Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is just some 14 weeks away from our screens and official promotional imagery remains slim on the ground — a series of 23 poster images, a teaser trailer and a handful of promo photos.
However, that hasn’t stopped freelance artist Alyssa Hope Wise from crafting this fabulous Galadriel cosplay.
Alyssa, who has a background in SFX makeup and costume fabrication, first debuted the cosplay in early April at Wondercon 2022 in Anaheim.
She recorded the entire process for the construction of the chest plate, and has turned it into a 10-minute how-to turtorial for would-be fellow cosplayers as well as for curious fans who just want to see exactly how it’s done. Check it out below!
She says the full cosplay took 90 to 100 hours to complete, with a solid third spent on sanding.
“If I could do it again, I would probably have tried to use my electric sander more than I did; I was worried it would be too rough on the armor but after 30+ hours of sanding I no longer cared about that,” she says.
“But overall the process worked out really well for me and I’m sure I’ll try it again for future projects!”
‘The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.’ These words, spoken by Haldir in The Fellowship of the Ring, were undoubtedly true for Tolkien, having lived through two world wars; and each generation in turn lives through their own days of peril and uncertainty – and hopes to find love growing greater.
Recently, TheOneRing.net received a beautiful message from someone in Ukraine; we were inspired by their acknowledgement of the comfort they find in Tolkien’s writing, and in Peter Jackson’s films. With their permission, we are sharing their words here:
I am in Ukraine. I am want to thanks J. R. R. Tolkien and Sir Peter Robert Jackson for my happy childhood. I am thanks for them showing me courage, hope, and unity against of Mordor. Today for me as any time before, I understand why heroes from The Lord of the Rings fight so hard with sacrifice for freedom of Middle-earth and for freedom of all what is alive including nature (Ents). I am pray for peace in Ukraine and for free world. “May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” — Galadriel.
The writer also reminded us that ‘Courage is found in unlikely places’ (Gildor). We wish light in dark places for all, and are grateful for the comfort and fellowship we find in Tolkien’s writing, and in the fandom. ‘…hope remains while all the Company is true’ – may we all ‘Be of good hope!’
You’ve probably noted that in the various promo imagery we’ve seen, Galadriel bears a star-shaped emblem. It’s most prominent on her breastplate, but in the teaser trailer we also see the device used as shoulder pins.
Is it some sort of heraldic device? If so, is it meant to be a personal device? Is it one for elves in general? Specifically for Noldorin elves? Or a particular branch of Noldor?
As I noted in my analysis of the Rings of Power Sun Sword poster, Tolkien developed a codified system of heraldic devices — examples of which can be found on the covers of the first UK edition of the Silmarillion. Many key characters involved in events of the First Age have their own associated device that they — and those of their house — employed.
Galadriel is not among those, though. We have no Galadriel device for direct comparison. Instead we must look at those of her near — and far — relatives.
Finarfin’s eight-rayed lozenge-shaped device (see above middle-left) offers a lot of similarity. However, the rays do not taper in the same way as the devices Galadriel bears in The Rings of Power material. That being said, there is an intriguing note that “this device was also used by Finarfin’s heirs, and apparently especially Finrod (though he was also given another device).”
This becomes more curious since in The Rings of Power teaser trailer we see Finrod wearing the exact same device as Galadriel in a scene where he and other elves battle desperately against a host of orcs. Could this device be a House of Finarfin thing?
Well, we also see in the same scene that some of Finrod’s equally embattled retinue sport the self-same device. Now, one might observe that folk of Finrod’s own house might bear the same device. Absolutely, they might.
The same device is also present on the shoulder of the as-yet-unidentified fellow caught up in an unfortunate encounter with some kind of troll in the Amazon teaser trailer. Is that another member of Finarfin’s house? Could it be Angrod, or Aegnor? As yet, we don’t know for sure.
One also observes the exact same device on the waist of the attire of an individual dressed in gold on one of the The Rings of Power teaser posters and in the teaser trailer. We believe this individual to be Gil-galad.
