The first two episodes of 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' have landed
Explore "A Shadow of the Past" and "Adrift."
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Return to Middle-Earth. Prime Video's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premiered its first two episodes today, September 2. The series is one of the most expensive fantasy adaptations to date, drawing on elements of J. R. R. Tolkien's associated works to the original Lord of the Rings books and The Hobbit, including appendices for the original trilogy, to recreate Middle-Earth's Second Age.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is gorgeous thus far, thanks in part to the richness of Bear McCreary’s score. The emergence of beloved characters like Galadriel and Elrond, familiar Middle-Earth figures like Durin IV and Gil-Galad, and familiar settings like Khazad-Dûm and more make the series feel rooted in the world Tolkien created.
The series received three of four stars from USA Today's review. We’re recapping the series as it progresses, starting with the first episode, “A Shadow of the Past,” and the second episode "Adrift."
Where can you watch The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power?
You can watch The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power through your Prime Video subscription. Prime Video is included with a general Prime membership, but you can also subscribe to Prime Video as a standalone service. Prime Video is available to Prime customers in more than 200 countries and territories and can be accessed through most web browsers with an internet connection. Prime Video is also available as a streaming app on numerous devices, including iOS and Android, Amazon Fire TV devices, Roku devices, Xbox, PlayStation, smart TVs and more.
You can watch the new Lord of the Rings series as well as other Amazon Originals, popular films and series and more than 100 additional channels (like Starz, HBO Max and Shudder) through your Prime Video subscription.
What happens in the first two episodes of The Rings of Power?
“We had no word for death, for we thought our joys would be unending.” Morfydd Clark's Galadriel narrates the opening sequences of The Rings of Power, in a lovely nod to the opening moments of 2001's The Fellowship of the Ring. We get a glimpse of Galadriel's idyllic youth as a girl in Valinor and meet her older brother, Finrod (Will Fletcher). He crests a hill and reveals a shining city in white stone (possibly Valmar, though it’s never clarified) and Laurelin and Telperion, the Two Trees (which also go unnamed), moments before they wilt and die. Galadriel tells us that Morgoth is the cause, and the Elves go to war, crossing the Sundering Seas and heading to Middle-Earth to engage in battle.
War ensues, for much longer than the Elves anticipate, leaving ruin in its wake. We see Finrod in the thick of the fighting, before he's swarmed by Orcs. Eventually, the Elves defeat Morgoth, but the Orcs, his followers and soldiers, disperse across Middle-Earth, rallying under the banner of a familiar figure: Sauron.
The death of Finrod at Sauron's hand sends Galadriel on a centuries-long quest to find and stop him. In the series' near present, the Second Age, Galadriel serves as an Elven commander. She scales a waterfall with her soldiers in the Northernmost Wastes of Middle-Earth, searching for remnants of Sauron's forces. She presses on despite her group's misgivings until they reach icy ruins, where Galadriel finds and reveals Sauron’s mark, indicating that a trail was left for Orcs to follow. Her crew abandons her after the revelation, setting aside the mission in favor of the presumed peace that exists.
And then, finally: a title card.
Elsewhere in Middle-Earth, we get our first look at the ancestors of the Hobbits of Middle-Earth, the Harfoots. We meet Eleanor 'Nori' Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenaugh), who lives among the wandering Harfoots but dreams of further adventures. In Lindon, home of the High Elves, fans of the films and books meet someone they know well: Elrond (Robert Aramayo), referred to as Herald Elrond (not yet an Elf-lord). He meets with Galadriel, who demands to speak to the High King, Gil-Galad (Mark Ferguson).
At a ceremony honoring Galadriel and her company, the High King proclaims at the days of war are over. The Elven soldiers are granted the honor of returning west, to the Undying Lands of Valinor. After, Galadriel informs Elrond that she will not be traveling with her company, because she believes the threat still exists. “Evil does not sleep, Elrond.” He begs her to leave, and put up her sword.
From Lindon we travel to the Southlands, the Land of Men. We meet Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), a Silvan Elf ranger who lives and works among the humans of the Southlands. The Elves of the region have functioned as protectors, but many of the humans seem to harbor resentment and suspicion toward them—apart from Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi), a healer who seems to share romantic history and closeness with Arondir.
