1.03: The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power - Adar

Dave

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Arondir finds himself a captive, Galadriel and Halbrand explore a legendary kingdom, Elendil is tasked with a new assignment and Nori faces the consequences.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Thank you for the kind words! But writing a synopsis really does force one to take note of things one might otherwise have missed, and because they take time to write, it provides an opportunity to think about those things, too.

But just think: if you relied on the synopses alone, you'd miss out on a lot of beautiful scenery.* Not to mention, we would miss your comments!

____
*I know some viewers posting in these threads look at places like Numenor and see paintings and CGI, but I look and I can't see the difference between the practical effects and the digital wizardry and it all looks real to me—though of course I know the parts that can't be. Maybe their screens have higher definition than my TV does? If so, then I'm grateful I can't afford better devices, if they show too much and shatter the illusion.
 

Elckerlyc

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Lord of the Rings - The Rings of Power.

Episode 3 – Adar
(written by Jason Cahill and Justin Doble)

Part I

Arondir has been caught by Orcs. They drag him through a trench covered with a makeshift tarp; cloth in many sorts, colors and rends. It isn’t doing a great job of shielding the sunlight. Arondir seems only half conscious, a bit dazed, and he is assaulted by images and the clamour surrounding him; Crying or screaming people, humans, held in cages on the sides, grunting and snarling Orcs who treat everyone and each other with the usual Orc’al care and attention. The name Adar is being mentioned the first time.
The Orcs are dragging Arondir to the front-end of the trench were already people are forced to work on extending it.
Not Men, but the entire Elven contingent from the watchtower.

Huh? Where and when have they been caught? How come an entire company of Elven soldiers, who were stationed there especially to watch for Orcs, has been being captured? Above ground, while Orcs hate sunlight? At night then, though you would expect the company to have been miles by that time, traveling home? It remains a mystery.
Also, at what point decided the Orcs to forget about tunneling and just dig trenches?


With a start Galadriel wakes up. (As if the whipping and screaming of the previous scene wakened her, the sounds of it are still echoing – Too much of this type of editing with totally unconnected elements might soon start working adversely.)

She finds herself in the hold of a ship, after the second miraculous encounter on the high seas. (Third, if you count the worm as well and discount the word ‘miraculous’.) Her sword is missing.
Halbrand appears with a bowl of food and a lump of bread. He hands her the bowl. Galadriel is ready to eat but she hesitates and asks Halbrand whether their hosts are saviours or captors.
Halbrand answers that the food isn’t poisoned, if that’s her worry.

(Is it? Why would their hosts, after having saved them from the sea, want to poison them next? Of course, it could be that this is meant to suggest that Halbrand has a suspicious mind or perhaps a preoccupation with poisons. Or it is careless writing. Or I’m reading to much in this.)

However, it does seem that indeed this was her worry after all. Galadriel is famished and now, without a further word, wolfs down the food. To be honest, it is a miracle she has come so far without any. Alas, the poor girl hardly gets a chance to finish her meal before the hatch is opened. They are allowed on deck, where every sailor (or marine?) is staring at them. More precisely, at Galadriel. Galadriel herself seems to continually wear an halfway angry expression on her face.
The commander appears, and then more or less explains the staring by his men.
“One of the Eldar. On my board my ship? Strange tides indeed.” A remark that will make more sense a little later on. He doesn’t want to answer any questions himself, but tells them that he is obliged to deliver them to his betters. So, in essence, they are prisoners. Galadriel’s missing sword is in his belt.
It turns out they are close to Númenor (an island kingdom), in fact they are just entering the small entrance, between steeply rising cliffs adorned with sculptures, to its port.
Entering the port.png


The city around the sheltered harbour looks grand. It lies sprawled across the surrounding hills and fills the landscape (perhaps a bit overdone.) Halbrand seems impressed by it. Galadriel forgets to look angered for a moment.
Once docked, the commander leads them ashore with a few men to accompany them. While they walk and climb toward the royal residence, high up the steep hillside, Galadriel gives Halbrand a severely concise history lesson.
During the war with Morgoth, the ancestors of Halbrand’s people sided with Morgoth, while those of the Númenorians (before they were called so) stood with the Elves against their Great Foe. As a reward the Valar granted them the island Númenor. At first the relation between Elves and these Men was beneficial for both, sharing knowledge and gifts. But later, for yet unclear reasons, Númenor started to turn away visiting Elves and later even broke all contact.
They pass a forge while Galadriel is explaining all this. Halbrand shows an clear interest for the forge. What is on his mind?

They arrive at a hall where an audience is being held, attended by the Queen Regent Míriel and chancellor Pharazôn. Are they awaiting them? A guard blocks their way, announcing the queen and chancellor are occupied, until the commander takes one step aside so the guard can see Galadriel’s ears. Elf! They are then allowed passage. It opens doors, but not necessarily in a benevolent way. What is Nûmenor’s issue with Elves?
Halbrand suggests to Galadriel that she should forget history for the moment and show some restraint, to prevent antagonizing these people. It seems he can read her quite well already. But as usual, Galadriel doesn’t give any sign that’s she is listening to sound advise. Her arrogance as an Elf seems to override any caution there may have been.
They enter the hall and the crowd falls silent. When they stand before the Queen Regent, Halbrand whispers they must kneel. Surprisingly, Galadriel follows his example without hesitation, but casts him a look when the Queen announces that no-one kneels in Nûmenor. Halbrand whispers "Sorry."

“Speak, Elf,” the queen commands. “Name thyself.” And, of course, Galadriel does so without holding back; “Galadriel of the Noldor. Daughter of the Golden House of Finarfin. Commander of the Northern Armies of High King Gil-Galad.” Just so you know. It causes a stir.
“Halbrand. Of the Southlands,” He is showing what he meant by restraint.
After some explaining how they came to be together Galadriel requests passage for them to Middle-Earth. Halbrand shows surprise that she said "us,” but not much enthusiasm for the idea. Nor is the way Galadriel asks for a few planks and a rudder (because "the Elves gave the islanders their island,") is going to help them getting much closer to her declared destination.
The queen denies that their island was a gift from the Elves. (As was already made clear by the way the crowd responded to this piece of information. it seems that Fake News has reach Nûmenor long before we did invent it.) No, they paid for the island with the blood of their own kin. Sensible Galadriel answer that if blood is the price for passage she is happy to pay it.

(I am starting to wonder here how it is possible that Galadriel, with her attitude, has reached the respectable age of several thousand years. A growing wisdom has not been part of it. Also, if there is one thing you might expect an Elf to learn during their lifespan it is patience. Like Elrond, who 20 years long forgot to visit his friend Durin. What is the intention of the writers to depict her so?)