Now, Gil-galad is not of Finarfin’s house; he wouldn’t wear Finarfin’s device. In fact, Tolkien gives Gil-galad his very own device — one of white stars set on a blue field (or sky). This seems to be a strong argument against any conclusion that it’s Finarfin’s device. It seems we must search elsewhere for better answers.
UPDATE: please check the bootnote at the end for an addendum on Gil-galad’s parentage.
Arguably, Eärendil’s sign might be something they could all unite under — if it matched. The Silmarillion recounts how he become a symbol of hope for all:
Now when first Vingilot was set to sail in the seas of heaven, it rose unlocked for, glittering and bright; and the people of Middle-earth beheld it from afar and wondered, and they took it for a sign, and called it Gil-Estel, the Star of High Hope. And when this new star was seen at evening, Maedhros spoke to Maglor his brother, and he said: ‘Surely that is a Silmaril that shines now in the West?’
Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath, The Silmarillion
Some support for this perspective can be gleaned from one of the Vanity Fair “First Look” images. In the one that seems to show Galadriel and Elrond re-uniting in Lindon, there is a large tapestry in the background. This tapestry shows a stylised rayed star very similar to those worn by Galadriel, Gil-galad, Finrod and others.
This tapestry also depicts a ship or a boat, seemingly travelling toward, or guided by, the rayed star. Although probably a representation of a ship of the elves taking the journey to Valinor (it’s not yet the Straight Road because this is still the Second Age), the effect of the tapestry still feels evocative of the Star of High Hope mentioned above.
However, the heraldry of Eärendil is a six-pointed star, not one with eight points. I guess elven representations of Gil-Estel could be different — but the fact remains that what we see is just not Eärendil’s emblem.
There is one star that does seem a better visual fit: the Star of Fëanor that we encounter in the Lord of the Rings on The Doors of Durin at the west-entrance to Khazad-dûm.
‘There are the emblems of Durin!’ cried Gimli. ‘And there is the Tree of the High Elves!’ said Legolas. ‘And the Star of the House of Fëanor,’ said Gandalf.
A Journey in the Dark, The Lord of the Rings
Like the emblem of Finarfin, there is a resemblance: eight rays and a distinct tapering. Perhaps more resemblance because of the tapering. Yet, it is also not exact: the four ordinal points are noticeably shorter than those we see on the device Tolkien created for The Doors of Durin.
There are additional (non-visual) contradictions.
Galadriel wouldn’t wear a symbol of the House of Fëanor. First, she’s of Finarfin’s house and would use his badge first. Second, Tolkien observes in Unfinished Tales that Galadriel had an abiding dislike of Fëanor. It’s that simple.
Just as importantly, Gil-galad wouldn’t either — not even as some symbol of solidarity. That’s because, throughout the Second Age, Gil-galad is the (undisputed) high-king of the Noldor in Middle-earth. The House of Fëanor is subsidiary to him in the Noldorin hierarchy.
Maedhros begged forgiveness for the desertion in Araman; and he waived his claim to kingship over all the Noldor, saying to Fingolfin: ‘If there lay no grievance between us, lord, still the kingship would rightly come to you, the eldest here of the house of Finwë, and not the least wise.’ [and] even as Mandos foretold the House of Fëanor were called the Dispossessed, because the over-lordship passed from it, the elder, to the house of Fingolfin, both in Elendë and in Beleriand.
Of the Return of the Noldor, The Silmarillion
Unfortunately, none of the options above fits neatly — every option creates unsatisfactory questions.
If this is the case, this prompts the question: why the lack of a good match?
Likely, the answer simply boils down to the intellectual property rights that Amazon holds for its TV series. (You might note that PJ’s Gil-Galad actually bears his Tolkienian heraldic symbol. The reason is probably down to a difference in the rights available.)
The showrunners have clearly stated (via Vanity Fair) that Amazon bought rights “solely to The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, the appendices, and The Hobbit.” Nothing else.
