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Tear Jerker / The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

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    Episode 1 - A Shadow of the Past 

  • Galadriel's beloved brother Finrod dies on a battlefield defending Middle-Earth. One of the very first battlefields ever. Galadriel solemnly picks up his empty helmet and puts it on a pile with a number of other elf helmets. Then the camera pulls back to show us the pile is three times her height.

    Episode 2 - Adrift 

  • Elrond can't understand why his friend Prince Durin doesn't want to see him, and praises him for how the city has grown even more beautiful in the twenty years he's been gone. Durin reminds him, yes, it's been twenty years. Elrond missed Durin's wedding, the birth of both his children, and who knows what else. All because an elf just doesn't consider twenty years a meaningful length of time.
    Durin: You cannot barge into my mountain and demand I welcome you with open arms. You cannot claim that which you discarded.
    Elrond: Discarded? Durin, I...
    Durin: Twenty years might be the blink of an eye to an elf, but I've lived an entire life in that time. A life you missed.
  • Nori's father twists his ankle while working. It shouldn't be a big deal, it will heal up soon enough... but not in time for the Migration in three days, where everyone will have to haul their homes with them. From the way everyone reacts, it seems very likely that if he can't walk, he's staying behind.

    Episode 3 - Adar 
  • The Harfoots hold a ceremony the night before their Migration where Sadoc Burrows lists the names of all those who "fell behind" in prior Migrations. After each name the group repeats "we wait for you" to indicate they carry the memory of their fallen friends with them. During this we find out what happened to the Proudfellows, Poppy's family: all taken by a landslide. Poppy, sole survivor of the tragedy, is understandably crying as their names are pronounced. Later in the episode, we see the outcome of this as Poppy has to haul her cart entirely by herself. Even Sadoc Burrows, despite his curmudgeonly exterior as one of the leading elders, chokes up slightly when he reads off the name of another Burrows who was "taken by wolves" (a later episode indicates that she was his wife).
  • The orcs holding Arondir and his fellow Elves order them to cut down a tree that's in the path of their tunnel. The Elves are disgusted by the idea, citing how old the tree is, and suggest going around it instead. The orcs refuse and after a scuffle Arondir volunteers to be the one to cut the tree down. Before starting he quietly asks the tree to forgive him for what he's about to do.

    Episode 5 - Partings 
  • Nori tells The Stranger about the perils that Harfoots face during migrations. The Stranger remembers when he accidentally killed the fireflies in her lantern and worries that he might be a danger to them. Nori tries to reassure him that he's not a threat because he's good. After he freezes her hand and sends her flying while in a trance, she runs away from him in fear.
  • Halbrand and Galadriel both opening up together a bit more about their respective Dark and Troubled Past, with Halbrand reluctant to go through with joining her and wanting peace and quiet, believing what he has done will never be forgiven by anyone, including Galadriel. At his prompting, Galadriel finally talks about her fallen brother to him, admits to her conflicted feelings, the betrayal she feels from Elrond conspiring against her, and thinking the other elves believe she has fallen into darkness herself. Crosses over with Heartwarming, in the way they clearly care for one another, and are able to get the other to talk about their feelings.
    • Upon hearing Galadriel's tragic backstory, Halbrand can only offer a heartfelt apology. This becomes a lot more significant once you watch the season finale.
    "I'm sorry. For you brother. For all of it. I'm sorry."

