'The Rings of Power' Episode 3 Recap: Galadriel Gets Out of the Water

Galadriel heads to Númenor.

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Erin Carson
9 min read

Númenor looking fab.

Prime Video

Episode 3 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power serves up even more new places and new faces. If you're not taking notes at home, you might want to start. 

If you need a refresher on episode 2, you can find it here. If not, we're booking a cruise to Númenor, so get on board. Spoilers ahead. 


Island life

NÚMENOR -- Good news, team: Galadriel is finally out of the water. She wakes up below the deck of a ship. Halbrand brings her some food and they banter. He is a little sassy. On deck, the crew eyes her suspiciously. They're all very matchy-matchy, implying this is some kind of uniform. One of them approaches her and says "one of the Eldar on board my ship." (Eldar is another name for the elves.) He is the captain. Captain Obvious, apparently. She tries to get more information and just about all he offers is that they're going "home," which isn't insightful. 

In any case, they sail into the nicest harbor ever in the middle of this place where I'd like to book a vacation, pronto. Tall statues built into cliffs, stone everything. The weather looks perfect. Forget Mykonos. We don't need it. 

They get off the boat and when Halbrand asks since when do men like him build things like this, Galadriel is like bro. It was the elves. While his ancestors were busy being loyal to the first dark lord Morgoth, the men who were loyal to the elves and the Valar (remember those are the angelic-ish being things) got a whole-ass island raised up out of the Sundering Sea. Never underestimate the power of good architecture. She tells him their people were kin at one point, but eventually Númenor severed ties.

As a side note, there's more drama to unpack here from the appendices. If I may gloss over a bunch of stuff in a manner that will surely win me some indignant emails: The Valar banned men from sailing further west to Valinor, meaning men had to stay mortal – which was supposed to be a good thing, originally. A gift, even. Over time, Númenorian kings got pissy about it and there ended up being a split, leaving only a group of men in the West of Númenor who stayed loyal to the elves and Valar.

ANYWAY. Halbrand tells Galadriel not to antagonize anyone, which…. Just hang on to that. They end up in front of Queen Regent Míriel and Pharazôn. Immediately, the vibes are off. Galadriel is proud and spunky and asks for passage back to Middle Earth, while also pulling some elf rank on them. Halbrand does some fancy footwork to try to make nice. They're given three days with some light surveillance. 

Elsewhere, we catch up with Captain Obvious' son, Isildur -- a name you MIGHT RECOGNIZE. (For what it's worth, Captain Obvious' real name is Elendil.) Isildur is on a ship training with the rest of the lacrosse team or whatever when one of them almost gets swept overboard. He basically saves him. Later, the training session continues on the beach where the instructor dude makes them chant "THE SEA IS ALWAYS RIGHT," which is exactly what they made us chant in the bookstore I worked at after grad school. Weird. 

After class, more exposition happens. There's a thing called the sea trial coming up (perhaps the equivalent of regionals in Glee?) and if they pass, it's only a quick four years until they make officer. Then: Isildur's sister Eärien shows up with a horse. 

Back at the palace, Míriel is doing some exposition of her own, talking about how the white tree outside is losing its petals. I'm thinking Miracle Grow would do the job, but she says it's a living reminder that the eyes and judgment of the Valar are on them. She asks Elendil if he believes that and he's a bit like nah.  She's a little suspicious of him though because apparently his name means "elf friend" and he's from the West. And he brought an elf to town which is a faux pas. So now making sure Galadriel doesn't stir up anymore shit is going to be his problem.


Isildur at sea.

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Meanwhile, our girl Galadriel is playing 50 ways to leave your lover, except the lover is Númenor and there's only one way and it's stealing a skiff (Biff?). Elendil finds her, though, and she offers to stab him.

Elendil is unbothered and slips into Dad Mode telling her she reminds him of his kids, and even busts out some elvish. Questions are asked and they end up riding out West to where he's from -- a place that's less hostile to elves -- to visit the hall of law. 

The hall of law is basically a whole bunch of scrolls. They start researching and learn a couple alarming things. Remember that sigil? It's not a sigil, it's a map of the Southlands. It turns out there's this whole plan to turn the area into a realm where evil can essentially live, laugh, love. This is to be enacted by Morgoth's successor Sauron, if Morgoth is defeated.

We stan an organized dark lord. 

If you're wondering where Halbrand is in all this, he is trying hard to figure out how he can stay on Númenor because, as previously stated, it is real nice. But, it does have some bureaucracy because he can't get a job without having some type of gold crest type thing. 

Later, he's busy eating mussels when some local goons start giving him crap about arriving with the "she-elf" and drinking their ale and eating their food as if a plate of seafood is going to send the island into economic hardship. 

More dudes join because even in the Tolkien-verse, lunchroom bullies are universal. Halbrand buys the next round, gets everyone drunk, and steals one guy's crest. Unfortunately, they weren't drunk enough and corner Halbrand in an alley. In a surprise twist, Halbrand absolutely wrecks the lot of them. The guards get him though, spears drawn. 

