Honesty is the best policy in Episode 5 of The Rings of Power, where characters come clean about their secrets and motivations as Middle-earth moves closer to war

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 5 Review - "Partings"


Warning: the below contains full spoilers for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 5, which is now streaming on Prime Video. To refresh your memory, check out our review of last week's episode.

War is on the horizon in The Rings of Power Episode 5, which provides a look at what various characters are fighting for. It’s also the first episode to have both dwarves and harfoots as the show’s disparate plots are finally coming together for the inevitable big fight for Middle-earth.
The harfoot plot is pretty brief, anchored by a sweet travel sequence set to music that really feels like it gets to the adventurous spirit of Tolkien’s work. This storyline mostly continues to make clear just how powerful the Stranger is. A lot of harfoots would likely have been “left behind” if he hadn’t been there to stop the warg attack. But after his weird healing frost trick, it seems like even Nori is starting to become a little scared of her giant friend. I still don’t think the Stranger is a bad guy, but that much power is always dangerous and he needs to get his act together to ensure no one gets hurt. We also finally get a glimpse at the strange cultist-looking characters seen in a previous teaser who seem to be tracking The Stranger, but there’s no new details on who they are or what they’re after beyond the very creepy music playing when they’re on screen.
Every Major Player in the Premier Episodes of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of PowerGaladriel - Morfydd Clark

A brave elven warrior with a thirst for vengeance burning in her heart, Galadriel is a powerful fighter and determined leader. Though she longs for peace, she's driven by a greater purpose, one that goes back to a terrible loss. Her impressive combat skills make her a force to be feared, but it's her self belief and confidence that make her a true force to be reckoned with. These first two episodes reveal a new side to the enigmatic character fans first met in Fellowship of the Ring. These are the years and the fight that shaped who she would become. 
Finrod - Will Fletcher

With The Rings of Power set in Tolkien's Second Age, fans have long been wondering whether we'd see anything predating that era. And in the first two episodes we did. The premier introduces the First Age and Finrod, one of Galadriel's brothers. It's clear that the pair were deeply connected since childhood, but tragically we see Finrod killed in battle by Orcs. It's this brutal death that sets Galadriel on her mission to destroy Sauron. It's a vital expansion on the lore of Galadriel's family and the loss that ultimately drove her to go against her own people. 
Sadoc Burrows - Sir Lenny Henry 

Harfoots have long been a part of Tolkien canon, appearing in both the Lord of the Rings prologue and appendix, but we've never seen them brought to life on screen. Sadoc Burrows is an elder of the Harfoot community that we're introduced to in the first two episodes. He seems to be able to read prophecies, and he leads the Harfoots on their migration. While he appears short tempered it's clear that the safety of his community comes first. 
Nori Brandyfoot - Markella Kavenaugh 

Another new character created for The Rings of Power is a young Harfoot, Nori Brandyfoot. Her inquisitive nature can cause problems as she dreams of exploring the outside world. Her best friend is Poppy, who she regularly drags into her adventures. Nori's compelling curiosity draws her into the path of the fallen comet and ultimately the Stranger. But her innate kind-hearted Harfoot nature means she can't leave the odd new arrival to survive on his own. It seems likely that their unconventional friendship will play a major role in the show as the series moves forward. 
Poppy Proudfellow - Megan Richards

Nori's closest confidante and a fellow Harfoot, Poppy is a sweet and chilled soul who's happy to live within the safety of the Harfoot community. She's generous and brave, though she's often reluctant to break the rules with Nori. It'll be interesting to see where her story goes now that she's crossed paths with the Stranger. While Poppy is another non-canon addition, she feels very much in the tradition of classical Hobbits as we know them. The big question is will she venture out with Nori and the Stranger or will she stick close to the Harfoots as they migrate? 

