“Rings of Power” Raises the Stakes before the Season Finale

By Janie Walenda

After the intense highs of last week’s episode, “Rings of Power” episode seven settled down while still moving the plot forward. This was how I would like most episodes of “Rings of Power” to be – I didn’t need 45 minutes of action, but I did like seeing the plot moving forward.     

The aftermath of Mordor’s creation was shot in a beautifully haunting way. I loved how “Rings of Power” didn’t hold back in its portrayal of war and destruction, while not being overly gratuitous with violence. Some of the imagery in this opening scene made my heart drop, and the red ash made the scene incredibly eerie.

The visual elements of the show continue to be stunning

Galadriel and Theo weren’t a duo I saw coming, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The implied character growth for both of them was excellent, but I didn’t think the show did a great job portraying it.

On the surface, the Galadriel of last week seemed completely different to the Galadriel of this week. Of course, watching the earth around you being burnt and turned to ash might change your perspective.

I thought, between this event and her conversation with Adar last week, Galadriel started to realize how deeply evil has rooted itself in her heart. Her decision to return to the Elves, as well as giving Theo her sword, hopefully reflected her growth as a character.

We also got the first mention of Galadriel’s husband, Celeborn. I liked this revelation, as it put a new perspective on Galadriel’s character. I disliked how she’s been portrayed as a young, impetuous commander. But knowing that she was married emphasized that she was older than she looked and had experience few of our other characters did. I think it’s very obvious that Celeborn was still alive, and I look forward to seeing him incorporated into the show.

Speaking of characters who were definitely alive, I didn’t understand why they chose Isildur to be the fake-out death. Besides Galadriel and Elrond, he was one of the most well-known characters on the show, and we knew that he couldn’t die.

Because of this near-indestructible plot armor, it was hard to be emotionally invested in this plot point at all. However, I did tear up a bit when Elendil turned his back, and the camera revealed that he was holding back tears during his conversation with Mìriel and Galadriel.

Perhaps this was a cruel thing to say, but I was a little disappointed that all of our main characters made it out alive. While I’d be the first person to be upset at one of my favorite character’s deaths, I think “Rings of Power” would benefit from a smaller cast and from the emotional weight a few character deaths would bring.

The Dwarven mines were as atmospheric as ever

Our other main plot line in this episode was the Mithril plot line. To start with the positives, Owain Arthur as Durin stole the episode. His internal conflict, anchored by his desire to help Elrond, was the most compelling emotional plot of the episode.

The main plotline of the Mithril mines was honestly confusing. The Mithril mines in Tolkien’s writings were important because they made the Dwarves insanely wealthy, which led to the Dwarves’ greed and eventual downfall.

I could still see several possibilities for “Rings of Power” to go down this road, but I could also see the show taking the easy road out by using the Balrog as the cause of the destruction of Khazad-dûm.

I thought of this plotline, and the entire show, as an oddly shaped puzzle piece. It’s possible that it would slide right into the puzzle and be a satisfying plot thread, but it’s just as likely that the showrunners would try to push it in, and it won’t fit.

“Rings of Power” is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Janie Walenda is a sophomore Global Business major and the A&E editor for Cedars. She is passionate about musicals, animation, and cold brew.

Images Courtesy of Prime Video

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