After securing support from the elves of Numenor to fight for the humans of the Southlands, Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) trains them for battle in Episode 5 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
While Galadriel was about to be sent back to her homeland, a powerful omen – the white petals from a sacred tree falling – caused Queen Regent Miriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to support the elf’s cause.
Thursday night’s new episode – entitled Partings – also shows the diminutive Harfoots continuing their pilgrimage, while Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) shows Arondir (Ismael Cruz Cordova) his mysterious blade while Elrond (Robert Aramayon) and Durin (Owain Arthur) pay a visit to King Gil-Galad (Benjamin Walker).
The episode begins in a field with Nori (Markella Kavenagh) and the monstrous Stranger (Daniel Weyman), as she tries to teach him her language.
He keeps saying, ‘My great thumb’ but she corrects him to say, ‘Migration,’ the arduous pilgrimage the Harfoot find themselves on.
‘You see we winter in the Old Forest, and in mid-summer we make for Norfield Glen to snail while the snailing’s good,’ Nori explains.
She adds that, ‘at the first blush of the oak leaves we head to the Grove,’ which is an orchard with all sorts of food.
‘The only trouble is there are hundreds of perils between here and there,’ Nori explains while eating a snack.
He asks what ‘perils’ are and she says ‘danger,’ and anything that will ‘kill ya,’ as the Stranger asks what kill means.
‘It means to make something… dead,’ she says solemnly, as a realization dawns upon the large stranger.
‘I’m peril,’ he says, though Nori insists he’s not and the fire he caused with the fireflies was, ‘just an accident.’
‘You’re not a peril. You’re good,’ Nori explains. ‘You’re good because you’re here to help,’ when her mother Marigold (Sara Zwangobani) calls for her and they leave.
‘I’m… I’m good,’ the Stranger stammers as we see the Brandyfoot clan getting ready to move, along with Poppy Proudfellow (Megan Richards).
Nori says it might help them move faster if Poppy sang them her mother’s ‘walking song,’ as Largo (Dylan Smith) insists it will do them some good, as she smiles and begins the song.
We see the Harfoots moving their carts along the picturesque countryside, as we follow their progress with a map as Poppy continues to sing.
We see The Stranger help them get their carts out of a swampy marsh as Poppy keeps singing, while we see them walk past a waterfall.
They cross a river in The Braids and are seen happily gathering while taking shelter from a storm.
Nori sees The Stranger standing by himself on a rock, looking up at the moon by himself.
The show cuts back to the scene where The Stranger came from the sky… with the area now all ash… as we see the mysterious character in all white from the trailers – played by Bridie Sisson – walk to the edge of a cliff… while a nefarious whispering in a foreign language is heard.
The two women flanking this mystery character (Edith Poor and Kali Kopae) are seemingly pleased with what they see below… which is revealed to be the burnt remains of where The Stranger fell from the sky.
The mystery character feels the burnt soil of where The Stranger fell to the Earth… as the show cuts back to the Southlands, where Adar (Joseph Mawle) is seen looking at a tree that is obscuring the rising sun – which burns the Orcs.
An Orc named Grugzuk (Edward Clendon) approaches and tells him the tunnel is finished.
Adar asks Grugzuk to show him his arm, asking how it feels and he replies, ‘Like fire, my Lord-father.’
‘I wish you could feel it like I do,’ Adar says, adding, ‘For soon it will be gone. And with it, the part of me that knew it’s warmth as well.’
Adar covers Grugzuk’s arm and tells him to summon the legions, for, ‘it is time,’ as Grugzuk runs off to do his bidding.
The episode cuts back to the watchtower in the Southlands where we last saw Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) and Arondir (Ismael Cruz Cordova), who address a huge crowd below them.
She tells them that their enemy is going to attack, and they are supposed to abandon the watchtower and pledge fealty to Adar, which causes a commotion.
‘I know I’m not the king you have awaited, but if you choose to stand with me and fight, this tower will no longer be a reminder of our frailty, but a symbol of our strength,’ Bronwyn tells them.