She wasn’t exactly welcome on the island – though it is curiously in contrast with their unwillingness to let her go – she is now rapidly making her position impossible. It is only thanks to Halbrand’s intervention, noticing the unrest in the crowd, that a cooling-down period of three days is agreed upon, while they weigh their request for passage (and possibly bide him time also for other (more personal) interests as well.) However, the Elf though must be restricted to palace grounds. Still Galadriel can not contain herself. She balks at being held prisoner. The chancellor is more diplomatic and tells her that the challenge of imprisoning the mighty commander of the Northern Armies is not his aim. She should consider herself a guest. Upon which he calls the guard in to accompany them to their quarters.

The commander turns away, his task complete, but Halbrand halts him and embraces him to express his gratitude (for saving them from the sea, though that isn’t said with so many words.) The commander looks somewhat befuddled at first but then smiles politely and walks off. Unnoticed by anyone Halbrand has managed to retrieve Galadriel’s sword from the commander’s belt.
Galadriel isn’t happy. “Good queen, “ she scoffs, repeating Halbrands words when addressing the queen. He sighs (as did I) and assures her that the Southlands still will be there in three days. “But the people!” Galadriel urges, as if she knows what’s going on there right now. Then Halbrand comes with a statement that is and remains cryptic for the time being. “I have been searching for my peace for longer than you know. Please, for both our sakes, let me keep it.”
He offers his hand. “Perhaps some peace would do you good as well.” Galadriel considers it a second, before accepting his hand (wrist, actually.) Halbrand then pulls her towards him and presses her sword into her hand.

(And conceals it miraculously (haven’t I used that word before?) on her body, like Halbrand did before her. All the while being observed by a crowd of suspicious people.)
The sword.png


The chancellor approaches queen Míriel and advises her to resolve the issue quickly. The queen doesn’t seem worried. It is just one Elf. But Pharazôn tells her not to take it lightly. Nor should they risk her father taking control back again. They share a concerned look for a moment.
Then the queens informs after the commander. His name is Elendil, originally from a noble family, but now a Sea Guardsman, with a son to follow him into service.

And the scene switches to this son, named Isuldur. A name harking back to the Prologue of the Lord of the Ring movies.

to be continued...
 

Elckerlyc

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Part II

I closed off Part I with the words: ‘Isuldur. A name harking back to the Proloque of the Lord of the Ring movies.’ That’s a bit misleading really, as in fact those events are at the moment still hidden in the future. A lot will (need to) happen before that.

Nûmenor has sea-power, which is to be expected as an island-kingdom. It is not that their island is being threatened by any foe (as far as I know,) only those they may create themselves by their attitude. As any great nation, they tend to become arrogant and self-centered.
Navy-1.png


Isuldur is a cadet and being trained hard to be admitted to the Sea Guard. Today´s lesson is that there is no harsher master than the sea. A lesson that any sailor at some point will learn and must learn to accept. After all, the sea is always right.
And so is the sail-master. After the training and back on the beach one of the cadets is being dismissed. One silly mistake and it’s over and out. Isuldur could go that way too if he isn’t more careful; he mind was wandering of into the clouds all day, according to his friends. It’s just 9 more days before the training is concluded. And four years later, after the Sea Trials, they could be officers! Yet Isuldur does not seem so exhilarated as his friends are.
His sister comes to meet him, leading a horse. “There you are,“ Isuldur exclaims and puts his arms out to… greet his horse Berek. His sister gets more attention from his friend Valandil, who after a short exchange is off to the cantina. Isuldur has other plans.
“What are you doing her,” he asks his sister. It doesn’t sound entirely welcoming, but apparently he was expecting their father. The sister looks… concerned.

The scene cuts back to the palace. Or, more accurately, firstly to the White Tree in the Kings Court. It is far a descendant of one of the Two Trees in Valinor. The Tree is blossoming, but when petals start falling from the Tree, something serious is awry.
“Or so the faithful believe,” says Queen Míriel to Elendil. They are speaking in an otherwise empty audience hall (except for a few guards.) Falling petals as tears of the Valar, “a living reminder that their eyes and judgment are ever upon us.” There is some resentment in her voice.
She turns to Elendil. “Do you believe that?” (I read somewhere that his name means Elven-friend.) He very diplomatically evades a clear answer. The queen chuckles and accepts it, for the moment.
“Elendil, an uncommon name,“ she continues, “What does it mean?” (Ah! See where this is going?)
More evasive answers. “It means ‘One who loves the stars.’”
“That is not the only translation, is it?” the queen queries sweetly.
Elendil is unpleasantly surprised that she knows, but answers truthfully. “In the ancient tongue of the Eldar, it can also mean ‘Elf-friend.’” And awaits tensely where the queen is going with this.
“And are you, an Elf-friend?” Pleasantness gone.
He now fully turns to the queen and declares that he is a loyal servant of Nûmenor.
“And yet, though Elves have been unwelcome on our shores since the reign of my grandfather’s great grandfather, you chose to break with that precedent. Why?”
“It was the sea who put her in my path. And the sea is always right.”
“The sea cannot commit treason.” The queen states and then turns away, but without dismissing him.
Elendil steps forward and extends his hand pleadingly. “Please, with respect Queen Regent, given the circumstances, I did only what I believed to be the most prudent.”
“If, Elendil,” the queen answers, clearly meaning ‘Elf-friend’ here, “that is what you wish, then I shall have to task you to perform a service.”
She has been leading to this all along. On the word ‘service’ one of the guards steps forwards and presents him a shielded long sword, then steps away. Anxious, Elendil looks up at the queen who stares back unmoved, unsmiling, finally showing being displeased.
Alas. we do not get to hear what this service is Elendil has to perform. Nor what has his daughter so worried.

We travel once more to the Southlands, to Arondir in the trench who is looking up at a big tree that blocks their way. The sun appears from behind a cloud and Orcs flee into the dusk of the shielded trench. While they work, Arondir informs Médhor how the trench (he calls them corridors) runs all the way to Hordern, perhaps even beyond that. It must be how they have managed to escape their detection. Arondir suspects the Orcs are looking for something as they pillage the villages, perhaps a kind of weapon. (Maybe what Theo found?)
Revion had noticed that the Orcs talk with reverence of something or somebody. He believes Morgoth has a successor. (Wasn’t that already known and what Galadriel is chasing?)
“Adar,” Arondirs says, and adds, “Why would Orcs refer to their leader by an Elvish word?”
Revion answers, “Sauron was said to have many names in days of old. Perhaps this is one of them” (Now I am officiously confused. They know about Sauron, yet wonder if Morgoth may have a successor. Do they underestimate Sauron’s power?)
The conclude that there is more going on than they can see. One of them has to risk a glimpse above the rim of the trench, establish the closest treeline and then they will make their escape as the sun is at his strongest. (Easy, right?). If only one of them manages to reach home, they can return in force and sweep the enemy from these lands like salt from a table (not mine words!)

