That the death of Rings of Power will strike differently in the Lord of the Rings universe

[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for a few elf characters in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 3.]

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has the unenviable task of not only prequeling one of the most beloved and acclaimed film trilogies of all time, but also working out a new conflict that we all know will be resolved within a few thousand years (a give or take a few hundred years). , with the show’s timeline). And while I feel emotionally at odds with what the show is doing to its characters, believe me when I say that no one was more surprised than I was when the elf friend died trying to escape the orc prison camp. The elf friend!

Thondir (Fabian McCallum) may not have made the biggest impression on anyone else watching. But to me I appreciated him as a strange elf with a sense of humor, the one who razed his friend to the ground because he was in love with a mortal, who managed to strike the awkward balance between feeling human (if not like the rest of Tolkien’s Men) and recognize the sticky place elves occupy in the story. So when he had his throat slit by an orc as a show of force, it actually felt a little surprising at the time. Suddenly he was just gone, and Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) was heartbroken enough to cut down a tree to avoid more bloodshed.

It doesn’t work – more elves die later in the attempted prison break – but with each new death I was forced to confront something that our own Susana Polo, resident Tolkien expertise, keeps bringing up in meetings: these elves go not really dead. Like, they are, but they’re not gone forever like humans are. They just go to Valinor, aka the Undying Lands, aka the place where Galadriel unsubscribed in the opening episode, aka the elf heaven where all these elves actually come from.

An amazing fairy town in Valinor, overlooking two absolutely massive trees across a lake from the buildings.  One glows brightly with golden light, the other is a dimmer silver.  From The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Image: Prime Video

It has different names depending on where or what you’re referring to (the West! Aman! That place you saw at the beginning of the pilot!), there by boat or their ghost resurrects there after dying in Middle-earth. It’s, I’m told, as if every time you died in the real world you respawned somewhere far away like Italy and weren’t allowed to come back.

It’s still tragic, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also like you and your friend hang out and live your life between a tree and a hard place, and then, suddenly, they just pop up in another continent. And so you know you’ll see them again, but you were also meant to go to the movies with them and now you’ll have to go to the movies alone, over and over until you die (which, if you’re an elf , may be in a few thousand years).

As Susana tells me, Middle-earth is like a “ill-designed zoo enclosure for them” with Aman being “the completely enriching food with all the vitamins they need, an existence that only the gods can create.” So while there are other ways to repopulate in Valinor, in general it can also cause a feedback loop of boredom leading to death in Middle-earth and in real life (by all means, actually by wasting away from life weary). become) ).

This all apparently comes from Tolkien’s “really damn deep” knowledge compiled from details in his notes and other collections, rather than the text of his books. As we discussed in the last Elf Heaven freakout, Tolkien wasn’t much into elves as main characters, so we get no idea how they mourn the “dead” (if at all). But as Susana also tells me, elves don’t always come back the same. And with all of Noldor’s red tape – well, it gets complicated.

So what does it mean for Arondir to lose his brothers in arms? Are elves afraid of the possibility of death? Who will say. RIP Thondir and company, you were gone too soon. See you on the way to Walhalla valinor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.