect others, and her family is, in effect, being punished for her transgressions, I am fairly sure that this problem will be overcome by the next episode if not before the end of this one, which only validates her obnoxious behavior.

51:05 That shot of the star guy would be more impressive if we had a clue about his level of comprehension.

51:59 That conversation feels like Luke & Uncle Ben’s conversation from Star Wars, but backwards.

53:09 So now we have a name for Isildur’s sister. Earien. Who is rather attractive and appears to have gained Galadriel’s share of breasts while the “Northern Commander” was applying for an extra dose of pissy-face.

53:54 Okay, what I am getting out of this is that Elendil and his family are estranged from the rule of Andunie. They were the rulers of one of the regions into which Numenor was divided, and should definitely have more power and prestige, even if they are on the outs with the establishment. Furthermore, the way they are talking, Anarion is older and has, at the least, a difference of opinion with Elendil, perhaps pursuing the restoration of their family’s old position, while Elendil attempts to move forward, remaining in the good graces of the crown, while still trying to adhere to his family’s traditions?

It doesn’t help that this scene bears no relation to, or context with, his prior scene with Galadriel. I mean, he goes from the discovery that Sauron is active and founding a new kingdom, to arguing with his kids about the equivalent of college choices and career paths?

54:11 Of course he’s gone, just when Daddy is about to see him in a possibly different light…

56:13 I don’t recognize the symbol.

58:10 So it seems like Miriel is secretly still in cahoots with her father, Tar-Palantir, assuming they are keeping that stuff right, and possibly one of the Faithful, or at least working toward a common goal with him. I would assume that she went along with his overthrow in all but name in order to allow them to retain some influence despite the overwhelming sentiment against the Faithful. And they fear the arrival of “the Elf” whether Galadriel in particular, or just any elf, because it’s going to force some choices on the Numenoreans, to renew the old alliance or explicitly deny it and that choice is not going to go well for the royal family or their agenda.

Alternatively, they could be afraid of their machinations being exposed, but the actress is the wrong skin color to be a villain in an Amazon show.

1:00:00 Yeah, that’s what I was talking about. Nori helping the comet guy is going to save her family.

1:01:54 A single warg should not be a problem for a group of trained elven warriors who have some form of weaponry. These things are basically the poor man’s werewolf, and Finrod soloed a werewolf with his bare hands. If you have an axe that can chop a thick beam in one blow, a lone warg should be easy.

1:03:57 I guess now-dead elf was Hano?

1:04:00 Is Adar Sauron? It feels like kind of a letdown.

Okay, that whole fight scene with the elves flying through the heir was … not great. Not that I’m saying there is anything wrong with the stunts or choreography (I’m also not saying there’s nothing wrong with them either, for the record), but I feel like the response to a criticism of that creative choice would be “Remember Legolas? Elves are superior, they can ignore physics.” And I can see the argument that these kinds of stunts make an acceptable shorthand for conveying their superiority. For my money, the movies did it better with subtle things, like Legolas walking atop the snow or seeing things beyond normal visual range. The best action/battle scenes in Fellowship were Arwyn carrying Frodo to the Ford, facing down the Balrog, and the battle at Amon Hen. The effects just served to illustrate the supernatural, not make the characters do ridiculous stuff. The fight with the cave troll was less impressive because it had little to do with the characterization. Amon Hen was an affirmation of the characters’ commitment to the Fellowship and their mission. In Two Towers, the best part of Helm’s Deep was not Legolas surfing down the stairs on the shield, it was the stuff that had to do with the characters’ choices, like the decision to ride out one last time, or Gimli sacrificing his dignity to help Aragorn. Same thing at Minas Tirith. The best moments were the charge of the Rohirrim, Gandalf and Pippen talking about death, the confrontations with the Witch-King. Not Legolas taking down the mumakil. For my money, the best-done shot regarding the mumakil was Theoden’s expression when they showed up. The Army of the Dead showing up was more about Eucatastrophe than how cool they looked overrunning Sauron’s army. Like the Riverhorses at the Fords who sweep away the Nazghul, the thing that matters is what their arrival means for the characters. It’s how movies got away with visual effects a modern animator would turn up his nose at, in the years before CGI was a thing. What it looks like doesn’t matter so much as what it means. The Armies of the Dead could be Harryhausen-type skeletons or a bunch of guys with sheets over their heads, and it could still be awesome, because of the established characters and story and what they mean. Did we need Mori the Elf flying through the air and waving his chains around to be impressed with his resourcefulness? My takeaway is they were more about showing off the stunts so they had the escape happen in broad daylight, rather than a more sensible time for prison escapes. Elves are just as good in the dark, after all. Like orcs, it was the state of the world when their race got started. Actually, for that matter, shouldn’t the work be getting done in the dark, with the prisoners resting in the day, when they can be kept under cover and the eyes of their guards? It’s like the whole scene was driven by the need for spectacle, and it suggests they took some bad lessons from the LotR movies.

And then there is the whole timeline thing. Nothing in Numenor is precisely wrong, they could even make Elendil’s family’s altered circumstances work, going forward, the problem is that this all takes place more than a thousand years after the stuff we see in Lindon and Eregion. It’s like Galadriel set sail from Rome during the reign of Caesar Augustus, ended up adrift on the ocean and got rescued by a ship whose captain was Christopher Columbus. It makes no sense. Yes, it’s the most dramatic era in Numenor’s history, but OTOH, there’s nothing stopping them from putting it in its proper place in chronology. They could have the story of Elrond, Celebrimbor and Eregion and the alliance with Durin and his people and then later do the Akallabeth, and even have Elrond and Gil-Galad and Galadriel in it, because elves don’t age. There could even be stuff they can explore, like the contrast between the armies of Numenor that show up to help the Elves fight Sauron after the forging of the Rings, and then the status of the nation all those centuries later. It lets the show run longer, and you don’t need as much info-dumping from Galadriel about the deteriorating relations between the Men of Numenor and the Elves.

I don’t see much promise for this show to be more than middling-tolerable. Not remotely a worthy adaptation of Tolkien’s books.

“Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” GK Chesteron
Inde muagdhe Aes Sedai misain ye!
Deus Vult!
This message last edited by Cannoli on 11/09/2022 at 01:45:38 AM
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