‘Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’: 1×01 and 1×02 review

A slightly expected journey

 Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power 1×01, “A Shadow of the Past” and 1×02, “Adrift” aired on September 2, 2022

Galadriel girl boss

Given the amount of time the first two episodes spent on Galadriel, I thought it best to start this review with her. Everyone who has been even peripherally aware of Lord of the Rings has at least a vague notion of who Galadriel is. But this Galadriel is far from the unflappable elf queen that Frodo and the Fellowship meet way down the line. (Like way, way down the line. We’re in the proverbial Bronze Age, here people). 

The Galadriel we meet is a warrior, and like many warriors, has suffered too many losses. She is worn thin and clearly on the edge in a way that isn’t commonly depicted in Tolkien’s elves, and I have to admit it left me conflicted. On the one hand, seeing Galadriel suffer and endure and, well, change, was a breath of fresh air. It gives me hope for the long term of the show to see Galadriel start out so differently than we know where she ends up– character development is always a plus.

On the other hand, I kinda struggled to connect with her as deeply as the show intended. This is a pretty common problem with high fantasy dramas simply because so much information needs to be introduced up top. The result of this was that I didn’t quite care about the loss of Galadriel’s brother. And that loss, and the ensuing hunt for Saruon, is the thing that drives her character. So. Yeah. 

Luckily her development really amped up in episode 2 with the introduction of Halbrand. This should be interesting because both of these characters are very single-minded– at times to the detriment of the people around them. Drama!

'Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power': 1x01 and 1x02 review
Credit: Courtesy of Prime Video, Copyright: Amazon Studios, Description: Morfydd Clark (Galadriel), Benjamin Walker (High King Gil-galad)

Harfoot’s and strangers

For all intents and purposes, think of Harfoots as Hobbits (because rights negotiations can be a drag). Nori Brandyfoot is a breath of fresh air for me. Seeing the harfoot’s little village set up was the shot of warm-hearted nostalgia that the show needed. I’m interested to find out more about the mysterious stranger that crash landed in a field outside the village.

My first thought was that he had to be a wizard. Right? Well…. I’m not sure that that’s the case anymore. The wizards aren’t supposed to come to Middle Earth for many, many years. So who is the stranger? What is the crazy powerful shouting magic that he wields (not as lame as that sentence suggests)? And what will happen to Nori for knowing him? Time will tell.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power 1x01 and 1x02
Credit: Courtesy of Prime Video, Copyright: Amazon Studios, Description: Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn), Ismael Cruz Córdova (Arondir)


In the far reaches of Middle Earth we get a hint of a very restrained little crush between the elven warrior Arondir and human healer Bronwyn. I think this storyline could pretty compelling– and not just because I’m a sucker for forbidden romance subplots. The show seems to be saying some interesting things not only about the nature of good and evil but also the cost of imperialism.

Additionally, Bronwyn’s teenage son, Theo, has found a broken sword bearing Sauron’s mark and the sword may be having some kind of corrupting influence on him. I really hope that the show handles this properly because as of this moment, I don’t really care about this kid.

He seems needlessly angsty and so far we haven’t seen him do anything redeeming. Hopefully Theo has a chance to show that he is worthy of a redemption arc or I will be privately praying he veers into a Game of Thrones-style death spiral. 

All of these characters are strewn across the map of Middle Earth (along with a half dozen others that I didn’t name here). It will be really interesting to see how their story lines are going to intersect and intertwine as the series progresses. There were definitely some bumps in these early episodes, but on the whole I’m really excited for episode three!

Watch The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power every Friday on Amazon. Love fantasy? Check out our recaps of Critical Role here!

Highlights and Random thoughts

  • I’m not sure why but it really bummed me out to see that Elrond started out his careers as an elven speech writer. 
  • Finally we get to see some female dwarves! 
  • Wondering when we’re going to get out first sight of Sauron. 
  • This is such a small thing, but I’m so glad they didn’t choose a twenty-year old actress to play Bronwyn when her love interest, Arondir, is however many centuries old. The ick factor is always real high when immortal dudes hook up with high schoolers. (Looking at you, every vampire show ever.)

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power 1×01 and 1×02 are now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. New episodes are released every Friday. 


Greta Kelly

Greta Kelly is (probably) not a witch, death or otherwise, but she can still be summoned with the Horn of Gondor or the promise of a ride in the Tardis. She loves all things fantasy and is the author of THE FROZEN CROWN and THE SEVENTH QUEEN, and her third book, THE QUEEN OF DAYS will be out in 2023. Find her on Instagram or Twitter at @gretakkelly to geek out about literally anything.

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