Their chat is being interrupted by an Orc, telling them to dig. Arondir blurts out the roots of the big tree block their path. And indeed, a whole bunch if thick roots covers the end of the trench. Many are already completely bared. (It seems the trench leads straight to the tree. Has really nobody had the foresight to steer around it, to veer off just a little while there was still room? Perhaps it is just the way Orcs ‘work‘. Never veer from your once chosen path.)
Revion suggests to work around the tree, but the Orcs won’t hear it. He then makes a plea for the tree, which may well be older than any of the Orcs. (Yes! That will sway them!) The response is rather more elaborated than expected, from an Orc. Magrot, a leader of sorts, compliments Revion for his strength of character and tells him that his company has earned itself a water ration.
"Don’t be afraid…” Magrot opens the jug and spills some of the water on his hand. It is clear and no doubt enticing to the thirsty Elves. But they all fear to be poisoned. With a grin as only an Orc can produce Magrot pointedly offers the jug again. After an hesitation, Revion accepts the jug, albeit reluctantly, and carefully takes a sip. It tastes good and he then risks a few swallows. Magrot nods approvingly, still grinning, but there is some expectation showing in his eyes. Verion hands the jug to Arondir, who still doesn’t trust any of it, but eventually gulps down some water. Next the jug goes to Médhor, who lifts it to drink and in doing so exposes his throat... to nearby Magrot. Magrot can’t hide a malicious grin any longer and in one smooth move slashes Médhor’s throat.
There is surprisingly little blood, but the cut is nevertheless fatal. Médhor dies. The Orcs laugh and tell the Elves, “Tree!” But the fracas continues for a moment, until Arondir, in whose arms his friend Médhor just died, shouts, “I’ll cut it. I’ll cut it down!”
A moment later he climbs out of the trench - we can now clearly see how many of the roots have already been freed from the soil - armed with an axe and chained at an ankle. He takes the time to view his surroundings, which looks like a battlefield; barren and riddled with tree stumps, smoke rising from different holes, and marks the nearest treeline.
Before he starts cutting the tree down, which is nearly two meter thick, he speaks to it in Quenya, perhaps an apology for ending its long life or asking forgiveness. Then he makes the first swing with the axe. The Orcs cheer.
He will be busy for a while.
A final view shows how the trench meanders through the landscape -and then runs straight to the doomed tree.

Back to Armenelos, capital of Nûmenor.
(Please raise your hand if you expected Galadriel to remain meekly at her assigned quarters the next three days? No, I didn’t think so either.)
Two guards march down the streets, one telling the other that he should inform Pharazôn that ‘she’ has escaped. “I informed him last time,” replies the other, while overhead Galadriel slips away across a ledge. A moment later she jumps down to the street, looking smug, and checks whether her ears are still covered. As if she doesn’t stand out. She is at the harbour, judging the boats that are moored there. Escaping her quarters is clearly just phase one of her itinerary.
Behind her, Elendil shows he is not to be fooled easily. “Be wiser to steal the half-sail,” he advises her.
Galadriel quickly turns around and sees Elendil, refitted in civilian(?) clothes, leaning against the wall and looking relaxed and sure of him self. “That skiff will hardly get you out of the harbour.”
Or any other boat. He tells her that the queen has charged him to see to it that Galadriel doesn’t cause any further disturbance. He carries the long sword at his side.
Clearly this charge is a form of punishment, though Elendil doesn’t seem bothered by it.
But Galadriel declares that, like the queen, she wished he had never brought her here to the island. And that she will take her chances with the skiff anyway.
Elendil turns half away, towards a few guards. “Then you leave me little choice but to shout for your minders.” And then turns back, just in time to see Galadriel draw her knife, make some totally necessary swirling motions with it (I imagine it only causes you to loose some precious time.) before pointing it at Elendil's belly. “Suppose the words never manage to escape your throat.”
Elendil doesn’t flinch and answers that if that were the case, she would be in chains soon enough and be dragged back to the palace again.
“Who is this mortal who speaks to me as if he has the slightest idea who I am?” There is only a pinch of arrogance in it.
It is only when Elendil shows he speaks Quenya that Galadriel relents, curious by his remarks. (apparently not by his name with Elven roots.) He explains the language is still being taught in their Hall of Lore and still carved on statues.
The part about the ‘Hall of Lore’ catches her attention and she asks where it is located. “A quarter day’s ride,” answers Elendil.
“Did you say ride?
(Next follows a scene that surely must have been mixed with the recordings accidentally. We get that Galadriel loves riding, but the images are woefully out of character. Though, admittedly, the photography of the horses’ hooves hitting the wet sand on the beach is arresting.)
hooves.png


Before we move on to Halbrand at the forge, we take a short break.
 

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Elckerlyc

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Before getting on with Part III, there are a few remarks I intended to include in the synopsis... but forgot. It happens.
First, the cities.
City on Numenor.png

And a wider view:
City on Numenor 2.png


It must have cost the designers, the creators, the artisans months of delicate work and every now and tears. It looks awesome, no question about it. I believe there were some complaints about being visible it is fake. Well, of course it's fake. But you probably need 4K to see it. That's the downside of 4K, not the fault of the creators.
Yet there is something else off with these cities. I think that they are too uniform. As if each city has been designed and build by one architect, using the same techniques, materials and colours over and over again in one massive construction frenzy, in stead of having grown organically over the centuries, using different ideas and new designs. On the hand the sameness is striking, but unnatural on the other.
I understand the design is meant to radiate the greatness and harmony of the realms of Nûmenor and the Elves. It is just something that struck me.

Speaking of harmony. Queen Míriel spoke of the Faithful, when talking about the White Tree. It wasn't made clear who these Faithful are. The way Galadriel was received and gawked at in Nûmenor makes it clear the attitude of Nûmenor towards the Elves has turned a bit short of hostile. It was state policy. Not everyone followed that policy or forgot about their language, as Elendil later showed to have mastered. The Faithful still taught about Elven lore.

Above, I named the city Armenelos. That's probably heresy. Armenelos was situated more inland and wasn't a port city. It was however the Royal citadel and both Palace and the White Tree were located there. In this episode we see both placed in the harbour city. So, the fault is not mine.
Interestingly, the city isn't named in the series. Every other important place is labeled, like so:
city-label.png

but not this place.

