Episode 3 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power serves evenly more new places and new faces. If you don’t take notes at home, maybe you should start.
If you need a refresher, you can find it here. If not, we’re booking a cruise to Númenor, so get on board. Spoilers ahead.
NÚMENOR — Good news, team: Galadriel is finally out of the water. She wakes up below the deck of the ship. Halbrand brings her food and they joke around. He’s a little cheeky. On deck, the crew eye her suspiciously. They are all very well matched, implying that this is some sort of uniform. One of them approaches her and says “one of the Eldar on my ship.” (Eldar is another name for elves.) He is a captain. Captain Obvious, obviously. She tries to get more information and pretty much all he offers is that they go “home”, which is not insightful.
Anyway, they sail into the most beautiful harbor ever in the middle of this place where I would like to book a holiday, now. Tall statues built into the cliffs stone everything. The weather looks perfect. Forget Mykonos. We don’t need it.
They get off the ship and when Halbrand asks since when do men like him build things like thisGaladriel is like brother. They were elves. While his ancestors were busy paying allegiance to the first dark lord Morgoth, the men who were loyal to the elves and the Valar (remember they are angelic beings) were given a full ass island raised from the sea of rift. Never underestimate the power of good architecture. She tells him that at one point the humans were kindred to them, but eventually Númenor severed the ties.
On a side note, there’s more drama to unpack here from the extras. If I may gloss over a bunch of stuff in a way that’s sure to get me some angry e-mail: The Valar have forbidden men from sailing further west to Valinor, which means men must remain mortal—which should have been a good thing to begin with. Even a gift. In time, the Númenórean kings grew angry at this and eventually there was a schism, leaving only a group of men in the west of Númenor who remained loyal to the Elves and the Valar.
In any case. Halbrand tells Galadriel not to oppose anyone, which…. Just stick with it. They end up in front of Queen Regent Miriel and King Farazon. Immediately, the vibrations are turned off. Galadriel is proud and brave and seeks passage back to Middle-earth, while also pulling some elf rank for them. Halbrand does some fancy footwork to try to be nice. They give them three days with some light supervision.
Elsewhere, we catch up with Captain Obvious’s son, Isildur — a name you MIGHT RECOGNIZE. (For what it’s worth, Captain Obvious’s real name is Elendil.) Isildur is on a ship practicing with the rest of the lacrosse team or whatever when one of them almost falls overboard. He basically saves him. Later the training continues on the beach where the instructor guy makes them chant “THE SEA IS ALWAYS RIGHT”, they just made us chant at the bookstore I worked at after school. Weird.
After class, more exposure happens. There’s something called a sea trial (perhaps the Glee equivalent of regionals?) and if they pass, it’s only four years until they become officers. Then: Isildur’s sister Eärien appears with a horse.
Back at the palace, Miriel puts on a show of her own, talking about how the white tree outside is losing its petals. I think Miracle Grow would do the job, but she says it’s a living reminder that the eyes and judgment of the Valar are upon them. She asks Elendil if he believes that and he is a bit like that nah. She’s a little suspicious of him though because apparently his name means “elven friend” and he’s from the West. And he brought an elf to town which is a failure. So now making sure Galadriel doesn’t bother the crap anymore will be his problem.
Meanwhile, our girl Galadriel plays 50 ways to leave her lover, except the lover is Númenor and there’s only one way and that’s to steal the skiff (Biff?). Elendil finds her anyway and she offers to stab him.
Elendil is undeterred and bursts into Papa Mode telling her that she reminds him of his children and even kicks some elf. Questions are asked and eventually they ride west to where he is from – a place less hostile to elves – to visit the courthouse.
The Hall of Law is basically a whole bunch of scrolls. They start investigating and find out a few alarming things. Remember that sigil? It’s not a sigil, it’s a map of the Southlands. Turns out there’s a whole plan to turn this area into an area where evil can essentially live, laugh, love. This will be brought by Morgoth’s successor Sauron, if Morgoth is defeated.
We stand as an organized dark lord.
If you’re wondering where Halbrand stands in all of this, he’s trying really hard to figure out how he can stay on Númenor because, as stated earlier, really nice. But there’s some red tape, because he can’t get a job without some type of golden coat of arms.
Later, he’s busy eating mussels when some local mutts start giving him crap about coming in with “the shelf” and drinking their beer and eating their food like a plate of seafood is going to put the island in economic trouble.
More dudes join in because even in Tolkien’s verse, dining room bullies are universal. Halbrand buys the next round, gets everyone drunk, and steals one guy’s crest. Unfortunately, they weren’t drunk enough and forced Halbrand into an alley. In a surprising twist, Halbrand absolutely destroys them. The guards caught him anyway, spears drawn.