She asks who among them will stand and fight, as several hands are raised, though Waldreg (Geoff Morrell) is seemingly opposed.
‘Stand and fight? Stand and fight? You will die. I say it’d be better to take our chances by bowing to our supposed enemy,’ Waldreg says, who revealed in the last episode that he is still loyal to Sauron and awaits his return.
Arondir rebukes what Waldreg says, adding he has looked his enemy in the eye, adding, ‘He is not your deliverance.’
‘And you think you are, elf?’ Waldreg says, before turning back to the crowd, adding, ‘I’ll say this for our ancestors, they lived.’
The crowd starts to turn to Waldreg, who tells them to follow him, as the horde leaves the watchtower.
Waldreg turns to Theo, saying it’s their time and their chance, but Theo won’t follow him, while Bronwyn is dismayed, with seemingly half of the villagers having deserted her.
The episode cuts back to Numenor, where men are loading up ships and preparing for a journey.
Isildur (Maxim Baldry) tries to speak with his father Elendil (Lloyd Owen), asking why he wasn’t chosen for the expedition.
Elendil says he thought he was going West, though Isildur says, ‘Not until I’ve done something worthy of Numenor.’
Elendil asks what that something may be, but Isildur says he is having trouble finding it, which is why he needs his help.
Elendil says he wish he could help but they already have too many volunteers, adding, ‘half the city wants a spot on those boats.’
Isildur asks his father to sneak him to the front of the line, but Elendil quickly asks what his qualifications are, asking if he belongs to the SeaGuard… after Isildur got him and his friends kicked out.
He asks if he belongs to any of the guilds and Isildur thinks he’s being ‘ridiculous,’ though Elendil says, ‘While you were feigning fidelity to the traditions of this isle, these men were living them, finding ways to contribute, to serve, something of which you care very little.’
This seems to insult Isildur, who says, ‘I do care. I am ready to serve,’ though Elendil says, ‘Nothing would make me prouder, but you had your chance, and you made your choice.’
Pharazon (Trystan Gravelle) is walking through the town square where he’s met by complaints from many a Numenor man and woman about fighting for Galadriel and Halbrand (Charlie Vickers).
One of those seeking an audience with Pharazon is Earien (Ema Horvath), when she’s intercepted by Kemen (Lean Wadham).
‘Forgive me for not sending word to you sooner. Been trying a week,’ he says, as she asks why he hasn’t tried to stop the Queen Regent.
He says his father Pharazon is loyal to Miriel and there are many who feel the same way as her, but not enough to sway him yet.
She says it must be him to give his father a ‘push,’ adding, ‘He will listen to you,’ though Kemen says, ‘When I speak, his ears close up.’
Earien takes Kemen’s hands and says, ‘Then speak louder,’ before walking away.
The episode cuts to Halbrand, who is working at the blacksmith, forging a new sword himself, passing it off to Smithy (Phil Vaughan), who inspects his work, when a number of guards come for Halbrand.
He’s taken to see the Queen Regent and Pharazon, with Miriel asking where the enemy would go to next.
‘Further south, I should think. Towards the watchtower of Ostirith,’ Halbrand says, as Pharazon says he will, ‘inform the Sea Guard.’
Miriel gives Halbrand her thanks, adding, ‘I’m certain your fellowship will prove just as invaluable once we make landfall,’ which surprises Halbrand.
Miriel says that Galadriel, ‘informed us of your aspiration to unite your people,’ which angers Halbrand further.
Miriel asks if Galadriel was, ‘speaking in haste,’ and Halbrand is about to say something when Galadriel says Halbrand is, ‘merely feeling the weight of his task.’
‘I have no doubt, come time, he will do his part,’ as Miriel adds, ‘Given I have staked my name upon it, I should hop so.’
Edda interrupts and tells Miriel that her father has requested her presence in the tower, as Miriel leaves Galadriel and Halbrand.
She says she wondered how the queen, ‘knew to waylay me at her father’s bedside,’ adding Halbrand sold her out, ‘for a guild crest.’