Another correction. I mentioned that Elendil had swapped his clothes for a civilian outfit. Not so. On closer inspection I see he had taken off his leather harness. That's all.

Something else entirely. I know one should suspend disbelieve when reading (or viewing) Fantasy. But I get to struggle with that when it shows signs of illogic or inconsistencies. Take for instance this revealing picture.
The scorcing.png

The devastation to the landscape as the trench is enormous. The land is barren, trees felled and fires left and right. Progress must be slow. To dig the trench as far as we can see in the distance must have taken them weeks if not longer. And why? If the Orcs shun sunlight (even though in this shot and the previous scene they had no trouble with it), why not traveling under cover of the night? They could have done this distance in one single night, in stead of with a speed at which you could be outrun (Get it? Run?) by an army of snails marching up front. Not to mentioning the amount of labour that is needed. And why did they abandon the tunneling in the first place?
It is not as if it is meant to be stealthy process. Look at the devastation it is causing. How is it possible the Elves has not seen this from their watch tower in the weeks that this one trench crawled through the land, straight at a tree. Perhaps we must assume the Elves have been caught weeks ago, but that's not the impression you get from their conversation.
Sigh. It really is a revealing sight, producers.
 
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Elckerlyc

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Part III


“There is not another man on this isle that knows this craft better than I.” So speaks Halbrand, the Southlander. He is at the forge, addressing the smith, pleading to give him a job, anything. Was this his job at home? He has shown to possess several abilities; diplomacy at the queens’ court, light-fingered when retrieving Galadriel’s knife from Elendil's belt, able of making quick decisions when the raft was attacked by the worm, and now – if we are to believe him – also a great smith. Who or what is he really? It seems though he intends to stay on the island.
“I am here to start anew.”
The smith isn’t unkind, but tells Halbrand he need to have a guild’s crest first before being allowed to work steel. Halbrand drops all amiability and turns away a tad chagrined.
He seeks solace in a meal, a large plate of mussels and some bread. While enjoying his food he is recognised by several men as the person who ‘sailed in with the Elf’ and is asked for confirmation. He is not very forthcoming, without being outright rude.
One of the men comes over and sets himself at Halbrands table. He is wearing an golden emblem on a belt across his chest, about 2 inches in diameter. Halbrand’s gaze rests on it for a second.
The man asks Halbrand how close he is to the ‘She-Elf.’ It looks like he is out for a some… entertainment. Not that Halbrand seems to care or tries to evade it, at first. But his answers make three more men, friends from the first inquirer, come over to his table and join them. It’s a little bit threatening, as they are doing their best to provoke the wrong move from the ‘low man.‘ Halbrand freezes and is apparently busy considering the options his has.
And once again Halbrand turns like a leaf, going jovial, and buys everyone at the establishment a drink. Or two. Perhaps three. After a few drink he puts his arm over Man One's shoulders, jokes he should now go while everyone still has a positive opinion of him - meanwhile plucking the emblem from his belt - and walks off, slightly unstable until he disappears around a corner. (OK, so he isn’t just light-fingered, he is a thief.)
However, his actions have not gone unnoticed this time. The four men follow him. A fight breaks out, in which Halbrand shows yet another of his many talents. He knows how to fight dirty. At some point a threshold is being passed and he goes berserk and fights without restraint. Again, who or what is the real Halbrand? If he has any doubts himself, he now gets the chance to weigh all his abilities, while resting in a dungeon.

Galadriel and Elendil are at the Hall of Lore. The walls are hidden by ceiling-high racks full with scrolls. Galadriel draws Sauron’s sigil on a piece of paper, which Elendil brings over to the librarian with the request for any information that may be available about it.
Curious, Galadriel walks through the (public?) room, appreciating what she sees.
“You didn’t say the Hall of Lore was assembled by Elros himself. It is rather remarkable.”
“Of course,“ Elendil realises, “You knew Elros.” (Elros, an Half-Elf, choose to become an human and was the first king of Nûmenor.)
They both halt in front of a painting, showing two groups of about five Elves, each group with one Elf more to the front. One of the two must be Elros. The other Elf is someone we know. Elrond.
Elros and Elrond.png

“An uncommon spirit,” Galadriel says, meaning Elros. “But I was always closer with his brother.”
There are four women standing behind Elrond on the painting. One of them could represent Galadriel, but if so, she is not readily recognizable.
“Remarkable,” Elendil mumbles.
“Thank you for bringing me here.” Galadriel shows she can be nice if she wants to.
Elendil answers with a smile, “Thank our last king. It was because of him this place wasn’t torn down.”
“He was loyal to the Elves?” It surprises Galadriel; after all, the Queen Regent and her chancellor are clearly not.
Is loyal,” answers Elendil after a meaningful silence. “We forced him from the throne for it. They say he spends his time in the tower now. An exile in his own kingdom.”
While Galadriel is absorbing all this information, the librarian approaches them. (that was quick!)
Reverently he lays the documents he found on the table and after a small bow disappears again.
The documents concern the account of an human spy, retrieved from a dungeon. The spy made a drawing of the tower were he was held. It resembles Saurons’ sigil.
It dawns on Galadriel that it isn’t a sigil at all, but a sketchy representation of the Southlands. A map. (It raises the question though why Sauron – or a devotee – would carve a map in Finrod’s flesh. It is a bit like: Here I am!) She compares the drawing now with a map, carved on a table-top. The resemblance is clear.
There is a description on the document. It is the Black Speech and tells not only about a place (the Southlands (Mordor).) but also of a plan. A plan to build a new realm, where evil would not only endure, but thrive. To be enacted in the event of Morgoth’s defeat… by his successor.
Elendil already looked concerned while Galadriel translated the text, but even more so seeing her face now (which we can’t, but I assume she must be looking stricken.)
“Matters are worse than I imagined.” She turns back to table with the map and Elendil joins her, taking in the situation. “Then the Southlands are in grave danger.”
“If Sauron has indeed returned, the Southlands are just the beginning…”

And on that alarming note we head back to the Southlands ourselves. In stark contrast, the Harfoot are celebrating, in preparation of the start of their migration the following day. They wear fancy outfits, mostly natural camouflage material, or headgear that represent birds of prey or predators. The women have mostly head-wear made of products of the field. Between the laughter and the giggles they chant their slogan: “Nobody goes off trail. And nobody walks alone.” (which soon might be proven to be in contrast with reality too.)
Everyone has joined in, except for Marigold and Largo who dejectedly sit together in their cart. It is not going well with Largo’s ankle. Marigolds fears to be left behind.
“No Brandyfoot has ever been left behind.” Largo assures her. But it seems obvious this is going to be the first time. Largo realises he should come up with a more sincere and reassuring word. And he tells her how, after his first wife died, the view of Marigold rekindled him and that he knew they would grow old together. They will manage somehow to get to the Grove. And besides, there was Nori too.
Marigold scoffs a bit at that, but Largo knows Nori. When she sets her mind to something, nothing can stop her.

