My previous post on this series turned out to be less of a review and more of a rant about toxic fans. So, now the first season has ended, I decided to try and offer my overall review of the show. I won’t go into great detail about the plot for many reasons. Mostly because I don’t know it well enough but also because there are so many other people who will do that for you. There might also be spoilers but I’ll try and keep them minor. Let’s see how successful this attempt is.
The series as a whole has been an interesting one. I’ve enjoyed the slower pace and the world of Middle Earth has been realised as beautifully as ever. The cast has all been pretty strong and I think there’s a lot of potential for them to become firm favourites. For one thing, I’ve had a longstanding love for Lloyd Owen who plays Elendil and this series is just helping that resurface in a major way. As such, my attitude towards the character is totally biased. Personally, I believe the badass Galadriel is a great thing. Tolkien was never very good at writing interesting female characters but he did love Galadriel. So, I reckon he’d have approved of her battle skills and whatnot.
I do have to agree with the awkward Irish stereotypes that the show has decided to use for the Harfoots. I don’t understand how nobody working on the show realises it would be insensitive. Still, I think the Harfoots are definitely one of my favourite aspects of the show and I hope we get to see more of their community. The biggest disappointment of their story is the revelation regarding to the meteor man. I know it’s not been confirmed but I’d be amazed if he turned out to be someone else. The fact that it’s not a character that was around during this age in the books doesn’t bother me too much. I kind of see why he’s been included but I hope that don’t go too far with fan service in future seasons.
With regards to the season’s other big character reveal, I think it was pretty inevitable, which is kind of disappointing. I kind of hoped it would turn out differently just because of how obvious it was. I’m interested to see how this character develops because the whole show sort of rests on his shoulders. I also find it interesting that Galadriel is being pushed towards the major opposition to Sauron. I know she doesn’t trust him in the canon of the books, but I didn’t particularly see her as his major nemesis. Still, I love Morfydd Clark and think she deserves a significant role.
I think my biggest criticism of the show is that it hasn’t quite worked out its relationship with the films. For some aspects, it almost relies on people being familiar with the films. It knows that the majority of viewers will know enough about the story to not need everything explained. It also includes random bits of fan service just to link to The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Like the shameless and unnecessary shot of the Balrog in the mines of Moria. It didn’t need to happen and will only confuse anyone who isn’t familiar with The Fellowship of the Ring.
However, the show also tries really hard to create drama where it doesn’t exist. Slight spoiler warning but, in this episode, Isildur seemingly perishes when a building collapses on him. We see his father, Elendil, being told of his son’s fate and being distraught. Although, the vast majority of viewers know that Isildur isn’t actually dead because The Lord of the Rings happened. So, I don’t really know what the point of this storyline is. Same with the revelation that Galadriel hasn’t seen her husband, Celeborn for ages. We know they live together in Lothlorien, so why are they even suggesting that he’s dead? There are zero emotional stakes and there’s zero dramatic tension. It’s like when Game of Thrones tried to pretend that Jon Snow was dead in the least believable way possible.
I have my issues with the show but, generally, I enjoyed it. I want to go back and rewatch it at some point but, for now, I’m still happy to continue watching. However, I do hope that certain aspects are changed for future seasons. Most importantly that the series decides what its identity is and what its connection with the film is. It’s naïve to see them as separate things because so few people will only watch the show. That doesn’t mean it needs to pander to the film fans but it also needs to remember what we already know. Let’s stop pretending that key players are in danger of dying. If we see Galadriel in a perilous situation then it’s going to be absolutely stupid. If the writers can’t find other ways to create tension then they should be writing another show.