Largo Brandyfoot - Dylan Smith

Nori's father is a sweet and kind man who encourages his daughter's unusual curiosity. After his accident it's unclear whether he's going to be able to join the Harfoots on their migration, but it seems highly unlikely that his brave daughter and loving community will leave him behind.
The humans of the Southlands who fled to the elven tower to escape Adar and his army, meanwhile, are not doing well. About half of their group have followed Waldreg, who I can’t help but think of as a Darkfriend from The Wheel of Time, to take Adar up on his offer of surrender. Waldreg’s been a scumbag since Episode 1, when he tried to hide news of the spreading corruption from Arondir, and he just keeps doubling down. It’s really funny to see how quickly he pivots from pledging loyalty to Sauron to offering to serve whoever’s leading the orc army.
In many ways, it feels like The Rings of Power has set itself up as the anti-Game of Thrones, even as comparisons to House of the Dragon continue to run rampant. There’s no way we wouldn’t see Waldreg slit that poor kid’s throat and get covered in his blood in either of those HBO shows. Here, all we need to know is found in Waldreg’s expression changing from horror to grim determination. Game of Thrones would have played out the council session in Númenor to show some sharp-tongued intrigue, but Rings of Power just gives us the setup and then a shot of Halbrand showing just how well he cleans up. Again, the character decision is all that actually matters.
Honesty and goodness are almost always punished in Game of Thrones, but The Rings of Power shows multiple characters finding strength in coming clean about their problems to their friends and loved ones. Theo finally tells his mom about the hilt, which gives Arondir and Bronwyn insights into what Adar is planning. Between Waldreg, Bronwyn, and Halbrand, there’s a lot of exploration in Episode 5 about the role of humans in Middle-earth. Are they basically orcs, doomed to serve whatever evil warlord is ascendent at the moment if they’re not being carefully watched by elves for signs of treachery, or can they actually have some degree of self determination?
It’s easy to understand why Bronwyn and Halbrand would be prone to despair given the bad choices before them, but both decide to try to move past the darkness they’ve seen and fight on. It looks like Bronwyn and Arondir plan to destroy the tower to prevent Adar from achieving his objective, but that will likely lead to their deaths unless reinforcements arrive in time.
The conversation between Halbrand and Galadriel where they share their traumas is powerful.
Halbrand is willing to accept his responsibility as a king, but we still don’t know exactly what sent him on the run. Presumably the cuts between him and Waldreg imply he also kneeled before dark forces and is guilty of awful crimes, but if he proves himself worthy, it’s likely no one will really care when that comes out. The conversation between him and Galadriel where they share their traumas is powerful, particularly Galadriel confessing that for all the confidence she exudes she’s a pariah from her people and so utterly consumed by her quest to stop Sauron that she’s destroyed every relationship in her life. It’s a bonding moment that seems exactly like the sort of thing that could build towards a romance between her and Halbrand. I, for one, would love to see them kiss.
Elsewhere, the relationship between Durin and Elrond gets more complicated as Elrond discovers the real reason he was sent to Khazad-dûm. The forge Celebrimbor is working on that needs to be finished by spring will help preserve the “eternal souls” of the elves from the spreading corruption. Even after the explainer, I’m not really sure what that means. How quickly would they fade without the light infusion? Will they just have life spans more akin to mortals? Is this why the elves in the Third Age have to leave? The episode is short on answers but the scenes in the elven forests are so distractingly beautiful it drives home what would be lost without them.
I complained last week about Elrond naming mithril, but I do really like the mithril origin story in “Partings.” The parallel between veins of ore and the roots of a tree works visually as does explaining why the Balrog and the precious ore are inevitably tied together. I’m happy that Elrond refuses to break his oath and instead goes right to Durin to get his help. Their friendship is the most charming relationship in the show, driven by just how funny Durin is. The table bluff is beautiful since it’s such a simple way to get something from the arrogant scheming High King Gil-galad. Plus, Elrond’s attempt to claim credit for Disa is very cute.
Not everyone’s telling the truth this episode. I’m very upset that Isildur didn’t tell anyone about finding a saboteur on the ship when he was trying to stow away. Maybe that kid is just acting on his own out of genuine concern about his country being dragged into someone else’s war, but the admiration he’s expressed for Pharazôn makes me think this wasn’t his idea. Pharazôn keeps trying to sow distrust of the elves and urge Númenor to stay isolated. Tracing the source of the sabotage might have given everyone a heads up about what he’s planning.
The Lord of the Rings Movies in (Chronological) Order<h3>1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)</h3>
The only potential confusion in the Lord of the Rings-Hobbit timeline comes from the fact that The Hobbit trilogy is set 60 years before The Lord of the Rings, despite being released a decade later.<br><br>
