Episode 5 of The Rings of Power reveals why Durin and Elrond have the best relationship on the show

This summary contains spoilers.

Slowly but surely, the central connections of The Rings of Power begin to mix. That’s a positive sign for the show’s future, but a damning indictment of the writers’ prior priorities given that we’re now halfway through season one.

Recent episodes have set the stage for some intriguing conflicts involving Isildur, Galadriel, Miriel and young Theo. Other elements, however, remain frustratingly thin — for example, the romance between Arondir and Bronwyn, which still hasn’t progressed beyond the one-part “They’re Secretly In Love” logline. This lack of complexity feels especially strong after looking at the new war of stars show Andor, which elegantly demonstrates how to tell an intelligent, emotionally resonant story in a big-budget franchise context. After five episodes of The Rings of Poweronly two relationships feel truly three-dimensional and naturalistic: Durin and Elrond, and Nori and The Stranger.

As Númenor prepares for war and Bronwyn’s human neighbors debate whether they will (perhaps) swear allegiance to Sauron, this week’s most interesting subplot revolves around the friendship between Durin and Elrond – a dynamic drawn directly from Gimli and Legolas into Peter Jackson’s scoops Lord of the Rings.

In most of their scenes, they tease each other or have big, emotional conversations. They easily accept that these guys have been friends for decades. This, in turn, gives Robert Aramayo (Elrond) and Owain Arthur (Durin) a lot of leeway, which is sadly lacking for many of the series’ other leads. (Galadriel, for example, is written as haughty and confrontational in virtually every scene, meaning we hardly get a glimpse of Morfydd Clark’s range as an actress.)

Last week, Durin swore to Elrond to keep secret the discovery of mithril in one of Khazad-dûm’s mines – a pact that could spell disaster if Elrond betrayed his trust. This problem has already come to a head thanks to a diplomatic meeting between Durin, Elrond and Gil-galad.

As it turned out, Gil-galad had already suspected that mithril ore was lurking somewhere beneath Khazad-dûm. Apparently, this knowledge is crucial to the survival of the elven race. The Rings of Power takes the concept of elves’ fading immortality and turns it into a more pressing threat, presenting mithril as a cure for an elven plague. As explained by Elrond and Gil-galad, mithril was originally created in an ancient battle between a Balrog and a heroic warrior fighting over a tree. When the tree was struck by lightning, it created some kind of sacred substance in the earth below. Mithril is imbued with the same life force that fuels elves’ immortality, and if they can mine enough of it now, they can save the elves from certain doom.

Gil-galad’s solution was to send Elrond to Khazad-dûm as an unwitting spy to take advantage of his friendship with Durin. And it does work, although not in the way Gil-galad expected.

Elrond refuses to break his vow to Durin by revealing the source of mithril to Gil-galad – even if it means the annihilation of the elven race. Instead, he speaks directly to Durin and lays the facts on the table. If Durin agrees to the (very dangerous!) task of mining much mithril as quickly as possible, he can save the elves – with no other motive than his friendship with Elrond and the fact that it is the right thing to do. Durin, of course, agrees. Their only obstacle now is Durin’s father, the king.

The Rings of Power is full of life-threatening conflicts and omens of doom, but to me this Elond/Durin/Gil-galad issue is the most compelling, for the obvious reason that clear personal interests are at stake. It still feels strange that this show is emulating Peter Jackson’s Lord of the rings In many ways, it’s far more interested in the surface elements – music, production design, nostalgic set pieces – than in the deep, genuine relationship building that has made these films so compelling.


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*Initial publication: September 23, 2022 at 7:00 am CDT

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in science fiction films and superheroes, she also appears as a film and television critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she is the co-host of the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/rings-of-power-episode-5-elrond-durin-mithril/ Episode 5 of The Rings of Power reveals why Durin and Elrond have the best relationship on the show

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