    Episode 6 - Udûn 
  • In another heart to heart, a clearly shell shocked and traumatised Galadriel and Halbrand bond even further following the Battle for The Southlands, even seemingly revealing their true feelings for each other:
    Galadriel: Thank you… for pulling me back.
    Halbrand: It was you who pulled me back first.
    Galadriel: Whatever it was he did to you, and whatever it is that you did, be free of it.
    Halbrand: I never believed I could be… until today. Fighting at your side, I… I felt… If I could just hold on to that feeling, keep it with me always, bind it to my very being, then I…
    Galadriel: I felt it too.
  • Thanks to the timely arrival of the Númenoran forces it looks like Tirharad has been saved. Then Theo discovers that Adar switched the broken sword for an axe to deceive them. The real sword is with Waldreg who uses it to open a nearby dam. It turns out the purpose of the tunnels dug by the Orcs was to channel the water into the lava beneath a nearby mountain and cause it to erupt. The townsfolk came so close to victory, only for the episode to end with fire raining down on them from Mount Doom.
  • The Southlanders defeat several of Adar's soldiers only to remove their masks and realize that they killed the Southlanders who sided with Adar.
  • Adar turning against Sauron for using Orcs as fodder for his magical experiments obliquely brings to mind a passage from The Silmarillion: "And deep in their dark hearts the Orcs loathed the Master whom they served in fear, the maker only of their misery."
    Adar: For my part...I sacrificed enough of my children for his...aspirations.
    • It's at this point that we realise Adar's villainy wasn't entirely by choice. He and his offspring have been pawns of two dark lords who would gladly march them to their deaths. They're hated by all other races just for the way they were born. Adar is the only orc able to survive something as inconsequential as sunlight. Galadriel goes as far as to taunt Adar by saying she'll slaughter his offspring and leave him for last so she can savour his grief. He may have done some bad things, but Adar's motive wasn't power or sadism, but the desire to give his children a home.

    Episode 7 - The Eye 
  • The Harfoots arrive at the Grove and discover it's almost entirely burned down. Sadoc asks The Stranger to use his mystical abilities to try and help. The Stranger complies and tries to cast an incantation on a tree. Unfortunately he causes a branch to break and land on Nori and Dilly. The girls are fine, but Sadoc decides this is one accident too many. He hands The Stranger the starchart and points him in the direction of a "big people" settlement over the ridge.
    • The next night Nori and Poppy find the three mysterious white-robed people who have been following The Stranger examing the tree he worked on. Nori tries to mislead them about where he went but it seems they know she's lying. After Largo tries to drive them off their leader snuffs out his torch before setting the entire caravan on fire. None of the Harfoots are hurt but this means it's now difficult, if not outright impossible, for them to migrate again.
  • Isildur survives the initial fallout of the eruption but gets trapped under a collapsing building leaving his fate uncertain for now. Elendil is naturally devastated by the possibility that he led his son to his doom. Isildur's horse Berek is seen fighting against the hands and even Elendil's words can't soothe him.
  • Durin is outraged that his father refuses to help the Elves by mining Mithril, likening it to being told not to help a friend who is drowning in front of you. Durin and Elrond eventually decide to start mining in secret but King Durin catches them just as they find a vein. Father and son have a furious argument that ends with King Durin ripping the signet from Prince Durin's neck and telling him to leave it on the floor because "it's not yours anymore". To make things worse, the end of the episode confirms what viewers already know: King Durin's fears about mining are correct as the vein leads directly to the Balrog.

    Episode 8 - Alloyed 
  • Sadoc dies of his wounds but assures the group it's all right as "The missus will be waiting." He sits with his tearful friends as he watches the sun rise one last time.
  • The fleet sails into the city, Miriel senses something is off, asking what's wrong. Elendil can't bring himself to tell the blind woman the harbor is filled with ships with black sails, meaning her father has died.
  • Galadriel increasingly breaking down in a mixture of horror and pain upon realizing the man she'd fought alongside with, saved her life, and fell for is one and the same with Sauron, the dark lord which killed her brother and was the subject of her dogged hunt for centuries. While manipulation was certainly part of it, Sauron even seemed earnest in his confession of desiring to rule together and being bound to the light by Galadriel.
    • Remember back in episode 5 when Halbrand apologised upon hearing how Sauron destroyed Galadriel's innocence when he killed her brother. Even though Galadriel had her back to him, the look on his face was one of genuine sympathy and in hindsight, remorse. He really did want to atone in the time between the fall of Morgoth and his own ascension, which only makes it all the more tragic that he couldn't be redeemed.
  • Nori decides to leave the caravan and accompany The Stranger on his travels. Poppy initially gives her a brief, somewhat cold farewell but as Nori's leaving Poppy chases after her in tears and asks why everyone she loves keeps leaving her. Nori assures her that they're best friends and will see each other again, but it's still sad to see them being parted.