That would place all the heraldic devices that Tolkien crafted out of reach — except the Star of Fëanor. But the showrunners are likely well-aware of the lore-clash of directly applying the Fëanorian star unilaterally.
Instead, it appears they’ve opted for something similar, but not exact — a generic derivation that they hope is symbolically evocative of elven heraldry and the elven reverence for Varda as the Lady of the Stars without directly contradicting one of the more obscure parts of the Legendarium (I love this stuff, but let’s face it — it is super-obscure).
That’s what I suggest is most likely occurring here.
Have they succeeded with that? On this point, I’m not convinced. Yes, it’s evocative — without a doubt. Yet the design still seems a little too similar to Fëanor’s star. I think it also leaves their hands tied when it comes to Celebrimbor. Because Celebrimbor should be the one using the Fëanorian star. Now, if they do try to replicate that, precisely as shown in The Lord of the Rings, will it even look different enough for us to notice?
BOOTNOTE: AlexP reminded me of something that I’d forgotten: Gil-galad’s parentage is complicated. The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales as edited by Christopher Tolkien state that Gil-galad is the son of Fingon. Later, in preparing The History of Middle-earth, CJRT decided this was an editorial error and that his father’s final decision was that Gil-galad was a son of Orodreth. At the same time, Tolkien switched Orodreth to being a son of Angrod.
What does that mean?
Well, if Amazon were to leave the parentage of Gil-galad implied rather than stated (CJRT himself felt he should have, in retrospect left it obscure in The Silmarillion), then maybe Tolkien Estate would allow it. All three wearers of the badge — Galadriel, Gil-galad and, we presume, our unknown troll fighter — become Finarfin’s heirs. As such it could be argued that it’s fitting for them to use his symbol for the reasons discussed above. It could be a gesture of family solidarity. Even the star we see in the tapestry in the Gala-Elrond image is a fit, because Lindon is the heart of Gil-galad’s kingdom.
About the author: Staffer Demosthenes has been involved with TheOneRing.net since 2001, serving first as an Associate News Editor, then as Chief News Editor during the making of the Hobbit films. Now he focuses on features and analysis.The opinions in this article are his own and do not necessarily represent those of TheOneRing.net and other staff.
Acknowledgements: I got a lot of assistance from keen-eyed folks on our Discord in pulling this together. So in no particular order (and apologies to anyone else who contributed that I’ve missed), many thanks to DurinDeathless, LadyNico, Lasswen, AlexP, SirSquatch, Sid and Sir Skrilldor.
If you have a Tolkien/Middle-earth inspired poem you’d like to share, then send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. One poem per person may be submitted each month. Please make sure to proofread your work before sending it in. TheOneRing.net is not responsible for poems posting with spelling or grammatical errors.
There’s a particular letter in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien where Tolkien writes about his experience of dealing with a proposal from Forrest J. Ackerman to make an animated film of The Lord of the Rings.
Within that letter, there’s one revealing sentence.
Stanley U. &: I have agreed on our policy : Art or Cash. Either very profitable terms indeed ; or absolute author’s veto on objectionable[my emphasis] features or alterations.
Letter #202, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.
The deal never happened, though Tolkien did subsequently sell film rights in 1969 to United Artists under the looming pressure of inheritance taxes.
These days, I suspect there’s no such pressure. More, the “Middle-earth universe” is seen as a proven starter for the world’s media companies. I think that has given Tolkien Estate leverage: the power to demand not just Cash, but Art as well.
In the context of the recent Vanity Fair feature, this explains not just the starting price for the Tolkien Estate’s rights auction a “gobsmacking” $200 million, but the documented demand for input into the direction of the series. In an early, seemingly unauthorised, interview, Tom Shippey described this “input” as a “veto power”.
It also says something about the power of Middle-earth that even with that eye-watering starting price and the attachment of certain pre-conditions, Netflix, HBO and Amazon all put their hand up and bid.