‘You used me. After I all but begged you to let me be,’ Halbrand says, as Galadriel says she convinced Numenor to send five ships and 500 men to aid his people and place a crown upon his head.
‘Many might assume you used me,’ Galadriel quips, as an angry Halbrand rips the crest he was wearing around his neck and slams it on the table.
‘Find another head to crown,’ Halbrand says before walking away.
The episode cuts back to the Harfoots, who are making their way through some spooky woods, as Dilly Brandyfoot (Beau Cassidy) says she doesn’t like it here.
Largo tries to reassure her that it’s just the trees, as they keep moving towards Rockford Pass.
Nori comes across some father large footprints in the mud, as Poppy realizes that it’s wolves.
At the front of the caravan, Malva (Thussitha Jayassundera) complains to Sadoc (Lenny Henry) about ‘the big fella,’ saying he should have taken their wheels and left them, which causes Sadoc to gasp.
‘What’s it gonna take? Make a widow of somebody? Or an orphan?’ Malva asks, as Vilma (Maxine Cunliffe) interrupts and says, ‘People are getting hungry.’
Malva is gathering food when she notices strange orange leaves when Nori and Poppy tell her they found wolf prints in the mud… when they hear a shrieking.
They all start running away from the sound… as we see a massive pack of wolves bearing down on them.
The Harfoots take to the trees as Nori tries to break a stick off… and just when the wolf gets to her, The Stranger grabs the wolf and tosses it like it was nothing.
The three wolves circle him… but he punches the ground, causing a blast that knocks them all back and sends them scattering.
The Harfoots all see his arm is starting to turn purple.
The episode cuts back to Numenor, where Elendil is training Ontamo (Anthony Crum) and Valandil (Alex Tarrant) in the art of swordfighting when Galadriel joins him.
She jokes that their strokes, ‘fall like the Stone-giants of the North Moors,’ adding they are, ‘untested against this foe.’
He adds that perhaps she would like to offer some instructions, and she takes them up on his offer.
She tells a group there are many ways to kill an Orc but they should keep it short and simple – ‘Stab, twist, gut.’
She tells them all to come at her and see who will, ‘score flesh,’ as Halbrand stops by to watch, as Elendil says anyone who ‘scores flesh,’ he will promote to lieutenant.
Valandil steps up and tries his best, but has no success against Galadriel, who tells them that, ‘Swordsmanship is about balance, not strength. Fight with your feet, not arms,’ as Ontamo joins his friend and they both start attacking Galadriel… to no avail.
Isildur is walking by when he hears someone saying, ‘The elf is fighting a soldier in the square, as Isildur goes and follows them.
Galadriel has two swords now, taking on seemingly all the trainees, giving them small lessons along the way.
Valandil tries one last lunging attack, but Galadriel blocks it with her sword, as she tells them, ‘Never trust brute force to best an Orc.’
Valandil tries another lunging attack and she spins out of the way, knocking the sword from his hand as she adds, ‘It’s often best to out-maneuver them.’
Galadriel looks at her arm and notices the sleeve of her dress was frayed by Valandil’s blade, as she turns to him.
‘Well done, Lieutenant,’ she says, as the rest of the men cheer on Valandil, as Halbrand kicks up his sword and performs some fancy maneuvers before handing it back to him.
‘Never knew a smith’s aide who could do that,’ Galadriel says to Halbrand, who just leaves with a smile.
The episode cuts to Kemen, who is trying to convince his father Pharazon to back out of this deal with Galadriel.
Kemen wants his father to, ‘assert your influence,’ though Pharazon says, ‘Sometimes the folly of youth is enough to make an old man weep.’
Kemen asks if it’s folly to stop a war, and Pharazon says it is, ‘folly to kick against the current.’
‘The trick of mastering the current is to know which way it will turn next,’ Pharazon says, which angers Kemen.
‘You all but single-handedly prevented our last king from dragging us back to the old ways. Don’t tell me you couldn’t sway Miriel’s mind now,’ Kemen says.
