Much like the opening of “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Rings of Power” commences with a narration by a young Galadriel (Morfydd Clark). She talks about the good old days when nothing evil existed. She talks about how she used to be bullied as a child. And she talks about her strong bond with her eldest brother, Finrod (Will Fletcher). But then, things get ominous as she brings up the rise of Morgoth and how a legion of Elves were formed to go to war in Middle Earth, which included Finrod as well. That war went on for centuries, and even though Morgoth was defeated, Sauron soldiered on with his army of Orcs. Finrod vowed to kill Sauron, but he died in the process. So, Galadriel decided to continue his mission and not stop until she found and killed Sauron.
Meet Galadriel, Elrond, and Nori
We see Galadriel and her troops climbing the mountains and braving the cold wind of Forodwaith to seek Sauron out. One of her comrades reminds her that she’s already in defiance of the High King, Gil-galad’s (Benjamin Walker) plan to return to Valinor because he believes that there’s no more evil in the world. Galadriel’s headstrong attitude does bring her close to the temple-like place where the Orcs gathered after Morgoth’s defeat and bears Sauron’s sigil. But it also forces everyone into an altercation with a snow troll. While Galadriel does kill it in the most awesome way possible, the Elves put their swords down to indicate that they want to end this expedition there and then.
The narrative then shifts to Rhovanion, where we are introduced to the Harfoots. To be specific, Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh), daughter of Largo (Dylan Smith) and Marigold (Sara Zwangobani), and friend of Poppy Proudfellow (Megan Richards). She appears to have a penchant for adventure and rule-breaking while also taking care of those who are her responsibility. Then we get a look at Elrond (Robert Aramayo), who is preparing the speech for the High King. As soon as he hears that Galadriel is back, he rushes to meet her at Lindon, the capital of the High Elves. Although he greets her with all kinds of pleasantries, Galadriel quickly points out the fact that Sauron is out there, and the High King needs to act on it.
Arondir And His Troops Are Ordered To Leave Tirharad
While Marigold asks Nori to know her place in the stream that is life, instead of trying to look for an adventure, a similar restriction is forced upon Galadriel as she is asked to sail Far West and essentially retire from her job as a warrior. As Galadriel is understandably upset about it, Elrond promises her that the moment he gets any sign of the rise of Sauron, he is going to notify her. She reluctantly agrees to this deal because she doesn’t have a lot of options at her disposal. That’s when the narrative shifts to a new place, i.e., the Southlands (The Lands of Men), to introduce Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), who is stationed there along with a company of Elven soldiers. He has apparently formed an amicable relationship with the village-folk (although some still act in a racist way) and a romantic one with a single mother named Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi).
After returning to his outpost, Arondir learns that the High King has asked them to come back home because, as mentioned before, he thinks that all evil has been vanquished. While waiting to ship out, he has a chat with the Watchwarden, who tells him not to feel sad about leaving the people of Tirharad behind. Because, back in the day, they backed Morgoth, and that darkness apparently still runs in their veins. Even though Arondir shows optimism about their current state, the Watchwarden shuts him down and tells him to be grateful about going back to more than he left with. Arondir pays Bronwyn one last visit. But that’s interrupted by a farmer whose cow is releasing black fluid from her udders. When the farmer says that the cow has traveled all the way to Hordern, both Arondir and Bronwyn plan to go there and see what’s going on. Meanwhile, Bronwyn’s son, Theo (Tyro Muhafidin), gets his hands on a broken sword with Sauron’s sigil on it.
‘The Rings of Power’ Episode 1: Ending Explained: Does Galadriel Sail West? What Falls From The Sky?
Galadriel, along with her troop, sails to the Far West. The High King, assuming that they have a bright future ahead of them, assigns Elrond to Lord Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards). The Harfoot elder, Sadoc Burrows (Lenny Henry), tells Nori that there’s something strange about the skies. Arondir and Bronwyn reach Hordern only to see that it has been reduced to ashes. The ship carrying Galadriel inches towards the light of the Far West. A meteor-like object flies over Lindon, Hordern, Fangorn Forest (maybe), and crashes near Rhovanion. At the same time, Galadriel abandons the ship and jumps into the open seas because she can’t agree to this early retirement. The High King picks up a leaf fallen from a tree and notices that its veins are rotting, harking back to the destruction of the tree in Valinor. Nori approaches the crash site and finds a man lying there on the molten meteor.
So, a major hint about what’s to come lies in the location of Hordern. It has been described as a location in west-central Mordor. What’s Mordor? Well, according to “The Lord of the Rings” films, it’s the location that Sauron chose as his realm because its mountainous ranges form a natural fortress. The place is considered to be a result of Morgoth’s devastating work and has been forged by massive volcanic eruptions, with the most iconic one of them being Mount Doom. That’s also where Sauron is going to forge the One Ring and build his stronghold, Barad-dûr. Also, as per the lore, since Sauron’s “army” consisted of slaves from Men of the East and the South, you can assume that that’s where the people of Hordern have gone. I think they’ve gone voluntarily because, as pointed out by Arondir, they were supporters of Morgoth. And since Sauron is his successor, there’s a good chance that they are serving him now.