Right at that time Nori seeks to slip into Sadoc’s abode to search in his Big Book for the constellation The Stranger had drawn. But Polly is on her tail and tries to stop her from doing something stupid with terrible consequences, like ending life as parchment. They bicker about helping the Stranger or not. In the end Nori blackmails Polly into helping her.
Going through the book, Nori just has found the page she was looking for as Sadoc approaches his cart to fetch his prepared speech. Polly manages to warn Nori, who just in time dives under the table. Unfortunately, Sadoc sees a line in his text he is having second thoughts about, sits down and start thinking. From under the table Nori tries to feel her way to the page she has left lying on the table and finally succeeds locating, no thanks to the confusing directions given by Polly.
Sadoc starts his speech under cheering of the Harfoots (reminding me of Bilbo’s speech at his eleventy-first birthday.) “Should any Harfoot fall behind this migration, they will likewise be carried in our hearts and in our memories.” It fails to be a consolation for a few Harfoot. “In life we could not wait for them.” He then continues, mentioning by name the Harfoot they had to leave behind recently. The group answers each name with, “We wait for you.”
Among the names are relatives of Polly, “Landslide,” and, presumably, Sadoc’s wife, “Wolfs.”
Behind, the Stranger sneaks into the camp to study the star-map by the light of a fire. (Why does he at times remind me of Catweazle?) But he holds the page to close to the fire and it catches flame. Panic surfaces. He flails his arms, jumping around until he stumbles, falls and gets covered by one of the erected sun-shields. This alerts the Harfoot, but they don’t immediately see anything unusual in the dark. Suddenly a huge figure, a giant, rises just before them. The monster looks weird and outright dangerous, yelling, dancing and turning like a madman. When he manages to free himself, to his great relief, he makes matter worse by calling for Nori’s help. Everyone who had dived for safety now emerges again and soon everyone is staring at Nori.

“You lied,“ Sadoc says somewhat later, as they stand assembled near the campfire, “stolen, brought a dangerous outsider into our midst…”
“And she lied,” Vilma helpfully contributes.
“He already said that,” Largo sounds in-dignified. Nori all the while stands there timidly.
“Well, she did.” That was Malva.
Nori can’t be timid for long. “But, no. He was lost. Hurt. What was I supposed to do? Leave him there?”
“You must admit, Sadoc, it is quite extraordinary.” Largo stammers a bit in his attempt to break the mood against his daughter. “Have you ever heard tell of beings falling from the stars?”
Sadoc is reflective at first, than gets more assuredly. “I have heard of beings who were turned into stars. Never the other way around.” Yet he is mystified by it all. “It is very troubling.”
“But what about the stars on that page?” Nori wants to know. “What’s it say they mean?”
Sadoc makes an annoyed wave with the concerning pages. “Nothin’. The pages are all burnt up. Why didn’t you bother to read them?”
“I thought we’d have time later.” She looks down, dejected, not realising what she just said.
“Who is ‘we’?” Malva wants to know.
Almost betraying Polly by glancing her way, Nori quickly answers, “No one. Just me. He’s my friend.”
This friend is watching all this from a distance behind a tree, anxious following the discussion.
“We don’t need friends, girl. We need to survive.” You can almost read it on the Stranger’s face, ‘But so must I.’
It stings Nori into a more heated reply. “Without friends, what are we surviving for? ‘Good, little Harfoots, stick to the paths, flee every danger’, heaven forbid we explore something new for once?”
“Eleanor Kellamark Brandyfoot!” Marigold jumps in, tired of the same old discussion with Nori about this. “Our way has kept us alive a thousand years!”
“Our laws are clear,“ Malva states chilly. She continuous slowly, overemphasizing every syllable, “Any Harfoot that breaks them is to be de-ca-ra-vaned.”
The Harfoot exclaim unitedly, but not in the same way, while the Brandyfoot family starts to get really worried.
But Sadoc resolutely pushes Malva to the back.
“Our laws are clear indeed. But…” here he wavers, desperately looking for something to rescue the situation. “Miss Brandyfoot is young. With as much hair still to grow on her toes as sense between her ears. Tomorrow we depart as planned. And the Brandyfoot cart will be with us… at the back of the caravan.”
“At the back?” Largo exclaims, not happy. “Now wait, wait. We have to talk about this. Don’t you mean the middle...” He runs after Sadoc, who abruptly had turned an disappeared towards his cart.
And all of a sudden the meeting falls apart and most people head to their own carts. Shaken and perturbed, knowing that they might very will might be forced to the Brandyfoot behind. Polly flees, not knowing what or how to speak to Nori, who just stands there, forlorn.
“You may as well have stamped our name in the book of left-behinds.” Marigold snaps at Nori.
“There is a reason he came to us.”
“Honestly, Nori. Do you see a destiny in this? Do you think the stars reached down and touched ya? Is that it? Do you think you’re special? You’re just a child!”
”I know I’m not special. I know I’m just one little Harfoot in a grand wide world. But he is special. I can feel it.”
Marigold looks tenderhearted. “My darlin’ girl. Ever your heart has been like your father’s. But the tallest milkweed gets snipped.” There is little arguing about that. “It’s time to pack.”
She leaves Nori standing alone in the clearing.
From behind his tree the watching Stranger looks as helpless as Nori does.

To be concluded.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Sigh. It really is a revealing sight, producers.

There have been a lot of things in the episodes so far that don't make much sense, or that sense or not I find very irritating.

But there have been (to date) enough things that I find quite appealing to keep me coming back. How long this will last—either the good or the bad—I don't know.

Your synopsis of this episode is excellent so far. (Although, by the way, the name is Poppy, not Polly.)

