Since The Rings of Power is a prequel, plenty of diehard and even casual fans know what’s to come. The trajectory of the course will not be shocking to those who have watched Lord of the Rings. Still, even while we’re fully aware of the canon, the Amazon Prime series gives us layers to strengthen and develop characters. This detail especially pertains to Galadriel. When this breakdown releases, seven episodes will have already aired, and audiences will learn that her husband Celeborn is missing. This component thus makes Galadriel and Halbrand’s moment of vulnerability in The Rings of Powers’ “Udûn” much more heartbreaking.
I’m not someone who condones adultery by any means, and knowing Galadriel is already married to Celeborn throws a twisted wrench into this ship. It puts us in an uncomfortable position where the series had laid down all the groundwork for an epic sort of short-lived romance only to put a bind through it. Words matter, and in this case, they’re significantly more potent than anything else. Because, in a sense, all Galadriel and Halbrand have right now are their words, coupled with their actions in the fight to showcase that there’s something profoundly moving threading between them.
We could also potentially look at a different angle where she could sincerely believe she’ll never see Celeborn again, and he’s presumed dead before he returns from wherever he is. Perhaps that makes it slightly better. However, we don’t need the implications of romance to know with complete conviction that what Galadriel and Halbrand share is something that will transcend beyond understanding. In the short time they’ve known each other, they’ve constantly challenged beliefs and pushed beyond their hearts’ barriers.
He could very well be Sauron, as everyone, and their mothers watching, seems to believe. But he could also be a man searching for a means to end his grief and heartache. He is the one who pulled Galadriel back from touching a form of darkness from which she might not be able to return. And as an episode, The Rings of Powers’ “Udûn” nudges viewers toward the tough calls, the tumultuous battlefields, and the firey trims that require more risks than anything else. It’s the calm before the storm, and a moment of vulnerability like the conversation Galadriel and Halbrand share exhibits what it truly means to have someone fighting alongside you.
Far from everyone else, enveloped between trees and in a true state of tranquility, they consciously choose to be transparent with one another. They settle to tuck away a piece of their pride to tell someone that their place beside them is worth something more significant than they were searching for. Sometimes, a platonic bond can be as powerful as a romantic relationship; soulmates exist on all spectrums, and everything that we see unravels are pieces they will carry with them perpetually.
To be free of the perils they carry, they needed someone who’d see them before reaching their hand forward and pulling them out. They needed someone to recognize the darkness, step forward, call out their name, unlock the light within, and send a flurry through. They needed a kindred spirit whose soul matched the jagged edges and unruly chaos.
In a scene like this, performances matter as much as, if not more than, the spoken words. If this were a text piece, it’d involve resounding breaths, deep, agonizing gazes, and drumming heartbeats knocking them over. Charlie Vickers and Morfydd Clark bring everything centerfold as they allow their characters an intense moment of vulnerability that will thrust them forward stronger as partners.
Vickers especially brings a riveting warmth to Halbrand’s general trademark of stoicism by showing the audience how difficult it is for him to reveal that fighting beside Galadriel has freed him. None of this is easy for him. He was looking for a means to escape and wallow in his darkness, but instead, he found something worth potentially dying over. (I still think this is how his story will end, but we shall see.) He accepted his kingdom because of her. He continues to fight because of her. He’s here today because of her. Free because of her and full of possibilities.
It was you who pulled me back first directly equates to you saved me.
No matter where this goes, it’s a beat of vulnerability that amply shows the audience that Halbrand cares about Galadriel. He wants to be better for her. He’s putting his best foot forward to be worthy of the fight she’s set up. Bind it to my very being. If he could carry all of this with him, it could correlate to survival, a better, more worthwhile life because of her.
Physically and spiritually, they’ve been pulling each other out of engulfing trenches from the moment they met—their hands clasped tightly onto the other’s, knives drawn, and sharing their strengths. They’ve been binding themselves to each other with every pull, etching themselves into places that the other needs most, not even realizing the strength of their ways. Whatever this is, it’s a special, deeply penetrating bond that will leave a mark and stay with them wherever they go.
The Rings of Power is now streaming on Amazon Prime.