Annlyel explores the balance of “Love and Power” in Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power. Is a romance between Galadriel and Halbrand doomed to fail?
It’s time to explore ‘Love & Power’ in The Rings Of Power. But is any relationship founded beneath the shroud of Sauron doomed to fail?
The Lord of the Rings is an epic story for so many different reasons. But one thing that is often not discussed as much about the trilogy is its romantic subplots. And that makes sense considering the lack of time to delve deep into the romance between Aragorn and Arwen, which is highlighted only briefly in all three films. Eowyn’s crush on Aragorn ended in rejection which took that out of the running for an in-depth romance. Eowyn eventually falls in love with Faramir but their scenes together are minuscule. And the most romantic setting they share is in the extended edition of Return of the King. And The Hobbit movies forced a love triangle between Kili, Tauriel, and Legolas into a story that honestly didn’t have any room for such a storyline. Hence its rushed and unearned nature.
The Rings of Power, however, has built over its six episodes heartwarming love stories that have developed beautifully over the season. On one hand, we have Durin and Disa who are just as lovable as can be. They’re the first married couple we’ve had the privilege of enjoying in these stories. Then there’s Arondir and Bronwyn, the unlikely lovers considering the rarity of a relationship between an elf and a human. Their romance has paid off in this series, developing beautifully in the latest episode as the two finally got a chance to share an intimate moment that concluded with a long-awaited kiss. I’m not ashamed to admit I clapped when the pair embraced.
GALADRIEL & HALBRAND
And then we have Galadriel and Halbrand. From the very first promotional image featuring them (it was an image of Morfyyd Clark and Charles Vickers filming the turbulent scenes during the storm sequence) I knew there was a good chance they would be romantically involved. As is often the case in fiction, it’s not very often when a man and a woman come together that they aren’t eventually involved in some sort of romance.
The idea of Galadriel being in a relationship with the mysterious Halbrand, of course, was (and still is) met with some understandable disdain considering its canon-breaking nature. At this time, Galadriel is supposed to be married to Celeborn. But in this series, as of right now, she is not. That has allowed the Commander to gain burgeoning feelings for the human who fate has paired her with at the most complex time in her long years.
What makes it even more striking is the theory that Halbrand is, in fact, Sauron. Which would mean Galadriel is falling for Sauron. It’s not an easy thing to say but in the context of this series, it’s kind of brilliant.
Before The Rings of Power came out someone on Twitter said that Galadriel is being written like a YA female protagonist. And if you’ve read YA novels you will understand immediately how spot-on this assessment is. In YA novels, the female protagonist always has multiple love interests. There is often the “bad boy” love interest who the protagonist falls for first before eventually being betrayed by said individual. After being heartbroken the protagonist usually acquires feelings for a more respectable and good-natured man and her longing for genuine love will be fulfilled.
Galadriel’s storyline is following that formula in a way that feels exciting and is giving her character more depth than we previously knew from The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies.
Halbrand, who I believe is Sauron, fits the bill of the “bad boy” love interest. Galadriel’s falling for him is consistent with the series’ assessment of her greatest flaw in the show so far. With each passing day, she’s becoming more and more twisted by the dark. Losing her brother at the hands of Sauron has put her on a path laced with hatred, causing her to lose some of her humanity in the process. That is why the first four episodes highlight her in such an unlikable manner. There is no kindness nor sweetness in her. Only pain, anger, and a dogged determination to find and destroy Sauron at any cost.
With this level of moral ambiguity, it makes sense that she would find a startling comradery in Halbrand. Who seems to be struggling with his own story connected to the darkness. If he is, indeed, Sauron then we are seeing him during a phase where he is trying to rekindle the light within him. Hence his reciprocated relationship with the last person he ever expected to potentially fall in love with. The elven Commander of the Northern Armies Galadriel.
The foundation of Galadriel’s storyline has been laid with her brother’s quote. “To find the light, first we must touch the darkness.” That quote is the driving point of this romance between these two characters. And it’s quite brilliant.
Sure, it might be canon-shattering, but how are you going to make a show compelling for the casual viewer? Romance is a quickfire way to get people invested in a story. And to have Galadriel fall in love with a man who may or may not be Sauron is precisely the type of storyline that’ll get people talking.
Of course, Celeborn will eventually enter this picture. And he will sweep Galadriel off of her feet but until then, I’m perfectly fine shipping Haladriel. There’s nothing like a nicely earned romance with a tragic conclusion. Just look at Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala.
THE DARKER SIDE
The pain in knowing that Anakin succumbed to the dark to try and save Padme from childbirth only for him to cause her death is harsh. Yet, despite its harshness, it makes Revenge of the Sith one of the best Star Wars movies in the franchise. It also provides Darth Vader with one of the best storylines as well.
So yes, let’s get this Haladriel romance brewing. No matter where Halbrand’s story will end (for he could very well be the future Witch King of Angmar, the Ghost King, or a Ringwraith) It’s only going to make this show and the movies that much better.
“The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power” is now streaming on Prime Video. Are you enjoying the series so far? Sound off below.
Annlyel James is a Senior Correspondent of The Future of the Force. She is passionate about Star Wars and Marvel but loves a wide variety of movie genres. Aside from her role with Future of the Force she also writes for her blog: annlyelonline. Follow her on Twitter where she channels the Force frequently!