I watched an episode of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” with my parents last weekend, and even my dad, who owns a copy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Silmarillion” with passages underlined, was confused. I had to admit that it’s very hard to follow if you don’t have a deep basis in the multiple-era-spanning lore.
If you’re not familiar with the world of Middle-earth and its history, remembering what is happening in each thread, who is who, and where you are is difficult, which in turn makes it harder to connect with the characters. (It doesn’t help that so many of the names are similar.) This may not have been the best approach for bringing in casual fans and new viewers. It’s very easy to get confused and just give up.
This week, however, “The Rings of Power” didn’t try to follow everyone. Though we may have missed out on seeing the dwarves and the harfoots, we got to spend a good amount of time with some of our main characters. For instance, we learned about the darkness in Galadriel and watched as it twisted her into someone without compassion. In brief doses, she can sometimes seem simply cold. With more time to let Galadriel’s scenes breathe, we can really get a sense of how her brother’s death broke something in her. We see how his line about having to touch the darkness to really see the light sort of codified in her head, becoming an obsession. It’s heartbreaking when you watch what it does to her, and we haven’t really gotten that chance before now.