Still, even if Tolkien Estate was willing to put its foot down to get that capital-A Art, it was always going to take an equally ambitious (and well-resourced) studio to come through with the goods.
Despite Vanity Fair’s assurances (it’s pretty stunning that they’ve seen the first three episodes already), it’s too early for us ordinary punters to declare The Rings of Power a sure bet — in either the commercial sense, or the Art sense.
However, Vanity Fair’s first look under the bonnet shows there’s no lack of promise: the images are intriguing and suggestive, sets and costumes look suitably spectacular, and the production staff are making the right sort of noises about respecting the integrity of the source material.
But a show with the resources of The Rings of Power should (by default) have stunning production values and a real, lived-in feel. That’s just a given.
And it’s politic for showrunners to make the right noises (I would, too). The question is, can we identify instances of real substance to back those noises? Has the objectionable — as Tolkien might have seen it — been excised?
An Atlantis-like Númenor, the full glory of Khazad-dûm —- that vast dwarven metropolis carved out of the bones of the Misty Mountains, the puissance of the elven smith Celebrimbor, whose skills with metals and magic are crucial to the forging of the rings are all lore-friendly inclusions.
They’re also easy wins.
In a way, so too is the centrality of Galadriel.
Galadriel is a key player in the Second Age (fighting the long defeat, as she expresses in The Lord of the Rings). After the publication of that book, Tolkien increasingly came to view her as one of the most remarkable elves to play a role in Middle-earth’s history, and his later essays and notes paint her as an increasingly exceptional individual. She’s also incredibly peripatetic throughout the Second Age — wandering from Lindon, into Eriador and eventually south to Eregion, under the Misty Mountains to Lórien, back across to Imladris (Rivendell) and finally the south coasts of what would later become Gondor.
During all that, she’s a key participant in events. She joins Gil-galad to reject the approaches of Annatar, alternately collaborating and at loggerheads with Celebrimbor (and later advising him to hide Nenya, Vilya and Narya), before strengthening then-Lórinand (later Lórien). Unfinished Tales states that she views the dwarves of Khazad-dûm “with the eye of a commander”.
That bespeaks a driven individual — and this is something that the teasers from Vanity Fair support. I want to see lots of ambition from Galadriel — someone with just as much inner-belief and determination to make things happen as Fëanor, but with (even at the start of the Second Age) a touch more wisdom. I think you should too.
As showrunner McKay Patrick tells Vanity Fair: “This young hot-headed Galadriel… how did she ever become that elder stateswoman [who we meet in Lórien in The Lord of the Rings]?” The awareness of that difference is present; if the show is able to intelligently show this change, it will have taken a large step toward something that accords with J.R.R. Tolkien’s own musings.
Reassuring also is the gradual emergence of the Second Age threat — one that’s recognised by some, but not by others. After all, up until the forging of the One, Sauron (as Annatar) uses the velvet glove, not the iron fist. Very late writings recently published in The Nature of Middle-earth even suggest that his minions mocked him behind his back for this.
Again, direct statements from the McKay seem to back this: “We didn’t want to do a villain-centric thing. We wanted it [the first season] to be about introducing these worlds and the peoples who dwell in them and the major heroes and characters.”
And what is potentially one of the most contentious decisions — to include Hobbits as “Harfoots” — accords somewhat with both Gandalf’s description of Gollum’s folk (yes, I know those are, more correctly, Stoors): “a clever-handed and quiet-footed little people.”
And a note in the prologue chapter of The Lord of the Rings, “Concerning Hobbits” details that “even in ancient days [Hobbits] were, as a rule, shy of ‘the Big Folk’, as they call us, and now they avoid us with dismay and are becoming hard to find … [and] they possessed from the first the art of disappearing swiftly and silently, when large folk whom they do not wish to meet come blundering by…”
Is this one decision Tolkien Estate has weighed in on? Regardless, much will hinge on the execution of the concept.
