The Rings of Power: Our In- depth Analysis Of Episode Three “Adar”
Hello everyone, free peoples of Middle-earth. With today’s article we resume with the analysis of the episodes of the show, trying to deepen as much as possible all the aspects of each scenario.
Before starting, it is important to point out that episode three, “Adar”, presents some technical changes compared to the previous ones. J.A Bayona is no longer directing, and in his place we find Wayne Che Yip, director who has previously worked for Doctor Who and Wheel of Time. Beside him, as director of photography, we find Aaron Morton, famous for “Black Mirror”.
“Adar”: our in-depth analysis
The episode opens with Arondir being captured by the orcs, and thrown into a pit along with other characters, including Medhor and Revion. We quickly understand that the orcs are forcing the prisoners to dig the long tunnel that we also see in the first two episodes, as it shields them from sunlight. The slaves momentarily accept the situation, but in the meantime they study a strategy to free themselves and escape, in order to get back in strength and defeat the enemy. During the episode the group discovers that the orcs are devoted to a certain “Adar”, which in Sindarin language means “Father”. This information leads them to think that Morgoth’s successor has finally shown up in Middle-earth, and their suspicion, in fact, is that he may be Sauron himself. In a later scene we are shown all the cruelty of the orcs, who slaughter Medhor pretending to give the prisoners water, following a discussion about cutting down a tree that obstructs excavations. At that point Arondir, to avoid further bloodshed, offers to do it, in a touching scene in which the silvan elf apologizes (in Quenya) to the plant itself for the gesture he is about to make.
It is not long before the prisoners, taking advantage of the fact that the sun is high, start the rebellion against the orcs, fighting as best they can and trying, at the same time, to break the chains. The scene is certainly spectacular (exaggerated in some moments), and Ismael Cruz Cordova‘s stunt work shines on the screen. The elves try to use the chains to hit the orcs from afar, and when they have a chance to use the weapons they try to gain ground by hitting the structure that repairs the orcs from the sunlight. At one point, a strange warg is released into the pit, which has all the air of being a suffering and maddened creature. The visual effects on the wolf leave a weird feeling, as his movements are jerky and too frantic to be real, and this, in my opinion, partly ruined the scene. Revion manages to escape from the combat area, but is hit by two arrows and killed, despite Arondir’s efforts to save him. At that point, our silvan elf is dragged and the orcs decide to take him to Adar.
Finally, we are presented with one of the most important and anticipated scenarios of the entire show: the reign of Nùmenor. Galadriel and Halbrand are in fact found at sea by Elendil, who saved them and brought them in the presence of Miriel and Pharazon. The powerful island of men shows itself in all its splendor, with elegant and refined but at the same time powerful architecture, reminiscent not only of classical Greece, but also of ancient Babylon. The two castaways are taken to the throne room, where they have an intense confrontation with the regent queen and the chancellor. Galadriel wants to return to Middle-earth as soon as possible, but Miriel and Pharazon don’t seem so willing to offer her a ship. The political situation in Numenor is indeed very delicate and, although Tar-Palantir has tried to bring the people closer to the elves, the isolationist politic promoted by his predecessors is now too entrenched, and the Noldor are no longer welcome in the kingdom. Thanks to Halbrand’s intervention, the tone calmed down and the decision was postponed for a few days, And in the meantime, the two will be supervised so that they cannot create problems. The episode also introduces us to Elendil’s children: Isildur, a young man destined to become a sea captain and his sister Eärien, an architect intent on joining the Builders Guild. Anarion is also mentioned and we can assume that he is currently outside of Numenor.
One of the key moments of this episode is the friendly approchement between Elendil and Galadriel, as he is one of the faithful, and therefore a friend of the elves. Queen Miriel wisely decides to entrust him with the custody of the nolde, and to elevate him in rank. The Numenorean then decides to ride with Galadriel to the Hall of Lore (probably in Andúnië ), in order to consult ancient texts that preserve the story of Nùmenor. The dialogue is full of historical references, and even Elros, brother of Elrond and first king of Numenor, is named (we can see a beautiful painting of Eärendil’s two sons). During the scene Galadriel discovers the meaning of the symbol of Sauron, which turns out to be a map of the Southlands. Finarfin’s daughter then goes to the prisons of the kingdom, where Halbrand has meanwhile been locked up for a fight, and tries to convince him to leave with her for Middle-earth. Galadriel further reveals that he has discovered that Halbrand is actually a King of the peoples of the south, which is why he could reclaim those lands. It seems clear that Galadriel’s plan is to convince Miriel to bring Numenor’s army to the Southlands, and eliminate Sauron’s threat as soon as possible. Meanwhile the queen regent joins her father in the tower, and she speaks to him worried about the arrival of the nolde on the island.
Meanwhile, the harfoots continue their preparation for migration, intent on thanking nature with very special traditional rites. Then we have a touching scene where Sadoc Burrows remembers the hobbits who died during the migrations, including the family of Poppy Proudfellow. This scene is very reminiscent of Bilbo Baggins’ birthday speech in “The Lord of the Rings”; a gem that certainly allows the viewer to become even more fond of these halflings. Largo Brandyfoot’s physical problems have not improved as much as hoped, which will put their wagon to the test during the migration, and the risk of being left behind is sadly high.
Nori is increasingly determined to help the “Meteor Man” with the search for the stars, and for this reason she steals a paper from Sadoc’s notes. The Stranger, however, accidentally burns it during the ceremony, and creates a great uproar, which inevitably leads Nori to be discovered and scolded. The Brandyfoot family will leave last during the migration, but they will also have the help of the mysterious character, who seems to have grown fond of his little friend. It is important to underline Sadoc’s reference to Eärendil (“I know men who have become stars”), a real gem for book lovers and connoisseurs of texts.
The third episode was certainly very important in the economy of the season, as it introduces us to one of the most important scenarios of the whole show. Nùmenor is one of the most beautiful things ever made on screen, and the rendering of costumes, sets and traditions is sublime. The characters of the great kingdom of men seem to be well set, and above all Lloyd Owen shines in the role of Elendil. The harfoots storyline is going solid, while Galadriel and Halbrand are still at the beginning of their development. The downside comes from the Southlands, where, although the orcs shines for their workmanship, the action scenes seemed a tad exaggerated, while the CGI technique used on the warg leaves a mixed feeling and doesn’t perform at its best. Some dialogues are real gems and some mysteries deepen, while others are solved. Yip’s direction is more “relaxed” than Bayona’s, and some shots are very brave, but in general the episode flows well, and, despite being very transitory, it is enjoyable. What a pity for the exaggerations on the final scene, but the hope is that it is something that will be better calibrated in the future. I will not comment on the deviations from the texts, because it is necessary to realize that a television adaptation has completely different needs and methods of fruition compared to the texts, and it is therefore logical that there will be changes not only in this season, but also for the rest of the show. The important thing is that everything is functional and makes sense, and now it is too early to judge it, and my advice is therefore to wait for the series to develop with serenity.