The Rings of Power Season 1 Ep 8 is the eighth and final instalment of the first season of a fantasy TV series streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Loosely based on the appendices author JRR Tolkien included in his Lord of the Rings trilogy, canonically, this series is set in the Second Age of Middle Earth, whereas the Lord of the Rings was set in the Third Age. Much has been made about this series being unfaithful to Tolkien’s works and thus, we have decided to analyse the story of The Rings of Power on its own merits, while ignoring the accusations of virtue signalling race and gender swapping.
S P O I L E R S
Entitled “Alloyed”, The Rings of Power Season 1 Ep 8 might seem like the most exciting episode of the series as it is packed with story events and key revelations. While that much is true, the season 1 finale still contains all the plot and characterisation flaws that run through every instalment of this poorly conceived, badly written series. And despite the epic high fantasy ambitions of Amazon, this finale (and season 1 as a whole) is a very minuscule story in truth.
The Rings of Power Season 1 Ep 8 begins with a critical reveal that is actually a misdirection. We had figured all along that the “Stranger” or “Meteor Man” (take your pick), was actually Gandalf but in the opening moments, the three witches call him “Sauron”. Anyone with half a brain would realise quickly that that must be a mistake. Now, no background is given about these three witches and WHY they believe that Gandalf is Sauron. But there you go.
Predictably, the Harfoots are instrumental in rescuing Gandalf and Sadoc is killed for his troubles. Gandalf saves the day and one of witches refer to him as an “Istar” (viz. wizard) confirming our suspicions. The Harfoots sub-plot closes with Gandalf and Nori on a quest to discover his origins in the land of Rhun. Good riddance to the Harfoots – the goodbye scene is long drawn and as hard as the actors and the music score try, devoid of emotion. Who cares about the Harfoots?!?!?
So who is Sauron? Well, the fan theories were spot on – it’s Halbrand (!) and we discover that he has been manipulating Galadriel all this while and she was aiding and abetting the Dark Lord all the way! Galadriel is an abject failure! Worse still, when she finds out the truth, she refuses to share Halbrand’s true identity with Elrond or Celebrimbor. WHY? Purely out of self-interest of course, she does not want them to know how easily Sauron played her. What a despicable character she is – the writers must really hate strong women. Now, Halbrand/Sauron comes up with the idea that the mithril can be alloyed with other precious metals to create powerful rings that will save the Elves. HOW? Unclear. So Celebrimbor creates three such rings of power. It appears from the way the story is set up that Elrond, Celebrimbor and Galadriel would hold the rings when in the lore, while Galadriel did possess a ring of power, the other two were kept by the High King Gil-Galad and Cirdan. Will The Rings of Power break lore again? Probably.
There is one more sub-plot in The Rings of Power Season 1 Ep 8 and it concerns the Númenoreans. For some reason, Elendil’s daughter – a new character – is given access to the Palantir (?) in a very convenient manner but we are not shown what happens next. Then, we have the Númenoreans returning to the city to find that it is in mourning. That was it. Quite meaningless overall. Oh and of course, a shot of Sauron in Mordor surveying his domain. What did Sauron go to Lindon for? To get Celebrimbor to fashion the rings of power? What about the rings made for the dwarves (7) and mortal men (9)? Guess that’s what season 2 will cover?
In the final analysis, The Rings of Power Season 1 Ep 8 has left an awful taste in the mouth of every Tolkien and fantasy fan. The series has wasted an opportunity to do justice to Tolkien’s Second Age. Meaningless plots and unlikable characters have made engagement with the series impossible. Considering the express sentiments of the show runners in recent interviews, the series is unlikely to get any better in Season 2. Sigh.
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