Set against the above is the compression of the timeline that the showrunners discuss. First, kudos to the production staff for being clear on this. In fact, it recalls Peter Jackson’s bald statements that his films would include no Scouring of the Shire — a very real cause of fan angst at the time. (I still think that writing decision undersold some of the character development of the four key hobbits, but, weighing in at 201 minutes, PJ’s The Return of the King is already very long.)
I get the fact that it’s probably really difficult for any television series to traverse a 2,500-year history in a way that is not choppy and disjointed, and remains compelling viewing. Being able to see characters such as, say, Isildur and Ar-Pharazôn across a span of 5 seasons allows a great deal more screentime (and thus development and insight) than would be possible in a couple of seasons. A strictly linear structure would introduce them only at near the very conclusion of the entire series.
Still, I would have liked (as many speculated before the Vanity Fair article came out) to have seen Amazon be really daring and attempt to run two split, simultaneous timelines — one leading up to the forging of the One (and Sauron’s defeat by the elves and Númenor’s fleet), and another focused on Akallabêth and, perhaps, the War of the Last Alliance (also culminating in Sauron’s defeat, this time by the elves and the Dúnedain of Arnor and Gondor).
Doubtless, it would be demanding on the audience. But if it worked, it would have been amazing.
It’s worth noting, though, that J.R.R. Tolkien in his appraisal of the Morton Grady Zimmerrnan’s 1958 script made specific reference to his displeasure with time contraction of events.
There he states that:
I fail to see why the time-scheme should be deliberately contracted. It is already rather packed in the original, the main action occurring between Sept. 22 and March 25 of the following year. The many impossibilities and absurdities which further hurrying produces might, I suppose, be unobserved by an uncritical viewer; but I do not see why they should be unnecessarily introduced.
Letter #210, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Does that make this particular contraction objectionable?
In Letter #210, Tolkien points out that he doesn’t want to see “his work treated as it would seem carelessly in general, in places recklessly, and with no evident signs of any appreciation of what it is all about.” He does not want the tone lowered “towards that of a more childish fairy-tale.” Lastly, he does not wish for deliberate alteration of the story, in fact and significance, without any practical or artistic object [my emphasis].”
At least, those are my key takeaways.
Now, one observes that if the time scheme of The Lord of the Rings is packed, the precis account of the Second Age in The Tale of Years is most certainly not.
Tolkien also notes in Letter #210 that he closely observed the passing of seasons in The Lord of the Rings. He suggests that such pictorial representations could be used to non-explicitly indicate the passage of time. Similar effects might be employed for The Rings of Power series. Maybe not the thousands we are familiar with from “The Tale of Years”, but certainly dozens — or even the 100 to 200 that might encompass the lifespan of a Dúnedain of Númenor, or a dwarf of Durin’s line.
How much time is being contracted? Vanity Fair is not precise: the writers say that events are compressed “into a single point in time.” That might mean a span of a generation.
Here is where it would have been fascinating to be a fly on the wall in the discussions between Amazon Studios and Tolkien Estate.
Finally, keep in mind J.R.R. Tolkien’s letter to Milton Waldman outlining his artistic vision:
I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama. Absurd.
Letter #131. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Absurd. Yet, here we are.
With this in mind, I think there are promising signs that Tolkien Estate (and indeed, Amazon Studios) is seeking Art, not just Cash. Early shoots with the promise of beautiful spring, you might say.
But there’s still an awfully long way to go.
As Galadriel says in The Lord of the Rings: “hope remains while all the Company is true.” We’ll see in September how true this particular company has been.
About the author: Staffer Demosthenes has been involved with TheOneRing.net since 2001, serving first as an Associate News Editor, then as Chief News Editor during the making of the Hobbit films. Now he focuses on features and analysis.The opinions in this article are his own and do not necessarily represent those of TheOnering.net and other staff.
If you have a Tolkien/Middle-earth inspired poem you’d like to share, then send it to email@example.com. One poem per person may be submitted each month. Please make sure to proofread your work before sending it in. TheOneRing.net is not responsible for poems posting with spelling or grammatical errors.
