Galadriel and I are both debating the future of Middle-Earth. In The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the hero is tripped between returning to the West with the rest of her company and continuing to hunt Sauron, whom she knows is alive.
As the elves granted passage stand upright on the ship's deck with swords in hand, there are a line of elf maidens who file out and begin to prepare them for the completion of their voyage. They take their weapons and their cloaks, throwing them on the boat, wondering why the maidens are still on board?
Susana Polo, a Polygons expert, asked me why were they all women, and I assumed there was (as there often is) some deeper meaning to the scene. I pushed a little harder, hoping there was (as there often is) some deeper meaning to these things. Why did they take the weapons only to toss them back just a few feet from the people they seized them from?
Susana had no answers for me. Tolkien doesn't really explore how elves decide what to do with their lives. We have the main strokes of the major families or ruling parties. But beyond that, Tolkien (who, Susana notes, was very Catholic) went long on marriage, aging, children, and jobs.
I am unsure what this implies for the elf maidens, who may be a lower level of elf servant, and there may be more to their lives than we are seeing in Rings of Power. Were these handmaidens also invited in? Is this akin to the (inflated) notion of pharaohs being buried with their servants, who were paid when the ship's doors were locked?
If you allow them, they will fuck you all the way up, and will likely cause several people to leave the room as you continue to yell about the implications of the Rings of Power elf ascension scene. They are not the point of this divine moment at all, but they are nonetheless representative of the weaknesses in the Rings of Power.
The story itself is intended to ground us in Galadriel's struggle, turning away from the afterlife many of her kind seek in order to endure far more conflict and suffering in order to fulfill her promise to her brother. Amid it all are the ships celestial deckhands, who assist (I guess?) the weary soldiers on their journey. Theyre the sort of thing that feels in the moment cool and in keeping with the elves elegantly stoic style.
This is a billion-dollar series, and a world as rich as Tolkiens deserves more than superficial drawings that fill the world with many mysteries.