The Rings Of Power Celebrimbor Dilemma
The Rings of Power season 1 introduced us to the elven craftsman and Fëanorean descendant Celebrimbor who for a show titled ‘The Rings of Power’ would make sense to be one of the main characters. Even though Celebrimbor ultimately in episode 8 (the finale) is at the centre of the creation of the three elven rings despite the idea of rings itself being proposed by Galadriel. The significance of Celebrimbor in Season 1 is to a much lesser state than one would previously conceive and this piece will break down the attempt by the Showrunners on creating the elven craftsman’s character and the situation going into season 2.
Celebrimbor in The Rings of Power is a famed elf as seen through Elrond’s endearment and reverence by the mention of his name by Gil-galad in episode 1. Once we start to know him a bit more we see him in a state of self- evaluation whereby Celebrimbor fantasises the work of his grandfather Feanor who “wrought the Silmarils” but he still hasn’t lived up to his legacy and compares his work to “trinkets”. Interestingly enough, this seems to be a parallel between Elrond and Celebrimbor’s characters in regards to the successes of fathers and grandfathers overshadowing their children as in his speech to Durin, Elrond also spoke of the deeds of his father. Though, soon enough despite being in a state of creative depression, this soon turns into a need to not fully eclipse his grandfather but to bring “beauty” to the world, which is still underpinned in the idea of legacy.
The problem is, this is really as far as it goes with Celebrimbor’s character as firstly these traits aren’t really developed further and we don’t get to see any more as to what the craftsman can offer as he is mostly sidelined for the rest of the season. Though, for a character where pretty much nothing about his personality or characterisation was really written and this was even noted by actor Charles Edwards himself. This idea of trying to almost eclipse his grandfather but through the lens of beauty which is a clear juxtaposition between the effect and destruction the Silamrils had on the world. Which then idealised through the creation of the Rings of Power ends up being ironic as the rings end up bringing similar effects to the Silamrils despite its beauty. This is a great idea and formalisation of Celebrimbor and in a first season that was built on setting up these characters, it would have been great to explore these themes deeply.
Though these themes aren’t the only themes that still could have been explored as in the Second Age we know Celebrimbor helped build the Doors of Durin with Dwarven companion and fellow craftsman Narvi who together create the West Door that we see in The Lord of the Rings. This is a theme that could have been explored, the friendship between Celebrimbor and the Dwarves, particularly Narvi given that the realms of Eregion and Khazad-dum are so close together. Instead it seems like this character theme and relationship was given to Elrond who is long term friends with Durin IV. There is a high possibility that we do end up seeing the relationship between Celebrimbor and Narvi in season 2 if we end up seeing the creation of the Doors of Durin. But how much of this relationship can be explored is the real question and is part of the creation of this dilemma as we seem to have so many new characters and actors already in season 2 built upon a stacked season 1 where there were already complaints of some characters not getting enough screen time. Building the relationship between the Dwarves and and Celebrimbor could have been rooted from season 1 with the pay off the Doors of Durin being forged or the Dwarves with Narvi trying to help during The War of the Elves and Sauron would have been much more impactful.
Another major relationship and theme interlinked with Celebrimbor that seemed to be heavily reduced and instead transferred to another character is the relationship between Sauron and Celebrimbor. The most well known aspect of Celebrimbor’s character is his relationship/friendship and ultimate deceiving by Annatar who end ups being Sauron leading to the ultimate betrayal. This friendship with Sauron in season 1 is instead attributed to Galadriel who finds Halbrand on the raft in episode 2 and goes to Numenor and eventually to war with him. Galadriel’s and Halbrand’s time together ultimately takes away from the potential relationship and character bonding Celebrimbor and Sauron could have had which just like the Doors of Durin would have had an even greater impact and pay off. Instead, when Sauron and Celebrimbor do meet in episode 8 as many have complained the finale just felt rushed and almost as if the showrunners had to meet a criteria of getting the elven rings forged before the end of season 1. Again, we could possibly see Sauron come back to Eregion and finish the crafting of the rest of the rings of power, though this relationship could have been built up from season 1. Factoring in the 2- episode battle near the end of season 2 which is presumably the downfall of Eregion so AFTER when the rings are forged alongside the potential creation of the Doors of Durin, how much time will we actually spend with Sauron and Annatar?
It is a fair assumption to make that Celebrimbor in season 1 was sidelined and some of his character traits and friendships that impact his characterisation and arc were given to other elven characters. Though, a fair counter could be that some of the most successful aspects of season 1 generally were the friendship between Elrond and Durin and the friendship/ dynamic between Galadriel and Sauron (Halbrand). Therefore, this begs the question of what could have the potential been with Celebrimbor if some of his traits which were transcended to other characters were actually the most successful parts of season 1?
The Celebrimbor dilemma continues as despite his limited screen time and the potential for his themes to be explored, from what we do see of him from episode 2 onwards he is mainly entangled within the ‘Silmarithril’ plot- one of the most detested plot points of season 1. Unfortunately, Celebrimbor like Elrond (though who had the chance to have some great moments in season 1 such as with Durin IV unlike Celebrimbor) are centred in this plot as the need to preserve elven life is ultimately behind the creation of the rings, less so Celebrimbor’s desire. Therefore, this also means the creation of the elven rings is less so due to the threat of Sauron but more-so because of the threat of fading unless it turns out in season 2 that Sauron was somehow behind it all and the elves having to leave by spring (though unlikely). The ring making process itself is highly scientific removing the magical and potential spiritual aspect to it, not mentioning the fact that Celebrimbor the greatest craftsman of this generation didn’t think of alloys.
So, the dilemma of Celebrimbor is as simple as not having enough of the potential and light thematic groundwork laid out but from what we do have currently it isn’t the best plot wise and going forward will we actually have a chance to see this drastically change given the high likelihood that he dies in season 2 or very early into season 3 because of the imminent downfall of Eregion which leaves us with not that much time left with the character.
I hope this is a dilemma that The Rings of Power does solve and this article doesn’t factor in the effects of the re casting of the character.