Chronologically, the story kicks off with 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which sees Martin Freeman take on the role of a younger Bilbo Baggins (played by Ian Holm in the LotR trilogy). Gandalf – one of several characters whose stories run through both trilogies — recruits Bilbo to join Thorin (Richard Armitage) and Company to help reclaim the Dwarven kingdom beneath Erebor, aka The Lonely Mountain, that had been sacked by the dragon Smaug. Along the way, Bilbo encounters Gollum for the first time and comes into possession of the One Ring.<h3>2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)</h3>
Thorin and Company continue their journey toward The Lonely Mountain, fending off giant spiders and orcs along the way. Orlando Bloom’s Legolas (another LotR staple) joins the fray alongside newcomer Tauriel (played by Ant-Man’s Evangeline Lilly). While the company reaches Esgaroth, a lake-town south of Erebor, Bilbo descends into the mountain, where he encounters Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). Smaug ultimately leaves his lair and departs for Esgaroth, setting up the conclusion of The Hobbit trilogy.<h3>3. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)</h3>
The conflict with Smaug is resolved and the film’s titular battle ensues involving the armies of men, dwarves, elves, and two tribes of orcs. We’re being extra vague here as The Battle of the Five Armies is ripe with resolution (and therefore spoilers), but prepare for an action-heavy film that ultimately leaves off where The Lord of the Rings trilogy begins: back at the Shire, 60 years later, as Gandalf visits Bilbo on his 111th birthday.<h3>4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)</h3>
The first Middle-earth film by release date (and the fourth chronologically) is 2001’s The Fellowship of the Ring. The perspective shifts from Bilbo to his much-younger cousin Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood). Following some exposition that sets up the current state of affairs in Middle-earth, we return to Bilbo’s 111th birthday celebration in the Shire.<br><br>
Bilbo departs on one last adventure, leaving the One Ring with Frodo; Gandalf warns Frodo he must leave the Shire, as Sauron (the Lord of the Rings) and his evil cronies — specifically the Nazgûl, a host of nine horse-mounted wraiths — will be coming for the ring. Frodo departs the Shire with his best friend, Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin), along with fellow hobbits Merry and Pippen.<br><br>
After some perilous travel and character introductions, including Aragorn (Mortensen), Legolas (Bloom), and Saruman (Christopher Lee), a plan is devised to destroy the Ring in the fires of Mordor's Mount Doom, where the Rings of Power were forged. The plan is to be carried out by a ragtag group dubbed the Fellowship of the Ring: the wizard Gandalf; the hobbits Frodo, Samwise, Merry, and Pippen; the elf Legolas; the dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies); and humans Aragorn and Boromir (Sean Bean).<br><br>
A treacherous journey leads them to Lothlórien, an Elven realm ruled by Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel, who also appears throughout The Hobbit trilogy and is one of the main protagonists of the new Amazon series (this younger version of Galadriel is played by Morfydd Clark). Galadriel advises Frodo, and he decides to continue his journey to Mordor without the others, bringing only his most trusted confidant, Sam.<h3>5. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)</h3>
Frodo and Sam take on a third, reluctant travel companion in Gollum (voiced by Andy Serkis), a hobbit long ago corrupted by the power of the One Ring. The trio makes it to the outskirts of Mordor, though are stalled by an unforeseen intervention. The other members of the Fellowship embark on a rescue mission; Gandalf takes a new form; and the trilogy’s first epic battle occurs in the gorge of Helm’s Deep.<h3>6. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)</h3>
As with The Battle of the Five Armies, The Return of the King’s plot is essentially all spoilers, so we’ll again highlight only the broadest story beats. Gollum, exploiting the influence of the Ring, pits Frodo against Sam and leads the former into the lair of a deadly foe. The other members of the Fellowship, meanwhile, partake in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields — a massive, final fight against the dark forces of Sauron.<br><br>
Frodo and Sam ultimately enter Mordor in disguise and, with help from the other members of the Fellowship, see the original plan through. With the journey concluded, we enter the Fourth Age of Middle-earth and are treated to a bittersweet finale.
But Isildur’s apparently always going to be unreliable. I still love the banter between his buddies as they grudgingly accept his apology after getting in some licks. I’m even happier that his irresponsibility is being properly punished. No one will stick their neck out for him too much and even his dad’s relegated him to stable mucking. Still, he’s getting his wish to go to war. The final shot of the episode is appropriately rousing, with the gorgeous sails of Númenor’s ships unfurling to stirring music. It seems likely we’re going to see some large-scale fighting next week, which should provide a whole new way for The Rings of Power to demonstrate what its ludicrous budget is capable of.
This story originally appeared on: IGN - Author:Samantha Nelson

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