Amazon's Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series has had a roller coaster for its first season, but it may have lost many fans at Episode 6. That episode brought a revelation that left some viewers disappointed, believing it strayed too far from J.R.R. Tolkien's original work. Fair warning: there are spoilers for The Rings of Power ahead!
Die-hard fans of Tolkien who have read his extensive background work beyond The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy were baffled by the way Rings of Power seemed to set up romantic tension between Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Halbrand (Charlie Vickers). In the continuity established in The Silmarillion, the appendices to The Lord of the Rings and other writings, Galadriel should have been married to her long-time husband Celeborn by this time. The show gave no hints that Galadriel was married, and in Episode 6 it finally made a reference to Celeborn.
In Episode 6, Galadriel suggests that Celeborn has died, and makes reference to his noble past deeds. This infuriated a lot of fans – even casual movie fans who noted that Celeborn is alive and makes an appearance in The Fellowship of the Ring. However, an article by Screen Rant points out that this may not technically be a continuity issue, since Tolkien's writings do describe how the functionally immortal elves can regain their bodies if they are killed.
Still, Celeborn's death was not described in Tolkien's writings, and many felt like it was a contrivance to steer the story in the way that it went. Now that the season is over, it's the element that has left a bad taste in many fans' mouths. Here is a look at how this change is impacting some viewers' enjoyment of The Rings of Power.
Fans joked about how Celeborn would react to this storyline when he returned to the world of the living. Judging by Tolkien's writing, Celebron should only be "dead" for a brief time while his spirit is cleansed in Valinor. At that point, he could choose to resume life on Middle-earth with a physical form identical to his previous body, and all of his memories intact.prevnext
The awkwardness of Celeborn's return became the fodder for an extensive new brand of memes.prevnext
I really wouldn't put it past the writers of this shitshow to do something like that. Galadriel is pretty much the villain of the show anyway at this point.— Ping Pohng (@PingPohng) October 10, 2022
Fans were simply awestruck that the screenwriters would create romantic tension between Galadriel and Sauron. Even if they understood the parameters of Elven death in Tolkien's world, many felt that Celeborn's death was distractingly contrived to make room for this surprise romance.prevnext
What if Halbrand became Sauron because he sees Galadriel reunite with Celeborn who she thought was dead and that’s when his heart is broken and then turns to evil #TheRingsOfPower— Linda in HR (@LindaInHR) October 8, 2022
But there’s writings from Tolkien that said during the second age there was a part he tried to redeem himself and start over for a little bit but then relapsed again— Linda in HR (@LindaInHR) October 8, 2022
Many fans got right to work crafting theories about how this turn of events could be a dramatization of the broader arc described by Tolkien. Because his writings about the Second Age were so mythicized, many felt that this kind of humanization was an appropriate way to add suspense for the sake of television.prevnext
He can be dead, there's nothing final about death for an elf. His spirit would just end up reconstituted in valinor and he could journey east to middle earth again when necessary 🤷♂️— Ryan Cross (@Postfactual_Fun) October 9, 2022
Of course, fans went over every possible explanation for Celeborn's disappearance. Many felt like this was where it became important to understand the long lifespan of elves and how it might change their psychology.prevnext
Heart of the Issue
According to Tolkien, Sauron perceived Galadriel as his biggest enemy in the second age (as explained in UT). Not Gil-Galad, Celebrimbor, Glorfindel, Elrond, Celeborn or Cirdan, nobody in Númenor.
So the showrunners came up with a “how” and “why story” and tbh I love it.— Eärendil (@whitecachalot) October 8, 2022
Defenders of the show pointed out that one of the key narratives it had to explore was the relationship between Galadriel and Sauron, and why their enmity had become so fearsome. To that end, this romance struck many as a great concept, even if the execution was inconsistent.prevnext
i know halbrand probably has to either betray her or die so celeborn can come back into the picture but.... I CANT LOSE THEM pic.twitter.com/hyxulguDgP— leah ♡ wtf. (@TELERlS) October 9, 2022
celeborn had better be hot— wicked vik 🎃 @ lotr:rop spoilers 🕯 (@fightyoursorrow) October 7, 2022
Finally, many of the show's defenders also argued that the chemistry between Clark and Vickers was strong enough to justify their characters' unexpected romantic tryst. They hoped that, if Celeborn was brought into the show, the actor cast to play him could live up.prev