The initial posters released by Amazon spawned a million questions, and then the Vanity Fair articles explained some things but spurred even more questions. Just before the teaser trailer, we released a staff “what we want to see” post, with some very specific hopes and questions; and now we find out if any of those were answered. Watch the trailer below, and then read on to see what the staff reactions were.
The world felt familiar and in line with my expectations of what Middle-earth and Númenor should look like. I felt there was visual continuity from the films. It’s difficult to tell much about the story, though there are hints, and I’m intrigued to find out more. Especially about the man in the fiery crater. Also, I’m curious what the meeting of the Elves in the golden woods was about.
Specific things I wanted to see that were shown:
Númenor. I also wanted to know what time-period it was, but of this I’m still unsure. In the last days, Ar-Pharazôn makes sacrifices to Melkor, and the skies become blackened with smoke by the unceasing fires. The skies in the trailer are blue, yet there is a tall tower that is sending out flames, yet it is not the domed tower that the Silmarillion mentions. Could this be the temple of Armenelos, indicating the later days? Or is this the port of Rómenna where the Faithful lived? My guess is Rómenna because the capital city was inland.
Khazad-dûm, I think, in the scene where Durin IV breaks the stone, but the background is out of focus, so we don’t get to see the scope of it or the West Gate.
Galadriel and Elrond. Galadriel’s fierceness and athleticism were as I expected from the hints and photos given prior to the trailer, and also in line with how Tolkien described how she acted in her youth. Though the ice wall immediately reminded me of Game of Thrones. Elrond was a surprise because he looks so angry or troubled, and I would not have imagined him having a contest of strength with Durin. What he is wearing is very cool and unexpected.
Gil-galad! His appearance is satisfying because his countenance and clothes are similar to the way he looks in the War of the Last Alliance in the film, so there is continuity.
A Hobbit–Elanor ‘Nori’ Brandyfoot. She has the look of a Hobbit, and her rustic clothes seem appropriate. I also wanted to see where the Harfoots lived, but we weren’t shown that. Nori speaks of wandering, so maybe there isn’t a settled community yet.
Weaponry. Arondir’s shooting skills seem in line with what we know of Elves from the films. Though it was too dark to make out his bow clearly, the shape, especially the ends of the bow, are similar to the Bow of the Galadhrim that Galadriel gave Legolas in the film version of FotR, and his arrows are also shaped like Legolas’, so I wasn’t taken out of Middle-earth as it was imagined by Peter Jackson and WETA. We also saw him with some kind of axe. In the battle scene, we got visuals of Elven helmets, armor and shields–gold, as in the Last Alliance in the films, but differently shaped. And we saw Galadriel’s dagger (Who else is waiting for a reproduction?) and the top of her sword slung on her back.
How people will sound. We only heard Nori, and she had a sort of Irish accent. I thought there was a hint of Elvish voices in the music, like in Howard Shore’s score for The Lord of the Rings, so I’m hopeful there will be Elvish/Dwarvish/Númenórean languages spoken at times.
Thoughts from Deej:
I liked what I saw, and it piqued my interest in seeing more, which is the whole point of a teaser trailer. I’ve seen a few responses from fans saying it looked too generic and ‘cheap’ – I could not disagree more. To me, it looked very much like the Middle-earth we’ve become accustomed to, just different locations and characters. I do hope that there are more physical sets and ‘bigatures’ (like The Lord of the Rings) and less CGI (like The Hobbit), but at this point, nothing about the show looks cheap.