The news arrives that the Elves are pulling away with the war’s end, and Arondir returns to Bronwyn, disobeying the will of his Elven superiors. Their conversation is interrupted by a farmer who arrives to seek help with his cow; when the cow secretes a black, ichorous substance, Bronwyn and Arondir head to Hordern to investigate. Bronwyn’s son Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin)—who notably wears his hair over his ears—finds an artifact marked by Sauron in their absence.
The High King introduces Elrond to Celebrimbor, Lord of Eregion (Charles Edwards), as Galadriel sails toward the Undying Lands. Celebrimbor is the “greatest of Elven-smiths"—in the books, Celebrimbor is the name of the forger of the three rings of power that go to the Elf-lords. As the end of the episode ramps up, a red comet streaks across Middle-Earth, illuminating all the various locations and all the characters we've come across throughout the episode.
Galadriel stands on the Elven ship as the door to Valinor opens, and light pours through. After a moment’s hesitation, she turns away, takes up her blade, and leaps into the sea. As the episode closes, Nori finds the burning crater where the comet landed, and a bearded, unconscious figure at its center.
Episode two gives us more action, somehow—and more monsters. Nori climbs into the crater and pokes the bearded figure, waking him. After he panics and passes out in a flare of magic and fire, Nori and her friend Poppy haul the man, referred to as “The Stranger" (Daniel Weyman) in the credits, off to a hiding place. In the process of caring for him, Nori disregards her duties to her friends and family, and her father, Largo Brandyfoot (Dylan Smith), injures himself.
At sea, Galadriel encounters a group of shipwrecked humans. They allow her onto their raft, at which point they are attacked by a “worm,” a gigantic sea monster. One human escapes and comes after Galadriel—Halbrand (Charlie Vickers). Halbrand reveals that he comes from the Southlands, and that he was pushed out by Orcs. Her mission renewed, Galadriel vows to accompany him to his home to seek out the threat.
The Dwarves are the real highlight of episode two. In Lindon, Celebrimbor and Elrond discuss smithing, and Celebrimbor expresses a desire to embark on a new project, with help. Elrond takes him to Khazad-Dûm, home of the Dwarven kings. It's an exciting reveal for fans, and we meet Durin IV (Owain Arthur), the Dwarven prince. He and Elrond have not seen one another in 20 years, to Durin's fury—Elrond has to propose a challenge in order to gain access to the city-stronghold. They have an uneasy dinner together, as Durin's wife Princess Disa (Sophia Nomvete) attempts to help mend the rift between them. Durin agrees to take Elrond's proposal to his father, the king.
Back in the Southlands, Bronwyn and Arondir find elements of Orc activity in Hordern, where the people have vanished and huge underground rifts indicate that the threat may be moving toward Bronwyn's village. Arondir stays to investigate while Bronwyn races home. Meanwhile, Theo studies the artifact he found, and is interrupted when he hears something moving under the floorboards. In the tunnels, Arondir pursues the threat, and is eventually taken by creatures with clawed hands. Bronwyn and Theo fight and win against an Orc, and Bronwyn uses the Orc's head to convince the villagers to leave and take shelter with the Elves.
At sea, Galadriel and Halbrand are caught in a massive storm, which spawns a truly epic action sequence in which Galadriel nearly drowns; Halbrand saves her. Meanwhile, Nori and Poppy watch as the Stranger tries and fails to summon fireflies—his magic is apparently difficult to wrangle, and he seems troubled by the event.
In Khazad-Dûm, the Dwarven king, Durin III, chats with the prince about Elrond's proposal. It's quickly clear that the tensions between Elrond and Durin IV don't stop at their individual relationship, and that things between the Elves and Dwarves may not be friendly. The two are presented with a box, which opens to reveal a glowing... something, that we'll likely learn more about down the road. We then see another mysterious artifact, as Theo pulls out the Sauron-marked sword hilt he found. As blood from a cut of his pours into it, the sword begins to reform itself.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power airs every Friday, and episode three will debut on Friday, September 9.
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