Warning: The following contains spoilers from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’s first two episodes. Proceed accordingly.
Galadriel (played by Morfydd Clark) had a shot at heaven and chose not to take it? That’s a bold move.
In The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power‘s double-episode premiere on Thursday, we met the elven commander in the northern reaches of Middle-earth searching for any last remnants of the Dark Lord Morgoth or his apprentice Sauron. But with an exhausted crew and the High King Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker) gently urging her to finally put an end to her mission, she returned to the elven capital of Lindon with the hopes of convincing Gil-galad to allow her to continue with a fresh new crew.
What Galadriel received instead was a one-way ticket to Valinor — the heavenly realm in the far west where elves live in eternal bliss. It took some convincing from her friend Elrond (Robert Aramayo), but the future ruler of Lothlórien accepted the high honor. As she approached her homeland, however, she couldn’t ignore the gut feeling that evil was still out there. She then leapt off the boat as it crossed into Valinor, effectively turning down a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“Galadriel’s made a big move in not going to [Valinor], and I think that’s really a big part of her character,” Clark tells TVLine. “She doesn’t feel like she deserves it, and she knows how good Valinor is, which makes it even sadder. She knows how beautiful it can be there, but she doesn’t feel like she’s worthy of it.”
Alone in the Sundering Seas, Galadriel encountered a mysterious man named Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) on a raft with other human companions who had just survived an attack on their ship. The culprit, a massive sea worm, returned to finish the job. As the last remaining survivors, Galadriel and Halbrand were forced to rely on each other, which is a position the elf is not accustomed to being in.
“Hal meets her when she’s as vulnerable as an elf, and her particularly, could ever be,” Clark explains. “There’s an unexpected dynamic for her, that she needs help.”
It’s also a strange situation for Halbrand, who comes from a place that isn’t particularly fond of the elves.
“I think there’s a bit of subconscious, or maybe conscious, satisfaction for Halbrand when he sees an elf in need,” Vickers shares. “He has a very complex relationship with the elves because his people in the Southlands are being ruled by the elves. Seeing an elf be a bit weak and need his help is quite satisfying.”
As the pair continues their journey together, Galadriel “reveals some things to him, illuminates some things about his past that he might look upon his life in a different way, his future in a different way having met her,” Vickers notes. “It kind of unfolds from there.”
But Halbrand wasn’t the only one to make a new friend in the premiere episodes. Harfoots Poppy (Megan Richards) and Nori (Markella Kavenagh) rushed to the fiery spot where The Stranger (Daniel Weyman) crash-landed after falling from the sky. While the more curious Nori delighted in helping the mystery being with clothing, food and shelter, Poppy was apprehensive about involving themselves with something that went against the Harfoots’ strict rules of minding their own business.
“The Harfoot encampment is very much rules, rules, rules. They have a specific set of rules in order to keep everybody safe, even though they move through the seasons,” Megan Richards, who plays Poppy, explains. “Nori is a little troublemaker. She likes to explore.”
Poppy, on the other hand, is “definitely the most cautious of the two, and she doesn’t see this coming at all,” Richards adds. “But there’s something that’s drawing her towards it, as well. That’s definitely what the season is about. It’s that whole conflict and contrast. They end up in a lot of mischief, a little bit of trouble and a lot of adventure. It’s very exciting.”
What did you make of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’s double-episode premiere? Grade the episodes below, and then let us know your thoughts in the comments.