From Madeye Gamgee:
My broad desires were to alleviate concern, particularly by demonstrating faithfulness to Tolkien and his source material; and to create a hunger to see more. For me, the teaser trailer was more successful in the latter area. We saw some iconic and exciting moments: our first-ever glimpse of Númenor, with Meneltarma looming in the background; Galadriel in her full Nerwen/Amazonian self (how’s that for an ironic nod to the money behind this project?); some wondrous, ax-swinging (and singing!) dwarves in their halls of stone; and some really beautiful scenic shots once again cementing the convergent glories of New Zealand as Middle-earth. There were snippets of intriguing characters that seem to have stories to tell, starting with the only words spoken in the entire teaser from young “Nori” Brandyfoot/Markella Kavenagh, alluding to “wonders in this world beyond our wandering” (a very pre-Tookish sentiment!). What is Dwarf Queen Disa singing about? Who is Silvan Elf Arondir fighting, and why is he chained? Why does Durin IV weep, and what is Elrond’s mission among the dwarves? Is that an “ice troll”? What in the world does that meteor portend, and who is this “Stranger” that may have emerged from it? This is a world that seems packed with beauty and history, danger and mystery, all waiting to be explored.
But is it true to Tolkien? We don’t know yet, and it’s unfair to expect this from a one-minute teaser that gives us flashes of 20 different scenes. We saw no rings of power. We heard no actual dialog between characters. We have seen some action but know little yet of the forces and passions that are motivating it. We have been teased. There is what could be an aroma of Middle-earth wafting in from some hidden kitchens, and the scents we’re catching seem promising. I’m happy to stick with my spot at the table as we wait for more. With Dwalin, though, I’ll toss in a hopeful, “where’s the meat?!”
WeeTanya’s 2 cents:
The Teaser Trailer’s opening focus on the large statue was probably meant to make us remember the Argonath, setting up the feeling that we were looking at something thematically familiar and different at the same time — a port city of men? Where is it? I loved that we got to immediately see the vast scope of the world, and that the city felt old and abandoned even for a place that should have been thriving. Where is everyone? Are the humans of that port city long fled? The questions started to mount in my head immediately, and I honestly felt as adventuresome as Galadriel climbing up a cliff.
I loved where the Teaser Trailer took us. We saw a bunch of Elves meeting in a place that looked a lot like Lothlorien, rife as it was with all the golden Mallorn trees (Lindon? Eregion?). We saw one very concerned elf staring up at the sky — who is that? Is it Cirdan, is it Gil-galad? Some breakdowns have already named him Gil-galad, but I am leaving room that it could be Cirdan — I’ve always wanted to see my favorite elf on screen.
The Teaser Trailer gave us a glimpse of Arondir — the way he looked and moved made me feel as if he was spiritually akin to Legolas and Tharanduil’s folk. It’s hard to imagine anyone faulting his grace (OK, I can imagine it) or likeness to other Peter Jackson-themed Sindarin elves. I hope we get to see more of his elf eyes tracking foes in the wood.
I enjoyed Galadriel’s adventures tremendously — she’s climbing the side of a mountain in the Northern Wastes, and hanging out near a waterfall that dwarfs the ones we already know (Rauros, Henneth Annun). She’s in a cave, encountering an albino … troll thing. She’s riding a battle-clad horse at the head of an army. I AM PROPERLY TEASED! I want to know more, these are adventures that probably happened between the words in the Unfinished Tales, and I want to know all about it.
Notes from Elessar:
So here we go.
As I stated I in our preview article I wanted to see the world in action. We got that. A lot of it really for a one-minute teaser trailer. What we saw looks really cool and I walked away pleased with what I saw. We didn’t get a lot of dialogue other than the narrator’s voice. So that was a bit of a bummer, but I’m sure we will get a full trailer this summer. So as someone who went in a bit reluctant, I’m pleased for now.
I wanted, first and foremost, to see Elves acting like Elves, which of course, covers many behaviors and actions, but it is the Action I was most interested in. Early in the teaser trailer, we see Arondir in the midst of a battle, arrows in the ground around him. He is seen reaching out to grab an arrow flying towards a second figure lying on the ground, turns it and let’s fly back to where it came. That sealed it, that was the Elven skill with a bow we have become accustomed to, and it made this teaser trailer for me. But then we got more of Arondir being amazing, when near the end he is seen leaping through the air with an odd looking ax in his hands, about to pounce on something or someone, all while having his ankle in chains.
