I wasn’t planning to write a review on Amazon’s The Rings of Power, but my son asked me a question I couldn’t ignore.
And thus there awoke in the world the Two Trees of Valinor. Of all things which Yavanna made they have most renown, and about their fate all the tales of the Elder Days are woven.
As we finished watching the first episode of The Rings of Power last night, my son asked me after a pause:
“What do you think?”
“Don’t know yet,” I answered, “not too bad, I suppose, but I hoped there would be much more Tolkien in it.”
“What do you mean?” he asked, “there’s Galadriel, Elrond, Sauron, hobbits. What else?”
“Hm…” I scratched my head, “I guess to have more Tolkien there you need to start the tale how he started the tale.”
“Do you mean with the creation of Arda?” he pressed.
“No, with Music. The Music. The world of Tolkien began in Music.”
“So, how would you have started the series?” he finally asked.
“Let me think,” I said, and there was silence in the room for about half an hour broken only by the chirping of a cricket outside.
And silence was over all the world in that hour, nor was there any other sound save the chanting of Yavanna.
Finally, I broke the silence.
“All the tales of Elder Days are woven around the fate of the Two Trees. Do you have any idea why?”
He shook his head.
“Imagine Galadriel and her brother Finrod sitting by a murmuring brook at twilight. He asks her: ‘Do you know how Elves came about?’
The camera zooms in, and we see the following scenes unfold in Galadriel’s big blue eyes as she listens to Finrod’s tale.
‘By the starlit mere of Cuivienen, Water of Awakening, the Elves rose from the sleep of Iluvatar; and while they dwelt yet silent by Cuivienen their eyes beheld first of all things the stars of heaven. Therefore they have ever loved the starlight, and have revered Varda Elentari above all the Valar.’
Galadriel sees in her mind’s eye the mere of Cuivienen and then looks up and suddenly sees Varda walking among the heavenly hosts.
‘Who is it?’ she asks her brother in amazement.
‘Varda, the spouse of Manwe, the chief of the Valar.’
‘Who are the Valar?’
‘The Powers of the world. They first sang the Music of Iluvatar, and at his bidding, the Music became tangible – the air, the water, the earth, and everything that fills it.’
‘How can I hear this Music?’ asked Galadriel with a trembling voice.
‘Just listen to the sound of the water falling over stone,’ answered Finrod.
And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Iluvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen.Silmarillion
‘I hear it,’ said Galadriel and closed her eyes (beautiful music starts playing, sounding like a gentle pattering of rain).
Finrod tells her how different themes of the Music of Iluvatar became the visible elements of Arda, and in her mind’s eye, she sees the face of Iluvatar breathing the vision of the world into the primeval darkness ere aught else was made.
Galadriel hears the themes of air, water, earth, silver, gold, and other substances and sees the Ainur appear from the breath of Iluvatar, following those themes into Arda while taking physical shapes and forms.
The Music ends. The visions in Galadriel’s mind stop.
Galadriel and Finrod are silent.
Galadriel looks around and puts her hand on her heart. ‘This Music is also in my heart.’
‘Yes, you feel it as Flame Imperishable,’ says Finrod. ‘Iluvatar put it in the heart of the world, and the world became alive.’
Then, after a pause.
‘And Melkor seeks after it but can’t find it because it is with Iluvatar. That is why he broke the two lamps, Illuin and Ormal, and that is why he destroyed the Two Trees of Valinor! For He wanted and hated their Light at the same time!’
He looks intently into Galadriel’s eyes:
‘He wants it. He wants it for himself. He will try to steal it out of your heart. Don’t let him, do you hear me? Don’t let him steal the light of your heart!’
Galadriel, already an adult, wakes up in her bed and realized it was a prophetic dream.
She walks out the door, puts her hand on her heart, and says looking at her brother’s carved image:
‘I won’t let him, brother. I promise.’
“So, what does it change?” my son asked after I finished.
“Galadriel has something to live and die for. And we know what gives her the passion to fight evil to the end.”
“What?” he asked.
“The Music. Tolkien’s world began in Music, and she wants to participate in it.”
“But let’s see what Amazon makes of it,” said I, and we both smiled.