Where Episode One, ‘Shadows of the Past’, and Episode Two, ‘Adrift’, felt like the first chapter and set-up for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, now with Episode Three, ‘Adar’ we begin to move into the meat of the series. And there’s plenty of drama and a good serving of action as we settle into the story of the Second Age of Middle Earth.
Arondir finds himself a captive; Galadriel and Halbrand explore a legendary kingdom; Elendil is given a new assignment; Nori faces consequences.
After the narrative exposition of ‘Shadows of the Past’ and ‘Adrift’ it now feels like we’re properly getting into the meat of the story of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. And there’s a lot of drama present in Episode Three, ‘Adar’. Director Wayne Yip helps to extend the scale of the series, by ramping up the action and intensity, and audiences can expect some solid excitement, along with a good bit of hack and slash for good measure. Exotic new lands, broad new characters, and a new focused narrative all start to make their way into ‘Adar’, and the pace picks up quickly.
The episode’s monumental moment comes as Galadriel and Halbrand find themselves in the domain of the mighty island kingdom of Númenor. Bold in power and beautiful in its scale, Númenor is an almost Atlantean-like realm of mass seapower, which with its mighty ships and stoic navy holds sway over the oceans of the Sundering Seas. Its design bears a similar style to Venetian-Renaissance quality, and its appearance in the series is utterly breathtaking to witness. The significance of Númenor is high in Rings of Power, as we are introduced to important characters of Tolkien’s Legendarium. These include the stalwart and dutiful Elendil ( Lloyd Owen), a Númenórean naval captain of lost royal blood; and his two children, the high-spirited Isildur (Maxim Baldry) and the inquisitive Eärien (Ema Horvath). Each has an important part to play in this growing narrative, and their introductions, along with the revelation of Halbrand’s past lead to plenty of drama.
Along with the growing drama faced by Galadriel and Halbrand and the discovery of a chilling intention, we also return to the migration of the Harfoots, and a shocking revelation places Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) in big trouble. Faced with the hardships of a bold decision, it’s in this moment where we see themes that were close to Tolkien’s heart, such as the need for friends, comradeship, and family come into focus. It’s these feelings that will have a major implication on the story moving forward. This trust that Nori places in The Stranger is also rewarded, and their journey together is only to further intertwine as we move forward into The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
However, the crux of ‘Adar’ for me involved the warrior Silvan elf Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) who finds himself a prisoner enslaved to the brutal whips of the Orcish threat once thought lost to time. Put to work excavating a trench to help shield these foul beasts from the burning rays of the sun, Arondir through wit, cunning and strength, crafts a plan to escape and the action is ramped all the way up. Director Wayne Yip showcases a fair bit of gore in Arondir’s battle, and Córdova proves himself to be a strong hero and action star in the making. This fight scene between the captured Silvan Elves and the monstrous Orcs is a greater serving of the action of this series to unfold, and let it be said that these battles are filled with cold steel, and they cut hard.
But Arondir’s fight is left in vain as though valiant he is, is soon brought towards the terrifying presence of the Orc’s revered leader, the one whom they whisper in a sinister tone, ‘Adar’. Although we get a brief glimpse of the mysterious Adar, we are not permitted to his true guise, but it’s evident that this is a dark and dangerous foe, whose name translated into Tolkien’s Elvish translates to the word ‘Father’. And with his presence, a new evil has now arisen in the world of Middle Earth.
The tension and excitement are rising in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and we’ve now arrived at a moment of critical importance as the villains of the series began to take form, and the drama builds to a new level.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power streams on Prime Video.
Image: Prime Video