Pharazon asks how he doesn’t know Miriel’s mind and his are not one on this matter, as Kemen says, ‘Because my father would sooner die than take orders from an Elf.’
This gets the attention of a few women gathered around, as Pharazon gives them a look and they leave as he turns back to his son.
‘Orders from an Elf?’ Pharazon says with a laugh. ‘When all this has ended, Elves swill take orders from us. Now, my cousin can go to war for Galadriel if she wishes. I go to war for Numenor.’
Kemen asks how this possibly could be for Numenor, as Pharazon says they will give the men of the Southlands the king they’ve long awaited, ‘a king who would be forever in our debt. Now, contemplate if you can, how that might benefit us.’
‘Ores, forests, trade, tribute. I wouldn’t dare stop that, not for all the salt in the sea. And neither should you,’ Pharazon says, as he rolls up his maps and leaves his son with a smile on his face.
Up in the tower, Ta-Palantir (Ken Blackburn) insists the kingdom is in danger,’ though Miriel insists the danger has passed.
‘We are doing now what you always believed we must. We are restoring our connection with the Elves. I’m going to Middle-earth,’ she tells him.
‘Miriel? Don’t go to Middle-earth. All that awaits you there is… darkness,’ the King says.
The episode cuts back to the Harfoots, as Nori visits The Strangerboasting that the Harfoots have never embraced an outsider like him before.
She brings him some beeswax, saying he should, slather some on that paw, should help with the tenderness,’ as she sees he has his purple arm in some water.
She notices that the water starts freezing, as The Stranger says something in another language as the ice starts spreading up his arm.
Nori tries to touch his arm and the ice spreads to her hand as well
The show made history long before the first two episodes debuted on Thursday evening, since it’s considered the most expensive series ever.
The show’s inception can be traced back to July 2017, when a grueling lawsuit between Warner Bros. – the studio behind the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films – and the J.R.R. Tolkien Estate, was settled.
Both the studio and the estate started offering the television rights to the franchise to streaming services, with Amazon quickly becoming a front-runner.
Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos has previously given a mandate to the Prime Video streaming service that he wanted a large-scale franchise.
Bezos was also reportedly a huge fan of the franchise and was personally involved in the negotiations for the just the rights alone, which were ultimately acquired in November 2017 for a whopping $250 million.
Amazon also struck a deal with the Tolkien Estate and the Tolkien Trust where they are believed to have given the green light for upwards of five seasons of the show.
With an estimated production commitment of between $100 million and $150 million per season, Amazon is expected to shell out $1 billion for the production costs and the rights, when all is said and done.
The series was created by Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne, who had previously only worked on 2016’s Star Trek: Beyond as uncredited writers.
The duo pitched a series that would be set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, a history glossed over in a five-minute prologue during the Lord of the Rings films.
They wanted to expand this into roughly 50 hours of television, which would include the forging of the Rings of Power, the rise of the dark lord Sauron, the fall of the island kingdom Numenor and the final alliance between men and elves.
There will be characters fans will recognize, though, most notably Galadriel, played in the LOTR movies by Cate Blanchett, with the much younger version played Morfydd Clark.
There have been rumors that a white-haired character shown in the trailers, played by Bridie Sisson (previously thought to be Anson Boon), is actually Sauron himself, though producers have not confirmed that.
Executive producer Lindsey Weber would neither confirm nor deny Sisson’s character, she did offer a hint as to his origins to Time.
‘We are enjoying all the speculation online and can tell you Bridie Sisson is an incredible actor,’ Weber began.
‘We also thought fans might like to know that her character is traveling from far to the east—from the lands of Rhûn…’ Weber teased.
The new episodes will roll out simultaneously across the globe, with the first two episodes dropping on Thursday at 6 PM PT/9 PM ET/2 AM UK.
The final six episodes will roll out weekly at 9 PM PT/12 AM ET/5 AM UK, with the finale of the eight-episode season arriving Thursday, October 13 exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.