After years of waiting, we’ve finally been treated to the first two episodes of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The time for speculation is over, as we get to dive into the new series set in Middle-Earth’s Second Age, before the events of the Lord of The Rings books.

We first see the child-version of the classic LOTR character Galadriel, a bit of a loner, who is comforted by her older brother, the Elven warrior Finrod. As Fantasy shows are wont to do, we then launch into some explanation of many years of Middle-Earth history, mostly pertaining to the Elves, narrated by an older Galadriel.

We learn of a powerful evil, the Dark Lord Morgoth and his servant Sauron. Morgoth caused most Elves to flee Middle-Earth in the first place after crippling their blissful home realm of Valinor. Morgoth was eventually defeated, but Galadriel’s brother believed that Sauron still lived, and died on a quest seeking him.

Galadriel now continues her brother’s quest, leading an Elven scouting party through a treacherous icy mountain. She locates a symbol of Sauron and wishes to continue searching, but her party convinces her to turn back after an ice troll encounter.

Upon their return to Lindon, Galadriel and her party are heralded as heroes and the High Elven King Gil-galad offers them all the chance to return to Valinor for a life of immortal bliss. He also declares victory in the war against Morgoth, which Galadriel still doubts.

Galadriel also reunites with her friend Elrond, a young and ambitious politician, who implores her to drop her quest for vengeance and accept the offer to go to Valinor. Elrond convenes with Gil-galad, who puts him in the service of the Elven smith Celebrimbor.

We are then introduced to a small community of Harfoots, a predecessor race to the Hobbits. They live in isolation with tents that can be hidden at a moment’s notice, and strict boundaries they can’t go past. The Harfoot Nori Brandyfoot has a curious streak that almost gets her and her friend Poppy in trouble when they notice wolves by the edge of the border.

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We meet another elf, Arondir, who is stationed in the Southlands with other Elven soldiers who watch over towns of humans descended from Morgoth’s armies. The villagers chafe at continuing to be distrusted by the Elves for their ancestor’s actions and take issue with Arondir’s friendship with the human healer of their town, Bronwyn.

Arondir is told by his superiors that the Elves are deserting the area because of the declared victory, but he remains behind. He and Bronwyn travel to a neighboring village to find it destroyed. While they are gone, Bronwyn’s son Theo discovers a broken sword that bears the same mark of Sauron that Galadriel found.

We return to Galadriel, who is standing in formation with her Elven comrades waiting to sail into Valinor. After some conflicted moments as she watches the heavens split and some of the other soldiers disappear into glowing gold light, Galadriel turns her back on eternal bliss and leaps from the ship into the Sundering Sea.

At this moment, a huge flaming meteorite is seen traveling towards the Earth. Several characters we’ve seen along the way view the object streaking through the sky. Eventually, it lands with a titanic crash by the Harfoot clan. Nori makes her way to the crater despite Poppy’s protests, and the episode ends as they discover a man lying there.

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