That evening Elendil dines with Isildur and Earien. Isildur tells his father that he might postpone the sea trial. He probably wants to spend a year finding himself while traveling through Europe.
“Oh good god,” Isildur says, stepping heavily into Tata Mode. Then a message arrives for Eärien. She leaves and Elendil tries to gently parent Isildur until Isildur gets cocky and Elendil tells him his bum will be on the ship for a sea trial. Period.
Eärien returns and says that she has been accepted into the builders guild. She had apparently been rejected before, but Isildur convinced her to apply again. Elendil is like Isildur, that screw up? And when he looks back across the table, his son is predictably gone, most likely listening to Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard on his iPod Mini.
Elsewhere, Galadriel visits Halbrand in prison and looks like lol what happened to you. She also tells him that she knows there’s more to him than he said. In fact, she has the scroll to prove it. It shows a symbol that matches the one he wore around his neck. Many moons ago, a guy with the same feature united the scattered tribes of the Southland. Maybe — just maybe, it could happen again.
She says, “Your people have no king because you are him.” And: “You rub yourself under ordinary cloths.” I mean, same, but some of us are on a Target budget, you know what I mean?
Finally, he drops the charade: “The heir of this mark is the heir of more than nobility, for his ancestor gave a blood oath to Morgoth.”
Ah yes. Another reluctant secret royal with cheekbones and family baggage to redeem.
RHOVANION — One more day until the Harfoot migration, it’s festival time. Everyone is celebrating, but Nori’s parents, Mum and Dad Brandyfoot are stressed because his ankle is still broken and if he can’t carry the pram he will be left behind.
Nori is less focused on her family’s fate and more focused on getting to Sadoc’s book so she can find the stars the Stranger put in the firefly display. But Poppy has to be a wet blanket about it again.
“I don’t want to help him. He’s a sweet-natured giant who sometimes kills fireflies,” says Poppy, and TBH, she’s not wrong. They argue and Nori blackmails Poppy to look after her while she steals the book.
Back at the celebration, Sadoc gives a small speech, including how in previous migrations some Harfoots were left behind, and how if anyone is left behind this time, they will be carried with them… in their hearts and memories. Which looks… dark. Like really fucking dark. If you’ve been wondering if Harfoots have a dark side, the answer is yes. He reads a whole list of Harfoots who have met various evil fates such as landslides and deep snow. And the bees? Including, it seems, Poppy’s whole hug damily.
I would now like to issue an official apology to Poppy for calling her a wet blanket.
Somewhere in the background, the Stranger appears and swipes the page of stars that Nori took from Sadok’s book… and somehow manages to set the page on fire as she tries to read it. Stop spinning, boy. But no. He bursts into the celebration and drives everyone involved in the webs crazy.
“Nori?” He asks. Arrested.
Sadoc takes her to task in front of everyone. One Harfoot says their laws say anyone who breaks the rules will be “de-caravanned,” which is Harfoot corporate-speak for letting go. Sadoc says they can stay, but their stroller will be in the back of the station wagon, which is bad news because of Brandyfoot’s dad’s injury.
“You might as well have written our name in the book of those left behind,” her mom says.
The next morning the migration began. The Brandyfoots are already on the fight bus. Or a battle cart, I should say. Pops is there breaking his back when the stranger shows up in a frenzy.
“A friend,” Nori declares. She suggests that a stranger can help them push the cart. So the stranger brings up the rear and they go on their Harfoot way.
Can you dig it?
SOUTHLANDS — When we last left Arondir, he was being dragged into the underground tunnels of the Southlands. It should come as no surprise that the orcs were behind it, and they’re still dragging him around. He’s in some weird work camp/trench covered with a shabby canopy. An orc says something about someone named Adar. They tied Arondir in chains and put him in the dugout. He quickly recognizes some of his elven companions such as Guard Revion and another named Médhor.
They take care of some exposition here, like mentioning that orcs don’t like the sun. Clear. Whatever these orcs are, they give off albino snake vibes and it’s unpleasant. Also: they seem to be looking for something — maybe a weapon. Revion tells Médhor and Arondir that they must get out of the trench and take a good look at the tree line to escape at the first opportunity.
Then comes the point of contention between the orcs and elves (besides the fact that they are imprisoned.) The orcs want to cut down a great old tree and Revion, bless his heart, tries to advocate for the tree.
In short, Médhor ends up dead in this whole drama.
Nevertheless, the prisoners revolt. Someone unleashes a warg, which, to be honest, is not an ideal turn of events. Not for nothing, the tree gets a little helping of poetic justice. Revion climbs out of the trench and we see that the entire environment is destroyed. It’s the last day of Isengard. He was shot dead with an arrow, and Arondir was dragged back down into the trench. Orcs will cut his throat when one says, “wait, bring him to Adar.” I sit down at the computer and say “dun dun duuuuuun.”