About the elves being captured by the orcs, it didn't make sense to me at first. But I've had time to think in the weeks since, and have come to a couple of conclusions. 1) The elves, with their keen eyes and ears, must have been careless indeed for this to happen. But they aren't in the Southlands to watch for orcs. They are watching the Southlanders, and looking for signs they are resuming their evil ways. After all this time watching people who do exactly nothing to justify their suspicion, I expect that they have grown careless. Plus, being elves, they were arrogant and perhaps over-confident to begin with. These are Silvan Elves, not Eldar like Galadrial's crew, so less wise and wily because less experienced, and picked for this so-far-boring mission because they were not battle-hardened soldiers. Arondir was a grower before he was picked, and who knows what the others were? So it begins to make a little more sense. 2) I think they can thank the High King in part for what happened to them. Because they weren't watching out for danger. Why? Because they've been told the war is over (presumably this means there are no more orcs or enemies to watch out for) and they've been recalled precisely because there is nothing left for them to be cautious about.* So when they camped during their journey they probably set an inadequate watch made up of elves who were barely paying attention anyway.

I look forward to your next installment.
_______
*I must say, I haven't been liking Gil-gilad because he recalled the watch just when things were heating up down south. He didn't know that, but he did know that the danger wasn't past, and he seemed to think that by ignoring it, by pretending it wasn't there, he could avoid stirring it up. And this is one of the results.
 

Elckerlyc

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Part IV

(My apologies to Poppy first. I am sorry calling you Polly.)

In Nûmenor the puppeteers are hot on current events. Already they show plays with Galadriel as a fierce adversary. It is being played as Elendil with his son and daughter enter an establishment to have a meal together.
Isuldur is agog. “Galadriel? The scourge of the Orcs?”
“Never mind what she´s the scourge of. Why is she in Nûmenor?” his sister, Eärien, demands to know. Apparently Elendil has told them he has met Galadriel, but not about the how.
“Waiting for a ship to Middle-Earth.” (Now there’s a concise synopsis. I could probably learn from that.)
But Elendil is more informative about something else. “Queen Regent’s raised me to Post Captain, to keep account of her in the meantime.”

(This is, annoyingly, the second way in which it contrasts with the impression that was given at the time of his interview by the Queen Regent. Firstly, the sword, that almost had you believe he was to behead Galadriel. Secondly, that her being displeased with him had earned him the unwelcome task of escorting duty. But now her displeasure seems to have led to a promotion.)

Eärien has some doubts as well. “You brought in an Elf, so Míriel promoted you?” (Apparently, she does know how Galadriel came to be in Nûmenor. More contradictions.)
Before Elendil can answer this (and thus saving the writers from having to explain it), Isuldur throws in the next question, “Who gets to escort her back?”
Elendil tries to change the subject. “Looking for a promotion, cadet?” It will proof to be the wrong subject.
Isuldur produces a halfhearted chuckle.
“Nine days until the Sea Trial,” Elendil continues, more excited than his son. “You ready?”
“Tell him,” Eärien whispers to Isuldur.
Elendil doesn’t notice and goes on, “I’m afraid our northside relations have taken the liberty of inviting themselves over for a feast to see you off. Trust that’s all right?”
“I was thinking I might defer,” Isuldur confesses.
Elendil looks at him for a moment, taken aback. “Defer?”
“Just for a season, perhaps.”
A penny drops. Elendil turns to Eärien, “Did you know about this?”
“Well, I listen to him on occasion, so, yes, I had my suspicions.” She is trying to make light of it.
Elendil isn’t pleased with either of them. “And you didn’t bother telling me about them?”
“I am only thinking about it.” Isuldur tries to defuse the situation.
“I was talking to Eärien.”
“I’ve been carrying a bit on my own shoulders lately, Father.” She doesn't say what, but apparently he knows what she meant.
“Is this really so tragic?” Isuldur wants to know, “Anárion told me you deferred twice…”
“Anárion? What’s your brother have to do with this?” It seems their meal is on the right tack to hit the cliffs looming ahead.
“Nothing.”
“Well, slightly more than nothing.” Eärien can’t help revealing.
“Thanks.” Isuldur isn’t happy with her.
Elendil needs a moment to deal with that. “Oh, good gods.” Clearly perturbed, he is silent for a moment, then turns to Isuldur.
“I’ll tell you what I told him. There is nothing for us on our western shores. The past is dead. We either move forwards or we die with it.” (It isn’t entirely made clear what exactly the issue is here, but I suspect it has something to do with the schism around the Faithful.)
Isuldur looks unhappy, while his sister looks she is sorry for bringing it up.
However, Elendil isn’t prepared to continue on this topic and, with a scoff, returns to the actual one. “And do you think it was easy convincing the sail-master you were up to the task?”
“I never asked you to do that.”
“Yes, you did when you got into a scrap with the Queen’s guards…”
“They started that!”
“… or got thrown out of your horse training.”
“That wasn’t my fault!” Their voices are getting agitated.
“Actually,“ Eärien unwisely interjects, “Isil’s right. That one wasn’t...”
Now Elendil finally loses his temper and raises his voice. “I wasn’t talking to you!”
The establishment falls silent. Just then they are approached by a messenger.
“Pardon me, Captain…”
What?”
The messenger smiles somewhat uncertain, “Message for your daughter, Eärien.”
Without a word Eärien leaves the table and walks of with the messenger. Elendil and Isuldur stare down at the table, regaining their composure.
“I know your doubts, son. But… but can you not trust that I have ever the best interest at heart. The watery part of this world has a way of healing even the deepest of wounds.”
“The way it healed yours?” Isuldur’s barbed return hits a mark.
Elendil looks pained and then lets that bit rest. “In nine days time, when the Sea Trial begins and that ship launches, you will be on it.” Meaning, and don’t you try dodging it.
Isuldur scoffs and is readying a retort, but Eärien saves the moment.
“Father…” She sounds excited. She stands a little removed from the table.
“What is it?”
“I made apprentice. I’ve been accepted to the Builder’s Guild!”
Finally some positive news. He rises and walks towards her. “How? I thought the guild never reconsidered?”
“Isuldur convinced me to reapply,“ Eärien replies softly.
“Isuldur convinced you?” Surprised Elendil turns back to the table, but Isuldur has slipped away.

(Again I took the liberty of describing the dialog as fully as I thought was necessary. There is so much information that gets conveyed or revealed in a good dialog. More so than in action scenes.)

