The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Season 1), Episodes 1 & 2, Recap & Ending Explained: The much-anticipated prequel to the Lord of the Rings story has finally been released on Prime Video. Rumor has it that the production cost almost a billion dollars to acquire and finish. It is an ambitious project with none of the former cast from the trilogy returning. From the first two episodes, the impression is one of awe and promise. The Rings of Power stands as a direct for HBO’s House of the Dragon. A comparison of the first two episodes certainly gives the former a huge upper hand. The storytelling is unique and every element of character and the mythical universe that Tolkien sculpted has been brought to flesh in riveting style. Rings of Power has the potential to set an almost unmatchable precedent in television history, the likes of which will be very difficult to reproduce.

My only beef with the producers is not using the iconic LOTR theme in the episodes. That unique sound carries a charm and mystery of its own, at once catching you in its trance. GoT’s theme had a similar effect on viewers and look how HBO has exploited it fully in their first two episodes! You need to be smarter, Prime. Here is the recap for the first two episodes of Rings of Power on Prime Video, if you missed out on anything.

The Lord of the Rings The Rings of Power (Season 1) Episode 1 & 2

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Season 1), Episodes 1 & 2 Recap: 

Episode 1 – A Shadow of the Past

An adult Galadriel’s voice-over introduces us to the story. It is set in the aftermath of Morgoth wreaking havoc in Valinor, the Elves’ kingdom. Her brother Finrod is her closest confidant and mentor. But in the fight with Morgoth’s vast army, he is taken. The Elves flee to Middle Earth to find a new home after Morgoth destroyed the Light of their home. The Elves legion went to war with him and the enemy disappeared thereafter post a long-drawn-out battle. Galadriel has lost many of her clans in the fight but pledges to take on her brother’s promise. Sauron, Morgoth’s most loyal servant, killed Finrod, and Galadriel continues his quest to kill him. There is a mysterious mark on his body left by the servant that is her only identifier of the dark master.

Galadriel has been searching for eternity. Everyone believes Sauron is dead; except Galadriel. In his search, she reaches Forodwaith, the Northernmost Waste, a land where even the sun is scared to go. Her lieutenants are upset with her and deem the mission worthless. But she asks them to march on. They suddenly see the castle emerge from the shadows; the same place where the Orcs gathered after Morgoth was defeated.  They bring down a blocked door and see frozen orcs nailed to the wall. They were practicing some kind of forces of the unseen. Galadriel finds the mark on the stone, the same one on her brother’s body. She said to Thorndir that they will rest for the night and then move further north. Suddenly, a snow troll attacks them. But Galadriel kills it. The group leaves her to march on alone in her madness and bends their knee.

We next go to Rhovanion, the Wilderlands East of the Anduin, where two hunters just about evade a tribe of Harfoots, whose festivities unfurl like a joyous celebration. They’re traditional travelers and jolly folk, much like the Hobbits from LOTR. They’re similarly small and feisty. Sadoc Burrows, the head of the community, wonders why travelers are in their part of the world at this time of the season. Nori (Elanaor Brandyfoot) and Poppy, younger Harfoots of the community, find a field of berries, where they feast with their little siblings. But one of them spots a foot in the mud; a wolf, Nori says and orders everyone out. We then meet Herald Elrond next in Lindon, the capital of the High Elves.

Galadriel is back, as commander of the northern armies. She and her group are about to be celebrated in the community and honored by the High King. She reveals her findings to Elrond, her dear friend, and the King’s speechwriter and confidant. Galadriel insists she mustn’t stop her pursuit and senses evil is lurking to strike. Elrond discourages her. He informs her that the High King didn’t like Galadriel ignoring his commands and exceeding her authority. Marigold, Nori’s mother, says to her that the Harfoots are free from any worries and mustn’t dwell on exploring the world. They play it safe and survival is very dear to them. The High King declares the warriors from the north are going back to Valinor, as a sign of respect. Galadriel reveals to Elrond that she has refused to accept the king’s proposal. She intends to go alone further into the north.