My second point was wanting to see Dwarves, be it miners, builders, fighters, or anything that shows their culture and the realm of Khazad-dûm. We don’t get too much of the scope of their realm, but we do see Durin IV a couple of times. In one scene, he looks rather emotional, but the next time we see him he is splitting a mighty boulder in one blow, sending sparks out. This act is witnessed by at least three, elder looking dwarves with very long, grey beards (Gandalf would be jealous). Finally, we see Disa singing, which turns out to be how the dwarves find out where to dig, and more importantly, where not to dig, which we know they don’t always heed that warning.
There were no answers as to why Galadriel was in the ocean and needed to be pulled onto a raft, but we do see her looking pissed off when the man on the raft touches her hair to reveal her Elven ears. It would be interesting to see what happens next, does she begrudgingly tolerate it, or does she attack him?
As for my wish to see more of Lindon, we got that, with the scene of seeing Gil-galad, looking fabulous, but worried as he watches the meteor shoot through the sky. And later, we see a beautiful gathering area near the edge of a cliff where numerous Elves are meeting, for either a ceremony or a gathering to discuss important matters. Either way, Lindon looks quite lovely, with the golden leaves of white birch trees and waterfalls.
And finally, there was zero information as to why the Two Trees were the first image we saw from the production, but there were indications that there may be flashbacks into the first age, but the writers are walking a tightrope when it comes to that material. This teaser trailer did what it was supposed to, it intrigued me and left me with tons more questions about what we might see next, and that is a very encouraging thought.
Watch TORn Tuesday today at 5pm PT, 8pm ET with special guest Joanna Robinson, the author of many of the articles that announced Amazon Prime’s The Rings of Power to the world.
I’ve read a lot of responses to, and hot takes on, The Rings of Power in the last 24 hours (you can check some of them out here if you’ve missed our roundup). But, without a doubt, this is the most insightful and useful one so far.
In it, Vanity Fair writer Joanna Robinson puts 10 key questions about Amazon’s Rings of Power production to showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, and adds her own lore-based thoughts on their answers.
It’s just a terrific read, chock-full of amazing details.
In studying the language from the first three episodes Amazon let Vanity Fair screen, we found a mix of cleverly repurposed lines of Tolkien’s dialogue as well as a few snatches of Biblical text. “Both Patrick and I have religious backgrounds,” Payne says. “I spent a lot of time just reading those sacred texts. I was an English major at Yale and loved Shakespeare at the time and still go back and reread the various plays. I’ve also spent a lot of time studying Hebrew poetry and parallelism and inverted parallelism and chiasmus and all these cool rhetorical strategies that poets and prophets from thousands of years ago would use to communicate sacred material. And Tolkien, sometimes, will play in that kind of a sandbox.”
McKay explains that they tailored the dialogue to fit each kind of character. The harfoots speak with an Irish lilt whereas the elves speak in elevated British phrases. “We even came up with hero meters for each different race in Tolkien,” Payne says. “Some of them will speak in iambs. Some of them will speak in dactyls. Some of them will speak in trochees.” That in-depth approach might please Professor Tolkien, whose specialty was philology, a.k.a. the history of language.
One of the best revelations is clear, direct confirmation on the rights situation simply because it immediately clears away so much fan debate:
So what did Amazon buy? “We have the rights solely to The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, the appendices, and The Hobbit,” Payne says. “And that is it. We do not have the rights to The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth, or any of those other books.”
So if you’ve been wondering (as I have), everything in the trees image must be explained by LOTR and The Hobbit alone. And if you can’t find it in those books, don’t expect to see it in The Rings of Power.
BOOTNOTE: Writer Joanna Robinson will be joining TORn Tuesday tomorrow from 5pm PT, 8pm ET to discuss her Rings of Power experience with Staffers Quickbeam and Justin. Join us then, and be sure to bring your own burning questions!