Galadriel pays Halbrand a visit in jail.
How fares the quest for peace?” (Excellent question. Also, the slightly conversational tone and sarcastic wit are unlike the Galadriel we have seen so far.)
Halbrand says he fared better than expected.
“You do not belong on this island.” Galadriel’s conclusion seems about right.
“If there’s one of us that doesn’t belong here, Elf, it’s you.”
“I am not so sure of that anymore. But of one thing I am now certain. You are more than you claim.” (Strictly speaking, he hasn’t claimed anything, except than being from the Southlands. Not what or who he is.)
She presents him a rolled up document. “I found this in the Hall of Lore.”
Halbrand is slow in accepting it. Once opened, it reveals a sheaf with text and another with the drawing of an emblem or shield. It is the same emblem as the medallion he carries around his neck.
“That’s funny. I found this on a dead man.” He doesn’t even try to make it sound believable. “I thought the pattern suited me.” Yes, that part certainly clinched it.
Galadriel weighs her answer. “Many ages ago, a man bearing that mark united the scattered tribes of the Southlands under one banner. The very banner that might unite them again today. Against the evil that now seeks to claim their lands. Your lands, Halbrand.”
He had been listening to this calmly, sitting on his cot, not a bit surprised. And he has no clever retort, for once.
“Your people have no king, for you are him.” (Funny sentence, come to think of it.)
Halbrand chuckles, eventually, but somber. Staring ahead of him he says, “That’s an odd thing to say to a man in a cage.”
“A cage you have landed in because you chafe under the rags of the common.” (Rags of the common? Oi!) “And that armor that ought to rest upon your shoulders, weighs upon your soul.”
He looks down at the drawing and handles the medallion on his neck, than replies, sounding reflective, “Be careful, Elf. The heir to this mark is heir to more than just nobility.”
He stands up and looks at Galadriel intensely. “For it was his ancestor who swore a blood oath to Morgoth. I am not the hero you seek. For it was my family who lost the war.”
“And it was mine who started it.” Galadriel returns his intensity. “Ours was no chance meeting. Not fate, nor destiny, nor any other words Men use to speak of the forces they lack the conviction to name. Ours was the work of something greater. You must see it.” Her tone at the end rises, a bit hopeful.
But no. “All I see is an Elf who won’t put down her sword.”
The pleading turns more direct. “Come with me to Middle-Earth. And together we will redeem both our bloodlines.”
“How? You’re stuck on this island. And you’re still short an army.”
A meaningful silence falls, before Galadriel speaks with a hint of a smile. “That’s all about to change.”

Night has fallen. Queen Regent Míriel climbs the stairs to the top chamber of the tower, carrying a lantern the light the way. She enters the chamber and seats herself, composed, looking earnest. Though the king must be there, we do not get to see him.
“It is here, Father,” Míriel begins, after a sigh, “The moment we feared. The Elf has arrived.”
The fear shimmers in her voice and eyes.

The Harfoot are migrating. With combined effort each family pulls their cart, complete with camouflage, through the fields. Spirits are high, the sing and cheer. Poppy (once again, sorry girl!), an orphan, has her own, smaller cart. She manages to keep it moving over uneven terrain, but with some difficulty. Though she is falling behind just a little, she is even more concerned about the very last cart behind her. She stops to check on the family Brandyfoot.
They are in trouble. Nori and Largo wrestle together to inch their cart forwards, but Largo can’t put any weight on one foot and is forcing his back. He yells in pain and has to stop.
Nori sees Poppy standing there, looking worried. “Go on, Poppy. You’ll fall behind.”
But Poppy is loath to leave them just like that.
“Just give me a moment to get my breath back under me,” Largo pleads, as if that is the problem.

(This breather gives me the opportunity to share some thoughts. I can see that the Harfoot, small and vulnerable that they are, can’t risk to spent too much time in the open while they migrate.
They would have to consider each time whether it is opportune to spent time helping someone traveling who, for whatever reason, can’t take care of themselves, temporarily or permanent. So they made rules about that. Harsh, but necessary to survive as a group. Though you would hope more Harfoot would act as Poppy did, who wasn’t willing to just leave them behind without even a glance back. But then, she had already a lost a family.
The rules do however have a drawback. If Largo is the wheelwright, can they afford losing him? What if the foremost cart breaks a wheel tomorrow, who is going to help them? Acutely, the entire group could be in grave danger.)


Suddenly the cart shudders. They gasp and frightened back off from the cart, which keep trembling, shaking and shuddering. Until it comes free from whatever had kept it being stuck. From behind the cart a giant figure appears. It is The Man Who Fell to Middle-Earth, the Stranger. He is still carrying the sun-shield around his shoulders.
Slowly he comes forward, along the cart, looking uncertain. Nori moves towards him. Largo tries to stop her, but she pulls herself free, taking a few more steps toward the Stranger. He looks hesitant, helpless. And he knows only Nori will and can help him.
He touches his chest, questioningly. “Friend.”
Nori smiles at him. Then she realises something. Turning back to the others her features light up.
“This is it! This is how we keep up with the others, all of us. He helps us and we help him.”
Poppy looks doubtful, while Largo seems to consider it. Marigold is uncertain. The Stranger wears a pleading yet hopeful expression on his grizzled face.
Do either of them have any other option? No, indeed. Soon we see them moving again. They have a way to go to catch up with the others.

(And this brings my thoughts back to that point when the Stranger breaks a stick at more or less the same moment Largo twists his ankle. His fate is now joined, not only with that of Nori, but with her whole family and possibly even with the whole Harfoot group. This is not likely to have happened without Largo getting injured. I am not suggesting that it was somehow inflicted or caused by the Stranger, deliberate or not. But as Galadriel suggested in the previous scene, there may be a greater force at work here.)