Elrond dissuades her of the enemy’s presence. They argue about Galadriel’s decision. But she is adamant. Elrond pleads with her to go to the blessed vessel in the West and promises to act whenever the first whisper of the enemy falls in his ear. The Southlands, land of the Men, is where we land next in the season opener. In Tirharad, Arondir, an Elvish soldier from the High King’s outpost visits a village’s pub. Waldreg, its owner, updates him on events of the last month. A young boy berates Arondir and says a true human king will come and throw the Elves away. The men are distrusting of the Elves and do not like them spitting orders at them. Arondir meets up with Bronwyn, a healer, who gives him Alfirin seeds. Medhor, his friend, warns him of going forward with Bronwyn.

Now that the High King (Gil-Galad) has declared that the days of war are over, the outposts are to be disbanded. Medhor and Arondir are free. Revion, the watch warden, tells Arondir that a long life of great comfort and honor awaits him. The soldier goes to see Bronwyn one last time. He professes his love to her. It seems like she reciprocates but is called away by a customer who has come for help. His cow is unwell. He reveals that she grazed east a few days ago, as far as Hordern, indicating something is wrong in the region. When Bronwyn squeezes the cow’s teat, black liquid tar comes out. Arondir and Bronwyn immediately leave for the place. Theo, Bronwyn’s son sneaks into a barn where he finds a piece of metal with the same symbol engraved in it as on Finrod’s body. It calls out to him, whispering things in Black speech, just like the ring did to Frodo.

Lord Celebrimbor, a celebrated Elvish Smith is asked to work with Elrond by Galad on a singular project. Sadoc still wonders about the strangeness around him. Nori keeps meddling with his business. Bronwyn reveals she was born in Hordern, but Arondir explains that the people of the town were loyal to Morgoth in the war. But when they reach there, they find the town to be burning.

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As the doors of Valinor open and the chosen ones start singing the songs, Finrod speaks to Galadriel through her fallen dagger. Instead of giving herself to Valinor’s light, she jumps off the ship, choosing to follow her own destiny. We see a meteor kind of rock fly across the skies of Middle Earth and crash near the Harfoot community’s home. The High King notices a leaf fall from one of the trees and turns black, indicating a growing evil presence. Nori approaches the fallen ball of fire and finds a naked man, unconscious.

The Lord of the Rings The Rings of Power Season 1 Episode 1 & 2

Episode 2 – Adrift

Poppy comes to retrieve Nori from the spot, where the adventurous Harfoot inadvertently falls off in the large pit mark that the rocket ball makes. She touches the man, who suddenly wakes up, grabs her hand, and wails. After a brief moment, he falls back to his sleep. Nori asks poppy to help her drag the man from there, or else the wolves might get him. They put him in a shelter for the night. Nori explains to Poppy why he is helping him. Fate ordained her to find the man and help him. He’s something important and Nori must do her part. Her character is playing out like Frodo’s from LOTR. It is the exact same mismatch of sorts; a perfect surprise that the universe has planned for the living. Will Poppy prove to be Sam the Wise? Only time will tell.

Arondir and Bronwyn reach the town. They notice deep fissures in the ground. The entire town is destroyed but there are no signs of bodies. Arondir throws a lightstick and deduces what happened to the town wasn’t a ground shake; something or someone dug through it. He asks Bronwyn to warn the others while he himself goes in the opposite direction to investigate. We then go to Eregion, the realm of the Elvin Smiths. Celebrimbor explains that the Elves should strike an alliance with the Dwarves, who dwell in Khazad-Dum, their realm in the mountains.

Prince Durin is a dear friend and their expansions into the craft work are inspiring for him. They care for the rocks like Celembrimbor does and are fine artisans. Elrond expects a grand welcome from them. But the Dwarf’s welcome is underwhelming. Something is not right. He rejects them from the door itself! Elrond invokes the Rite of Sigin-Tarag and the door instantly opens. He goes inside, alone, to negotiate an alliance while asking Celebrimbor to go back to Eregion.