That evening, Elendil is having dinner with Isildur and Eärien. Isildur tells his dad he might defer the sea trial. Presumably he wants to spend a year finding himself while backpacking through Europe.

"Oh good gods," Isildur says, going into Dad Mode  hard. Then a message arrives for Eärien. She leaves and Elendil tries to do some gentle parenting with Isildur until Isildur gets sassy and Elendil tells him his butt is going to be on the ship for the sea trial. Period.

Eärien comes back to say she's been accepted to the builder's guild. Apparently she'd been rejected previously, but Isildur convinced her to reapply. Elendil is like Isildur, that screw up? And when he looks back at the table, his son is predictably gone, most likely listening to Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard on his iPod Mini.

Elsewhere, Galadriel visits Halbrand in the jail and is like lol wut happened to you. She also tells him she knows there's more to him than he's been letting on. In fact, she's got a scroll to prove it. It shows a symbol that matches one he's been wearing around his neck. Many moons ago, a guy with the same mark united the scattered tribes of the Southlands. Maybe -- just maybe, it could happen again. 

She says: "Your people have no king because you are him." And: "You chafe under the rags of the common." I mean, same, but some of us are on a Target budget, you know what I mean?

Finally, he drops the charade: "The heir to this mark is heir to more than just nobility, for it was his ancestor who swore a blood oath to Morgoth." 

Ah yes. Another reluctant secret royal with cheekbones and familial baggage to atone for. 

The old Harfoot heave-ho

RHOVANION -- With a day to go before the Harfoot migration, it's festival time. Everyone is celebrating, but Nori's parents, mom and dad Brandyfoot are stressing because his ankle is still busted and, if they can't carry the cart, they're going to get left behind. 

Nori is less focused on the fate of her family, and more so on getting to Sadoc's book so she can find the stars the Stranger put on display with the fireflies. But Poppy once again has to be a wet blanket about it.

"I don't want to help him. He's a giant with a brackish temper who sometimes murders fireflies," Poppy says, and TBH, she's not wrong. They bicker and Nori blackmails Poppy into keeping watch out while she steals the book. 

Back at the celebration, Sadoc gives a little speech, including about how in prior migrations, some Harfoots have fallen behind, and how if anyone falls behind this time, they'll be carried with them… in their hearts and memories. Which seems… dark. Like really friggin dark. If you were wondering if Harfoots have a dark side, the answer is yes. He reads a whole list of Harfoots who came to various ill fates like landslides and deep snows. And bees? Including, it seems, Poppy's whole famn damily

I would now like to issue a formal apology to Poppy for calling her a wet blanket. 


The Harfoots will leave you behind. 

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Somewhere in the background, the Stranger turns up and swipes the page with the stars that Nori took from Sadoc's book… and somehow manages to set the page on fire while trying to read it. Stop drop and roll, my guy. But no. He goes crashing around into the celebration and freaks everyone the hell out tangled up in netting. 

"Nori?" He asks. Busted.

Sadoc takes her to task in front of everyone. One Harfoot says that their laws say that anyone who breaks the rules is going to be "de-caravanned," which is Harfoot corporate-speak for let go. Sadoc says they can stay, but their cart will be at the back of the caravan, which is bad news because of dad Brandyfoot's injury.

"You may as well have stamped our name in the book of the left behinds," her mom says. 

The next morning the migration has started. The Brandyfoots are already on the struggle bus. Or struggle cart, I should say. Pops is over there wrenching his back when the stranger turns up looking distraught. 

"Friend," he declares to Nori. She suggests the stranger can help them push the cart. So, the stranger picks up the rear and they get scooting along on their Harfoot way.

Can you dig it?

SOUTHLANDS -- When we last left Arondir, he was getting dragged off in the underground tunnels in the Southlands. It should be of little surprise that orcs were behind that, and they're still dragging him around. He's in some strange work camp/trench place covered with a shabby canopy. One orc says something about someone named Adar. They chain Arondir up and put him to work digging. Quickly, he recognizes some of his elf comrades like Watchwarden Revion and another named Médhor.

They take care of some exposition here, like mentioning the orcs don't like the sun. Clearly. Whatever these orcs are, they are giving albino snake vibes and it is unpleasant. Also: they seem to be looking for something -- a weapon perhaps. Revion tells Médhor and Arondir that they need to get out of the trench and get a good look at the tree line to escape the first chance they get.

Then comes a point of contention among the orcs and elves (aside from the fact they're being held captive.) The orcs want them to cut down a large old tree and Revion, bless his heart, tries to advocate for the tree. 

Long story short, Médhor ends up dead in this whole tree drama.

Nevertheless, the captives mount a rebellion. Someone releases a warg, which, I'll be honest with you, is not an ideal turn of events. Not for nothing, the tree gets a small helping of poetic justice. Revion climbs out of the trench and we see that the whole surrounding area has been ruined. It's very latter day Isengard. He gets arrowed to death and Arondir gets dragged back down into the trench once again. The orcs are about to slice his throat when one says, "wait, bring him to Adar." I sit at my computer and go "dun dun duuuuuuun."