We close the episode where it began, with Arondir and the Orcs.
The Elves were waiting for an opportunity to start an escape attempt. It erupts from one moment to the other as Revion uses the full length of his ankle chain to assault an Orc on guard. The Orc loses his protection against the sun and hurries back under the tarp. United the Elves try to break their chains with the tools they have. Perhaps one for one would have worked better or faster. One Elf gets free and climbs up the roots towards the rim of the trench. Nearly at the edge an thrown axe hits him full in the back. He screams and falls.
Now a whole group of alarmed Orcs emerge, but stay just under the shade. They rankle and pull the chains to unbalance the Elves. They in turn pull back, trying to get the Orcs into the full sunlight.
Arondir sees a chance, grabs an axe, runs up the chains, jumps and manages to crash the shade with one mighty strike of his axe. (Huh? #1)
The Orcs, half buried under the crashed shade, scream, hide their eyes and pull back to safer, darker places. The Elves resume their effort to break their chains. Dire situations require desperate measures. The Orcs release the warg.
Soon the warg appears from under the tarp, chained though, like the Elves. Surprisingly, it doesn’t attack anyone closer by, but decides to growl and move towards the Elves. Just a few meters. It is not clear how long its chain exactly is (though it seems to be attached to the roots, not somewhere near the covered part of the trench where it emerges from.) It doesn’t matter. If the warg doesn’t jump at you, you jump at the warg. With disastrous results. Two fatal attempts in, Arondir pulls at the warg’s chain, tricking it into attacking him. But as the warg jumps, Arondir jumps even higher, makes a roll over the warg’s back and lands behind it (Huh? #2). The warg crashes into the roots and finds itself more or less trapped there.
“Free yourself,” Arondir shouts at Revion, while he keeps the warg’s chain under strain, at the same time keeping it busy. Revion retries to break his chain.
The Orcs realise their desperate plan isn’t working as great as they thought it would. They now start pulling Arondir’s chain so he would have let go of the warg. With a stretch he barely manages to free an axe from a root overhead and cuts his own chain, then lets the strain of the pulling Orcs help catapulting him towards them and plant his axe into an Orcs’ skull. (Huh? #3) The Orcs fall down.
At the same that Revion breaks his chain and starts climbing out of the trench, the warg gets free too and chases Revion. Arondir recovers just a moment before the Orcs do, picks up a spear lying next to him and throws at the warg just attacking Revion on the edge of the trench. A perfect throw. (Huh? Well, OK. It wasn’t in slow-motion, so probably not a remarkable action.)
Revion gets up, saves one last look for Arondir, and starts running for the treeline. Arondir has the time to climb up the wall as well, but once able to look over the edge he stops. Revion stands with his back towards him, unmoving, only a dozen steps away. Then he slowly turns, showing an arrow sticking from his chest. (There are a few non-sunlight-fearing Orcs visible in the background.) Another arrow hits him, from a direction perpendicular to the first. He falls.
Now Orcs pull Arondir, the Action-Hero and apparently Last of the Elves, back into the trench. One stands ready to decapitate him.
“Wait! Bring him to Adar.”
It seems Adar is already coming to them. The Orcs chant his name as he slowly walks past them towards the open end of the trench. And though this episode bears his name, we do do not get to see him clearly, except for the prove he exists.

End of the episode.
 

Elckerlyc

"Philosophy will clip an angel's wings."
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Conclusion.

It took me over 9000 words. But if you watch closely, there is much to see or ponder. When encountering dialogues, I tend to describe them nearly in full, to expose all that is packed into it.
(Truth be told, I found I enjoyed doing that. It is a nice exercise as well.) It does has the effect that sometimes this looks more like a transcript of the episode than a synopsis.

This episode was much like the previous ones in that it contained examples of good and lesser writing. Weak points are were illogic or inconsistencies break my attention (but that's a personal ire. And probably sometimes originates in my own lack of insight into what is being suggested.)
On average the acting is excellent and so are the images. You could complain not much is happening so far, but I myself wasn’t expecting much action-wise this early in the series. They take the time to set out the lines, build-up the stages and let events unfold. To me the action, the tensions, the reveals lie in other attributes, such as the dialogues.
I still enjoy our renewed visit to Middle-Earth.
 
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Elckerlyc

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There have been a lot of things in the episodes so far that don't make much sense, or that sense or not I find very irritating.

But there have been (to date) enough things that I find quite appealing to keep me coming back. How long this will last—either the good or the bad—I don't know.

Your synopsis of this episode is excellent so far. (Although, by the way, the name is Poppy, not Polly.)

About the elves being captured by the orcs, it didn't make sense to me at first. But I've had time to think in the weeks since, and have come to a couple of conclusions. 1) The elves, with their keen eyes and ears, must have been careless indeed for this to happen. But they aren't in the Southlands to watch for orcs. They are watching the Southlanders, and looking for signs they are resuming their evil ways. After all this time watching people who do exactly nothing to justify their suspicion, I expect that they have grown careless. Plus, being elves, they were arrogant and perhaps over-confident to begin with. These are Silvan Elves, not Eldar like Galadrial's crew, so less wise and wily because less experienced, and picked for this so-far-boring mission because they were not battle-hardened soldiers. Arondir was a grower before he was picked, and who knows what the others were? So it begins to make a little more sense. 2) I think they can thank the High King in part for what happened to them. Because they weren't watching out for danger. Why? Because they've been told the war is over (presumably this means there are no more orcs or enemies to watch out for) and they've been recalled precisely because there is nothing left for them to be cautious about.* So when they camped during their journey they probably set an inadequate watch made up of elves who were barely paying attention anyway.

I look forward to your next installment.
_______
*I must say, I haven't been liking Gil-gilad because he recalled the watch just when things were heating up down south. He didn't know that, but he did know that the danger wasn't past, and he seemed to think that by ignoring it, by pretending it wasn't there, he could avoid stirring it up. And this is one of the results.
I have no idea where that 'Polly' came from.

You made good points about the Elves. They are now (halfway) redeemed.
Yes, I agree about Gil-galad's actions and motivation. Looking away is never a good idea. But, as the idea of a greater force has now officially entered the story, without his choice to send Galadriel to the Western Lands, she would never have arrived at Nûmenor, nor met Halbrand or whatever else lies still in store for her there.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Yes, that greater force that Galadriel believes in may have influenced some of Gil-gilad's choices, without him knowing it. A pity that the elves of the watchtower were sacrificed to this cause (although it was partly their own fault and, also, if the greater force is Eru Iluvatar, he can be a ruthless Old Testament God, when he decides to take a hand in things).

As for the harfoots, camouflage and flight are no doubt good choices for them in many situations, small and few as they are in a dangerous world. But why have they not developed additional forms of self defense? If a friend or loved one was being attacked by a wolf, any hobbit worth his or her salt would be throwing rocks. (Bilbo was said by Tolkien to have such good aim that every squirrel and rabbit in his vicinity took off at the mere sight of him bending down as if to pick up a stone.) Perhaps the usefulness of developing good aim this was something learned from one of the other halfling tribes, when the three started mixing after they settled the shire. But still, it seems cowardly, not to mention stupid, to have no means of fighting to save yourself and loved ones in perilous circumstances. Obviously, the harfoots, having no permanent location, their community is not adapted to forging knives and short swords, but bows and arrows should not be beyond them, blow-pipes and darts, or—if nothing else—making simple slings or developing an accurate throwing arm. It seems like as a group they are degenerating into laziness and selfishness, and it strikes me that the worst of what they may become is represented by the slothful, malicious Malva. (And the best by Poppy and the Brandyfoots.) May they soon find and settle the land that becomes the Shire and begin to become something better instead!

I have been working for a few days on writing the synopsis to Episode 4, but am less than halfway through. I hope today will be a more productive day and I'll make more headway.
 

Elckerlyc

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May they soon find and settle the land that becomes the Shire and begin to become something better instead!

I have been working for a few days on writing the synopsis to Episode 4, but am less than halfway through. I hope today will be a more productive day and I'll make more headway.
Amen to that!

I just watched episode 4. I liked it a great deal. Success with your synopsis.
I'll move on to episode 5.
 

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