The beauty of the dwarf’s abode and their rigorous craftsmanship and discipline amaze him. The city has changed leaps and bounds since he last visited, which was a long time ago. Durin explains that Aule crafted a test of endurance – the Rite of Sigin-Tarag that they must now partake in. Durin faces up against Elrond. It is essentially a rock-breaking contest. We cut to Nori coming to check in on the man, who isn’t there anymore but is crawling nearby, trying to escape. He is spooked by her and starts screaming.

The trees weave with it, but Nori says she’s the one who helped him. They promise not to harm each other and Nori offers him food. He instantly shouts “Ure.. Mana” when Nori asks her to reveal about his community. If you remember, Ure was the highly trained squadron in Sauron’s army of Orcs, who were tough to beat. This man’s identity is one of great mystery but the belief is growing that he might be someone very familiar.

Nori is called back as her father twists his ankle while putting up a shelter. He will be unable to migrate for some time. Galadriel swims in the ocean and spots a wandering group on a floating makeshift boat. They are suspicious of her and she hides her elf ears to prevent even more scrutiny. The wanderers reveal their ship was destroyed by the Worm, a giant creature, who suddenly reappears.

A man on the makeshift boat asks them all to be still. But it does not work. Galadriel is pushed back into the sea and desperately swims away. The worm goes away and the man from the boat is the only one left. He names himself Halbrand and takes Galadriel onboard. The competition between the Elf and Durin is raging, but the former loses. As agreed, he must be banished from the lands. Elrond asks the prince to escort him back to the exit.

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Durin angrily explains why he is upset with Elrond; he missed his wedding and the birth of his children. Durin felt discarded. Elrond apologizes and Durin agrees to let him apologize to Disa, his wife. But one apology and he’s off. Disa, though, has other plans. Elrond is allowed to stay and the anger is temporarily on halt. Over dinner, she explains how they met and how they fell in love. Durin and Elrond are still fighting, though, but they soon make up. Halbrand tells of the dark enemy being spotted in the Southlands, where he comes from. She asks him to take her to their last location and seeks details about the army’s strength and banner. Halbrand belongs to the ilk of men and from what we saw back at Hordern, they are the first in the line of fire. We still do not know of his banner or family but it seems like he will be an important character in the fight waged against the enemy.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Season 1), Episode 2 Ending, Explained:

Has Theo conjured the dark forces?

Bronwyn reaches Tirihadar and warns the people about what she saw. But they’re dismissive of her claims. Theo notices a weird creature beneath the floorboards of his house, proving that Bronwyn was right. Arondir makes his way further into the cave and it keeps getting more ominous. From the shadows, something growls at him and chases him. Ardondir flees and falls off into a water body, and emerges on shore.

A slew of hands grab ahold of him from the back and drag him into the darkness. Bronwyn rushes home but sees a hole in the floor. Theo hides in the walls and warns Bronwyn to go off and get help. Something emerges from the floor and she hides in a cupboard. It is an Orc. He finds her and a fight ensues. Theo and Bronwyn collectively fight him off and kill him. Bronwyn takes his head to Waldreg’s and they finally listen to her. They leave town the next morning. Galadriel and Halbrand wither a storm in the seas, barely making it past.

Halbrand saves Galadriel’s life by risking his own. The fireflies in Nori and Poppy’s lamps are conjured by the mysterious stranger and he speaks to them in a foreign language. They listen to his whispers and make a constellation-like shape. Nori says the man wants them to help him find the stars. Durin’s father is suspicious of the elves and asks his son to be alert. Theo packs the cross as well, which starts burning all of a sudden. The cross definitely had something to do with the Orcs and the impending doom about to strike Middle Earth. But it is as Galadriel said earlier in the episode.

The enemy is never defeated; it only waits in the darkness and in the moment of their complacency, strikes them blind. The first two episodes were great introductions to the universe. Although not all the main characters have identified themselves yet, the first season should shed more light on them. A great start nonetheless for The Rings of Power, which is poised to become something special like its illustrious predecessor.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Season 1), Episodes 1 & 2 Links: IMDb
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Season 1), Episodes 1 & 2 Cast: Morfydd Clark, Lenny Henry, Markella Kavenagh, Sara Zwangobani, Thusitha Jayasundera, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Nazanin Boniadi, Ismael Cruz Cordova
Where to watch The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (2022)

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